博客: Adults

"Maybe this is why we read, and why in moments of darkness we return to books: to find words for what we already know." - Alberto Manguel

Talking with people about books is a shortcut to knowing them -- what they think, value and love. Talking together about books builds understanding and community. Get started with these resources to find, join and sustain book groups.

People reading and talking online
Finding a book group

The library is currently focused on providing online book groups for youth. Find listings for these book clubs, as well as one time events by searching for Book Clubs and Discussion Groups under “type of event” on the library’s events page.

Everybody Reads is the library’s community wide reading project, taking place each year from January to March. Check the Everybody Reads page for details about book discussions and related events.

Mt. Hood Reads - Every year, Mt. Hood Community College invites students and members of the community to join them for discussions around a book or books.

Noname Book Club is an online/irl community dedicated to uplifting POC voices by highlighting two books each month written by authors of color. Here is a list of their past picks available from Multnomah County Library.

Indigenous Book Club is a digital book club for reading Indigenous authored books and books about Indigenous people. All are welcome, with special respect and centering of Indigenous people.

Science Friday book club - Science Friday runs this online book club for those interested in reading and exploring science. 

BookBrowse Online Book Club offers a curated resource of contemporary fiction and nonfiction, with an emphasis on books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding.

Delve Reader Readers’ Seminars, via Literary Arts - There is a cost to participate in these discussions featuring canonical books.

Sustaining a book group

Finding books that appeal to everyone can be challenging, but we have resources to help. Check out our Pageturner to Go kits that include 10 copies of popular book discussion titles.

Do you need help with ideas for you next read? Ask our My Librarian team - we can provide customized lists based on the tastes of your group, and help you place holds on multiple copies. We can also help with books in Spanish.

If you’re primarily using digital titles, check out this  "Always Available" e-book collection from OverDrive, made up of some 3000 classic titles.

Here are the most popular available e-books - this link updates automatically to available titles. 

Is your question about book groups still unanswered? Contact us for more information.

Americans’ fascination with the frontier has its origins in Dime Novels. The frontier was the setting of this literary form of pop fiction. The tales that hooked readers to these books have also lured Americans to see films about the America West and the US-Mexico border. Frontier movies that dramatized violence, drugs, smuggling, and lawlessness, just to name a few, kept moviegoers returning to theaters in the 20th century.

 

 

 

 

You can see traces of frontier tales in silent films, talkies, film noirs, westerns, comedies, Sci-Fi’s, and, lately, War on Drugs and War on terrors flicks. While film genres have evolved, to convey the stories making headlines during a specific time, storylines share similarities. Even in the 1935 New Deal classic, “Bordertown,” featuring a young Bette Davis, the frontier is a place where a person can make lots of money in gambling and booze. Likewise, the only way you can regain order and re-establish civilization at the US-Mexico border is by exterminating “bad hombres” with extreme prejudice as in both Sicario films.  

Motion pictures about the frontier have not only created movie fans, they have also criminalized the people and culture of the US-Mexico border region.

My love  for combining recipes into new dishes is a reflection of my upbringing in the US-Mexico border.

On summer evenings when my dad would take us to the ballpark to watch little league baseball games, an older brother who was a hotdog fan would drag me to the concession stand to satisfy his craving. Though not a hotdog fan myself, I would also purchase one. I would take a bite, then two, until I would finish it. On Sundays at noon on the Mexican side of the border -- yes, the same hotdog-loving brother -- would drag me after mass to a vendor in the mercado to get perritos calientes. While not a fan of Mexican hotdogs either, I would do the honorable thing and buy one. What I remember most and still enjoy on special occasions are the ingredients. The pico de gallo and fresh cilantro made a big difference to the ketchup and chopped white onions. 

 

 

 

Years later, when I found myself in Eastern Europe, I had a similar experience looking for home cooked meals. No! I wasn’t looking for hotdogs or hamburgers. I wanted something closer to

home. I was therefore surprised when I came across a Tex-Mex restaurant in Pécs, Hungary. Yes! Tex-Mex! I had to go in, and I had to have a guisado with flour tortillas. What could be more Texas Mexican than a beef guisado with nopalitos and flour tortillas? No! I did not have either. I did enjoy the soup and the piece of bread the server brought me. 

The lists of cookbooks below offer some of the recipes I have combined into original dishes. 

Buen Provecho

Raza from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border wrote these works of fiction. Some of them wrote their narratives in English and others in Spanish, with sprinkles of pachuquismo and pochismo to spice up the reading and elevate conversations. Gente, who never left the barrios, the world where they grew up and that they knew so well as Mexicanos, Tejanos, Hispanos, Chicanos, and Latinx, crafted these literary works. And some, those who left home and reached the highest levels of their profession, have added to our understanding of what it means to be raza outside the barrios.

Together, the novels and short story collections in the reading lists below are not only tales of successes and failures, but also of who we are. 

 

 

rainbow pride flag
The beautiful thing about young people is that they react to the world around them through wonder, imagination, and questions...lots and lots of questions. In June, some of these questions may have something to do with Pride Month and what it means to be LGBTQ+.**

  • “What’s with all the rainbows?”
  • “Why is it called ‘Pride Month?’”  
  • “What do all those letters stand for?” **

Some of us are more familiar with Pride - and more comfortable talking about it - than others, so we put together some helpful tips for having those conversations during June and beyond.  

Read Up 

Dive into the historical significance of the Pride Movement and Stonewall Rebellion in June 1969, and learn about the significance of the Pride flag. For a kid-friendly history to read and talk about together, check out Stonewall: a Building, a History by Rob Sanders, with illustrations by Jamey Christoph. Check out recommended fiction featuring LGBTQ+ characters, or memoirs written by LGBTQ+ writers. Curious about how to use they/them pronouns? There’s a graphic novel guide for you! Browse the reading lists below for more titles that may interest your family.    

Listen to (and Learn from) Queer Voices

There are also excellent resources online to help parents and caregivers explore Pride and LGBTQ+ identity openly and honestly with kids. Our favorite is the Queer Kids Stuff Youtube series from LGBTQ+ activist Lindsay Amer, the self-described “Queer Mr. Rogers.” We love how this series (with four seasons of episodes!) explores topics like gender identity and how to be a good ally.  

Celebrate! 

Portland Pride Parade is happening virtually this year on Sunday, June 20 at 11 am. 

Drag Queen Storytime with Poison Waters on Thursday, June 24 at 12 pm. Join us for this special storytime featuring the fabulous Poison Waters reading stories about inclusion and diversity. Register via the link above to join via Zoom.  

Support LGBTQ+ Youth

Youth who identify as LGBTQ+ benefit from a supportive network of family, friends, and peers. Check out our recent article We <3 LGBTQ+ Kids and Teens! for some organizations and resources that can help provide that support.

This article is part of our “Talking with kids” series, as featured in our monthly newsletter. Reach out to us at learning@multcolib.org if you need more support or have questions. We’re here for you!



**LGBTQ+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning. The + is meant to include all gender identities and sexual orientations not covered by the other letters. Read What Does LGBTQ+ Mean? for more information.

Starting January 1, new digital magazines will be available through OverDrive & the Libby app. Here's what you need to know about this change:

Should I keep the RBdigital app installed on my phone?
No. There will be no new issues added after December 31, 2020.

Can I still read the magazine issues I borrowed from RBdigital?
Yes. To read your borrowed magazine loans, visit zinio.com, or download the free ZINIO app. From the ZINIO app or website, register for a new ZINIO account. You will need to use the same email address you used to access RBdigital. Once you've registered, your RBdigital magazine loans will be available in your account.

Will OverDrive have a magazine reader like the one available on RBdigital?
The Libby app will offer an article and thumbnail view for magazine titles starting in January. The article view will not be available on the OverDrive app and website.

Will there be a checkout period for magazines?
Yes. Magazines will now checkout for 21 days.

Can I renew magazines?
Yes. You will have the option to renew a magazine within 3 days of the end of the lending period. Or you could borrow it again with no waiting. 

Will magazines count against my OverDrive checkout limit?
No. Magazines will not count toward checkout limits.

Will there be an option to automatically borrow new issues of a magazine?
No. OverDrive does not currently have plans to support auto-checkout of magazine titles, but their developers are considering a notification system for when new issues are added.

Cthulhu figurine
Maybe you’re reading Lovecraft Country or The City We Became. Or maybe you just like your fiction eerie, weird, or chock full of tentacles. Perhaps you find squidlike elder gods, or squids themselves, cute. In any event, despite H.P. Lovecraft’s despicable views - or as a reaction to them - current authors are gleefully reinterpreting his tales, giving them all kinds of twists he never would have imagined, and that he might have found downright... horrifying. Maybe even namelessly terrifying, indescribably eldritch, and worse yet (for him),  better written than the stories of old H.P. himself!

The fabulous irony of all this is that Lovecraft was an early proponent of fanfiction, shared universes, and remixing, so in a sense these authors are working in a tradition he encouraged, but use it in subversive and creative ways. And often that sense of otherworldly eerieness and creeping dread that is central to cosmic horror is even more vivid and terrifying than ever. Delve into this strange new world with the books below.

The Collected Works of Langston Hughes book jacket
I had never read the literary works of Langston Hughes before coming across The Collected Works of Langston Hughes at the North Portland Library.  I knew of him as a great poet and poetry was not my favorite genre.  Nonetheless, I leafed through the seventeen volume set on the shelf and I immediately was hooked on the works of one of the literary lions of the Harlem Renaissance.

Not sure where to begin, I skimmed through the volumes on poetry.  I read quickly a few poems, tried to digest others, but it was his prose that truly beckoned me.  I paused skimming midway through his oeuvre and read the first two short tales in depth.  I knew then, as I do now, that I had found a literary gold mine because weeks later, I’m still digging through the Simple stories in volumes 7 and 8.

Originally published in the Chicago Defender from 1943 to 1965, the Simple stories read more like weekly columns on race relations in the U.S. The tales are narrated in a conversational form to engage readers on multiple levels.  On one level, the stories are comical and reader-friendly, designed to show the human soul of Jesse B. Semple, or Simple as he is known, and draw the reader in.  Readers get to see and feel Simple’s failures and successes as well as his frustrations and dreams.  On another level, the stories portray the complex world that evolved in the Jim Crow era in a non-antagonizing way.  Simple’s conversations with his bar buddy not only lured readers into the national dialogue over race, but they also engaged readers in a constructive conversation over racism—the ideological foundation that defined the racial boundaries of Simple’s life and, by extension, African Americans.

Though it has been sixty-five years since Langston Hughes published the first Simple stories in book form, the ideas in these tales still resonate.  Racial progress has been made, but we still have a long way to go.  Both fictional characters would probably nod their heads.  Yes, over a cold beer.  Still, such ideas, now more than ever, need to be part of a national discourse.

 

y no se lo tragó la tierra book jacket
What makes a literary work an American classic? Clearly, there is no one answer to this question. It is a matter of opinion. It is no wonder book publishers have debated this issue in the past, and that they will continue to discuss it in the future. The question, also, hangs over my head every time I read Tomás Rivera’s …y no se lo tragó la tierra: Is this fictional tale of Mexican American migrant farm working families an American classic? After all, this novella is an iconic piece of literary art in Chicano/a literature, and is a must read in Chicano/a literature courses in U.S. colleges. It was also the first recipient of the Premio Quinto Sol award.

Is it an American classic? Yes! It is. In spite of being written in Spanish,* …y no se lo tragó la tierra is a story of perseverance in the American tradition of pulling oneself up by one’s bootstraps. Like their fictional counterparts in The Jungle and The Grapes of Wrath, the characters in …y no se lo tragó la tierra have dreams and grit. The Mexican American migrant families’ determination to make their dreams real no matter the odds given - it is the 1950s and people of color are segregated in the workplace and society—is what makes their tale of perseverance an American classic.

The story takes place in two locations: a small town in rural South Texas, where the migrant families live on a permanent basis and the Midwest, where they toil in the fields of commercial growers. The hardships they confront in their annual migrations to Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and other Midwestern states in search of seasonal farm labor say more about their determination to better their lives than about the work itself. That is not to say that the seasonal farm work they do doesn’t influence their willingness to live their American dreams. On the contrary, the very work itself, with its low wages, no rights, no dignity, and no hope, drive migrant families to continue struggling for a better life.

Like two other American classics of the twentieth century, Native Son and Invisible Man, …y no se lo tragó la tierra illuminates an experience once ignored by mainstream Americans. It sheds light on a harsh reality that can no longer be overlooked.

*The library's copy is bilingual.

book cover for maggie the machanic

Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez are the most prolific Chicano graphic novelists in the US. Their work wrestles with topics that are not “Chicano Movement” issues, per se, and it debunks stereotypes such as those of the Latino gangbanger and the omnibenevolent abuelita.

Their work instead captures the immigrant experience as well as the second-generation Mexican-American experience, which are full of contradictions, complexities, and some happy endings. The stories of their fictional characters are not only mundane and exciting and surreal and real, but if we consider when they were first published in the 1980s, they were ahead of their time.

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