Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson. Expected Release: August 31, 2021
Why wait on this one?
A book about libraries or librarians is catnip for a certain kind of reader: the kind who is me. And many other female contemporary-lit readers. (And probably many others because libraries are dope!) So honestly, even from the name I was giving this one a smile.
Classic plot of saving the piece of the town that’s historical and locally loved and maybe a little shabby but in a cozy way.
Plus enter an old flame? All the chances for redemption and starting over (yet with a delicious shared history) are June’s to embrace!
AND IT’S SET IN ENGLAND. A “sleepy English village” is practically required to host this story.
Honestly everything about this sounds not particularly unique or original, but like a new reiteration of a classic tale that I can’t wait to read despite knowing what happens at the end. It’s the journey and the comfort of a happily ever after type ending (I assume!! not a spoiler!!).
Lonely librarian June Jones has never left the sleepy English village where she grew up. Shy and reclusive, the thirty-year-old would rather spend her time buried in books than venture out into the world. But when her library is threatened with closure, June is forced to emerge from behind the shelves to save the heart of her community and the place that holds the dearest memories of her mother.
Joining a band of eccentric yet dedicated locals in a campaign to keep the library, June opens herself up to other people for the first time since her mother died. It just so happens that her old school friend Alex Chen is back in town and willing to lend a helping hand. The kindhearted lawyer’s feelings for her are obvious to everyone but June, who won’t believe that anyone could ever care for her in that way.
To save the place and the books that mean so much to her, June must finally make some changes to her life. For once, she’s determined not to go down without a fight. And maybe, in fighting for her cherished library, June can save herself, too.
If you’ve tracked this blog over the past year, you’ve probably read about me complaining about all the work I’ve been doing on the house. It’s been kind of terrible, but happily it’s just about at a close for now.
What that means, my friends, is that I CAN FINALLY MAKE MY LIBRARY A REALITY! One of the most exciting things about buying the house is that my partner and I would each have room for our spacious hobbies (his: music production, mine: reading, both: gaming). So he gets a studio setup downstairs, and I get a library upstairs. 😍
Predictably, one of my favorite things to do in the past year has been to make a list of all my favorite books that I definitely wanted hard copies of for my soon-to-be personal library. It’s so indulgent, and I am so so lucky and grateful that I’ll get to set one up. So here’s my list of 15 books that I’m DEFINITELY going to get for my library!
Standalone standouts (single books)
Hart & Seoul by Kristen Burnham
Because culture shock when shared is one of my favorite things to read about, and especially when I have my own experiences with it to relate to!
Well, I just posted my 2021 Library Love challenge yesterday, and I’ve already been doing pretty well this month with it! I put holds on two recent releases I was excited about, fully expecting I wouldn’t actually get a copy for probably a month or two since they were popular. Plus, the little time estimated gadget and the number of other holds was… pretty lengthy.
Happily (and unexpectedly), I got both within days of submitting the hold! I have no idea what happened — maybe other people cancelled their holds? maybe the library got more copies? — but one is finished and the other is nearly. ☺
The first was Siri, Who Am I? by Sam Tschida that surprised me by being a shade more thoughtful than I anticipated. Frankly I was in it for a probably generic but still enjoyable light read. Girl has amnesia, has to figure out who she is (was?) from her only true source: social media. But since most people fake their lives on social, can she even trust that?
The other is Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas, which you may well have heard of. And if you haven’t, I’ve read about 75% of it and can happily say it’s quite good! I think it’s a little softer and less gut-wrenching than her other book with it, The Hate U Give. Still good, for sure, but you can probably read it without wanting to rage at the world. Though, who knows: I haven’t finished it just yet!
Good news if you have the next hold on this book after me: it’ll be coming your way soon. 😁
I’ve only spent about a day and a half in New York City, despite living pretty close to it my whole life. I’ll probably go back some time, if only for the sheer number of libraries that I didn’t visit and absolutely should have. This is one of them:
The Morgan Library
This library in Manhattan started as a super rich financial mogul’s personal library, but was made public according to the guy’s will after he died. PS — dude was JP Morgan, of the company JP Morgan, if that rings any bells. SUPER RICH DUDE.
Since aforementioned dude was super rich, the library is ENORMOUS. It takes up about a half block of the city, and I’m not sure exactly how big that is, but it’s big.
They have some really cool items in the collection. Not only are there rare and first edition books (like Gutenberg Bibles and the draft of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol), but they also have paintings, sculptures, and even notes and drafts from musicians.
Hey y’all! The new expansion for World of Warcraft released today, but since there are so many people trying to play it right now, I can’t because the servers are overloaded. 😂 So while I wait a few hours to be able to play, here’s a short post featuring some of the libraries from the game. ☺
Approaching, you wouldn’t even know it was a library or reading room. The gorgeous LiYuan library is designed with the same sticks the locals collect for fuel in the winter. It makes it blend in to the mountainside where it’s built just a five minute walk out of town.
The stick covering also creates a lush and calm atmosphere inside, with plenty of daylight softly tempered by the scattered pattern from the sticks. The rest of the interior is made of wood as well, and clever split level changes. It looks positively magical and warm; you can’t convince me this isn’t a place I’d want to stay forever. 🥰
I feel like alcohol and a public library are two things kind of on opposite ends of a spectrum. I’m not sure which spectrum, but definitely one of them. In this one library, though, those two things have come together perfectly in Madgeberg, Germany.
Originally a collection of 1000 empty beer cartons, the residents decided to use them as building materials on some unused land in the neighborhood. The project took off, and some architects came along and helped finish transforming it into an open air library.
The distinctive black and white boxes that build part of the structure are repurposed from a popular German department store from the 1960s.They create a striking contrast to the greenery and natural coloring used in the other portions of the library.
The books are set into alcoves along the walls, and there are benches and landscaped grassy areas around it. There’s a full library nearby as well, with over twenty thousand books that people can then walk to this addition to enjoy. On the libraries opening, the residents threw a festival and hosted a poetry slam.
The town is largely unpopulated in the city center, with mostly boarded up shops and buildings. So they decided to change things and make use of their space. I absolutely love everything about this library and the story of its creation. Communities so often come together in a library. ♥
The José Vasconcelos Library is quite an architectural feat
When I first saw photos of this library, I had to close my eyes for a moment after because of how disorienting they were! The design is a maze of mirrored and symmetrical elevated walkways among the shelves. It gives the impression that everything is simply floating in midair. Considering how heavy books are, they must have some really impressive work done out of sight to be able to support everything!
With bright full pane glass windows and a botanical garden around the building, getting a spot by the window will give views just as breathtaking as those inside. (….and probably less likely to give you a headache!)
The gorgeous and dizzying Starfield Library in Seoul
I’m quite disappointed that the Starfield Library in Seoul was not in place yet when I was living in Korea. I obviously plan to return once it’s possible though, so I’ll see it yet! And be baffled by it yet… how do you get the top books?? 😵
only allowed to read while there
has over 50,000 materials
tablets available to borrow for electronic reading too
Below is the entirety of the notice Macmillan Publishing gave on March 17th stating that they are stopping the eBook embargo on libraries! What’s heavily implied in this short statement are the words “for now,” so there may still be future issues. Still, I appreciate the fact that they acknowledge that their restrictions are incredibly harmful with COVID-19 requiring libraries to be digital-only for months. Frankly, if they hadn’t, I would have been more disappointed in the company than for the embargo in the first place.
In November 2019, Macmillan Publishing began a restriction that libraries could only purchase one copy of a new release in the first two months after its publish date. After the eight-week wait, they would be allowed to purchase more. Their goal in doing this, based on thier 4-month test with the Tor imprint, was to help boost sales and bestseller performance which is typically highest in the two months after release. The idea was that libraries purchasing a single copy (even at a drastically inflated price) which many readers were then able to access deprived the publisher of the revenue that would otherwise be gained from those readers purchasing copies of their own.
“Libraries are not competitors with publishers; we are collaborators. This is true, but we are also, first and foremost, important customers.”