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Imagining Real Life

Oct 18, 2021

This may be difficult for a nonfiction purist to hear, but I may have learned more about past events and figures through fiction than from any history writing. Like so many students, I never thought I enjoyed history. It felt like a compilation of dates, names, and an overly simplified cause-and-effect narrative that always seemed to fall flat. 

A Rom-Communist Manifesto

Sep 1, 2021
Pixabay

If you’re not watching Ted Lasso, I’m not sure how you’re making it these days. 

For those unfamiliar, Jason Sudeikis plays the title character—a college level American Football coach from the Midwest who is surprisingly recruited to coach an English Premier League team, AFC Richmond. Seemingly unsophisticated and goofy, his folksy approach leaves press, fans, and players scratching their heads (or worse). But Ted contains multitudes, as does this gem of a show.

Each Book a Gift

Aug 4, 2021

There’s always a strange tension I experience when perusing book lists, and you know how much I adore a good book list. 

Forthcoming title lists are so full of promise—debut novelists to discover and perennial favorites with new releases that I will pre-order without question (The Sentence by Lousise Erdrich in November, to be precise). The tension comes in wanting to read everything new and fearing that I’m missing out on backlist titles. 

Great Reads for Your Long, Hot Summer

Jun 17, 2021
Pixabay

The heat index may be 105, and I may always smell like a combination of SPF 50 sunscreen, Deep Woods Off, and perspiration, but there’s still something magical about summer. For readers, a lot of that magic has to do with books. I remember when the entire day would stretch out before me, and I could spend it absorbed in tales by Beverly Cleary or Judy Blume. 

Read Better. Do Better.

May 26, 2021

Read what you want.

Never apologize for your reading taste.

Every book its reader; every reader her book.

These are cornerstone principles of readers’ advisory and ones that the library’s summer reading program promotes with a passion.

Cookbooks as Ritual

Apr 22, 2021

As more and more friends and family join the ranks of the fully-vaccinated, I’m filled with so much gratitude. And also . . . a little anxiety. I’m not quite sure how to return to normal, nor am I sure what normal is anymore. And, maybe, the normal of before isn’t what we should be rushing toward anyway. 

Great Migrations

Mar 3, 2021

During our recent arctic blast, robins appeared everywhere.

It seemed odd to spot a harbinger of spring in below-zero temperatures, so I looked into why I might be seeing flocks in the winter. Maybe it was the stir craziness that I was experiencing, but I went down a bit of a robin rabbit hole. Turns out not all robins have the same migration patterns, and some don’t migrate at all. 

The Thing with Feathers

Jan 20, 2021
PRT

Even the most cynical among us has a hard time avoiding the contagious and perpetual hope that a new calendar year brings.

Understanding in our rational minds that nothing magical happens between December 31 and January 1st does little to quell our persistent optimism. For this, I am grateful. Yes, we are a foolish, reckless species with a stubborn unwillingness to learn from our past. But, boy do we know how to drink champagne, light fireworks, and cast aside our collective sense of impending doom. 

Learning to Listen

Dec 17, 2020
PRT

When the world grows quiet, we learn to listen.

This is the theme of the beautiful children’s book Ten Ways to Hear the Snow written by Cathy Camper and illustrated by Kenard Pak. It’s a book that on my gift-giving list for many of the children in my life, but I’ve read and enjoyed it a few times myself. The morning I wrote this, we woke to the kind of snow illustrated in this book and not too often seen here in Tulsa. Like many others, I stepped outside to listen to the quiet. 

Comfort and Joy

Nov 19, 2020
PRT

It seems that the winter holiday season began the first week in November this year. Have you noticed this, too?

Gothic Lit: 2020's Perfect October Read

Oct 22, 2020

Let’s talk about fear.

Not the existential dread that you’ve been carrying in the pit of your stomach for the last eight months, but the good kind of fear that is cleverly created by authors and purposefully sought by certain readers. It might seem slightly strange that in the midst of so many looming disasters, I would find comfort in spooky stories, but I have. I’ve recently rediscovered my love of Gothic fiction. 

What exactly is Gothic fiction, you ask? 

Five Picks for Your Fall Reading List

Sep 16, 2020
Rebecca Howard

Fall offers us many comforts--farm stand apples, homemade soups, and long walks in the woods with leaves crunching underfoot. Fall fiction generally offers no such reprieve, which is just the way that I like it. 

Some readers live for juicy summer reads that inevitably wind up with the scent of sunscreen and sand embedded between the pages. For fall book lovers, a coffee or tea ring is the mark of a great read. (Important PSA: these stains are merely metaphorical if you’re reading a library copy, of course!) 

Red at the Bone

Aug 27, 2020
PRT

Jacqueline Woodson dedicates her 2019 novel Red at the Bone to “the ancestors, a long line of you bending and twisting.” I’ve been thinking a lot more about my ancestors lately, leaning into the strength of those who came before me who endured wars, economic disasters, or other, even deadlier, global pandemics. I’ve also been watching my parents move into advanced age with all its associate heartache and indignities.

What to Read When the World is on Fire

Jul 15, 2020
PRT

If the past few months have taught me anything, it’s that I really should have read more read more Science Fiction. Seriously, a few more dystopian novels would have prepared me a bit more for what is passing for normal today. Am I dreaming this or is there seriously a “bubble town” in Disney World where professional basketball players are living right now?  School re-openings sound more like preparing for space travel. Most of us are banned from traveling to the EU, and even the Canadians are giving us a pleasant “no thanks.” Things feel really surreal, uncertain, and scary. 

Reading as Resistance

Jun 10, 2020
PRT

As a librarian, it’s been heartening to see so many people sharing reading lists in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder. For those who identify strongly as readers, the act of reading is more than entertainment; it can be a path to understanding and sense-making.  

PRT

By Rebecca Howard
Tulsa City-County Library

PRT

By Rebecca Howard
Tulsa City-County Library

I need you to imagine one of those expectation-versus-reality memes to describe what my reading life is like right now. 

PRT

The Search for Civil Conversation
By Rebecca Howard
Tulsa City-County Library 

Sense and Readability

Feb 6, 2020

Jane Austen to the Rescue!
by Rebecca Howard
Tulsa City-County Library

PRT

Read Better 
by Rebecca Howard
Tulsa City-County Library 

 

I know that this time of year is all about looking forward. Believe me that I am as vulnerable as anyone to the sense of optimism a new year brings. THIS will be the year I finally start meditating regularly, eating a plant based diet, and decluttering that back bedroom into which no one is allowed. 

 

Rebecca Howard

Ten Books
By Rebecca Howard
Tulsa City-County Library 

A friend with unrelenting insomnia stumbled upon a little literary gem known as One Grand: Desert Island Books. Their “About Us” description reads: a curated bookstore in which celebrated thinkers, writers, artists, and other creative minds share the ten books they would take to their metaphorical desert island…” 

Um. What? 

At the Center of the Page 
By Rebecca Howard
Tulsa City-County Library 

I deeply believe in the power of reading. Reading fiction, I think, is especially powerful. I understand that this statement reflects my bias, but I think when you are reading for clarity, sense-making, and empathy, fiction reigns. For me fiction allows for a more deeply personal connection between reader and story. 

It’s Back-to-School! with Jonathan Franzen 
By Rebecca Howard
Tulsa City-County Library 

Readers’ Advisory to the Rescue! (Exciting Conclusion!)
By Rebecca Howard
Tulsa City-County Library 

What should I read next? 

Readers’ Advisory to the Rescue!
By Rebecca Howard
Tulsa City-County Library 

Summer Reading

May 3, 2019

Summer Reading
By Rebecca Howard
Tulsa City-County Library 

Your Next Great Read

Apr 4, 2019

Loving Lip(p)man
By Rebecca Howard
Tulsa City-County Library

The Emerald Isle, Home to Your Next Read
By Rebecca Howard
Tulsa City-County Library 

I’m intrigued by those DNA tests that can pinpoint your ancestry. As much as I’d like to try one, though, I’ve read way too many Margaret Atwood novels to hand over my genetic material to a for-profit entity. Paranoia aside, I feel like one of these tests could only validate what I know in my heart: I am Irish.

PRT

When a Book is a Mirror
By Rebecca Howard
Tulsa City-County Library

Reading in the New Year

Jan 10, 2019
PRT

Reading in the New Year
By Rebecca Howard
Tulsa City-County Library

On the first Monday of 2019, on the same evening that a College Football Playoff game aired, almost 180 people showed up for an event at the Hardesty Regional Library simply billed as a “book club party.” As people began congregating in a line at the meeting room door, my fellow organizers and I looked at each other in astonishment, having planned for 50-60 people at best. Readers are often surprising creatures. 

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