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Read. Return. Repeat.

A ReadICT podcast

Episode 1: What's in a Name?

Adult Programming librarian Sara McNeil and Suzanne Perez, Opinion Editor at the Wichita Eagle, discuss the origins of the ReadICT reading challenge, give book recommendations, and explore the world of books and libraries in this inaugural Wichita Public Library podcast episode.

[MUSIC]

SARA MCNEIL, VOICEOVER: Hello and welcome to the first episode of Read. Return. Repeat.: A ReadICT Podcast. My name is Sara McNeil and I’m an adult programming librarian for the Wichita Public Library.

For those that aren't aware, ReadICT is a year-long adult reading challenge. What makes ReadICT different from your grandmother's book club is that ReadICT promotes Wichitans to jump outside of their reading comfort zones and explore new genres, formats, and authors. 12 books, 12 categories, and 12 months. We pick the categories, you pick the books. ReadICT was created in 2017 and this is the fourth year that the Wichita Public Library will partner with the Wichita Eagle. My hope is that this platform will help our participants gain a more robust understanding of each category. In a time when we are all struggling with screen fatigue and social distancing restraints, podcasts offer a refreshing outlet for librarians to stay connected to their customers. In our first episode, titled "What's in a Name?" we will speak with opinion editor and the creator of ReadICT, Suzanne Perez. Suzanne, welcome to the show.

SARA: Hi Suzanne, it's good to see you.

SUZANNE PEREZ: Hey. How are you, Sara?

SARA: I'm doing well, as well as can be expected. Audience members, this is Suzanne Perez. I'm sure you're all aware of who she is. She's the creator of ReadICT and opinion editor for the Wichita Eagle. Thank you so much for joining us today.

SUZANNE: Thanks for having me. I'm excited.

SARA: Oh yeah. You know, when I was envisioning this idea for a podcast, I knew immediately that you were the first person I had to talk to because you are the creator.

SUZANNE: I am honored. You know how I love my librarian friends.

SARA: We love you too.

SUZANNE: I love my library. I'm honored to be on your podcast.

SARA: Thank you, thank you so much. Well, let's just jump right in. I've got some questions for you and then afterward I have a thought experiment that I'd like to play with you and no pressure if you get them right or not. It's, like I said, it's just a thought experiment.

SUZANNE: Fun. Okay.

SARA: So what got you interested in creating a citywide reading challenge? Could you give us a little bit of context about that for those that are just joining ReadICT or haven't been on the bandwagon for a while?

SUZANNE: Yeah, sure. I was an English major in college. I've always loved reading and reading groups and things like that. One of the things I loved most about studying English in school was, you know, everyone reading the same book and talking about it so I've always, you know, loved book clubs for that reason and just sort of have always... you know, with the exception of when my kids were very, very young and I and I sort of stopped reading for a while because I got so busy, I've always been into reading and then, you know, several years back I discovered reading blogs and many of them had annual reading challenges and these were blogs like Modern Mrs. Darcy and Pop Sugar and some of those popular... you know, nationally known reading blogs and I just thought it would be great to have sort of a Wichita or Kansas themed or you know locally related challenge like that. I think sometimes people, especially people who don't read a lot, sort of like the idea of, you know, a goal... you know, having a little checklist in mind or having some kind of, you know, yeah, categories to to check off. I know I love that about reading challenges. So I just... it was really a whim, it was... I can't believe it was five years ago but it was just something, I was writing a a personal sort of lifestyle column for the Wichita Eagle at the time and sort of made it like, "Hey, you know, here are 12 categories of books you might, you know, want to read this year." And then it just really blossomed from there and you know it was very fortunate to partner with the Wichita Public Library starting the second year so we've been doing this for four and it's just been it's just been really exciting to see it grow.

SARA: Yeah, that's so awesome. You know, sometimes when I get in conversations with folks you can tell they have a very niche like reading style and if I'm not comfortable talking about those types of books then it feels really alienating so that's what I like about this challenge is it pushes me to read different things and then... I mean, I hate to sound like, "Oh, well now I can talk about this because I read it," but it does actually make it more inclusive which I enjoy as I have family members who... yeah, they always want to talk to me about books because I work at a library but I might not --

SUZANNE: I bet you get that a lot.

SARA: Yeah, but I might not be reading the same types of books or people always make the assumption about maybe my appearance that I read a lot of fiction and then they're like, "Oh, you're reading nonfiction? Oh, whoa! Memoirs, really?" And it's like yeah, you know you really can't judge a person by their appearance either, but no, that's awesome.

SUZANNE: Right and you know, I felt the same way. I read a lot... I mean, I sort of lean toward fiction. I, you know, I get enough non-fiction in my life given my job and I just sort of read fiction most of the time in my time off but yeah, the categories, just sort of aiming the categories toward really wanting to broaden the scope of what you read has always been one of the goals and I'm glad that people are seeing that and enjoying that part of it.

SARA: Yeah, I remember the first time I helped I helped this old lady get a graphic novel. This was a few years back when that was one of the categories and she had never even considered that as a type of literature and, you know, I was kind of hand walking her over to the children's section because I was like, "I don't want to scare you, you know, but I want you to find something that's relevant," and was able to help her do that. But yeah, that's nice. I like that about the categories they're so broad that you can really apply almost anything to something.

SUZANNE: Yeah, I love that too because you know one year, I think it was a couple years ago we had an eight-year-old girl complete the challenge just completely with, you know, middle grade novels and children's books, so yeah and people have done it with only nonfiction or, you know, just all kinds of different little niches and I think that's really cool.

SARA: No, definitely. I've tried to bear that in mind when I'm making like recommendations to people to not just like single out adults but like maybe these are people who have families that are reading or participating. How can we make it a little more inclusive? Because children only have the summer time to really be challenged unless they're doing Battle of the Books or William Allen White and so if they want to jump on board, I don't want to stop them I mean that's that's great for us to encourage those folks that want to read.

SUZANNE: Yeah, that's terrific and then conversely it's nice for adults to explore children's literature sometimes too.

SARA: So true.

SUZANNE: Yeah, Y.A. and children's lit still wonderful to read.

SARA: Yeah, no, no definitely. Well, so yeah, you've created this reading challenge. I don't want to like put you on the spot but I did watch some of the promo videos from the past and you made a really interesting point about how statistically people stop reading after high school and I... that really resonated with me because I was like, "Oh yeah, I stopped reading completely after high school unless it was required in college," and like certainly not reading for pleasure and so just in the last few years that I've been participating -- and don't tell anyone because I work in a library -- but I've been reading a lot more!

SUZANNE: Yeah, don't tell anyone on this podcast.

[BOTH LAUGH]

SARA: No, but seriously.

SUZANNE: Your secret is safe with the entire city, Sara.

SARA: I would be... I would be remiss to say that I didn't have imposter syndrome a few years ago working in a library and people ask me, "What are you reading?" and it'd be like, "I'm just floating right now or I'm reading --"

SUZANNE: I tell you what though, it's so understandable and I think that people need to not feel guilty for having... they need to like think about reading as, you know, you go through these phases in your life and after college certainly, I mean as an English major I was tired of reading for a long time and I think, you know, one of the greatest things of becoming a... of graduating and being done with school for a while is not having homework and not having required reading and, you know, and I just... it's so easy though to to fall into that sort of belief that reading is this chore and it's too bad because I mean I think that, you know, there are all sorts of, you know, ways that that teachers can make... ways that teachers and librarians and others can make reading for pleasure, you know, can instill those habits. But yeah, we just kind of get worn out after a while and it takes sometimes it takes a while of just, you know, not reading for a while but then it seems to me that that friends of mine have always been... some book catches their eye. Maybe it's, you know, three or four years after they graduate and so they hear about it on the radio or they you know they see something about it on TV or it's a book that's going to be a movie that they want to see and they and they want to read that one and I think that, you know, if you can get that, you know, spark going then it's... then it can be an obsession.

SARA: Totally. Or even switching up formats. I know that like sometimes I struggle with just sitting down and just reading text on a page but if I listen to an audiobook and I can process it while I'm doing something else, it just enhances the experience. I don't know... some people can't do that. I know some people cannot listen to audiobooks and they lose their place. I'm kind of the same way with reading where if I'm reading it in text, I might be reading the same paragraph over and over again because for whatever reason my focus isn't there but if I pop in my earbuds and I like can listen to someone read it to me, that oral tradition, it resonates in a way that --

SUZANNE: Yes!

SARA: -- reading can't for me.

SUZANNE: Absolutely and it's a different kind of experience. I've... you know, I enjoy... I don't listen to a lot of audiobooks, but a few a year I'd say and there are some that I'm so glad I listened to on audio because it's just... you know, the narrator just makes it that much better. But I have friends who, that they're exclusively audio. Many of the folks who participate in this challenge are audio only. It's just that's the way reading fits into their life. They they drive a lot or they, you know... or they like to multitask and audiobooks is just the way they do it. And it absolutely is reading! For people who say, "I don't read books, I listen to audiobooks," just like, "Well, that is reading books. It's just a different kind of... a different format."

SARA: For sure. It's just a different way for your mind to conceptualize, you know, the words that you're hearing but you're still drawing that picture in your mind. No one's giving that to you, like you still have to think about it in that way. No, that's really interesting.

SUZANNE: Right.

SARA: So have you always been an avid reader like... or was there someone in... some point in your life or some person in your life that really helped make that prevalent?

SUZANNE: I think like a lot of avid readers, I look back, I had a... I was fortunate enough to have parents who really promoted reading in our household and took me to the library and as a matter of fact I... my first vivid memory -- you know, people will say, "What was your... what is your... the very first memory you can, very first thing you remember as a human being?" And my very first vivid childhood memory was a trip to the library where I checked out a book about frogs and I to this day don't know what exactly the title of that book was, I just remember it was about frogs and... but my mom would take me to story hour at the library and it was just... it was so... I just always loved it and especially when I became an independent reader, that was... that opened up this whole new world where I just, you know, I read all of the Little House on the Prairie series not knowing one day that I would live in Kansas so that was foreshadowing and I remember loving, you know, horse books as a young young girl and I read all the Black Beauty books and the Black Stallion books and all of those and so I always loved reading and then, you know, I mean majoring in English I... you know, then I delved into sort of classic literature so it was always... I'd say, you know, my parents, you know, making... making reading a priority in our house was definitely, definitely key. And yeah, that's one reason I... you know, I have two kids. They're grown now and they -- my daughter and son -- and they like reading as well. Probably they're not as obsessed as I am with reading, but yeah, we made reading a priority in our household and it was... I tried to make it, you know, special time when we would sit down at nap time or bedtime and read aloud and I have some of my, yeah, sweetest memories are, you know, reading to my own children so I just really think, you know, I mean it's it's no secret everyone, you know, says the one of the best things you can do for kids is read to them and and help them explore the magic of reading on their own and I think that is so true. I've also had some some fantastic teachers over the years who introduced me to books that, you know, made a difference in my life but I feel very fortunate to have had that kind of upbringing.

SARA: Yeah, that's wonderful. I... you know, I didn't necessarily get that type of influence in my childhood and it really did play a part in how successful I was at about third grade. Both me and my sister had to be held back because we weren't meeting the level and it wasn't because we couldn't. It was we weren't trying. But my mother and my stepfather were avid readers and they loved reading. It was a solitary experience and it wasn't something that we did together and it... so it did feel like a chore and we actually... me and my sister preferred to be outside. We preferred to be exploring or getting into trouble or whatever but --

SUZANNE: And there's nothing wrong with that either. You know, kids in nature is a good thing.

SARA: But it speaks to creating that strong reading culture because in retrospect with my own child, it's like from the get-go I had... she had a board book in her hand. We were teaching her how to sign so she could communicate what she wanted and that helped her with language acquisition and... but yeah, like I remember the first time I took her to story time, she... she must have been a year and it wasn't here in Wichita. I had... threw her on a backpack and walked to a library in Austin we had a little neighborhood library and she just ran around the room the whole time and I was like, "Oh no!" And that's kind of what everyone's first story time experience is like. It's like the kid is just not... and doesn't conceptualize it but you know, when we moved to Wichita I started bringing her to the library and Ms. Nina at the time was her storytime leader and yeah, she got it and she loves reading and she's such a good reader and so it does speak to that... creating that strong reading culture from a young age because otherwise if you don't, you know, your child gets left behind and then that creates a whole 'nother set of issues for them later down the road that kind of...

SUZANNE: Children's librarians to me are some of the most amazing people the way they can bring books to life for kids, you know, with the voices and the and the props sometimes and just really, really making it a magical... I mean, it's performance art I think and that's... and sometimes parents I think feel intimidated like they don't feel like they're reading aloud the right way or whatever. But yeah, it's so, so important to like explore those options. I know it's kind of hard now and you know with COVID-19 and all of those restrictions going on but I'm sure a lot of families out there are looking forward to to getting back to those collective community sort of experiences of reading, especially for children.

SARA: For sure, yeah because it's so much more than just having someone read a story like you said. It's participating in the songs or getting up and doing the rhymes or hand play, you know. There's all kinds of things that they're doing in these story hours that are engaging the kids and teaching them more than just, you know, how to read a book.

SUZANNE: Right. And then you know.. I mean honestly I think a lot of a lot of kids... a lot of adults my children's ages remember the Harry Potter series and that was so... I think, you know, no matter what you, you know, say or think about that particular series or... or the author or the subject matter or whatever, that... the craze of that and the same with the Diary of a Wimpy Kid and these... these either genres or particular novels or series that really take off in popular culture, I think that that... that can really, you know, get kids reading too, but it's important to to make connections I think to say hey, if you liked this, then you also will like you know this other thing which librarians are fabulous at. But you know -- and bookstores and things like that, just looking... looking for what the kid is interested in and then and then going from there. But yeah, oh, I remember reading the Harry Potter series aloud and I totally got into it. You know, like most adults. I loved them so it was a... it was definitely not a chore to read those at bedtime.

SARA: For sure, for sure. Now that's great. Well, you answered a few of my questions already about how you... how you've helped your own children with their reading culture. One thing to note and I'm sure our participants understand this already especially if they're on Facebook is that you support the Library and you support local bookstores. Like why is that so important right now in our day and age when everything is available on Amazon and we can just hit that buy button?

SUZANNE: Yeah, you know, there's no question that Amazon is convenient and cheap and you know especially during a pandemic when, you know, a lot of people don't want to go out and want to have things delivered that's... you know, obviously a viable option but nothing, nothing beats an independent... a good independent bookstore in your community. I think it's not just, you know, a retail space. It's a... it's a community gathering space. It's a place where people can go and, you know, and meet for coffee and conversation and talk about books. You know, it's... you know, we're very fortunate in Wichita to have to have a few great ones and some that have stuck around and they you know bring authors to town -- now virtually, but I mean that's been really enjoyable this past year too. You know, stores like Watermark and, you know, inviting authors to talk about their books or be in conversation with other authors. It's just... it's like a little oasis where people who who love reading, you know, can can gather and, you know, and libraries are like this too where it's a place where you can go and find someone who will, you know, hand sell you the perfect book. I mean, I... there are particular employees over there at Watermark that I know I match tastes with. My book twins. There's a gal over there who knows that I loved A Place for Us a few years back and every time she every time she discovers a novel or a new author that's similar to that she'll say, "Hey, by the way Suzanne, you might want to check this out." And Amazon tries to do that but it's not the same as someone putting a book into your hand like that. And similarly the Library... you know, I'm shocked about how many of my adult peers, actual adults either don't know about or aren't... or just forget about the Library as a resource for adults. I mean, they... maybe they had library memories as a child or whatever but they have no clue about all of the different services and resources that exist over there. For instance, just a few years ago I got to tell one of my own book clubs -- and this is a a group of gals, we've been together for almost 20 years now -- about the book club sets you have at the Wichita Public Library.

SARA: Oh yeah.

SUZANNE: Yeah, this is like this incredible resource where you have 10 copies of a book and a lot, a lot of you know, contemporary novels, a lot of book club favorites. And you check them out and everyone gets their free copy for three weeks and you turn them back in wherever... you know, the library closest to you. That is your tax money at work. I just keep... I mean, I try to remind people of that all the time. Also just over the past few months here, I got... we got a Christmas present here in this household, The 100 Essential Films You're Supposed to Watch in your Lifetime. So we've been trying to to check those off and the Library has been a wonderful resource for DVDs and Blu-rays of old films too so just like... I love getting that text from the library saying, "Your book is in, your DVD is ready for pickup at the downtown library. Come drive on by and get it." It's just, you know, I just love it. I'm so glad. I think that libraries are just one of the most important things in the community.

SARA: Totally. I geek out sometimes and I go into the staff side of our integrated library system -- which is the software we use to check things out and do all sorts of stuff -- and I just happened to glance at my account and I was like, "Wow, in a decade I've saved almost fifty thousand dollars," and that's just borrowing material that I didn't have to pay for and that you know... I mean granted, some things, you know books sets or DVDs are gonna cost more. But just I mean just in the first few years with my daughter I think I had I was up to 20. I had saved $20,000 just borrowing picture books and things like that. It was just insane.

SUZANNE: Yeah, easily. That easily, yeah, adds up and it's so... and not to mention now the e-books and audiobook options you can get through the library too. So you know especially with audiobooks it's like, you know, I mean they can be really expensive even on Amazon so if you can check it out for free for a few weeks from the Library and it's, you know, and I don't know. It's just, it's... a lot of people just need to be reminded of it or that, you know, they never got around to getting a card or that you know whatever and it's just not that hard and everyone needs to... needs to get online and get that done because... and I'm sure there are resources that are part of the Library that I'm... I'm not even aware of so I just... I'm always learning something that you guys do.

SARA: I am too. I've been working for the Library for five years and every month I come across something else and I'm like, "Oh okay, yeah."

SUZANNE: Yeah, not to mention your new... the downtown library with its like... and again it's you know sort of COVID... COVID precautions sort of are complicating matters but I mean just the fact that you have meeting rooms and things like that that people can reserve, I mean there's all kinds of different resources.

SARA: Yeah, where I'm recording right now is our AV Studio and so in a normal, you know, setting this is something that could be checked out for three hours. Customers just have to have a library card in good standing and they can record audio, video files, they can edit their own podcasts, they can... music videos, whatever they want to do and we do have a lot of people when we're open at full capacity that use it back to back like they'll just... they'll get in there and do it and there's not a lot of places around town where you can do that, like makerspaces.

SUZANNE: No, I bet you get a lot of, "You mean this is... this is free, this is free?" You must do that every day like because I've been in the library before where I hear kids, you know, for the first time like realizing, "Wait, we get to take these home and it's free?" Yes, it's free! It's one of the best things in the world.

SARA: Definitely.

SUZANNE: All you have to do is bring it back.

SARA: Please, in good condition!

SUZANNE: Yes please. Yes, with no weird bookmark objects in it please, yeah.

SARA: So that's wonderful that you support local so well and that you're a big champion of the Library. You know, we appreciate you having the presence that you do in our community and then also encouraging so many people outside of Wichita to join the challenge because there are a lot of folks that aren't in Wichita that are doing ReadICT every year. I get to run the statistics every month and it doesn't give me all of the data but it does indicate like who's... who's participating so... if you had to say if there was any other bookish events that you'd like to participate in or promote besides ReadICT, is there anything that that you do outside of our challenge?

SUZANNE: Yeah. I'm kind of a book... book event and book club addict. Sometimes it actually gets a little out of control but some that I've that I really loved -- again like I mentioned my own personal book club, this group of you know about a dozen gals who we've been together, you know, 20 years or so. I started a book club, you know, of Eagle employees more than 20 years ago and it has gone through several incarnations but now we actually... now it's, you know, more about getting together and seeing each other then actually I can't remember the last book we read to be frank. But it's about getting together and now we travel once a year and it sort of evolved. But I also really enjoy KMUW's Literary Feast. It is... those books are so wonderfully chosen and they're selected by the folks over there at KMUW and now they're doing virtual versions of that. I mean, it was nice when we could get together and actually have... you know, eat food, you know, themed to the book, the book theme or whatever. But now it's still... really, I've read so many books through that that I would not have read otherwise because it's like, "Oh, well this is the selection so I guess I'll check it out," and some have been wonderful. And you know, yeah, like I said I would not have explored those otherwise. There are book clubs with at local breweries. There's a... you know, Central Standard Brewery has a monthly book club that I think is still meeting virtually too and maybe maybe back in person. I'm part of a church group now that we're going through the book So You Want to Talk About Race and just going through that sort of a couple to three chapters at a time once a week also.

SARA: That's great so you can like get snippets of it or nuances of it and then actually have a discussion and then --

SUZANNE: Yes. So yeah, it is... I mean it is more and I am treating it sort of like homework but that's okay because, you know, I'm 50-something and I haven't had homework for a while. But yeah, it's like this Thursday we're going to be, you know, chapters 11 through 13 and we get together and it's a really varied group of people. The other thing I like about it is men and women because book clubs tend to be very female oriented so it's really nice to find book groups where, you know, where there's a mix like that. So I try to... you know, and it's a lot but at the same time there are they all are just a little bit different or that you know the books they pick are a little different and I just get something different from out of them. But there I tell you what: between you know, Literary Feast and things like that, ReadICT, and then Watermark's, you know, has a ton of different, you know, sort of genre or niche book clubs where you know, there's like a Y.A. book club and you know people can get... can find some type of community where they, you know, can get together and talk about books.

SARA: That's great, yeah. I haven't really joined a formal book club. I've just been kind of doing ReadICT on the side and then books that I want to do but I enjoy the discussion like when we had our winner roundup and we met a month ago. That was so nice to talk about not necessarily the same book but like all kinds of books that we're reading because it just inspires you to want to read more or pick up more different --

SUZANNE: Yes.

SARA: -- types of books.

SUZANNE: And then that's the danger too, isn't it?

SARA: Yeah. I keep putting things --

SUZANNE: I don't have enough books on my TBR stack over here. I don't need to find some more. But you're right, like I love you... don't even need... you're right: you don't even need to read the same book and that's one good thing about the challenge because and on the Facebook community, I mean the ReadICT page on Facebook has just been so exciting to watch, you know, just sort of blow up. But people will get on there and suggest books and you know... and again, like these books I might not have even known about otherwise and it's so great to to sort of see the back and forth and hear the back and forth about the different categories and what people are choosing.

SARA: No, definitely yeah. It makes me feel less intimidated about reading things that I wouldn't necessarily pick if someone else is like recommending it or if it's something that I know I'm not the only person like interested in this, like I could have a discussion with someone virtually or not.

SUZANNE: Yeah, exactly. Well, I think too and one thing I've discovered about the book clubs that I'm in, any kind of book group really, is that when everybody loves something that's like the most boring book club ever. I love when there's like really strong feelings, you know, one way or the other and it's... and you can get into those debates like, "Oh no no no, this is the worst book ever because..." I love people who are so honest about that and it's funny because there's a one... one of the the folks, Sheryl Esau in the ReadICT group, she and I have this long standing battle over The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I happen to love it. She can't stand it and thinks it should be burned so we just make -- not literally of course -- but yeah, it's always this sort of inside joke that oh my gosh, if she sees it on any, you know, "best of lists," she just kind of comes unglued and I sort of give her a hard time about it. And mine is, you know, H is for Hawk. I'm sorry, I did not like that book and that's the inside joke with with my book club is like, "Oh my gosh, at least it's not as bad as H is for Hawk." People love that book, that's fine, it just was not for me.

SARA: And that's okay. Yeah, that's totally okay. What has been your favorite ReadICT category to date, like if you can just think back on the last few years?

SUZANNE: Yeah, I think my favorite categories tend to be the really random ones, the one that... the ones that people... and those are the ones that people remember so vividly for some. So the very, very first --

[COUGHS]

-- excuse me, the very, very first challenge, one of the categories was a book with a blue cover.

SARA: Oh right, yeah.

SUZANNE: Yeah so I just chose that completely... I wanted like, I don't know, some kind of color maybe, you know, because you know... and oh my gosh, it was just so funny to, you know, to hear people talking, "Oh, I found a book and it has a blue cover!" And so I remember very fondly that one but I also really liked face on the cover from last year because... a book with a face on the cover also, you know, spanned a lot of potential subject matter and made for some really great photos of people holding the holding the book up in front of their faces so that was fun.

SARA: I remember that. You know, what's so funny about those two categories is from a librarian's perspective, those are the... those are the comments we get from customers when they want to reread something. "Oh, it's just that blue book, right?" And you see some librarians that will put like blue book display or the red book or whatever.

SUZANNE: Yeah, I didn't realize it was like a common librarian joke and aggravation that people will say, "I'm looking for a book, I read it a few years ago, I can't remember the title or the author, but I know it was green."

What?!

But you guys will find it sometimes too.

SARA: Right. Right and our eyes are crossing like, "Oh no!"

SUZANNE: Of course, of course. "It's right over here in our green book section."

SARA: One thing that's really great -- I don't know if NoveList will drill down that specific but that's a database that we use a lot, it's kind of our cheat --

SUZANNE: "Novel list."

SARA: NoveList.

SUZANNE: Whenever you say NoveList, I think novel list. NoveList.

SARA: NoveList and it's something you can get on our website under the resources tools but you can type in the subject line and just put World War 2, woman, red shoes and it will... like there's an algorithm there that will pull up a list of books that mention that so that's our...

SUZANNE: Wow, that's amazing. It seemed to me recently I was looking at Twitter and I think it might have been Rebecca Makkai was looking for a looking for a specific book that she had remembered from childhood and she just put a call out to Twitter. Oh, I can't find it now but it was anyway she found it. She was like, "I'm looking... you know, I vaguely recall this book and it was about, you know, kids who did this or that and I don't..." anyway and then sure enough it was like someone someone found it and... and she, you know, provided the link. I always love when that happens. It's like the great scavenger hunt.

SARA: I had that a-ha moment once when I had gone to the children's room. It was before I worked at the Library but I had checked out this picture book, it was these two battling rabbits that spoke French and they were pirates and I couldn't remember the name but they had French peppered in the story and I asked the lady, at the time Britten who worked in the children's room, I was like, "Hey, what's..." you know describing it like that like I don't know the title, I don't know what the cover looked like. It just has these two pirate rabbits they spoke French and they had like a duel and she --

SUZANNE: That is pretty specific though, Sara. How many... how many pirate rabbits who speak French books can there be?

SARA: There weren't many but she worked her magic and found it and it made me happy. It didn't make my kid so happy but I was like, "Great, I can... you know, practice my accents again!"

SUZANNE: Oh, that's so great. I love that, like finding a long lost friend.

SARA: It was wonderful. I had such fond memories of the book, reading it, so I was like, "I need to rediscover it."

SUZANNE: Yeah, how cool. And what's the name of it, do you remember?

SARA: I can't but I will let you know later. I will use NoveList.

SUZANNE: Add it to the notes.

SARA: And I will find it.


Commercial break

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SARA: One question for you: do you have a favorite genre or an author who doesn't get enough love? Is there someone that you want to promote or some genre that you think our listeners should be checking out?

SUZANNE: Yeah, well I like a lot of authors that get plenty of love like John Steinbeck and Elizabeth Gilbert and Anne Lamott who's got a new book coming out. There's gonna be an event of hers in March. But one author I've just really been in love with lately is J. Ryan Stradal. I guess it's... he wrote Kitchens of the Great Midwest and Lager Queen of Minnesota and both of those novels are just so great. The writing, the humor, the characters. I don't know, they just really spoke to me and they're... and they were just so uplifting and I don't know, he just really has a knack and of course it doesn't hurt that I went to hit one of his author events when he, shortly after Lager Queen of Minnesota was published, he came to Watermark and he was just so charming and had this infectious laugh so it's always nice to sort of meet an author in person. But he's a Minnesota guy who moved to California but writes about, you know, Minnesota women especially with just this incredible knack and I just could not recommend those two novels highly enough and I imagine he's working on something new and he's one of those authors that whatever he puts out now, I am there for it. I will be there.

SARA: Very cool.

SUZANNE: J period Ryan S-T-R-A-D-A-L.

SARA: Okay, awesome I will put that on my list because I'm always looking for something.

SUZANNE: Yeah, both of them are great. With Kitchens of the Great Midwest, each of the chapters... I mean it follows these characters but each of the chapters is like its own little independent almost short story. But they... it's not a collection of short stories. It is a novel but it's just organized in this fascinating way and it's... just delicious in every way so I highly recommend it.

SARA: Wonderful.

SUZANNE: Yeah.

SARA: Awesome, that's really great. So if I were to peek at your nightstand in a non-creepy way, what book might we find?

SUZANNE: Yes, well first of all you would find a stack of books that's way too high probably toppling over because... but I actually grabbed my stack from my nightstand this morning and I don't know if you can see it here but anyway so it's, these are the four that are on my nightstand right now.

SARA: Okay, yeah.

SUZANNE: So right now I am reading The Hare by Melanie Finn and that is tomorrow night's Lit Feast book. It is really good and it has a beautiful cover so this will definitely not count for the ugly cover category. But it's... yeah, so that that's been really good. And then I've got So You Want to Talk About Race which is my homework for my other book club. I picked up this because of the weather. It's Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May. I haven't started it, but it just seemed to be the right time for this so I pulled it out of my... out of my shelves and added it to my stack. And then the last one is We Play Ourselves by Jen Silverman and this is a new release. So in my one of my many jobs for the Eagle... one of my volunteer gigs, actually -- it's not even for the Eagle -- is reviewing books for KMUW. So I review books every other week for them and this is a new release that just sort of struck my fancy.

The other way... by the way, one of the one of the ways that I figure out what I'm going to read next is I listen to, you know, a publicist or I'll get emails from publicists about here's what we have coming out but a lot of times those sort of rep nights will happen virtually with bookstores, like so Watermark has hosted here in the over the last month they hosted several rep nights which is basically publicists for different publishing house... representatives of different publishing houses talking about their recently released or upcoming books and I swear some of those people are so talented at making you want to read that book. I mean, I know that's why they get... that's why they make the bucks. But they're just really good about saying, "Hey, if you liked, you know, All the Light We Cannot See, you'll want to check out Send for Me," which is a fabulous book by the way by Lauren Fox so I just... I love, you know, listening to to them talk about you know the next great thing and I also check out like Publishers Weekly and things like that and you know BookPage that the the Library has too and just to see what's coming out there.

There are many, many if you google like "most anticipated books of 2021," you'll get a whole list often with a little synopsis of the of the plot or characters or whatever and you can always find books that strike your fancy. So We Play Ourselves by Jen Silverman is this kind of thriller. I don't even know what it's about and you know, I know people who don't read the jacket copy, you know, because sometimes it gives away too much and I actually did that this time so I don't... I'm not that far in but I'm liking it so far so and then I've got, you know... stacks and stacks and... but it's just like there's way too many books for anyone to read in their lifetime but I don't let that stop me from just collecting them and hanging on to them until I feel like I might.

SARA: I've had to purge my bookshelves several times in the last few years and the only ones that I really got away... or that I gave away were ones that I had read and that I was like, "I'm not going to reread. I don't need to hold on to this like it's a trophy." But the ones that I've kept are the ones that I intend to read because it's...

SUZANNE: Yeah. That's great. That's a good way to keep it under control, but then what do you do with, you know, signed copies?

SARA: Right. Well, I don't have very many signed copies so I can let those go or I can...

SUZANNE: But there are some, there have to be some there, I bet you there's a book or two in your collection that it's just like a favorite book that you have to have a copy of.

SARA: Yeah. You know what's funny, it's like my favorite books I always give away and then I buy a replacement copy and then I give it away.

SUZANNE: Same. So one of my... so I really have this habit of... The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabriella.... what's her last name? Gabriella... anyway, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is one of my favorite novels of all time and it's a book about books and it's a book about reading and I recommend it so often that whenever I am at a... which I also love used bookstores by the way, so whenever I whenever I'm at a Book-A-Holic or someplace like that and I see it on their... you know, on their sale rack for a dollar or two I will pick up an extra copy of it so that whenever I'm, you know, whenever someone says, "I'm looking for a book that you know is just uplifting and will make me sigh at the end when I'm done reading it," I will say, "Hey, here you go." I happen to have a copy right here."

SARA, LAUGHING: You are that book lady!

SUZANNE: I just I try to press it. "Hey, as a matter of fact, don't leave. I have a copy!"

I had a friend call me, text me a couple weeks back saying, "Okay, I've kind of made a new year's resolution. I don't read a lot." You know, she... this is a gal who reads a lot for work and reads a ton of articles all the time. She's well read but has not just doesn't read many books and she says, "I've made this... you know, I'm sick of, you know, watching all the TV. I'm done with done with TV and COVID. I really want to pick up some books. What do you got for me?" And it was just like, "Oh my gosh, let me be your book concierge!" I just got a stack together. I was like, "What do you like?" And she was like, "Well, fiction but not the science-y kind." Okay, I've got you. So yeah and she... yeah, came over to the front porch and I had a stack of books for her and it was so fun.

SARA: That's adorable, oh my gosh. You need like a little... like a Little Free Library in front of your house.

SUZANNE: I know, I do. Eventually I will have one. I think it's just destined to be because that might be the only way I actually purge books in my collection.

SARA: Yeah, you'll just hang out.

SUZANNE: Serving the community.

SARA: Someone will open the door and you'll run out the front door be like, "Oh!"

SUZANNE: "Here you go!"

[BOTH LAUGH]

My cardigan. Well, one of the one of my favorite things about the last few years of ReadICT has been the book swaps and I really, really missed it last year because of COVID. But we had several the year before and oh my gosh, what fun. I mean this is just like come on down to this big meeting room at the Library. Bring books or don't and just leave with whatever strikes your fancy. It just was like unbridled joy for so many readers and so nice.

SARA: So the one that we did have last year was in February right before everything shut down.

SUZANNE: Yeah, that's right.

SARA: And there was over a hundred people. I counted. We had teenagers, we had... you know, moms that brought in younger kids. But it was so great. And then all the stuff that no one took, we donated to the Friends and they were able to put that in the book sale.

SUZANNE: Exactly. Yeah and let's not forget about the the used bookstore in the Library. I know that's not available right now but oh my gosh, I can't go into the library without going through there and finding something I absolutely need.

SARA: So one of my most favorite books that I got from that bookstore, I think it was a few years ago it was like in April they were doing a discount for garden books and I just happened to be like, "Okay, well let me just see what's over here," and I found this new age herbalist or something like that where it was not only growing your plants but identifying all of them and how to process all the herbs for dyes and different things. It was just like --

SUZANNE: Oh, wow.

SARA: -- this treasure that I paid a quarter for and couldn't believe it.

SUZANNE: Oh my gosh. Don't you love that?

SARA: It was amazing. That is a book that I will never give away.

SUZANNE: Oh, that's awesome. Yeah, I love that story. I love like finding these yeah these hidden or unknown treasures or like yeah, just going through. They're like... well I mean, what am I supposed to do? It was only a quarter. I mean, it's not it's not much of a risk.

SARA: I'm getting magazines for a quarter or a dime and it's just there's nothing like that.

SUZANNE: Hopefully we can get back to back to a point where we can have another swap. I know everyone is just like itching to get... you know, to do events again and I'm sure that we will, I'm sure that we will get there.

SARA: We will. We will and this is why I wanted to kind of create this podcast in the interim because it's like I still want to feel connected to our customers or participants but how can we do that? Because meeting virtually is different. There's just so many like you know the Facebook group has over two thousand three hundred people.

SUZANNE: I know! Crazy!

SARA: I was looking at the numbers and you know just from December 'til January we had over 300 people join the group. Now granted, they may not be in town. They might be doing the challenge elsewhere but still it's like that many people and it's just growing exponentially.

SUZANNE: It's growing and what's so nice about it is it's actually pretty active. You know, I mean it's... I don't think a single day goes by when someone doesn't get on there and say, "Hey, this is really good."

SARA: I'll post as the Library and then I'll look back like half a day later and I don't even see my post anymore. There's like already 10 people that have posted.

All right. Go for it.

SUZANNE: I need to make a point of changing some of those into announcements so they stay at the top of the page. You need to remind me of that, Sara.

SARA: It's okay. It is what it is, you know?

SUZANNE: But yeah, those resource-y type things we need to need to keep at the top but I just love... you know, it just makes me happy to see so many people, you know, get excited about books and especially... you're right, especially now because you know we're so isolated and it's nice to to have that community where we can, you know, get together and talk.

SARA: Definitely, definitely. Well, so I wanted to kind of segue into the thought experiment. Before we do, I guess I should give a little context to this episode. It's focused on one-word title. When we were brainstorming --

SUZANNE: Oh yeah, the first category!

SARA: When we were brainstorming way back when... I don't know when that was, in August, September?

SUZANNE: Pre-COVID.

SARA: Yeah. You had mentioned one-word title and I was just curious like what brought that to your attention or what made that interesting for you because I love it!

SUZANNE: Thank you. I wish I had some great explanation. I really don't other than it's one of those again like I said, some of my favorite categories are just the random ones and you know like last year I think we had a number in the title. So that sort of got me thinking of okay, you know last year we had number in the title, this year how about you know just a one word title? Because I... it seemed to me that I had just read a couple of a couple of books in a row that just had one-word titles and you talk about something that can be interpreted in, you know, millions of ways, that is definitely one of them. So I thought it would... yeah, I thought it would be a good kind of first category.

SARA: And it's so funny because some of our newer participants, they get so hemmed up on these rules and they're like, "Oh, it only has one word. It can't be like --"

SUZANNE: "Can I count this?"

SARA: Yeah. Yeah, there's always questions like and it's like --

SUZANNE: Yeah, I guess I should say... if I say anything in this podcast, I need to remind people that, you know, just make the categories work for you. If you want to count it, just count it. It is so funny to me to go on that Facebook group and it's like, "Well, I don't know can I count this." It's like, "Well, if you can... if you want, yes." This is the honor system, really. If you're reading, that's good.

SARA: I had briefly considered naming this podcast "Just Count It!"

SUZANNE, LAUGHING: Yes, Just Count It!

SARA: But I was told that that's a little too like inside of a joke and didn't really relate.

SUZANNE: Well, now everyone knows.

SARA: But everyone knows now it could have been Just Count It.

SUZANNE: Just count it, just count it.

SARA: So one last question before we start our thought experiment. Do you think that an author should name a book before they write it or after the manuscript is finished? And this will segue into our thought experiment.

SUZANNE: You know, I... that's a great question. I think about that as a writer myself. You know, when I write a column or an editorial the headline is the last thing I write because I... you like the... you know and I think of a title similar to a headline so in that way I would think you would want to wait until it's written to title it. But depending on the situation, I imagine that there would be writers who would be inspired... you know, you think about writers, you know, thinking of the of the first sentence of their of the next great American novel, you know, and you know that it probably happens that way. So if people can think of their first sentence and go from there, I'm betting that there are lots of great writers who think of a title and go from there too. But I would imagine probably and knowing how publishers work, knowing a little bit more about how publishers work, you know, the title may be out of the author's control sometimes too or there might be a negotiation.

SARA: That's interesting. I remember... you know, I've read a couple of Sara Smarsh's books recently and Heartland comes to mind because she doesn't mention the word heartland at all in her book, like it's not in there at all and she doesn't use it.

SUZANNE: That's true, isn't it?

SARA: It's not at all but it succinctly describes her story and I think to myself, "Did she have that already in her mind before she decided to put... you know, words to page?"

SUZANNE: Yeah. That's a great. That's a great question, I wonder I wonder about that. Now, I do know that I do know that Heartland had some other... went through several incarnations of the subtitle.

SARA: Right.

SUZANNE: So I don't know about the actual title but the subtitle they finally came up with definitely like had some some key words in it, you know, being broke in America or something like that.

SARA: Yeah, the richest nation.

SUZANNE: Sort of, yeah, brought to mind sort of the nickel and dimes in America kind of genre. So yeah, I bet that there's, yeah, a little bit of inspiration and a whole lot of negotiation and editing.

SARA: Definitely. So for our listeners, we're going to do a thought experiment with Suzanne and basically what I'm going to do is I'm going to list the title as the author wanted to name their book and then see if she can guess what the finished work actually became. All of these titles have been changed. Hopefully Suzanne didn't get on the internet before and try and guess anything.

SUZANNE: No, I don't... I have not heard any of these. This is completely new to me.

SARA: Perfect, perfect. All right, so our first title is called First Impressions. Can you guess what that became?

SUZANNE: First Impressions?

SARA: Mm-hmm.

SUZANNE: Wow. Makes me think of a Malcolm Gladwell book maybe.

SARA: Perhaps maybe I'll give you the author's last name and see if you can guess what.

SUZANNE: Okay.

SARA: Austen with A-U-S-T-E-N.

SUZANNE: Jane Austen?

SARA: Mm-hmm.

SUZANNE: Pride and Prejudice?

SARA: Yes.

SUZANNE: Wow! First Impressions?

SARA: First Impressions.

SUZANNE: Whoa.

SARA: It just kind of falls flat, doesn't it?

SUZANNE: It sure does. Oh my gosh, so much better as Pride and Prejudice.

SARA: Exactly so I'm glad that publisher came in and said Jane, like let's rethink this.

SUZANNE: Yes. Oh my goodness.

SARA: Okay, second one: All's Well That Ends Well.

SUZANNE: Shakespeare?

SARA: Tolstoy.

SUZANNE: No! Crime and Punishment?

SARA: War and Peace.

SUZANNE: Oh my gosh. War and Peace, that's what I meant. That's what I meant because Crime and Punishment is not Tolstoy. I know this!

SARA: That's okay.

SUZANNE: I meant War and Peace!

SARA: All's Well That Ends Well became War and Peace.

SUZANNE: Wow. That is quite the different... that would be on two different shelves, wouldn't it?

SARA: Yeah. Yeah, if you can see those characters, all's well that ends well.

SUZANNE: Yeah, it should have been called Try and Keep These Characters Straight.

[BOTH LAUGH]

SARA: Definitely. Okay, third one: The Undead?

SUZANNE: The Undead?

SARA: I'm not going to tell you the author because you'll guess it right away.

SUZANNE: I'm thinking like Edgar Allan Poe or...

SARA: Close.

SUZANNE: Oh, is it like... sounds creepy.

SARA: It's in the public domain so that'll give you some context.

SUZANNE: Oh my goodness. So it's old, old. The Undead.

SARA: The Undead.

SUZANNE: Like not Frank... Dracula?

SARA: Yes!

Okay, this one is hilarious. I'm sure you'll guess it but if you don't --

SUZANNE: I bet I won't.

SARA: You'll laugh. The High Bouncing Lover.

SUZANNE: The High... The High Bouncy Lover? Like how is "high" spelled?

SARA: High, H-I-G-H Bouncing Lover.

SUZANNE: The High Bouncing Lover. I have no clue.

SARA: Also in the public domain.

SUZANNE: High Bouncing Lover. Lady Chatterley's Lover? No...

SARA: The Great Gatsby.

SUZANNE: What?! That's terrible. Oh my gosh, aren't we glad that they didn't name it that? The High Bouncing Lover. Are you serious? Where are you hearing this that that was the original...

SARA: Oh, I can't remember exactly where I pulled these from but --

SUZANNE: Okay, so you're telling me that F. Scott Fitzgerald proposed his novel, he's giving the pitch to his agent, "I have this... have this idea for what will turn out in fact to be the great American novel," and he wanted to call it The High Bouncing Lover? Wow. Okay, well that's a goodie.

SARA: Yeah, that's that's a gem. All right. Another is... or excuse me, Tomorrow is Another Day.

SUZANNE: Gone with the Wind.

SARA: Yes.

SUZANNE: Yay.

SARA: Yes. Good job.

SUZANNE: Now, that's not a bad title but still Gone with the Wind is so much better.

SARA: It sounds better right, Gone with the Wind?

SUZANNE: But we that's only because we know it as that. I mean, Tomorrow is Another Day, Tomorrow is Another Day sounds like it could be a science fiction novel or something though, doesn't it?

SARA: It does, it sounds a little H.G. Well-ian to me.

Okay, so the next one: The Last Man in Europe.

SUZANNE: The Last Man in Europe.

SARA: It's in the public domain.

SUZANNE: Is it like Ernest Hemingway?

SARA: No.

SUZANNE: The Last Man in Europe. Is it Sherlock Holmes or something? No?

SARA: 1984.

SUZANNE: What?! Fascinating.

SARA: Right, but Last Man --

SUZANNE: Okay, 1984 cannot have have had any other title. Now that is just... I mean, I know "iconic" is cliche but 1984 is an iconic title.

SARA: It says it all, it says it all.

SUZANNE: Yes! The Last Man in Europe. I don't even think about it as a European novel, you know? Boy, I was thinking like Sherlock Holmes or Remains of the Day or something.

SARA: Or James Bond.

SUZANNE: Yeah. Wow.

SARA: All right, last one it's just entitled War. Just War.

SUZANNE: Just War. Well, that is not a good title. [LAUGHS]

SARA: War.

SUZANNE: Gosh, but it could be anything.

SARA: It could be anything.

SUZANNE: And I don't read many war books. Is it a novel?

SARA: It is a novel.

SUZANNE: Okay.

SARA: And it's written by a woman.

SUZANNE: Is it a classic?

SARA: I don't believe so, no.

SUZANNE: I really don't know, Sara. I'm doing very poorly at this.

SARA: You're not doing... you've gotten more than I did. Don't feel bad. It's Paradise by Toni Morrison.

SUZANNE: Oh wow, interesting. Now I haven't read that. I haven't read that Toni Morrison novel. Have you read it?

SARA: I have not, no.

SUZANNE: Okay because I wonder why. Now I really wonder why and I want to read it because that is quite the different approach from war to paradise. I want to call it War. Well, how about Paradise? Okay, that sounds fine.

SARA: Sounds very metaphysical.

SUZANNE: That is... that has been a fascinating exercise.

SARA: Good, I'm glad. Thank you so much for playing along and like I said, you did better than me, so two pats on the back for that.

SUZANNE: Thank you, thank you very much. You were an excellent clue giver.

SARA: And I just wanted to say thank you again Suzanne for joining us. This concludes our recording for the podcast but I just wanted to say thank you. You've really made a big difference in the lives of Wichitans and reading and encouraging us all to get out there and try something new.

SUZANNE: Well, thank you. I appreciate it. I just love working with you at the Library and all of the folks at the Wichita Public Library have been so fabulous to work with with ReadICT so thanks for having me.

SARA: Oh, my pleasure. We'll see you around, okay?

SUZANNE: Okay, happy reading. Thank you.

SARA: You too.

SARA, VOICEOVER: Thanks Suzanne for making time to join us today and thank you to the listeners of today's episode. Today we are joined by three librarians who will share their recommendations for noteworthy books that fit category one, one -word title.

KATIE MENON: My name is Katie Menon and I am the selector of all adult nonfiction for the library system. I have chosen a book which I have enjoyed from the one-word title category. The book is called The Plaza: The Secret Life of America's Most Famous Hotel by Julie Satow. I seem to have a fascination with the history of buildings so this is the third book that I have read of this nature. Julie Satow is a journalist who has covered real estate in New York City for many years but this book was personal for her in that she was married in the hotel. The Plaza Hotel was built in 1907 and was never a hotel in the way we think of a hotel today. Wealthy New Yorkers would move into hotels to avoid paying for large staffs and expensive upkeep of mansions. This is a fascinating account of a building which has been a part of the history of New York since the beginning of the 20th century and the many people who resided within its walls. In this book you will learn about a cold-blooded murder perpetrated by the construction workers in charge of building the hotel, the many owners of the hotel and their personalities including Donald Trump who was the only owner to ever bankrupt the Plaza, and the tale of the disgraced Indian tycoon who ran the hotel from a maximum security prison cell 7,000 miles away in Delhi. And you also learn about the Plaza's most famous resident, Eloise. And you'll also learn when the Beatles came to the U.S. for the first time and stayed at the Plaza. This book is not just about a building, but about the personalities that surrounded it. I hope you will give it a try.

RACINE ZACKULA: Hi, I'm Racine Zackula, librarian. During this past year I've looked for books that take me to a different place as my form of escapism. One of the places I landed was England in the 1840s. This is the beginning of the book Exiles by Christina Baker Kline. Exiles is the story of Evangeline, an educated but naive young woman who finds herself taken advantage of while she is employed as a governess. Pregnant and alone, she is sent to prison. Then after months in the putrid Newgate prison, she is sentenced to serve time in the land beyond the seas: Tasmania. She doesn't go on this journey alone and she meets a girl just past childhood who is sent to the penal colony for stealing a silver spoon. Kline weaves in another story, that of Mathinna who is an aboriginal girl surviving the loss of her family and soon of her culture. Kline's story flows as it conveys the struggles of those making a new world and those whose world is being obliterated. If you love a historical fiction, great language, this is definitely your read.

SARA MOESEL: Hi, I'm Sara Moesel, the teen services librarian at the Wichita Public Library. Nothing is more important than loyalty, but what if you're sworn to protect the one you were born to destroy? This is the question posed by Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko, my recommendation for one-word title. Raybearer is the story of Tarisai, a child born to a mysterious woman known only as the Lady and her coming of age in a complicated multicultural empire. Raised in relative isolation, Tarisai craves closeness and belonging and one day she's told she must leave home to compete for a position close to the crown prince. But then the Lady also lays a magical compulsion on her child. Tarisai must kill the crown prince when she gains his trust. Raybearer is the story of struggling against fate, questioning the past, and the bonds of found families. Plus the sequel and final volume in this poetic imaginative teen fantasy series will be coming out August 2021. Check out Raybearer from the library today.

SARA MCNEIL, VOICEOVER: Listeners can request books by visiting our website, wichitalibrary.org or calling the library at 261-8500. To participate in the ReadICT reading challenge, please visit wichitalibrary.org/readict. Staff curated lists are available for each category. And as always, stay connected with ReadICT participants on the ReadICT challenge Facebook page. Find out what's trending near you, post book reviews, look for local and virtual events, and share book humor with like-minded folks.

You can follow this podcast through the Anchor app or stream episodes on popular channels like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts. If you like what you heard today, be sure to leave us a five star review. This has been a production of the Wichita Public Library and a big thanks goes out to those staff members who've helped produce this episode. I'm your host, Sara McNeil. Join us next time when we will be discussing category 2, own voices, and explore how one local leader has created diversity, inclusion, and empowerment for children here in Wichita.

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