Meet Grace, our newest Youth Services Assistant!

This blog post was written by Grace Cavin, our newest Youth Services Assistant.

Hello new friends! 

Grace and her dog!

My name is Grace, and I just started as a Youth Services Assistant here at the library! I thought I’d share a few of my favorite books with you so you can get to know me.

I graduated this past May with a degree in English, and during my studies, I read The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It radicalized me in college. You may know Dostoyevsky as the author of Crime and Punishment, but The Brothers Karamazov is a 700+ page read written very densely and full of weepy moments of despair, redemption, and maybe murder. It completely changed me as a person.

When it comes to my interests, I enjoy reading, writing, and learning all I can about quantum physics. It all began when I was probably ten or so and first read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. I don’t want to spoil it by over summarizing the plot for you, but space and time travel are definitely involved. Also, if you’ve seen either film adaptation without reading the book, I would say that the heart of the book is lost in both of the adaptations so please read it if you haven’t (or if you have, maybe it’s time to read it again)! 

Growing up, I moved every few years (I think I’ve moved about a dozen times so far) and often the first friends I made were the stray neighborhood cats and the local librarians. Books on animals, especially mice, always ended up in the ginormous stack I’d take home every week from my local library. 

A few I remember enjoying that you could check out are: 

As for the books I’m currently reading, they’re a mixture of classics, fantasy, and mystery, which is just how I like it: 

  • Piranesi by Susanna Clarke—a book that I currently have no clue what is happening in, but I am loving the journey and the way the story is told.   
Grace on a trip to Colorado!

Thanks for reading my first blog post! Come by the Youth Services Desk sometime, and let’s chat! I’m happy to help you find your next great book!  

What’s Ashley Reading?: The Lions of Fifth Avenue

The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis

First line: She had to tell Jack.

Summary: Laura Lyons and her family had recently moved into the superintendent’s apartment in the New York City Public Library. It seemed like a dream come true to be surrounded by so much history and knowledge. But even with everything seeming so perfect she knows something is missing. She takes a chance and applies to Columbia Journalism School. When she is accepted she doesn’t realize how much her life will now change.

Eighty years later, Sadie, Laura’s granddaughter is working in the same library. She has been preparing an exhibit when books, very valuable books, begin to disappear. As she helps search for them she worries that the blame may be put on her because of her family’s past. It seems that the past is repeating itself.

My Thoughts: I am so happy that Davis went back to her old style of writing. I love her stories that have intertwining stories from different time periods. She does them so well. I was really disappointed in the Chelsea Girls when she diverged from this format. It did not have the same magic as her other books have had.

The author does a wonderful job of bringing the landmarks she writes about to life. They almost become a character in the story as well. These buildings have so much history. I would love to one day be able to visit them. And the fact that there are all these secrets or unknown parts of each building are fascinating. Who knew that there were apartments in the New York library? I for sure didn’t. It would be a dream to live in such an iconic location.

I highly recommend this to anyone who wants a gentle read with a little mystery thrown in. The history and story are easy to get lost in.

FYI: Perfect for fans of Rhys Bowen and Beatriz Williams.

Book Review: The Librarian of Auschwitz

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

First line: The Nazi officers are dressed in black.

Summary: Based on the true life events of Dita Kraus we see the courage and strength of the prisoners of Auschwitz. The story follows Dita, a fourteen-year-old girl, and her parents as they are transported to the death camp. Upon arriving, they are assigned to the family camp. Dita is made to work in the “school” where she meets Freddy Hirsch, the Jewish leader in charge of the children of Auschwitz. Hirsch gives Dita that responsibility of hiding and taking care of the contraband books, becoming the librarian of Auschwitz.

Highlights: I know I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but I do. And this one is beautiful. I absolutely love it. The story is so rich and detailed but heartbreaking at the same time. I have read many accounts of the Holocaust. The strength of the people who lived and endured these hardships is hard to read but they need to be. No one should be allowed to forget these stories and atrocities have happened. I cannot imagine having the courage that Dita has. She was fourteen and risked her life for the love of books and reading. She kept her humanity in the worst possible situation. I loved how the author intermixed the stories that she read into the narrative. We, as the reader, get to experience what kept her going during the dark days.

Lowlights: Several other narratives of fellow prisoners at Auschwitz are woven into Dita’s story. I was confused at times when the story changed narrators.

FYI: Great as an audiobook!