And It’s Back to School Again

By Jennifer Bergen, Youth Services Manager

School's First Day of SchoolFor families with school age kids, this is the weekend when everything catches up to us. It’s time to clean up the room, set out the school supplies, get new shoes and a new haircut.  Time to try to get excitable summer-smitten kids to feel sleepy at 8 p.m.  School is here!

Along with the new duds and backpacks, kids might be carrying additional worries or trepidations as they enter school halls. Reading some of these books together might ease their stress and put a positive and humorous spin on the beginning of the school year.

School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex (The True Meaning of Smekday) humorously covers the well-worn territory of first day nerves.  Of course, the children coming to school have a wide range of emotions and experiences, but what about the school itself? The new school is worried and excited, friendly and embarrassed, and finally kind of comfortable, too. Artwork by the most recent Caldecott Medal winner Matt de la Pena (Last Stop on Market Street) is a bonus.

Frank and Lucky Get Schooled is a treat for little learners who enjoy a bit of intellectual content in their picture books. Newbery Medal winner Lynne Rae Perkins introduces a boy and his canine best buddy as they experience running and playing together, as well as time apart during the school day. Although they are in different situations, both boy and dog learn important lessons. Readers will get just a taste of fascinating topics like molecules, infinity, and fractions through the eyes of Frank and Lucky.

Kindergarten is Cool by Linda Marshall will give those 5 and 6 year olds a better idea of what to expect when they walk into their first school classroom. For those just entering preschool, Bear’s Big Day by Salina Yoon addresses the paradox of wanting to be an independent big kid, but not ready to leave the toddler realm entirely. Need a gift for a teacher or a great story to volunteer to read to the class? Todd Parr’s simple text and bright illustrations in Teachers Rock! affirm all the ways teachers impact their students. It will be a favorite for Teacher Appreciation Week, too.

Older readers will find out how a bad school situation can get much worse in Mac Barnett’s second chapter book about the Terrible Two. Miles Murphy and Niles Sparks are best friends, and they are members of the Terrible Two pranksters club…the only two members.  When one of their school pranks goes too far, their annoying principal Mr. Barkin is relieved from duty, but in his place reigns the even more horrific new principal, Mr. Barkin’s father!  Filled with humor and funny illustrations, this will suit fans of Captain Underpants and Wimpy Kid. The Terrible Two and The Terrible Two Get Worse are available at the library, or as downloadable ebooks from the Sunflower eLibrary (Overdrive) and Hoopla, so you can read it anywhere you like.

Last but not least, don’t miss out on Gary Paulsen’s new novella for middle to upper elementary grades.  Paulsen (Hatchet, Mr. Tucket, Liar Liar) is a seasoned writer for kids and knows how to keep their attention with just the right touch of sarcasm and wit. In Six Kids and a Stuffed Cat, he throws six random students together in a bizarre situation that ultimately leads to new connections and friendships. Teachers will also love this book for its high level vocabulary, short length, and the opportunity for a class activity using the second half of the book – a one-act play retelling the story.

When you visit the library to check out new books, you’ll notice that back to school at the library means new, exciting programs for youth.  Look at the library’s events online to find out about STEM Club for K-3rd graders, Tween Club for 4th-6th graders, and CanTEEN for middle and high schoolers.  Homeschool Afternoons are back, as well as Read with a Dog Sundays, and nine Storytime options each week. Hundreds of kids participated in the Summer Reading program this year, 2,902 to be exact, and we hope you all will be back this fall!


Posted in: Children's Dept, For Kids, Mercury Column, News, Parents

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Why Adults Should Read Children’s Literature

By Gigi Holman, Adult Services Librarian

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris LessmoreI have recently come across a few opinion pieces about how adults shouldn’t read children’s literature. They say it is too easy, that we should leave it for the kids, or one columnist even went as far as to say that “…children’s literature doesn’t have the depth of language and character as literature that is written for grown-ups.” While there might be some truth to this observation, I am here to make the case that there is fantastic children’s literature, and adults should be reading it, too. Now, I am not saying that you should cross every adult book off of your reading list; I am arguing that you can have a healthy balance in your reading by sprinkling a few children’s books every once in a while. So without further ado, here is my list of reasons why you should read children’s literature with some excellent book and author suggestions.

1. Children’s literature provides a fantastic escape from reality. Most children’s authors can weave enticing stories with elements that are silly, funny, playful, historical, and magical. They can take us to a place where we can forget about all of the heavy issues that adulthood brings. For an experience such as this, give Roald Dahl a try. Even he has said that “A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men”.

2. Great stories come in small packages. Picture books can reach a wide audience. The stories, though short, have many layers and can be packed full of meaning. My most recent favorite is this year’s Newbery Award winner, Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña. This charmingly written story is about a boy and his grandma who, during a bus ride, learn to enjoy the people and sounds around them. Throughout the ride, the boy asks his grandma a series of questions, and each time she replies with an answer that points out the beauty in the everyday world. The ending is sweet and meaningful and reminds us about the joy of giving back to our community.
I also highly recommend The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce, whose film version was awarded the best animated short film in the 84th Academy Awards. This imaginative story is a reminder that everyone’s life story matters.

3. Some stories become sweeter over time. Can you recall your favorite book from your childhood? Remember reading Charlotte’s Web, Make Way for Duckling, or the Goosebumps series? Try re-reading them. Sometimes the story can take on a whole new meaning as an adult.

4. The illustrations. There are some beautifully illustrated children’s books. You can get lost in the details of the art in some books. Exploring the Caldecott Award list, which offers awards for excellence in children’s book illustrations, can lead you to a wide variety of techniques in art. A few illustrators that I suggest you explore are Beth Krommes, who is a scratchboard artist; David Wiesner, whose illustrations reveal something new each time you read one of his stories; and Denise Fleming, who uses a technique called pulp painting to create her vibrant and colorful illustrations

5. Children’s literature can fit your schedule. Everyone is in a time crunch. Reading can sometimes be a chore instead of an enjoyable experience, but children’s books tend to be shorter. You have time to read a 200 page novel, right?

6. They help you connect with your kids. If you have young readers in your life, read books along with them. Reading books together can give you topics to share and talk about. And, kids who see adults reading are more likely to become readers themselves. There are so many benefits to reading with your kids.

Everyone can benefit from remembering what things look like from the perspective of a child, and reading children’s books helps us not forget that we were once silly, goofy, and playful too. In the end, no matter what you choose to read, come by the Manhattan Public Library and get lost in a good book.

Posted in: For Adults, Mercury Column, News, Parents, Young Adult Dept

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Take Me Out to the Ball Game

By John Pecoraro, Assistant Director

The SandlotIt’s the end of July, the all-start game is a thing of the past, and more hot summer lies ahead. In a 162 game season, there’s a lot of baseball left to play. And that’s only the regular season. From opening day in April through the first cooling days of October, baseball is America’s pastime. There’s nothing like being at the ballpark on a green and glorious day, watching your favorite team, munching on a hotdog, and cheering with the crowd. But if you can’t make it to the ballpark, you can always watch one of these great baseball-inspired movies. lists “Major League” (1989) as number 10 on its list of the top 10 baseball movies. The film deals with the exploits of a fictionalized version of the Cleveland Indians. Rachel Phelps, the new owner of the Indians, wants to move the team to Miami, but the move hinges on poor ticket sales in Cleveland. To help drag the team down, Phelps hires the most incompetent players available, including a near-blind pitcher and an injury-prone catcher. But fate has other plans.

Number 9 on the best list is “The Sandlot” (1993). Scotty Smalls, the shy new kid on the block wants to join the pickup baseball team that plays every day in the neighborhood sandlot. Only problem is, he doesn’t know how to catch a baseball. He learns to play, but soon sets in motion adventures that bring the gang face to face with The Beast. You have to watch the movie to see what happens next.

“A League of Their Own” (1992) follows at number 8. This comedy portrays a fictionalized account of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. The league, founded by chewing gum magnate, Philip Wrigley, was active 1943-1954, and kept baseball in the public eye when so many male players were off to war.

Movie number 7 is “The Natural” (1984) starring Robert Redford, and based on the novel by Bernard Malamud. Sixteen years after a mysterious woman lead to the premature end of his budding baseball career, a once-promising pitcher comes back to baseball armed with his childhood bat “Wonderboy.”

Walter Matthau, Tatum O’Neal, and Jodi Foster follow in “The Bad News Bears” (1976) at number 6. Called the best pure baseball comedy, this movie will remind you what Little League was really like.

“The Pride of the Yankees” (1942) is at number 5. This movie chronicles the life of Lou Gehrig, the legendary first-baseman who succumbed to a fatal neurodegenerative disease at the peak of his career. You won’t have a dry eye as you watch Gary Cooper, as Gehrig, give his “luckiest man on the face of the earth” speech.

“Eight Men Out” (1988) is number 4 on the list. This is a dramatization of the Black Sox scandal when the underpaid Chicago White Sox accepted bribes to deliberately lose the 1919 World Series. One of the characters that figures in the story is none other than Shoeless Joe Jackson, who later returns to Iowa in another of the best baseball movies of all time.

Number 3 is “Bang the Drum Slowly” (1973). This film tells the story of the friendship between a star pitcher, wise to the world, and a mentally challenged catcher played by Robert de Niro, as they cope with the catcher’s terminal illness through a baseball season.

One of my personal favorites, “Field of Dreams” (1989) is ranked at number 2. This movie is an adaptation of W.P. Kinsella’s novel “Shoeless Joe.” Farmer Ray Kinsella hears a voice, and believes that if he builds a baseball diamond in his cornfield, Shoeless Joe Jackson from the infamous 1919 Chicago “Black” Sox will return. But that’s just the beginning.

And the number 1 best baseball movie as ranked by is “Bull Durham” (1988). This list calls “Bull Durham” the most authentic portrayal of baseball. This romantic comedy deals with a very minor minor-league team, an aging baseball groupie, a cocky foolish new pitcher, and the older, weary catcher brought in to wise the rookie up.

So head out to the ballpark before the season ends. Or, head over to the library, checkout one of these great films on DVD or Blu-ray, get your popcorn ready, and enjoy.

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Pokémon GO: Who, What and Why

By Rachael Schmidtlein, Teen & Tween Services Coordinator

Pokémon Deluxe Essential Handbook: The Need-to-Know StatsBy now you’ve probably heard the news: Pokémon is back and with a bang. Pokémon GO has rekindled the nerd flame for anyone who grew up dreaming of training their own creatures to battle others. To be honest, for millennials of all ages, Pokémon never actually left. Trust me, based on the holds list for the graphic novels at the library, Pokémon is as popular now as it was in 1995.

Those who have loved Pokémon just bided their time playing the card game, watching the TV show and reading the books until the world found a way to bring their love for the game into modern times. And they’ve done it! Who are “they” you might ask? (Or not, but I’m going to tell you anyway.) Niantic, Nintendo and The Pokémon Company get the credit for this. The missing puzzle piece all these years was Niantic, a software company originally part of Google that develops augmented reality games. These are the people who thought: Wouldn’t it be great if you could see Pokémon in the real world?. My answer to them is “yes” and “thank you.”

In Pokémon GO, players use their GPS enabled devices to visit locations in their communities dubbed Poké Stops. Along the way, players collect Pokémon characters and battle them against other players at locations called Poké Gyms. The goal of the game is to create the most advanced Pokémon and achieve higher levels than other players. In order to do this, players are forced to walk, run or bike around town. The game is promoting exercise as well as player interaction.

Many have grumbled about Pokémon Go players “not paying attention” to their surroundings. I even know of someone who is convinced that Pokémon Go is the first step in bringing forth Ray Bradbury’s world of Fahrenheit 451. I can’t tell you if Pokémon GO will lead us all to a dystopian future where firemen burn books (I sincerely hope not) but I can tell you that the game has gotten people moving. Families are now taking time together to go “Poké hunting”. Friends who usually sit inside to play the card game are now out in the world, moving among nature and rekindling their connection to communities. Businessmen and women now take walks during their break times to “catch ‘em all” instead of sitting inside for eight hours at a time. Are people paying more attention to their phones because of Pokémon GO? Well, yes probably, but really not more than people already were with Facebook, Snapchat and texting.

Now that you’re clued into the who and why, I’m going to give those of you who aren’t in tune with the Pokémon universe some tools to get started on the what.

Pokémon Adventures, volume 1, graphic novel

All your favorite Pokémon characters jump out of the screen into the pages of this action-packed manga! Red doesn’t just want to train Pokémon, he wants to be their friend too. Bulbasaur and Poliwhirl seem game, but independent Pikachu won’t be so easy to win over! And watch out for Team Rocket, Red… they only want to be your enemy!

Pokémon Deluxe Essential Handbook: The Need-to-Know Stats, non-fiction

Gotta read about ’em all! This revised and updated edition of the mega-bestselling Pokémon Essential Handbook includes stats and facts on over 700 Pokémon. It’s everything you ever wanted to know about every Pokémon — all in one place!

I Choose You, chapter book

Ash wants to be the world’s greatest Pokémon master. With Pikachu at his side he sets off to capture and train every Pokémon he can find. Ash is determined, but there is one huge problem: Pikachu won’t listen to a single thing Ash says.

Pokémon Indigo League. Season 1, DVD

Join friends Ash, Brock, and Misty as they begin their journey through the Pokémon world. Enjoy the Pokémon story from the beginning. Meet our hero Ash, in his hometown of Pallet Town where boys and girls are encouraged to begin their Pokémon journeys. This set includes all 26 episodes.

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A Mystery Series for Your Summer Reading List

By Rhonna Hargett, Adult Services Manager

The Cold DishSeveral years ago, I randomly picked up The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson and I was never able to look back. Ever since, I’ve waited anxiously for each installment in this brilliant mystery series. Johnson weaves the tales of Walt Longmire, an overweight, middle-aged, widower sheriff with a degree in literature, who takes better care of the county than he does of himself. Along with gripping plots, the Longmire series offers up unforgettable characters, journeys into the mind and spirit, and descriptions of Wyoming that make you feel the sun on your face and the biting wind at your back.

You’ve probably heard of Longmire from the series that was on A&E and then Netflix. I have enjoyed seeing my favorite characters come to life and was thrilled to see recently that season 5 is coming in September, but I must say that the books are an entirely different achievement. The TV show floats along the surface of the thought processes and mysticism that an author can convey so well in a book.

Walt is the sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming, a fictional county at the base of the Bighorn Mountains bordering the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. Walt spends many hours on the road and the trail throughout the series, covering the large area of the county or venturing further for an investigation, so we become intimately familiar with the varying landscape in all types of weather. Wyoming becomes a character in the series as he explores mountains and canyons and rides across the plains or travels long stretches of highway without another human in sight.

The plots of the novels are gripping, but the true reason that I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book as soon as possible is Johnson’s ability to make characters come alive. Walt is a good man, but has faults and weaknesses that make life challenging, not to mention the underlying grief that constantly accompanies him. His practical common sense is balanced by his love of literature and respect for the traditions of the local Native Americans. He is kept above the surface by his lifelong friend, Henry Standing Bear. Henry owns a bar, has bad taste in women, and a steadfast strength. The interactions of the two friends provide subtle, dry humor throughout the books, balancing the difficulties of the issues they face. The deputies in the sheriff’s department consist of Vic Moretti, a smart-mouthed woman who can’t let go of her East Coast sensibilities; Saizarbitoria, a family man; Ferg who is dependable but would rather be fishing; and Turk, an unpleasant but competent officer. Ruby, the dispatcher, keeps everything running smoothly with her smoker’s rasp and superior nagging abilities. To relax, Walt plays chess with the former sheriff, Lucian Connally, who is regularly threatened with removal from his nursing home for various alcohol and weaponry infractions. Walt’s daughter Cady, a lawyer back east, makes regular appearances in an attempt to remind Walt that he is more than a sheriff. Each of them brings humor and heart to the series, while they all deal with demons from the past.

In The Cold Dish, which starts the series off, Longmire is called in to investigate the death of Cody Pritchard. Walt was familiar with the young man who, along with 3 friends, had been given a suspended sentence for the rape of a developmentally disabled Cheyenne girl. The other boys involved in the case are concerned that someone is seeking vengeance. Walt works to overcome his disgust with the murder victim in a situation where the meaning of justice is unclear. Called “a thoughtful page-turner, wry and sober in good measure,” by BookList, The Cold Dish doesn’t fit easily into any genre but would appeal to a wide range of readers.

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The Defense: A Top-Notch Summer Thriller

Marcia Allen
Technical Services Manager

The Defense by Steve CavanaghReady for a suspense title that will keep you reading its 300 pages at lightning speed? If so, Steve Cavanagh’s The Defense might be your favorite thriller this summer. This book, Mr. Cavanagh’s debut in this country, was nominated for the British Crime Writers’ Association Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for Thriller of the Year. Mr. Cavanagh, a respected attorney who lives in Ireland, wrote the novel at night while his family was sleeping. To his surprise, the finished novel was a huge success and has since been published in the UK, Japan, Italy Portugal, France, Germany, and now the U.S. In fact, he plans to publish a series of novels about his character, Eddie Flynn. You’ll wait just as impatiently as I am for the next installment to reach this country. Let’s take a look at why the critics love this book.

First of all, there’s main character Eddie. Eddie’s a young attorney who left his practice because he successfully defended a sadistic stalker who, once freed, kidnapped and tortured his original intended victim. While Eddie did manage to save the life of the girl, he realized that this horrific crime would never have happened if he hadn’t defended the perpetrator quite so skillfully. So, now he has severed ties with his former partner and tried to turn his life around. That seems to be working until the opening page of this story. Eddie is kidnapped by brutal Russian mob figures who intend to force the lawyer to fulfill the contract that his old partner couldn’t finish. And, they have Eddie’s young daughter for collateral.
What do these ruthless characters have in mind? The head of the mob has been identified as the force behind a vicious hit, so for him to evade conviction, Eddie must somehow silence the witness before he can testify. Eddie becomes the major player in a plot designed to place a bomb in the courtroom near the star witness. Eddie is horrified by the plan, but his daughter’s life hinges on the success of the plot, so he has little choice.
Seems like a helpless situation doesn’t it? But that is not the case. Before becoming a lawyer, Eddie was a highly talented con artist. Taught by a father who had a unique set of skills, a younger Eddie had made a lucrative career from faking automobile accidents. Too, he still has links to old buddies who were also once a part of other con games, so Eddie is a man with some very useful friendships. 
Secondly, there are incredible twists in the plot. Nothing is quite what it seems, whether that be the plan to ignite a courtroom explosion or the possible involvement of the FBI. And the original hit is shrouded in mystery. The hitman’s guilt seems obvious, but his willingness to get caught is suspect. There’s also the matter of a picture on the wall that seems to have been altered. And one of the enforcers working with the head of the mob is clearly an angry man with other motives. In addition, there is the matter of multiple detonators for the bomb. Could there also be decoys for the bomb itself? 
Eddie’s frantic machinations to outwit the Russians lead to stolen wallets and cell phones, as well as the acquisition of some very unusual equipment. If that’s not enough, there are also ventures onto lofty building ledges and private conversations with other underworld factions. There are supporting characters known as “The Lizard,” “Cousin Albie,” and “Tony G,” and there is an abundance of flashbacks that explain Eddie’s colorful past and surprising capabilities.
To be honest, some of the scenes in this book are truly far-fetched. It’s difficult to imagine the troubled Eddie working his way down the statue of the Lady of Justice poised on the edifice of the courthouse. And it’s equally puzzling to imagine him rocketing through New York on the back of a racing motorcycle. But suspending belief for the duration of this action-charged novel is well worth it. Exciting courtroom tactics, breakneck chases, and lots of double-dealing make this one a sure hit!

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A Treasure Trove of Titles

by Brian Ingalsbe, Children’s Librarian

July is here, and if your children are anything like me, they have finished all of their “must-read” lists, and are in search of something new and refreshing. Luckily, there is always one place I turn to in the children’s collection: the new books shelf. These titles are hot off the press, and can offer a great variety for any reader. Here are just a few of the options I’ve discovered.

Bridget Wilder, Spy in TrainingBridget Wilder: Spy-in-Training by Jonathan Bernstein
Middle school meets Mission Impossible in this hilarious spy series. Jonathan Bernstein has created a character who excels at only one thing: being invisible. When Bridget discovers that her father – Carter Strike – is one of the most famous superspies in the world, her ability to fly under the radar becomes her greatest asset. Equipped with a super tracksuit and her wit, Bridget begins her spy training in her very own backyard – including fighting bullies and destroying healthy food machines! This series is great for middle-grade children who enjoy the writing style of Chris Rylander, Stuart Gibbs, and Ally Carter. A must read!
monstrous by MarcyKate ConnollyMonstrous by MarcyKate Connolly
Night is the only time that Kymera can enter the dangerous city of Bryre, for she must not be seen by humans. Her father says they would not understand her wings, the bolts in her neck, or her spiky tail – they would kill her. They would not understand that she was created for a purpose: to rescue the girls of Bryre. Yet Kymera’s task is almost impossible, until she meets a boy named Ren. It is only with his help – and courage – that Kymera can save the girls of Bryre. MarcyKate Connolly’s debut book weaves a tale full of suspense, magic, betrayal, and even romance. This book reminds me of Beyonders or The Familiars. Any reader who loved those series should definitely grab this.
Free VerseFree Verse by Sarah Dooley
When her brother dies in a fire, Sasha Harless has no one left and nowhere to turn. After her father died in the mines and her mother ran off, he was her last caretaker. They’d always dreamed of leaving Caboose, West Virginia together someday, but instead she’s in foster care, feeling more stuck and broken than ever. Sarah Dooley has created a character who is truly inspiring. Sasha’s journey through life and loss teaches her valuable lessons: that life, like poetry, doesn’t always take the form you intend. If your child doesn’t mind some deeper emotional story content, this is a great pick. Readers who enjoyed Counting by 7’s and Walk Two Moons are sure to love this book!
Finders KeepersFinders Keepers by Shelley Tougas
Who doesn’t love a good mystery about hidden treasure and Al Capone? Shelley Tougas – author of The Graham Cracker Plot – returns with another high-stakes story that involves just that. Christa loves spending summers at her parent’s cabin on Whitefish Lake, but when her father loses his job, it’s up to Christa and her friend Alex to save the cabin. All hope seems lost, until Alex’s grandpa – nicknamed grumpa – tells the friends about Al Capone’s CURSED treasure. Can Alex and Christa find the treasure and save their cabin? This story is a great mystery for children who have a harder time with reading. The action and quick paced writing make it hard to put down.
No matter what hidden gems you are looking for, Manhattan Public Library has them! Our staff are always willing to help you find your next reading treasure trove, answer any questions, connect you with the community, or just be a friendly face. You can contact the Youth Services Department at (785) 776-4741 ext. 400 or

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Food, Travel, and Introspection

Relish by Lucy KnisleyBy Crystal Hicks, Adult Services Librarian

Memoir graphic novels form a backbone of alternative comics, from Art Spiegelman’s Maus and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis to Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Ellen Forney’s Marbles. The comics format is uniquely suited to detailing the inner thoughts of artists through the synthesis of words and images, making this a format well worth digging into. Among the many comics memoirists, thirty-one-year-old Lucy Knisley is one of my favorites. Knisley’s art style is simple and easily digestible, and her worries and anxieties resonate with new adults figuring out where they want to go in life and how best to get there.

Knisley’s memoirs begin with a trip to Paris as a twenty-three-year-old, lovingly detailed in French Milk. Knisley and her mother rent a flat for six weeks and take their time exploring Paris, visiting friends, and, for Knisley’s part, recording her thoughts in comics form. Knisley adds to the resulting travelogue with photos and later thoughts, but largely French Milk reads as a diary of her time in a foreign city. As always, food takes a front seat in this book, with not only descriptions that will make mouths water, but also Knisley declaring her love for delicious French milk.
Knisley develops her talent for food writing further in Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, which is her love letter to food of all sorts. Growing up surrounded by chefs and bakers, Knisley has a deep appreciation for food and eagerly wants to share it. Relish is divided into chapters focusing on different foods, from pesto to huevos rancheros, and in each she explores the memories that connect her to food, as well as describing each food delectably. Best of all, she has recipes throughout the book. Trust me, try them—they’ve yielded the best chocolate chip cookies of my life!
In An Age of License, Knisley returns to the travelogue format and to Europe, on a travel-expenses-paid trip for a book tour. Despite the success of her professional life, Knisley’s personal life is in shambles, and she uses the trip to puzzle out her thoughts and try new experiences in hopes of moving on. Alongside the self-reflection, Knisley reminds readers of the pleasures of good food and foreign travel, even if traveling alone. An Age of License is a book for anyone who has wished they could shed their skin and become someone new, even if just for a few hours.
Displacement is a companion book to An Age of License, which document Knisley’s time on a cruise for the elderly with her grandparents. Where An Age of License lingers on the freedoms of being an untethered twenty-something, Displacement ponders the aging process and how the elderly fit into our society. As her grandparents’ sole caregiver on the cruise, Knisley grapples with their mortality and struggles to find a sense of who her grandparents are, despite the ravages of old age. By turns sobering and heartwarming, this book looks thoughtfully at how people age, and it will strike a chord with many younger adults.
If you, like me, have strong memories of pulling your hair out while wedding planning, you will relate to Knisley’s newest book, Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride. Unexpectedly engaged and planning a wedding in under a year, Knisley details her exploits in creating the perfect-but-still-personal wedding. From picking a dress to fighting over the reception and DIY-ing everything, Knisley covers it all from the perspective of a bride blindsided by years of tradition and the bridal industry. Rest assured, this book is not all wedding doldrums—Knisley sprinkles in funny asides and bizarre trivia, like the real reason brides carry flowers down the aisle (to ward away trolls!), which make Something New a joy to read. Readers will root for Knisley and her fiancé and breathe a sigh of relief when everything works out in the end. After all, the most important part of a wedding is celebrating a new marriage, which Knisley reminds the reader (and herself) of throughout the book. Something New provides an informative look into the wedding-planning process, with a nice dose of levity to balance out the inherent chaos of weddings.
No matter which of Knisley’s books you pick up, you’ll find food to drool over and thoughtful observations on becoming an adult. If you’re interested in more memoir graphic novels, fill out a personalized reading list at or in person, or ask a librarian for a recommendation. Manhattan Public Library has a great selection to choose from!

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Books Reviewed by Our Summer Readers

by Rachael Schmidtlein, Teen and Tween Services Coordinator

Every summer a *magical* thing happens. Like the Monarchs that migrate to Mexico, crowds converge on the library in June and July to craft, to play video games, and to read. It’s a wonderful time of year that makes our librarian hearts expand with pride. However, summer is also a very busy time when our staff is giving out summer reading prizes, planning around 20 events a week and restocking the shelves as fast as humanly possible.

We love reviewing and recommending books, we really do, but during June and July we sometimes have to put that duty on the back burner. Luckily, we have a really great community that helps us out with that!

When anyone turns in their summer reading minutes, they have the opportunity to review a book they read during that time frame. Incredibly, when we were reviewing the most recent submissions, we realized that over six hundred and fifty books have been reviewed this summer.

Without further ado, I give you five books reviewed by YOU, our incredible Manhattanites.

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman (Young Adult Fiction)

“New Twist on Sleeping Beauty”

This masterfully written reimagining of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White is another work of art from the whimsical mind of Neil Gaiman. In this retelling, Snow White is a queen on a journey to rescue Sleeping Beauty and Sleeping Beauty isn’t quite in need of rescuing. Told in his typical creepy and dark fashion, Gaiman gives these tired stories a reboot.

Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline (Adult Fiction)

“Real page-turner. Couldn’t put it down!”

Christine and Marcus find themselves facing the difficult reality of being unable to conceive a child. After an incredibly difficult road, they decide to use a donor. Now happily pregnant, they are ready to move on with their family. That is until Christine sees a man on TV being arrested for a series of brutal murders. The man also happens to undeniably remember her donor. Scottoline take the reader through an emotional and fast-paced journey that poses the question: what decisions would you make if the biological father of your unborn child was a killer?


Stolen by Lucy Christopher (Young Adult Fiction)

“This book is very gripping and at times heart-wrenching. At first you see Ty as a monster and Emma as a victim but, will that change? Will Emma learn to love Ty or will she escape and turn Ty in? There is no way to know…”

Sixteen year old Gemma has been kidnapped and taken to the Australian outback. However, her captor Ty is nothing like you would expect. Written as a letter, this story explores the complicated and unsettling nature of love and reliance. The desolate but beautiful Australian outback acts as a silent character, and readers are constantly torn between reality and unreliable characters.


Gumption by Nick Offerman (Adult Non-Fiction)

“Nick Offerman makes me feel like there are butterflies in my stomach. #mancrush #mancandymondayeveryday”

A combination of serious history and light humor, Nick Offerman tells of those throughout history who inspired him. This books meanders through the topics of religion, politics, woodworking, agriculture, philosophy, fashion and meat in a seriously funny way.


A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro (Young Adult Fiction)

“If you are any sort of a Sherlockian (that is, any fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his characters), you will love this new take on the amazing duo, Sherlock and Watson. This novel is told from the point of view of a teenage descendant of the original Dr. James Watson. He meets his counterpart, Charlotte Holmes at a Connecticut boarding school called Sherringford. This is the first book in a trilogy about the two and the cases they solve.

I love this book and I love that the author references the original cases Doyle wrote about. I also love the title’s play on words.”

Posted in: For Adults, For Teens, Mercury Column, News

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