Shelf Life

Library staff’s picks for the best books of 2018

With another year in the books, Lawrence Public Library staffers share their favorite new titles of 2018. Ian Stepp, information services assistant:   Can I cheat and choose two? I’m going for it. These fantastic graphic novels are both set in space, but couldn’t be more different. ...

A glimpse at next year’s most intriguing sci-fi novels

With 2018 winding to a close, librarians and book lovers everywhere are reflecting on another joyful year of reading. The curated “best of” lists are rolling out or are in the works — stay tuned! — and readers get to think back on the titles that will stick with them for many more ...

Neighborhoods bond over Lawrence’s Little Free Libraries

In 2009, the first Little Free Library box was constructed by a man named Todd Bol in Hudson, Wis. What started as a spiritual gesture to honor his late mother, June, quickly became a neighborhood sensation. And less than a decade later, it has evolved into a movement that has taken over the ...

Tips for breaking a reading slump

It’s happened to the best of us. Call it what you will — a slump, a rut, a dry spell — we’ve all had times when we just can’t seem to take solace in, make time for or even just plow through our reading. It could be that the act of reading itself is difficult and you’re struggling ...

‘Unsheltered’ an eloquent, provocative new read

"Unsheltered" is more than the title of Barbara Kingsolver's new book — it is a thoughtful overarching metaphor that connects characters from two distinct time frames in one place. Kingsolver juxtaposes turmoil from today and the past, and yet wit and resilience are found throughout each ...

4 intriguing stories about orphans

Like any good child of the '80s, my first foray into relating to a fellow orphan happened with that precocious, red-haired girl pining for the family she’d never known on the windowsill of the Hudson Street Orphanage. Until last month, it took two fictional accounts of orphans to make me ...

Independent film star Parker Posey delivers a nostalgic memoir

Well, it's happened — I've turned into one of those people who talks fondly of their formative years through the rose-colored tint of vintage sunglasses popular in the 90s. I never wanted this to happen. The plan was to change with the times and never grow old. Obviously. I suppose a lot of ...

Is ‘Akata Witch’ really the Nigerian ‘Harry Potter’?

I am so excited about Nnedi Okorafor's visit to Lawrence this November! I'm a bit behind the times discovering the amazingness that is Ms. Okorafor. To catch up, I'm reading her critically acclaimed works, beginning with "Akata Witch," the first book of her beloved "Akata" series, which fans ...

Journey into experimental literature with “Brother in Ice”

“Brother in Ice” is a recently translated novel by Catalan writer and artist Alicia Kopf; at once, it is also decidedly not a novel. To appreciate the apparently quantum state of the book, we’ll need to start to thinking about ice. It’s cold and solid, but used to be (and might again ...

Find yourself inside “Luisa: Now and Then”

What would you do if your teenage self showed up on your doorstep? What would you say? How would you respond? It’s an interesting question and a concept that we often think about: “If only I knew then, what I know now.” Now, what if I said there is a book where that exact premise plays ...

Reflecting on Langston Hughes in Lawrence

Langston Hughes made his mark at the forefront of Harlem Renaissance literature and became the first African-American writer to support himself fully with writing, a career spanning over four decades. His eloquent writing continues to resonate with readers because his words sing of universal ...

New reflections on environment and society in “Rising”

“What’s the story?” stream ecologist Jim Sedell constantly asked. I met Jim when the tides of change washed me to Oregon in the early ‘90s, and I was rather surprised when he appeared a couple of weeks ago, in a book. The book, called "Forest Under Story," is an artful collection of ...

‘Lone Wolf and Cub’ a thoroughly entertaining revenge tale

I’m a big "Bob’s Burgers" fan. It’s a top ten show for me. I own all the seasons (and the delightful soundtrack to boot). We quote it (and often sing it) almost daily at my household. Heck, this isn’t even the first time I’m writing about it.  An all-time great episode is the fifth ...

“Atlas of a Lost World”: a new read on old life across the world

The rains became unpredictable, societal chaos threatened, and so they walked. Nearly a thousand years later author Craig Childs also walked, trying to follow their slow migration from Mesa Verde to Chaco Canyon and on south to the Sierra Madre. "[House of Rain][1]," published a decade ago, is ...

Get into PBS’ ‘Great American Read’

> A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never > reads lives only one. > > —George R.R. Martin I’m going to report this fact, though it hurts me to do so: [In a recent Pew study][1], 24 percent of U.S. adults said they had not read a book in the last year. ...

Sound+Vision Sessions: a conversation with Heidi Lynne Gluck

June 22 marks the second installment of the new Lawrence Public Library event series, Sound+Vision Sessions. The event showcases local music artists whose material we have in our catalog in a family-friendly, all-ages atmosphere. This concert features the incredibly talented and esteemed ...

5 new young adult books to read for Pride Month

There are a number of ways to celebrate Pride Month, but the bookworm in me insists there's nothing like a good read. The young adult publishing industry has come a long way since my own teenage years when it comes to diverse and #OwnVoices titles, books written by authors who share a ...

Getting ready for summer reading with some oohs and aahs

Every year as schools wind down, the library winds up. Summer is just around the corner and the bulk of the Lawrence Public Library's Youth Services department went out into the wild — aka USD 497 — to promote the Summer Reading Program. (If you want to learn more about it, when it starts, ...

Frog and Toad’s laws of literary motion

In my years selecting children’s books for the library, I have often envied the mathematical certainty of the hard sciences. After all, when the Pythagorean theorem doesn’t work, it’s usually our own bad arithmetic at fault, and the Planck constant isn’t exactly wishy-washy. It’s a ...

Gifts from nature: creative inspiration and free art supplies

Now is the perfect time of year to spend time outdoors, and if you need an excuse to do so, gathering ideas and art supplies is a great one. It’s fun to keep your eyes open for treasures when you are on a hike, weeding your garden or just strolling through the neighborhood. I have always ...