The end of every year usually brings all sorts of wrap-up lists: “best of” collections of everything from cookware and electronics to music and YouTube makeup artists. At the library, we see an almost endless array of “best of” book lists, some organized by reviewer or review site, others by genre or format, and still […]
from the archive
Are you ready for a digital detox?
Which screen are you reading this on? The small one in your hand, the medium one on your desk? Will you turn on the big one on your wall after you’re done? Now that it has gotten cold out and it gets dark early, it feels hard to take a break from all of these […]
Native American Heritage Month
As we move into November and tune personal thoughts to our 2020 harvest celebrations, this month we also commemorate the heritage and history of the native peoples of North America. We’re featuring a selection of poetry, memoirs, history, and fiction from our collections, as well as related links to elibrary resources and Indigenous People’s Day […]
Reading the world
The Christmas when I was 12, my uncle gave my mother the audiobook tapes of “Angela’s Ashes” by Frank McCourt as a gift in our family exchange. She may have listened to the first tape once, but otherwise I don’t think she ever heard them, because I stole them away almost immediately. I began listening […]
This too shall pass
Am I good enough? What’s wrong with me? These questions, along with constant nervousness, stem from the paralyzing anxiety I deal with every day. Social situations can prove to be difficult and worrying about the smallest task is all too common. Struggling with anxiety is no easy task. It can cause me to lose focus, […]
A kind book for an anxious world
Once in a blue moon, I read a book so incredible that I can’t stop talking about it. I have to recommend it constantly–at book festivals when I speak on panels, to customers at the Checkout Desk, to friends and family, and on social media. “First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety” by Sarah […]
Fascinating facts and amusing musings
Whether we realize it or not, we’re all writers. We text our mothers or partners to tell them we will be late for dinner or, in my case, write posts for the library’s blog. From books and articles to texts and emails, we all recognize the power of the written word. It can be utilized to […]
Get out there and read
My inbox has been deluged with summer reading recommendations– from publishers, from professional organizations, from other libraries and from some famous people. Taking a quick survey of summer reading lists I’ve been sent over the month of June (not counting the summer reading lists we have been busy making for adults, for kids and for teens), there are […]
As an avid reader, my home is filled with books. Whether it is one bookshelf or five or a coffee table made out of stacks, there are piles of books in every nook and cranny. Old copies and new copies, leather-bound and paperbacks, first or signed editions, not yet read or spines broken from love, […]
Sylvia & Co.
“No one that I ever knew was nicer to me…she was delightful and charming and welcoming and behind her, as high as the wall and stretching out into the back room which gave onto the inner court of the building, were shelves and shelves of the wealth of the library.” -Ernest Hemingway, A MOVEABLE FEAST If […]
Teen books for adults and adult books for teens
What is a crossover book? In the publishing industry, a crossover book is one marketed toward either young adult (YA) readers or adult readers, but frequently read and enjoyed by both teens and adults. The Hunger Games trilogy is one particularly popular example. Check out this list of 15 crossover novels—all available at the Princeton Public Library! Daughter […]
Painting a family portrait
Stories of families account for much of my summer reading so far, having recently waded into three wonderful novels and one quirky memoir that are powerful family portraits: Moonglow by Michael Chabon, All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg, What We Lose by Zinni Clemmons, and The Mighty Franks by Michael Frank. I didn’t purposely seek out a suite […]
1,000 Reasons to read
Last year, my daughter and I signed up to participate in the library's early literacy initiative, 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. The program, designed to promote reading to newborns, infants, and toddlers, encourages parents to bond with their children through shared reading experiences and provides structure and incentive for reaching the 1,000-book goal.
My kind of town
Every year, thousands of book industry insiders converge for Book Expo America, the publishing trade show to discover what's trending in the land of literature; it's a place to mingle with authors, colleagues, and vendors. The change of location from New York's Javits Center to Chicago's McCormick Place lent a new vibrancy to the show, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary. It also gave me the opportunity to discover that Chicago really is my kind of town.
It has to work
Like other sports fans, I often worry that watching and thinking about sports may be selfish and wasteful. I want the time I spend in the stands, watching television, reading articles, or listening to podcasts to have broader significance. I want my appreciation for sports to further my development as a moral being, critical thinker, and leader for meaningful causes.
By the book, library edition
Each Sunday, The New York Times Book Review has a column, By the Book, in which famous authors are interviewed about their reading habits, past and present. The chosen authors are asked a variety of questions, which can differ from week to week, and include ones about what is on their nightstand, what would they recommend, what's overrated, couldn't get finished, or which famous authors you would have to dinner if you could pick three.
Top 10 checked out books
Every year the race to name the best books of the year heats up. (To truly set your mind spinning, check out this comprehensive list.) Now that the dust has cleared, we present the top 10 circulated print books from the library in 2015. After seeing so many of the same titles on multiple lists, there is at least one surprising title. "Attack on Titan", anyone?
"We teach our children not to run into the street when they're toddlers, but we don't do the same when they become adolescents," said Laurie Halse Anderson, a young adult author who I heard speaking at Book Riot Live, a conference "celebrating books and the reading life." One moment our kids are playing innocent games and the next, they are hit with adult-size issues and often, they haven't been given the tools needed to navigate what has become an overstimulated, technologi
Book It is new and improved
"I need a good book," is a common refrain we hear as librarians. It's also one of our favorite questions. While we love to suggest books in person, did you know you can also ask for suggestions from the comfort of your home? Try Book It, our online personalized book recommendation service. We've recently updated it to make it easier than ever. Just answer a few questions and one of our book loving staff members will email you a customized list of items from our collection.
The summer's soundtrack blares at full volume, "Did you work on math? You know, you need to finish another book. When do you plan on starting?" My child's first day of school is Sept. 10, which translates to roughly 20 days remaining for her to get the job done. Moving at a breakneck pace during the school year, the notion of an idyllic summer flew out the window a long time ago. Working full time necessitates full-time childcare coverage, which translates to day camp, beginning at 8 a.m., and ending at 5 p.m.
Calling all adults: Escape the ordinary
Now that we are moving into the second half of summer, it's the perfect time to encourage you to pick up a challenge card and join this year's adult summer reading club. We are fairly certain that the majority of readers have already completed challenges that fulfill our "Escape the Ordinary" theme. Why not win a prize for your efforts? Participants have until Aug. 30 to submit entries in exchange for raffle tickets for the opportunity to win great local prizes.
Heart of remembrance
Boxes. Boxes. Everywhere, boxes. In a house already bursting at the seams, I wonder where I am going to put their contents. Current popular lore says that the way to a less stressful and happier life is to dispose of your clutter (i.e. your lifetime of treasures), hence, the overwhelming popularity of "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing" by Marie Kondo.
I'm not sure why, but recently I've been reading much more nonfiction than fiction. It's not that there isn't any interesting fiction being written (one need only glance at the monthly LibraryReads lists to find a novel worth reading), but nonfiction just feels more necessary in our complicated world. As I was ordering books for the library that are coming out in the next few months, I noticed a few nonfiction selections that looked especially appealing.
Life is too short
Life is too short to read bad books. That's why if I start a book and don't like it, I just stop. There is an endless supply of books to read, so there is no need to limit my selection to the ones I have already begun. Many people are fast readers (not me), or just can't fathom putting a book down. But why keep reading a book you don't like?
"Your daughter doesn't sit in the front seat yet?" "No…well, I hadn't really thought about it." "How old is she?" "Eleven." "My daughter started sitting in the front seat around her age, and it changed the dynamic of our relationship." "What do you mean?" "It put us on a level field. When she sat in the back, it was like there was a wall between us, but when she moved up, it became easier for her to have conversations with me. It allowed us to grow closer."
Fun with facts: nonfiction for the summer
Here in the library, it seems as though nonfiction titles are easily overlooked in favor of the latest fiction releases. Many of us fear the dry and dreary tomes of our earlier years, but you might be pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable a nonfiction book can be. As a fan of the more factual reads, I have compiled a short list of entertaining and provocative newer nonfiction titles that will lead you gently into the fold.
There's a maternal buzz around the office. A trio of expectant moms who work at the library are all due to have their first child within the next few months. Shared stories, flashbacks and recognition from those of us who have been through the ups and downs of a first pregnancy fill the sporadic lulls of our office days. Certain life events are universal with cliches that ring true. "Your life will never be the same." "You won't believe how fast it goes." "You'll never know how much one heart can hold."
Celebrating National Children’s Book Week
National Children's Book Week, the nation's longest-running literature initiative, is celebrated during the first full week of May each year. Launched by Boy Scouts of America librarian Franklin K. Matthiews, who believed that children's books and literacy are life changers, the week is marked by events from coast to coast.
Book buzz: ‘An Untamed State’
"An Untamed State" by Roxane Gay begins as any fairy tale would, with, "Once upon a time, in a far-off land…" And, the expanse between it, and any fairy tale with which you are familiar, is wider than anything you can imagine. Gay takes the Brothers Grimm to an entirely new level.
Christopher Reeve Theater and Dramatic Arts Collection: A hidden gem
Actors, writers, students and anyone with an interest in the performing arts will find a treasure trove of books in the library's Quiet Room. The books make up the Christopher Reeve Theater and Dramatic Arts Collection, created in honor of the actor, director, writer and activist who grew up in Princeton and attended Princeton Day School.
True confessions of a readers’ advisor
People often ask for reading recommendations whether I'm on the job or off. It's part of my job description as a readers' services librarian. I haven't read every book I've suggested. For some, it's hard to fathom that you'd be able to suggest a book when you haven't even cracked the cover. Discovery, detective work, serendipity, daily conversations with readers, as well as diligent reading and keeping a close eye on publishing trends are the key ingredients to successful recommendations.
Collection development FAQs
As Collection Development Coordinator, I occasionally get asked questions relating to the materials we collect here at the library. For anyone interested, I've compiled some of the more frequently asked question below. One question that is not often asked is "what is collection development?" The answer: It is just library-speak for purchasing anything that goes into our collections including books, DVDs, CDs, and electronic content.
In "Mastiff," a short story by Joyce Carol Oates, a couple who are taking a walk come across some other hikers. After the woman has a brief exchange with them, her date asks why she would bother talking to them; after all, she'd never see them again. She responds by saying that that's the best reason for talking to them.
What can I read next?
Looking for reading recommendations? We have a new resource for you: the LibraryReads collection, featuring ten new titles each month chosen by librarians across the country. Every month librarians nominate forthcoming books across all genres (including fiction, Young Adult fiction, and nonfiction) as their favorite new titles. The ten books that get the most nominations become the LibraryReads list for that month.
Stand up, Citizen
For the first time in the history of the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) Awards, one title, "Citizen: An American Lyric" by Claudia Rankine, has been nominated in two categories: Poetry and Criticism.
A community of readers
This month in a Kirkus Reviews interview, our readers’ services librarian, Kristin Friberg, gives her thoughts about our Princeton-centric corner of the publishing industry. We’re very pleased to see our library’s readers’ advisory services and the broader local reading community recognized as a trend-spotting mecca in one of the premier journals previewing books before their publication.
All we want for Christmas is this
Standing in line under an umbrella with my daughter waiting for Santa, her nose met mine. People roamed the streets, giving out candy canes and small stuffed animals. No one gave her one. "I want to be shorter, again."
Perhaps the best part of browsing the shelves at the Princeton Public Library is stumbling across something truly unusual. It could be the content of the book or the form or both. I've been working here for quite awhile and below are some of my favorite finds. I encourage you to come in and check them out.
20th Century World Architecture
An English major’s dream
In a world where STEM dominates the education landscape from PreK through college, the English major is sometimes viewed as a quaint anachronism. Back in a less STEM-crazed time, I was an English major, which meant I spent a lot of time in libraries searching the card catalog and periodical index — yes, I am old — for insights into the great works of literature we read and attempted to discuss.
Like other listeners across the nation, a lump formed in my throat when I heard that Tom Magliozzi, who was known to so many as half of NPR’s famed “Car Talk” hosts had died at the age of 77 from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease. Anyone who has stumbled across the show would instantly recognize one of the most infectious laughs ever recorded.
Coming soon to a shelf near you
One of the best things about being a librarian is hearing about books way before they are published. Since I work in Collection Development (librarian-speak for book purchasing) I have the good fortune to buy the books that I think will appeal to the people of Princeton. Below are a few books we either just acquired or are on their way to our shelves very soon. Please feel free to place holds for any or all of them!
First, let's start with five forthcoming bestersellers:
What’s everyone reading?
In a recent blog post by author Seth Godin, he talks about what everyone reads. There was a time, he says, when everyone read the same newspaper or watched the same shows. Maybe there was a time when there was greater homogeny. There are so many more media streams, a variety of formatting options, different technology to deliver news, entertainment, knowledge, and opinions these days.
I read (and watch) banned books
I remember the first time I heard a book was "banned." I was most likely in fifth grade, left with the librarian to keep an eye on me while I studied and did homework in my little town library on a Saturday afternoon. Stanley Kubrick’s movie, "Lolita" had been in the news over the summer. I wasn’t allowed to see it. "Not for children," my parents pronounced. I figured I’d go looking for the book at the library and see what all the hubbub was about.
The Library Store
Cozily tucked under the grand staircase of the library is The Library Store. For quite some time the Friends of the Library have used this space as a bookstore. The Friends take donations of gently used books, audiobooks on CD, DVDs and music CDs. They sort through the donations, price them, organize them in catagories and shelve them in their bookstore. The proceeds from the store are given to the library to purchase all sorts of new materials.
Books about books and readers
For book lovers, there’s nothing better than immersing yourself in a story that is centered on books and reading. The following list features fiction and non-fiction titles about books and the people who love them.
Grown-ups for Gaiman
"Childhood memories are sometimes covered and obscured beneath the things that come later, like childhood toys forgotten at the bottom of a crammed adult closet, but they are never lost for good." There are things that surface that take us by surprise and, at the same time, wash over us like a warm stream of water, transfixing, and transporting us to moments we thought were lost.
Book ahead with The Goldfinch
I'm on page 31 of "The Goldfinch." Only 753 pages to go until the meeting of the library's fiction book group in November. That translates to a solid three months to complete my journey into the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that's received more than its share of attention.
September’s buzz books
Your beach bag might be filled with books to carry you through the summer, but it's never too early to start thinking about what you'd like to read for the fall. Many of us at the library recently attended the annual Book Expo America conference, where we learned about the great books publishing in the months to come and which titles are receiving the biggest chatter within the book industry. Here are a few buzz-worthy titles coming out in September that you might like to add to your reading list.
Monkey in the middle
Karen Joy Fowler's PEN/Faulkner award-winning novel, "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves," was the recent focus of a lively discussion of the library's monthly fiction book group. The story is familiar: a family punctured by the loss of one of its members, resulting in each of their unraveling, but the cast of characters has one notable distinction.
New Deal books = good deal for us
Sherri Garber was working the phones one day in the Friends office when she received a call about a peculiar book donation. As detailed in the current issue of Connections, Sherri has seen it all in her years as a volunteer in the friends Book Store and the Annual Sale. But she had never seen anything like this: a nine-volume set of "The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin Roosevelt," one of 10 copies known to exist.