54 episodes

Twice a month, the librarians are in! Join Lawrence Public Librarians and Book Squad members Polli Kenn and Kate Gramlich for some bookish banter straight into your ears.

Book Squad Podcast Lawrence Public Library

    • Society & Culture

Twice a month, the librarians are in! Join Lawrence Public Librarians and Book Squad members Polli Kenn and Kate Gramlich for some bookish banter straight into your ears.

    054: Hello books, my old friends

    054: Hello books, my old friends

    As we're getting into the swing of things in this pandemic (what a weird thing to type), some of us are feeling more like revisiting our old friends - books. They're friends we don't have to sit 6ft apart from, and we might need them right now. Polli and Kate share some books they've been hearing others rave about, most of which are available digitally on Hoopla and/or Libby! 

    Show notes: https://lplks.org/blogs/post/054-hello-books-my-old-friend/

    On Tuesday afternoons at 4pm (Central), the Book Squad is offering BYOBB - Bring Your Own Book & Beverage - on Zoom (click the link for the Zoom info!) During the hour, anyone and everyone is welcome to get on and share what you've been reading... or just listen if you don't want to share! Afterward, a Book Squadder compiles a list on Bibliocommons of all that was discussed. Here are some of the previous weeks' lists.
    Note - there are LOTS of things to add to your to-read pile here. You may want to sign into your Bibliocommons account first so you can easily add items to your "For Later" shelf.

    BYOBB Part 1 • BYOBB Part 2 • BYOBB Part 3 • BYOBB Part 4 • BYOBB Part 5

    Some of the books Polli and Kate chatted about in this episode are:

    Xeni: A Marriage of Inconvenience
    The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek (ebook and e-audio)
    The Giver of Stars (ebook and e-audio)
    Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants (e-audio)
    18 Tiny Deaths (ebook - with pictures)
    Underland
    The Overstory (ebook)
    How to Do Nothing (ebook and e-audio + podcast episode)
    The Shadow King
    The Need (ebook and e-audio) 

    Library COVID-19 news: Our programs and events will be digital this summer. The library building will not be open to the public on May 18th. Please stay tuned on our social media, website, and/or newsletter for up-to-date information!

    • 57 min
    053: Apodcastalypse

    053: Apodcastalypse

    What better to read during a time of great societal upheaval and the breakdown of basic norms and values than compelling novel that explores the psychology of dealing with a plague? That's what we thought, too! Tune in to our discussion of The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker, which we call "Apocalypse Lite." (Heads up: the book does not end in earth-shattering disaster.) 

    Show notes: https://lplks.org/blogs/post/053-apodcastalypse

    *** Note: this book is available on Overdrive/the Libby app in both ebook and e-audio formats.

    A mysterious sleeping sickness hits a college campus in a California town isolated from surrounding areas by deep wilderness. The novel follows several college students and community members as the news and sickness spreads. It is a profound look at how we think about and talk about (and respond to) plague or illness, which is particularly timely in time of COVID-19. Special thanks to one of our listeners, Fred, who recommended that we take this journey!

    This is a reminder that LPL will be closed until May 17th.

    If you are looking for information on COVID-19, please bookmark this page as we will be updating it frequently: https://lplks.org/covid-19/

    • 38 min
    052: Dishing the American Dirt

    052: Dishing the American Dirt

    What does it mean to write a protagonist that is completely different from you? Are you a guest, a tourist, or an invader? How do you write correctly and thoughtfully? What happens when you get it wrong? Listen up as Polli and Kate share some dirt and some resources. 

    Show notes: https://lplks.org/blogs/post/052-dishing-the-american-dirt/

    Two Book Minimum:
    How to Catch A Mole by Marc Hamer
    The Dirty Girls Social Club by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez

    Dishing the...American Dirt:
    If you're a book nerd in any way, or interested in #OwnVoices literature, you've probably heard about the American Dirt drama. If not, here's a blurb from Rachelle Hampton:

    American Dirt follows the journey of a mother and son fleeing Mexico for America after their entire family is murdered on the orders of a local cartel kingpin. Before the slaughter, Lydia Quixano Pérez is a bookseller in Acapulco, mother to Luca and wife to journalist Sebastián. It is Sebastián’s exposé on the kingpin, who also happens to be a frequent customer of Lydia’s bookstore, that serves as the linchpin for the violence that sets off the novel and Lydia’s journey through the desert to the border.

    In her afterword Cummins describes a four-year writing process that included extensive travel and interviews in Mexico. Cummins writes of her desire to humanize “the faceless brown mass” that she believes is so many people’s perception of immigrants. “I wish someone slightly browner than me would write it,” she continues. “But then I thought, if you’re the person who has the capacity to be a bridge, why not be a bridge.”  (Slate.com)

    So. While the book had been released quite a while ago, it came out this year (to rave reviews) and was picked for Oprah's Book Club, which then led to some deeper digging and scandalous responses. One of the first and most vocal opponents was Myriam Gurba, author of Mean, whose lyrical takedown was (in Kate's view)... spectacular.
    It's pretty brutal and covers multiple levels, including the unnatural-sounding use of Spanglish and the lack of Mexican sensibility. She argues against Cummins' right to write this book, especially given the number of Latinx authors who are remaining unpublished or undiscovered. The backlash against this line of criticism has been stronggggg. And not cute. 

    David Bowles' piece, American Dirt: Dignity & Equity, offers a nuanced view of what it means to write the "other," and what a responsibility it is -- "When you write about an underrepresented group, one whose own voices have been excluded from the world of publishing, not getting it right isn’t just disastrous: it’s harmful to people in that group." Bowles' article gives lots of stats and figures to back up his argument, as well as tips FOR writing characters different from you. One to check out is called Writing the Other, a series by Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward, which has tons of resources for current or prospective authors.

    Likewise, Alexander Chee addresses this issue often in workshops and lectures and says "Many writers are not really asking for advice — they are asking if it is okay to find a way to continue as they have." He asks a few questions that are very helpful to writers, creators, and consumers:

    1. Why do you want to write from this character’s point of view?
    2. Do you read writers from this community currently?
    3. Why do you want to tell this story?
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    • 1 hr 14 min
    051: Meet Me at the Podcast

    051: Meet Me at the Podcast

    Want a read that's sweet but not sugary, and philosophical without making you feel dumb? Listen up, folks!

    Show notes: https://lplks.org/blogs/post/051-meet-me-at-the-podcast/

    This episode is ALL about the She Said/She Said: Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson

    From Shelf Awareness: "What does one's life look like on paper? In hindsight? Through the eyes of a dear friend? These are the questions at the heart of Anne Youngson's wonderful epistolary novel, Meet Me at the Museum." The author's debut came out when she was 70 years old, and features characters who claim to have "More behind us than ahead of us." 

    What follows is a beautiful story of friendship and self-discovery that plays out in a series of letters between Tina and Anders. We like to describe it as being sweet but NOT gushy or sugary, more.... real and open. Philosophical and smart but not obnoxiously so ;)

    ----------------------------------------

    Twice(-ish) a month, the librarians are in, with their favorite recommendations in Two Book Minimum, a toe-to-toe discussion on a book or topic, as well as news from the book world, updates from Lawrence Public Library, and beyond.
    This episode was produced by Jim Barnes in the Sound & Vision studio. Our theme song is by Heidi Lynne Gluck. You can find the Book Squad Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or SoundCloud. Please subscribe and leave us comments – we’d love to know what you think, and your comments make it easier for other people to find our podcast. Happy reading and listening! xo, Polli & Kate

    • 43 min
    050: Welcome back, you bumptious Turdsworth

    050: Welcome back, you bumptious Turdsworth

    NEW YEAR NEW...RETURNING PODCAST There was a lil hiatus and we never really got to warn you, sorry! This episode, we jump back in with some bookish news, recommendations, and a chat about what's going on in Lawrence this spring! Turns out? Lots of stuff. 

    Show notes: https://lplks.org/blogs/post/050-welcome-back-you-bumptious-turdsworth

    Bookish News:
    According to LitHub, "Lord Byron used to call William Wordsworth 'Turdsworth,' and yes, this is a real historical fact." You're welcome and goodnight.
    There has been some capital-U Uproar over at Romance Writers of America. Some capital-R Racist capital-U Uproar. Polli walks us through a bunch of highlights, and here are some other sources:
      

    Two Book Minimum: 
    The Little Book of Lost Words by Joe Gillard, found on the Schitt'$ Creek list/display that Ilka made!
    The Player's Handbook by Jeremy Crawford (D&D, not, like, being a playa)
    The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary
    Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (“Lesbian necromancers explore a haunted gothic palace in space!” Duh.)
    Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness by Dr. Qing Li

    What's Going On? (So much.)
    In partnership with the Lawrence NAACP, we have an awesome African American Read-In planned (events throughout February) with a Kick-off on Feb 2nd. Come to the kick-off for a lively panel discussion led by scholars, writers, and librarians about the importance of representation in literature.

    Read Across Lawrence has been announced! The adult read is The Round House by Louise Erdrich (who will be at Haskell this spring!!!!) The events for Adult RAL will be throughout April, with the giveaway on March 28th. (Stay tuned for more info, because that will also be our 2020 CENSUS BASH!) 

    Also coming this spring, as we've bragged about before, is Paper Plains Literary Festival

    ------------------------
    Twice(-ish) a month, the librarians are in, with their favorite recommendations in Two Book Minimum, a toe-to-toe discussion on a book or topic, as well as news from the book world, updates from Lawrence Public Library, and beyond.

    This episode was produced by Jim Barnes in the Sound & Vision studio. Our theme song is by Heidi Lynne Gluck. You can find the Book Squad Podcast on iTunesopens a new window, Stitcheropens a new window, or SoundCloudopens a new window. Please subscribe and leave us comments – we’d love to know what you think, and your comments make it easier for other people to find our podcast. Happy reading and listening! xo, Polli & Kate

    • 54 min
    049: What's a Good Death to You?

    049: What's a Good Death to You?

    In time for Día de los Muertos, Polli and Kate discuss a book about what it means to have a "good death" in many places around the world. Through Caitlin Doughty's From Here to Eternity, they encounter death houses, glowing Buddhas, Snow White-esque caskets, revered Angelitos, and more. Join us on an enlightening and surprisingly uplifting journey. 

    Show notes: https://lplks.org/blogs/post/049-whats-a-good-death-to-you

    Bookish News: Local bookstore owner, Danny Caine, wins Midwest Bookseller of the Year! If you missed our interview with him in an earlier episode, here ya go!

    Two Book Minimum:
    The Library Book by Susan Orlean
    Death's Acre by Bill Bass

    She Said/She Said: From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty

    We all have different ideas of what makes a "good life" -- different measures of success and accomplishment and happiness. The same goes for what makes a "good death," as Caitlin Doughty points out in From Here to Eternity. Known also for her first book, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: And Other Lessons From the Crematory, and more recent Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? Big Questions From Tiny Mortals About Death, Doughty is a mortician, funeral director, and death acceptance advocate. Polli and Kate talk about "good deaths" and what this means across the globe according to some of Caitlin Doughty's stories. They also talk about their own personal feelings on death and dying, and invite you to do the same in the comments! 

    “Insist on going to the cremation, insist on going to the burial. Insist on being involved, even if it is just brushing your mother’s hair as she lies in her casket. Insist on applying her favorite shade of lipstick, the one she wouldn’t dream of going to the grave without. Insist on cutting a small lock of her hair to place in a locket or a ring. Do not be afraid. These are human acts, acts of bravery and love in the face of death and loss.” ― Caitlin Doughty

    What's happening in Lawrence? Paper Plains Literary Festival is coming next spring! Check the link for the lineup and more details.
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    2019 Book Squad Goals Reading Challenge can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/LPLBSG2019

    Twice(-ish) a month, the librarians are in, with their favorite recommendations in Two Book Minimum, a toe-to-toe discussion on a book or topic, as well as news from the book world, updates from Lawrence Public Library, and beyond.

    This episode was produced by Jim Barnes in the Sound & Vision studio. Our theme song is by Heidi Lynne Gluck. You can find the Book Squad Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or SoundCloud. Please subscribe and leave us comments – we’d love to know what you think, and your comments make it easier for other people to find our podcast. Happy reading and listening! xo, Polli & Kate

    • 1 hr 9 min

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