A bit of light reading

Like many people trying to survive in this pandemic world, I’ve been dutifully staying at home. Like everyone else stuck at home, I  shamelessly indulge in way too much TV. One recent binge worthy day was spent engrossed in Bridgerton. Belatedly, I discovered that the show was based on a book series by Julia Quinn. Normally I have a strict ‘read the book first’ policy. The reason is that as I delighted in the sappy romance of Daphne and Simon in visual form, I was denied what my imagination could have cooked up.  Instead of seeing Daphne, her colorful family, and brooding Simon in my own way, I saw the characters as they were portrayed in the show. To me, discovering characters this way is backwards and plain wrong. Nevertheless, I will continue reading the Bridgerton series.

The cover of the book "The Duke & I"The first book in the series is The Duke & I. This is a quick read that is both fun and engaging. It is slightly different than the show,  and I won’t say what those differences are except they are among my favorites. My mind has been spoiled by the characters in the show, but I know I’ll still enjoy the books. Especially the tidbits that won’t make it in the show and are seen by my own imagination! As you can see even the newest cover of the book is spoiled by the show… but this is the copy the library has.

 

 

Dear reader, I  must warn you that this series includes a second epilogue at the end of each book that is full of spoilers. If you do not like spoilers do not read them. They are all put together in a separate book called The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After. I haven’t made up my mind whether I’ll continue to read the second epilogue. I love epilogues and don’t know if I can resist peeking.

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As always, catch us on social media or comment below. If you have a library question, call 972-780-5052 or email librarians@duncanville.com.

The Newbery Medal

The Newbery Medal

The Newbery Medal is awarded annually by the American Library Association to the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. The ALA has presented this award since 1922. The 2021 Newbery Medal winner is “When You Trap a Tiger” by Tae Keller.

book cover art of "When you trap a tiger"

When Lily and her family move in with her sick grandmother, a magical tiger straight out of her Halmoni’s Korean folktales arrives, prompting Lily to unravel a secret family history. Long, long ago, Halmoni stole something from the tigers. Now they want it back. And when one of the tigers approaches Lily with a deal–return what her grandmother stole in exchange for Halmoni’s health–Lily is tempted to agree. But deals with tigers are never what they seem! With the help of her sister and her new friend Ricky, Lily must find her voice…and the courage to face a tiger.

Five Newbery Honor Books were also recognized in 2021.

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team” by Christina Soontornvat

BOX: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom” by Carole Boston Weatherford

Fighting Words” by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

We Dream of Space” by Erin Entrada Kelly

A Wish in the Dark” by Christina Soontornvat

We have all these titles at the library. Click the link to see if it’s currently available or checked out. No fear if it’s checked out; you can place it on hold!

The Newbery Medal winners are all shelved together in the Junior Fiction section so come take a look. If you need help, just ask at the Information Desk and we’ll take you there.

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As always, catch us on social media or comment below. If you have a library question, call 972-780-5052 or email librarians@duncanville.com.

Fiction review – “Behind the Throne”

TITLE: Behind the Throne

AUTHOR: K.B. Wagers

SUMMARY: Hail Bristol has made a name for herself in the galaxy for everything except what she was born to do: rule the Indranan Empire. When she is dragged back to her home planet to take her rightful place as the only remaining heir, she finds that trading her ship for a palace is her most dangerous move yet.

The main character, Hail, is most often referred to as the “gunrunner Empress.” The reason for this is that she ran away from her royal family in her teens and started working for a gunrunner. Twenty years later and she’s still a gunrunner with her own ship and her own fearsome reputation.

Cue the bodyguards (or Trackers, as they’re called) who show up to forcibly take her home.

I really like Hail. She’s snarky and impatient and a wee bit irritable, but she is loyal and kind.  

The best part of the book, for me, was her interactions with people who keep trying to make her look and act more Empress-like. That’s where her snark comes in and it’s always amusing.

The ending was perfect… given that this is the first book in a three-part series. I absolutely went ahead and read the final two books.

When checking out the author’s website, I learned that the books have been optioned for TV and/or film. Pretty cool.

Here’s book #2 – After the Crown

and here’s book #3 – Beyond the Empire


As always, catch us on social media or comment below. If you have a library question, call 972-780-5052 or email librarians@duncanville.com.

Library Secrets, part 3

We love having visitors here in the library. Right now though, lots of people prefer to stay home and avoid public places altogether.

 Well, that’s cool too.

One of the problems with staying home is that boredom becomes a factor. If you can’t go to the library, then how are you supposed to have anything new to read? Or find a new movie or TV show? Netflix (awesome as it is) doesn’t have everything… Neither do we, but we might have some things that streaming services don’t.

We offer a couple of different ways to find something to read or watch. Oh, and best of all, they’re free (just like most of the library’s services.)

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OPTION #1

We can come to you, Duncanville!! That’s right, the library now offers a delivery service to all library patrons who live in Duncanville. It’s simple.

Just place the books/dvds/magazines/audios that you want on hold through our online catalog. We’ll pull them and let you know they’re ready. Then you can just say, “Could you deliver those for me?”

We make our delivery rounds every Monday afternoon.

I can hear someone now, “It’s already Tuesday and I don’t want to wait all week for new books.”

No problem!

OPTION #2

You can pick them up at the library without even leaving your car. When you arrive, just park by the clock tower and call us at 972-780-5050. Let us know you’re here and then we’ll have someone come right out with your items.


As always, catch us on social media or comment below. If you have a library question, call 972-780-5052 or email librarians@duncanville.com.

Fiction review- The Constant Rabbit

I loved the intro to this book. It starts off with a trip to the library. Except the library’s only open for 6 minutes and there’s a Sole Librarian. It’s very funny and lets you know what to expect from the author, Jasper Fforde. Mostly what you can expect is the unexpected and rather absurd treated in a matter of fact manner.

Speaking of absurd, in this book human-sized and intelligent rabbits are a thing. (Think Bugs Bunny style). There’s no explanation for this, other than ‘it happened.’

But don’t let that throw you off.

Fforde is an excellent writer and this story is entertaining. It also does a great job of pointing out some of humanity’s absurd behavior.

I highly recommend this story. It is the perfect mix of funny, insightful, touching, and satire.

He’s written a bunch of other books which are also worth checking out. There’s a great mystery series that starts with “The Eyre Affair.” The main character in this series is named Thursday Next.

Library Secrets, part 2

Scholarly journals.

Technically, we don’t have any. Every so often somebody comes looking for scholarly articles on a certain topic. Well, we have magazines: People and Good Housekeeping and Hype Hair. But that’s not what’s meant by scholarly.

Usually, the people in search of a scholarly article are writing a term paper or a dissertation. In that case they need an article written by an expert in the field and that usually means someone with a Ph.D. 

By now you may be wondering how we manage to help these people.

This is where the technicality comes in. We don’t have the Journal of Clinical Neonatology or the Journal of Business Ethics, but we know where to find them.

Introducing the TexShare Databases!!

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This is where to go for those scholarly articles.

All it takes is a library card. Just ask a staff member for the password; we’re not allowed to publish it anywhere.

Here’s how to get started.

Go to our Online Resources page and scroll down to the TexShare databases link. Choose a database to search and you’re on your way. From there you’ll be able to narrow down your search by subject.

*Pro tip – look for an option that says, “full text document.”

TexShare databases can be confusing (there’s a LOT of information available) so make sure you have plenty of time to get the hang of using this resource.


As always, catch us on social media or comment below. If you have a library question, call 972-780-5052 or email librarians@duncanville.com.

Manga

I’m a 30 year old who loves graphic novels and manga. I grew up loving them at a young age, and although my mom didn’t understand my fascination with them, she was happy to see me enjoy a book… or twenty. I say twenty specifically because I fondly remember being so engulfed in a manga series that I stayed up past my bed time to know how it ended. Of course, I got in trouble and I felt bad, but looking back now it’s a treasured memory of my adolescence.

Manga are graphic novels that originated in Japan. They are read from back to front, right to left,  and have a distinct art style. My appreciation for graphic novels and manga is not just based on the story, its a love of the characters, and of the art. Its all the greats combined into one. Those of you who read manga may know that manga has many categories, but the three I wanted to mention today are shoujo, shounen, and comedy. Shoujo manga is geared toward young teen females, shounen manga is geared toward young teen males, and comedy is for anyone looking for a good laugh. Though the intended audience of manga is labeled in their catagories, anyone can read a shoujo manga and a shounen manga.

The shoujo manga I wanted to highlight today is one called “Kimi ni Todoke”, or its English title “From Me to You”, it has 30 volumes in the series. Our main character is named Sawako, and is known for her resemblance to the Sadako character in the horror movie “The Ring”. She is thus given the nickname “Sadako” and is misunderstood to be frightening, like her fictional counterpart, despite being sweet and timid in nature. She’s just a misunderstood teenager, too shy to fit in, longing to make some friends. The first friend she makes happens to be the most popular boy in class. To find out what follows, make sure to pick up this series to read. My little sister and I read this series and enjoyed the moments the main character stood up for herself or cleared misconceptions. Seeing the character grow and enjoy her high school life with friends warmed the heart.

If you also like shounen manga, be sure to check out “My Hero Academia”. This story takes place in a world where 80% of the population manifested superpowers called “Quirks”.  Heroes and Villains battling it out. Our main character Midoriya Izuku wants to be a hero more than anything, but his power never manifested. He is one of the 20% of people who were born Quirkless. Bullied and ridiculed for not having a superpower is hard enough, but throwing away his dream of being a hero proves to be even harder. How does a chance encounter with All Might, the greatest hero of them all, give him a chance to change his destiny? Find out by reading this ongoing manga series. My husband and I watched the anime together as the episodes released. When it comes to watching anime, we usually like to wait until episodes build up a bit, but with My Hero Academia we just couldn’t wait.

For some chuckles pick up “Tonari no Seki-kun” or “My Neighbor Seki”. The story’s premise revolves around shenanigans, creativity, imagination, and distraction. At school, Rumi Yokoi’s assigned seat is next to Toshinari Seki. Everyday she is constantly distracted by her neighboring classmate Seki, as he indulges in elaborate games and somehow never gets caught by the teacher in the process. From dominos, to mecha models, to playing with cats and more, Seki always has something new to do, and poor Yokoi can’t fight the temptation to look.

For more graphic novels please browse the shelves or our online catalog. You can narrow searches down and specifically look in Junior, Teen, and Adult graphic novels. If there is a graphic novel you would like to suggest the library to purchase, please let us know!


As always, catch us on social media or comment below. If you have a library question, call 972-780-5052 or email librarians@duncanville.com.

Book Review – Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Suzanne Collins wrote a brilliant book called The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. It is a prequel to the Hunger Games trilogy. This is the story of how President Snow’s ruthlessness and cruelty was shaped. In this book he is known as Coriolanus and he was a pretty ok guy until he decided to let his ambition rule his heart and mind. Sorry if that was a spoiler for those of you who haven’t read the Hunger Games. Yes, the president is a bad guy…

The author skillfully wove in so many elements from her trilogy that explain so well why Snow hates certain thing so much. Also the thing about the roses really makes much more sense after reading this book. His humanity is displayed in how he was brought up and by the things he was taught at his school. It was disappointing that he chose not to be vulnerable and open to what could have been a great love story. But this simply is not the story of Snow and his legacy.

This book had a great ending and tied up neatly how evil was allowed to take deep root in Snow’s heart.

In the about the author section of this book, I discovered that she wrote a book called Year of the Jungle, a book based on the year her father was deployed in Vietnam. Even though it is a picture book, I plan to read it the next time I’m in the library. One is never to old for an occasional picture book! Especially if it is one by a brilliant author like Collins.


As always, catch us on social media or comment below. If you have a library question, call 972-780-5052 or email librarians@duncanville.com.

Bullet Journaling

“Growing up with Aloha” is the first book in the Dear America series.

Journals and diaries have always held a fascination for me. I started my first diary at the age of 7.5; it was a small day-per-page diary with a glossy cover, and my parents cut out the horoscope pages because it was against their beliefs. Books like those in the Dear America series and its spin-off Royal Diaries stoked my interest in journals, while also teaching me things about history no one else was telling me at the time. To this day, the cover images are in my memory. I would go through stages, of course, as any self-respecting diarist does; when inspired by books or anger I would write many pages, and at other times I would go weeks or even months without picking up my notebook.

In my early teens there was a line of journals with a lovely cover, an inset with a paper panel that contained a decoration, and thick lined pages. These became my favorite; I could use my inky pens in them, and the cursive my mother made me learn spooled across page after page. In my teens I graduated to The Diary of Anne Frank on the one hand, and the Princess Diaries series on the other. Around the same time, I started my reading practice of always having more than one book going at a time, though always different types.

I didn’t write much during my first year of marriage, or before my daughter’s birth. I dealt with postpartum depression, and a few months after she was born I found myself frantically filling an entire journal in about two weeks. I can hardly bear to open it now, as the amount of feeling I poured into it radiates from the words in such a way that I lose myself in the past for a moment. Perhaps a book like Writing as a Way of Healing could have helped me out in those days.

I healed from my PPD, and kept on journaling. For the first time it occurred to me to Google journaling, and I was excited to discover multiple websites by others who also enjoyed it. I also found a few books, foremost among them being Creative Journal Writing, whose principles I took to heart. As time passed, I found myself doing less and less emotional journaling; I had learned those were usually not fun to look over. What I enjoyed most was reading about the small moments, the details that would prompt the memories more vividly than anything else.

A few years after that, Ryder Carroll put his Bullet Journal video online and the world snatched it up and ran with it. I embraced the techniques he laid out for brief journaling. Liberated from the need to compose a paragraph and remember every detail, I found myself recording more information about my life than I had before. I also drooled over the artistic variations on the Bullet Journal found online, and in books like Beyond Bullets and Dot Journaling. In more traditional avenues, I enjoyed the beautiful art journaling portrayed in Draw Your Day, but found myself still lacking natural artistry and did not copy her. Naturally, when The Bullet Journal Method came out in 2018, I bought and read it. I found myself pleasantly surprised; when I had expected a rehash of a productivity method, Ryder Carroll brought so much more to the table – mindfulness, intention, good advice for living.

I continue to journal, and to seek out books about journaling – one of my more recent reads was Ongoingness, a poignant meditation on recording life. I read The Golden Notebook based purely on the fact that it involved multiple notebooks being used for journaling, and I ended up enjoying it very much, though I know that I did not appreciate it fully – it is a complex novel and worth rereading. I am still fascinated by journals themselves, and when I find published journals such as The Diaries of Sylvia Plath I add them to my reading list. This personal recordkeeping will be with me as long as I have paper and pen.

As always, catch us on social media or comment below. If you have a library question, call 972-780-5052 or email librarians@duncanville.com.