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The Book Blog

profile-icon Kendall McCurley

We made it! Congratulations to everyone graduating! We hope that you had a great semester and that you all have a wonderful holiday break! The libraries are still open during this last week, our last day is Thursday, December 14th and we close at 5pm. BUT that is still plenty of time to stop by and check out some great books to read and movies to watch while relaxing between semesters! We cannot wait to see everyone back in the Spring! Happy Holidays!

Check out these holiday reads and movies!

Cover ArtA Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Books by Charles Dickens
Call Number: St. Johns River/Palatka Circulation -- PR4557.A1 2012
ISBN: 9780307947215
Publication Date: 2011-11-29


Christmas Caramel Murder by Joanne Fluke
Call Number: PS3556.L685 C49 2016b
ISBN: 9781617732287
Publication Date: 2016-09-27
The holidays have arrived, and Hannah and her good pal Lisa have agreed to provide all the goodies for the town’s annual production of A Christmas Carol. But before anyone can say "Bah, humbug!" a Santa-sized sackful of trouble ensues. Like the fact that Lisa’s husband will be playing Mr. Claus to his ex-girlfriend Phyllis Bates’ Mrs. Claus. Or that before the curtains even go up Phyllis is found dead in the snow -- wearing a costume that the real Mrs. Claus would put on the naughty list. Soon after the suspects pile up faster than snowdrifts in a blizzard, while a merry murderer remains on the loose. With clues even harder to find, it might take a visit from ghosts of Christmas past to wrap up this mystery in time for the holidays. 
Cover ArtLast Christmas
Call Number: St. Johns River/Palatka Audio-Visual -- PN1997 Last C47 2020 DVD
Publication Date: 2020
A young woman, who has been continuously unlucky, accepts a job as a department store elf at a year-round holiday shop. When Kate meets Tom on the job, her life takes a turn.
The Battle for ChristmasThe Battle for Christmas by Stephen Nissenbaum
ISBN: 9780679740384
Publication Date: 1997-10-28
Anyone who laments the excesses of Christmas might consider the Puritans of colonial Massachusetts: they simply outlawed the holiday. The Puritans had their reasons, since Christmas was once an occasion for drunkenness and riot, when poor "wassailers  extorted food and drink from the well-to-do. In this intriguing and innovative work of social history, Stephen Nissenbaum rediscovers Christmas's carnival origins and shows how it was transformed, during the nineteenth century, into a festival of domesticity and consumerism.      Drawing on a wealth of period documents and illustrations, Nissenbaum charts the invention of our current Yuletide traditions, from St. Nicholas to the Christmas tree and, perhaps most radically, the practice of giving gifts to children. Bursting with detail, filled with subversive readings of such seasonal classics as "A Visit from St. Nicholas" and A Christmas Carol, The Battle for Christmas captures the glorious strangeness of the past even as it helps us better understand our present.   
Cover ArtThe Man Who Invented Christmas
Call Number: PN1997 Man_ Who 2018 DVD
ISBN: B07763DJL2
The journey that led to Charles Dickens’ creation of ’A Christmas Carol,’ a timeless tale that would redefine the holiday.
How to Spell Chanukah... and Other Holiday Dilemmas: 18 writers celebrate 8 nights of lightsHow to Spell Chanukah... and Other Holiday Dilemmas: 18 writers celebrate 8 nights of lights by Emily Franklin
ISBN: 9781565129344
Publication Date: 2012-09-11
Ring in the holiday with eighteen writers who extol, excoriate, and expand our understanding of this most merry of Jewish festivals as they offer up funny, irreverent, and, yes, even nostalgic takes on a holiday that holds a special place in Jewish hearts . . . and stomachs. Pieces by Jonathan Tropper, Jennifer Gilmore, Steve Almond, Joanna Smith Rakoff, Adam Langer, and others address pressing issues: what is the weight gain associated with eating 432 latkes in eight nights? Offer joyous gratitude: "What a holiday! No pestilence, no slavery, no locusts, no cattle disease, or atonement. Thank God." And afford tender truths: "You are reminded of your real gifts: a family you get to come home to." Whether your family tradition included a Christmas tree or a Chanukah bush, whether the fights among your siblings rivaled the battles of the Maccabees, or even if you haven't a clue who the Maccabees were, this little book illustrates the joys, frustrations, and small miracles of the season. 
The Night Before
Call Number: PN1997 NightBe 2016 DVD
Ethan, Isaac and Chris have been friends since childhood, and for a decade, their yearly Christmas Eve reunion has been an annual night of debauchery and hilarity. Now that they’re entering adulthood, the tradition is coming to an end, and to make it as memorable as possible, they set out to find the Nutcracka Ball; the Holy Grail of Christmas parties. 
KwanzaaKwanzaa by Artika R. Tyner
ISBN: 9781663908438
Publication Date: 2021-08-01
Kwanzaa is about celebrating! It honors African American heritage. Some people mark the holiday by lighting the kinara. Families and friends gather to eat a big feast. Readers will discover how a shared holiday can have multiple traditions and be celebrated in all sorts of ways. 
Kwanzaa : from holiday to every day : a complete guide for making Kwanzaa a part of your lifeKwanzaa : from holiday to every day : a complete guide for making Kwanzaa a part of your life by Maitefa Angaza
ISBN: 9781496722201
Publication Date: 2019-09-24
FROM PREPARATION TO CELEBRATION, MAKE YOUR KWANZAA A FAMILY TRADITION! Traditionally, Kwanzaa brings family, friends, and the community together for a winter celebration. But Kwanzaa can be a part of your life year-round. Steeped in cultural richness, Kwanzaa is observed by millions of people of African descent who observe it for its seven inspiring, unifying principles. Whether you're a first-time celebrant or a seasoned veteran, here is a must-have reference for making Kwanzaa special for you and your loved ones-whatever your faith or belief system. With this book, you'll learn- * Planning for daily observance and festive gatherings * The seven principles at the heart of Kwanzaa * How to involve everyone in your Karamu (feast) * Recipes for traditional dishes you can make at home * Zawadi (gifts) that reflect your values * Popular Kwanzaa songs-and even one Kwanzaa rap * Where to find the best Kwanzaa accessories . . . . And much more! Let Kwanzaa- From Holiday to Every Day show you how to turn your Kwanzaa observance into a way of life that will enrich your family, friends, and community. "Of the several books on Kwanzaa, few are invested with such utility as Maitefa Angaza's thorough-going discussion and analysis . . . a meaningful, wonderful guide." -Herb Boyd, author of Black Detroit- A People's History of Self-Determination 
Cover ArtThe Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman
Call Number: PT9877.12.A32 D5813 2017
ISBN: 9781501193491
Publication Date: 2017-10-31
In this short story enhanced with beautiful illustrations, the bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, Beartown, and Anxious People delivers an insightful and poignant tale about finding out what is truly important in life. A father and a son are seeing each other for the first time in years. The father has a story to share before it's too late. He tells his son about a courageous little girl lying in a hospital bed a few miles away. She's a smart kid--smart enough to know that she won't beat cancer by drawing with crayons all day, but it seems to make the adults happy, so she keeps doing it. As he talks about this plucky little girl, the father also reveals more about himself: his triumphs in business, his failures as a parent, his past regrets, his hopes for the future. Now, on a cold winter's night, the father has been given an unexpected chance to do something remarkable that could change the destiny of a little girl he hardly knows. But before he can make the deal of a lifetime, he must find out what his own life has actually been worth, and only his son can reveal that answer. With humor and compassion, Fredrik Backman's The Deal of a Lifetime reminds us that life is a fleeting gift, and our legacy rests in how we share that gift with others.
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profile-icon Dr. Brittnee Fisher

For my final blog post of the year, I’d like to take this opportunity to share the “Top Ten” books that I have read this year. Yes, I know the year isn’t over, so this list consists of books that I’ve read so far. However, this is my last chance to share some good reads with you before we depart for winter break. And I know this is the time that many of my fellow readers start hoarding piles of books to read during the holidays while under a blanket with a mug of hot cocoa nearby. This list is in no particular order. I hope these books bring you as much joy, diversion, insight, entertainment, and amusement as they brought me this year. Enjoy!

1. The Woman in Me by Britney Spears 

Get it here! 

I’ve been a Britney fan since way back. One of my favorite memories is seeing her show in Vegas during her residency there. It was one of the most entertaining concerts I’d ever been to. She is an awesome performer!

Anyone with access to the internet or a television is probably aware of the turmoil she’s been through over the years. The media, gossip bloggers, and cruel internet trolls have crowned Britney as the queen of troubled child stars. Armchair psychologists have discussed her mental health and potential for substance abuse at length. I have always reserved my judgment. Imagine every bad day that you had was international news. Every breakup was media fodder. Every mistake was documented on the internet forever. Sounds awful, doesn’t it?

When I heard that Britney was finally going to have the opportunity to share her story once her conservatorship ended, I was thrilled. And as I expected, her story ripped my heart out. If anything, this book should teach us to give grace to others, especially during their hard times. I’ve heard rumors that she’s on contract for a follow-up book!

2. The Measure by Nikki Erlick

Get it here!

I love a book that leaves me pondering for days after finishing it. That is exactly what happened when I finished The Measure by Nikki Erlick. The book's basic premise is that one day, everyone in the world who is twenty-two or older receives a box containing a string. Eventually, it is determined that the string equates to the length of the person’s life. Would you want to know the length of your string?

3. The Courage to be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi & Fumitake Koga

Get it here!

This book explains the theories of psychologist Alfred Adler through a conversation between a philosopher and a young man. The discussion between the two characters was a great avenue for explaining Adler’s work in detail and offered a brilliant way for the author to answer questions about complicated theories. I found Adler’s ideas very liberating and have started incorporating them into my life. I look forward to reading the authors’ follow-up title, The Courage to be Happy.

4. Spare by Prince Harry

Get it here!

I’m not a huge fan of the royal family as a group, but I have found that I rather like Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan. I admire their dedication to one another. I also can’t imagine navigating a relationship at that level of celebrity. If you enjoy an entertaining autobiography and can rise above British media gossip, this would be a great read.

5. Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson

Get it here!

Forced, secret lobotomy. That should be enough.

6. Capote’s Women by Laurence Leamer

Get it here!

A little-known fact about me is that I’m enamored by Truman Capote. He’s a fabulous little weirdo, and I love learning about his insane life. Also, extremely rich people are nuts. Read this if you enjoy saying “What the f***” out loud often.

7. Enchanted to Meet You by Meg Cabot

Get it here!

Cute fall vibes for the witchy romantics.

8. Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King & Owen King

Get it here!

A thought-provoking mystery starring a leading lady that you’ll love to hate. This is an example of Stephen King and his offspring at their finest.

9. The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

Get it here!

Young adult fiction for those of you who like an adventure story that makes you feel feelings. Is the female experience dystopian by fault? Seems like it.

10. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Get it here!

I am adding this book to the list even though I haven’t technically finished it yet. As I draft this blog, I have about three chapters left. Regardless of how this book ends, this book is worth a read. It is an EXPERIENCE. It has pulled my heart out of my chest, but not in a bad way. It’s hard to explain. Read it, and then we can talk.

Add your top ten lists in the comments or email them to me at I’m always looking for my next good book! Happy Holidays!

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