Calendar Girls April: Favorite Book You Discovered at a Library

It’s National Library Week this month! (Ironic considering many libraries are completely closed… Hm.) And here at Calendar Girls we are celebrating by sharing our favorite book we discovered at the library!

Oh geez. As a librarian this should be an easy question to answer. But the thing is, I discover most of my books online, THEN go to the library to get them! The last time I found a book just walking around the library and fell in love with it was, well, middle school. Eek!

HOWEVER! Since starting as a full time school librarian in April I found a picture book that I read in maybe 5th grade and had since forgotten about. IT. IS. PERFECT. So if it’s alright with you, this month my pick is going to be a picture book. Okay, here goes.

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5 Classics for Beginners

It’s no secret that I am a great lover of Classic Literature. Anything before about 1940 and I’m sold. Except for Dickens, don’t know why. *shrug* And when you are a lover of the classics, it comes up a lot. Especially on Instagram, for some reason. So a lot of the time I get asked the question:

“I want to read more/some classic literature, but I’ve never really read any. Do you have a recommendation of where to start?”

Why is it so hard for people to find a classic they think they’re interested in? My theory is because so many of them are SOOOOOO long, and people are intimidated by the length, and that they may have a preconceived notion that classics are slow or dull. Well, I’m not going to lie friends, many of them are long. And if your main source of literature is 21st century YA, then yeah, the pace is going to be a lot slower than you are used to. But I think they are worth reading anyway. Once you get used to the slower pace, you’re going to find some amazing stories.

Which brings me to my first recommendation. Don’t stop after one. If you find you don’t enjoy your first classic, don’t give up. Like I said, if you’re mostly used to YA, the different pace is going to take some getting used to. And, therefore, my second suggestion. Don’t read the one you’re most interested in first. I would hate for you to have a bad experience with Pride and Prejudice because you didn’t understand it, or because you were bored. Start out with one that you’re willing to not be in love with.

So, with no further ado, here are my suggestions for first classics.

The Scarlet Pimpernel

The Scarlet Pimpernel is always my go-to suggestion for a first classic. Set in the era of the French Revolution, the daring Scarlet Pimpernel is an English spy who rescues the fleeing French nobility from the very jaws of Madame le Guillotine. French actress Marguerite, who has married into the very British nobility in the thick of these plots, must discover the identity of thy mysterious Scarlet Pimpernel, but will doing so forever estrange her from her doting husband?

I always recommend this book for a couple of reasons. The writing style is fairly quick and exciting for most of the book. It opens with a bang, a deception and a chase sequence sure to hook the reader in. By the end of the book I was turning pages so fast I don’t know if I was reading even half the words on the page, so desperate was I to find out what would become of Marguerite. The second reason is that this book has a really nice blend of a great spy story (with all the twists, disguises, and surprises) with a swoon-worthy love story. I think modern readers will really connect with the content of this book, and the writing style is very accessible. It is one of my all-time favorites.

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Discussion: Social Distance Reads

Hey friends!

How are you all holding up? I haven’t been around much since all of this Covid-19 business started here in the western hemisphere. We moved in the middle of it all, and didn’t have internet, and were adjusting to working at home. Plus grad school. The result is that I had literally zero time for blogging. Nearly everything you’ve seen in the past three weeks was written months ago. I hadn’t been checking my comments or reading other people’s blogs. So I have no idea how you all are doing.

On Instagram it seems like book people are generally doing ok. I guess a lot of us rather prefer to stay home with one or two people we love and a good book. I know if you’re a parent you’re probably getting tired of social distancing. I am. This would be a lot more fun with adults, am I right?

So my question for you today is, What are you reading to keep your mind busy?

I’m reading The Mirror & the Light, the final book in Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy. It is so so so so sooooooo good! And nice and long, which is perfect for keeping my occupied while the libraries are closed and Amazon isn’t shipping any books. Guess I spent all my gift cards at just the right time, eh? I am just having SUCH a great time reading about the years in Henry VIII’s life that I knew the least about. I mean, y’all, this stuff is even more bananas than fiction! It’s almost impossible to believe all this shenanigans really went down! And I’m not talking about Henry’s wives. Also, though I know a lot about the Tudors, I have no idea what happens to Cromwell. I sort of think he’s beheaded, but goodness I hope not!

Anyone else have any great reads during this difficult time?

Stay healthy y’all, and stay home when you can. Love you.

Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Genre: Fiction
Maturity Level: 5
View on Goodreads
Rating:

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.

Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, for fifteen-year-old Christopher everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning. He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. Then one day, a neighbor’s dog, Wellington, is killed and his carefully constructive universe is threatened. Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favourite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes. What follows makes for a novel that is funny, poignant and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing are a mind that perceives the world entirely literally.


What an outstanding book! Truly this is an exercise in seeing the world from the eyes of someone so different from yourself. It’s hard to believe with today’s push for neurodiversity in literature that this book was written over fifteen years ago. It is so ahead of its time, and just absolutely brilliant.

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Bookish March Madness: Championship

Here it is! The round to end all rounds! Which book from The Great American Read will be crowned as my all-time one-and-only champion?!?!

In the first corner, one of history’s most beloved novels, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE! Written by Jane Austen, this book is the basis for one of history’s greatest romance tropes, enemies to lovers. It has sparked countless remakes, adaptations, and inspired-bys. Readers continue to fall in love with Mr. Darcy (and Colin Firth) and see themselves reflected in the quick wit and dry humor of Elizabeth Bennett.

In the other corner, HARRY POTTER! It is impossible, friends, to overstate the impact Harry Potter has had on my generation. When I was in fifth grade kids who had never finished a book were clamoring to read my teacher’s copy. It made a generation of readers. And as adults we are having the chance to read this series to our kids. Its message of friendship, love, and magic is timeless, and its humor and emotions still ring true. We will always be re-reading this book.

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Bookish March Madness 2020: Final Four

Is it in bad taste to continue this series after the actual March Madness tournament has been cancelled due to Covid-19? Or is it comforting to have something goofy and light? I hope the second, because here I am.

For those of you just tuning in, this March I’m celebrating my apathy for basketball but my love for brackets with a “tournament” pitting the top 16 books from The Great American Read against each other. What is the point? 1) To declare the ULTIMATE WINNER of the BEST BOOK OF ALL TIME 2) Because I really like brackets. Making a buzzfeed bracket (or whatever the current favorite site is…) didn’t appeal to me, so here we are.

These are my Final Four favorite books. There was some heartbreak last round (saying goodbye to The Lord of the Rings and Little Women), but this round will bring in some VERY difficult choices. All the books remaining are books I truly love, and they are all quite different from one another. It’ll be like comparing apples and oranges, but I will suffer through it. (For the record, apples are better.)

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Bookish March Madness 2020: Elite Eight

*cue exciting music*

[in deep announcer voice] LADIES AND GENTLEMAN! Weeeellllcome to Booooookish March Maaaaadness!!! *wild cheering*

Okay, maybe not, but hi there! Thanks for reading again! Or, for those of you who are here for the first time, welcome. I’m making some room in your basketball filled social media feeds with some bookish content.

This week, it’s down to the Elite Eight! These books from PBS’s Great American Read have survived one round, but who will be the ULTIMATE CHAMPION?!?! (aka my personal favorite)

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