Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Top 10 Tuesday and a Random Conversation about Podcasts

Top 10 Yummy Books

When Broke and the Bookish took a short vacation from Top Ten Tuesday posts, Jessica over at The Broke and the Bookish and I started making up our own lists.  One of them fits really well with today's topic, so instead of creating a whole other Top Ten, I thought I'd just link to that :)

Here it is, for your reading pleasure - Top 10 Books that Made Me Hungry

Which leaves me without a list today...hmmm...got one!

When I'm not listening to audiobooks or listening to the 90s country channel on Pandora, I'm usually catching up on some of my favorite podcasts.  When I navigated my way to my podcast library I realized that I have some very weird tastes.  I seem to hop between pop culture conversations, to uplifting Christian discussions, followed by morbid and gory radio theater.  I mean - the stuff gets pretty gross.  So I usually follow it up with another sermon or two to make myself feel better.  Weird.

Here's a list of the "Top 10" podcasts I'm currently tuning in to on a regular basis:

That Sounds Fun with Annie F. Downs
"Christian author and speaker Annie F. Downs shares with you some of her favorite things: new books, faith conversations, restaurants, travel stories, musicians not to miss, interviews with friends. Pretty much, if it sounds fun to Annie, you're gonna hear about it."

The Popcast With Knox and Jamie
"A weekly pop culture podcast seeking to educate on things that entertain, but do not matter."
Darkest Night
"Darkest Night is a binaural audio drama that places you, the listener, at the center of a recovered memory that sounds as though it’s happening around you in real time. Each chapter delves into the last memories of the recently deceased, slowly revealing a horrifying master plan. Who is weaving this master conspiracy, and what is their ultimate goal?"

The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe
"All good stories have a twist, and all great storytellers are just a little twisted. Join Mike Rowe for a different take on the people and events that you thought you knew -- from pop-culture to politics from Hollywood to History... The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe -- short mysteries for the curious mind with a short attention span."

Truth For Life Broadcasts
"Truth For Life is the Bible-teaching ministry of Alistair Begg. The ministry's mission is to teach the Bible with clarity and relevance so that unbelievers will be converted, believers will be established and local churches will be strengthened."

Sword and Scale
"The Sword and Scale true-crime podcast is an immersive audio experience covering the underworld of criminal activity and the demented minds that perform the most despicable and unthinkable actions, proving that the worst monsters are very real."

TED Talks Daily
"Every weekday, this feed brings you our latest talks in audio format. Hear thought-provoking ideas on every subject imaginable -- from Artificial Intelligence to Zoology, and everything in between -- given by the world's leading thinkers and doers."

Pop Culture Happy Hour
"Pop Culture Happy Hour is a lively chat about books, movies, music, television, comics and pretty much anything else that strikes a nerve, all in a weekly roundtable from NPR. Features "Monkey See" blogger Linda Holmes and an occasionally rowdy cast of characters."

Your Move with Andy Stanley Podcast
"In this weekly 30-minute message from Andy, you will discover how to make better decisions and live with fewer regrets."

Homecoming
"The first scripted series from Gimlet Media, starring Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac, David Schwimmer, David Cross, Amy Sedaris, Michael Cera, Mercedes Ruehl, Alia Shawkat, Chris Gethard, and Spike Jonze. Homecoming centers on a caseworker at an experimental facility, her ambitious supervisor, and a soldier eager to rejoin civilian life — presented in an enigmatic collage of telephone calls, therapy sessions, and overheard conversations."

***And there are a few I'm trying to get into my rotation - Astonishing Legends, S-Town, Exploring My Strange Bible, Deadly Manners, and Dirty John.

What are you listening to?

Monday, October 16, 2017

Library GrabBag: The Midnight Society


One evening, way too late for a work night, I started googling Nickelodeon TV shows from the 1990s for no particular reason.  Don't even play like you don't find yourself down random internet rabbit holes when you should be sleeping...The search led me to some of my favorites - which in turn led me to searching my library consortium's collection to see if anyone ha the shows on DVD.  Lucky for me I got to watch the first two seasons of Hey Dude and my all-time favorite, Are You Afraid of the Dark?.  It was a glorious and unproductive weekend.

And thus was born an idea for a library after hours event that we hosted this month - The Midnight Society. The description on our online calendar reads: "Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, we present..." a spooky fun evening at the library with ghost stories, games, and more -  a horror-filled way to spend Friday the 13th.

Vague, just how I prefer it so that I have time to mold and sculpt the program to my liking.  After some super-sleuthing, Jessica over at Book Plots & Polka Dots found some decent screenshots of the board game of the same name.  We were able to take a peek at the instructions for the game and started brainstorming a way to make it life size and awesome.

Itinerary

5-5:15pm            Introductions / Expectations / Icebreaker
5:15-6pm            The Midnight Society: Horror Filled Game
6-6:30pm            Food! (We served Little Caesar's pizza)
6:30-7pm            Ghost Story Fun
7-7:30pm            Capture the Flag
7:30-7:45pm       Sardines
7:45-8pm            Goodbyes

The Midnight Society: Horror Filled Game

Participants were divided into 5 teams of 5 players.  Each team was given 5 minutes to search for "Experience" points hidden throughout the building (Knowledge, Courage, Strength, Evidence, Witness)A buzzer sounded to alert the teams that the 5 minute time period was up.  They had 45 seconds to return to the game room or all of the points they found were forfeit.  (This little rule was included to keep the game moving.  Sometimes working with teens is like herding cats...)

"Experience" points are needed to earn "Luck" points throughout the activity.  The team with the most points by the end of the activity would when free books.


Then the stories began.  We read a series of ghost stories found here.  Teams would "survive" the ghost stories if they had a certain combination of "Experience" points.  To earn additional points throughout the game, teams were sent the teams on missions.  It broke up the game a bit, gave the teens a chance to run around the library and have some fun, and let us incorporate more of Are You Afraid of the Dark? into the fun.  Each mission was based on some of my favorite episodes.

Here's a link to the full missions. (There are 5 copies of each, staggered so each team was working on a different mission during the breaks).  And here's a link to the info needed for Mission #2 and Mission #5.  The other missions don't require additional information.

Example

Mission #1 : The Tale of Laughing in the Dark

Prove you're brave enough to enter the Laughing in the Dark Fun House and steal Zeebo the Clown's nose.

(1) point of COURAGE for each team member who makes it through the obstacle course and back to TeenHQ wearing the nose before time is up.

Location: Look for the "Laughing in the Dark Fun House" on the 2nd floor.

BONUS: If you re the first team back, you earn (3) STRENGTH points.

Reminder - you have 45 seconds to return to TeenHQ after hearing the buzzer or all points earned during the mission are forfeit.

Ghost Story Fun

We needed an activity that would give the teens time to digest their pizza before Capture the Flag, so we thought we'd have a little more spooky fun.  We gathered the teens in a circle, dimmed the lights, and started a ghost story.

At the high point of the story we stopped, divided the teens back into their teams, and had them each write an ending to the story.  The team with the scariest ending won a prize.  (Here's a link to the story we used.)

The rest of the evening was just organized chaos.  We love offering a time where the teens can experience the library in a new way - running around, shouting, and having fun without being shushed.  Then of course, the most popular activity of the night (which takes zero planning which is SO annoying)...sardines.

It was a great program, and gave us a little bit of a change from our usual after hours events.  We bought our own copies of the TV show to circulate at the library (for those without a consortium library card), and if I've done my job right, I've introduced some teens to some excellent 90s television.

[And did you know that D.J. Machale, author of the Pendragon series, was the show writer?  I didn't!]

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Let's All Be Brave

Let's All Be Brave: Living Life with Everything You Have
Author: Annie F. Downs
Info: Zondervan, copyright 2014, 205 pages

Annie F. Downs admits she's not exactly the bravest girl in the world. She still cries sometimes when she leaves her parents' home in Georgia, she's never jumped out of a plane, and she only rides roller coasters to impress boys. But Annie knows that courage resides inside each and every one of us, and she's on a mission to triumph over her own fears while encouraging the reader to do the same. As a single young woman, writer, speaker, and blogger, Annie Downs shares her journey toward bravery with honesty and humor. 

Using wonderful stories from her own life, contemporary real-life examples, and fascinating historical and biblical references, Annie encourages readers to grab hold of the brave life that they desperately desire. How often does fear hold us back from the very things we most want to taste, touch, and experience? The call to be brave isn't just for one person---it's for everyone.

Let's All Be Brave is more than a book, it's a battle cry. Annie challenges us to live boldly, she calls us to step into those places that require courage, and she gives us the help to take the next step forward---even when it's scary. This non-fiction, essay-driven book opens the door to many different views of courage---nudging, encouraging, and inspiring readers to be brave whenever given the chance.

~Goodreads Description

I've found myself in a contemplative state lately.  Why?  No idea really.  This happens when I feel myself stretched a little too thin, tired, or needing some time off I guess.  It's that desire to take back a little bit of control and realign my priorities.  Oh how easily things can get out of balance.  Last year Annie F. Downs helped me with her book Looking for Lovely, so I thought I'd see if she could help me again.  This time I picked up Let's All Be Brave : Loving Life with Everything You Have and it didn't disappoint.

Annie F. Downs writes from the heart.  She preaches without being preach-y and offers stories that relate the beauty of the gospel and mercy of God in our everyday lives.  Bravery doesn't have to mean big gestures or wildly courageous feats.  Let's All Be Brave is about the willingness to live bolding, taking those first steps especially when it's hard, and living with open hearts and open hands.  It was a message I needed to hear.  (Isn't it beautiful when the right message finds you at the right time.  Annie Downs and Andy Stanley get me every time.)

If you haven't looked up Annie F. Downs, you should.  Her laughter and joy is contagious.  My Wednesday evenings are spent listening to her podcast while I cook dinner, and they are just the right boost I need midweek.  She calls her listeners "friends", and that's exactly how you feel after listening to her podcast or reading her books - like you've made a friend who is there to encourage you to try the thing that has been on your heart for years.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Bookshop on the Corner

The Bookshop on the CornerAuthor: Jenny Colgon
Info: William Morrow Paperbacks, copyright 2016, 368 pages

Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more.

Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling.

From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.


~Goodreads Description

Nina is a librarian who is no longer a librarian.  Lay offs leave her wondering where her life is going to take her at the same time that her roommate is demanding she do something about the piles of books cluttering up their apartment.  Solution - Scotland (which, as I discovered this summer, is ALWAYS the right solution to a problem).  Nina's big dream of connecting the right book with the right reader leads her to purchasing a van and transforming it into a mobile bookstore.

This might be my new dream (which my boss does not approve of) - a quaint town in Scotland (preferably in the Highlands), a van full of books, and a community of readers eager to get their hands on their next favorite story.  That's the part of the book I enjoyed.  Nina wasn't really a go-getter.  She was timid and nervous, and yet she found the courage to strike out and try something new.  She went looking for her best life, and she found it in an unexpected place.  I just kind of love that.

The romance - it was a bit predictable and very rushed toward the end of the book.  Part of me wishes it wasn't there, at least the one that stuck.  It would have been far more interesting watching Nina's fierce independence happen on her own, but so it goes.

This was the perfect summer read, especially a summer that took me to Scotland.  I'm already dreaming of a return trip and looking for another read that is sweet and suited for book nerds just like this one.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Top 10 Books on My Fall To-Be-Read List

Top 10 Books on My Fall TBR List

The scheduled topic (books/covers that are set/feel like fall) just seemed like too much work, so I decided to take the easy route.  Why not make a list that you know you'll never complete, Emily?  That sounds like fun, doesn't it!  I came so close with my summer list but fell short.  With National Novel Writing Month on the horizon, the chances of me reading these ten books is very slim.  But a girl can dream :)

What's on your list?  Happy reading!

Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad, #1)
1) Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

There's Someone Inside Your House
2) There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

All the Crooked Saints
3) All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

Turtles All the Way Down
4) Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

All the Birds in the Sky
5) All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

They Both Die at the End
6) They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

The Color Project
7) The Color Project by Sierra Abrams

Geekerella
8) Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Church of the Small Things: The Million Little Pieces That Make Up a Life

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life
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Monday, October 9, 2017

The Game of Love and Death

The Game of Love and DeathAuthor: Martha Brockenbrough
Info: Arthur A. Levine Books, copyright 2015, 352 pages

Antony and Cleopatra. Helen of Troy and Paris. Romeo and Juliet. And now... Henry and Flora.

For centuries Love and Death have chosen their players. They have set the rules, rolled the dice, and kept close, ready to influence, angling for supremacy. And Death has always won. Always.

Could there ever be one time, one place, one pair whose love would truly tip the balance?

Meet Flora Saudade, an African-American girl who dreams of becoming the next Amelia Earhart by day and sings in the smoky jazz clubs of Seattle by night. Meet Henry Bishop, born a few blocks and a million worlds away, a white boy with his future assured—a wealthy adoptive family in the midst of the Great Depression, a college scholarship, and all the opportunities in the world seemingly available to him.

The players have been chosen. The dice have been rolled. But when human beings make moves of their own, what happens next is anyone’s guess.

~Goodreads Description

I've been talking about this book a bit on various social media feeds for work, but I thought I'd give it a mention on TheGnomingLibrarian as well.  It completely missed my radar when it came out in 2015! Just a few weeks ago I saw the cover come up in Goodreads so I added it to my list and started looking for the audio version in Overdrive.  Everything else I wanted to read had a holds list, so I checked it out and listened to the whole thing in a day (while cleaning out my fridge which is one of the Dante's rings of hell...)

There is a long standing "game" between Love and Death that puts two souls together - one chosen by Love and one chosen by Death.  If the two fall in love, then they both get to live, but if they don't truly fall in love (choose each other above all else), then Death gets to claim the life of her player.  Love has never won.  The stakes are high for Flora, an African American girl who dreams of owning her own plane and flying around the world, and Henry, an orphan who dreams of playing jazz music and attending school.  In that certain time and certain place, the relationship that blossoms is looked down upon by society, but Flora and Henry decide to make their own rules.

Was this a perfect book?  No.  While I loved the characters of Love and Death working behind the scenes, there was a bit of "insta"love between our two lead humans.  They see each other and there is "something" - and that "something" becomes more without a lot of interaction and relationship building.  But I really liked Flora, and I really liked Henry, and that's why I think this story works.

The historical setting of the Great Depression ups the ante, and the influence of the immortals makes things really interesting.  There was no doubting how the story would really end, but the journey was sweet, compassionate, forgiving, and lovely.

It was just the kind of book that I needed to take my mind off the fridge cleaning.




Thursday, October 5, 2017

A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #1)Author: Madaleine L'Engle
Info: Yearling Books, copyright 1962, 211 pages

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

"Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract".

Meg's father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?

~Goodreads Description

We each have that book - that book from our childhood that we just remember.  We remember loving it, connecting with it, and being drawn in by it as it swept us away into story.  I was a reader when I was little, but I wasn't a "reader", voracious and obsessed.  That would come much later thanks to Lemony Snicket and his Series of Unfortunate Events during college when I dreamed of reading anything other than history text (don't get me wrong...I loved the history books, but I also enjoyed fictional tales of individuals experiencing fantastical feats).

A Wrinkle in Time was my book.  It was the first science fiction title I read.  The first time I remember my dad recommending a book to me.  The first time I identified with a character.  The first time I didn't want the story to end.

I recently read it again for a work event at which I was going to do a reading.  It had been awhile.  I used to re-read it every year, but you know...life (and shiny and new books getting in the way).  I was a little afraid that it wouldn't hold up, that I would be disappointed and wonder why I had loved it so much.

But if anything, I love it more now.  I love Meg and her stubbornness and short temper.  Her imperfections and insecurities still resonate with me so many years and life experiences later.  I love Calvin and his curiosity and stability.  I love Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs Which, and Mrs. Who for their wisdom and love.  I love the struggle for good and the fight against darkness.  I love warrior children, small and timid, who walk knowingly into danger wearing their fear but finding their courage because they believe in what is right.  I love that Meg had to find her courage and her truth on her own.  No one could tell her.  She had to embrace all of her faults and imperfections to truly understand who she was and what she had to offer.

I love it.

It's smart and intellectual, and L'Engle didn't shy away from hard conversations and difficult vocabulary, believing children capable of understanding and embracing the story.

If you haven't read it, it comes highly recommended from this reader :)


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Genuine Fraud

Genuine Fraud


Author: E. Lockhart
Info: Delacorte Press, copyright 2017, 272 pages

The story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life.  But how many times can someone reinvent themselves?  You be the judge.
Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.  Jute is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.  An intense friendship.  A disappearance.  A murder, or maybe two.

A bad romance, or maybe three.

Blunt objects, disguises, blood and chocolate.  The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.

A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.

A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

~Goodreads Description

I'm starting to wonder if there is something a little diabolical about E. Lockhart herself.  Her last two outings have been a little crazy pants - one ripping at your heartstrings, the other threatening to steal your identity, and both led by unreliable female narrators.  Her storytelling has taken a rather creepy turn.

As for Genuine Fraud...it's hard to talk about without giving the whole shebang away, but in simple terms, its a story about two friends, Jule and Imogen, and not wanting the life you're living.  And randomly about superheroes.

The story works - mixed up chapter order and all, but despite the mystery, Lockhart doesn't leave a lot of opportunity for the reader to become invested in the characters.  They're kept at a distance.  I'm sure that's on purpose in some instances to build suspense, but when they're kept at arms distance you don't really care what happens to them or not.

BUT, if you're looking for a quick read that messes with your head just a little bit (including the ending which totally ticked me off), then give this one a whirl.  (Or check out Lockhart's We Were Liars...which I thought was better).


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Top 10 Bookish Boyfriends

Top 10 Bookish Boyfriends

I haven't collected many new fictional boyfriends this year.  I've been reading a lot of really sad books - which, I'll admit, has often put me in a rather melancholy reading mood.  I like male characters that don't take women for granted, let them fight their own battles, but are loyal, strong, and vulnerable.  If they're funny or pretty, that's an awesome bonus :)  I've add some new picks and old favorites to the list, and boy was it fun to sit down and create a list again!

Happy reading!


Once and for All
1) Ambrose - Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

Duels and Deception
2) Robert Newton - Duels and Deception by Cindy Anstey

Heartless
3) Jest - Heartless by Marissa Meyer

An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1)
4) Elias - An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

This Shattered World (Starbound, #2)
5) Flynn Cormac - This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1)
6) Perry - Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4)
7) Richard Gansey III - The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

The Truth About Forever
8) Wes - The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Perfect Scoundrels (Heist Society, #3)
9) W.W. Hale the Fifth - Heist Society by Ally Carter 

Shutter
10) Ryder - Shutter by Courtney Alameda
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Monday, October 2, 2017

Library GrabBag: Teen & Adult Programming Inspiration


Yes.  It has been awhile.  I had a serious conversation with myself about saying goodbye to TheGnomingLibrarian, but I'm just not ready to let it go.  While I can't promise myself that I can get back to consistent blogging, I can give myself until the end of the year to see if I can make that happen.  So in an attempt to get back on track, here's a LONG overdue post offering programming inspiration for librarians who serve adults and teens :)

Follow the links to check out DEMCO's Ideas and Inspiration blog where you can download copies of each calendar.  I have a blast making them, and even more fun when I hear from librarians after they're posted.  If there's anything specific you would like to see added to the calendars, let me know!  I'll do my best.

Teen Programs - October & November


Adult Programs - October & November








Thursday, August 31, 2017

Nevernight

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1)Author:  Jay Kristoff
Info: Thomas Dunne Books, copyright 2016, 429 pages

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father's failed rebellion with her life.  Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father's former comrades.  But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic - the Red Church.  If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she'll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires.  But a killer is loose within the Church's halls, the bloody secrets of Mia's past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let along have her revenge?

~Goodreads Description

A struggle at the beginning, but halfway through the book, Mia grew on me, and Kristoff's world kept me very entertained.






For a full review, check out our latest episode of #GPLtalk!
 
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