Tag Archives: library

January Reading Roundup!

January was a very productive reading month. I read a combination of my own books and library books, and managed to complete quite a bit. One thing I have been doing is seeing if my library has an audiobook version of books I physically own and I have been finding it super helpful to tackle things I want to read, but haven’t necessarily tackled yet. Audiobooks have been a bit of a godsend right now as I work through cleaning and purging my house. I will share a Shelf of Shame photo update perhaps at the end of Feburary just so you can all see what the stats has been on that project.

Here’s the January reads I knocked out from my personal collection:

I am pretty pleased with this pile, even if it mostly came from the ARC shelf. Point is that I need to read what I own and I think that counts just fine. 🙂 Favourites from this stack were a toss up between The Closest I’ve Come by Fred Aceves and A List of Cages by Robin Roe, both which just emotionally affected me in great ways. I highly recommend those two for sure!

Here’s what I read from the library (no photo since the majority of these guys were already taken back).

  • The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds
  • #Weratedogs: The Most Hilarious and Adorable Pups You’ve Ever Seen by Matt Nelson
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  • The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo
  • Burning In This Midnight Dream by Louise Bernice Halfe
  • Miles Morales by Jason Reynolds
  • Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate by Zoe Quinn
  • Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo
  • Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
  • Beneath the Sugar Sky  by Seanan McGuire

I am not going to focus too much about the books above, but needless to say, all of the ones I read above were fantastic and totally worth your time.

Then lastly, books I borrowed.

  • Tam Lin by Pamela Dean

I borrowed this one from a girlfriend of mine years ago and I FINALLY read it. I put it on my monthly goals list to complete just so the motivation was where. I liked it, though it is a very dense fantasy classic. Not sure if it’s one I’d ever read again, but I am happy I have knocked it out.

I am hoping February is as much a productive reading month as January was. I only acquired three books in the month, which I think is amazing given how my old book buying habits were. Two were books sent me (one was a gift from a friend, the other from a publisher) and I bought the one Jason Reynolds book my library didn’t own. I am hoping to keep up with everything I am sent this year, and again, I think it’s totally doable, but I will need to just keep at it.

Let me know if you’ve read any of the books above. I’d love to know your thoughts!

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Building a Little Free Library

Back in August, my husband decided to surprise me with a unique birthday gift. He bought me a Little Free Library, which is a box that you place on your front lawn where you can share books with your community. Community members can take a book, leave a book, and the cycle repeats itself. There were definitely some challenges to this project of course, such as worrying about vandalism, city by-laws, and if the neighbors would even enjoy it.

lfl1

There is variety of styles that exist for Little Free Library’s, and they can be made uniquely your own depending on design and paint. We opted for a pre-built one as neither of us is particularly crafty in terms of woodwork. Then we also needed to select an outdoor paint that could take a beating, but still make the library look appealing and eye-catching. Then if you have an official LFL you also need to register it with the organization (mostly so you can use the name). In the set my husband purchased, we were also given a bunch of children’s books to fill our library with. It was exciting to see what items they sent us — since August, a lot of those books are already gone!

lfl2

This has been an amazing community project to work on and I couldn’t have done it without the help and patience of my husband. It’s great to see my neighbors using the LFL! They have left me notes, commented on how much they love it as a fixture in our neighborhood. It feels so rewarding, and I always get excited to see what kinds of new items community members put into it.

Part of why I wanted to get a Little Free Library comes from the fact that I am not a Librarian by trade, but rather a proud Library Technician. Working in libraries has been a huge part of my life and I’ve been a long time advocate for reading, and I am active in my province’s association, wherein I write pieces focusing on how we can handle Reader’s Advisory for Teens. My husband and I are also huge readers, and this project gave us a huge sense of accomplishment. It also taught us a lot about our neighbors’ reading habits and their interest in literacy as well.

Would you make a Little Free Library? Or have you seen any nice looking ones in your neighborhood? I’d love to know in the comments.

ARC Review – The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler

17987501Title: The Forbidden Library

Author: Django Wexler

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: Alice always thought fairy tales had happy endings. That–along with everything else–changed the day she met her first fairy. When Alice’s father goes down in a shipwreck, she is sent to live with her uncle Geryon–an uncle she’s never heard of and knows nothing about. He lives in an enormous manor with a massive library that is off-limits to Alice. But then she meets a talking cat. And even for a rule-follower, when a talking cat sneaks you into a forbidden library and introduces you to an arrogant boy who dares you to open a book, it’s hard to resist. Especially if you’re a reader to begin with. Soon Alice finds herself INSIDE the book, and the only way out is to defeat the creature imprisoned within. It seems her uncle is more than he says he is. But then so is Alice.

Huge thank you to Kathy Dawson Books and Netgalley for this ARC!

Sam’s Review: 

Ever since I saw the cover for The Forbidden Library, I knew I had to have it. I love library adventures, and when a book is set in a library or is about uncovering ancient information, or it just has a lot of humor in its approach, I just get giddy on the inside. Django Wexler’s The Forbidden Library is fairly dark at times for a children’s book, but there’s a lot of mystery and intrigue, just as their is courage and crazy.

Alice is a solid protagonist. She’s plucky, quirky, adventurous and lovable. Her narrative is very engaging, and her curiosity often gets the better of her. She’s paired with a fantastic ensemble cast, from Ashes, the talking cat, to sweet, adorable Isaac. The main mystery within the story is that Alice loses her father to a mystery shipwreck and is forced to move in with her Uncle Geryson and his talking cat. To survive a shipwreck is unlikely, but Alice believes that considering the bizarre circumstances of how it happened that he could have potentially survived.

Wexler writes beautiful prose and description. There’s an exquisite amount of detail in how he describes Alice and the world that surrounds her. The prose is really what kept me completely sucked into the story, and I had a hard time putting the book down because I wanted to uncover each and every one of the mysteries that is within the novel. In a lot of cases, this book is a mystery, wrapped in another mystery, wrapped in an enigma. There’s always more questions than answers, and as answers begin to form, more questions appear. It makes for a fun and engaging read a lot of the time, and Wexler definitely went in some directions I didn’t entirely expect him to go.

Not only is this a fantastic middle grade novel, but it’s one that I think a lot of adults would equally enjoy because the layering of narrative is just so strong. There’s so much adventure and exploration, and sometimes that’s what you need in your life (at least, I know I do!). If you love middle grade or libraries, this is a book worth your attention.