Why are libraries important?

Why are Libraries Important?

We equate libraries to books, but they offer so much more!

Why are Libraries Important?

Why Libraries Are Important

I’ve always loved libraries. Those of you who’ve read my newsletter in the past already know this about me. But today, I want to dig a bit deeper into why libraries are important and share a bit more about their history and magic.

Today would have been my grandmother’s 101st birthday. She passed away last year and I’m still missing her greatly.

My grandmother was a woman ahead of her time and a true inspiration. She worked as a librarian in one of the largest public libraries on Long Island and then volunteered in my school library after she retired.

Growing up, my grandmother creatively shared her love of the library with my sister and me. She set up a pretend library in her basement by pasting envelopes into the back of each book. We then used index cards and stamps to “check out” books, taking turns playing librarian and patron. (This was obviously long before the computerized check out systems of today lol!)

She also taught me about the history of the public library system in America. Although Ben Franklin is credited as setting up the first public library in Philadelphia in 1731- this wasn’t exactly true. You see, Ben Franklin’s library was a subscription service where patrons had to pay to belong. This obviously still kept barriers in place as to who could avail themselves of this service.

The first real tax-supported “public” library wasn’t created until 1833 in Petersborough, New Hampshire. The Petersborough library was the first of its kind, not only in the US, but in the world! A truly public library available to everyone, regardless of class? It was groundbreaking.

Today, the library continues to serve as a class equalizer, providing not only access to books, but much-needed services for the community. Public Wi-Fi, computer access, tax help, language classes and more. Most people are unaware of the far-reaching public services the library provides, but you name it and the library probably provides it in some form.

I’m attending the American Librarian Association conference in DC this weekend. I’m excited for the prospect this provides me as an author- the chance to get my book into libraries nationwide is goose bump invoking!

But, there’s also a form of honor I feel to contribute and further this community institution. Because I know it will be at the library where any child or adult, regardless of money in their pocket, might stumble across my book on a shelf and find escape in its pages. And that- is magic!

*Please help me and other authors create this magic- You can get a book into a library!

  • How to Request Your Library Purchase a Book
    • First, google the name of your library and “purchase request” or “suggest a purchase.”
      • Most libraries will have a dedicated form that you can fill out requesting a book be purchased and added to the library’s collection. Usually the page will pop right up on Google.
  • The form will usually ask for your information (including library card number), plus details about the title, including the ISBN number.
    • You can find the ISBN number for any book by googling the title of the book and “ISBN number.” 
  • Fill the form in, press submit and you’re good to go!
    • Obviously there is no guarantee your library will choose to purchase it, but my experience has been that MOST of the time they do!
  • But, it’s important that you as READERS help authors with this because most libraries have some guardrails around these purchase requests!
    • Generally you need to have a current library card to put in a
      request. 
    • Most libraries will not accept purchase requests from authors for their own books.

So, please do your part to help your favorite authors get their books into your local library! If you don’t see a book listed- put in a request! Thank you!!

To see some of Joyana’s other articles about society and books- check here!

Juneteenth Book List

Juneteenth Book List

Books to Commemorate Freedom on this important day in history!

Juneteenth Book List

Juneteenth commemorates the official end of slavery in the United States.

On June 19th, 1865 federal troops arrived in Galveston, TX to take control of the state and ensure all enslaved people be freed. The troops’ arrival was a full two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.

Juneteenth celebrates this momentous day and is finally a federal holiday! In the spirit of celebration, I’ve put together a Juneteenth Book List below. Happy Reading!


Juneteenth Book List

On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed

The essential, sweeping story of Juneteenth’s integral importance to American history, as told by a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian and Texas native.

Weaving together American history, dramatic family chronicle, and searing episodes of memoir, Annette Gordon-Reed’s On Juneteenth provides a historian’s view of the country’s long road to Juneteenth, recounting both its origins in Texas and the enormous hardships that African-Americans have endured in the century since, from Reconstruction through Jim Crow and beyond. All too aware of the stories of cowboys, ranchers, and oilmen that have long dominated the lore of the Lone Star State, Gordon-Reed―herself a Texas native and the descendant of enslaved people brought to Texas as early as the 1820s―forges a new and profoundly truthful narrative of her home state, with implications for us all.


Juneteenth: A Novel by Ralph Ellison

The radiant, posthumous second novel by the visionary author of Invisible Man.

In Washington, D.C., in the 1950s, Adam Sunraider, a race-baiting senator from New England, is mortally wounded by an assassin’s bullet while making a speech on the Senate floor. To the shock of all who think they know him, Sunraider calls out from his deathbed for Alonzo Hickman, an old black minister, to be brought to his side. The reverend is summoned; the two are left alone. “Tell me what happened while there’s still time,” demands the dying Sunraider.

Out of their conversation, and the inner rhythms of memories whose weight has been borne in silence for many long years, a story emerges. Senator Sunraider, once known as Bliss, was raised by Reverend Hickman in a black community steeped in religion and music (not unlike Ralph Ellison’s own childhood home) and was brought up to be a preaching prodigy in a joyful black Baptist ministry that traveled throughout the South and the Southwest. Together one last time, the two men retrace the course of their shared life in an “anguished attempt,” Ellison once put it, “to arrive at the true shape and substance of a sundered past and its meaning.” In the end, the two men confront their most painful memories, memories that hold the key to understanding the mysteries of kinship and race that bind them, and to the senator’s confronting how deeply estranged he had become from his true identity.


Reconstruction by Eric Foner

The prize-winning classic work on the post-Civil War period that shaped modern America.

Eric Foner’s “masterful treatment of one of the most complex periods of American history” (New Republic) redefined how the post-Civil War period was viewed.

Reconstruction chronicles the way in which Americans—black and white—responded to the unprecedented changes unleashed by the war and the end of slavery. It addresses the ways in which the emancipated slaves’ quest for economic autonomy and equal citizenship shaped the political agenda of Reconstruction; the remodeling of Southern society and the place of planters, merchants, and small farmers within it; the evolution of racial attitudes and patterns of race relations; and the emergence of a national state possessing vastly expanded authority and committed, for a time, to the principle of equal rights for all Americans.

This “smart book of enormous strengths” (Boston Globe) remains the standard work on the wrenching post-Civil War period—an era whose legacy still reverberates in the United States today.


Envisioning Emancipation by Deborah Willis and Barbara Krauthamer

The Emancipation Proclamation is one of the most important documents in American history. As we commemorate its 150th anniversary, what do we really know about those who experienced slavery?

In their pioneering book, Envisioning Emancipation, renowned photographic historian Deborah Willis and historian of slavery Barbara Krauthamer have amassed 150 photographs—some never before published—from the antebellum days of the 1850s through the New Deal era of the 1930s. The authors vividly display the seismic impact of emancipation on African Americans born before and after the Proclamation, providing a perspective on freedom and slavery and a way to understand the photos as documents of engagement, action, struggle, and aspiration.

Envisioning Emancipation illustrates what freedom looked like for black Americans in the Civil War era. From photos of the enslaved on plantations and African American soldiers and camp workers in the Union Army to Juneteenth celebrations, slave reunions, and portraits of black families and workers in the American South, the images in this book challenge perceptions of slavery. They show not only what the subjects emphasized about themselves but also the ways Americans of all colors and genders opposed slavery and marked its end.

Filled with powerful images of lives too often ignored or erased from historical records, Envisioning Emancipation provides a new perspective on American culture.


Happy Juneteenth Everyone! Hope this Juneteenth Book List helps you learn a bit more about what we’re celebrating and the history behind it.


For more of Joyana’s Book Lists- go to her Book List page here!

Historical Fiction Books For Men

Historical Fiction Books for Men

No time traveling romance, no love triangles (not that there’s anything wrong with those. In fact, I love them!)- But this is a list of historical fiction books for men to enjoy!

Historical Fiction Books for Men

Although men love history, I often find historical fiction considered to be a genre that geared towards women. I think with the popularity of Outlander, Regency romances etc, men are associating it as a romance genre. However, there are TONS of historical fiction books for men! Here is a list to try!


Historical Fiction Books for Men

The Alienist by Caleb Carr

This is one of my favorites! With a four-star rating on Goodreads and over 165,000 reviews, you can trust this is a great read. Actually, anything by Caleb Carr is, in my opinion. But, if you’re looking for an old- school psychological thriller with a creepy vibe (basically follows the first recognized American serial killer)- you NEED to check out this book! There’s an accompanying TV series as well that is also very well done.


Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

For fans of All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr has a new book out! Cloud Cuckoo Land takes on the tapestry of time. Split into three perspectives woven together, Doerr spans time from ancient Constantinople through living in the future in space. (Rest assured, it is not sci/fi though).

Once again, “Doerr’s dazzling imagination transports us to worlds so dramatic and immersive that we forget, for a time, our own. Dedicated to ‘the librarians then, now, and in the years to come,’ Cloud Cuckoo Land is a beautiful and redemptive novel about stewardship–of the book, of the Earth, of the human heart.”


Historical Fiction Books for Men

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

You might know Amor Towles from his runaway hit- A Gentleman in Moscow. If you haven’t read that one yet, that’s another one you need to check out!

The Lincoln Highway came out in 2021 and has been another major hit. It takes place in 1950s America and is told from multiple perspectives. It’s a road trip type story that spans ten days and examines responsibility vs the wild ride of adventure.


The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett

Have you tried the Kingsbridge series yet by Ken Follett? Set in Middle Age England, it is addictive!

The Evening and the Morning kicks off in 997 CE, the end of the Dark Ages. England is facing attacks from the Welsh in the west and the Vikings in the east. Those in power bend justice according to their will, regardless of ordinary people and often in conflict with the king. Without a clear rule of law, chaos reigns.

In these turbulent times, three characters find their lives intertwined.

Thirty years ago, Ken Follett published his most popular novel, The Pillars of the Earth. Follett’s prequel, The Evening and the Morning takes us on an epic journey into a historical past rich with ambition and rivalry, death and birth, love and hate, that will end where The Pillars of the Earth begins.


Hope you enjoy these Historical Fiction Books for Men- if you have other suggestions for me to add- please reach out and let me know! I’m ALWAYS open to book recommendations. 🙂

For more of Joyana’s Book Lists- check out her Book List page!

Summer Books 2022

Summer Books 2022

My lighter, poolside reading list for summer! I promise- it’s not just romance 😉

Summer Books 2022

Summer Books 2022

It’s tough to find the “right” books to scratch the summer itch. Let’s be real, our brains are just not always up for heavier, thinking required books during the hot months of the year. Seriously, who wants to read a depressing book next to kids splashing around at the pool? But at the same time, lighter books often get equated to romance or chick-lit books. Can’t there be something in the middle? Here you go- my curated list of summer books 2022! Light and fun, but not all cheesy romance!

Summer Books 2022

Last Summer at the Golden Hotel by Elyssa Friedland

A Good Morning America Buzz Pick
A Can’t-Miss Beach Read For Summer from The Skimm
A Best Beach Read from Bustle
A Best Summer Read from PopSugar

A family reunion for the ages when two clans convene for the summer at their beloved getaway in the Catskills—perfect for fans of Dirty Dancing and The Marvelous Mrs.Maisel—from the acclaimed author of The Floating Feldmans.

In its heyday, The Golden Hotel was the crown jewel of the hotter-than-hot Catskills vacation scene. For more than sixty years, the Goldman and Weingold families – best friends and business partners – have presided over this glamorous resort which served as a second home for well-heeled guests and celebrities. But the Catskills are not what they used to be – and neither is the relationship between the Goldmans and the Weingolds. As the facilities and management begin to fall apart, a tempting offer to sell forces the two families together again to make a heart-wrenching decision. Can they save their beloved Golden or is it too late?

Long-buried secrets emerge, new dramas and financial scandal erupt, and everyone from the traditional grandparents to the millennial grandchildren wants a say in the hotel’s future. Business and pleasure clash in this fast-paced, hilarious, nostalgia-filled story, where the hotel owners rediscover the magic of a bygone era of nonstop fun even as they grapple with what may be their last resort.

This was an adorable read that allowed me to escape the chaos of the first family trip to the pool. A nice, easy, fun quick read!


The Maid by Nina Prose

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK • “A heartwarming mystery with a lovable oddball at its center” (Real Simple), this cozy whodunit introduces a one-of-a-kind heroine who will steal your heart.
 
“The reader comes to understand Molly’s worldview, and to sympathize with her longing to be accepted—a quest that gives The Maid real emotional heft.”—The New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)
 
“Think Clue. Think page-turner.”—Glamour

In development as a major motion picture produced by and starring Florence Pugh.

Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.

Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.

But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?

A Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.

This is a new take on the cozy mystery genre. Another quick, fun read that will give you a new appreciation for people who are just a little bit different. Add this to your Summer Reads 2022 list!


With Love from London by Sarah Jio

When a woman inherits her estranged mother’s bookstore in London’s Primrose Hill, she finds herself thrust into the pages of a new story—hers—filled with long-held family secrets, the possibility of new love, and, perhaps, the single greatest challenge of her life.

When Valentina Baker was only eleven years old, her mother, Eloise, unexpectedly fled to her native London, leaving Val and her father on their own in California. Now a librarian in her thirties, fresh out of a failed marriage and still at odds with her mother’s abandonment, Val feels disenchanted with her life.

In a bittersweet twist of fate, she receives word that Eloise has died, leaving Val the deed to her mother’s Primrose Hill apartment and the Book Garden, the storied bookshop she opened almost two decades prior. Though the news is devastating, Val jumps at the chance for a new beginning and jets across the Atlantic, hoping to learn who her mother truly was while mourning the relationship they never had.

As Val begins to piece together Eloise’s life in the U.K., she finds herself falling in love with the pastel-colored third-floor flat and the cozy, treasure-filled bookshop, soon realizing that her mother’s life was much more complicated than she ever imagined. When Val stumbles across a series of intriguing notes left in a beloved old novel, she sets out to locate the book’s mysterious former owner, though her efforts are challenged from the start, as is the Book Garden’s future. In order to save the store from financial ruin and preserve her mother’s legacy, she must rally its eccentric staff and journey deep into her mother’s secrets. With Love from London is a story about healing and loss, revealing the emotional, relatable truths about love, family, and forgiveness.

I LOVE Sarah Jio and as usual, she did not disappoint. This is a great book to understand the complexities of the mother/daughter relationship and the desire to live a life without settling. A nice Girl Power book!


Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK • A must-read debut! Meet Elizabeth Zott: a one-of-a-kind scientist in 1960s California whose career takes a detour when she becomes the unlikely star of a beloved TV cooking show in this novel that is “irresistible, satisfying and full of fuel. It reminds you that change takes time and always requires heat” (The New York Times Book Review).
 
“It’s the world versus Elizabeth Zott, an extraordinary woman determined to live on her own terms, and I had no trouble choosing a side…. A page-turning and highly satisfying tale: zippy, zesty, and Zotty.” —Maggie Shipstead, best-selling author of Great Circle.

Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results. 
 
But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.  
 
Laugh-out-loud funny, shrewdly observant, and studded with a dazzling cast of supporting characters, Lessons in Chemistry is as original and vibrant as its protagonist.

This book is a hilarious, quick read! A definite must for your Summer Books 2022 list!


Hope you enjoyed this Summer Books 2022 list! I also hope you enjoy your summer with some relaxing poolside reading! If you’re looking for more great books to add to your TBR lists- check out some of my other Book List posts! Enjoy!

Book Club Books 2022

Book Club Books 2022

Quarterly Updates on Best Book Club Books 2022!

Book Club Books 2022

Are you looking for some great reads for summer? What about some book club books 2022? I’m aware, I’m a little off on my timing- forgive me, the year, as usual, is going faster than I plan. But, one of my resolutions this year was to give quarterly checkpoints of some of my favorite books of the year thus far. So, better late than never right? Here you go- my favorite books from 2022 thus far!


Beautiful Little Fools by Jillian Cantor

Calling all Gatsby fans! If you ever wondered more about the women in the famous tale- this is the book for you! Cantor does an amazing job telling The Great Gatsby from the POV of Daisy, Jordan and Catherine. She also adds in some mystery about who really killed Gatsby at the end of the story.

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Woman on Fire by Lisa Barr

This historical fiction thriller follows an art thief and journalist in their cat and mouse game. “Woman on Fire” was the last famous painting created by Jewish artist, Ernst Engel, before he was taken by the Nazis. This books demonstrates how far people will go for art and questions the ambiguity that comes with determining ownership of paintings. Especially, those looted during the Holocaust. This is a sit on the edge of your seat Must Read!

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I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys

Romania 1989. Communist regimes are crumbling across Europe, but for seventeen-year-old, Cristian, being a good citizen and obeying the regime is all he’s ever known.

This chilling tale puts you into the heart of the danger this family and  teen experience every day. Who can you trust? And just how much are you willing to sacrifice before you stand up and say enough?

This was a thrilling read I could not put down. I was not familiar with Romanian history and although I’d read about Communist Russia- this close account truly made me feel the oppressive reality of the situation. I learned a lot while being entertained. Always a plus for me! 🙂

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The School for Good Mothers

Not historical fiction, but just a REALLY good book!! I predict this will be one of the top talked about books of the year!

For starters, it’s meant to be dystopian, yet it hits WAY close to home!

What is considered an unforgivable offense in parenting? Looking at your phone when your child falls at the playground? Leaving your child in the car alone for five minutes to run into the store when it’s raining?

Where is the line and who should determine it? And even more importantly–  what should the punishment be?

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Stay tuned for updates of more Book Club Books 2022 as the year progresses!

Looking for more great reads? Check out my blog for my other recommended Book Lists!

2022 Ben Franklin Award Winner

The Girl in the Triangle has been named the 2022 Ben Franklin Award Winner in the historical fiction category! Thank you IBPA for this amazing honor!

2022 Ben Franklin Award Winner

IBPA Ben Franklin Award

I am beyond honored and grateful to the IBPA for recognizing The Girl in the Triangle as the 2022 Ben Franklin Award Winner for historical fiction! This has really been a whirlwind of a roller coaster ride and a dream come true! Thank you to everyone supporting me along the way.

The IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award program, includes over fifty categories recognizing excellence in book editorial and design. They are regarded as one of the highest national honors for independent publishers.

The awards are administered by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), with help from over 160 book publishing professionals including librarians, bookstore owners, reviewers, designers, publicity managers, and editors.

If you’re an author looking to navigate the self-publishing world- I highly recommend checking out the IBPA for all the amazing support they can offer!

For more information about self-publishing and why you should consider it, check out my blog and Author Coaching page!