2016 Library Challenge: A Banned Book

 

banned-books-week

As someone who has been an avid reader since childhood, I’ve always found one of the most nightmarish scenarios in literature the one that Ray Bradbury presents in Fahrenheit 451 where all books are banned.

To that end, September 25-October 1 is Banned Books Week, which makes it the perfect time to cross that requirement of reading a banned book off your library challenges list.

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2016 Library Challenge: A Graphic Novel

Confession: I used to avoid graphic novels.

I didn’t have anything against them, per se. I mean, I liked fiction and I liked art, but the combination of the two of them just never occurred to me as something I’d want to read.

I changed my mind about graphic novels after reading Art Spiegelman’s classic Maus and also Gris Grimly’s adaptation of Frankenstein.

It’s still not a genre I read widely in, admittedly, but now, whenever I hear that a book is a graphic novel, my first instinct is no longer to automatically assume it won’t be for me.

To that end, if you were like me a few years ago and think graphic novels aren’t your thing, here are some recommendations that illustrate the great variety within the genre.

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2016 Library Challenge: A Book Translated From A Different Language

Stack of dictionaries

Can you read in more than one language? Not just basic sentences or even short paragraphs–could you sit down and read a book written entirely in another language?

If you’re anything like me, then your answer is going to be a resounding no. I took a couple of foreign languages in college and occasionally even can recognize words from those languages when they pop up on a movie or on the internet. But there’s no way I could read anything that wasn’t in English, which sadly limits my reading knowledge to publications originally written in the language or those someone has taken the time to translate.

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Jussi Adler-Olsen’s The Keeper of Lost Causes (2007)

the-keeper-of-lost-causes

Copenhagen detective Carl Mørck has been having a bad year. After being shot at a crime scene with his two associates, he is back at work but relegated to a basement office with the dubious distinction of being head of a new cold case department that consists of him and an assistant who seems to have a tentative grasp of the Danish language. He regards the new assignment as a punishment and responds with remarkable apathy. That is, until his realization that he can’t really pretend to be busy “setting up his office” anymore makes him actually pick up his case files. He randomly decides on a missing person case–the disappearance five years earlier of a rising young politician, presumed to have accidentally fallen off a ferry–as the subject of his first investigation. At first, his interest in the case is cursory at best, but then he starts to note inconsistencies and develop questions about the circumstances surrounding the disappearance. . . .

As I’ve mentioned a couple of times on this blog (here and here), I really enjoy Scandinavian murder mysteries. For that reason, Carol Ann suggested this book to me a few months ago and highly recommended it. Most of my previous Scandinavian crime excursions have been Norwegian, but I’m glad I broadened my horizons, comparatively speaking, with this Danish mystery. Thanks for the great suggestion, Carol Ann!

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2016 Library Challenge: A Book with a One Word Title

Off the top of your head, name a one word book title.

No cheating with Google or peeking at the nearest shelf of books!

I only torture you with this test because it actually took me an embarrassing amount of time to think of one word book titles when I first looked at the list of book challenges. My mind just completely blanked out and only could summon up very lengthy book titles.

If you are afflicted by a similar form of selective memory, don’t despair!

I’ve rounded up a selection of one word titles from recent books. As always, for more information on any of the books mentioned below, just follow this link to our online library catalog.

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Bernard Cornwell’s The Last Kingdom (2004)

The Last Kingdom

Confession: When I was a child, I was pretty blasé about learning the Easter bunny and Santa weren’t real. I was more angry at feeling like I had been lied to than sad because I had had my suspicions for quite some time .

However, learning as a teenager that Vikings didn’t really wear horned helmets was extremely upsetting to me. As in, it motivated me to try to debunk this theory, only for me to realize that no self-respecting historian believes they wore these helmets.

fake Viking helmet

As someone who doesn’t often wear hats but loves historically-quirky headgear and also has a collection of strange historical hats (it’s a long story), I was inconsolable.

Helmets aside, I’ve always thought Vikings were fascinating.  I like reading and watching things about Vikings, but I also tend to procrastinate on watching them or reading them. For example, I own all seasons of the show The Vikings and still have never watched it. I think my hesitance is borne out of fear of being disappointed again about them. (I really cannot overemphasize how attached I was to those fake helmets as a child.)

However, I recently overcame my very neurotic complex about this issue and read Bernard Cornwell’s The Last Kingdom, which transports readers back to 9th century England, when England was not a united country and was at the mercy of the feared Vikings, who were descending on the country from their native Denmark. Fortunately, this book did not disappoint me.

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2016 Library Challenge–A Book Set In A School

Believe it or not, school started here in the Ozarks a couple of weeks ago!  With all the kiddos out the door early these days, what better time to catch up on a few good reads?

These books set in schools are entertaining and can help you remember what it is really like for students in your life who are having to get up early, navigate the confusing social hierarchy that is a cafeteria, or worry about homework. It’s a win-win situation, really.

And, if you’re participating in the 2016 library challenge, this list will help you pick a book to fill in one more of those blanks!

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