2014 – What a Trip!

It has been a great year here at Read More!  So good, in fact, that the WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

The report is pretty fascinating for me, the Read More Librarian, since I coordinate this tiny corner of the web and I am always looking to make it better.  But! I think you all would like to know what the top five posts of 2014 were… so here is our official 2014 Annual Report!

(ALSO: thank you all for visiting and reading our little review blog.  I hope you continue to follow the wonderful Read More! clan of reviewers in 2015 for even more book reviews, lists, articles, and overall book mayhem!)

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 38 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

A few of my favorite things

Now that 2014 is coming to a close,  I thought I would share with you all one of my very favorite things about the Bellingham Public Library.  It may surprise you …

I LOVE our book displays.  The staff here is endlessly inventive and always amusing.  And the focus is always to get the right books to the right readers – that thought alone makes me geek out like the library nerd that I am.  Plus, the holiday always make our displays more special and inviting.  So, obviously, I took pictures.  Obviously.

Let me show you!

Here is a Christmas tree made out of books.  It is the most darling thing in our front lobby

 This Christmas tree is made out of books. MIND. BLOWN.

 

Speaking of Christmas, here is a selection of good holiday reads in the Children's Library.

Speaking of Christmas, here is a selection of good holiday reads in the Children’s Library.

 

We have other holidays down there as well!

We have other holidays down there as well!

 

And, since I love tooting my own horn, here is the 2014 Staff Picks display.

And, since I love tooting my own horn, this is our 2014 Staff Picks display.

 

Feeling a bit stressed out by the holidays? We have some recommendations!

 

Here is an eye-catching and timely display in our Teen Space.

What an eye-catching and timely display in our Teen Space!

 

And here is my FAVORITE display this month.   Deborah collected all of the books that had been purchased with donation funds and created this  amazing wall of good reads.

Finally, this is my FAVORITE display this month. Deborah collected all of the books that were purchased with donation funds and created this amazing wall of good reads.

 

She even decorated it with the book plates we place in each book.  This is such a darling detail.

She even decorated the space with the book plates we place in each book. What a darling detail.

And the best part about these displays?  They loooook way better in person.  (Trust me, I’m a librarian – not a photographer.)  So you know what that means … it is time to visit us here at the Bellingham Public Library!

Wrap It Up!

Newspaper never looked so good.

Newspaper never looked so good.

We are mere days away from Christmas.
Are your gifts wrapped?

Hopefully, you’ve got every gift covered at this point so you can sit back and relax your way into the holiday.  However, for the chronically late or the hopelessly perfect, the clock is ticking and those gifts aren’t going to wrap themselves.

Never fear!  The library has a lot of great gift wrapping resources on our new Wrap It Up! list to make your gifts shine in any setting.

First, you will need a gift.  It doesn’t need to be fancy/expensive/rare. It just needs to be thoughtful. I have had great success crafting various items for friends and family over the years.  In fact, this lovely kusadama ball was a smash hit for me several years ago.  But, if you are out of time and aren’t feeling too creative, here is a wonderful list of gift ideas for bibliophiles.

Fancy!

Fancy!

Next, you will need to get those gifts ready to present.  And you don’t necessarily need to have fancy paper.  In fact, you might just need a pretty scarf or some newspaper.  These books, in particular, can help you figure out what you will need and how to use it like the wrapping ninja you are about to become:

The Art of Gift Wrapping by Wanda Wen
Furoshiki: The Art of Wrapping With Fabric by Kumiko Nakayama-Geraerts
Ruby Star Wrapping:Creating Packaging to Reuse, Regive, and Relove by Melody Miller
Wrapagami by Jennifer Playford

 

Does that package need a bow?  A tag?  I thought so!  The Complete Photo Guide to Ribbon Crafts by Elaine Schmidt is a wonderful book that can show you how to make all sorts of lovely bows for your loved ones’ gifts.

Simple, fast, and easy.

Simple, fast, and easy.

Finally, I realize that some people prefer giving (and receiving!) cards on the holidays. Thankfully, the Bellingham Public Library has many, many (MANY) great books on making handmade cards. 130 New Iris Folded Cards to Make by Maruscha Gaasenbeek is my favorite on the Wrap It Up! list. However, Ultimate Cardmaking by Sarah Beaman, is also popular with the crafty crowd.

Now, fingers crossed, you should have an amazing gift that is awesomely wrapped. Boom!  The holidays have been won.  Go get yourself some celebratory cider and relax – you’ve earned it.

 

– Deborah and Katie

2014 Staff Picks: Children’s Favorites, pt. 2

Continuing on from last week, we are still featuring some thoughts on our favorite titles from 2014.  This week we will be focusing on the youth with three days of books that are for the under-18 set. But adults, these books are for you too – especially if you enjoy reading to your children!  

And remember, if you want the full 2014 Staff Picks list, you can visit any of our library locations or check out it out online in two parts: 2014 Staff Picks for Adults and 2014 Staff Picks for Children.

Here are our favorite board and picture books of 2014:

100 Things That Make Me Happy by Amy Schwartz

100 Things That Make Me HappyRhyming couplets and charming illustrations of many wonderful things in a child’s life (from apple pies and butterflies to submarines and jellybeans), inspiring thoughts of what else might be included. – Jan

 

 

 

Bear Sees Colors by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman

Bear Sees ColorsBear and friends are walking through the forest.  Who knew the forest could be so colorful?  Red!  Blue!  Yellow!  Green!  With a gently rhyme and playful illustrations, this is a lively, interactive book to share with a preschooler, as readers are invited to help bear find colors everywhere. – Bethany

 

Construction by Sally Sutton, illustrated by Brian Lovelock

ConstructionFor the young truck and big machinery lovers in your life!  Filled with fun vocabulary, rhythm and engaging, active illustrations, readers are taken through the construction process and excitement of building a library:  “Fill the holes.  Fill the holes.  Let the concrete drop.  Spread it fast before it sets.  Sloosh!  Slosh!  Slop!”  Sally Sutton and Brian Lovelock are a masterful team – their other titles of Demolition and Roadwork are equally as fun and engaging. – Bethany

 

The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee

The Farmer and the ClownA gem of a wordless picture book.  A lone farmer happens to see a young clown fall off a circus train.  He gently and graciously brings the boy back home, caring for him as his own until the train passes back by.  The illustrations are emotionally rich and the book’s setting is wonderfully plain and bare, bringing all attention to the relationship between these two unique individuals.  Additionally, I adore Marla Frazee and her editor.  She is a true master of letting the illustrations speak for themselves and become their own story and characters.  – Bethany

 

Honk, Honk, Baa, Baa by Petr Horacek

Honk, Honk, Baa, BaaA fantastic first board book for babies that features clear, bold illustrations of familiar animals and the sounds they make.  The pages are uniquely staggered so that little fingers can practice turning a page.  Lots of fun – my 9 month old son loves this book! – Bethany

 

 

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

The Most Magnificent ThingA girl has the most magnificent invention in her mind!  She and her assistant, her dog, set off on an engineering and construction adventure of prototypes, none of which turn out to be the magnificent result she desired.  Frustrated, her assistant takes her on a walk that helps change her perspective and ultimately decide to try again one last time, this time with excellent results.  A fun story of determination, perseverance, creativity and engineering. – Bethany

 

Sam & Dave Dig A Hole by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen

Sam & Dave Dig A HoleThe duo that brought us the Newbery Honor title Extra Yarn have teamed up again.  Sam and Dave, with the help of their dog, decide to dig for something spectacular.  They dig and dig and dig, only to end up back home…or did they?  This is a book to read and savor the illustrations, finding delight in subtle clues that add a fascinating depth and creativity to the story.  – Bethany

 

 

That’s all folks!
We hope you enjoyed our 2014 picks as much as we did.


2014 Staff Picks: Children’s Favorites, pt. 1

Continuing on from last week, we are still featuring some thoughts on our favorite titles from 2014.  This week we will be focusing on the youth with three days of books that are for the under-18 set. But adults, these books are for you too – especially if you enjoy reading with your children!  

And remember, if you want the full 2014 Staff Picks list, you can visit any of our library locations or check out it out online in two parts: 2014 Staff Picks for Adults and 2014 Staff Picks for Children.

Here are our favorite children’s chapter books of 2014:

The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel

The BoundlessWill lives a pretty low-key life.  His father works on the new railroad in the Canadian mountains, and his family barely scrapes by.  All of that changes suddenly after Will drives the final golden railroad stake, gets swept up in a terrifying avalanche, and survives a Sasquatch attack.  Fast forward a few years to the inaugural voyage of the Boundless:  the largest and longest train in the world which Will’s father is responsible for.  The Boundless carries people, freight, and a very valuable secret to which Will is privy.  Again, Will finds himself fighting for his life, trying to escape a villain willing to kill Will for the secret he holds.  Add Will unintentionally joining the circus on the train to seek asylum and you get a wonderfully fast-paced adventure taking place at 40 miles per hour across the Canadian wilderness.  – Bethany

 

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm

The Fourteenth GoldfishEverything changes for 11 year old Ellie when her mom brings her grandfather home to live with them. And he isn’t your average grandfather! This is a funny story that includes science and a little bit of magic. Believe in the possible!
– Lesley

 

 

 

Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor by Jon Scieszka

Frank Einstein and the Antimatter MotorFrank Einstein is determined to win the Midville Science Competition with plans to use the prize money to save his grandfather’s repair shop. His nemesis, T. Edison has other plans. – Mandee

 

 

 

The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson

The Great Greene HeistJackson Greene, the Robin Hood of middle school con men, sets out on his most ambitious mission yet; rigging the school election. Join him and his team as they outsmart the competition in style. – Jeff

 

 

 

Loot: How to Steal a Fortune by Jude Watson

LootMarch is reunited with his long lost twin sister when his father, a master jewel thief, falls to his death. The twins must work together to pull off the heist of a lifetime to reverse the curse on their family. – Bernice

 

 

 

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy

The Misadventures of the Family FletcherWhat do two dads, plus four brothers, plus a handful of pets, plus one grouchy neighbor equal?  Lots of loud, crazy, hilarious fun with the Fletcher family!  This would make a fun family read-aloud or a great selection to listen to on a road trip. – Bethany

 

 

Navigating Early by Claire Vanderpool

Navigating EarlyAt the end of WWII, Jack Baker’s father, a captain in the Navy returns home to Kansas after the unexpected death of Jack’s mother. Over a school break, Jack joins “the strangest of boys” Early Aulden on his quest on the Appalachian Trail. Early is determined to find the Great Appalachian Bear which he believes will lead him to his older brother Fisher, who is believed to have died in the war. Readers who enjoy stories of adventure, mystery, and friendship will love Navigating Early! There is also “a story within a story” and seeing how the two narratives parallel each other and become interwoven makes the book twice as fun! Recommended for ages 10 and up. – Mandee

 

Under the Egg by Laura Fitzgerald

Under the EggThere are often more to paintings than meet the eye. This is especially true for Theo whose grandfather left her a mystery to “unhatch” after his death. With the help of her neighbors Theo follows the clues discovering every painting has a story to tell. Best for older readers with a love for art, history and mystery. – Jeff

 

 

Join us on Friday when we discuss our favorite children’s picture books!

2014 Staff Picks: Graphic Novel and Media Favorites

We are featuring our thoughts on our 2014 Staff Picks for the week here at Read More! But, if you have impatient streak (like me!) and want the list immediately, please check our our online list in two parts, 2014 Staff Picks for Adults and 2014 Staff Picks for Children . Or you can visit any of our library locations for a handy paper list!

Here are our favorite graphic novels:

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

Can't We Talk About Something More PleasantThis graphic novel memoir is the author’s tale of navigating some pretty tricky and hilarious waters as she attempts to help her aging parents cope with illness and the subsequent upheaval of life as they’ve known it. Although faced with exasperating circumstances, and confusion and sadness abound, author Roz Chast faces the realities of this life transition with humor and gutsy honesty. – Jenni

 

Seconds by Brian Lee O’Malley

SecondsThis moving, wry graphic novel by the creator of Scott Pilgrim deftly explores the messy, frustrating process of accepting adulthood – whether you want to or not. Vengeful house spirits, good food, dreams deferred, bridges burned, and magic mushrooms abound in this tale about Katie and her quest to avoid what comes next.  This novel resonated with me on several levels – as adult navigating the often-contradictory nature of adulthood, as a friend to those at their own crossroads, and as a Katie that often wishes that I could hold on to my own mythic past.  Plus, the artwork is pretty spectacular. This book is highly recommended to graphic novel aficionados and those that love coming-of-age tales.  – Katie

 

The Wicked + the Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

The Wicked + the Divine“Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. ” The Wicked and the Divine is Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s (of Phonogram fame) new series about teenage gods who are going to inspire (or destroy) the world with pop music. The gods themselves are part diety, part pure angst, and all rock-and-roll swagger which makes this graphic novel the literary equivalent of three-day rave: you aren’t sure what exactly happened, but you know you had fun. It is also infectious, hip, and whip-smart.   If you love music as much as you love mythology – this the graphic novel is for you. – Katie

 

And here is our favorite media:

The Dance of Reality (DVD) by Alejandro Jodorowsky

The Dance of RealityIn this film, director Alejandro Jodorowsky interprets his own childhood and the life of his father. The Dance of Reality is full of unique images: a young Alejandro stands on the beach and a large wave washes over him, leaving the beach covered in fish and leading to a battle between the local townsfolk and seagulls to grab hold of the beached fish. The film is occasionally a bit meandering in its plot, but the consistently unpredictable images in the film makes it one you will not forget. – Woody

Check back next Monday when we reveal our favorite 2014 teen novels!

 

2014 Staff Picks: Nonfiction Favorites

We are featuring our thoughts on all of our 2014 Staff Picks for the next two weeks here at Read More!  But, if you have impatient streak (like me!) and want the list immediately, please check out our online list in two parts, 2014 Staff Picks for Adults and 2014 Staff Picks for Children list. Or you can visit any of our library locations for a handy paper list!

Here are our favorite nonfiction selections for 2014:

Animal Architecture by Ingo Arndt

Animal ArchitectureFilled with beautiful photographs of all sorts of creatures’ homes, this book further cements my long-held belief that the natural world is a strange and wondrous place, magical even. Close-up shots and cut-a-ways reveal hidden detail and repeating patterns. The photos are simply and dramatically spotlighted through the use of stark background and minimal writing. – Jenni

 

Assassination! The Brick Chronicle of Attempts on the Lives of Twelve US Presidents by Brendan Powell Smith

Assassination! The Brick Chronicle of Attempts on the Lives of Twelve US PresidentsThis odd, but fascinating, album of photographs features Lego tableaus of famous assassination attempts on United States presidents. It’s a bit of a head-scratcher as to how the idea for Assassination came about. Even in these days of “Lego” everything, it’s still surprising subject matter and may be the first history book which relies on classic children’s toys as teaching tools. I’d say this book holds more appeal for the adult history buff than for the typical Lego fan, but it certainly makes for interesting conversation no matter what the audience. – Jenni

 

Dead Mountain: The Untold Story of the Dyatlov Pass Incident
by Donnie Eichar

Dead MountainIn 1959, nine young Russian hikers died mysteriously while hiking in the Ural Mountains. Author Donnie Eichar details his quest to find answers that make sense, bringing to life the lives of college students in cold war-era Russia, as well as his own obsession to find real answers among almost 50 years of speculation. – Jennifer

 

 

Lawrence in Arabia by Scott Anderson

Lawrence in ArabiaLively book about the fascinating life of T.E. Lawrence and the Middle East during WWI.  Very accessible reading for those unfamiliar with the history and it’s helpful in understanding current issues in the region. – Christy

 

 

 

Not that Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

Not that kind of girlI was not sure how I would feel about this book because I have a love/hate relationship with Dunham’s HBO series “Girls”.  I loved this book! It is an honest, painful, brash, warm and funny. If you like Caitlin Moran or Jenny Lawson, this is the book for you. – Lesley

 

 

The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida

The Reason I JumpConnecting with others requires communication, both verbal and nonverbal. What would happen if you couldn’t reliably speak or gesture in a way that made sense to the people around you? Naoki Higashida shares his unique perspective as a young person living with autism. Thirteen at the time this book was published, it is Naoki’s plea to be seen, heard, and valued as a human being. His writing exposes the raw vulnerability of a child struggling to connect with others and himself. There were times when I lost Naoki’s train of thought, but this only increased my interest. David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas, and his wife, KA Yoshida, translated the book. Overall, The Reason I Jump was a fast, informative, and moving read. – Suzanne

 

Scandals of Classic Hollywood by Anne Helen Petersen

Scandals of Classic HollywoodAnne Helen Petersen has a deep love and appreciation of Golden Age Hollywood that borders on obsessive, but it makes this collection of essays on the glitzy, messy lives of silver screen stars even more enjoyable for its readers.  Each chapter is both a glimpse into a world long past and an exploration on how media spin can make or break a star.  The tone of the book is chatty and casual – like you are reading an email from an extremely knowledgeable friend.  I highly recommend reading this book, then going and reading all of Peterson’s earlier essays online at The Hairpin so you don’t miss any of these entrancing, well-researched essays.  – Katie

 

Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan

Short Nights of the Shadow CatcherI wanted to read this because the Bellingham Public Library is collaborating with the Whatcom Museum to bring Timothy Egan to Bellingham in 2015; his appearance complements a display of Curtis’ photographs at the Museum, and Egan will speak about this book.  In addition to this upcoming program, Curtis’ photographs have been fascinating and mysterious to me so I was interested to learn more about him and how he did his work.  Curtis’ goal was to document as many Native American tribes as was possible before they were gone forever.  Egan details Curtis’ struggles to find funding to support his life’s work and the publication of his photographs into a twenty volume series.  This is both an adventure story and a biography about one of America’s most determined, famous photographers. – Pam

Stop by on Friday for our favorite graphic novels and dvds!