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Reading Recommendations

Hobbit dwelling

Books vs. Movies: The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit

Book-to-movie adaptations have long been a sore spot and an area of contention for diehard bookworms. Some expect the movie or TV show to be exactly like the written source material, without straying at all, while others expect some changes to be made during the leap from page to screen. The idea that nothing can or should change is something I personally disagree with, because that expectation sets you up to be disappointed. There are things you can accomplish and convey in books that you cannot mimic in film, and vice versa. And let’s face it – if there was a movie adaptation made that quoted and followed the book it’s based on line-for-line, it would be hours long, probably feature scenes that would be...

Frog Prince

Fairy Tale Reads for Teens, Part 2

A few weeks back, we posted a list of fairy tail retellings for teens. These novels retold the stories of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and other famous tales in modern times, or with new twists to the stories. Since there were so many good recommendations to share, we had to split the list into two parts. Below, you'll find the second list, which features retellings for such tales as Little Red Riding Hood, The Frog Prince, Rumpelstiltskin, and others.  Enjoy these young adult and middle-grade (MG) novels that use fairy tales as the basis for the story, and let us know - what's your favorite fairy tale adaptation or retelling?​

earbuds and smartphone sitting next to a laptop

Tune In to Some Great Book Podcasts

For many, summer weather plus quarantine means getting things done around the house. At my home, there’s always cleaning and gardening to be done, and one way I’ve found to entertain and engage my mind while tending to those tasks is listening to podcasts. This is a relatively new discovery for me, and I’ve learned that there are podcasts for nearly everything under the sun. But as a reader, the book podcasts hold the most interest for me. Content for book podcasts runs the gamut, from lively book discussions to author interviews to read-alouds. The following are some of my favorites. Try them out, or discover some of your own. If you have a favorite, let us know in the comments section. It’s a big book...

Former Montana Poet Laureate Lowell Jaeger reads during the 2018 festival

The 2020 Central Wisconsin Book Festival will happen the last weekend in September!

The Marathon County Public Library, on behalf of all its partners, is happy to share that the Central Wisconsin Book Festival will return to the Wausau area for its fourth year. This year's festival takes place Friday, Sept. 25 through Sunday, Sept. 27. (We may add another day or two, or three, if we have a chance to bring in authors unable to participate during the weekend.) We're moving ahead with the festival and we're exploring a variety of options to make it happen safely in light of the global pandemic. Some of this year's events may be completely virtual, some may be held in-person (perhaps with capped attendance and proper distancing) or even a mix of the two. We'll...

Cinderella with carriage and castle

Fairy Tale Reads for Teens, Part 1

Most everyone has a favorite fairy tale, whether it’s from a picture book or from a Disney film. Fairy tales are ripe for retelling and reimagining, whether envisioning Cinderella in a science fiction setting, or a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood where the wolves are really men. We get to hear the story of the evil stepmother (Spoiler: they aren’t all mean and evil,) and the drama and curse of the Beast. Sometimes, an author will combine two stories and create a new story as a result. And sometimes the frog stays a frog, even after a kiss. Enjoy these young adult and middle-grade (MG) novels that use fairy tales as the basis for the story! It was so hard to pick our favorites, and there were so...

never stop learning displayed on a laptop

Libraries were created for times like these!

Let’s face it: A library, on its own, cannot change the world. It’s a physical building — bricks, windows, shelves — filled with inanimate, physical materials like books, movies, and music. But… a library can be an agent of change for the people who visit — a source for learning about the world as it exists today and the history of where we’ve been as a planet, as a country, as a state, and as a people. Through the materials in our buildings, libraries are places that foster understanding and empathy.  People who work at libraries (myself included) pride themselves on the fact that we provide information on just about any topic, and always in a...

hands holding an open book

Get out of your comfort zone with "uncomfortable" books!

I believe that if you read for personal growth and broaden your perspectives you should also be opened to challenging yourself in terms of what you read. I often read as a form of escapism, and sometimes that escape is someplace borderline unsettling and difficult, but it’s fascinating to experience something so foreign. Much like reading a book where the protagonist is the ‘villain’ or someone unsavory, it allows you to see the world through their perspective and you learn a little about why they are the way they are. Banned books are also often good examples because being controversial, they challenge a person's personal opinions but often are impactful. I recently started reading My Dark Vanessa by Kate...

Visual representation of 2018 statistics re: representation in children's literature

Raising a Diverse Reader

With recent events in America, it is more important than ever to expose young children to people of all races and ethnicities. It is never too early to start talking to children about race and its place in our country. Parents, caregivers, and educators have the power and responsibility to broaden children's understanding of the world. Talking about race may be intimidating and uncomfortable, so check out this great article by embracerace.org that gives small talking points and advice on how to start the conversation with children. Representation in children's books is very unequal. Studies show that children need to see people that look like them in books and other media to form a positive self image and...

a collage of books related to the TV show

Revisit "The Office" with these reads!

It's the moment we’ve all been waiting for! Let's pull back the curtain and take a behind-the-scenes look at one of the best shows (objectively, definitely)...The Office! In the new book The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, author Andy Greene chronicles how The Office got off the ground and shares tales from the show, as told by the creators, writers and actors who worked on the program. Many of the actors from the series also wrote and/or directed episodes of the show including but not limited to, Steve Carell, Mindy Kaling, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, and B.J. Novak. A few of the actors have also written clever and comedic books, which I think are...

Black Lives Matter graffiti art

Books and Other Resources About Race, Inequality, and Criminal Justice

The death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, while in police custody, has sparked worldwide outrage, protests and calls for systemic reform within the U.S. criminal justice system and its police departments. No list of books and resources that addresses police brutality, inequality and injustice, and similar and important topics can ever be complete, so we thought we’d pick out just a few. If we’ve left out a book or resource you think is important, feel free to comment!

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