Books vs. Movies

It’s an age-old question: Which is better, the book or the movie?books vs movies blog image

Recently I posed a version of this question to my RCLS colleagues. I wanted to know about their experiences with books that have been adapted for either the large or small screen. Books that were better than movies, movies that were better than books, movies that got them to read books… I wanted to hear about it all.

And they delivered!

Beneath the cut you’ll find reflections from seven different library staff members, each with a slightly different take on the book/movie debate and each with vastly different tastes in media. You’re sure to take away a recommendation of something good to read, watch, or both.

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10 Contemporary Books to Read During Black History Month

by Brittney Reed-Saltz

Looking for a way to celebrate Black History Month? Reading books by Black authors is a great place to start! This list includes ten recent and relevant titles that cover everything from essays to young adult fiction, from poetry to romance novels, and more.

All of them are available from your local RCLS branch, so check them out today!
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We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates
This essay collection examines the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency, extending from the Oval Office to include the wider culture at the time. It includes essays that Coates published during the Obama years, as well as new material.

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Winner of the 2017 National Book Award for Fiction, this character-driven family saga deals with race, incarceration, drug use, and ghosts.

The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race by various authors, edited by Jesmyn Ward
This nonfiction collection draws its inspiration from James Baldwin’s classic The Fire Next Time and features writing by Kevin Young, Claudia Rankine, Natasha Trethewey,  Edwidge Danticat, and more.
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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
When sixteen-year-old Starr witnesses a white police officer fatally shoot her childhood friend Kahlil, she is thrust into a complicated morass of grief, publicity, and conflicting senses of loyalty. Read this essential YA novel before the movie hits theaters.

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours: Stories by Helen Oyeyemi
Helen Oyeyemi has been hailed as an original and dynamic voice in fiction. In this collection, keys and locks provide a means for examining the “boundaries between coexisting realities.”

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasicontemporary 2
Beginning in Eighteenth Century Ghana, this novel follows the different fates of two half-sisters, one of whom marries an Englishman while the other is sold into slavery in America.

Swing Time by Zadie Smith
The latest novel from acclaimed author examines the fraught friendship between two girls who share the ambition to become dancers, but only one of whom has the talent to achieve that goal.

Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth by Warsan Shire
You might be familiar with Warsan Shire through Beyoncé’s use of her poetry in the Lemonade visual album. Though this collection is slim, it packs so much into its poetry contemporary 4about race and the refugee experience.

An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole
Alyssa Cole expands what historical romance novels are capable of doing in terms of race, honesty about history, and whose stories are told. This is the first of her Loyal League series, and it follows a former slave who uses her eidetic memory to spy for the Union during the Civil War.

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert
Suzette returns to her home in Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England and must contend with supporting her step-brother through his mental illness while developing romantic feelings for the same girl he is in love with.

Brittney’s 2017 Reading Year in Review

We’re kicking off 2018 by looking back on the best books we read in 2017. Today’s picks come from Brittney Reed-Saltz.

Favorite new author or series you tried:
For me, 2017’s reading was all about making time for books I had put off, and discovering that I loved books I had assumed I would dislike. Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle series, which begins with The Raven Boys, fit squarely in both of those categories.

A book that surprised you:
I read a couple of classics that I had been too intimidated to try in the past and which I found surprisingly approachable and enjoyable: Orlando by Virginia Woolf and Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. I also re-read The Stranger by Albert Camus, and I was shocked by how much I missed or misunderstood when I originally read it in high school.

A book you read for the first time that you will reread in the future:
Near the beginning of the year, I tore through the first two books of V. E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series, reading against the clock so I could attend an author event spoiler-free. I loved them, but I feel like the experience lost something from my breakneck pace.  A Darker Shade of Magic is the first book.

The best book you read that was also published this year:
I read several great books that came out in 2017, and had enough trouble narrowing it down to a tie.

First, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, which has received many deserved accolades for its timely, powerful, and much-needed depiction of the death of a black teenager at the hands of a white cop and the effects it has on the witness and on the community.

Second, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. How can you go wrong with a romantic, historical adventure featuring a bisexual young lord, his best friend, and his bluestocking sister embarking on a Grand Tour of Europe that goes spectacularly awry?

A book you read that was outside of your comfort zone:
Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by ZZ Packer is a book that I might never have picked up if not for a reading challenge that required me to read a collection of short stories. It helped me get past my oddly stubborn insistence that I don’t like short fiction and eased the way for me to read two other short story collections in 2017.

The book that you recommended to the most people:
After reading Gabrielle Zevin’s novel The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and discovering that it was heartwarming without being the saccharine mess I had assumed it was, I told everyone who would listen to me to read it. If you’re like me, and sometimes the crappiness of the world numbs you until you just need to feel something, read this book.

The best cover from a book you read this year (please include image):
Undoubtedly it’s Drag Teen by Jeffery Self.

drag teen