Main site homepage
Showing 3 of 3 Results

The Book Blog

profile-icon Kendall McCurley

When we came back to SJR State in January for the new year, I made a blog post about reading goals and some tips and tricks to tracking reading or finding new things to read. We are now halfway through 2023 and I thought I would write about my experiences so far with my reading goals and I would love to hear from others about theirs!

I decided to start tracking my reading this year because I was honestly just curious about how many books I could get through in a month and in a year overall. I created a google sheet and organized it by month with the title of the book and the author. The google sheet has been a great way to track my reading since I can access it anywhere that I can get Wi-Fi. I read pretty much everywhere so this a very convenient method for me. Six months into tracking my reading, I can definitely say that there are pros and cons.

  • Pros: I feel very accomplished when I can add a book to my list. I also like to see which months I read more in. I like having goals that I can work on that have nothing to do with work. I like keeping track of titles and authors, so I know if I’ve already read something or if I know that I did or did not like a certain author when I am looking for a new book to read.
  • Cons: There is really only one con that I have found with tracking my reading. I am a very competitive person, even with myself (strange, I know), so once I finish my readings for the month, I feel like I have to read more the next month. This is very much a ‘me’ problem but every month I feel compelled to read more than the previous month and I feel let down when I don’t. I also find myself shying away from longer books because I feel like it will ‘mess with my numbers.’ Once again, these are all just personal issues that I have found with tracking my reading.

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed tracking my reading and it has really been eye opening to see how many books I can read in a month. My goal was to read 100 books in a year and as of the posting of this blog, I have read 63 books!

Those 63 books are a random combination of romance novels and historical nonfiction books that I have been reading for my history classes. That fulfills another goal that I had which was just to read whatever I wanted to read (plus what I had to read for school!) I usually feel compelled to read something “enriching” because sometimes I feel like romance novels don’t count as “real” reading. This is absolutely not the case. This year, I decided that I was just going to read what makes me happy and what I have time for, which apparently is school books and romance novels, and I’m totally okay with that!

I’ve attached some information about several new books that you can check out at any SJR State library to help you achieve your reading goals! Happy reading!

I would love to hear how your reading goals are coming along for 2023!

We're Here Because You Were There: immigration and the end of empireWe're Here Because You Were There: immigration and the end of empire by Ian Patel
ISBN: 9781788737678
Publication Date: 2021-04-13
What are the origins of the hostile environment for immigrants in Britain? Drawing on new archival material from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Ian Sanjay Patel retells Britain's recent history in an often shocking account of state racism that still resonates today. In a series of post-war immigration laws, Britain's colonial and Commonwealth citizens from the Caribbean, Asia and Africa were renamed immigrants. In the late 1960s, British officials drew upon an imperial vision of the world to contain what it saw as a vast immigration 'crisis' involving British citizens, passing legislation to block their entry. As a result, British citizenship itself was redefined along racial lines, fatally compromising the Commonwealth and exposing the limits of Britain's influence in world politics. Combining voices of so-called immigrants trying to make a home in Britain and the politicians, diplomats and commentators who were rethinking the nation, Ian Sanjay Patel excavates the reasons why Britain failed to create a post-imperial national identity. The reactions of the British state to post-war immigration reflected the shift in world politics from empires to decolonization. Despite a new international recognition of racial equality, Britain's colonial and Commonwealth citizens were subject to a new regime of immigration control based on race. From the Windrush generation who came to Britain from the Caribbean to the South Asians who were forced to migrate from East Africa, Britain was caught between attempting both to restrict the rights of its non-white colonial and Commonwealth citizens and redefine its imperial role in the world. Despite Britain's desire to join Europe, which eventually occurred in 1973, its post-imperial moment never arrived, subject to endless deferral and reinvention.
What Your Food Ate : how to heal our land and reclaim our healthWhat Your Food Ate : how to heal our land and reclaim our health by David R. Montgomery; Anne Biklé
ISBN: 9781324004530
Publication Date: 2022-06-21
David R. Montgomery and Anne Biklé take us far beyond the well-worn adage to deliver a new truth: the roots of good health start on farms. What Your Food Ate marshals evidence from recent and forgotten science to illustrate how the health of the soil ripples through to that of crops, livestock, and ultimately us. The long-running partnerships through which crops and soil life nourish one another suffuse plant and animal foods in the human diet with an array of compounds and nutrients our bodies need to protect us from pathogens and chronic ailments. Unfortunately, conventional agricultural practices unravel these vital partnerships and thereby undercut our well-being. Can farmers and ranchers produce enough nutrient-dense food to feed us all? Can we have quality and quantity? With their trademark thoroughness and knack for integrating information across numerous scientific fields, Montgomery and Biklé chart the way forward. Navigating discoveries and epiphanies about the world beneath our feet, they reveal why regenerative farming practices hold the key to healing sick soil and untapped potential for improving human health. Humanity's hallmark endeavors of agriculture and medicine emerged from our understanding of the natural world--and still depend on it. Montgomery and Biklé eloquently update this fundamental reality and show us why what's good for the land is good for us, too. What Your Food Ate is a must-read for farmers, eaters, chefs, doctors, and anyone concerned with reversing the modern epidemic of chronic diseases and mitigating climate change.
The Palace Papers : inside the House of Windsor - the truth and the turmoilThe Palace Papers : inside the House of Windsor - the truth and the turmoil by Tina Brown
ISBN: 9780593138090
Publication Date: 2022-04-26
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * The "addictively readable" (The Washington Post) inside story of the British royal family's battle to overcome the dramas of the Diana years--only to confront new, twenty-first-century crises   "Frothy and forthright, a kind of Keeping Up with the Windsors with sprinkles of Keats."--The New York Times (Notable Book of the Year) ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The Washington Post, Elle, Town & Country "Never again" became Queen Elizabeth II's mantra shortly after Princess Diana's tragic death. More specif­ically, there could never be "another Diana"--a mem­ber of the family whose global popularity upstaged, outshone, and posed an existential threat to the Brit­ish monarchy. Picking up where Tina Brown's masterful The Diana Chronicles left off, The Palace Papers reveals how the royal family reinvented itself after the trau­matic years when Diana's blazing celebrity ripped through the House of Windsor like a comet. Brown takes readers on a tour de force journey through the scandals, love affairs, power plays, and betrayals that have buffeted the monarchy over the last twenty-five years. We see the Queen's stoic re­solve after the passing of Princess Margaret, the Queen Mother, and Prince Philip, her partner for seven decades, and how she triumphs in her Jubilee years even as family troubles rage around her. Brown explores Prince Charles's determination to make Camilla Parker Bowles his wife, the tension between William and Harry on "different paths," the ascend­ance of Kate Middleton, the downfall of Prince An­drew, and Harry and Meghan's stunning decision to step back as senior royals. Despite the fragile monar­chy's best efforts, "never again" seems fast approaching. Tina Brown has been observing and chronicling the British monarchy for three decades, and her sweeping account is full of powerful revelations, newly reported details, and searing insight gleaned from remarkable access to royal insiders. Stylish, witty, and erudite, The Palace Papers will irrevoca­bly change how the world perceives and under­stands the royal family.
Living with Robots: What Every Anxious Human Needs to KnowLiving with Robots: What Every Anxious Human Needs to Know by Ruth Aylett; Patricia A. Vargas; Noel Sharkey (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9780262045810
Publication Date: 2021-09-21
The truth about robots- two experts look beyond the hype, offering a lively and accessible guide to what robots can (and can't) do. There's a lot of hype about robots; some of it is scary and some of it utopian. In this accessible book, two robotics experts reveal the truth about what robots can and can't do, how they work, and what we can reasonably expect their future capabilities to be. It will not only make you think differently about the capabilities of robots; it will make you think differently about the capabilities of humans. Ruth Aylett and Patricia Vargas discuss the history of our fascination with robots-from chatbots and prosthetics to autonomous cars and robot swarms. They show us the ways in which robots outperform humans and the ways they fall woefully short of our superior talents. They explain how robots see, feel, hear, think, and learn; describe how robots can cooperate; and consider robots as pets, butlers, and companions. Finally, they look at robots that raise ethical and social issues- killer robots, sexbots, and robots that might be gunning for your job. Living with Robots equips readers to look at robots concretely-as human-made artifacts rather than placeholders for our anxieties. Find out- .Why robots can swim and fly but find it difficult to walk .Which robot features are inspired by animals and insects .Why we develop feelings for robots .Which human abilities are hard for robots to emulate.
Cover ArtHappy Place by Emily Henry
Call Number: PS3608.E5715 H36 2023
ISBN: 9780593441275
Publication Date: 2023-04-25
INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! "The beach-read master hooks us again."--People Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2023 by BuzzFeed ∙ Paste Magazine ∙ Elle ∙ Southern Living ∙ SheReads ∙ Culturess ∙ Medium ∙ Her Campus ∙ Readers Digest ∙ Zibby Mag and more! A couple who broke up months ago pretend to still be together for their annual weeklong vacation with their best friends in this glittering and wise new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Emily Henry.   Harriet and Wyn have been the perfect couple since they met in college--they go together like salt and pepper, honey and tea, lobster and rolls. Except, now--for reasons they're still not discussing--they don't.   They broke up five months ago. And still haven't told their best friends.   Which is how they find themselves sharing a bedroom at the Maine cottage that has been their friend group's yearly getaway for the last decade. Their annual respite from the world, where for one vibrant, blissful week they leave behind their daily lives; have copious amounts of cheese, wine, and seafood; and soak up the salty coastal air with the people who understand them most.   Only this year, Harriet and Wyn are lying through their teeth while trying not to notice how desperately they still want each other. Because the cottage is for sale and this is the last week they'll all have together in this place. They can't stand to break their friends' hearts, and so they'll play their parts. Harriet will be the driven surgical resident who never starts a fight, and Wyn will be the laid-back charmer who never lets the cracks show. It's a flawless plan (if you look at it from a great distance and through a pair of sunscreen-smeared sunglasses). After years of being in love, how hard can it be to fake it for one front of those who know you best?
No Subjects
profile-icon Dr. Brittnee Fisher

One thing that I love about reading is that it allows me to explore the perspective of others safely. It allows me to investigate the world beyond the borders of what I know, and it feels very liberating. So, I seek new experiences through well-written books to expand my knowledge and reality. Often, reading about another's lifestyle demystifies it for me. I recommend this for anyone grappling with the unknown. If you have difficulty wrapping your mind around something, I recommend reading as many firsthand accounts as possible. Submerge yourself in that point of view. Get lost in a new way of thinking for a bit.

Using national observances as a frame of reference to learn more about others is a great place to start. June is Pride Month, so that provided me with an excellent opportunity to explore the experiences of the LGBTQ+ community. There are many titles to choose from, ranging from historical texts, research studies on the queer experience, and memoirs. One title on my radar is Pageboy, a memoir written by Elliot Page. Page, formerly known as actress Ellen Page before his transition, was well known for his role in the movie Juno. The film starring other well know actors such as Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, and Jason Bateman, follows the tale of a young woman faced with an unplanned pregnancy and the decisions she makes as a result. I enjoyed this film and others starring Page, including Hard Candy and Inception. 

The media has been reporting on Page's sexuality for as long as he's been in the spotlight. This a very odd detail to focus on when there are so many other things to consider, especially given his talent. Elliot uses his memoir to describe the challenges of growing up in the spotlight and having his life dissected since beginning his career at the age of 10. Growing up is hard, and I can't imagine doing it while simultaneously attempting to placate directors, producers, talent agents, and fans. Not to mention the family unit's struggles that we can all empathize with. Many of us are allowed to use our youth as an opportunity to explore our personalities- our likes and dislikes. Page was confined to the requirements of the project of the moment, forced to create the image most likely guaranteed to sell the film to the masses.

Pageboy is an emotional read, to be sure. It's hard to ignore the anger, sadness, and resentment that Page recounts on the pages of his memoir. But, alongside those hard things, it's also a book about redemption and triumph. A coming-of-age story with a slowly building happily ever after. If you love reading about the human experience, you'd likely enjoy this book. If you're interested in tracking down a copy please get in touch. I'll find you one! 


Cover ArtJuno by Diablo Cody; Ivan Reitman
Call Number: St. Johns River/Palatka Circulation -- PN1997.2 .J866 2007
ISBN: 9781557048028
Publication Date: 2008-01-02
Meet Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page), a confidently frank teenage girl who calls the shots with a nonchalant cool and an effortless attitude as she journeys through an emotional nine-month adventure into adulthood. Quick-witted and distinctively unique, Juno walks Dancing Elk High's halls to her own tune--preferably anything by The Stooges--but underneath her tough, no-nonsense exterior is just a teenage girl trying to figure it all out. While most girls at Dancing Elk are updating their MySpace page or shopping at the mall, Juno is a whip-smart Minnesota teen living by her own rules. A typically boring afternoon becomes anything but when Juno decides to have sex with the charmingly unassuming Bleeker (Michael Cera). Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, she and best friend Leah (Olivia Thirlby) hatch a plan to find Juno's unborn baby the perfect set of parents courtesy of the local Penny Saver.They set their sights on Mark and Vanessa Loring (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner), an affluent suburban couple longing to adopt their first child. Luckily, Juno has the support of her dad and stepmother (J. K. Simmons and Allison Janney). Juno's physical changes mirror her personal growth while the veneer of Mark and Vanessa's idyllic life starts to show signs of cracking. With a fearless intellect far removed from the usual teenage angst, Juno conquers her problems head-on, displaying a youthful exuberance both smart and unexpected.
Into the forest
Call Number: PN1997 Into F67 2016 DVD
Publication Date: 2016

 After a worldwide power outage, two sisters must work together in order to survive in their increasingly treacherous new world while fighting intruders, disease, loneliness, and starvation.



No Subjects
profile-icon Dr. Brittnee Fisher

I make no secret of my love of Twilight. I own all the books and saw the movies in theaters. I have a variety of Twilight merch which I display proudly. I quote the Twilight film (the first and best of the series) often in conversation with friends and family. I identify as a "Twi-hard."

So, when my husband suggested we go to Seattle to visit his brother, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to go for gold. I batted my eyelashes and asked sweetly, "Do you think we could also go to Forks?" Luckily, he has difficulty saying no to me, and Forks was added to the itinerary.

If you are Twilight averse, now would be a good time to click away from this blog post. The remainder of what you’ll see is me (an adult woman with a terminal degree) in all my Twilight glory, being an absolute geek throughout the Pacific Northwest. If you’re still here, please enjoy these pictures and commentary from the BEST TRIP OF MY ENTIRE LIFE.

First, we have the obligatory picture of me with the “Welcome to Forks” sign.  As we pulled up to the sign, we were quickly followed by three additional vehicles to my great surprise. I was under the impression that Twilight had faded into the distant past, only a memory of the elder millennial. This was my first clue that I was wrong. Twilight is alive in Forks as I would soon learn.

Welcome to Forks Sign

We then traveled a few miles to the other side of Forks and arrived at the Forks Chamber of Commerce (five minutes later) to get our “Twilight Welcome Packet,” as advertised on many Twilight Fan Blogs. The Chamber’s crowning glory is Bella’s red trucks sitting out front. A very kindly woman inside gave us maps to Twilight hotspots and local eateries. There was also Twilight and Forks merch inside for purchase. As I was signing my name to the guest book another ten Twilighters (as we’re known around the area) arrived for orientation.

Bella's Red Trucks

A must-see while visiting Forks is the “museum” called Forever Twilight. The good folks in Forks won a fantastic collection of Twilight memorabilia in an auction in L.A. several years ago. They’ve displayed their goods in a room and welcome guests ten at a time to come in and view their treasures. The visit is free, but they welcome donations. You get a quick introduction to the collection upon arrival and then are free to peruse the goods (videos and pictures are welcome)!  I was obsessed with the replica of Bella’s engagement ring (adding to my Christmas wish list), it was exciting to see the wedding costumes, there was a sweet note from Stephanie Meyer thanking the town for making her birthday a celebrated local holiday, and CHUCKESMEE!

Bella's Engagement Ring

wedding costumes

Note from Stephanie Meyer


On our way to see La Push Beach (La Push baby, LA PUSH) on the Quileute Indian Reservation we stopped by 3 Rivers Resort for highly recommended burgers and shakes. As you know, vampires are not allowed on the reservation and are kindly reminded via high visibility signage.

Treaty Line

Backside of Treaty Line Sign

Vampire Threat Level

La Push Beach

When visiting Forks to create her story, Stephanie Meyer based the Cullen’s home on a local house that now serves as a bed and breakfast. We stayed at the Miller Tree Inn during our visit, and I absolutely loved it. The Inn is owned and operated by a sweet married couple in their mid-30s (shocking I know) and the accommodations were lovely! They fully embrace the Twilight spirit throughout the residence, including the infamous “graduation caps” art and signage for Carlise’s Office upstairs!

Outside front of Miller Tree Inn

Twilighter Rules

graduation cap art

Carlisle's office

Cullen House Mailbox

A few other stops on the “Twilight Tour” include Forks High School and the Swan Home. The Swan residence was the house that Stephanie Meyer conceptualized as Charlie Swan’s home during her visit to Forks. The home is now available as an Airbnb.

Forks High

The Swan House

No “Twilight Tour” would be complete without taking a drive to Port Angeles! We spent the day walking the streets of this beautiful waterside town before rounding out the day with dinner at Bella Italia. As you recall, this is where Edward awkwardly watches Bella eat mushroom ravioli while she slowly puts his secret together. My husband had the infamous ravioli and reports that it was very good.

Outside of Bella Italia

Bella's mushroom ravioli on menu

As you can imagine, these were just a few of the photographs from this epic trip. While we were in the area, we did many things unrelated to Twilight including a guided hike of the Hoh Rainforest and Rialto Beach. Just breathtaking! I was also able to visit the local lavender fields which were just starting to bloom. We drove to Ruby Beach and beyond for views of the Pacific Ocean. And did a quick swing through Aberdeen to pay our respects to Kurt Cobain. If you get a chance to visit Forks, Washington, and the surrounding areas you will not be disappointed!


No Subjects