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@Your Library Book Blog

Welcome to our book blog for the Grand Forks Public Library.  @ Your Library Book Blog will feature discussions on book club books, new arrivals to the library, lists of read-a-likes, and other "bookish" information.  Feel free to make comments on posts; we'd like this blog to become an exchange of information and ideas. 

Mar 02

March Madness Book Battles!

Posted on March 2, 2017 at 4:50 PM by Mary Lorenz

March is here and madness is in the air!  Not college basketball madness (although I'm a big fan of that as well) but the North Dakota State Library's March Madness Book Battles that begin on March 13! This year's theme is books that have been made into movies. You can vote on the book battles on Facebook, you can vote via email, or you can print out the brackets and return them by email or postal mail to the North Dakota State Library. Here's how it works:

  • 64 books that fit the theme are chosen and randomly bracketed to battle against each other.
  • Everyday book battles will occur on Facebook (be sure to like and follow the State Library's Facebook page).
  • The book with the most votes at the end of day moves on to the next round.
  • If you'd like to vote via email you must indicate that somewhere on your bracket or in an email, with the email address you would like to use for the game.
  • The brackets can be printed and filled out or filled out online and emailed back to or mailed to the State Library.
  • Please return the brackets by March 10th if you want to be eligible to win an awesome prize.
  • The winner will be determined by who picks the last book standing. If more than one person picks the winning book, we will determine the winner by whose bracket had the most correct predictions.
  • Any ND resident can fill out a bracket and be eligible to win the prize.

Book Bracket

Dracula was the big winner last year, let's see which book wins this year!  Good luck!

Feb 14

Book Challenge!

Posted on February 14, 2017 at 4:18 PM by Mary Lorenz

Sometimes I get in a rut with my reading and tend to read the same types of books.  It's always good to challenge yourself to read outside of your comfort zone.  It broadens your thinking, perceptions, and ideas about life.  The members of the Great Reads Book Club, which I facilitate, say that our book club titles are books they wouldn't normally pick up and read.  And often they are not books I would read but I'm the one who chooses the books and so far I haven't chosen a book that I didn't think I would enjoy.  I do have one title this year that I'm not sure about, The Girls by Emma Cline, which we read in November.

If you want to broaden your reading choices, it can be as easy as picking up a different genre or conducting an online search for reading challenges.  Here are just a few of the ones I found on

Goodreads - if you're a Goodreads member, you can set up a number of books that you are challenging yourself to read this year.  The website keeps track of how you're doing on your challenge.

BookRiot offers the Read Harder Challenge in which participants read books that fit a list of tasks listed on their website.

For the #LitsyAtoZ Reading Challenge, read a book for every letter in the alphabet; either the title starts with the letter or the author’s last name does.

POPSUGAR has a reading challenge similar to the BookRiot Read Harder Challenge except it also includes an advanced level.

There are many challenges that deal with specific genres or categories such as the Retellings Reading Challenge, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge, Read All the Youth Media Award Books in 2017, and the Banned/Challenged Books Reading Challenges. 

Whatever your reading preferences, try to diversify and read something different.  You might like it!

Feb 02

Short Stories

Posted on February 2, 2017 at 3:58 PM by Mary Lorenz

Books seem to be getting longer all the time 400 to 500 pages is not uncommon.  But sometimes it's nice to read a slightly shorter book or a collection of short stories.  The Great Reads Book Club just finished Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland for our January read.  This book is a collection of short stories because it is a fictional narrative that's shorter than a novel, it deals with a few characters, and any of its stories cand be read in one sitting.  If a short story is 50 - 100 pages in length, it's called a novella.

I really liked Girl in Hyacinth Blue which centers around a "lost painting" by Dutch artist, Johannes Vermeer.  The stories are told in reverse chronological order, each consecutive story takes the reader farther back in time.  There wasn't an image of the painting on the book cover so I did a little research on this painting.  Surprise!  Girl in Hyacinth Blue was not painted by Johannes Vermeer.  It's a painting imagined by the author, Susan Vreeland, and painted by Jonathan Janson.  Can you imagine, visualizing a painting because you want to write a certain story?  Vreeland has used a unusual method to develop this story line and because of this, I want to read more books by her.

So why did Vreeland choose to imagine the painting as one by Vermeer?  There's a lot of mystery surrounding Vermeer and his paintings largely because he signed less than half of his works.  They're hard to identify as being painted by him because he also changed his painting style, used a variety of subjects, and no one knew the true extent of his collective works.  He completed no more than forty works in his lifetime.  There's a lot of interesting information on the Essential Vermeer website.

Here's what the painting, Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Jonathan Janson looks like:

                                           Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Jonathan Janson.

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