In my younger days, there was a vibrant trend on YouTube for fans of TV series or films to create video compilations of their favorite clips, especially featuring either canonical or “shipped” couples, set to music that would capture the essence of those characters. It was all very dramatic, but the storytelling power of music […]
from the archive
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 […]
Down the rabbit hole
Almost everyone is guilty of falling into an online rabbit hole at some point or another. Over the past few months, I’ve noticed my online behavior going from entering rabbit holes to carving out full rabbit burrows. Instead of a few hours following a trail, I’ve started to spend days or weeks linking one idea […]
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, […]
One of the most commonly asked questions we receive is, “Can you show me how to download a book?” The library’s ebook collection has proven to be incredibly popular, as evidenced by the steadily increasing number of items borrowed each month. To many people, electronic copies of books feel magical. It can be hard to […]
Books while you wait
To paraphrase the great Jane Austen, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a new release book by a popular author — or a book that has received rave reviews — will have an enormous hold list. You know how it goes: The latest Lee Child book, or the latest literary critical darling like “Pachinko” or […]
Short stories for shorter days
Since the clocks turned back and daylight hours dwindle on our way to winter, I find less time to read. Dark evenings make me feel less productive, and I am liable to fall asleep on the couch at 7 p.m. while reading. I particularly enjoy short stories and novellas in these moments. They are long enough […]
Seven books that are perfect fall reads
Autumn is my favorite time of year. The brisk, snapping air, the marigold crunch of leaves underfoot, cozy nights under cozy blankets — what’s not to love? One of my favorite autumn activities is curling up with a great book, and since I’m a big mood reader, I like finding books that match the season. […]
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 […]
Into the woods
As my grandmother said, “A change of scene is as good as a rest.” With this in mind, a friend and I have been planning weekly lunch hour work breaks this summer to get in a rejuvenating hour somewhere other than the Witherspoon Street corridor, preferably outdoors. We managed to picnic in the Institute Woods, walk […]
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, […]
To be continued
My resolution plate is happily empty, as I’ve chosen to skate by picking goals to live up to this year. In this waning January of 2018, I find I’m revisiting not-quite-left-behind connections and planning to pick up the pieces. I will refocus daily on juggling work and work life, home and home life, projects, health, […]
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 […]
It’s personal, isn’t it?
What we take away from an experience can morph over time. The secrets we all carry still are ours, even when we reveal them. I wrote these two sentences with some recent reading recommendations, which follow, in mind. I’m also thinking about experiences my colleagues and I had this past month while attending Book Expo, […]
In “The Art of Memoir“, Mary Karr writes that “memoir done right is an art, a made thing.” If memoirists are artists, their work is elucidated through truth, narrative, voice and vulnerability. Vulnerability is allowing yourself the opportunity to be open and honest, disguising your strength as weakness. It is a virtue that relies on […]
With the second floor closed for renovation, the majority of our non-fiction collection has been stored offsite this year. When the books moved out of the building this past June, we pledged to fulfill your requests for these items within two to three days of your holds being placed. We’ve delivered (literally) and we’ve had lots of compliments […]
Finding the award winners
When you’re visiting the library in search of a good read, we have several collections designed explicitly for that purpose, including Library Reads, Staff Picks, and Book Group collections. Located near the Welcome Desk on the first floor, these displays of grab-and-go books often showcase award-winning writing. You may not know that we also have some great online […]
Reading analog and digital
One of the questions I frequently answer is, “Do you like ebooks or print?” Usually, by intonation or strategically timed body language (rolling their eyes, pinching their nostrils, pantomiming gagging), the questioner makes it clear whether they are a Hatfield or McCoy. Am I a sentimental Flat Earth Luddite tree slayer? Or a techno futurist […]
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.
Visit the library, you should
1977: a long time ago. Omaha, Nebraska: might as well be a galaxy far, far away. In a cavernous mid-century modern Cinerama theater, I saw "Star Wars" (later known as "Episode IV: A New Hope") for the first time. I was 10 years-old and completely enthralled by the story, the characters and the ground-breaking special effects.
Escape the everyday
We all crave an escape from our everyday concerns and routines – some experience or adventure to energize us or tilt our perspective away from the ordinary. I recently read an account of a friend’s unusual experience early one foggy morning. As she walked alone in her yard through the mist, she “felt comforted by unseen hands.” When she returned later, as the fog lifted, she found “thousands of glittering threads, a multitude of intricate webs… a message for me created by hundreds of baby spiders.”
Gratitude and goodbyes
Our connected world can be bittersweet, with daily reminders of time passing, momentous occasions celebrated, vacations spent, meals enjoyed, companions met and partings taken. This past month, I lost a beloved teacher, Alan Cheuse. Here I want to pay a small tribute to his spirit and life's work.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bookmarks: one is never enough
Coming up with a blog post is a bit like planning a dinner party. A week or so before, I start thinking about the theme, developing and discarding a variety of ideas, always wondering what will have appeal. As with most things, when I am thinking about something else, the solution becomes apparent.
Are we there yet?
Anyone who has ever traveled with a young person has heard that question repeatedly. It’s difficult to keep children amused on long trips and there is only so much of the license plate game one can take. The Youth Services department offers a unique service called Book a Trip.
As Princeton continues to swelter through this summer’s seemingly interminable heat, it's sometimes too hot to do any real work. So, like any good southerner, I did what we do best during the heat, which is get a cold beverage (iced coffee is a good substitute if no decent sweet tea can be found) and shoot the breeze with my fellow librarians. Of course, being librarians, our talk quickly turned to books and the always knotty question of what makes a good young adult (YA) book.
The perfect kind of date
Recently, a few PPL staff members had the good fortune to attend Book Expo America, an annual gathering of publishers, editors, booksellers, librarians and superfans of reading. It's sort of like fashion week for the book industry, where publishers pull out all of the stops in an effort to reveal and promote the books they are most excited about for the upcoming months.