Read On! Staff picks

Lately, I have found myself yearning for new things to read or view, so I asked other Library staff members for some recommendations. I now present to you a list of selected “Staff Picks.” All of these titles are owned by the Library in print and/or digital formats. 

Beartown by Fredrik Backman – Adult fiction; downloadable ebook & audiobook

Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros – Adult fiction (in Spanish); downloadable audiobook (in English)

Caraval by Stephanie Garber – YA Fiction; downloadable ebook & audiobook

Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys – YA fiction; downloadable ebook & audiobook

Geronimo Stilton series by Geronimo Stilton – Juvenile fiction; J Graphic Novels; downloadable ebook & audiobook 

Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Adult fiction; downloadable ebook, audiobook, and video adaptation

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones – Downloadable ebook & audiobook; movie adaptation on DVD

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult – Adult fiction; downloadable ebook & audiobook

My Side of the Mountain by Jean George – Middle Grade fiction; downloadable ebook & audiobook

My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite – Adult fiction; downloadable ebook & audiobook

Seeds by Carme Lemniscates – Picture books

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen – Adult & Large Print fiction; downloadable ebook & audiobook

If you haven’t filled out your 2020 census, please do! Being counted as part of the census helps the Library receive funding and other resources. Plus, having a good resident count means we’ll have more representation at the national level, which is vital. 

If you want to fill your census out online, we have computers and internet access (including wifi) that are free to use. It takes about 10 minutes to complete the survey. A little longer if you have a large family. 

Read On! Screen time

My kids are getting an embarrassing amount of screen time while my spouse and I are working from home. To be fair, my husband and I are getting more screen time by proxy. Our daughter (age 5), husband, and I have some recommendations based on this screen time (our son declined to participate).

Our daughter loves “The Willoughbys” on Netflix, based on the book by Lois Lowry (available on Overdrive). The Willoughby children have parents who love each other so much that there is no love left for them. The kids realize that they will be better off without their parents, so they send them on a very dangerous vacation. Adventures ensue as the children, their nanny, an orphaned baby, and a candy-maker learn what family truly is.

My daughter loves this movie because the children are “so silly and a little bit creepy.” Her favorite part is “when the children send their parents away and when the girl sings.”

“The Last Kids on Earth” on Netflix, based on the book series by Max Brallier (available in the building and on Overdrive), follows four teens as they navigate a new, scary world full of monsters and zombies. It bends several genres – adventure, horror, fantasy – while it focuses on how the four kids learn to work together as a team. 

I love it because the teens work together and mature enough to reevaluate their assumptions about whether the monsters they encounter are truly a threat. Some good, subtle lessons here.  

My husband recommends “Extraction” on Netflix, based on the graphic novel “Ciudad” by Ande Parks and the Russo brothers. The film is a violent, action-packed story of a mercenary hired to rescue a boy kidnapped by a drug lord with a vendetta against the boy’s father. 

We haven’t explored the books for these yet, but they’re on our list for what we read next.

Read On! To reread or not to reread

Do you reread books? I find that when my life gets hectic or my stress levels creep higher and higher, I’m more likely to grab an old favorite than delve into a new world. For me, there’s comfort in reading or listening to a book again. I already know how the book makes me feel, I know where the narrative goes, and I don’t have to expend any energy or emotion wondering if it will all work out. It’s like visiting with an old friend or wrapping up in a warm blanket. 

When I asked the staff at the Pryor Library if they reread, I found I was not alone. Most of us do. And for similar reasons. Some of us reread books that feel like home and bring us comfort. Others reread books that act as a catharsis to process difficult emotions. The few of us who do not reread point to the number of unread books and possibilities for new adventures as their reason why they don’t revisit old stories. 

Our discussion yielded a good list of what we like to reread. Maybe you’ll find some rereading comfort here too. 

“Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott

“Solace of Open Spaces” by Gretel Ehrlich

“Howl’s Moving Castle” by Diana Wynne Jones

The “Wheel of Time” series by Robert Jordan

“The Stand” by Stephen King

The “Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis

The “Twilight” series by Stephenie Meyer

“Gone with the Wind: by Margaret Mitchell

“Anne of Green Gables” by L.M. Montgomery

“Lamb” by Christopher Moore

“Sabriel” and “Lirael” by Garth Nix

“Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls

The “Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling

“Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck

The “Lord of the Rings” trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

If you want to learn how to make your own warm blanket to wrap yourself in while you read, don’t forget to join me on Thursday, Nov. 14th at 6:30 PM for our Intro to Knitting class. You’ll need to bring 100% cotton yarn and knitting needles.


Read On! Books & Their Movies

I love comparing books with the movies or TV shows that they inspire. My current favorite comparison is with the show “Trollhunters” and the book by the same name.

Inspired by the book “Trollhunters” written by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus, Netflix created a TV show of the same name. It and the spin-off series “3 Below” have become favorites in our house. Because we discovered the show before we knew it was a book, I waited to check the book out (via Overdrive) until we finished the full Netflix series.

The book is vastly different from the show (surprise, surprise). The two are similar, to be sure, but so many big details like character genders and origin stories are changed that I’m fascinated imagining the discussions and reasons behind the changes. Especially since the authors of the book have been so instrumental in the creation of the show.

The show is clearly aimed at a younger audience than the book. The book is grittier and more dangerous, which is appropriate for a more mature audience. Sure the characters are fighting trolls and saving the world in both works, but Daniel Kraus’s influence in the book makes all the difference.

I’ve read two of Kraus’s other books and liked them a lot. His writing is dark and compelling. Kraus has the ability to write the details of a fast-paced action scene in slow motion while never actually slowing the pace or distracting from the urgency. His characters are also incredibly complex and deeply flawed. The characters in “Trollhunters” are no different. They’re cleaned up and made more whole for the show, which makes the show more of a romp for a younger crowd.

Both are worth your time if you like adventure or fantasy works. You can check out the “Trollhunters” ebook via our Overdrive library. The show is available on Netflix.