Norman Public Library
This month's "Staff Selections" guest columnist is Lani, who has worked as a shelver at the Norman Public Library since 2008. Lani was born and raised in Norman and as a little girl spent many of her days wandering through the stacks of books at the library.
"I read a bunch of American Girl stories, the Girls To The Rescue series and Nancy Drew Mysteries growing up," she says. "Today, I’ll read just about anything. Most of the time it is a book’s cover that catches my attention and entices me to read the book. My favorites are fairy tales, myths & legends; I enjoy reading many of the retellings available. Beastly by Alex Flinn is a good example."
"I also like historical fiction, memoirs, autobiographies and biographies," says Lani. "Recently I have discovered that I really like to read nonfiction on all the topics that interest me. Lately, it’s been food - not necessarily cookbooks, though those can be good too. The American Way of Eating by Tracie McMillan and Wheat Belly by William Davis are good food reads. I also find good nonfiction choices at Phil Clark's “Brown Bags and Books” discussion group every 3rd Wednesday at noon at the Norman Public Library."
Cascade by Maryanne O’Hara
Lani: "The cover of this book first caught my attention; the cascading waterfall down the back of the woman’s head made me so curious I just had to find out what the novel was about. This beautiful cover brightened my day every time I picked up the book. I totally believe the main character, artist Dez Hart, could have designed it, which helped me in picturing her paintings while reading the book. The story takes place in Cascade, Massachusetts in the 1930s."
Ugly Beauty by Ruth Brandon
Lani: "Ever wondered who invented the world of hair and makeup products? This book is about two beauty tycoons: Helena Rubinstein, the creator of cosmetics, and Eugène Schueller, founded of L’Oreal hair products. Conspiracy theories aside, this is a fantastic read. Somewhere between a dual biography and an investigative report, this book will have you seeing beauty in a new light."
Lunar Chronicles: Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Lani: "The first book in the Lunar Chronicles is a fairy tale, dystopian and science fiction story all rolled into one. Cinder is a cyborg living in New Beijing 126 years after WWIV; this is an incredible new twist on the classic Cinderella. This series is new; Cinder came out in January 2012 and the second book, Scarlet, was published in early 2013. This was a rare choice for me; I usually choose to go back in time, not forward, and am not really a sci-fi fan. However, this book is now a favorite of mine and I am excited to read the rest of the series."
The Flappers series by Jillian Larkin
Lani: "A trilogy set in America during the 1920s follows Gloria Carmody, a debutante turned flapper singer; Clara Knowles, ex-party girl turned budding writer; Lorraine Dyer, the social climber; Jerome Johnson, a black musician; and his sister Vera Johnson as they flee from gangsters, fall in love and party like its 1923. The 1920s are probably my favorite time period, and this romantic thriller did not disappoint."
The Night Dance by Suzanne Weyn
Lani: "This retelling of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses”is part of the Once Upon A Time series. The Lady of the Lake and King Arthur’s last knight help Rowena save her dancing sisters from an evil sorceress’s spell. I’m not sure why, but I have always considered “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” my all-time favorite tale (maybe it’s the dancing), and Ms. Weyn adding the King Arthur elements made it even better. I am a huge fan of the Once Upon A Time books and have yet to be disappointed by any of their rewrites. Suzanne Weyn has also written two other rewrites in the series that do not follow the traditional princesses and magic route that were a pleasing different view of the classics: The Crimson Thread: A Retelling of “Rumplestiltskin” and Water Song: A Retelling of “The Frog Prince”. "