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How Women Got the Right to Vote, Among Other Things August 26, 2009

Posted by bookgoddess in A Few Good Books on the Subject, Books, Reading.
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On this day in 1920, the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment gave female citizens of the United States the right to vote.  You can visit the website of the New York Times for the front page of the day.  Strangely, this event was not even one of the major headlines.

To those of us born at a time when the right to vote is taken for granted and even undervalued by some, it may seem incomprehensible that it was ever a controversy. 

But what a controversy it was!  Suffragettes faced scorn, danger, and imprisonment in their battle for the right to vote.  It was a long and amazing saga that led to the Nineteenth Amendment, and it’s worth knowing about.  Here are a few good books on the subject: 

The Ladies of Seneca Falls:  The Birth of the Women’s Rights Movement by Miriam Gurko – Five women sitting around a tea table in upstate New York organize “A Convention to discuss the social, civil, and religious condition and rights of woman.”  There are many consequences. 

Not for Ourselves Alone:  The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony by Geoffrey C. Ward.  The towering figures of the movement. 

The Trial of Susan B. Anthony.  Her own narrative of the trial leading to her conviction for voting “knowingly, wrongfully, and unlawfully.”  For primary source enthusiasts. 

Sex Wars by Marge Piercy.  Not just about the suffrage movement, this novel is set against the lively background of post-Civil War New York and the social ferment of the era. 

The Nineteenth Amendment is an important part of the story of how we got from then to now, and I for one am profoundly grateful to the women and men who brought it about. 

Happy Reading! 

The Book Goddess

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Cookbooks for Summer Reading June 5, 2009

Posted by bookgoddess in Book Floor, Books, Just Browsing, Public libraries, readers, Reading, Reading lists, West Palm Beach Public Library.
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NPR recently released their “Summer Books List,” and this past Sunday’s New York Times featured their Summer Reading selections.  

One similarity between the two is that they both included a selection of cookbooks.  I love cookbooks, and my observations as a bookseller and a librarian are that many people do, whether they like to cook or not. 

And in these trying economic times, it might be a good idea to take an interest in food preparation.  Some financial pundits tell us that we could be wealthy if we didn’t go out to eat so much, though I doubt that applies to restaurant owners.  These are complex issues. 

However, the ability to prepare a good meal for friends, family, or yourself is undoubtedly a useful skill, and can also be an act of generosity, a creative outlet, or a way to take out your aggression by vigorous vegetable chopping. 

We have a wonderful Food and Wine section on the First Floor, and many more food titles in the Grand Reading Room on the Fourth Floor.  I’ve selected some delicious sounding titles from among our new arrivals, and you can link to the list here.  Just keep in mind that there are many more! 

Happy Reading and Cooking, 

The Book Goddess

Help! I Need A Novel! August 11, 2008

Posted by bookgoddess in Authors, Books, Fiction, Literature, readers, Reading, West Palm Beach Public Library.
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I recently got a question from a patron who wanted to know the best websites for selecting fiction.  This is an excellent question, and one problem is that it will have different answers for different types of readers.  The other problem is that there are endless book-related websites, and we are only going to scratch the surface here. 

First of all, I want to refer you to our Library website, where we have a whole set of pages (and many more links) devoted to helping you find something great to read:  http://librarytogo.org/books_l2go.htm.

Being a librarian makes you very aware of how many books there are out there, and it makes me want to pick out the very best.  So, here are some really good sources of “best” lists:

American Library Association Notable Books:  http://www.ala.org/ala/rusa/protools/notablebooks/thelists/2008list/notablebooks.cfm

New York Times Notable Books:  http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/02/books/review/notable-books-2007.html

American Booksellers Association http://www.indiebound.org/indie-next-list

Some readers like to find books of a specific genre, setting, or subject matter.  Websites which are very helpful for this include:

What Do I Read Next? – Search fiction by subject, settings, time period, major character:   http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/WDIRN?locID=41100_wpbpl

What Should I Read Next? – Provide a title and find out what others who read that book have read (UK emphasis, so nice for Anglophiles):  http://whatshouldireadnext.com/search

Reading Robot – Focuses on genre fiction; nice because you can choose (or exclude) certain writing styles or types of characters:  http://www.tnrdlib.bc.ca/rr.html

And one last, not to be missed source:  the National Public Radio Books page, which always makes me want to drop everything and start reading one of the wonderful featured titles:  http://www.npr.org/templates/topics/topic.php?topicId=1032

Wow!  I haven’t even said anything about the book-related social networking sites like GoodReads, LibraryThing and Shelfari.  I think I’m going to have to leave them for another post.

Do you have any favorite book-related websites?  Please share!

Happy Reading! 

The Book Goddess