ACT Prep

As chair of my library system’s Teen Team, I created and led an ACT Prep class at my library a few Saturdays ago. One of our goals as a team is to encourage work and college readiness, in addition to encourage reading etc. Lucky for me, there is a great resource called Learning Express, and it actually has study guides, practice tests, flashcards, and breaks down the various parts of the test.

I showed attendees how to create an account and we clicked through the study resources in the website. They then took practice quizzes (you can take the full practice ACT Test or practice quizzes, and since we had 1.5 hours and not 3+ we did practice quizzes), and took notes on what they needed to practice. The other great thing about this resource, is everything is saved in your account. So if one of my attendees didn’t finish the science quiz, he or she could go home and log in (or go into the library after the program and log in) and finish the quiz, and they could do that as many times as needed!

I then went over some testing guidelines from the ACT website, like what calculators are allowed and where in our area the test is offered. While I can’t say the kids had fun at the program, it certainly was informative!

Behind Her Eyes

I’m not even sure where to begin this one! A friend of mine wrote about this book on her blog a while back and I put it on hold at the library. Months later I finally get a copy and I have completely forgotten why I put it on hold in the first place. I know I’m not actually going to read it, so I send it off to the next person in the line. Fast forward what feels like a month or two, but in reality was probably a week, maybe two, and I start reading and hearing all about Grip Lit. Suddenly I have a huge desire to read a Grip Lit novel and the only one available to me on Cloud Library is Behind Her Eyes. I started reading and could not stop. I finished in just over 24 hours.

Behind Her Eyes tells the story of Louise, a single mother in London who has a one night stand with a guy on a rare night at the bar. Later she discovers that man is her new boss, David. When she runs into her boss’s wife and starts up an unlikely friendship, Louise finds herself drawn more and more into the mysterious lives of David and Adele. What secrets are they hiding? Why does Adele seems so afraid of David? Why doesn’t Adele have any other friends?

While the writing wasn’t amazing or anything and the whole plot basically revolves around Louise making stupid choices, it definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. I thought I had it all figured out too (parts of the story reminded me of Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger), but then that last chapter came… and all I can say is WOW!

If you’re looking for something that will suck you in, and maybe break that reading lull you’re going through (I’m still off and on the reading bandwagon recently) this is the book for you!

Popsugar Reading Challenge: A book with an unreliable narrator

Modern Mrs. Darcy Challenge: A book in a genre you usually avoid

Cream of the Crop

Last week I took a class for my never ending journey towards a certificate in Children’s Lit. Why this seems like a never ending journey is a story for another day. However, it was interesting to discuss the merits of the different youth literature awards and their purpose. For homework we all read books that won various awards or were honor books for their years. I read George by Alex Gino and The War that Saved My Life by Jennifer Brubaker Bradley.

As the only public librarian in the class, the instructor thought I’d have an advantage over the rest of the class in familiarity with the various awards. I did know more than the rest of the class, but I’m not sure why a public librarian knows about more awards than school librarians. I guess I understand knowing more categories than teachers, but even that’s a stretch.

Anyway, there are a lot more literary awards out there than I realized. And some seem redundant. There are two nonfiction awards. Why? And the Geisel Award for early readers seems very vague to me. But, maybe that’s just me.

Comics!

I have a newfound appreciation for comics. I follow several comic artists on Instagram (emilyscartoons, lucyknisley, bymariandrew, and sarahandersencomics) and am always open to finding more. So when I saw Sarah Andersen’s Adulthood is a Myth on the shelves on a slow day at work I grabbed it and devoured it. So many of the comics spoke to me and made me laugh. However, I think Andersen plays a little too much into the period, my uterus is trying to kill me humor. Not that I can’t relate, but I wish there was a bit more variety.

A few days later I found Big Mushy Happy Lump and while I appreciated that there were some story arcs and not just one page comics, I didn’t enjoy it as much as Adulthood is a Myth. Maybe it’s because while scrolling through Instagram seeing comics on the same few themes is okay because there is so much other stuff to break up the monotony, but in book form, it’s more obvious. Anyway, Adulthood is a Myth seemed to me, to be more original, while Big Mushy Happy Lump was out only to capitalize on the first’s success.

Worth Reading (round 4) and Listening

More things that are worth your while exploring in the land of books and libraries!

Male authors use female(ish) pseudonyms 

In the most recent Book Riot Podcast Jeff and Amanda (Identity Squatting) and Jeff and Rebecca (Don’t @ Me) talk more in depth about men using initials or pseudonyms to attract female readership. While women have done this for many years (see J.K. Rowling and the Bronte Sisters), it feels weird and wrong for men to do it now. Especially since white men are still more likely to get published. Listen to the podcasts because the Book Riot people are much more eloquent than I ever hope to be.

 

Millennials are Keeping Libraries Alive!

“According to a new analysis of Pew Research Center data on US library attendance, millennials more than other generations appear to have a use for physical libraries. They may not always come for the books, but the country’s youngest adults show up.” I’m glad this article mentioned that millennials are the ones with kids and the biggest group I see coming into libraries, no matter where I’ve worked, are families. I can’t say I read all the articles on this stat, that I saw floating around the Twitterverse in the past month, but it seemed to me the parenting aspect was not mentioned often. I think, it would be even more interesting to see how many of these millennials are checking out books for themselves vs their kids. However, computer usage is also way up, whether that’s using our library computers or using library WiFi. That’s where I see the other large chunk of millennial (non-parent) usage.

Regardless, it’s nice to see a headline where Millennials aren’t killing something.

 

Lunch at the Library

“Librarians used to forbid any food or drink to avoid staining books and attracting pests. People who tried to sneak snacks in the stacks would be reprimanded. But in recent years, a growing number of libraries have had a major shift in policy: They are the ones putting food on the table.”

 

 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid was wonderful! It’s been awhile since a book sucked me in so quickly. There’s something so fascinating and yet relatable about Evelyn. Doesn’t hurt that I’m a sucker for historical fiction and I love old movies… Monique on the other hand, was a needed character, but she had no personality whatsoever. I generally skimmed her parts.

However, my brain is hurting today, so I’m copying and pasting the blurb from Goodreads:

From Taylor Jenkins Reid comes an unforgettable and sweeping novel about one classic film actress’s relentless rise to the top—the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jump start her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Filled with emotional insight and written with Reid’s signature talent, this is a fascinating journey through the splendor of Old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it takes—to face the truth.

I don’t want to ruin anything for those who haven’t read it yet, but there are a few big twists, about which I’d like to hear others’ opinions. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was also a huge departure from Reid’s other works (granted I’ve only read two of them). And I think she did a great job! Maybe it was just the subject matter, but it reminded me a bit of Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters, which I also loved. I guess this is telling me that I need to read more fiction about the golden age of cinema.

PopSugar Reading Challenge: A Book set in two time periods

Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge: Read three book by the same author (Maybe in Another LifeAfter I Do, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo)

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge: an LGBTQ Romance Novel

One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter

I toyed with the idea of signing up for Book of the Month back in April. Ultimately, I decided not to join, but if I had, I would have gone with One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul, partially because it fits a Book Riot Read Harder category and partially because the cover and title are awesome, but mostly because I was intrigued. I really enjoy books of essays, although I rarely read them.

While I really enjoyed One Day We’ll All Be Dead, it did take me a while to finish. I’d tear through one essay and then not be motivated to pick the book up again until lunch three days later and so on and so on. Even though it took me a long time to finish the collection, I really enjoyed it. Koul is an amazing writer, and very clearly highlights the racial and gender issues so common in our society, while also making you snort with laughter.

“Nothing bad can happen to you if you’re with your mom. Your mom can stop a bullet from lodging in your heart. She can prop you up when you can’t. You mom is your blood and bone before your body even knows how to make any.”

I found myself vacillating from shock to laughter to almost crying to laughter again and again. For me, Koul’s writing is strongest when writing about her family, and as someone who worries about her parents and who has a strong relationship with her mother, I can really empathize with many aspects of these essays.

Popsugar Reading Challenge: A book written by someone you admire

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge: A collection of stories by a woman

Modern Mrs. Darcy: A book of any genre that addresses current events