Halloween is almost here, m’dears! I recently had the chance to do some traveling and get caught up on four horror/Gothic/spooky adjacent books from my TBR (To Be Read) list/mountain, and I want to share the bounty with you. We’ve got YA, we’ve got adult, we’ve got vampires, tree creatures, parasites, and more! So grab a cup of your favorite hot beverage and a blanket and settle in for some spooky reads. Vampires of El Norte by Isabel Cañas From the publisher: Vampires and vaqueros face off on the Texas-Mexico border in this supernatural western from the author of The Hacienda. I loved The Hacienda. I reviewed it for this blog back in 2021. And once again, Isabel is teaching me Mexican history via horror novels. This time the setting is 1840s Mexico near the Texas border. While The Hacienda was full of Gothic elements, VoEN is much more character Read more »
As the calendar turns to October 2023, it brings with it a harvest of exciting new young adult books, each offering a gateway to captivating realms, relatable characters, and thought-provoking narratives. Get ready to discover the next compelling chapter in YA literature! Put one (or more) on hold today.
A Curse for True Love by Stephanie Garber
Evangeline Fox ventured to the Magnificent North in search of her happy ending, and it seems as if she has it. She’s married to a handsome prince and lives in a legendary castle. But Evangeline has no idea of the devastating price she’s paid for this fairytale. She doesn’t know what she has lost, and her husband is determined to make sure she never finds out . . . but first he must kill Jacks, the Prince of Hearts.
Zhara by S. Jae-Jones
Magic is forbidden throughout the Morning Realms. Magicians are called abomination, and blamed for the plague of monsters that razed the land twenty years before.
Jin Zhara already had enough to worry about—appease her stepmother’s cruel whims, looking after her blind younger sister, and keeping her own magical gifts under control—without having to deal with rumors of monsters re-emerging in the marsh. But when a chance encounter with an easily flustered young man named Han brings her into contact with a secret magical liberation organization called the Guardians of Dawn, Zhara realizes there may be more to these rumors than she thought. A mysterious plague is corrupting the magicians of Zanhei and transforming them into monsters, and the Guardians of Dawn believe a demon is responsible.
In order to restore harmony and bring peace to the world, Zhara must discover the elemental warrior within, lest the balance between order and chaos is lost forever.
When You Wish Upon a Star by Elizabeth Lim
“Starlight, star bright, first star I see tonight . . . ” so begins the wish that changes everything—for Geppetto, for the Blue Fairy, and for a little puppet named Pinocchio. The Blue Fairy isn’t supposed to grant wishes in the small village of Pariva, but something about this one awakens some long-buried flicker within. Perhaps it’s the hope she senses beneath the old man’s loneliness.
Or maybe it’s the fact that long ago, before she was the Blue Fairy, she was a young woman named Chiara from this very village, one with a simple wish: to help others find happiness. Her sister Ilaria always teased her for this, for she had big dreams to leave their sleepy village and become a world-renowned opera singer. The two were close, despite their differences. While Ilaria would give anything to have a fairy grant her wish, Chiara didn’t believe in the lore for which their village was famous.
Forty years later, Chiara, now the Blue Fairy, defies the rules of magic to help an old friend. But she’s discovered by the Scarlet Fairy, formerly Ilaria, who, amid a decades-long grudge, holds the transgression against her sister. They decide to settle things through a good old-fashioned bet, with Pinocchio and Geppetto’s fate hanging in the balance.
Will the sisters find a way back to one another? Or is this, like many matters of the heart, a gamble that comes with strings?
The Isles of Gods by Amie Kaufman
When Selly’s father leaves her high and dry in the port of Kirkpool, she has no intention of riding out the winter on land while he sails to adventure in the north seas. But any plans to follow him are dashed when a handsome stranger with tell-tale magician’s marks on his arm boards her ship, presenting her and the crew with a dangerous mission: to cross the Crescent Sea without detection so he can complete a ritual on the sacred Isles of the Gods. What starts as a leisure cruise will lead to acts of treason and sheer terror on the high seas, bringing two countries to the brink of war, two strangers closer than they ever thought possible and stirring two dangerous gods from centuries of slumber…
Champion of Fate by Kendare Blake
Behind every great hero is an Aristene.
Aristene are mythical female warriors, part of a legendary order. Though heroes might be immortalized in stories, it’s the Aristene who guide them to victory. They are the Heromakers.
Ever since she was an orphan taken in by the order, Reed has wanted to be an Aristene. Now, as an initiate, just one challenge stands in her way: she must shepherd her first hero to glory on the battlefield. Succeed, and Reed will take her place beside her sisters. Fail, and she’ll be cast from the only home she’s ever known.
Nothing is going to stop Reed–until she meets her hero. Hestion is fiery and infuriating, but what begins as an alliance becomes more, and as secrets of the order come to light Reed begins to understand what becoming an Aristene may truly cost. Battle looming, she must choose: the order and the life she had planned, or Hestion, and the one she never expected.
A Study in Drowning by Ava Reid
Effy Sayre has always believed in fairy tales. She’s had no choice. Since childhood, she’s been haunted by visions of the Fairy King. She’s found solace only in the pages of Angharad – author Emrys Myrddin’s beloved epic about a mortal girl who falls in love with the Fairy King, and then destroys him.
Effy’s tattered, dog-eared copy is all that’s keeping her afloat through her stifling first term at Llyr’s prestigious architecture college. So when Myrddin’s family announces a contest to design the late author’s house, Effy feels certain this is her destiny.
But Hiraeth Manor is an impossible task: a musty, decrepit estate on the brink of crumbling into a hungry sea. And when Effy arrives, she finds she isn’t the only one who’s made a temporary home there. Preston Héloury, a stodgy young literature scholar, is studying Myrddin’s papers and is determined to prove her favorite author is a fraud.
As the two rival students investigate the reclusive author’s legacy, piecing together clues through his letters, books, and diaries, they discover that the house’s foundation isn’t the only thing that can’t be trusted. There are dark forces, both mortal and magical, conspiring against them – and the truth may bring them both to ruin.
September is Library Card Sign-up Month and we are celebrating with libraries across the country!
Do YOU have a library card?
Join us during the month of September as we show you why having a library card is ELEMENTAL! Throughout the month, Galesburg community members are encouraged to come to the library and sign up for a library card! Here is what you need to do:
- If you live within Galesburg City Limits, stop by the Check-Out desk with your ID and proof of address
- If you are a student attending Carl Sandburg College or Knox College, stop by the Check-Out desk with your ID and Student ID cards
- If you are a student between the ages of 5- 18, but live outside of Galesburg City Limits, you are eligible to receive a library card at Galesburg Public Library. Have your parent bring in an ID (unless you are 16 or older, then just bring in your ID)
- If you are veteran, you and your family are eligible to receive a free library card. Bring in an ID and let us know (if you live outside Galesburg City Limits).
In addition to signing people up for library cards, we are also waiving the replacement fee for library cards if you live within Galesburg City Limits and have lost your card. Each person who signs up for a library card or comes in for a replacement card during the month of September will be entered for a chance to win a library themed prize.
With your library card, you have access to: games, puzzles, pickleball paddles, disc golf discs, hot spots, cakepans, books, audiobooks, databases, book club kits, museum passes, movies, magazines and so much more. Get ready to ‘Fire up your imagination’ or ‘Dive into a new hobby’ with your library card today.
Once you have your library card, make sure you stop by the Check-Out Desk to try the new Self-Check Kiosk. All items can be checked out at the kiosk unless they need to be unlocked or are a book club book.
If you aren’t able to enjoy the benefits of having a library card in person, we also offer a Home Delivery service for those who are unable to leave their homes due to age, disability, injury, illness, or lack of access to transportation. Give us a call at 309-343-6118 to sign up for this service.
You can also apply for a library card online and we will mail it to you. Simply fill out this form.
Are you ready to get your library card so you can see for yourself why a library card is ELEMENTAL?
Here at the library, we love all books, of course, but some of us have a particular affinity for specific books. We regularly highlight those books in our Staff Picks section here on the blog, and this time it’s our newest Children’s Librarian, LeAnna’s turn. Here are five of her favorite titles:
Watership Down by Richard Adams
I have loved this book the longest of any of the materials on this list. I read it first when I was in college, and I re-read it a few years ago. I enjoyed both readings, and I gained different meaningful ideas from both. Watership Down is a survival tale about the courage of rabbits who, having lost their home, journey onward to find a new, better one. It was written by Adams for his children. Originally, he told it to them over a period of time as bedtime stories. Though the story was meant for children, and children will no doubt enjoy the rabbit’s adventures, there are important allegories about human society to be found and enjoyed by older readers.
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds
“There will come a time when we will love humanity, when we will gain the courage to fight for an equitable society for our beloved humanity, knowing, intelligently, that when we fight for humanity, we are fighting for ourselves.”
I read the adult version of this book first because I wanted to educate myself about the Black experience in America. As someone raised in the Southern United States, public education left a lot of – if not most of – the details out. And when I found out that the book was being adapted by Jason Reynolds, I knew I had to read the YA version. I adore Jason Reynolds, both as a human and author, so I knew his take on Ibram X. Kendi’s thoroughly researched original work would be both engaging and accessible, and it was! In my opinion, this book should be required reading for all.
Mort by Terry Pratchett
Have you ever wondered what Death is like? No not the act of dying. The actual entity, Death. Like, the Grim Reaper.
If your answer was yes (and you enjoy a good hilarious and sarcastic fantasy novel), then this is the book for you! You’ll get to see Death’s lodgings and meet his daughter. Yes, Death has a daughter! You will also get to meet Death’s new, teenage apprentice, Mort, and you will come to love them all.
Wait. There’s more! If you do find yourself enjoying the characters and this uproarious, lively world Pratchett created, the good news is, there are eight more books in the Death sub-series of the forty-one Discworld novels.
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: And Other Lessons From the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty
Pick up this title and learn about the death industry in America from an insider. Caitlin Doughty used to work for a California crematory. Now she owns her own funeral home, runs an educational Youtube channel and podcast, and travels the world researching, writing, and teaching us about dying in various cultures.
I’ve always been a little morbid; the Goosebumps and Bailey School Kids books were favorites when I was a child. This book checks all the boxes that those series did, but Doughty’s stories are true as well as creepy.
Loveless by Alice Oseman
This is one of the most relatable books I have ever read. At its heart, the story is about friendships and how important they are in our lives – maybe even more important than romantic relationships. The author does a great job of writing in a way that makes you feel like you are right there with the main characters, and the book includes some pretty hilarious scenes – including a battle on a bouncy castle!
Did you know that the library offers more than just books? It’s true! In addition to books, we also offer audiobooks, magazines, and access to a variety of online resources.
Audiobooks come in many different formats. You can check out books on CD, Playaway, or digitally on Axis360 or Libby. Playaways are little MP3-like devices that require one AAA battery, which are available at the Check-Out Desk, and headphones or an aux cord and speaker. Axis360 and Libby are apps that can be downloaded on your smartphone or tablet and require you to log in with your library card number and PIN. Once you’ve logged in, you can browse thousands of books available at your fingertips.
The library also offers a wide selection of magazines. Check out back issues of several of our titles for one week at a time. Find a new recipe in Bon Appetit or discover nature’s beauty in National Parks!
Your library card allows you to access a variety of databases from home as well. Simply log in using your library card barcode number and your PIN to access a wealth of information on an assortment of topics. Looking for inspiration on how to use chanterelles in recipes or how mace is related to nutmeg? AtoZ Food America has the answers! Need to create or update your resume but aren’t sure how to get started? Cypress Resume will help you choose a format, walk you through putting in your work history, and help you choose skills that match your expertise. When you’re finished, Cypress Resume will generate a PDF file of your completed resume. If you homeschool or are thinking of homeschooling, you can browse learning plans and worksheets for Math, Science, and more for Pre-K-Second Grade.
What will you check out next with your library card?
From the publisher: While in detention, Maeve finds an old, unopened package of tarot cards. She quickly learns the meanings of the cards in the deck and begins giving eerily on-point readings to her classmates. Maeve enjoys the attention and the fact that she’s finally found something she’s good at–until Maeve wishes her ex-best friend, Lily, would disappear and she actually does. Suddenly, Maeve must confront her emotions about Lily– while investigating her disappearance– on top of struggles with her new friends at school, navigating her relationship with Lily’s sibling, Roe, and discovering how deep her connection is with the tarot all at the same time.
I was drawn to this book for its unique premise. I started reading the print version of this book, and I enjoyed the font and the cool tarot card designs spread throughout; the art is very unique. However, I struggled with the fact that the book is written in present tense. I hadn’t realized it before, but most of the books I read are written in past tense. This book dragged for a couple of long stretches, punctuated by scenes of excitement. After reading a handful of chapters and getting stuck at one of the draggier parts, I checked out the Playaway version. Not only did this format help me finish the book more quickly, but it also helped me notice the present tense writing less. I also really liked the voice performer, Alana Kerr Collins. It was charming to witness the characters develop, some of them in surprising ways, throughout the course of the story, and the realistic dialogue keeps the story fresh. Since this is the first book in a trilogy, hopefully Maeve’s connection to the tarot will be explained in more detail in the later books.
This April, the Galesburg Public Library will host its 15th National Endowment for the Arts Big Read!
The Big Read annually provides support to selected libraries and nonprofits around the country to host community-wide reading programs, each designed around a single NEA Big Read title. Organizations apply for funding through a grants program managed by Arts Midwest, and can receive a grant between $5,000 and $20,000. This year, the Galesburg Public Library was 1 of 62 organizations to be awarded a grant. Every year, the Galesburg Public Library gives out free copies of the Big Read title, as well as free copies of the teen and children’s tie-in titles, and hosts book discussions, cultural and musical events, and craft programs, all designed around the themes in the Big Read title. The NEA Big Read in Galesburg is presented in partnership with the Galesburg Public Library Foundation and the Galesburg Community Art Center, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The 2023 Big Read title is Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu. Yu is a Taiwanese American writer and screenwriter. Interior Chinatown tells the story of a young Asian American man trying to make it as an actor in Hollywood, and the discrimination he faces and he is continually relegated to the bit character of “Generic Asian Man”. The book, written as a screenplay, tackles themes of race, stereotyping, and pop culture. In addition to Interior Chinatown, we have a teen tie-in novel, Our Wayward Fate by Gloria Chao, and a children’s tie-in book, Front Desk by Kelly Yang. A limited number of free copies of both books are available, and we will have discussion of each of them in April.
We will launch our National Endowment for the Arts Big Read program with an improv comedy show at The Orpheum Theatre on Saturday, April 1 at 8:00 PM. The kick-off event will feature Stir Friday Night, the longest-running Asian American comedy team in Chicago. Alumni of Stir Friday Night include Danny Pudi from Community, Steven Yeun from The Walking Dead, and Mary Sohn from AP Bio. The group will perform their newest show, the Improvised Martial Art Movie, a 60 minute completely improvised fight choreography experience. The show is free, and is rated PG-13 and geared towards adults. Free copies of Interior Chinatown will be given away, as well as copies of the tie-in books while supplies last.
The Big Read will run the entire month of April, and will feature many other exciting events. On Thursday, April 27 at 6:30 PM, join us for a presentation by Dr. Ada Cheng, an educator-turned artist, storyteller, and creator. Dr. Cheng will weave personal stories to highlight the myth of the model minority, the negative impact of stereotypes on Asian Americans and their mental health during the pandemic, and the various laws and regulations that have contributed to the construction of Asian Americans as the “other”. The event is free and open to all ages. For adults, there will be several craft events, all led by the Galesburg Community Arts Center. These include a clay workshop and an ink bonsai tree class. Each week during April, Xiaoqi Wu of Eastern Therapeutic will lead four sessions of her intermediate tai chi routine upstairs at the library. The classes are free and open to anyone, but aimed toward people who have done tai chi before. There are also several opportunities to discuss Interior Chinatown with others who have read it.
For teens, there will be a paper lantern making craft night, as well as a discussion Our Wayward Fate by Gloria Chao. Children can check out the Standish Park Storywalk to read The Ugly Vegetable by Grace Lin, and read and discuss Front Desk by Kelly Yang. There will also be a Big Read kids kickoff event on Tuesday, April 11 at 6:00 PM, where children will be able to taste Chinese treats made by a local Chinese restaurant, and will read stories about Chinese food and do themed crafts.
If you’ve never participated in the Galesburg NEA Big Read before, we hope you’ll pick up a copy of Interior Chinatown, and attend a book discussion or craft event! If you are a regular Big Read attendee, we can’t wait to show you what we have in store for this year. If you have any questions about the Big Read, contact Eileen Castro at email@example.com or 309-343-6118 ext. 6. The NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.
From the publisher: “Wear your heart on your sleeve.” That’s the saying. But in BONDING, people wear their anxiety on their chests – in the form of a parasite that shows everyone just what you’re feeling on the inside …
Last month at the regular Teen Advisory Board meeting, some members took a moment to share their favorite books. Check out their thoughts — and check one out today!