The Lineup: Hannah

Hannah’s Lineup

Podcast: Edith! by Crooked Media

Edith! is a scripted podcast about the somewhat-true story of Edith Wilson being the first unofficial female president of the United States. 28th President Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke in 1919, one year before the end of his presidential term. Rumors have long said that his wife Edith assumed many of his presidential duties. Edith!, starring Rosamund Pike, fictionalizes that story with humor and intrigue.

I love listening to scripted podcasts. It reminds me of old-time radio shows and is a nice change from traditional talk radio or audio books. Scripted podcasts are also perfect for short or long summer road trips!

Available here or wherever you get your podcasts.

TV Show: Ted Lasso

Starring Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso is a feel good show for the entire family. Ted Lasso is a football coach from Wichita State (funny for us Kansans!) who travels across the pond to England to become a manager of a soccer team. It’s hilarious. It’s heartwarming. It’s good TV!

I don’t rewatch many shows. But when I’m sick or in a bad mood, a handful of shows can perk me up…Gilmore Girls, Parks and Rec, and Ted Lasso. I do prefer season 1 to season 2, but I can’t wait for season 3!

Available on AppleTV+

Hobby: Sourdough

I grew my first sourdough starter from scratch in May 2019. The then-preteen boys named him Thanos. We just celebrated his 3rd birthday! I’ve baked yeasted breads for many years, but sourdough was a whole new adventure. In the last three years, I’ve explored different methods, experimented with recipes, and collected a myriad of equipment.

Working with sourdough and baking bread is a source of stress relief for me. The pandemic hasn’t been good for anyone’s mental health, and it’s important to find a hobby that brings you peace and happiness. Working with sourdough brings me a sense of calm. It might sound weird to some people, but prepping, baking, and enjoying the fruit of my labor is my happy place. After all…carbs = happiness!

For more information about growing your own sourdough starter and several starter recipes, check out The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion : The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook.

Game: Monument Valley

Monument Valley is an award winning puzzle game from ustwo games. It’s available on a variety of platforms, from iOS to Android to PC. It’s different than any other puzzle game you’ve ever played before. The artwork and music are smooth, mellow, and beautiful. The puzzles make you think, but they won’t stress you out. If you like puzzles and adventure games, definitely give Monument Valley a try. It’s even a game you can revisit later. The puzzles are so intricate that you won’t remember every step of the journey.

There are two seasons available, Monument Valley I and Monument Valley II. If you are lucky enough to have Apple Arcade, you can play both for free!

Book: The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

The House is the Cerulean Sea pulled me out of a reading slump. It’s one part humor, one part fantasy, one part romance, and one part science fiction. It ticked all the boxes of my favorite genres in one book! The book does start a bit slow, but you will be rewarded if you plow through the first three chapters.

The book tells the story of Linus Baker, who is a social worker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. These magical youth reminded me of mutants from the X-Men. Linus has to visit an orphanage run by the mysterious, intelligent Arthur Parnassus, who has several secrets of his own. Arhur’s charges are likely the most dangerous youth Linus has ever come across, including the Anti-Christ himself. As Linus spends time with Athur and his wards and gets to know them, the line between his duty and his heart begin to blur.

Available for checkout from KanShare Libraries

Terese’s Thoughts: The Naked Don’t Fear the Water

The Naked Don’t Fear the Water by Matthieu Aikins

First Line: At first light, I leaned against the window and looked down at the mountains.

Summary: Matthieu Aikins is a young Canadian reporter who living in and reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan. While there, he befriends Omar, a local translator and driver who worked closely with U.S. Special Forces and found himself on the front lines more than once. Omar longs for the freedoms of Europe and the United States and he is devastated when his visa application to the U.S. is denied. Although Omar is desperate to get out, he also has a hard time committing to leaving because he is head over heels in love with Laila, whose conservative father will not permit her to marry a man of such little means.

In 2016, Omar and Matthieu decide to leave together, following the smuggler’s road to escape to Europe. Matthieu leaves his passport behind, passing as Afghan to experience the journey as a true refugee would, alongside Omar. Of course, he is also acutely aware that at any time he could call and escape the perils that so many cannot. The book details the many steps along their journey as the pair encounter cops, guards, activists, cross several borders, and get to know fellow refugees from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, and Africa–all searching for a better life for themselves and their families.

My Thoughts: This book offers a straight-forward, first-hand account of what their underground journey looks like, and it’s fascinating all the way through. So often, refugees are lumped together into a single entity in the news. In this book, we get to know who some of these people truly are. We hear about their hopes for the future, and we gain an understanding of the countless barriers to achieving freedom they encounter. As wars continue to rage and economic inequality increases across the globe, our refugee crisis only worsens. I wish anyone who had a negative view of immigrants would get to know the individuals themselves by listening to or reading their stories, and then maybe they’d have more empathy. I understand immigration is a complex issue, but in my mind, the world could use all the empathy and understanding it can get.

In addition to being a story about Afghan refugees, this book is also a story of friendship, an adventure tale, and a love story. It is hopeful as much as it is heartrending.

FYI: As a follow-up, listen to this interview with Aikins on the Longform Podcast from after the release of the book, and the fall of the Afghan government.

The Lineup: Xochitl

Xochitl’s Lineup

Book: Did You Ever Have a Family? by Bill Clegg

A terrible accident kills a daughter, her father, her mother’s boyfriend, and her fiancé the night before the wedding. Since it’s a small town, rumors fly and having a space to grieve is difficult for the few family members left. So difficult that one of them goes across the country for a clear mind. The book is told in no particular order from many people’s points of view, all leading to a true resolution. This was a super emotional read. Going through multiple points of view during different times and nothing in order, I came into it thinking I would be confused and wouldn’t enjoy it. I’m glad I was proven wrong. Despite timelines seeming like they’re going all over the place, it was pretty easy to grasp the story early on, and I felt the flow of the story was better this way than it could’ve been from just one point of view and sequentially. Bill Clegg tells the story of grief and broken families with imperfect people. There weren’t any main characters, but I would say that the mothers really drove this story. This is definitely a depressing book, but I felt like the book ended in the best way that it could, with comfort and resolution.

I read it on our Libby app but we also have physical copies in our catalog.

TV Show: Succession

I am finally catching up with the rest of the world and have started watching Succession. It is brilliantly funny. Succession takes a look into the lives of a family that has built its massive wealth by managing the news, media, and theme parks from all over the world. The family is messy and two-faced, with the main siblings fighting for power amongst one another and doing anything they can to get it. No one is likeable in this series, and I think that’s why I’m obsessed with it. Also, the soundtrack is killer, as well as the acting. It doesn’t seem like a comedy from this description, but I think it’s because it is actually dark humor in the true sense. The stuff that happens to this family and the stuff that they do is just so surreal that you just have to laugh. It’s hard for me to take breaks while watching Succession. I am almost done with the latest season.

There are a lot of adult themes and scenes, so I would refrain from watching if you’re underage or not comfortable with watching that.

You can find it on HBOMax and we do have the first two seasons on DVD at the Derby Public Library.

Music/Album: Wasteland, Baby! By Hozier

The album that has been on constant rotation these past few months has been Hozier’s Wasteland, Baby! This genre is one I do not listen to much of. My Spotify statistics can verify that I mainly listen to R&B, but this album has a lot of influences from gospel, soul, and blues artists—the beginnings of my favorite genre. Hozier is a powerful singer and a remarkable lyricist. His debut album caught my attention for the first time back in November, and I had it on constant repeat. Naturally, I found myself listening to his second one, and it became an instant favorite, moreso than his debut. Themes of activism and love found throughout this album resonate with me, and the blend of folk with different genres is done so well. My favorite songs on the album are “No Plan” and “Dinner & Diatribes.”

We have the album available to checkout at the Derby Public Library or you can stream it on any music streaming service you use.

Hobby: Lego (Batman Car)

Following the theme of “stuff I usually don’t do,” I have accidentally found myself creating a LEGO collection. I did not grow up with LEGOs and never saw the appeal of them as I got older. Last month I built a set meant for someone else, and thus my newest and most expensive hobby was born.

I mainly started off with smaller sets of franchises I liked, then worked towards more difficult sets with lots of pieces. Admittedly, I love doing puzzles, so it’s not that farfetched that I got into LEGO building. My newest build was a Technic set of Batman’s car in the latest movie, and it was a beast. I loved every minute of it and can’t wait to pick out my next LEGO set.

Movie: Sabrina (1995 version)

I adored the 1954 version of Sabrina, starring Audrey Hepburn, so I was pretty excited to see how the 1995 version would hold up. It was just as comedic and romantic as the original. Sabrina’s actress was phenomenal in the role, and I especially liked her solo parts. Harrison Ford’s character was also entertaining, and certainly different from the majority of the roles he does. My favorite difference between this version and the older one is that the Paris scenes are actually filmed in Paris. It made the film look more authentic and helped with the growth of Sabrina’s character on screen. Maybe because I usually find romantic endings to be cheesy, my favorite part of the movie was Sabrina’s time in Paris. I think if you’re looking for something familiar and sweet, I would give this movie a watch if you haven’t.

We have the DVD to check out in the library catalog.

Terese’s Thoughts: Women Talking

Women Talking by Miriam Toews

First Line: My name is August Epp—irrelevant for all purposes, other than that I’ve been appointed the minute-taker for the women’s meetings because the women are illiterate and unable to do it themselves.

Summary: In an isolated Mennonite community, it has come to light that some of the men have been using a powerful poisonous spray, typically used to sedate livestock, to knock out and sexually assault women and children during the night. They awaken with no memory of the experience. But this all happens before we meet the women and girls of Molotschna. The title of this book is apt, as the “action” consists of the women talking in a barn, trying to decide whether they should:

  1. Do nothing
  2. Stay and Fight
  3. Leave

The men of the village, meanwhile, have been taken into custody but will be returning soon. As pressure mounts, the women argue, laugh, and try to define what it means to believe in God, to forgive, to be free, and to love. They name as their goals safety for themselves and for their children, and the freedom to think. Through it all, they are also enjoying each other’s company.

My Thoughts: One of the reviewers I trust, Molly Young, raves about Miriam Toews. She recommended starting with Women Talking so I picked it up. I will admit, the subject matter made me apprehensive to start reading. I thought it might be too dark, too depressing– especially since the book is based on real events. And while it is true that those events are depressingly grim, the book is anything but. For me, there is something so restorative and fortifying about spending an evening surrounded by women. (It’s also typically a lot of fun!) Reading this book had the same effect on me.

The only man in the barn is the minute-taker August, an awkward outcast and appreciator of the random fact who is in love with Ona, a nervous and thoughtful dreamer. The following conversation between the two is an example of the frequent, whimsical interludes from the tense atmosphere in the barn, and it tickled me:

“Did you know, I say, that there is a butterfly called the Comma?

Ona gasps.

It’s such an untoward reaction, so comical.

Is that so? she asks.

Yes, I say, it’s called the Comma because–but Ona stops me.

No, she says, let me guess. Because it flits about from leaf to stem to petal, pausing only briefly on its way? Because its journey is its story, never stopping, only pausing, always moving.

I smile and nod. Exactly, I say, that is why!

Ona punches the palm of her hand: Aha! She goes back to her seat.

But it’s not true, this is not why the Comma butterfly has its name. And of course there are periods within texts, journeys. Stoppage. The real reason, banal, is that the butterfly has a shape on the underside of its wing that resembles a comma. I don’t know why I let her believe otherwise, but someday, perhaps, it will be clear.”

FYI: Miriam Toews herself grew up in an isolated Mennonite village in Canada (not the one this book is based on).

In The News: Foreverland

Foreverland: On the Divine Tedium of Marriage by Heather Havrilesky

A couple weeks ago, I was flipping through the Memoir edition of The New York Times Book Review. After reading the first sentences of Walter Kirn’s review of Foreverland by Heather Havrilesky, I had to stop, sit up a little straighter, and start again. Was this a take down? 

First of all, the title of the review is

“Heather Havrilesky Compares Her Husband to a Heap of Laundry.”

Tone set. The review begins by informing the audience that Havrilesky dedicates the book to her husband. In Kirn’s words, she “pays him this brief honor as a prelude to writing endlessly about his flaws.”

In the next paragraph, Kirn describes the relationship between the author and her husband as “a marriage between a neurotic perfectionist and a formidably patient man…” Ouch. Kirn’s criticisms become less personal as he questions the universality of Havrilesky’s sweeping statements about what marriage is and means.  

I was too caught up in the juiciness of the review that I hadn’t yet considered whether these criticisms were fair. It may not be my most endearing trait, but I love a good piece of author gossip. For example, this profile of actor Jeremy Strong that Michael Schulman wrote for The New Yorker and the resulting backlash from celebrities such as Jessica Chastain. And then there was the time food author Alison Roman gave an interview in which she criticized Marie Kondo and Chrissy Teigen and the internet went nuts. (There was a follow-up interview with Roman about a year later in The New Yorker where she had the chance to contextualize her comments.)  

Getting back to Foreverland, a few days after reading the review, I saw Havrilesky was a guest on Longform, a podcast I regularly listen to. To my surprise, she is still married to the heap of laundry from the book. She expressed disappointment and felt her work had been misunderstood. For one thing, she is a published cartoonist and humorist. As Havrilesky points out in the interview, the book is meant to be not only truthful but also funny.

Apparently, the ladies on the TV show The View were also critical of Havrilesky for bad mouthing her husband. The author defended herself by saying that she was trying to present an honest portrait of what marriage looks like—the good bad and ugly. She suggested misogyny was at play in some people’s negative and personal attacks on both her book and her character.  

My Thoughts

I should start by saying, I haven’t yet read the book. I hadn’t initially planned to, but now I feel obligated to. And I want to. 

As I said, I was at first all jazzed about the bad review. I was all “yeah! Take that lady!” But after hearing her speak, I had to reconsider. It is one thing to criticize a person’s writing, but it’s quite another to decide and print in an internationally renowned newspaper that an author is a “neurotic perfectionist,” and to imply that she is a bad person and a bad wife.  

I don’t doubt that misogyny has played a role in the negative reviews of Havrilesky’s book. But I also wonder if some people feel threatened by her freedom to be so honest about her feelings towards her husband and about marriage. The author apparently writes in the book about developing a crush on another man. Some may say it’s cruel to be open with her husband about that. I’m inclined to think it takes a lot of guts. It must feel freeing to have her husband truly know her. I wonder if some people don’t envy that transparency—envy her dedication to being who she is no matter the cost.

As she says in the interview, although her husband was not initially thrilled with her including this chapter in the book, ultimately, the book has brought them closer together. Now, whether Havrilesky’s marriage is something the masses want to read about depends on her writing. I’ll withhold my judgment on that until after I’ve read the book.  

  • Foreverland can be found in the New Books section of the Derby Library.

The Lineup: Parker

Parker’s Lineup

Movie: Auntie Mame (1958)

Rosalind Russell plays the titular character Mame Dennis, an eccentric Grande Dame of New York society whose world changes when Patrick, the son of her estranged brother, becomes her ward. The central conflict comes in the form of Dwight Babcock, the trustee of Patrick’s inheritance who has been tasked with monitoring his education and protecting him from Mame’s ‘cosmopolitan’ influence. Then the Wall Street Crash of 1929 happens and we see the changes and Mame and Patrick’s relationship through the 1930s, with the kind of man Patrick will become weighing heavily on Mame’s mind. This film has the perfect amount of camp comedy, and, while it is older, I appreciate it on a personal level, because I hope that I’ve given the young ones in my life space to grow into themselves and insight toward their empowerment.

Available on Amazon Prime, or submit an Interlibrary Loan request

Videogame: Katamari Damacy™ REROLL for Nintendo Switch

I absolutely adored the original Katamari Damacy game on PlayStation 2 (Damacy is pronounced dah-mah-shi), and REROLL keeps the game’s kooky-kawaii aesthetic, with its vibrant colors and a kitschy Shibuya-kei soundtrack that balances with its frenetic pace. The premise is simple: The King of All Cosmos has destroyed all the stars in the sky in what can only be described as a melodramatic fit of pique, and you, the Little Prince, are tasked with rebuilding them using the katamari, a super-adhesive ball, to collect objects; it gets ridiculous fast. You start with smaller objects, like Mahjong tiles and caramels, before moving on to cabbages, squawking birds, screaming people, trees, vehicles, buildings, even whole mountains! This requires excellent hand-eye coordination and strategy. You can get stuck if you’re not careful. Crash into larger objects and you’ll knock off the ones you’ve already collected, and any living beings can knock you way off-course. Plus, you’ll encounter the most random obstacles, like dog chases, car crashes, gates closing behind you, and unprovoked avalanches. I recommend this for puzzle and strategy gamers of all ages.

Book: The rap year book: The most important rap song from every year since 1979, discussed, debated, and deconstructed by Shea Serrano

As Serrano makes clear, a year’s “most important” song is not necessarily the most popular. Rather, it innovates the genre or reflects a major cultural shift. My favorite example, the song I remember bumping from the home stereo system, is A Tribe Called Quest’s classic “Bonita Applebum,” which manages to be a beautiful love song without sending me into a diabetic coma. The Rap year book is ultimately Serrano’s love song to the genre, creating value by situating rap as the global creative revolution it was and continues to be. The combination of thorough research into several annals of hip-hop journalism and tongue-in-cheek illustrations makes this a good read for anyone who wants to get reacquainted with old favorites, discover songs they haven’t heard before, and gain insight into the lyricism and production of this uniquely Black American art form.

Available for checkout from KanShare Libraries

Book: Chronicles from the land of the happiest people on earth by Wole Soyinka

Life seems to be on the up-and-up for old school friends—Dr. Khigare Menka, once an orphan from the hills but now a respected surgeon, comes into national prominence after receiving the Independence Day Award of Pre-eminence, while Aduyole Pitan-Payne, scion of colonial aristocracy and engineering superstar, has been appointed to a prestigious post on the UN Energy Commission. Alas, the men find themselves embroiled in a conspiracy to traffic human body parts, literally a national meat market with a bureaucracy rivaling any legitimate business. Their path to the truth proves perilous as they face danger from many sources, some closer to home. In his signature wry style, Soyinka combines the eulogy of a loyal friendship with the suspense of a political thriller, and readers will experience whiplash from all the twists and turns, but he ultimately interrogates violence, be it interethnic violence, sectarian violence, or structural violence against the vulnerable as, merely, a matter of course. I’ve been familiar with Soyinka’s poetry, but knew little of his fiction before reading this. Nigeria’s unique literary tradition reflects its own brand of pluralism, and readers will encounter unfamiliar references, but that’s part of the fun of reading books from a range of perspectives; you get to learn how other people think. I can’t recommend this highly enough.

Available for checkout from the Derby Public Library

Videogame: Animal Crossing: New Horizons for Nintendo Switch

This latest game in the beloved series starts you on a deserted island, and it’s hand-to-mouth as you forage for resources and work hard to earn bells, all so you can put down some roots and buy a house. Then, you become a village planner, developing infrastructure by building bridges, for example, and building figurative bridges with villagers to make your island the best it can be. There are lots of other activities too, including farming, diving, stargazing, and fashion design. The possibilities are nearly endless. I recommend this for anyone who wants a cozy, play-at-your-own-pace gaming experience. I also love all the cute villagers and their personalities; Cherie, the hyperactive aspiring pop star, is my favorite so far. We have a copy here at DPL if you’d like to dip you toes in.

Terese’s Thoughts: Priestdaddy

Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood

First Line: At nineteen, I ought to have been in college with the rest of my high school class, gaining fifteen pounds of knowledge and bursting the sweatpants of my ignorance.

Summary: Lockwood grew up in a big family in the Midwest. Her father is a Catholic priest, a rarity for a married man with children. Both of Lockwood’s parents have their quirks and we get to know them well. Her father is loud and unfiltered, her mother obsessed with looking up tragic events and warning her children of them, both unquestionably loving despite their occasional parenting missteps. Lockwood marries young, having met her future husband on the internet and bonding over a love of poetry. They move away together, but financial strain pushes them back into the rectory with Lockwood’s parents. Eventually, Lockwood becomes famous for a poem she publishes online and receives a book deal. Along the way, Lockwood generously shares many hilarious stories of her childhood, her siblings, and her parents. Being life, there are of course some darker moments as well. 

My Thoughts: I now search for anything Patricia Lockwood has written for the London Review of Books. She is incredibly talented and inventive. She’s also hilarious. For a while, she lived in Lawrence not far from where I was living at the time. I remember when her poem went viral and she was something of a local celebrity. People were very excited, including my step-dad who wanted every detail when I spotted her at a bar downtown. She even describes this period in the book, calling Lawrence a town of “aspiring radicals.” I still can’t decide if it’s a compliment or an insult.

Reading Lockwood is pure delight. I love the way she plays with language and I can tell she does too. I inhaled this book.

Her debut novel No One is Talking About This, published in 2021, has received all kinds of rave reviews and accolades, including being shortlisted for the Booker Prize and landing on the New York Times’ 10 best books of 2021 list. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s definitely on my reading list.

The Lineup: Grace

Grace’s Lineup

TV Show: New Girl

A few weeks ago, per one of my best friend’s advice, I started New Girl. I’ve almost started it many times, but I’d heard mixed reviews (from people I know. The show overall has a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, though, if that means something to you. The first season only has 87%, but that’s already a great place to start). I am an avid re-watcher of Parks and Recreation, and while the writers are different, the idea of having a quirky and passionate protagonist (Jess), who is definitely naive and socially awkward at times but still very loved by those around her, is still at the heart of the show. Because I trust that friend who said, “Grace, I know you’re Leslie Knope, but you’re also very much Jess,” and she was right.

The first season begins with our main heroine, Jess moving into a loft with three bachelors. Their lovely apartment boasts one bathroom, a sketchy garbage disposal, and terribly patched up plumbing problems (by Nick, one of her new roommates), due to their fear of the landlord, played by Jeff Kober. The guys and Jess learn about love, friendship, how to compromise on sharing their space, even when Jess spends all day crying on the couch, watching Dirty Dancing for the seventh time, and cry-singing along to I’ve Had the Time of My Life.

Available for checkout from the Derby Public Library (because I just returned it, don’t worry), streaming on Hulu, and maybe still streaming on Netflix?

Book: Black Panther & the Crew: We are the Streets by Ta- Nehisi Coates (Writer), Yona Harvey (Writer), and Jackson Butch Guice (Illustrator)

This Black Panther comic book follows NYPD officer, Misty Knight (girlfriend to Sam Wilson aka Captain America), as she investigates the death of a civil rights activist named Ezra, who died while in police custody. Featuring familiar names and faces such as Storm, Black Panther, Luke Cage, and Manifold, Misty must uncover the truth about the dark forces at work in Harlem.

The story spans decades and shows how Ezra has been trying to make Harlem a better place since he was a young man, back in 1957. There is a moment in the story, where some of the “good guys” realize that they have grown to have the same calloused, and bitter hearts as those they are fighting, and they have begun participating in the same senseless acts of violence that had separated them from the “bad guys.” That’s one of my all-time favorite tropes in any action story, especially in comic books, and one of the many things that made this a fantastic read!

Available for checkout from the Derby Public Library and online, if you’ve set up your Hoopla account (and if you haven’t, I highly recommend you do! It’s a super convenient way to still get the titles you need, especially during those crazy snow days when you don’t want to leave the house).

Reading Challenge: Reading Everybody Black by Jasmine Holmes & Charaia Callabrass

I know Black History Month will technically have just ended by the time this post comes up on the blog, but that only means that you’ve (hopefully) seen a lot of great new authors promoted over the past month and your TBR list is now a mile long. An author I follow on Instagram shared this challenge, and I was really excited (and not just because my copy of Their Eyes Were Watching God has been sitting at home, unread).

Here are a few of the books that I’ve read / am reading for this challenge:

Class Act by Jerry Craft

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

(If you haven’t read this book yet, know that the author did not shy away from raw dialogue and difficult scenes. Her book contains a lot of triggering content including but not limited to domestic abuse, racism, references to slavery, and violence – especially towards women.)

One True Loves by Elise Bryant

Podcast: Welcome to Night Vale by Night Vale Presents

Written in the style of a news hour from a town that sounds like Lemony Snicket thought it up, welcome to Night Vale gives “community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, where every conspiracy theory is true.” I can’t think of any other way to describe this except to say that if you enjoy satire and sci-fi this podcast has a great mix of both. Here’s an excerpt from the first episode:

“Lights. Seen in the sky above the Arby’s. Not the glowing sign of Arby’s. Something higher, and beyond that. We know the difference. We’ve caught on to their game. We understand the ‘lights above Arby’s’ game.

Invaders from another world.

Ladies and gentlemen, the future is here, and it’s about 100 feet above the Arby’s.”

Available on Spotify, Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts

The Lineup: Monica

Monica’s Lineup

TV Series: Gilmore Girls

Lorelai Gilmore and her daughter, Rory, live in the small town of Stars Hollow. Their life is full of drama, life changes, and small-town relationships. My mom and I first watched this when I started high school, and every year since then, we have watched it. Somehow, it has become our cozy series to watch during the holiday season. All of the actors and actresses in the show are talented and well-known today. Despite the series being released in 2000, it is a timeless coming of age story that is enjoyable for all audiences.

Available for checkout through the Derby Public Library

Podcast: Dark History hosted by Bailey Sarian

Bailey Sarian is the host of the Dark History podcast, which I listen to on Spotify. She started the podcast to talk about topics that are a little too dark or theory-based to cover in history class. I first found Bailey on YouTube with her Murder, Mystery, and Makeup series, where she does a full face of makeup while explaining a true murder story. She has a talent for researching and retelling stories with such dark topics. She is loose with her language and is a little sarcastic. Although in my opinion, that adds to the story. Most podcast episodes are pretty short and fun, and I enjoy listening to them in my free time.

Available on Spotify, Youtube, or whatever you listen to your podcasts.

Book: An Edited Life by Anna Newton

Organizing and reorganizing are two of my favorite things to do. Last year, I aimed to adopt a capsule wardrobe. If you are unfamiliar with this idea, essentially, you own just enough clothes that you will regularly wear and nothing more. I first found the author, Anna Newton, on YouTube as The Anna Edit. On her channel, she has videos explaining her wardrobe. She explains what she looks for when purchasing new items, quality over quantity.

Her book, An Edited Life, describes living a semi-minimalist lifestyle. It gives the basics of how to start decluttering your mental and physical space. Anna Newton uses comedic writing and colorful language in this book. It makes it feel like she is just a friend chatting with you about living a simple life.

Available for checkout through the Derby Public Library

Audiobook: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I listened to Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell on Libby. This is a young adult book about a college freshman, Cath. Her twin sister, Wren, has committed to the college girl lifestyle and leaves Cath on her own. Cath is a writer of Simon Snow fan fiction. She has spent years editing the fictional world of her favorite story in order to escape her reality. Throughout the story, Cath is falling in love with a real guy, not a fictional character, and it was fun to hear her inner dialogue as she tries to navigate her priorities and emotions. I enjoyed how easy this book was to listen to, and that it was a simple boy meets girl kind of story.

Audiobook available for checkout through the Sunflower eLibrary or the Libby app, book available for checkout through the Derby Library

Music: Surface Sounds by Kaleo

I love all kinds of music, but lately, this album by Kaleo is the only thing I play. I am a fan of their album A/B which they released in 2016. So, when Surface Sounds came out in 2021, I was more than ready to hear it. Kaleo is an “Icelandic blues-rock” band, and their style checks all the boxes for what I think makes music enjoyable. My favorite songs on this album are Skinny and Backbone. Plus, this CD is available for checkout at the Derby Public Library!

The Lineup: Anni

Anni’s Lineup

TV Show: White Collar

A TV show that I have been watching is White Collar. This TV show is really funny and enjoyable for the whole family. This show ran several seasons. It is about the FBI White Collar division and several cases they handle on a daily basis. The lead actor Matt Bomer plays Neal Caffery, a notorious art thief and con man that is doing his time by helping the White Collar division catch thieves and con men. Neal uses several tactics, most of which are not FBI approved and he always gets out of trouble. His handler/assigned detective grows close to him and eventually calls him family. This show was funny and heart warming with a tad bit of mystery all in one. I liked this especially when I had a long day and needed something to laugh at and something to calm down to. It quickly became a routine to watch after getting off work.

Available for checkout from the Derby Public Library

Game: What Do You Meme?

Currently I am playing a board game called ‘What do you Meme.’ This game is really fun to play with friends and family. I play it every Wednesday night with a group of 7 friends and we always end up laughing and having a great time. There are different variations of the game, but I like the Tik Tok version. It is a lot of fun.

Available for purchase through Amazon, Walmart, or Target.

Emoji: Smiley with hearts

My favorite emoji is the smiley emoji with the heart eyes. I use this emoji a lot because it tells people that I am super happy. I am pretty sure that I use it 20 or more times a day.

Book: The False Prince

I am currently reading The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen. I am enjoying this book so much. I have read it several times and every time I read it, the book gets better. I love the thrill of going on an adventure to pick out a false prince and con the king and queen, but is it really a con?  I love the mystery and the new little bits I pick up from reading it over and over.

Several copies are available for checkout from KanShare Libraries.

Soundtrack: Encanto

My favorite soundtrack right now is the Encanto soundtrack. I am loving the upbeat and catchy music. Every time I hear it I just want to sing and dance along. In the soundtrack, my favorite song is We Don’t Talk About Bruno because it is really catchy, plus it tells the story really well.

Available for checkout from the Derby Public Library