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Weyenberg Library Blog

Jan 06

Audio All-Stars, Volume 2

Posted on January 6, 2017 at 11:24 AM by Craig Jacobson

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Welcome back to round two of audio all-stars! From your daily commute, to household chores or the gym, audiobooks are a great option for people on the go. At the Frank L. Weyenberg library, you have to access to audiobooks in CD format, or as digital audiobooks through OverDrive and Hoopla. Earlier in 2016, I highlighted the talents of Jim Dale, Jayne Entwistle, George Guidall, and Julia Whelan. The following are four more recommended narrators, all with audiobooks available on CD, OverDrive, and Hoopla. If you need additional information on how to access digital audiobooks, reference staff can help you access OverDrive or Hoopla on various devices.

  • Rebecca Lowman has narrated for several best-selling authors including Jodi Picoult, Lisa Gardner, Nicholas Sparks, and Lisa Scottoline. I would suggest giving some of the lesser-known titles in Lowman’s library a try: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga, City of Savages by Lee Kelly, and Five Days Left by Julie Lawson Timmer.
  • Sunil Malhotra is a narrator who is skilled at both fiction and non-fiction works alike Readers of non-fiction should consider listening to Malhotra’s narration of Katherine Boo’s National Book Award Winner Behind the Beautiful Forevers or When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. For adult fiction, The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri and Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese are great book club selections. Additionally, Malhotra jointly narrated the young adult novel Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell with Rebecca Lowman, our first featured narrator.?
  • Before he was on Downton Abbey, the actor Dan Stevens was building up a library of accomplished narration work on works such as Fall of Giants by Ken Follett and two historical fiction titles by Louisa Young: My Dear I Wanted to Tell You and The Heroes’ Welcome. In recent years, he has tackled the likes of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None and Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale.
  • Often one voice among many, Steve West is a talented narrator who frequently collaborates on audiobook productions. He contributes to both installments of An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, as well as the fantasy novel The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, and the thriller The Widow by Fiona Barton. Individually, West has also narrated the Richard Jury mysteries by Martha Grimes, The Rocks by Peter Nichols, and several romance novels by Stephanie Laurens.


If you do find a narrator you like, the online card catalog, www.monarchcatalog.org, allows you to search by the narrator name, just as you would for an author. Please be sure to stop by the reference desk if you have any questions, or are looking for additional recommendations!

Jan 06

Amazing Animals

Posted on January 6, 2017 at 11:18 AM by Craig Jacobson

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The title, A Street Cat Named Bob: how he saved my life, seems a bit over the top, especially if you don’t like cats, but the author’s life did a complete turn- around when he took in and cared for an injured cat that he found in his neighborhood.? A great follow-up book is, A Gift from Bob: how a street cat helped one man learn the meaning of Christmas.? The same story is repeated in the book, The Dog Who Healed a Family.? This book contains 19 heart- warming stories about the special connection between humans and animals.

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It’s not unusual for a cat or dog to help us through the tough times in our lives but what about other animals.? When Helen MacDonald’s father dies unexpectedly in, H is for Hawk, the author choses to train a hawk to help her cope with her loss.? She never dreamed how her life would change because of this beautiful bird.

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When I heard the title, The Soul of an Octopus, I couldn’t imagine a book written about this creature of the deep.? The amazing thing is how fascinating this spineless mollusk is. They are very intelligent, vary in their personalities, are very curious, and they are capable of interacting with people.? Many scientists were surprised to learn the complexity of this animal.

It’s not hard to imagine animals of the same species forming a bond with one another.? A herd of elephants or a pack of wolves will grieve when one of their own dies.? Jennifer Holland, senior writer for National Geographic, wrote Unlikely Friendships and Unlikely Loves .? Both books are filled with stories about unlikely duos such as a fox and a dog, a boa constrictor and a pit bull, and an otter and a badger.

Our lives are so much richer because of these animals and our special connection to them.? Hope you enjoy reading and learning from these very special creatures.

Nov 11


Posted on November 11, 2016 at 3:17 PM by Craig Jacobson

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Hamilton An American Musical.jpgIn September 2015, the cast album of Hamilton: An American Musical was released to widespread acclaim.  Hamilton tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, Founding Father and writer extraordinaire, and the women and men who charted the course of his life, from big names like George Washington to small ones like Peggy Schuyler.  Now, in honor of the cast album’s one-year anniversary, and the recent opening of the Chicago production, let’s talk about some books that complement the show.

Alexander Hamilton.jpgThe musical was inspired by and is largely based on Ron Chernow’s biography, Alexander Hamilton.  Chernow tells Hamilton’s story in a clean, easy-to-read style, with plenty of interesting anecdotes and first-hand accounts to keep you moving through the years.  It’s long—800 pages, and dense pages at that—but worth a read if you’re interested in the Revolution, American history, Alexander Hamilton, and/or any of the Founders.

Founding Brothers.jpgFor a more general overview of the people who helped shape the nation’s early years, try Joseph Ellis’ Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation.  Ellis follows seven of the Founders (John Adams, Aaron Burr, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington) through six major political events of the 1790s.  Ellis discusses how these Founders’ experiences and philosophies affected their visions for our young country, and how their clashes and compromises influenced our government.  Ellis’ writing, like Chernow’s, is light and conversational, and Founding Brothers is a much shorter read at 288 pages.

Fallen Founder.jpgIf you like the sound of a biography like Chernow’s, there’s plenty to choose from.  Washington buffs can’t go wrong with Chernow’s Washington: A Life, the follow-up to Alexander Hamilton highlighting the General himself.  Anti-Federalists and Federalists alike can learn more about the dynamic duo, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, through Jon Meacham’s Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power and Kevin Raeder Gutzman’s James Madison and the Making of America, respectively.  Sarah Vowell provides a colorful sketch of “everyone’s favorite fighting Frenchman,” the Marquis de Lafayette, in her Lafayette in the Somewhat United States.  Finally, for a redemptive biography of Hamilton’s arch-rival, Aaron Burr, consider Nancy Isenberg’s Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr.

Founding Mothers.jpgLast, but never least, both the musical Hamilton and the book on which it’s based spotlight the women in Alexander Hamilton’s life.  We would be remiss if we didn’t do the same for the women who played key parts before, during, and after the Revolution.  Cokie Roberts’ Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation is a great place to meet the ladies who helped build the United States from the ground up.