Joanna, Standley Lake Library

I was watching stand-up comedian Louis CK with my husband, and one of his routines about his kids had us both laughing hysterically and saying, “Yes, that’s exactly what kids do!” I decided I wanted some more of this type of entertainment.  I decided that I would temporarily dispense with the serious parenting books and all that guilt I feel when I read about other mothers who enjoy every second of motherhood.  So I went in search of some books that would focus on the annoying, disgusting, enraging parts of motherhood and help me laugh at them all.  I came across a couple I really enjoyed.  Are you in need of comic relief too?  Try some of these:

Confessions of a Scary Mommy: An Honest and Irreverent Look at Motherhood - The Good, The Bad, and the Scary by Jill Smokler  - This book was not as negative overall as I thought it would be, but I did find myself agreeing with most of Jill’s observations.  A couple of “confessions” from Jill’s blog that she included in the book:

“I ate a jar of Nutella a month while pregnant.  Okay, a jar a week.  Okay, okay, a jar a day.  A jar of Nutella a day.  I’ve never admitted that before.”
“Last night I changed all the clocks in the house to an hour and a half later and sent my son to bed.  It was awesome.”

Mother on Fire: A True Motherf%#$ Story about Parenting! by Sandra Tsing Loh - This book spent a lot of time on the difficulty of choosing schools for your children, but I had a laugh about every other page because of her humorous observations.

Sh*tty Mom: The Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us by Laurie Kilmartin, Karen Moline, Alicia Ybarbo, and Mary Ann Zoellner - I’m on hold for this one, and it sounds like a lot of fun.

Katie, Arvada Library

Over 160 years since he became President, Abraham Lincoln continues to fascinate Americans.  While his status as vampire hunter may be in question, there is no doubt that this month’s debut of the film Lincoln has increased interest once again.  

By some estimates, over 15,000 Lincoln biographies have been written.  We think these are some of the best.

Lincoln by David Herbert Donald - Written by a historian of the Civil War and Reconstruction period and considered by some to be the best single-volume account of Lincoln’s life.

Battle Cry of Freedom  by James McPherson - This Pulitzer Prize winning tale of the Civil War provides insight into Lincoln’s strategies and conflicts at that time.

Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America’s Most Perilous Year by David Von Drehle - A newly published account of Lincoln and the events of 1862, a year the author asserts as the most pivotal in the outcome of the Civil War.

A.Lincoln by Ronald C. White Jr. - A comprehensive, yet readable biography which draws heavily from Lincoln’s private papers. 

Ros, Evergreen Library

Many of us, now that we’re "older," are trying to fill in gaps from our reading past. Maybe we just read the Cliff Notes version in school, or maybe we missed important books entirely. Certain novels come up in conversation and we can’t remember much about them, even if read back in high school. It leaves us with a nagging feeling of incompleteness.


Eleanor Gehres’ book, The best American novels of the twentieth century still readable today, helps us fill in the gaps. She has created a 150-title guide to interesting and important American literature. Entries are organized by decade and come with short plot descriptions and reasons why they are included. Here you’ll find J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, Jack London’s Call of the Wild, and Lost Horizons by James Hilton. Both obscure and famous novels are covered, but all are recommended by Gehre, a Denver librarian. It’s a great way to find some good reads!

What are some classics you've been meaning to read?


Rene, Evergreen Library

I am currently reading the second book in the Trylle Trilogy by Amanda Hocking. In some libraries this series is listed as teen fiction, but all three books are suitable for both teen and adult readers.

In the first book, Switched, Wendy Everly finds out she is not who she thought she was for most of her life! She finds herself in a strange and beautiful world, but she is not sure she wants to remain in that world and claim her legacy.

In the beginning of the second book, Torn, Wendy struggles with reconnecting with her mortal brother when evil forces catch up with her. Wendy is torn between two worlds. Which life will she decide to lead?

This trilogy concludes in the book titled Ascend, which I will be reading soon. These books are fast-paced and fun fantasy reads.

Have you read anything by Amanda Hocking? If so, what did you think?

What are some of your favorite fantasy authors?

Susannah, Standley Lake Library

The Standley Lake Library book group will discuss Eowyn Ivey’s debut novel The Snow Child  on December 13 at 6:30 p.m.

The New York Times bestseller is a novel about the magic and mystery of a child made out of snow, and how she changes the lives of Jack and Mabel, homesteaders in the Alaskan wilderness.

We recently had the chance to ask Eowyn some questions about her novel:

JCPL: What can you tell us about your writing process? How did you go about writing The Snow Child? Would you do the same for your next project?

EI: We had a new baby in the house when I was writing The Snow Child, and my husband and I were both working, so I was left with a sliver of time after both our daughters went to bed. I would retreat to the walk-in closet that I had converted into an office and write for an hour or two each night. My mom is a poet and we arranged to share our work each week -- I would give her a new chapter, and she would give me a new poem. Because these were first drafts, we mostly gave positive feedback to each other keep the momentum going. As for my next novel, I am trying to spend time here and there working on it, but my schedule is very different now with book publicity and travel. The basic approach remains the same, however -- I have to carve out that time and just write.

JCPL: Do you think people have taken meanings from The Snow Child that you didn't put there?

EI: Definitely. But that's one of the wonderful aspects of novels. We all bring our own experience and knowledge to the page when we read. In some cases, readers have shed light on interpretations of the story that I was not consciously aware of as I wrote, but were perhaps part of my subconscious process. In other situations, readers take away meanings that I don't necessarily agree with, but that doesn't mean they are wrong. A writer is only half of the process. And I love to think that readers can discuss and find new meaning in my story.

JCPL: What is your favorite "guilty pleasure" book to read?

EI: Stephen King. And the only reason his books are a "guilty pleasure" is because I become so absorbed by his storytelling that I can do nothing but read. I started Under the Dome one evening, and then spent the entire next day reading it. When my husband came home, I said "Sorry, can't fix dinner or help with the kids" and pointed at the book. I finished it that night. Typically when I read my favorite authors, like Cormac McCarthy, Louise Erdrich, Toni Morrison or Annie Proulx, I savor their work over a week or so. But Stephen King is my excuse to devour 1,000 pages in a day.

JCPL: Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?

EI: Just to say thank you. I have been touched by the emails and letters I've received, and am so grateful to the book clubs, librarians, and booksellers who have helped spread word about the book.

Patrick, Lakewood Library

Next Month at Columbine Library, we'll be discussing The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes.

Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2 p.m.

Discussions last about 90 minutes and you can join in even if you haven't read the book.

Find out what's coming up next for your local book group in our Events Calendar.

Veronica, Columbine Library

With the new film about Lincoln hitting the theaters, Joshua Shenk's book, Lincoln’s Melancholy: how depression challenged a president and fueled his greatness gives thoughtful background on how Lincoln’s struggle with sadness made him a great president. Using thorough research from the past and tying that in with today’s medical knowledge about depression, Shenk convincingly argues that a major part of Lincoln’s greatness was thanks to the methods he used to cope with his illness. Famously, Lincoln used humor, loving funny stories, along with time for reflecting that served him well in navigating through America’s biggest crisis – the Civil War. Shenk uses Lincoln’s own words as well as his contemporaries’ accounts in this book, making it simply fascinating.


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