GPL Blog

Staff Picks — Emily

This week I’m bringing a little variety to the staff picks section, with five diverse titles showcasing my wide range of tastes. From poetry to drama to true crime, there’s something here for everyone! Visit the library, give us a call or search the catalog to put one of these great books on hold today.

A FORTUNE FOR YOUR DISASTER by Hanif Abdurraqib
Hanif’s second poetry collection, a follow-up to The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, is “a book of poems about how one rebuilds oneself after heartbreak, the kind that renders them a different version of themselves than the one they knew.” Known for both his poetry and his non-fiction writing, Hanif is one of my favorite writers of all time. His talent for pairing difficult, emotional internal struggles with cultural touchstones (like Michael Jordan, Nikola Tesla, and…

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Book Review | Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing by Lauren Hough

From the publisher: As an adult, Lauren Hough has had many identities: an airman in the U.S. Air Force, a cable guy, a bouncer at a gay club. As a child, however, she had none. Growing up as a member of the infamous cult The Children of God, Hough had her own self robbed from her. The cult took her all over the globe — to Germany, Japan, Texas, Ecuador — but it wasn’t until her mother finally walked away that Lauren understood she could have a life beyond “The Family.”

Along the way, she’s loaded up her car and started over, trading one life for the next. She’s taken pilgrimages to the sights of her youth, been kept in solitary confinement, dated a lot of women, dabbled in drugs, and eventually found herself as what she always wanted to be: a writer. Here, as she sweeps through the underbelly of America–relying…

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Book Review | Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters

From the publisher: Reese almost had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York City, a job she didn’t hate. She had scraped together what previous generations of trans women could only dream of: a life of mundane, bourgeois comforts. The only thing missing was a child. But then her girlfriend, Amy, detransitioned and became Ames, and everything fell apart. Now Reese is caught in a self-destructive pattern: avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men.

Ames isn’t happy either. He thought detransitioning to live as a man would make life easier, but that decision cost him his relationship with Reese—and losing her meant losing his only family. Even though their romance is over, he longs to find a way back to…

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Book Review | Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune

From the publisher: When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he might really be dead. Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals, and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over. But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.

Wallace Price is dead. After spending 40 years of life devoting everything to work (at the expense of his marriage) and thinking only of himself, he had a heart attack and died on the…

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From the Archives — October 2021: Ghosts of Galesburg

It’s time once again for our annual Ghosts of Galesburg event!

If you’re not familiar, Ghosts of Galesburg is a walking tour through downtown Galesburg. We will visit significant sites in Galesburg history where a person from the city’s past will tell you about their life. The walk isn’t too long — usually less than a mile — and will include six stops. The tour will begin at the library at 6:30 PM on October 25. If you would like to attend but are unable to walk, there are limited spots on a tram available. Call us at (309) 343-6118 or email reference@galesburglibrary.org to reserve your spot!

Can’t make the event? Don’t worry, we’ll have an online version as well. Beginning October 26, a virtual version of the tour will be available on our website. You’ll be able to click…

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From the Archives — September 2021

In the last of our series on library history, we’re going to talk about the library’s current building, from its construction to today. We’ll touch on the limitations of this building and how our new facility will benefit all members of the community.

When the Carnegie Library burnt down in 1958, the library board was unsure of the best way to proceed. A temporary library was established on North Cherry Street while they decided. Some members of the community advocated for rebuilding the Carnegie Library in its original form, but this idea was ultimately scrapped because the design of the building would be limited and it would be more costly than building a new library.

In December of 1959, the board decided to use the $240,000 of insurance money received…

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From the Archives — August 2021

Last month, we learned all about the earliest iterations of the Galesburg Public Library, from the Young Men’s Literary Society to the first building at 221 E. Main Street. This month, we’ll learn about the next phase in our library’s story: The Carnegie Era.

As the city grew in the late 19th century, the library quickly outgrew the building on Main Street. Beginning in 1883, businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie donated money to cities all over the world to build public libraries. In 1901, Carnegie offered Galesburg $50,000 to build a new library, as long as the city agreed to maintain it. An additional $12,500 was raised via tax levy, and library construction began.

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Book Review | Memorial Drive by Natasha Trethewey

From the Publisher: At age nineteen, Natasha Trethewey had her world turned upside down when her former stepfather shot and killed her mother. Grieving and still new to adulthood, she confronted the twin pulls of life and death in the aftermath of unimaginable trauma and now explores the way this experience lastingly shaped the artist she became.

The story of Greek priestess Cassandra isn’t the most well-known of ancient tales. In an effort to woo Cassandra, the god Apollo gave her the gift of clairvoyance, but when Cassandra turned down Apollo’s advances, he turned that gift into a curse: she could see the future, but no one would believe her prophecies. When Natasha Trethewey was a…

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From the Archives — July 2021

As we continue planning and preparing for the new Galesburg Public Library building, we’re also looking back to the library’s history in Galesburg and how we’ve served the community for more than 150 years.

In 1858, Knox professor (and later acting president) Albert Hurd donated a collection of books to form the Young Men’s Literary Society. The collection was housed in the public high school until the city passed an ordinance in 1874 and a free public library was created. The same year, the first library board was established. Nine men were appointed to help build and maintain the library. The next year, the first librarian, Mrs. F.A. Smith, was hired. …

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Book Review | Fake Accounts by Lauren Oyler

From the Publisher: On the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration, a young woman snoops through her boyfriend’s phone and makes a startling discovery: he’s an anonymous internet conspiracy theorist, and a popular one at that. Suddenly left with no reason to stay in New York, our unnamed narrator flees to Berlin, embarking on her own cycles of manipulation in the deceptive spaces of her daily life, from dating apps to expat meetups, open-plan offices to bureaucratic waiting rooms.

With the announcement of her debut novel, Lauren Oyler expected divisive reactions; she’s a literary and cultural critic, who has had her share of controversial takes over the years. Oyler has said she has a problem with the “moral obviousness of contemporary…

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