unRequired Reading Blog

10/02/2017 - 1:53pm
Cover to Girl in the Blue Coat

In the wake of the Nazi invasion of Amsterdam, Hanneke Baker tries to attract as little attention as possible. She is one of the best black market smugglers in the city, able to charm shopkeepers and soldiers alike while keeping the true nature of her work a secret from her concerned parents.

10/02/2017 - 1:53pm
Cover to The Elements: A Visual Encyclopedia of the Periodic Table

DK Publishing and the Smithsonian Institution worked together to create a fascinating book for kids (and adults) who are fascinated by the world around them. The Elements: A Visual Encyclopedia of the Periodic Table makes what could be a dull subject very shiny indeed.

Sure, you have your basic periodic table for quick reference. But every element gets its spotlight, with truly interesting facts and many intriguing photos. Take iridium. It’s a shiny black metal that’s 22 times as dense as water. That’s heavy. You can find it in meteorites, compasses, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and Badlands National Park in South Dakota.

10/02/2017 - 1:53pm
Dreamfall by Amy Plum

Cata Cordova experiences insomnia. Not just any insomnia, but insomnia from P.T.S.D. The incident that began it all is still fresh in her mind.

10/02/2017 - 1:56pm
If you like Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse the book matches here.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I'm allergic to the world. I don't leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla. But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He's tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. Maybe we can't predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It's almost certainly going to be a disaster. (catalog summary)

10/02/2017 - 1:56pm
Cover to Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics

If you love comics and want to be entertained, you really need to check out Christopher Irving’s (words) and Seth Kushner’s (pictures) Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics. It’s a bright and brilliant introduction to the people who brought stories of brave deeds to American audiences through their work.  Here’s a snippet from his sketch on Will Eisner (The Spirit):

05/08/2017 - 2:32am
Cover to The Hate U Give

Imagine what it would be like to witness your best friend become a victim of a drive-by shooting right in front of you . . . at the age of ten. Then fast-forward six years, and witness your other childhood friend dying in your arms by the shot of a gun as well.  

Starr Carter lives two lives: one as a “normal” 16-year-old in a fancy suburban high school and the other in the low income neighborhood where she lives with her family. Usually she is able to balance the two and not have them overlap that much, but that changes after a party one night goes all wrong.  

05/01/2017 - 2:27am
Cover to The Passion of Dolssa: A Novel by Julie Berry

Three young sisters with a thieving past, Botille, Plazensa and Sazia were wanderers, surviving by any means necessary, moving from place to place once they wore out their welcome. The three sisters and Jabau, Sazia’s father, traveled to the French seaside town of Bajas, where for once they put down roots and became if not quite respected, still valuable residents. They open up a tavern and use their individual talents to bring in extra money. The observant and quick talking Botille becomes the town’s matchmaker; Plazensa puts her feminine wiles to use; and Sazia possesses her deceased mother’s ability to tell fortunes. In Bajas, they finally feel secure and content with their lives.

Dolssa is a noblewoman from Tolosa, who speaks of her beloved "Jhesus" to her family and friends who gather in crowds to hear her. But this is a very troubling time in the 13th century, shortly after a holy war has ravaged the countryside, dealing death to those judged as heretics as well as their enemy, the established Church. So, for Dolssa to have unsanctioned discussions about God and her personal relationship with her beloved Jhesus is reckless and does not go unnoticed. Dolssa is condemned as a heretic by Friar Lucien and is sentenced to death. 

04/24/2017 - 2:21am
Cover to The Girl in a Cage

As darkness falls, Marjorie hopes the children will not come again. With their taunts and rotten turnips for throwing, they harass her as much as they can, and there isn’t anything the princess, hanging in the filthy cage in the monastery courtyard, can do about it. To them, Marjorie is simply The Girl in a Cage.

04/19/2017 - 9:49am
Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

“It was June and long past time for buying the special shoes that were quiet as summer rain falling on the walks. June and the earth full of raw power and everything everywhere in motion.  The grass was still pouring in from the country, surrounding the sides, stranding the houses.  Any moment the town would capsize, go down and leave not a stir in the clover and weeds.  And here Douglas stood, trapped on dead cement and red-brick streets, hardly able to move.”

The opening piece in Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine finds Doug Spaulding at the start of his twelfth summer, yearning for a pair of running shoes that will let him be a part of the glorious season. Like the dandelion wine bottled and stored in his grandparents’ cellar, the memories of that long-ago summer are preserved to be savored by his readers.

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