Tag Archives: Non-Fiction

Spring Cleaning: Ridding Yourself of the March Mess

It might still be snowing and below freezing but March is here and soon spring will be around the corner! This is the time when we can open our windows and let fresh air replace the stale winter chill as well as take time to tidy up our spaces as well as ourselves. We’ve compiled a list of 5 books to help you along!

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter by Margareta Magnusson
In Sweden there is a kind of decluttering called döstädning, meaning “death” and städning meaning “cleaning.” This surprising and invigorating process of clearing out unnecessary belongings can be undertaken at any age or life stage but should be done sooner than later, before others have to do it for you. In The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, artist Margareta Magnusson, with Scandinavian humor and wisdom, instructs readers to embrace minimalism. Her radical and joyous method for putting things in order helps families broach sensitive conversations, and makes the process uplifting rather than overwhelming.

My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag . . . and Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha by Jolie Kerr
Jolie Kerr has both staggering cleaning knowledge and a sense of humor. With signature sass and straight talk, Jolie takes on questions ranging from the basic—how do I use a mop? —to the esoteric—what should I do when bottles of homebrewed ginger beer explode in my kitchen? My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag proves that even the most nightmarish cleaning conundrums can be solved with a smile, the right supplies, and a little music.

Life’s Too Short to Fold Fitted Sheets by Lisa Quinn
Life’s Too Short to Fold Fitted Sheets is a crash course in Slacker Chic 101 that will have over-extended women everywhere laughing out loud and throwing in the towel, the dishtowel, that is. Full of shortcuts and tricks for cleaning, decor, and entertaining,such as: the top 10 things you have to clean if you have company coming in 30 minutes; interior finishes that hide the most dirt; 17 meals made from a deli chicken; and much more, this wickedly funny guide helps women create the life they want without all the hard labor and without compromising style.

Unf*ck Your Habitat: You’re Better Than Your Mess by Rachel Hoffman
Finally, a housekeeping and organizational system developed for those of us who’d describe our current living situation as a “f*cking mess” that we’re desperate to fix. Interspersed with lists and challenges, this practical, no-nonsense advice relies on a 20/10 system (20 minutes of cleaning followed by a 10-minute break; no marathon cleaning allowed) to help you develop lifelong habits. It motivates you to embrace a new lifestyle in manageable sections so you can actually start applying the tactics as you progress.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
Last but not least, Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international best seller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home – and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.

Let us know if any of these helped you out or let us know some of YOUR tips and tricks! Happy Reading!

Resolve to Read in 2019!


via dreamstime.com

We’re not terribly big fans of New Year’s Resolutions in general, beloved patrons, as I think we’ve mentioned here previously.  If you want to make a change in your life, there is no better time to start than right now(ish), regardless of the date or time.  And there is no reason to feel pressured to make changes if you don’t feel the need or desire to do so, no matter what anyone tells you.  We think you’re terrific.

That being said, there’s no time like the present to indulge in some good habits, right?  And in that spirit, we wanted to let you know about some of the phenomenal reading challenges and book lists for 2019 that will help you expand your reading horizons, walk a mile in some new shoes, and find some new kinds of storytelling the the new year.

A good place to start is right inside the Main Library, where we have some book displays to get you started.  Check out our “Resolve to Read” Card Catalog Display, which features some of the titles listed below, as well as the “Broaden Your Horizons in 2019” Display, which has books to help you become a better human; we have books to help you learn how to cook, how to fix things, about understanding your rights in the workplace, and about our brains and bodies, how they work, and what they can do, all of which have been organized to help you find some new skills or new facts to store in your brain for the perfect upcoming occasion.

via BookRiot.com

In addition to our curated lists, we also encourage you to check out Book Riot’s 2019 Read Harder Challenge, an enormously popular reading resolution list that provides (according to BookRiot) “24 tasks designed to help you break out of your reading bubble and expand your worldview through books. With new genres, new authors, and new points of view, the challenge will (hopefully) help you discover amazing books you wouldn’t have otherwise picked up.”  We had great fun following this list in 2018, and are looking forward to doing the same this year, as well!  For those of you interested, here is a discussion of the challenge, and the list as assembled by our friends over at BookRiot:

“We encourage you to push yourself, to take advantage of this challenge as a way to explore topics or formats or genres that you otherwise wouldn’t try. But this isn’t a test. No one is keeping score and there are no points to post. We like books because they allow us to see the world from a new perspective, and sometimes we all need help to even know which perspectives to try out. That’s what this is—a perspective shift—but one for which you’ll only be accountable to yourself.”

The BookRiot 2019 Read Harder Challenge:

  1. An epistolary novel or collection of letters
  2. An alternate history novel
  3. A book by a woman and/or AOC (Author of Color) that won a literary award in 2018
  4. A humor book
  5. A book by a journalist or about journalism
  6. A book by an AOC set in or about space
  7. An #ownvoices book set in Mexico or Central America
  8. An #ownvoices book set in Oceania
  9. A book published prior to January 1, 2019, with fewer than 100 reviews on Goodreads
  10. A translated book written by and/or translated by a woman
  11. A book of manga
  12. A book in which an animal or inanimate object is a point-of-view character
  13. A book by or about someone that identifies as neurodiverse
  14. A cozy mystery
  15. A book of mythology or folklore
  16. An historical romance by an AOC
  17. A business book
  18. A novel by a trans or nonbinary author
  19. A book of nonviolent true crime
  20. A book written in prison
  21. A comic by an LGBTQIA creator
  22. A children’s or middle grade book (not YA) that has won a diversity award since 2009
  23. A self-published book
  24. A collection of poetry published since 2014

Let’s see what we can accomplish together with this list, beloved patrons!


We hope these lists and challenges have provided you a good place to begin on your reading resolutions for 2019, beloved patrons!  We’ll be offering some reviews and suggestions as the year goes on from these lists, and, of course, sharing with you some of the titles that have made our 2019 “Best Of” lists.  So stayed tuned, stay well, and keep on reading in the New Year!

The Phi Beta Kappa Award Short List!

On Monday, August 13, the Phi Beta Kappa Society announced the short list for the annual book award, which recognizes outstanding scholarly books published in the United States in the fields of the humanities, the social sciences, the natural sciences and mathematics.

Via https://www.pbk.org/Press/2018ShortList

Phi Beta Kappa was founded by five students at the College of William & Mary in 1776.  Their belief was that the new nation they hoped to build would need new intellectual institutions to that would reflect the principles of that nation–intellectual freedom, freedom of speech, and creativity.  Though the society was initially a secret one, which the founders believed would keep them safe from political persecution, Phi Beta Kappa is now a nationally- and internationally-recognized institution with Today there are 286 chapters at American colleges and universities and 50 active alumni associations located in all regions of the country.

As per their website, Phi Beta Kappa’s name originated from the motto “Love of learning is the guide of life,” a phrase the founders derived from the Greek Φιλοσοφία Βίου Κυβερνήτης. The three Greek letters ΦΒΚ are inscribed on the signature gold key that is today a nationally recognized credential signifying academic achievement.

The Phi Beta Kappa book awards are intended to recognize not only books that help us learn, but that do so in a way that is interesting, accessible, and effective.  As a result, non-fiction lovers will find plenty of books among these nominees to whet their literary palate!  There are three awards, each of which has their own short list.  The winning authors will be honored at a gala dinner on December 7th, 2018 in Washington, DC, at The Carnegie Institution for Science.  A description of the awards and their nominees are below.  Tune in for updates, as the award winners will be announced on October 1, 2018.

Via https://www.pbk.org/Awards/BookAwards


The Christian Gauss Award: Recognizes books in the field of literary scholarship or criticism. The nominees are:

The Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science: Honors outstanding contributions by scientists to the literature of science, encouraging literate and scholarly interpretations of the physical and biological sciences and mathematics. The nominees are:

The Ralph Waldo Emerson Award: Recognizes works from scholarly studies that contribute significantly to interpretations of the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity, including works in the fields of history, philosophy and religion as well as such fields as anthropology and the social sciences. The nominees are:

A huge Free-For-All congratulations to all the short listed works and their creators!

Summer Reading: Staff Picks!


With another Thursday comes another opportunity for those of us here at the Library to bring you some of our recommendations for summer reading!

The weather seems to be cooperating (finally….for now…), and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed hearing all the details about our Patrons’ many plans for summer getaways, adventures, and staycations, and all the books that you are planning on bringing along with you.  For those who are still casting about for some reading material to aid in your rest or relaxations–or excitement and excursions–here are some of our selections.  This week, we’re aiming to bring you some series, both fiction and non-fiction, to help you plan for those long, lazy summer days:


From the South Branch:

3200247The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater:

This is a series of 4 YA books, the final one just came out a couple of months ago. I’m not usually a YA reader, but this series was definitely something special. It is a magical, breathless series of books with complex characters and a surprising level of great, dry humor that punctuates the nearly ceaseless action with a welcome chortle to break the tension. The stories are balanced and cinematic in their plotting and movement. I devoured them and the final one quite literally left me panting for breath. Highly recommended for a great, fast-paced summer read. A word of caution, though, if you start reading them, you won’t want to stop, so you might just want to put them all on hold so you can read them all together.

From Upstairs at the Main:

3583094Bill Nye Series: For some of us, Bill Nye will always be The Science Guy, and thus, we are all enormously grateful that he has kept teaching us as we grew up.  Within the past two years, we’ve had the good fortune to have two books: Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation, which not only deals with the theory of evolution, but also tackles the un-reality of race, the development of genetically-modified food, and the potential for alien life-forms; and Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the Worldin which Nye issues a new “call to greatness”, challenging people to harness their incredible potential to discover new sources of power, and new energy-efficient machines.  In both books, all that infectious energy and joyful curiosity that so many came to love is on full display, making for books that are as fun and engaging as they are informative.

From the Circulation Desk:

3644849The Ravenels Series: Lisa Kleypas

Kleypas was one of the authors who made historical romances into the wonderful genre–and undying staple of the romance industry–that it is today.  Now, after a number of years focusing on contemporaries, she has returned to her roots, and is in the process of creating a series that is just as steamy, just as endearing, and just as compelling as any she has ever written.  In Cold Hearted RakeDevon Ravenel has recently inherited an earldom–and also a house mired in debt, and inhabited by three young ladies and Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow who challenges Devon in ways he never before imagined.  In Marrying Winterborne, which I am currently adoring, ruthless tyconn Rhys Winterborne and the innocent, utterly unique Lady Helen Ravenel marry for business purposes, but discover a passion together neither expect.  But as Rhys’ business enemies begin to hover around them, they both realize that true love takes far more than passion to create a happily-ever-after.

Safe travels, beloved patrons, and happy reading!