Great Group Reads

Libraries promote the love of reading. But reading does not have to be a solitary activity. October is National Reading Group Month when an annual list of books is selected on the basis of their appeal to reading groups, covering timely and provocative topics and including under-represented gems from small publishers. The books are chosen by a panel of writers, reviewers, librarians, booksellers, publicists and committed readers, so you know they have got to be good. 

Country Music Bios: The Reason Their Songs are so Sad

Even if you don’t like country music, there’s a certain appeal to biographical pieces about country singers. People like to joke that country music is all about women leaving heartbroken men whose dogs have just died, but the real stories of some of country’s biggest names are far more interesting than this. For example, Loretta Lynn was a grandmother by 29! Tommy Tucker caused a car accident that resulted in 8 children being orphaned. Melvin Endsley was wheelchair bound after a childhood case of Polio and still managed to publish dozens of popular country songs that still produce hits.

The Female Gaze

Dissatisfied with the lack of representation of female artists within public institutions, Linda Lee Alter, a Philadelphia artist and collector, spent several decades gathering the work of women both influential and obscure. Three years ago, Alter gave her entire collection to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Curators at the Academy recently had an all-female art exhibit based on the collection. The exhibit is now a beautiful book, The Female Gaze: Women Artists Making Their World.

Chicken Chatter

We had quite the event here last Sunday. About 400 people showed up to see chickens. In the library. Maybe you saw the story on the evening news. The Austin and Central Texas Backyard Poultry Meetup Group brought their birds, some of them champion prize winners, and set them in cages over wood shavings on library tables, and apparently, people want to see that kind of thing because we had a bigger crowd lined up to look at chickens than we’ve had for any event at Central since I’ve worked here, and that is no inconsiderable time.

Catch-22: Read it! Learn it!

My dad is not necessarily a grammar nut but he did have two rules about language growing up. 1) don’t use a word if you don’t know how to spell it and 2) don’t use a word if you don’t know what it means. I’m a rule-follower by nature so I especially try to follow rule number 2 which is why I was fairly irked when I read the news that more and more dictionaries have added a second definition to the world ‘literally.’


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