Category Archives: Library Lurve

LOVE your Library : Fiction

It is said that a writer should read more than they write. For this reason, writers tend to be library users. Their love of the printed word and the need for unfettered access to information for their work makes the library a haven to the creative literati. It is not surprising then that many fiction stories take place in and around libraries. I dispensed with the obvious titles like Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 (if you haven’t read it yet, how in the world did you get through high school without reading that book?)

Here are just a few of my favorite, slightly less known, fiction books that involve libraries and librarians.


The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai

Rebecca Makkai’s first novel is a touching, funny and moving book about a librarian who gets swept up in an adventure with her favorite patron. Ten year old Ian Drake runs away from home to camp-out in the library in order to escape his overbearing mother and weekly gay conversion therapy. When librarian and only understanding adult figure in Ian’s life discovers him after hours she makes the life changing decision to help him escape. The pair make their way from Missouri to Vermont on a road trip filled with secrets,  and laughs.


Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

“The chief character in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell isn’t, in fact, either of the magicians: it’s the library that they both adore, the books they consult and write and, in a sense, become.” – Susanna Clarke

This ridiculously entertaining and riveting tale about two magicians, an old pro and a young rogue, bringing real magic back to England at the turn of the 19th century features many scenes of the main character’s pouring over ancient books and occult texts at the Library at Hurtfew Abbey. Most of the major scenes take place in the library and the library truly becomes a character with it’s own powers and  desires. The book has been turned into a BBC mini-series as well.


The Grand Complication by Allen Kurzweil

A young reference librarian with esoteric tastes delves into the mystery of the theft of Marie Antoinette’s watch. Interestingly, this watch still exists, though Marie Antoinette had been dead for nearly 35 years upon completion, and it was actually stolen. This book was published between the time of the robbery by master thief Na’aman Diller in 1983 and the recovery of the watch in 2007. Still, it’s a modern-day tale of literary intrigue, eccentric passions, and delightful secrets. It really goes to show what a reference librarian can do!

people of the book

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

A phenomenal mystery about Australian rare-book expert, librarian, and misanthrope Hannah Heath getting a dream job; analysis and conservation of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, which was rescued from Serb shelling during the Bosnian war. Priceless and beautiful, the book is one of the earliest Jewish volumes ever to be illuminated with images. While working on the volume she discovers strange items in the ancient binding; part of an insects wing, wine stains, white hair, and salt. The story that unravels crosses space and time and sweeps the reader up in an epic mystery.

LOVE your Library: Non-Fiction

I really like libraries (if that wasn’t obvious, you know…being a librarian and all). They are the cornerstone of intellectual freedom, you can read anything in a modern American library, even if it is controversial, “banned,” or frowned upon by some corner of society. They are a home away from home where tired readers can take refuge from reality. They are community centers designed to bring people with similar interests together.

There is something more to libraries than that though, something magical in the potential of knowledge and undiscovered worlds hiding silently in rough wood pulp pages and stark black ink. Though the physical volumes themselves are still, merely objects, they posses a kind of kinetic energy brimming with possibility – for lack of a better word, a soul.

According to the American Library Association there are an estimated 119, 487 libraries in America, maybe more. To put that in perspective, there are only approximately 35,000 McDonald’s restaurants (using the term restaurant loosely here) world wide. We LOVE our libraries, and always have. The earliest libraries, archives of clay tablets of cuniform script consisting mostly of trade and inventory records, would still be recognizable as a library to the modern patron. How cool is that!?

The library is synonymous with human civilization, and we happen to have some pretty cool books on the subject.


Improbably Libraries: A Visual Journey Through the World’s Most Unusual Libraries by Alex Johnson

Remember how I said a modern library patron would be able to recognize even the earliest libraries? Well that does not go both ways. Heck, most people today wouldn’t recognize these spaces as libraries. The world of information has evolved with the introduction of the internet and digital content and Improbably Libraries showcases the exciting and surprising ways in which the library has evolved with it.


Part of Our Lives : A People’s History of the American Public Library by Wayne A. Wiegand 

There has been a prevailing worry that libraries were on their way out due to the wealth of information on the internet. However the numbers of libraries has actually increased  since the turn of the Millennium. Instead of recounting librarian’s view of the library, Part of Our Lives uses the testimonials of patrons going as far back as the 1850’s to explain why the library is important, and will stay important, to Americans.


Libricide by Rebecca Knuth

“Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.” – Heinrich Heine

This FASCINATING, though dark and depressing, book looks at the connection between the crack down of intellectual freedom – especially libraries – and the rise of vicious political regimes that end in violence and death.  Knuth examines Nazi Germany, Nazis, Serbs in Bosnia, Iraqis in Kuwait, Maoists during the Cultural Revolution in China, and Chinese Communists in Tibet. Along with the historical case studies, she also examines why some people believe book burning is good for society, even outside of brutal regimes. Something a bibliophile like me has always struggled to comprehend.


The Dismissal of Miss Ruth Brown : Civil Rights, Censorship, and the American Library by Louise S. Robbins

In 1950 Oklahoma librarian Ruth Brown was dismissed from her position after thirty years of service. The people who made the decision to terminate Miss Brown’s position argued that she had circulated subversive materials when in reality she was targeted for forming a group affiliated with the Congress of Racial Equality. Her story reveals the values of the McCarthy era, foregrounding those who labored for racial justice, sometimes at great cost. It reveals a masking of concerns that led even Brown’s allies to obscure the cause of racial integration for which she fought. Relevant today, Ruth Brown’s story helps us understand the matrix of personal, community, state, and national forces that can lead to censorship, intolerance, and the suppression of individual rights.


The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel

This book is as emotional about libraries as I am. Inspired by Manguel building a library for his 15th century home in France (lucky devil)  he romanticizes the role of collecting, organizing, preserving, and providing guidance to books. Manguel delves deep into history exploring the doomed libraries of the ancient world from Greece and Alexandria to China and the Arab world while also making a personal journey back to his childhood bookshelf and his first trips to the public library.  He explores stories of people who have struggled against tyranny to preserve freedom of thought—the Polish librarian who smuggled books to safety as the Nazis began their destruction of Jewish libraries; the Afghani bookseller who kept his store open through decades of unrest; oral “memory libraries” kept alive by prisoners, libraries of banned books, the imaginary library of Count Dracula, and a library of books never written.

Dysfunctional Families

“I think a dysfunctional family is any family with more than one person in it.”

Mary Karr (who has a new book out called The Art of Memoir)

Scheduling holiday plans, drawing names for gift exchanges, tracking down a regulation size casserole dish for your squash. All of it’s good family fun, but only in retrospect. If our faces really did freeze that way when we made snotty faces like our moms said, most of us would be walking around with our eyes permanently rolled into the backs of our heads this time of year, from the group texting arguments alone.

But, as the above quote from the wise Mary Karr illustrates, we all have crazy families. You might even be the crazy one in yours! Think about it: that was “a look” your sister gave your mom when you suggested everyone pitch in to buy a water buffalo for a struggling family instead of exchanging gifts (which is totally a thing you can do).

So instead of messaging your brother to complain, but then accidentally messaging the brother you were complaining about, make some hot dip and settle in to the couch with these movies and books about families that are (maybe?) even more dysfunctional than yours. You can also check out last year’s post, It’s All Relative, for how to cope with your specific family issues by…that’s right, reading!



Arcadia by Lauren Groff: If you’ve been on the holds list FOREVER waiting for Groff’s new Fates and Furies, her previous novel about the family that grows from a group of 12 who start a commune in New York in the 1970s ought to hold you over. And if you like it and you want more like it, watch the documentary Surfwise, the documentary of a real life family of surfers who lived in an RV and got weird.

An Almost Perfect Moment by Binnie Kirshenbaum: Every relationship between a teenage girl and her mother is dysfunctional at one point. Do I recommend this book a lot? Whatever, it’s so good and quirky and heartwarming and cringe-worthy. If you’d read it already, I’d stop talking about it. Another great book in this wheelhouse: Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple.

Byron In Love: A Short Daring Life by Edna O’Brien: This biography of the famed poet Lord Byron tends toward the illegal side of dysfunction. I’m talking about incest and drinking wine out of skulls, the latter of which maybe isn’t illegal but frowned upon.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell: If you hate the sound your partner makes when they chew turkey, just imagine that they’re away for the holidays and the only way you can talk to them is on your old landline phone and they will be 22 again. Or just lock yourself in the bathroom and read this excellent book.

ANYTHING by David Sedaris: Sedaris is the king of hilarious and peculiar families. Read it all but ESPECIALLY Holidays on Ice, this time of year. Actually, read it out loud with your own peculiar family.

Family Matters by Selected Shorts: This is an audiobook of feel good short stories, all dealing with “colorful episodes in the lives of families”. It’s read by various authors. My favorite is “The Loudest Voice” by Grace Paley, read by Linda Lavin.

Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews: A friend sold me on this sweet book by telling me it was the Little Miss Sunshine of novels, and she was right because she’s a helluva librarian. A troubled quirky fam on a wild road trip.

The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson: Sure your parents do annoying things, but have you ever suspected them of faking their own deaths for some epic performance art? This novel has recently been turned into a film starring Christopher Walken, Nicole Kidman, and Jason Bateman.

The Position by Meg Wolitzer: More embarassing parents! Wolitzer consistently provides premises for her books that are interesting; and I always think she’s not going to be able to keep the momentum, but she always does. This one is about the aftermath of a family whose parents wrote a Joy of Sex type book in the freewheelin’ 70s.



Four Christmases: I tuned into this movie expecting some straight up cheesy hi-jinx, and I got it, but it also hit, like, reeeeal close to home.

Home for the Holidays: This is my favorite FAVORITE holiday movie (tied with It’s A Wonderful Life). Besides my obsession with Holly Hunter mentioned in previous posts, I love this movie because everyone is so annoying and/or maddening in the truest ways. It’s a rare Thanksgiving movie, instead of a Christmas movie. Robert Downey Jr. is amazing and has the best lines. It cracks me up and then I’m always sobbing by the end. GET THIS MOVIE!

Lars and the Real Girl: I’m not positive that my family would react as wholesome-ly if someone brought home a sex doll that they pretended was a real person, but I bet if it was Ryan Gosling, we’d be pretty forgiving. This is a sweet winter cozy flick.

Moonstruck: Mouthy Italian families, love triangle with brothers. On one hand Nicholas Cage, but on the other, CHER!

Parenthood: Not the TV show, but the Steve Martin movie with Keanu Reeves playing pretty much himself and a song about diarrhea that you won’t be able to get out of your head for the next fifteen years.

Royal Tenenbaums: Obvi.

The Station Agent: This is a tender little movie and no one in it is actually family, but they form a familial bond, while each of them deal with loss in their separate lives. Bobby Cannavale is about the cutest thing ever in this film. If him and Holly Hunter would make a film I would probably pass out.

What About Bob: There were other Bill Murray flicks I could have put on this list, but let’s just get to the point. WAB is the choicest. You’ll feel good. You’ll feel great. You’ll feel wonderful after watching this.




12 Things to Talk About on Facebook That are not the Starbucks Cup

Lots of times I come across things that are so brilliant, I’m like, “Why isn’t everyone talking about this all the time???” Then I check my Facebook, positive that everyone else must be thinking of their own amazing things to share. And then I’m sad.

I don’t think that we’re all only interested in Starbucks cups or memes about what a real man is or the “Top 6 Things You Need to Tell Your Daughter or Else She’ll Fail at Life”. But I think maybe we’re busy and there are so many things to talk about that we choose not to choose and share that snarky Kermit the Frog meme instead.

I’ve taken the opportunity to narrow your choices down to 12 things I personally cannot believe we are not talking about. Feel free to use them to start your own conversations. I don’t think any of them will offend your great aunt or your friend from high school, but use your judgment.


1. Popcorn: Why does anyone use microwave popcorn? Is it a secret that you can buy popcorn kernels by the bag for, like, a dollar and that they cook in a pot, just as quickly as they do in your microwave, but taste better? For one dollar, you could make popcorn twice a week for a month. This blows my mind every time I make (my husband make) popcorn. If you are unsure about the popcorn, OMG Barbara Williams has a plethora of suggestions for you in Cornzapoppin.

2. “Like Whoa”: Why did people stop saying that? I used it the other day in a sentence that went, “I am going to eat crunchy tacos like whoa”. It is such a versatile phrase and a pretty sweet Mya music video, and it fell out of use much too quickly.

3. Gilmore Girls is making more shows!!!! Why aren’t we all discussing this? Is Sookie going to come back? Catch up on the original series here.

4. Why hasn’t anyone written a self-help book about how to live better by living like a hobbit? It seems like this would be a bestselling idea. I’ll give you an outline: Live Simple. Live Friendly. Live Hobbit. Chapter 1: Find Your Gandalf, pursuing a mate that challenges you. Chapter 2: Love Yourself, hairy feet and all. Chapter 3: Second breakfast, do it. Pipe-weed. Why not?

5. We have a new book club. It’s ingenious. It’s The Book Club for People Who Don’t Have Time to Read and instead of reading a book every month, we sit around and discuss books we’ve read and would like to read. We had Doritos at the last meeting. I am shocked that it hasn’t gone viral because it is so perfect. Next meeting is December 2.

6. Speaking of not having time to read, why isn’t anyone but me talking about the anxiety produced by ever-lengthening lists of books we want to devour? I want to read everything Maira Kalman ever produced.  I still need to read Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies. It’s the time of year I resolve to read Anna Karenina and don’t.  It makes my armpits tickle just thinking about it. There are so many beautiful words out there to read!

7. The movie Housesitter with Goldie Hawn and Steve Martin. There is no reason that this movie should not come up in conversation every day. Goldie is a con-artist who pretends to be Steve’s wife so that she can have a free place to stay and he can make his ex jealous. It’s so funny and sweet and comfortable in that way that movies from the 90s are always so comfortable because it seems like things were easier then or maybe because it makes us feel like we are catching something really good on TV on a Saturday afternoon. Didn’t a movie seem better when you caught it on TV than the same movie seems when you’ve clicked on it after scrolling through Netflix for 45 minutes? See how great this discussion of Housesitter is going?

8. How nice are blankets this time of year (you should make one)?

9. Do you want to talk on Facebook about how you are “over” Facebook and won’t be back for awhile? That’s not really interesting. Better that you leave us with a list of what you’ll be doing while you are gone. Going completely off the grid? Just zoning out and listening to some Steely Dan for a bit? Let us know.

10. I can’t stop listening to Jenny Lewis’ The Voyager and I have no one to talk about it with. It’s so good! Someone check it out so we can talk about it!

11. How genius is the public library in it’s usefulness? You knew I was going to get around to it at some point. The library can help you find a job, go vegan, read up on the new medication you’ve been prescribed, give you the correct forms to fill out for your divorce,  learn a new language, talk to you when you don’t have anyone else to talk to, study for an exam, give you a phone number, tell you whether or not a celebrity is dead, help you find resources to give your kid “the talk” and much more. There is no other place where you can go and basically say, “I’m having trouble with this area of my life” and someone will respond, “Cool, let’s figure this out”. Maybe your mom, but she’s not as good at “going online” as we are.

12. Why don’t you talk about all the things your mom has done for you more often? She would enjoy some Facebook props like whoa.

For more ideas on other things to talk about, please visit your local public library.



Creepin’ At the Library

It’s Halloween time! Here in the Midwest that means taco night, sweaters under costumes, and creepin’ around the library looking for spooky stories.

What’s hiding in the next aisle?

You just never know.

Here’s are Traverse Area District Library staff’s creepiest recommendations. Find them today before Halloween is over and your creepy creeping around the stacks becomes suspicious instead of festive.

Julie K:  “The book Helter Skelter creeped me out so badly in high school.  I was reading it while babysitting and had to call my parents to come over I was so scared.”

Aaron: For a new movie-Jenifer Kent’s The Babadook Modern horror classic! Old movies: Dario Argento’s Suspiria. High brow Ero horror… deeply spooky! And Tobe Hooper’s classic Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the least gory and most genuinely terrifyingly movie you will ever love!

Mary: The Hot Zone by Richard Preston…. some things are better left unknown!

Kathryn: Crooked Tree by Robert Charles Wilson. The U.P. and deranged bears. (U.P. is the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for those non-Michiganders.

Bruce: Twitter for Dummies scares the hell out of me.

Karen P.: Oldie, but kept me from opening my closet door for years: Wait Until Dark with Audrey Hepburn.

Christopher: Game of Thrones. It was wonderful and interesting and then the violence just kept ramping up till I couldn’t watch.

Julie: Stephen King’s IT.  Clowns and spiders should not appear together.  EVER!

Also, Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark.  Little hairy creatures that only come out in dark rooms and tried to drag you to the cellar into a chimney that was, what I truly believe today, the gateway to Hell.    Still sleep with lights on when alone, and avoid basements whenever possible. Famous line :  in a whisper:  “We want you, we want you”!  Scarred me for life.

Jill: Without a doubt, Milton Berle creeps me out more than most anyone.  Mostly it’s the eyebrows and the lopsided grin, or maybe it’s his obnoxious demeanor.

Sarah: Nothing creeps me out like American Horror Story even though I continue to watch season after season. The show has gotten into some weird stuff over the years, but rubber suits and candy bowls made out of skulls can scar a person for life.

Gail: Psycho still makes me cringe just thinking about the sounds and the blood going down the drain.

Matt: The 1981 film, Clash of the TitansStop-motion animation of  monsters from Greek mythology may seem hokey now, but back in the day: kinda creepy!

Amy: The Pilo Family Circus. An awesome indie book. Totally recommend it!

Bill: Don’t Blink. Don’t. Even. Blink.

Now, are we creepin’ or are we creepin’? Bam.

Happy Halloween everyone!








Homecoming Reads

I love parades.I looove parades. Let me say it with feeling. I LOVE PARAAAAAAAAAAAAADES!!!

Let me say it with a GIF:

Parades are the best. They are like, “Hey, sorry it’s too cold to go to the beach now, but how about some free candy and an awesome marching band version of an old Michael Jackson song?”

And I’m like, “That sounds good. Throw in a float and we’ve got a deal.”

And then the parade is like, “Ok, but you’re probably going to run into someone you went to high school with.”

And THAT is when I started thinking: parade season is a great time to read a Homecoming Read! That is, a book about going back home, back in time. A book that might make you remember what it’s like to be a teenager living in a dead-end town or a big city with its arms wide open.

Hey guess what?: the public library has those! Here are few suggestions. Come get one! Holding one of these books will make you look super smart while you are standing on the side of the street waiting for people to throw Tootsie Rolls at you.


Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler: Boyhood friends who grew up together in Wisconsin and a woman, once a girl, who has impacted all four of their lives at one point or another. A wonderful novel about place and the place where you come from. A bestseller and partly inspired by the life of the author’s real-life hometown friend, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver fame.

Say Nice Things About Detroit by Scott Lasser: David retreats to his hometown of Detroit, twenty five years after he left. Can he put his life back together? Can Detroit?

Life Sentences by Laura Lippman: A woman goes back to her hometown to investigate the story of an old classmate who is in jail for a heartbreaking and terrible crime. She only wants a tale to tell for her new novel. But as she digs deeper into the life of this classmate, she pulls up the dirt of her own past as well.

Two Guys from Verona: A Novel of Suburbia by James Kaplan: Two old friends meet back up at their 25th high school reunion. Both lead very different lives and each feels sorry for the other. It gets good and dark.

Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid: What if you actually had married your high school boyfriend? What if you hadn’t? Reid tells both stories, one next to other, in this exploration of love and fate and time.

Local Girls by Caroline Zancan: Girlfriends who grew up together in a “one-horse” Florida town spend their restless summer nights at the local bar, where one night they run into a celebrity. Funny, relatable, and exciting.


The Fever by Megan Abbott: Get back the feeling of being a teenager while simultaneously celebrating Halloween by freaking yourself out in The Fever. Jodi Picoult called this a “panic attack of a novel”. Then get your mean girl on reading another stellar Abbott novel, Dare Me.

Ghost World by Daniel Clowes: The author says his graphic novel is  about “the lives of two recent high school graduates from the advantaged perch of a constant and (mostly) undetectable eavesdropper, with the shaky detachment of a scientist who has grown fond of the prize microbes in his petri dish.” I say it’s a engaging story about the complexities of teen friendship. Also a movie.

Rocket Boys by Homer Hickman: This memoir about Hickman’s 1960s youth in coal country was turned into the movie, October Sky. Hickman grew up to be a NASA Engineer. So now he’s a rocket scientist AND a bestselling author. But you’re probably doing ok, too.

Carrie by Stephen King: Let’s hope you’re not reliving any high school memories when you read this book. Unless you were unfortunate enough to be a teenager named Carrie in 1974.

An Almost Perfect Moment by Binnie Kirshenbaum: “For all of her loveliness, Valentine was a spaz.” This is one of my favorites. A teenager in between girlhood and womanhood in 1970s Brooklyn. High school teacher crushes, mah-jongg, heart, it’s all there.

Fear Street series by R.L. Stine: If you really want to remember what it was like to be a teen, read something you actually read when you were that young. I still can’t apply red lipstick without checking to see if someone put a needle in it (What up, Silent Night, supah chiller).


Annie’s Best of Summer

Richard Marx is sad because summer is ending.
Richard Marx is sad because summer is ending.

Hold on to the nights.

Hold on to the memmmmorrries! 

It’s still officially summer until September 22, pumpkin spiced sundries be damned. I’ll have to close up my friendship bracelet supply/tackle box and reorganize the tights by thickness soon, but until then I can hold onto the memmmmmorrries!



Here are my best summer book memories:

Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella: This is the book that Field of Dreams is based on and it is dreamy and lyrical and wonderful and makes you want to visit Iowa.




Just Kids by Patti Smith: This has been on my to-read list for awhile now. It took a road trip and the desire to read about the passion of art for me to pick up Smith’s memoir of art and deep love and New York and I’m so glad I did.


Fall, for me, is a time to get a bit juicier and darker with my reading. Here are a few on my list for the upcoming months:


Unabrow: Misadventures of a Late Bloomer by Una LaMarche is my back to school read. Blood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, A Mystery and a Masquerade by Walter Kim and  Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff will take me through my late October dark creepy happenings stage.  The Brontes: Wild Genius on the Moors by Juliet Barker will either stave off or feed the growing madness that comes with impending winter.

I wish that I could giiiiiiiiiiiive you more, but that’s it.

Oh wait, this:


Selected Shorts

I hate shorts. I haven’t worn them since culottes went out of style. They’re uncomfortable and they’re never the right length and my thighs always stick to the chairs and they are terrible.

My mom made these in a Save the Rainforest print for me.
My mom made these in a Save the Rainforest print for me.

So this isn’t about those kind of awful shorts. This is about nice shorts. FREE Shorts. Shorts that won’t chafe.

Selected Shorts is a weekly radio show that airs readings of short stories, and also records live performances of people reading short works at the Symphony Space in New York City (new life goal: make it to one of these shows). And our audiobook collection has several of these collections, because my co-worker Betsy is awesome.

The recordings are usually based around a theme: women writers, road trip stories, baseball, food, or whodunits to name a few. They are the opposite of wearable shorts: neither too short or too long, they envelop you in comfort instead of sorrow and displeasure , and they…that’s all the shorts metaphors I can think of and I’d venture a guess you’re tiring of it as well, ay?

Anyway, they’re great. It’s the next best thing to actually attending a reading, plus you can be running errands or cleaning out your cat litter while you listen.

One of my recent favorites was listening to Holly Hunter read  “The Story of My Life” by Kim Edwards in the Wondrous Women recording. I also didn’t realize Grace Paley’s story “The Loudest Voice” was actually hilarious until I listened to it on the Family Matters recording. I even checked out the William Hurt collection and the only thing I’ve seen him in is Broadcast News (you caught me, I’m a Holly Hunter superfan). And guess what? It was amazing. He read a Tobias Wolff story and made me cry.

Listening to a story read can evoke emotions that reading in silence cannot and the added bonus of hearing the audience laugh or getting to hear a story in Angelica Huston’s voice instead of your own gives a tale so much shape. Also, you can pretend that whoever your listening to is your friend telling you a story, in my case:

It’s September now. Time for pants. So put some on, get over here and check out these Selected Shorts.



Overheard at the Library: Inspiring Quotes

We overhear a lot in the public library, but I’m not at liberty to repeat it . I know. Too bad for you. Sometimes it’s pretty juicy. BUT I will tell you something even secret-y-er. I’ll tell you what the staff at the Traverse Area District Library is hearing…in our heads.

I’ll wait while your exploded mind pieces itself back together.

I’m going to tell you what our favorite quotes are! When you’re surrounded by words all day, some get stuck in your head! Sometimes it’s the Mentos theme song, but sometimes it’s something wise or cheerful or comforting.

I’ll tell you our favorites, then you tell me yours, k? K!


First off, we like Thoreau. He’s always floating around our heads. Melanie remembers “Methinks my own soul must be a bright invisible green.” Aah, that’s nice.

Michelle likes the book As Easy As Falling Off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins, where a character references Thoreau’s famous drummer quote (“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer”). The next line in Perkins’ book reads, ‘Well, Del marches to the beat of, like, I don’t know, a harmonica or something”. Michelle says that line always makes her laugh and that marching to her own harmonica has become a code phrase for her.

Anyway, speaking of Ryan Gosling, Brice‘s favorite quote is “I’d mate for life…One day at a time.” Brice says, “The line is spoken by Denys Finch Hatton from Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen (portrayed by Robert Redford in the film version), I love the honesty that comes across in this line when he discusses marriage with his lover, Karin Blixen.

Not surprisingly, a lot of us liked quotes that give us strength in times of trouble (If you’re interested in what times of trouble look like for a librarian, check out Librarian Problems). Matt likes “No. Try not. Do, or not. There is no try” from Jedi Master Yoda in Star Wars Episode V.

Linda remembers that “Perhaps the distant part of the sky always seems clearest, so that we will always strive to reach it.” from the television series Rurouni Kenshin because it reminds her to continue onward and eventually reach the sun.

Ben thinks “Don’t dream it, be it” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show is inspirational. And he didn’t tell me so, but I’m pretty sure he says it into the mirror every morning.

And I KNOW Mary M. says this into the mirror: Her favorite quote is “Party on Garth” from Wayne’s World. “Need I say more?” Mary asks. “Live! This isn’t a dress rehearsal.”

We are also non-conformists! Duh! We’ve all read too many books to know that the you don’t win in the end if you don’t march to your own harmonica:

Tony faces challenges with this quote from Lord of the Rings: Return of the King: “Forth! Fear no darkness! Arise! Arise, Riders of Théoden! Spears shall be shaken, shields shall be splintered! A sword day…a red day, ere the sun rises! Ride now! Ride now! Ride! Ride for ruin and the world’s ending! Death! Death! Death! Forth, Eorlingas!” Tony says, “When seemingly insurmountable odds and certain defeat, they decide to fight anyway. Because what else are they going to do? Let evil triumph unopposed?”

Anita likes this quote from  Winnie the Pooh because she has non-conformist ( Wobbly) spelling: “Because my spelling is Wobbly. It’s good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.”

Christopher quotes another Christopher-Christopher McDougall who wrote Natural Born Heroes: “An outlaw outlook calls on every citizen to create, not conform; to decide what is right and wrong and act on it- not just baa along with the rest of the herd.”

So to recap, if you were to get inside the heads of our staff, you would see that we’re upbeat non-conformist Transcendentalists who have it bad for Gosling. Sound about right, guys?

Ok, deal’s a deal. What’s your favorite book or movie quote? Do we have it in the library?

Featured Image: Our featured image is a Flickr image from Claire Sambrook.





Summer Lovin

Summer got you feeling like this?


Or this?


If so, you may be experiencing Summer Lovin’: either the deep abiding love of summer or summer, you know, lovin‘. Camp romancin’, beach townie flirtin’, lifeguard swoonin’, county fair corn dog sharin’, eventually regret-filled THRILLZ. Awellah wella wella unh.

Tell you more? Tell you more?

If you’ve been standing by the mailbox in your summer best every day like:

…with nary a look from your postal worker or neighbors, it’s time to take a breather. You can still get friendly down in the saa–aaa-aaa-nd. Just do it with a book! On a towel. And don’t actually get the book too sandy, Sandy. Other people gotta read that when you’re done.

Ok, to you from me Pinky Lee. A list of a books that sure beat the foam domes around here:

Too Pure to Be Pink: Classic Summer Romance for Sandra Dee types

Tell me about it, stud.

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Summer Secrets by Jane Green

We’ll Always Have Summer and P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

Somebody to Love by Kristin Hannah

The Perfect Letter by Chris Harrison (The Bachelor host!)

A Summer Affair by Elin Hildenbrand

Nantucket Blue  by Leila Howland

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

The Beekeeper’s Ball and Home Before Dark by Susan Wiggs

Hickies from Kenicke: Not too Romance-y Romances  for Betty Rizzo types

These authors weren’t writing with a defective typewriter!

Paper Lanterns: Love Stories by Stuart Dybek

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

My Mistress’s Sparrow is Dead: Love Stories from Chekhov to Munro, edited by Jeffrey Eugenides (he gets two listings, cause I’m hopelessly devoted to him)

Of Love and Other Demons and Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You by Courtney Maum

The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead

Body Surfing and Sea Glass by Anita Shreve

The Summer Invitation by Charlotte Silver

Don’t haul your cookies all the way to the beach without a book. Hold on till the end of summer with these books, but remember to come back to me in the fall for more reading suggestions. We go together like ramalamalama-dadingdadadingdadong. Don’t make me stand at the top of the bleachers at school smellin’ my pits and wondering what you’re doing. Don’t leave me stranded at the drive-in. Stranded. A fool. Don’t leave me for Cha Cha DeGregorio or Scientology. Don’t stop reading this blog because I use too many quotes from Grease (also if I can figure out a way to do this with Sister Act 2, I’m definitely going to do that #backinthehabit).

Ok, that’s my post. Isn’t it the most, to say the least?