Month: July 2022

by Alex H. Alex H. No Comments

Light Romance for Summer

Light Romance for Summer

By Rhonna Hargett, Associate Director of Learning and Information Services

Summer is a great time for a light read, so I’ve gathered up some of my favorite recent romance novels.

In “Just Haven’t Met You Yet” by Sophie Cousens, Laura is a writer for an online magazine. She heads off to Jersey Island to write her parents’ romantic story. Things don’t go as planned, though, starting with her grabbing the wrong suitcase at the airport, followed up with a grumpy taxi driver. It looks like the switched suitcase might be fate leading her to her true love when she looks through the contents and finds her favorite book, piano music by her favorite singer, and a sweater that fits her ideal of what the perfect man should wear. The grumpy taxi driver, Ted, helps her in her quest to find the owner of the suitcase, and he turns out to be more than he first appears. By the time she meets the suitcase owner, she’s starting to question if true love is about “destiny” or something else. This is a fun romantic comedy set in the beautiful scenery of the Channel Islands, a perfect summer escape.

The launch of the “Would-Be Wallflowers” series, “How to Be a Wallflower” by Eloisa James, is a historical novel set in Regency London. Miss Cleopatra Lewis doesn’t fit the traditional mold of a debutante. She spent her childhood following theater troupes around England with her unconventional mother, and is the powerful owner of a manufacturing firm that specializes in the latest commode technology. When she meets unpolished American investor, Jacob Astor Addison, she is not impressed. As they both compete to purchase the most renowned costume emporium in England, they come to respect each other’s business acumen, along with other attributes, and are soon questioning the motivations that had them competing in the first place. James has delivered another delightful story that delivers love and laughs.

In “It Happened One Summer” by Tessa Bailey, influencer and socialite Piper Bellinger pushes her stepfather’s patience too far when she is arrested for an unauthorized rooftop party. She is sent off to rural Washington state to gain some self-control and attempt to run her late father’s run-down bar. Her kind (and more responsible) sister accompanies her, and they are greeted by a disaster of an apartment, and a group of local fishermen who have taken over the bar as their own. Through learning more about her father and his family, putting some elbow grease into the bar and apartment, and spending time with Brendan, the gruff fisherman who doesn’t want to get involved but can’t resist her charm and liveliness, Piper changes her perception of herself and where her gifts and passions lie. “It Happened One Summer” is a light-hearted romance with heart, a great read for fans of “Schitt’s Creek.”

Amanda Elliot’s “Sadie on a Plate” gives a glimpse into the wild world of cooking competition reality TV shows. When we meet Sadie, she’s still reeling from unjust accusations that seem to have destroyed her career as a chef. In a last-ditch attempt to save her future, she tries out for Chef Supreme, and makes it onto the show. While travelling on the plane to the show, she meets the perfect man for her, only to find out that he’s one of the judges for the show. While she tries to focus on showcasing her unique take on traditional Jewish cooking, and also hiding that one of the judges may hold a bias, she forms lifetime friendships with fellow contestants and learns a lot about herself along the way. Sadie has moments of being a difficult character to like, so it is very satisfying to watch her develop as a chef and as a human being at the same time.

Find a great mix of genre and formats (print, digital, and more!) at Manhattan Public Library or mhklibrary.org.

by Alex H. Alex H. No Comments

That’s Too Funny! What Kids Read for Fun

That’s Too Funny! What Kids Read for Fun

By Jennifer Bergen, Program and Children’s Services Manager

Look at some of the most popular books for kids and you will see recurring themes of comedy accompanied by humorous illustrations in the likes of Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants and Dog Man series. Even Garfield has stood the test of time. The NYT Bestseller list for children’s picture books last week features titles like “Not Quite Narwhal,” “The Day the Crayons Quit,” “Grumpy Monkey,” and “Dragons Love Tacos.” This is fun reading that will make grown-ups smile, too.

I believe kids are drawn to humor for some of the same reasons as adults. Life can be pretty heavy, and lots of things can go wrong. We all need a reason to smile and laugh, and we need a way to poke fun at life to lighten things up. However, the type of humor enjoyed by adults and kids can be quite different, and it may be hard to get excited about your child reading the Fart Quest series (yes, that really exists), but do not despair. This doesn’t mean your child will never enjoy classic literature. It just means that right now, your child is seeking a way to feel lighthearted and forget about their troubles, and bodily function jokes might just do the trick.

Here are a few series and titles on the LOL radar you may want to try:

The Planet Omar series by Zanib Mian with illustrations by Nasaya Mafaradik and Kyan Cheng – Omar’s big imagination can cause crazy nightmares, but it also helps him find solutions and get out of bad situations. As Omar makes friends in a new school, deals with a bully, and endures his annoying siblings, he finds humor in every day situations at home and school. Being Muslim is part of his daily life, which is both routine and different from most of his friends, bringing out themes of acceptance, understanding and celebrating diversity. Fans of “The Terrible Two” by Jory John and Mac Barnett will likely see eye to eye with Omar.

The Treehouse series by Andy Griffiths, illustrated by Terry Denton – Australian creators Griffiths and Denton go totally farcical with their ever-growing treehouse where anything crazy can, and does, happen. “The 13-Story Treehouse” is the starting point, and with each book it grows another 13 stories, so the latest release, book 11, is “The 143-Story Treehouse.” Readers “can expect the unexpected,” says Griffiths, such as the treehouse being abducted by a giant flying eyeball and flung through space. And it keeps getting better and better. Kids who enjoy “Sideways Stories from Wayside School” by Louis Sachar will love this wacky treehouse.

The Cranky Chicken series by Katherine Battersby – This hilarious graphic novel was recommended by a young reader who says Chicken is way high on the crank-o-meter, and the only one who can talk her down is Speedy the worm. First, they have to find something to eat that doesn’t upset Chicken. For example, food that is jiggly or food with holes. “Where has the food from the holes gone? Holes raise too many questions.” If you loved and laughed at “Narwhal and Jelly” by Ben Clanton, Cranky Chicken might be your next best thing.

Mister Fairy” by Morgane de Cadier – Many fairies live in the forest, illustrated here as tiny animals with wings, but “then, there’s Mister Fairy,” a scowling elephant fairy who cannot seem to make any magic.  Upset and disappointed, he leaves his home and discovers a gloomy city that sure could use some happiness. Perhaps Mister Fairy will also discover something new about himself.

Off Limits” by Helen Yoon – This picture book explores a kids very favorite place to be…a room that is off limits! When Dad leaves his office door open, the child finds amazing things like scotch tape, paperclips and sticky notes. What could be more fun?

Goldie’s Guide to Grandchilding” by Clint McElroy, illustrated by Eliza Kinkz – You may have never thought about the big responsibility of handling your grandparent, but Goldie knows all the rules. Keep toys simple, do not introduce video games, and do go out to eat together. Also, watch out for unannounced toots! In fact, Goldie and her grandpa are pretty perfect companions.

Enjoy some silly reading time together this summer with books that make you laugh out loud. And don’t forget to stop by the library to get your summer reading prizes this week.

by Jared Richards Jared Richards No Comments

Take a Trip and Embrace the Journey

Take a Trip and Embrace the Journey

by Jared Richards, Learning and Information Services Supervisor

When it comes to train travel, the most on-the-nose saying is that life is about the journey, not the destination. My family recently went on a train trip that started with a seven-hour delay, then we broke down in the desert, then we were overly-polite (or just a stickler for the rules) and let every freight train go by, and finally we arrived over twenty hours late. But I would still highly recommend the experience, assuming you don’t need to get somewhere in a timely manner. The actual journey consisted of hanging out with my family, eating good food, and taking in the scenery as it rolled by, all of which is much harder to do behind the wheel of a car.

Although I am a fan of trains, I must admit I don’t spend a lot of time reading about them, despite my dream of one day getting into model railroading. But there are plenty of good books not involving trains that focus on the journey.

One of the more literal ones is “Journey to the Center of the Earth” by Jules Verne. Professor Otto Lidenbrock and his nephew, find a coded note that tells them that the center of the earth can be reached via the volcanic tubes found beneath a volcano in Iceland. They enlist the support of an Icelandic guide to help them discover the wonders hidden beneath the earth’s crust. This includes a large ocean, giants, and prehistoric animals. As a kid I was enthralled by Jules Verne. His books featured epic journeys to the moon, under the ocean, into the earth, and around the globe. These stories were written in the 1800s, which makes them all the more interesting.

Also in the 1800s, we have “Three Men in a Boat” by Jerome K. Jerome. Jerome intended to write a travel guide, which is why there are historical bits spread throughout the book, but it’s really just a funny book about the misadventures of three friends traveling on the Thames by boat. It’s one of the few books that has actually brought me to tears from laughter.

For a slightly-more-recent adventure, there is “An Abundance of Katherines” by John Green. Colin and his friend Hassan set off on a road trip after graduating high school, following Colin’s most recent breakup from a girl named Katherine. This is Colin’s nineteenth relationship with a girl named Katherine, hence the title. Starting in Chicago, they end up picking up a summer job in Tennessee interviewing the locals for an oral history project, while also maybe kindling a relationship with someone not named Katherine.

Bill Bryson is known for his humorous travel books. My favorite Bryson book is “A Walk in the Woods,” which features his attempt, with a friend, to hike the Appalachian Trail. I’ve had enough experience hiking that this book is very relatable. With modern forms of transport, it is rarely necessary to walk long distances anymore (speaking for myself, obviously). This means that long hikes are purely for the sake of the journey. It allows you to slow down, focus on your steps, listen to the world around you, and hopefully ignore the annoying traits of your hiking companions, like their inability to maintain an even pace, or not securing their gear so it’s banging and clanging all over the place.

To be fair to my initial anecdote, I feel compelled to at least mention a couple train books that are now in my queue because spending over fifty hours on a train has piqued my interest into other experiences. The first is “Off the Rails” by Beppe Severgnini, in which he talks about various train trips he has taken in his life around Europe, Asia, Australia, and the United States.

And lastly, we have Paul Theroux’s “The Great Railway Bazaar.” This book, first published in 1975, recounts his journey from the UK to Japan and back, over the course of four months. I am intrigued to find out if my experience was unique or relatively commonplace when it comes to train travel.

It would be hard for you to throw a rock and not hit a book that was all about the journey and not the destination. I know this. You know this. It’s a cliché for a reason. But also, don’t throw stones. If you need help finding a new book and going on a journey, just ask a librarian. We’re all over the place at the library, and we’re here to help.

 

by Jared Richards Jared Richards No Comments

Young Adult Manga for Summer

Young Adult Manga for Summer

by Alex Urbanek, Collection Services Librarian

Laid-Back Camp Vol. 1 eBook : Afro, Afro: Books - Amazon.com

Since I was little, summertime was a time to go to the public library, and fully immerse myself in  manga. My school library never really had a selection of graphic novels or manga, so the public library was my haven. Even now as an adult I always get the itch to read new manga as soon as the weather turns warm. As a collection development librarian, I get the honor to supply our children’s and young adult collections with many books, and I’ve greatly enjoyed getting to purchase and read much of the manga we have on the shelves, including some that is less well known than say, Black Butler or Spy X Family.

Starting off with a very relaxed manga is, “Laid-Back Camp” by Afro. This series follows Rin Shima, Nadeshiko Kagamihara, and their camping club as they travel Japan to different camp sites. The manga focuses on friendships, camping, and camp cooking. Detailing the recipes they prepare and the different tools needed to make them while camping. The art of the backgrounds, both camp sights and mountainous views is gorgeous. This series is not high stakes at any point, just cozy camping fun.

What happens to an adventuring party when the adventuring ends? “Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End” by Kanehito Yamada gives us a glimpse of life from the perspective of an elf mage Frieren, after her and her party defeat the demon king. Frieren decides to travel on her own after the adventure and comes back to visit her friends after 50 years. As an elf, 50 years is nothing to Frieren, but her old friends have continued to age and one is on his deathbed when she finally sees him. He insists she take on his charge as an apprentice while she continues to adventure, and Frieren begrudgingly accepts. It was really great to read a story about life after the adventure, especially from the point of view of a magical being who ages achingly slowly, while the rest of the world continues on.

Love Me for Who I Am” by Kata Konayama is an extremely cute manga set in an unconventional maid café. Non-binary student Mogumo can’t find a place where they feel like they belong and dress in the very soft and cute way they like. When one of their classmates, Iwaoka Tetsu, mentions his sibling’s maid café, where men dress up as cute maids, Mogumo is immediately interested. While working at the café Mogumo may finally find a place to belong with the other staff, some of who are transgender or gay.

When an adventuring party is defeated by a dragon, losing all of their food, money, and a party member, they have to find a way to survive while going back to save their friend. “Delicious in Dungeon” by Ryoko Kui is a story about adventurers figuring out how to eat the monsters in the dungeon so they can make their way back without needing to sell their gear. With help from a dwarf who himself knows quite a bit about monster cooking, they show the recipes they make and how to prepare all variety of monster. This is a very fun take on dungeon crawling, focusing on the usefulness of the monsters they find instead of blindly killing.

Mika was a regular human heading home from Comiket, but the next thing she knew she woke up reincarnated in a magical world. “A Witch’s Printing Office” by Mochinchi has Mika trying to find a spell to get home. The best way she can think of is to create her own Convention style event “Magic Market”. The convention gets much more traffic than Mika thought it would and ends up turning into a staple for the magical world. This book is pure fun. Seeing Mika struggle to contain the crowds, even with the help of royal guards who severely underestimated the excitement of the crowd, rings true to the struggle of an overexcited and overpacked comic convention.

These titles and other amazing manga can be found in our graphic novel sections of the Manhattan Public Library. They are a great way to get your reading time up for summer reading and get some fun and exciting prizes!

by Jared Richards Jared Richards No Comments

Explore a Variety of Food and Drink Recipe Books

Explore a Variety of Food and Drink Recipe Books

by Amber Hoskins, Adult Services Librarian

Anyone who has been tasked with writing a paper or an article knows that the hardest part can be coming up with a topic. Luckily, the month of July left me plenty to choose from. It is National Grilling Month, National Ice Cream Month, and the day calendar is full of celebrations dedicated to food and drink as well: Macaroni day, Hot Dog Day, Daquiri Day, and Mojito Day, only name a few. In honor of this month, dedicated to food and drink, I have gone through our catalog and found some books that are great for celebrating all of the days of July.

Being a fan of true crime and puns, the first book that caught my eye was “Serial Griller” by Matt Moore.  This book is focused on making all things by way of the outdoor grill from meat, to side dishes, to veggies. However, you do not necessarily need to have a grill to make all of the recipes featured. From this book, I made the ‘redneck potatoes’ recipe. It is easy to put together and was finished in less than 40 minutes. It instructs you to put your cast iron on coals, but since I do not have a grill, I put it in the oven at 400 degrees instead. Turns out, this worked just as well and this side dish was excellent. I would definitely make this again and found many other recipes that I would like to try in the future.

With the knowledge that many people do not eat meat, I wanted to include a book that focused solely on vegan and vegetarian barbeque. I found this in Nadine Horn’s “VBQ: The Ultimate Vegan Barbeque Cookbook.” This compendium has everything one would could imagine to host a vegan meal and it details all of the equipment you might need as well. I made the grilled corn on the cob with lime and cilantro butter. Getting this recipe accomplished required me to visit a friend who had a grill, which is always a great excuse to have a get together. Luckily it was a hit and nobody was disappointed, or had to wait too long, as the corn was done in 15 minutes.

For the dessert portion, I checked out the “Salt and Straw Ice Cream Cookbook” by Tyler Malek. This Portland-based ice cream shop has some of the world’s most innovative flavors. Their main idea for making ice cream was to create a base recipe that can be used to make a substantial number of different flavors. Think of it like stock and how it is used to flavor different soups. Depending on how adventurous you are feeling, you can create almost any flavor you want, from strawberry to mashed potatoes and gravy. Malek even consulted with brewers if you are interested in beer ice cream. With the help of my sister, we made the snickerdoodle flavor. The base was very easy to create and the ice cream was amazing. If you have an ice cream maker, I would highly recommend this book as a good way to be creative on days that may be too hot to run around outdoors.

Finally, I wanted to highlight “The World’s Best Drinks: Where to Find Them and How to Make Them” by Victoria Moore. This Lonely Planet publication has drink recipes from all around the world and is a good fit for anyone looking to try a new beverage, or an old favorite. It includes cocktails (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), as well as coffees, teas, floats and other signature drinks from various countries. I like that this book gives a history of where many drinks originated from, and also includes what kinds of foods go well with them. I wanted to try a drink I had never had before, so I made the Singapore Sling. There are quite a few ingredients involved, but it was a refreshing beverage to sit down to after being out on a hot day.

These are just a sample of what you can find in the food and drink section of the library. Choosing the books I wanted to use most was a tough decision, as there are so many good ones. If you are looking to experience something different this summer when it comes to meals and beverages, feel free to stop by and check out some cookbooks from your local library!

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