Happy May! As many of you know, we are quickly approaching our annual Summer Reading Program (Yay! Get hyped!). To get us ready for two months of fun reading activities and friendly competition, why not participate in May’s “Get Caught Reading Month” celebration? The idea is to encourage reading, bring awareness to the many benefits of reading, and to indulge literature by getting lost between a book's pages. So really, it’s like a pre-summer reading program.
Over the years, researchers have recorded a decline in reading and reading habits. According to an article posted by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, “The percentage of American adults who read at least one book for pleasure in the previous year fell to the lowest level on record in 2017 (below 53%). The greatest decline in book-reading rates occurred among adults under the age of 55”. And it isn’t just adults that are experiencing this decline in reading, but children and teens as well. According to the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance, the number of 9-13 year-olds who regularly read for fun “[has] dropped from nearly a decade ago and are at the lowest levels since at least the mid-1980s”. And while some of these findings are concerning, we understand that there are many different reasons why this could be.
What are some of the positives of reading? Though I have always been a fan of all things bookish, I know that it can be hard for people to get into reading. So what are some of the benefits?
- Reading reduces stress by up to 68%. Now that is something I can get behind!
- With a decrease in stress comes an increase in sleep. Studies show that reading routinely before bedtime helps improve sleep.
- Reading increases memory and boosts analytical skills.
- Speed reading helps eyesight.
- Reading can boost vocabulary learning by up to 12,000 words a year.
- Reading helps increase empathy towards others...sometimes as much as 83%. Empathy can be helpful in day-to-day and personal relationships. It can also be instrumental in the workforce.
Currently sponsored by Every Child a Reader, the Get Caught Reading Campaign was started in 1999 by the Association of American Publishers. The campaign takes place all year long, while Get Caught Reading Month focuses on May. The goal is to get people excited about reading and, through reading, become knowledgeable individuals who can change the world and make it a better place. These are ideas and goals that I think all of us can and want to get behind. And with all of the included benefits, it's hard not to at least want to experiment with reading, right?
So, want to find ways to be a part of this movement? The library is a great place to begin your reading journey! Though books, reading, and literacy are a big part of our daily life, we want this to be an experience you can enjoy. Here are some fun ways to get you started:
- Take & share a selfie of you and/or your most recent read. You can either keep it to yourself, send it to a friend (challenge them to get in on the reading action!), or share it to your social media with the tag #getcaughtreading.
- Grab a reading buddy. Many of my friends and I find that we read more/get more out of our reading experience when we share it with others. Sometimes this means setting time aside to hang out while you read different books and sometimes reading the same book together and going over it afterward. Either way, what fun!
- Book swap! Swap your favorite stories with a friend, family member, or neighbor. I love recommending my favorite titles to others and I always feel touched and excited when I learn that they actually read them.
- Visit the library: The library has a wide variety of books and services available to you. Why not stop by and see who you can catch reading there? And while you are there, check out some of the fun activities that are going on! Like the Book Bingo cards being featured in the Adult Services department.
Don’t know what to read? Never fear! Here is a list of some of my favorite books. If you love them, let me know! I love hearing from you.
Achilles, "the best of all the Greeks," son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary king Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful, irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods' wrath.
They are trained by the centaur Chiron in the arts of war and medicine, but when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the cruel Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice. -from Goodreads
Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.
Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything—including her own life.
"Esther is a stowaway. She's hidden herself away in the Librarian's book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her-a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda. The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing"-- Provided by publisher.
Reluctant Immortals is a historical horror novel that looks at two men of classic literature, Dracula and Mr. Rochester, and the two women who survived them, Bertha and Lucy, who are now undead immortals residing in Los Angeles in 1967 when Dracula and Rochester make a shocking return in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco.
After she has served a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, Crown Prince Dorian offers eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien her freedom on the condition that she act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone. A convict with a thirst for revenge. A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager. A runaway with a privileged past. A spy known as the Wraith. A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction-- if they don't kill each other first.
"In just over a year's time, Ryia Cautella has already earned herself a reputation as the quickest, deadliest blade in the dockside city of Carrowwick--not to mention the sharpest tongue. But Ryia Cautella is not her real name. For the past six years, a deadly secret has kept her in hiding, running from town to town, doing whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of the formidable Guildmaster--the sovereign ruler of the five kingdoms of Thamorr. No matter how far or fast she travels, his servants never fail to track her down... but even the most powerful men can be defeated. Ryia's path now leads directly into the heart of the Guildmaster's stronghold, and against every instinct she has, it's not a path she can walk alone. Forced to team up with a crew of assorted miscreants, smugglers, and thieves, Ryia must plan her next moves very carefully. If she succeeds, her freedom is won once and for all... but unfortunately for Ryia, her new allies are nearly as selfish as she is, and they all have plans of their own..."--Dust jacket flap.
An in-depth portrait of the classic-rock artist covers her role in the stardom of Fleetwood Mac, the affairs that inspired her greatest songs, her struggles with addiction, and her successful solo career.
Her palace shimmered with onyx, garnet, and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator. Though her life spanned fewer than forty years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world. She was married twice, each time to a brother. She waged a brutal civil war against the first when both were teenagers. She poisoned the second. Cleopatra appears to have had sex with only two men. They happen, however, to have been Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, among the most prominent Romans of the day. Cleopatra had a child with Caesar and—after his murder—three more with his protégé. Already she was the wealthiest ruler in the Mediterranean; the relationship with Antony confirmed her status as the most influential woman of the age. The two would together attempt to forge a new empire, in an alliance that spelled their ends. In a masterly return to the classical sources, Stacy Schiff here boldly separates fact from fiction to rescue the magnetic queen whose death ushered in a new world order. Rich in detail, epic in scope, Schiff’s is a luminous, deeply original reconstruction of a dazzling life.
Dark Archives: A Librarian's Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin by Megan Rosenbloom
"A medical librarian presents a fascinating, terrifying look into history's rarest books-- those bound in human skin-- and the stories of their creation and collection"-- Provided by publisher.
World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
"From beloved, award-winning poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil comes a debut work of nonfiction-a collection of essays about the natural world, and the way its inhabitants can teach, support, and inspire us"-- Provided by publisher.
"Fungi can appear anywhere, from desert dunes to frozen tundra. They can invade our bodies and live between our toes or our floorboards. They are unwelcome intruders or vastly expensive treats, and symbols of both death and eternal life. But despite their familiar presence, there's still much to learn about the eruption, growth, and decay of their secret, interconnected, world"-- Provided by publisher