by Isaac Asimov
Turtleback Books .1950, 304 pgs, Science Fiction
Set in the future Isaac Asimov gives 3 rules for robots to follow:
“1.A Robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.”
Asimov takes us through the life progression of the robot through stories that he has interlinked to each other. This progression starts from the primitive stage to the not so distant future. Will the human race even be needed in this distant future?
This is also a book that I have been wanting to read. The different stories telling the stories of the robot and it’s beginning to the current status is fascinating. It also makes me wonder what the future actually holds and will we have robots that have their own laws that they have to follow?
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
by Anne Fadiman
Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 1997. 352 pgs. Biography
The story centers around Lia Lee, who is the young daughter of a Hmong family living in California during the late 80s. Lia was diagnosed with severe epilepsy at a very young age, having her first seizure when she was just a few months old. Her parents did not speak english and during this time there were very few, if any, Hmong translators. So, due to Hmong beliefs, differing cultures, miscommunication and lack of understanding, Lias' condition worsens even though her parents and American doctors want what is best for her.
I have read many books while going to ISU and this book is the one that I enjoyed reading the most. It was both interesting and frustrating seeing the clashing of two cultures, western medicine vs Hmong traditional medical treatment, while a child unfortunately gets caught in the middle of it. There are no heroes or villains, black or white, just a sea of gray. The times I agreed with her doctors and not her parents were equal to the times I agreed with her parents and not her doctors. This is the type of book that remains with you well after you have finished reading it.
Wait Till Helen Comes
by Mary Downing Hahn
Sandpiper 1986, 192 pgs, Scary/Suspenseful
Molly and Michael get a new little step sister Heather, when their mother remarries. They move to an old church in Maryland where Heather is always trying to get Molly and Michael into trouble making herself the favorite. This becomes Molly and Michael’s least concern when Heather has made a new friend on the property that Heather claims her new friend will take care of Molly and Michael, when she should have been concerned about herself and the plans that her new friend has for her.
This was and still is one of my favorite books from childhood. I still remember picking it up and looking at the cover like what is this about and then reading it and going wow that’s a good book. Mary Hahns writing style is easy to follow and builds an imaginable image of where these kids live and where they are at. This story of a blended family and how they end up bonding is amazing and I love it!
Available on Overdrive
Have you ever had trouble matching your reader with a book? Or are you looking for a book for yourself? If you haven’t heard of Novelist, let me introduce you to it. Novelist is a database that is accessed through our webpage and Lili.org database. After verifying your city and zip code, this works for Pocatello as well, you can search for Novelist or you can use the alphabet keys and hit N. Through lili.org there are two options for Novelist, there is Novelist Plus K-8, which is geared towards grades K-8, and then Novelist Plus which is for all ages. I will be talking about Novelist Plus. I am the first to admit that I hadn’t looked at Novelist due to the fact that I use other platforms to look for books. It never hurts to have more than one platform to look at but I have learned that I do like Novelist more than others because there are some important key differences with this one.
Novelist has information for the Accelerated Reader (AR) program and the Lexiles that opens up in another window. That information is accessed by going to the “How do I” link and choosing “Find books by grade or reading level.” There are so many different options for how to look for books through this site. You can check out the videos on our youtube channel that will help walk you through accessing the database and doing some basic and advanced searching. I would highly recommend browsing through this site and taking advantage of what it has to offer.
by Patricia Briggs
Ace. 2015. 464 pgs. Urban Fantasy
If you like Patricia Briggs or Urban Fantasy in general this is a fun collection of short stories set in the Mercyverse. Patricia Briggs compiles some of her short stories and brings greater depth to certain characters. It also includes scenes that did not fit into the story flow of her other books.
I really loved this book because I love that it gives backstory to some of my favorite characters. I have always enjoyed behind the scenes and deleted scenes in movies and I love how she brings these elements to the stories and characters that I love. Personally, my favorite stories in this collection are Roses in Winter and Redemption. They both add depth to my favorite characters and I really enjoy them
The Hero and the Crown
by Robin Mckinley
Greenwillow Books. 1984, 256 pgs. Young Adult Fantasy
Aerin is the princess in the land of Damar. She has always been awkward and clumsy and the nobility at court have never turned down an opportunity to undermine her. Due to the rumors about Aerin’s mother being a witch from the north there has been a lot of suspicions about her role in the royal family. Aerin goes through this phase of learning how to prove herself to her and her people. During the story Aerin really grows and it is beautiful to watch.
I loved this book it is now one of my favorites even though it took me well over a decade to bring myself to finish it. I started by reading the Blue Sword which is one of my favorites and this book compiles the history of the legend of Lady Aerin. This book was absolutely delightful and takes you on the emotional highs and lows as Aerin faces obstacles in her life.
-available on Overdrive
Hey y’all. Life is so crazy right now. But did you know we have some crazy awesome database resources? Now I know what you are thinking “Databases, meh I don’t need that”. Kay but really though these data bases are so much fun and so useful! So I am going to give you guys a list of 10 of my favorite databases.
Overdrive/ Libby: This is my absolute favorite app/ database. This is by far the app that I use the most there are so many books that you can check out and we are constantly buying more so that you have more books to choose from. Personally, my favorite thing about this app is the audiobooks I am constantly listening to audiobooks so I can get other things done at the same time. Also did you know that the audiobooks have a feature so you can speed up the narrators. There are some of the narrators who read so slowly. I listen to all my audiobooks at 1.25 speed.
Consumer Reports: This app is so useful I use it all the time when I am considering buying electronics or appliances. And guess what it is free! Normally it is so expensive to use this site and its information, but we get to use it with our library card information for free.
Chilton Library: This website is so useful for so many different car issues. You can look up the make and model and year of your car and then have access to the Chilton manual. This is great for all of you mechanically inclined people who have the talent to fix things yourselves.
Free Driving Tests: For everyone who is a teen/ has a teen at home did you know you can access practice driving exams from your house and then you don’t have to pay for the exam multiple times. Then your driving students get the opportunity to practice and get acquainted.
Lili.org: Now this database is literally thousands in one so the following databases are found through this link.
Novelist: This database is literally the best thing ever. If you need book recommendations and cannot get ahold of one of our amazing librarians, because lets be honest we love to give book recommendations, you can type in your favorite book, author, or book series and it will give you read-alikes based off of that information.
Tumble Books: Do you have littles at home who need to read? This is a wonderful database of free children’s books. During this COVID-19 outbreak it is free for us to use. Another reason it is great, it also has all of the AR book information on the site so you don’t have to go looking for it on your own.
Teen Book Cloud: Basically a Young Adult library you can read online. During this COVID-19 outbreak it is free for us to use. It is so much fun, all you need is a browser to read the books. It has so many fun titles and is
World Book Kids: This site is amazing all the time but especially when everyone is home. It takes the wonderful information of the World Book Encyclopedia and it simplifies it so children are better able to understand the information presented and if you have anyone who needs to resources for a report it includes the citation information.
World Book Student: This site is an awesome resource for students who are working on their reports. All of the sources have been verified and they include more detailed information .
So I don't know about you but I feel like all of my peeps are getting puppies or new dogs (with the exception of the friend who just got a new bunny). As awesome as all of these puppies are...I can't get one... yet. :) So to stave off the inevitable puppy fever I thought I would share with you some fantastic doggos and their expressions and relate them to all my book nerd troubles.
When you finish a book and the next one doesn’t come out for a year. (Are you waiting for Patrick Rothfuss too?)
When you haven’t eaten all day and your book starts talking about food.
When you convince your friends to read your favorite book.(Muahahaha also Patricia Briggs is amazing.)
Don’t judge me for my book choice. (Children's Lit is the best!!!)
When you are too tired to finish your book.
When your littles are engrossed in your favorite childhood book. (Audrey Wood anyone?)
When someone won’t leave you alone while you are reading.
When your favorite character dies. ( The trauma! Personally Hedwig will always be alive for me)
When you have been reading for days and you finally come up for air. (But I finished the series!)
When you are halfway through the book and someone spoils the end. (Kay so maybe not my face but the face of many I love.)
Now in the process of coming up with the best list we also discovered that the worst list is actually really long. No but really though, it is a honking list filled with all sorts of cads who are abso-freaking-lutely bonkers. These love interests leave you cringing with the level of crazy they are.
Edward Rochester from Charlotte Brönte’s Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre is literally my favorite book of all time, so it might seem weird that the male love interest is NOT my favorite. I love the novel because of Jane and her commitment to her moral code and the way she stands up for herself even when it causes her some emotional pain. So much love for Jane!
Rochester, however, is a bag of cats [insert other slightly derogatory but appropriate name]. He is dark and brooding and angry pretty much all the time. He is secret about the weird noises and things happening in his house. And, oh yeah, that one time his bed was lit on fire and Jane had to save him? Totally not related to the other creepy things. Not at all.
****For complete spoilers continue, to save yourself some surprise, skip this next part****
He pretends to be a gypsy to get Jane to reveal her secrets. Really?! He couldn’t just ask?! And-- Bonus-- He neglected to tell Jane about his *literally* crazy first wife he has locked up in the attic until his and Jane’s wedding day. Which, by the way, would have been illegitimate because he was still technically married to his first wife. Prime example of a lack of communication. And lies. And deception. Good job, Edward. You made the worst list.
Mr. Collins from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen is amazing at writing believable, loveable characters (Mr. Darcy). This also makes her fantastic at writing the worst characters, including Mr. Collins. The situation is that Mr. Bennett and his wife have five daughters who, by virtue of being female in a misogynistic era, cannot inherit Mr. Bennett’s money or estate. That will all go to Mr. Collins -- a cousin or some such-- when Mr. Bennett dies, which could be any day in those times. Not gettin’ any younger. So Mr. Collins decides to marry one of the Bennett girls because he is positive that he is quite the catch. Seriously, he is the most boring and oblivious man in the entire novel and he thinks he is all that and a bag of chips! His proposal to Elizabeth sums him up quite well. Here is a paraphrase of that;
Collins: You should marry me
Elizabeth: I’m not going to marry you
Collins: *refuses to accept that no means no*
Collins: *lists the reasons why she should marry him like he is trying to sell insurance door to
Collins: And you are pretty, but poor, so those kind of cancel out and most likely no one else is
going to ask to marry you ever again.
In summation, Mr. Collins is a socially obtuse fellow who is so sure he is the ideal man that someone could only refuse to marry him because she is playing hard to get. And did I mention that he thinks women are kind of dim? Because, misogyny
Willoughby from Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility
Okay Willoughby is such an interesting toad. He seduces and impregnates Beth, a 15 year old girl. Leaves her, moves along on his merry life and runs into Marianne who twisted her ankle in the rain. We will put the fact that Marianne is 16 on the shelf (it is a representation of the age of the story blah blah blah). He courts Mariannne in the most scandalous way possible without actually getting her pregnant, ruins her name, is so close to proposing, but then his aunt finds out what he did to Beth and tells him to fix it, he refuses and then like any sane person his aunt promptly disowns him. He then ambiguously breaks up with Marianne claiming an extended business trip to London, and because he has a lifestyle to maintain he marries a wealthy woman whom he does not love.
And to put the cherry on the cream when Marianne is dying because he has been such a frog face he has the gall to go to Marianne’s older sister Elinor and whine about why his life is so hard because he is stuck with a rich woman he does not love.
Romeo Montague from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
Anyone who asks me knows that I detest the story of Romeo and Juliet. I had zero patience for it in the ninth grade and honestly it has not gotten better with age. First Romeo starts by professing undying love to Rosaline and then Juliet walks by and Rosaline promptly falls out of his brain. Then you get the argument that their love is deeper than anything anyone has ever known… if my eyes rolled harder they would fall out of my head.
Let's pretend for a moment there was true love between these two, just for fun. He risks dying to look at her… because he loves her… then in a passionate rage he goes off and kills his “true love’s” favorite cousin to avenge the death of a friend. Then when he thinks he has found his true love dead he promptly kills himself, which obviously makes everything all better.
Erik aka The Phantom from Gaston Leroux Phantom of the Opera
I definitely remember being 14 when Phantom of the Opera came out and really loving everything about it. Something that definitely came up is who would you pick Raoul or the Phantom? And at the time I was definitely team Phantom because let's be honest, Gerard Butler. Then getting older my opinion has changed.
Erik has a horribly tragic childhood, he was born deformed according to the original telling of the story and has never known physical affection even from his own mother which admittedly is enough to drive anyone bonkers. Fast forward to the present he creepy teaches Christine how to sing and then insists she performs at the opera house. Then when that did not work, because let's be honest that is not how real life functions, he sabotages the Prima Donna and causes the chandelier to fall and kills someone. He kidnaps Christine, when she sees his face decides he wants her around forever. She asks to leave after two weeks and he acquiesces to her request only if she wears his ring and is faithful.
When he spies on her and hears that she wants help escaping, he kidnaps her and traps Raoul in a torture chamber. Erik tries to force Christine to marry him, she agrees as long as he lets Raoul go. When the Phantom kisses her forehead and she kisses him back he becomes overwrought and emotional and sends Christine away only if she promises to come back and visit him on his death day because he is dying soon because… you guessed it, love.
Wickham from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
Wickham is a special sort of entitled, his father works for the Darcy family and Wickham, Fitzwilliam,Georgiana are all raised together and are like siblings. When Darcy Sr. dies he leaves Wickham a portion of the estate. Nice right? But Wickham has a gambling habit and in a short period of time blows through the money. What is his solution you might ask? Marry little sister Georgiana, and use her money when she is 15. Thankfully big brother steps in and intervenes saving her from a crappy relationship.
Then if that was not bad enough Wickham moves on to the Bennet family. He whines about how Darcy is so mean to him and does not like him. And then that turkey nose does a very similar thing to 15 year old Lydia. Fortunately Darcy steps in and saves Lydia and her family from ruin.
Arthur Huntingdon from Anne Bronte’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Alright this one y’all may not be as well acquainted with because this book was sabotaged but holy cheese this guy sucks. He is a manipulative, spoiled toad. When he is trying to get Helen to marry him he flirts with someone else to get her to move faster. She resolves to try to influence him by loving him out of his crappy habits (by the way this is a really bad plan). They have a son who is also named Arthur, and then Arthur senior gets jealous because guess what kids take a lot of time to raise.
Then one of Arthur’s friends starts flirting with Helen and lets her know about Arthur’s affair, then Arthur starts to publicly pine for his paramour and be publicly derisive of his wife.Also to be spiteful he gets his little child addicted to alcohol and coaches him to use foul language. Helen says “Fine, I am done, divorce me” he says no, she decides to leave and support herself by painting. He finds out because he read her journal and then proceeds to burn all her art supplies. And then dies of liver failure/falling from a horse...shucks.
Heathcliff from Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights
I find anti heroes an interesting concept they aren't actually anyone you would want to be like so I guess the moral of the story is this is how bad it can get. Move on from the hard things in your life before you trash your life and the lives of everyone around you? Sure.
Justifiably Heathcliff has a profoundly difficult life, he was found on the streets of Liverpool and taken in by this family, and in the beginning both Catherine and her brother Hinley resent him, but over time Catherine’s feelings soften and they grow to love each other. However Hinley continues to hate Heathcliff and when his father dies, Hinley treats Heathcliff like a servant and send him outside to work in the fields. Then Catherine grows up and, heaven forbid, she starts to have feelings for someone else. She ends up marrying the other guy and then Heathcliff pitches a fit and runs away for 3 years. Heathcliff comes back magically wealthy no one knows what he did to get money...and then he promptly is out to destroy everyone’s lives in the most crazy abusive way imaginable. And after he does that he starves himself to death. Such romance.
Runners Up (Mostly because it is a really really long list):
Sir Percy Blakeney ( Scarlet Pimpernel)
Sergeant Troy( Far From the Madding Crowd)
Jay Gatsby(The Great Gatsby)
Bill Sikes( Oliver)
John Rivers( Jane Eyre)
This was our list. Who are the love interests you absolutely cannot stand in classic literature?
We have discussed classic literature and romance in previous blog posts, and while we have touched upon some of the male characters, this blog post will be a more comprehensive list of best male love interests.
Gilbert Blythe from L.M. Montogomery’s Anne of Green Gables
Okay now Gilbert is one of my absolute favorite fiction crushes. Gilbert and Anne start on the wrong foot and it takes them a while before Anne is able to forgive Gilbert for calling her “Carrots”. But all throughout that time Gilbert works really hard to help Anne achieve her goals. He saves her when she gets stuck under the bridge when Anne’s misadventures go awry. He gives up the Avonlea school so she could stay with Marilla and really just grows into being a loving and devoted husband and father.
Colonel Brandon from Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility
Jane Austen is pretty much the reigning queen of classic romance, and true to an Austen hero, Colonel Brandon is the picture of patience and decency. His is also a tragic backstory! Once upon a time the Colonel loved Eliza. She didn’t return his feelings *of course* and he eventually ended up taking care of Eliza’s child, and as a heroic figure attempts to defend her honor and that of Marianne. Marianne of course, thinks he is old and uninteresting and takes the entirety of the book to realize that Colonel Brandon is sweet and awesome and superdy-duper patient and pretty much the best.
Fitzwilliam Darcy from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
Be still my beating heart! Fitzwilliam Darcy is arguably the best male love interest in Austen literature. He is also super relatable in a lot of ways: awkward, shy, resting angry face....And per usual it takes an entire novel for the heroine to recognize that he is the literal best. Admittedly, he is prideful at times throughout the novel and has some very rude family members (looking at you, Lady Catherine). This kind of makes him the perfect match for Elizabeth, though, because she is prideful and sassy and has some shockingly embarrassing family members. But back to Darcy! He tracks down her wayward sister, saves her family’s reputation, and doesn’t murder the dude who ran off with her little sister and had broken his little sister’s heart in the past. So….self- control.
Also when asked how he ever fell in love with Elizabeth, he says, “I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It was too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.” LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!
Theodore Laurence from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women
Teddy is so interesting because of his growth as a character. He starts out as an inattentive student but tries to be better because he likes Jo and wants her to like him too. Then when she is like “Nope!” when he proposes; he jumps off the moral deep end and starts exploring this world of male privilege and starts drinking, gambling, traveling, and flirting with anything with two legs. Then he runs into Amy who in all the awesomeness of a childhood friend calls him on his crap and tells him to grow up and make something of himself and he does and becomes the man that Amy deserves.
Captain Wentworth from Jane Austen’s Persuasion
I truly love Captain Wentworth. He is such a dependable personality because he works himself through the navy's ranks, makes his own fortune and makes a name for himself as opposed to all the spendy gambling dudes who just want to marry someone so they can spend and gamble some more. Backstory: He and Anne were on the verge of being engaged when they were both young before he worked through the ranks and became a captain, and the meddling neighbor next door ruined it. Then seven years later he comes back to visit his sister and her husband when they rent Anne’s father’s estate… series of events… blah blah blah, begins to realize Anne isn’t a prude and begins to get less mad that she rejected him. He overhears her telling his best friend why women tend to be more steadfast than men, joys of all the old rules of decorum.Then he madly starts writing her a letter basically says “ I have loved you for always, please look, nod… whatever you feel comfortable doing let me know how you feel, thumbs up lets be engaged, thumbs down I will never look at you or come around you again.”
Mr. Thornton from Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South
At the start of the novel, John Thornton is the kind of guy your mother hopes you marry: Rich, hard working, owns his own company, honest and respectable. But all that hard work and self-made-ness hardens him to the point where he is the kind of guy you want to punch and hug at the same time: a pug if you will. Or a hunch? Either way, he is prideful and penny pinching and not all-together super nice to Margaret or his employees at the beginning of the novel. Can he justify being a little grumpy, though? Yes.
Again, the relationship between Mr. Thornton and Margaret is full of misunderstandings and leaving and coming back and no small amount of work. They kind of fall in love without overtly stating “THEY ARE FALLING IN LOVE” which is pretty much how real life works, and I can appreciate this.
Faramir from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy
Tolkien is the master of backstories, and there is a THICK backstory with Faramir. The quick version is that Faramir is the son of a power-hungry madman who doesn’t like that his son (Faramir) is nice and kind and doesn’t like killing people. Weird, right? Faramir proves himself to be the opposite of his dad and was injured during a battle. He is sweet and sensitive and does his best to fight for that which he believes is right. Then, he meets this strong, independent woman who is “no man”, and loves her and lets her be her best self! He doesn’t relegate her to the fringes of things or tell her that her place is in the house like every other stinking person did. He is not saving Eowyn like some damsel in distress, but is her equal. And to add a little bit of gooey, “And he took her in his arms and kissed her under the sunlit sky, and he cared not that they stood high upon the walls in the sight of many.” CUTE!
Gabriel Oak from Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd
Gabriel Oak is such a solid character, now initially he got off on the wrong foot with Bathsheba but over the course of the story he continues to love her and support her as she goes through the struggles in her life. Gabriel experiences his own struggles over the course of the story and while he is rejected by his love and becomes penniless when his sheepdog runs his sheep off the edge of a cliff he does not allow these hard times to make him bitter or cruel. When Bathsheba marries another he respectfully backs off but he is there when she needs him.
These are our favorites. Feel free to comment below and tell us yours!
Looking for some inspiration on what to read next? Who better to ask then the people who work around books for a living!? Each month we will post a "staff picks" blog post written by one of our staff members. These posts will vary in genre, theme, age appropriateness, etc. If you have any requests on a genre or age category you would like to see, submit a comment here and we will get it on the list!