Author Works with Kathryn Finney

Thursday, Jan 19
6:30 – 7:30 pm
online  
Registration and more information at bit.ly/hclsfinney

Turn your passion into profit! If you have ever dreamed about starting a business, you need to know about Kathryn Finney. She encourages you to not wait for the system to let you in. Her new book, Build the D*mn Thing, is the essential guide to knowing, breaking, remaking, and building your own rules of entrepreneurship.

She explains how to build a business from the ground up, from developing a business plan to finding investors, growing a team, and refining a product.  

Finney, an investor and startup champion, is the founder and managing general partner of Genius Guild, a Chicago-based venture fund that invests in scalable businesses led by Black founders using innovation to build and promote healthy communities. Build The D*mn Thing: How to Start a Successful Business if You’re Not a Rich White Guy made the Wall Street Journal bestsellers list in its first week of release.

In partnership with Columbia Inspired magazine and The 3rd, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, co-created, community of Women of Color entrepreneurs.

Wrapping Up 2022

Kristen B. and Julie F., Chapter Chats editors

Thank you! We appreciate our readers and subscribers who have followed Chapter Chats through another year. We share a wide variety of posts with you, from Winter Reading selections to upcoming author events to a tremendous selection of reviews – fiction and nonfiction, for adults, teens, and children.

A fairly plain cover with a red edge and the title in script and the author's name hand lettered. A small wolf stands between author and title lines.

Here are some of the most-viewed posts of the year:

These posts garnered fewer views, but are definitely worth a look if you missed them:

A black cover with gold text and a mysterious illustration of the phases of the moon, a mystical eyes, and spiral all centered above a book.

And, by far, the most viewed post since Chapter Chats began in 2020: How to Bypass the News Paywall with Your Library Card.

For more great book recommendations: HiJinx, the HCLS podcast, wrapped up its year with folks talking about their favorite reads of 2022: listen here.

We hope you’ll stick with us as we head into 2023! Happy New Year!

Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher

The darkish cover shows the back of young woman where the pale skin of her shoulder and neck show against a green cloak

by Kristen B.

Princess Marra is kind of a princess in waiting, or maybe it’s more like cold storage. Her sisters, one after the other, have married the Prince of the Northern Kingdom, bringing as their dowry the control of the best deep water harbor and removing the threat of war. If the middle sister also dies in childbed, Marra appears next in line to be married. In the meantime, she’s content living at the convent of Our Lady of the Grackles, where she apprentices to Sister Apothecary and helps with midwifery.

It turns out that the prince, now king, is not so charming. Marra learns how he likes to hurt his wives when attending her sister’s premature labor. Upon digesting some hard realities, this third sister decides to save her older sibling and herself. Although, all she really has is a vague plan to remove some rotten royalty from the face of the earth. Quite honestly, I’d want to kill him, too.

Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher is the best kind of fairy tale. It has all the right characters and doesn’t feel the need to over-explain the deep and weird places inside the story. The novel begins with Marra performing her second impossible task – building a dog from bone and silver wire. Her first involved spinning yarn filled with nettles to make a cloak of owl-cloth, but the story opens as she is desperately trying to complete a canine skeleton in the mandated time. Our sheltered nun proves to be a wonderfully obstinate, straightforward young woman. She accomplishes two impossible tasks before the dust-wife (a witch who tends the dead) takes pity on her and gives her a jar filled with moonlight that Marra can immediately re-gift. The two women, young and old but both fiercely independent, set off on their journey.

What follows is a story that I will surely reread and put on my “keeper” shelf. The adventure begins in earnest at a creepily fantastical Goblin Market and continues, despite all odds or even common sense, to its exciting conclusion at the royal palace. At the hidden market and on the road, Marra makes trades that lead to the completion of her merry band: her now real-seeming Bonedog, a handsome and honorable woodcutter, a (mostly) good fairy godmother, and the dust-wife with her demon-possessed hen. Clearly, the author keeps chickens, because it’s a character in its own right!

Each has a role to play as the quest becomes ever more complicated. Not only does Kingfisher excel at the magical aspects, she also manages to insert enough mundane practicalities to keep the book grounded. The absurdity of every day matters, like eating and sleeping, informs the subversive humor that laces through the story. The slightly snarky observations serve to illustrate the misogyny present in so many classic stories. Here, at least, the youngest princess works to save her royal sister from dying young of the curse of having an abusive husband who holds all the advantages. I laughed, I cheered, and I wanted more.

This short novel manages to fit a lot of story into a surprisingly few pages. You can read it as a book or e-book.

Kristen B. is a devoted bookworm lucky enough to work as the graphic designer for HCLS. She likes to read, stitch, dance, and watch baseball in season (but not all at the same time).

Piracy and Good Manners, or Silliness and Romance

A pale blue background has an illustrated cover with purple wisteria twining up the sides, containing a tea cup and a house among the flowers. They from the title and and a well dressed couple standing back to back with pistols at the ready.

by Kristen B.

Piracy, historically and currently, is really not something that good guys do. However, the Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels practices a variation of piratical nonsense that could have stepped out of an Austen novel (or maybe Bronte?). Lady Scoundrels don’t sail ships – they have access to a magic incantation that allows them to fly houses around the British countryside. We’re talking townhouses, manors, abbeys, and many other shapes and sizes of abodes, all the while on the lookout to protect themselves from the Great Peril: freckles.

It’s just silliness. India Holton’s novel recently provided the perfect antidote to real life. I will admit, it took a bit to come to terms with the sheer folly of it all – airborne houses and assassinations as a form of professional advancement, combined with social norms and rivalries straight out of a Regency romance.

Dear Reader, I adored it.

Our heroine, Miss Cecilia Bassingthwaite, wishes for nothing more than to be invited to the Senior Table of the Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels. She has every confidence of achieving this signal honor, after all, she has undertaken thievery, successfully piloted a residence, and even been targeted for an assassination. The only concern, though, comes from her antecedents. Her father is entirely the wrong sort of scoundrel, who has committed unfortunate poetry as well as the actual murder of her mother. He believes himself to be the unrecognized, illegitimate son of Branwell Bronte, but he proves himself to be an absolute bastard (pardon my language).

Miss Bassingthwaite’s adventures begin shortly after her estranged father absconds with the entire senior cohort of the Wisteria Society (and their residences) and makes off to the dreaded, dreary Northangerland Abbey. (yes, yes, I know). She is accompanied on her rescue attempt by Ned Lightbourne (a man of many aliases), who comes from a good pirating family that experienced severe setbacks with the loss of their house. The entire scheme goes to perdition in a handbasket once Queen Victoria arrives on the scene (with Windsor Castle). The concluding negotiations left me grinning in appreciation of these ruthlessly practical ladies.

Ned and Cecilia appeal as a power couple with intense, immediate chemistry. Reader: I may have blushed. Their convoluted route to trust and, dare I say it, love, gives the entire story its emotional underpinnings. While it is a romance, Cecilia’s need to settle family affairs and become a Lady Scoundrel drives the plot. That she keeps stumbling over and eventually conspiring with Ned only adds spice to the mix. Her consternation about what to do with the extra complication of figuring out who Ned is – both in reality and in her regard – makes the high stakes at Northangerland Abbey even steeper.

In short, if you are looking for a bit of fluff and fun to read while sipping tea (maybe with a splash glass of sherry) that nonetheless celebrates competent women and the men who love them – you will enjoy The Wisteria Society for Lady Scoundrels, available as an e-book and an e-audiobook. I am looking forward to reading the sequel, The League of Gentlewoman Witches.

Kristen B. is a devoted bookworm lucky enough to work as the graphic designer for HCLS. She likes to read, stitch, dance, and watch baseball in season (but not all at the same time).

For Native American Heritage Month

Native American hoop dancer with her interlocked hoops above her head against a sunny sky.

Native American Heritage Month Celebration

Saturday, Nov 5
11 am – 3 pm
East Columbia Branch

Celebrate Native American culture and resilience at this free event. Filled with performances, arts and crafts, and food vendors (including Navajo tacos), you can have lunch, do a little shopping, and enjoy amazing traditional dance.

2 pm: Meet the Author Brian Lee Young
An enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, Young grew up on the Navajo Reservation and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. His debut novel, Healer of the Water Monster, shares the story of a seemingly ordinary Navajo boy who must save the life of a Water Monster—and who comes to realize that he’s a hero at heart.

Performances by:
Angela Gladue
Chris EagleHawk
Shawn Iron Maker
Max Yamne
Rose Powhatan
Lance Fisher & Giovanna
Walking Eagle

Sponsored by Capital Native Nations and Nava Be Diné

Understanding Land Acknowledgements and How to Move Beyond Them

Thursday, Nov 10
7 – 8:30 pm
Miller Branch
Register here.

“Land acknowledgments” are statements that recognize Indigenous peoples dispossessed of their land and/or relationships with land by settler colonists. These statements are seen as an effective and ethical way to begin acknowledging Indigenous sovereignty, begin correcting the stories and practices that erase Indigenous people’s history and culture, and begin inviting and honoring the truth.

Join Maryland State Arts Council Folklife Specialist Ryan Koons for a presentation about land acknowledgements using materials from MSAC’s Land Acknowledgement Project. In this project, MSAC staff engaged in compensated consultations with tribal elders from American Indian tribes whose lands are claimed by Maryland. Most importantly, this presentation will discuss ways to move beyond land acknowledgements towards positive change led by tribal peoples.

Reading Human Rights

Thursday, Nov 17
6:30 – 7:30 pm
Savage Branch
Register here.

The book cover depicts two feathers facing in opposite directions, sketched in brown ink against a bright orange background, with the title in yellow lettering.

Reading Human Rights is a monthly book discussion hosted by the Howard County Office of Human Rights & Equity and Howard County Library System. We read books that promote cultural awareness, diversity, and equity.

In November, we read and discuss national bestseller There There by Tommy Orange (also available in large print, e-Book, e-Audiobook, and book on CD formats). This wondrous and shattering novel follows twelve characters from Native communities: all traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow, all connected to one another in ways they may not yet realize. Hailed as an instant classic, There There is at once poignant and unflinching, utterly contemporary, and truly unforgettable.

Native Expulsion & Manifest Destiny

Monday, Nov 21
7 – 8 pm
online
Register here.

This talk explores westward expansion and its impact upon Native communities.

Even though the phrase ‘manifest destiny’ was not used in print until 1845, the spirit of American expansionism that it referred to was very apparent long before the 1840s. Americans had been talking about pushing westward as if it was their manifest destiny ever since folks in Jamestown in the 1600s had started eyeing the land on which Natives were settled.

University of Maryland historian Richard Bell begins by tracking the story of Native expulsion and colonial expansion from the Revolution era through the 1850s, paying particular attention to the ways in which the West and westward expansion came to be romanticized in the American imagination.

Living Nations, Living Words

The image has the book title superimposed over a black and white map of North America.

Wednesday, Nov 30
7 – 8 pm
Miller Branch
Register here.

Explore Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s edited poetry collection and accompanying project for the Library of Congress: “Living Nations, Living Words.” Listen to poems and author commentary, explore an interactive story-map, reflect on common themes, and discuss Native American representation in literature and society.

Freedom in Iran: Stories Teach and Inspire

The book cover depicts a bird in silhouette flying free from an open filigreed cage, in shades of turquoise.

By Maryam S.

It is said: Even if you leave your homeland for good, she will never leave you. Whether recalling friendships that I have cherished for over five decades or when in some life circumstance, suddenly an expression from my homeland, Iran, comes to mind. One unforgettable piece are the stories from my childhood: stories that are deeply rooted in the past yet alive in my memory to this day, which still unify the Iranian people.

One epic story “Zahhak, the Serpent King” was written around 1020 CE by the famous poet Ferdowsi, with all the beauty and purity of the Farsi language. It inspires several questions relevant to the current day, especially: How much can a human soul take to achieve freedom?

In the story, Zahhak, the son of a kind king, rises to power after killing his father. One day, the devil, Ahriman, shows up to the doors of his castle and asks the king if he can cook for him (“Ahriman” means “Satan” or “devil” in Persian). Ahriman’s culinary skills are excellent, and Zahhak asks how he can reward him. The devil’s only wish is that he allow his cook to embrace the king as the sign of humility and gratitude. Although surprised, the king accepts the embrace; Ahriman kisses each of the king’s shoulders and immediately disappears. Once the devil disappears, two black snakes grow from Zahhak’s shoulders that cannot be removed. Learned doctors gather about him, but no one finds a remedy. Then, the devil appears in the form of a wise doctor who recommends feeding each one of the snakes the brain of a young man or a woman everyday. From then on, every day, two young people’s brains are fed to the serpents. Zahhak lives for a very long time, casting a dark cloud of hopelessness and grief over the people and the land. Eventually, a child called Feraydun is born. At age 16, his mother tells him how his father was killed by Zahhak, and how she escaped and hid herself and Feraydun, safe from the king’s assassins. Feraydun decides to gather enough followers to challenge Zahhak’s powerful army.

Meanwhile, Kaveh, a blacksmith who has lost 11 sons to Zahhak, comes to the palace to demand that his last son be freed. First, Zahhak’s guards try to seize the insolent commoner, but a mountain of iron, tall and forbidding, rises up before Kaveh and protects him. As father and son leave, Kaveh hoists his leather apron on a spear as a rallying point and shouts, “Today it was my boy, tomorrow it will be yours.” A crowd of people gather and everywhere they march, joining Feraydun and his followers. Eventually, they defeat the evil king, imprisoning him in a deep, dark cave in Mount Damavand where he will suffer until end of the time. Feraydun returns to the palace and ascends the throne. The whole earth rejoices, and peace and fortune return to the land and to her people again.

So, the story considers what happens to those who swim against the river of power, greed, cruelty, violence, and selfishness. Losses and loneliness can seem insurmountable for those few who choose this path. But what encourages those few heroes whose decisions are unchanged, fighting for freedom until their last breath? Is there anything but faith in freedom for humankind, for their sisters and brothers, for their country, for a better society to pursue a better life? One modern woman’s story can provide some answers.

Bengt Oberger, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

In 2003, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to an Iranian woman, Dr. Shirin Ebadi. She was the first female judge during the secular regime in lran, before the Islamic revolution of 1979. However, according to seventh-century sharia law, after the revolution she could no longer practice as a judge and was forced to work as a family lawyer. In her first book, Iran Awakening, published in 2006, she shares an overview of her upbringing, the history of social and political changes since the revolution, her challenges, and her fight for under-served children and women in the Islamic republic of lran. Although the world recognized her efforts for the well-being of her country, she suffered from the regime’s hostility, espionage, and social harassment, ultimately leaving in exile in 2009.

1979 Women’s Day Protest in Iran, public domain image.

Until We Are Free: My Fight for Human Rights in lran is her memoir, published in 2016, of events in lran and the Middle East. Ebadi’s views about the lives of ordinary people in lran encompass a good part of the book: the economic hardship that many Iranian families endure daily, as well as the regime’s zero-tolerance policy for political criticism. She also writes about the women who selflessly assisted her in continuing her work as a human rights lawyer. She worked not only for women, but for men, for those with different religious beliefs, for jailed writers and journalists, and even for those who worked for the regime but didn’t understand how the wrong interpretation of Islamic law and the abuse of Islamic sharia was destroying family structures and the society overall.

Although this book was written a decade after the first one, l still found Ebadi’s words honest. Her description of the events and incidents that she, her family, and her colleagues endured are described in frightening and unsettling details. She repeatedly mentions the security that the Nobel peace prize committee afforded her; legal support from the committee was like an invincible human force against the regime’s hostility and humiliations, so she could continue her legal fight for her clients pro bono. I found her hopes for the freedom of her country unshakable, despite losing most of the valuable possessions that she was attached to, emotionally and physically. Through her words, I found her vulnerability not pretentious but genuine, whether doubting herself or receiving criticisms from her closest family members. She is still an ordinary human with flaws and achievements in her life. But, she is still closer to the reality than a dream for freedom described in the stories of my youth.

The cover depicts a Persian man astride a horse, with his sword in a scabbard aside as if he is going into battle. The horse's front legs are raised and the rider clutches its mane with one hand and the reins with the other.

The story of Zahhak the Serpent King can be found in Myths of the World: The Ancient Persians, written by Virginia Schomp.

More about Dr. Ebadi can be found in these titles:
The Wonders We Seek: Thirty Incredible Muslims Who Helped Shape the World by Saadia Faruqi and Aneesa Mumtaz; illustrated by Saffa Khan.

Who Did It First?: 50 Politicians, Activists, and Entrepreneurs Who Revolutionized the World by Jay Leslie

Fight Like a Girl: 50 Feminists Who Changed the World by Laura Barcella

Maryam S. is a customer service specialist at HCLS Miller Branch. She loves traveling near and far and loves to cook and bake from new recipes.

The Lost History of Frederick Douglass in Howard County

Fine-line black and white print of Frederick Douglass

Tue, Nov 1 at 7 pm
Elkridge Branch & online
Register and learn more: bit.ly/hclsdouglass

Internationally known, in life and afterlife, on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean as an orator, abolitionist, editor, suffragist and American reformist, the history and placement of Frederick Douglass in Howard County has not been fully recognized and discussed.

Following the Civil War, Frederick Douglass was invited to speak in Howard County on several occasions. Learn about the relationships and associations Douglass had with several notable Howard County citizens within local and national reform circles of politics, higher education, suffrage, and the church. The presentation includes maps, prints, letters, newspapers, photographs, and other ephemera from local, regional, and national collections and archives. Learn more about Douglass and his connections to local railroads, Wayman Grove, Irving Park, Annapolis Junction, local educators, local preachers, local politicians, local suffragists and students attending Howard University in Washington, D.C. from Howard County, including Ellicott City and Simpsonville.

ABOUT THE PRESENTER

John Muller is the author of Frederick Douglass in Washington, DC: The Lion of Anacostia and Mark Twain in Washington, DC: The Adventures of a Capital Correspondent. For the past decade Muller has presented widely on the local history of Frederick Douglass and contributed hundreds of articles to local and national print and online news sources, including the Washington Informer. Muller and Justin McNeil are co-founders of Lost History Associates and currently at work on forthcoming publications on Frederick Douglass in several specific regions and communities in the Mid-Atlantic area.

Celebrating 20 years of A+ Partners in Education

A crowd of fifth-graders dressed in colorful costumes talk excitedly while at Battle of the Books 2022.
Fifth graders excited for Battle of the Books 2022 at Merriweather Post Pavilion.

by Katie DiSalvo-Thronson

In the fall of 2002, Howard County Public School System and Howard County Library System formed A+ Partners in Education to expand the educational opportunities and enhance the academic achievement of every Howard County student. It was one of the first systemwide school and public library partnerships in the nation.

We are proud to celebrate 20 years of collaboration. Together we have furthered students’ academic success, enhanced their love of reading and learning, and forged a connection to libraries that will serve them their whole lives.

Right from the start
The library is integrated into student’s experiences from the beginning of their academic career. Kindergarten, Here We Come prepares and inspires incoming kindergarteners and gives them a chance to tour a school bus. Then, every kindergarten class takes a field trip to the library for a class, a tour, and a friendly connection to this important family resource. We are proud to add another point of early connection: next year, the HCLS mobile unit will visit every HCPSS Pre-K to engage students and parents!

Connecting to serve students
Every school has a dedicated HCLS liaison, and our educators and staffs collaborate to offer hundreds of school-based HCLS classes and events that serve those school communities. Two great examples of that work: supporting National History Day student projects, and facilitating parent and student engagement at Deep Run Elementary School (both initiatives featured in the current issue of Source, our award-winning publication). We also collaborate on summer reading lists and promotion, to help all students read and continue to learn all summer.

Our systems are connected, too! Did you know every HCPSS student has an account with the library system, built right into the student portal, hcpss.me? With one click, students can access all online library resources and reserve books at HCLS branches. In the last year, students borrowed 80,337 books, e-books, and other resources on A+ accounts.

A+ Partners also connect to offer students free support via Brainfuse: last year, HCPSS students received 12,164 free online tutoring and test prep sessions and used Brainfuse study tools 52,355 times!

A+ Makes Learning Fun
In Battle of the Books, students experience reading as dynamic, social, and exciting. Teams of fifth graders read 10-14 titles over a year and practice answering questions about each book in a competition with pun-ny teamwork, costumes, and a dance party! Affectionately referred to as BOB, the contest grew from one high school gym to six sites. This year, we celebrated with 1,234 students at Merriweather Post Pavilion.

HCLS also sponsors the local competition of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. More than 7,000 students from 41 HCPSS schools participated last year alone. Saketh Sundar, one of the historic Octo-champs of the National Spelling Bee, was a four-time winner of the HCLS Spelling Bee!

More Outreach, Equity & Impact
HCLS is deeply grateful to the leadership of HCPSS, library instructors, and school-based educators, staff, parents, and volunteers who help us serve children through this partnership.

We look ahead with energy and commitment. HCLS is dedicated to strategic, collaborative work and additional outreach and engagement with schools to help every student and their family enjoy increased opportunity and academic success with library resources. Whether as a volunteer, school leader, or prospective sponsor, we welcome you to reach out and join us in this important work.

Here’s to 20 more years!

Katie is the Community Education and Engagement Manager for HCLS. She loves people, the big questions, the woods, and chocolate.

The Kingston Cycle by C. L. Polk

Covers of the three books in the series: Witchmark in blue, Stormsong in deep purple, and Soulstar in reds and pink. Each features figures in black silhouette against colorful backgrounds.

by Kristen B.

Ursula LeGuin wrote a famous short story, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” about a utopian city with a catch. The peaceful and joyous life of the city’s citizens is made possible only through the absolute suffering of a single child. Everyone is made aware of the bargain as they reach adulthood, and those who can’t sanction it become those who walk away. In Witchmark (also available as an e-audiobook), author C. L. Polk answers LeGuin’s moral question more firmly: Those who can’t sanction a bad bargain are destined to unmake it.

Meet Miles, a war veteran who works as a psych doctor in a veterans hospital. The book begins with a dying man dumped, almost literally, into Miles’ arms. Our brave doctor has been tracking some worrisome patterns at the hospital, with traumatized veterans reporting a mysterious malaise, one that actively promotes domestic violence and mayhem. Miles sees the connection but can’t figure out why it’s happening or how to stop it. Side note: the role of newspapers in this series delights me!

Miles has turned his back on a wealthy but constrained life to use his healing talents. In Kingston, capital city of Aeland, the uppermost class possesses magic to control the weather, particularly the huge storms that threaten every winter. Other witches are considered dangerous to themselves and others, and they are institutionalized around the country. The author provides an antidote to all these troubles with a lovely romance blossoming between Miles and Tristan Hunter. Tristan has a rather unusual background that plays into solving both the initial murder and the other issues.

Polk continues to weave a Gordian knot of interrelated troubles, because the problems aren’t limited to a single world. There’s also the Solace, which exists parallel to Aeland, where souls go to reside after death. The Amaranthines rule there, an immortal race that serves as a sort of overarching moral conscience to the regular world, though one with real teeth. It turns out that they have noticed strange happenings during and after the recent war, and they are concerned because no Aelander souls have come into the Solace in decades. Therein hangs the rest of the story, but I don’t want to spoil it for you.

Witchmark sets the stage for the next two books, which are substantially more political in nature. Miles’ sister, heir to the family’s fortune and magic, becomes the main point of view for the second book, Stormsong (also in e-audiobook format). Grace has to balance the country’s needs against her own as her one true love also happens to be a star newspaper reporter. She must further balance her magical duties to protect Aeland from increasingly violent storms with her political position as Chancellor to a queen who has no desire to make necessary changes. A locked door political assassination only adds to her difficulties.

The third book, Soulstar, moves to yet another character, Robin, who has been part of the proceedings all along as a nurse and friend at Miles’ hospital and a key player in Grace’s political striving. She belongs to a minority and operates as a secret witch, whose talent lies in seeing and communicating with the dead. As the books progress, we see Aeland’s highly inequitable, stratified, royalist society change drastically. Revolution is the name of the game in this final book. Modern parallels are clear, but it’s still fun to root for the underdogs who want a seat at the table and their fair share of pie. Maybe what we need is a magical, immortal race to encourage us to live with compassion and sympathy for others.

All three books take place in Kingston, in which Polk gives us a deeply imagined, tangible city that seems as real as the wonderful, persistent people who live there. In each installment, you get a rousing story, a queer romance, and a hero who is trying to make the world a better place. Because if you can’t condone living in a society that excels only by requiring the suffering of some people, what does that require of you?

Kristen B. is a devoted bookworm lucky enough to work as the graphic designer for HCLS. She likes to read, stitch, dance, and watch baseball (but not all at the same time).

Celebrating National Book Month

The photograph shows an open book resting on an outstretched leg, with light and shadows from window blinds playing on the surface.

By Mai-Leng O.

October is a phenomenal month for Fall colors and cool crisp weather. There are myriads of activities one can do during October. Do you know that October is also National Book Month?

When was the National Book Month created?
The first National Book Month was created in 2003 by the National Book Foundation [NBF]. In 1429, the printing press had sparked a revolution that ideas and knowledge can be circulated widely and become more available to the common people. Starting in 1950, the NBF created the first National Book Awards to honor the country’s top authors and greatest books annually. NBF has a mission to celebrate the best literature in America, expand its audience and to ensure that books have a preeminent place in the American culture.

What are the categories in the National Book Awards?
During October, the NBF announces the five finalists for each of five categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature. The winners are announced in November.

The goal of the month-long celebration is to encourage the love of reading, writing, and literature. It recognizes the greatest books and authors and to encourage individuals from all walks of life to develop a culture of reading!

How can you celebrate the National Book Month?

  • Visit your local library branch or hclibrary.org to look for great books and authors.
  • Ask library staff for recommendations of great books and authors.
  • Refer to NoveList for good reads.
  • Join a book discussion group to read with others.
  • Attend an author event.
  • Read or write poetry.

Have a delightful October reading and celebrating National Book Month!

Mai-Leng Ong is the Senior Materials Specialist at Howard County Library System. She holds a Master of Science in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.