Libi’s Library: Unboxing Video

Want to see what books I’ll be delivering to Little Free Libraries around Nashville? Check out the selection in the video below:

And if you don’t know the story, take a look at this post to learn more about Libi’s Library!

Libi’s Library

By: Angie Haddock

I know social media gets a bad rep sometimes – it can definitely be a drain on our brain power, right? But somedays, I am amazed at the wonderfulness I randomly come across! Such is the case with Libi’s Library, which came to my attention through Instagram.

Elizabeth “Libi” Jane Upshaw died on March 21, 2020 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Libi loved playing piano, snuggling her pomeranians, growing plants, drinking coffee, phone calls with her daughter, relaxing on the back porch with her husband and most of all, cutting hair. When it came to hair styling, Libi was one of the best in the business for over 40 years.

Libi also loved reading books! Her favorites were mystery and thriller. Over the years, she collected hundreds of books and enjoyed sharing them with others. She even kept a “library” in the back of her salon for her friends to check out.

Her daughter, Mallory, says that what most people don’t realize about her mom is “how incredibly brave, strong, and selfless she was. She was diagnosed with small-cell carcinoma in July 2018. We suspect she had been sick for some time prior to that but she had spent the last several years caring for her dad who lived in a nursing facility with Alzheimer’s. She rarely missed a day to visit him… She continued to work as much as she could until about a month before she died. In fact, she was on hospice and very frustrated with me because I ‘wouldn’t let her work.’ “

After her death, Libi’s husband kept her hardcover books. Mallory inherited the paperbacks – to the tune of 1,147 books. She says, “I was devastated about the idea of them sitting in a box in my garage. However, I also knew that it wasn’t realistic space-wise for me to unpack and keep them.” So Mallory and her friends came up with Libi’s Library, as a way to share Libi’s love of reading.

People who hear about the books can contact Mallory through the website, or on social media. She ships books to them, with the understanding that the books will be distributed to local Little Free Libraries in the area. She usually sends about 10-20 books in a shipment and has books currently in 21 states. She hopes to have sent books to all 50 states by the end of the year. She has also received permission to start a Little Free Library at a local bakery near her house, so she’ll have her own location to keep stocked.

All the books have stickers on them telling Libi’s story. Libi’s books also have a gold star sticker. Mallory explains: “I would love to be able to continue to collect and share books in her memory even after all of her books are distributed, but I wanted a way to identify which ones were actually hers.”

Be sure to follow along with Libi’s Library on Instagram and Facebook, so you can see all the places her books travel! If you find a book of Libi’s in your local Little Free Library, post about it and share the story. And if you’re around Nashville, keep an eye out for the books I’m dropping off in the area.

February is National Library Lover’s Month

By: Angie Haddock


February has a lot going on: Black History Month, Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, the Super Bowl. Among the many causes to stop and reflect, February is also a time to celebrate a place dear to most readers: the library!

A local library in Nashville.

For many of us, the library has been a great place to find new books, or learn new things. I know that my library system has been closed to the public since March of last year, though. They offer curbside service only, which still allows me to get books and movies – but no browsing.

I asked two of my librarian friends what these past months have been like for them and their libraries.


Missy works for the Memphis Public Library, as a Librarian Assistant specializing in tween programming.

Q: Is your library currently open, closed, or something in between?:

A: We are open with limited capacity, shortened hours, rotating schedule, no in person programming or meetings.

One of Missy’s take-home crafts!

Q: How has your specific job been affected by the changes your library has had to institute this past year?:

A: I implemented a successful take home craft program across the library system with grant money that may continue post-COVID.

Q: What (job-related) thing are you most looking forward to when things return to being fully open?:

A: I am most looking forward to hopefully hosting my big Harry Potter Halloween bash that got cancelled. Other programs are special too, but I really want this one to happen this year.

Q: What’s something you’ve read this past year that you’d recommend?:

A: “Know My Name” by Chanel Miller and “They Called Us Enemy” by George Takei. My recommendations aren’t entirely reflective of what I usually read, but I’d also like to shout out anything under the “Rick Riordan presents” banner.


Theresa works as an Adult Programming Clerk for a countywide library system in Ohio.

Q: Is your library currently open, closed, or something in between?:

A: Currently open–depending on whether or not our county has a stay-at-home order in place. No meetings or in person programming. When the buildings are closed to the public, we still have staff answering the phones, providing reference assistance, offering curbside or drive through pick ups, and we recently added individual laptop reservations–because so much of what the library provides now is computer and internet access, so someone could reserve a block of time to use a laptop in an enclosed meeting room for school work, job searches, meetings, etc.

Q: How has your specific job been affected by the changes your library has had to institute this past year?:

A: Because my department plans programming and author events for the entire county library system, it’s been a big shift from in-person programs to virtual. Last year there were several months of different teams trying to figure out the best platforms for different kinds of programming. Looking ahead, we’re planning to have a full schedule of programming for our spring season–but everything will be virtual for now. But it’s raised questions about how to provide equity and access for people who don’t have internet at home to participate. So many people use the library primarily as their sole source of computer and internet access. I think most libraries have worked on boosting their wi-fi signal so that when buildings are closed, people can at least access the internet from the parking lots any time of day.

Q: What (job-related) thing are you most looking forward to when things return to being fully open?:

A: I think it will be great to be able to host in-person programming again–there are some limitations to virtual that you’re never going to be able to overcome without being in the same room. But I also think virtual programming is here to stay in some form–although it limits some people, it opens opportunities up for others. There was one instance with someone who has a hearing disability and was not going to do a workshop any longer, but then realized that the virtual version of the workshop actually made the program more accessible because it was easier to hear the group conversation through speakers or earbuds. Everything we can’t do right now is frustrating, but I really think that what we’ve learned from adapting to COVID is going to bring more options to life in a post-COVID world.

Q: What’s something you’ve read this past year that you’d recommend?:

Read more N.K. Jemisin

A: NK Jemisin’s “How Long ‘Til Black Future Month” is a vivid collection of short stories that really shows her range–hard sci-fi, fantasy, magical realism, historical, and a couple stories I can only describe as “culinary fantasy” (yeah, it’s gonna make you hungry).

And I’m in the middle of “The Overstory by Richard Powers right now. I feel like I was a little late to this one–everyone was talking about it 2 years ago, but no one could really describe it beyond saying something like, “It’s a novel about trees. I can’t explain it but it’s amazing.” It’s gut-punchingly emotional, and at the same time, makes me want to do everything I can in my little corner to save the world.


Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Swap books easily with Bookpo.st

By: Angie Haddock

January is a time for making resolutions, and often those involve cleaning and organizing our spaces. If you’re a reader, your resolutions may have also involved setting a reading goal for 2021. Book swapping may just be a fun way to help you with both of those goals!

Late in 2020, I was introduced to a site called Bookpo.st. The man who started the site, Julian Baker, had the idea many years ago. Staying at home during quarantine finally gave him the time to sit down and work on the idea of a book-swap website. Being at home more meant that some people were also reading more, so it was the perfect time to bring the idea to life.

The site launched in June, and already has a few hundred members. Most of the active members are English-speaking right now – in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. Members list books they want to swap, and can peruse books posted by other members. You can look based on your tastes, or just look at books in your country (for cheaper shipping!).

The site is free to use, and the shipping costs of sending someone a book is the only cost you would incur from making a swap.

Baker says of the site:

“We connect people who share a taste for particular books, authors and genres. We want people to be able to take a gamble when picking a book, because they trust and understand the other person’s taste. We want to link people and expand their reading worlds.

I know of two friendships now that have started because of us, actual meet for coffee type friendships, not just online. So gratifying!”

I did one swap before the holidays, and the cost of sending a (pretty thick) book via US media mail was $3.30. So, if you do find a book you want, it could be a pretty cheap way to get your hands on it!

Right now the site is available on desktop or mobile, but an app is in the works. You can also see the newest books added via the site’s instagram account.

Angie’s next mission: Welcome to the future

By: Angie Haddock

Welcome to 2021! (And it couldn’t come too soon, right?)

For the last half year, I had set myself a challenge of reading a biography a month. I did a little more than that, as I actually reviewed eight of them for this blog.

But, I did like the idea of working through one theme at a time – even if I still do read other books at the same time. So, I have set myself a new goal for January – June of this year: Diverse Sci-Fi.

Science Fiction was one of my first loves, and I read quite a bit when I was a teen. In recent years, I’ve heard a lot about various authors writing within the Afrofuturism sphere – admittedly, I heard about a lot of them through listening to the Levar Burton Reads podcast.

(Momentary break to recognize what a legend he is, in both reading and sci-fi.)

So my list of authors to read from this subgenre has grown. Time to tackle that list!

I have not decided which books I’ll be reading every month yet, but I do know that I’ll be starting with “Binti,” by Nnedi Okorafor. I’m also reading this one along with some friends, which may provide me with some good conversations and thoughts beyond my own. Also, I will probably tag these entries as “diverse sff” because, having not picked the titles, I am not ruling out some fantasy titles.

Have you read any great Sci-Fi or Fantasy titles lately? Any favorite authors within those genres? Are any of them minorities, or authors from other countries? Let us know in the comments!

“French Exit” by Patrick Dewitt-Review

By: Kota


★★★★☆

A realistic and heartfelt comedy, French Exit is bound to draw you in. Written by Patrick Dewitt, this novel will make you laugh and cry and gain a new perspective on both wealth and mortality. 

Witty yet dark, humorous yet sobering, Patrick Dewitt’s French Exit is a must-read that shows the ups, downs, and oddities of a certain mother-son relationship. Aptly named, French Exit is the tale of what happens when mother Frances and son Malcolm become bankrupt and escape to Paris. Right with them is a character who later becomes my favorite, Frances’ independent cat, whom she swears is a reincarnation of her husband. With Frances’ egotistical attitude and Malcolm’s childish ways, this book is a rollercoaster from start to finish. I enjoyed the insight into what it would be like to flaunt the last of my money marching around Paris, taking in the sights and later becoming engrossed in life after money. The character developments, even that of the cat’s, are ones to be praised as well. Heralded as a classic dark comedy, Dewitt creates an exciting, hilarious, and of course, a sometimes sad situation out of something anyone could experience- poverty. 

Introducing Kota, Our Newest Reviewer!

It’s been a few months since we last shook things up over here, and now we’re doing it again!

To learn more about Kota Whitacre, check out her official bio over at our “Meet Us” page.

For fun, though, we thought we’d introduce Kota with one of those silly book surveys – like the type people do on social media, but with all bookish questions.

Kota and Loki

Author you’ve read the most books from: Shari Lapena

Currently Reading: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Drink of Choice While Reading: Black tea

E-reader or Physical Book? Physical

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School: Percy Jackson

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance: Animal Farm– George Orwell

Hidden Gem Book: The Shore of Women-Pamela Sargent

Important Moment in your Reading Life: The very first time I stepped into a library as a child

Just Finished: Miss you-Kate Eberlen

Number of Bookcases You Own: 3

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times: The Girl With All the Gifts-M.R Carey

Preferred Place To Read: In bed with my dog

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books: The Rosie Project– Graeme Simsion, French Exit-Patrick Dewitt, Miss you- Kate Eberlen

Worst Bookish Habit: Starting more than one book at once

Your latest book purchase: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest- Ken Kesey

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late): The Stranger– Harlan Coben

Look for Kota’s first review soon!


Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Challenge Accepted: Angie’s first mission


BY: ANGIE HADDOCK


If you’re an avid reader, you’ve probably seen memes poking fun at buying “too many books.” It’s a habit some of us have, even if we have a bunch piled up that we haven’t read yet.

When I think about the idea of “Reading Our Shelves,” that’s what it makes me think of: the idea that I need to tackle some of the books already on my shelf (or my TBR list) before I dig into more new ones! 

To that end, I went through my collection this weekend. My mission was to find at least 6 books of the same genre that I hadn’t read yet. I would give myself the challenge, for the purpose of this blog, to read 6 books in 6 months that were already on my shelves. I found that I had a plethora of biographies (some autobiographies, some not) on hand, so I am going to pull from this pile for this challenge.

So many biographies to choose from…

I’ve also created a shelf on Goodreads of the biographies (and memoirs) I’ve read already, if anyone is interested.

I’d love for you to join me!  Ok, you don’t have to read the same books I’ll be reading.  But give yourself the challenge of going through your shelves and digging out the things you meant to read and haven’t made time for yet.  Let me know if you uncover anything exciting!

Meet Us!

Brittany Lewis, Founder

About me? My name is Brittany and I work as a 1:1 paraeducator in a self-contained special education classroom. I work in a middle school. Everyday is different and everyday is an adventure. This means that every night I need to unwind and my way of unwinding is reading. By reading I mean laying down and putting on an audiobook because I am too tired to read, but the book gets exciting and wakes me up so I can’t sleep. Reading, it’s a double-edged sword . . .

Lots of the book I read are YA, but lately I’ve gotten into Adult Romance novels because Jay McClean hooked me in with her “More Than” series which lead me down a rabbit whole with Penelope Douglas, and now I’m reading Erin Watt’sRoyals” books. . . A bit of a mixed bag with some of those, but overall I’m enjoying the change from reading only Holly Black, Cassandra Clare and Scott Westerfeld – who I will love forever and can’t wait for their next books to come out.

I started Reading Our Shelves to challenge myself to think more critically about what I’m reading rather than just moving onto a new book after I finish my current one. I keep my Goodreads up-to-date and give star ratings, but I don’t write why I thought that. That’s were Reading Our Shelves comes in. Nisha and I will go through out Goodreads shelves – and our real bookshelves – and put those thoughts behind the stars out there for others to read and ultimately enjoy.

Thank you for joining us on this journey and if there’s a book on your shelf you want us to try leave it in the comments 🙂


Angie Haddock, Reviewer & Social Media Maven

Hello my name is Angie. I read a lot as a tween/teen, and then stopped reading for fun when I was in college.  A lot of us probably go through that “burned-out” phase. It took me a while to get back into it.  In my mid-twenties, I spent a lot of time in the wicked worlds of Gregory Maguire, or with the snappy dialog of Elmore Leonard. I credit two books for turning me on to non-fiction: “Life Itself” by Roger Ebert and “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot.

Now I read a lot of non-fiction: memoirs/biographies, self-help, spiritual, socio-political stuff, and a few books about parenting/kids. I also still read fiction, to keep myself sane – historical fiction, sci-fi, and diverse literature are some favorites. Feel free to take a look at my Goodreads!

Other loves include watching soccer, drinking tea, eating ice cream, and doing yoga.


Kota Whitacre, Reviewer

About Kota: Originally from San Francisco, I moved to Washington state at the age of 12. Reading has been a passion and hobby of mine for as long as I can remember. Even before I could read, I was pretending to, to an audience of stuffed animals.

I am currently in college, with a plan to major in English and minor in philosophy. My dream is to be a travel writer, or a book critic. When I’m not reading or doing school work, I like to explore nature with my pit mix Loki. 

Though I tend to read mainly mystery/thrillers, I hope to expand. I have so many books I can’t wait to read, and I’m excited to share my reviews with you.

Welcome to Reading Our Shelves

This is a book review blog. Our authors Brittany and Nisha love to read and to talk about what they’ve read. That love gave birth to Reading Our Shelves. Our goal is to go through our shelves and read as many as we can and share our opinions with you. There’s so many books out there and we’re here to help you chose which ones to add to your own shelf.


Processing…
Success! You're on the list.