Twenty-Somethings Book List

Reading in your twenties can be difficult. Many readers find themselves trying to bridge the gap between young adult fiction and adult fiction. Many of these issues stem from the fact that a large amount of adult literature focuses on an older adult audience, featuring protagonists whose dilemmas may still seem foreign to someone in their twenties. Many twenty-somethings, including myself, often find themselves searching for books that feature characters their own age.

Well, look no further. Here is a list of books about people in their twenties, with the ages of the protagonists included.

Cover ImageThe Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Protagonist’s Age: 28
Lucy Hutton is colorful, quirky, and optimistic. Joshua Templeton is everything Lucy is not — uptight, careful, and composed. Normally the two’s paths would have never crossed, except that they both work as assistants to the co-CEO’s of a successful business. When both Lucy and Joshua are considered for the same promotion, their simmering hatred of each other quickly comes to a boil. However, as the game between them heats up, Lucy realizes that maybe the feeling between herself and Joshua isn’t hate, and that she’s been playing a much more dangerous game all along.

Cover ImageIt Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
Protagonist’s Age: Teen to 20’s
Though Colleen Hoover is a veteran romance writer, It Ends With Us goes far past the genre description of romance. Though the story of Lily and Ryle starts out easily enough, when Lily’s first love, Atlas, unexpectedly comes back into her life, things take a drastic turn. This book tackles issues like abuse and domestic violence with grace, and reminds readers of the occasional dangers of the “bad boy” romance stereotype. For those worried about a love triangle, the two romances in the book happen at two separate times in Lily’s life, and thus have little overlap. Grab your tissues, because this one’s a tearjerker.

Cover ImagePlaying With Matches by Hannah Orenstein
Protagonist’s Age: 22
In today’s world of Tinder, Bumble, and various other online dating apps and sites, nearly every twenty-something has a story about a match not quite made in heaven. Sasha Goldberg exists on the other side of the algorithm: she works behind the scenes for a matchmaking service in New York City. Though her recent college graduation and successful relationship seem to hint towards an idyllic future, her life is soon spun out of control when her boyfriend betrays her — and she ends up in the arms of one of her clients.

Cover ImageLuckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
Protagonist’s Age: 28
Ani FaNelli knows what it’s like to not be perfect, thanks to a shocking incident when she was in high school. As an adult, she finally feels like she’s nearing perfection with her impressive job, impressive clothes, and altogether impressive fiancé. But she’s got a secret from her past that threatens her glamorous life, even more so than her high school humiliation. Facing the immense pressure from society to have it all together, Ani must decide whether or not she should keep her secret buried or finally come clean.

Cover ImageAn Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
Protagonist’s Age: 23
Out for a walk with her friend, April May comes across what she assumes is a sculpture, and uploads a video of it to YouTube. As it turns out, her discovery isn’t a sculpture at all: it’s one of several alien objects that have appeared on Earth, known as Carls. As the first person to document a Carl, April very soon becomes an Internet sensation, and she finds her new fame pervading every aspect of her life. In addition to finding a new balance, April must also figure out just what it is the Carls are, and what they may want from the people of Earth.

Cover ImageA Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
Protagonists’ Age: 19-21
There are multiple Londons: Grey, Red, and White London, along with the long gone Black London. Kell is one of the only remaining Antari — magicians with the ability to jump between the three different Londons. Though he is from Red London, circumstances cause Kell to flee to Grey London, a place devoid of magic. There he meets Lila, a thief who convinces him to take her with him to the other Londons. With dangerous magic on the horizon, Kell and Lila must fight to save the worlds, and, more importantly, themselves.

Cover ImageThe Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Protagonist’s Age: 27
When he is thirteen years old, Theo Decker survives a horrendous accident that kills his mother. He is soon taken in by the affluent family of one of his friends, and finds himself struggling to face the world in the absence of his mother. The novel switches between Theo at thirteen and Theo at age twenty-seven, and the effect the loss of his mother has on his life. At the center of it all is a small painting of a goldfinch, which is the only thing Theo has that reminds him of his mother. This book won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2014.

Cover ImageThe Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
Protagonist’s Age: Teen to late 20’s
Junot Díaz’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel tells the story of the Dominican American Oscar de León, nicknamed Oscar Wao by friends, as he chases his dreams of falling in love and writing the next great fantasy/sci-fi saga. The only problem? Oscar’s family is cursed, and has been for generations, originating from before the family moved to New Jersey from Santo Domingo. Oscar doesn’t want that to get in his way, but, as the title suggests, things do not always go as planned. Equal parts Oscar’s story and his family’s history, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is a book you won’t want to miss.

Sleep No More: Horror Novels That Will Keep You Up At Night


Halloween isn’t all candy and costumes; for many horror buffs, it is the time of year where horror movies reign supreme. Here are some spectacularly spooky reads to get you in the Halloween spirit. Make sure not to read these books late at night.

Cover ImageHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves exists in the terrifying space between a horror novel and a horror anthology. Though it features a frame story, much of the book seems to be the rantings of a mad man — because they are. The novel is presented as the scrambled research manuscript of a man studying a documentary he claims to have once seen, but has never found proof of existing. The supposed documentary tells the story of a family that moves into a new home, only to discover that their home is somehow bigger on the inside. Through the several narrators and stories interwoven in this book, Danielewski’s pieces together a truly haunting tale.

Cover ImageUniversal Harvester by John Darnielle
If the name John Darnielle sounds familiar, it’s likely because he is also the creative mind behind indie folk band The Mountain Goats. In Universal Harverster, Darnielle tells the story of Jeremy, a small town video store clerk in the late 90’s who lives with his father. While on the job, Jeremy discovers that someone has been recording over portions of VHS tapes in the store, and that the clips being spliced in feature incredibly puzzling and disturbing content. As more clips appear, the unnerving video additions begin to paint a bigger picture. Slowly but surely, Jeremy begins to unravel more of the dark history behind the clips, and the decades of history that led to their creation.

Cover ImageSomething Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
No list of horror fiction can be complete without Ray Bradbury’s famous horror fantasy, telling the story of two thirteen-year-old best friends and their nightmarish experience with a traveling carnival that comes to town, led by the terrifying Mr. Dark. As the carnival begins to affect the town and its people, the boys discover that Mr. Dark is not what he seems, and that the carnival’s attractions are much more sinister in nature than they originally thought. Preying on the desires and wishes of the townsfolk, Mr. Dark and his carnival members must be stopped, or else the entire town may find themselves enslaved to the circus.

Cover ImageThe Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All by Laird Barron
Horror fiction is known just as much for its short stories as it is its novels, and Laird Barron’s third collection of horror stories is the perfect terrifying read for any horror fan. The stories themselves are actually loosely connected, but it is Barron’s astute ability to weave bone-chilling scares into each tale that earns this book a place on this list. In fact, Barron won a Bram Stoker award in 2013 for Superior Achievement in Fiction Collection for The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All. The award, named after the author of Dracula, is given out each year by the Horror Writers Association to celebrate the year’s best in horror and dark fantasy writing.

Cover ImagePet Sematary by Stephen King
One of the most well known horror authors of all time, Stephen King has penned numerous novels that went on to become horror film classics, including The Shining, CarrieMisery, and It. Though these movies often get heralded as King’s best, many readers of King’s books consider Pet Sematary to be his most horrifying work. When tragedy strikes, a young family turns to dangerous powers to bend the rules of life and death. Though at first their solution seems to work, it quickly becomes clear that dead things are meant to stay that way, and that whatever has come back is not what they thought it was.

Cover ImageThe Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
Paul Tremblay received uproarious praise for his 2015 horror novel, A Head Full of Ghosts, but this summer his brand new release took the horror world by storm. While on a trip to a remote cabin with her parents, a young girl, Wen, is approached by a man who apologizes for what he is about to do. He is joined by a few other strangers, and tells her that he and his friends need her family’s help to save the world, and that it won’t be pleasant. What follows is a gripping story of sacrifice and paranoia, in a strange tale where the fate of the world lies upon the difficult decision of a single family.

Cover ImageNOS4A2 by Joe Hill
Victoria “Vic” McQueen is the only child to have ever escaped from the clutches of the despicable Charles Talent Manx and his 1938 Rolls-Royce (with a NOS4A2 license plate. Many years have passed since she was whisked away to his nightmarish home known as “Christmasland.” Now an adult, Vic wants to do everything in her power to forget her harrowing escape from evil. But Manx has kept Vic in his sights for years, and now he has chosen a new victim: Vic’s son. For the sake of her son, Vic must now face off against the literal demons of her past in this exciting tale from Joe Hill.

Cover ImageThe Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
Along with several other children, Carolyn was taken in by a man she and her adopted siblings refer to as Father, who they suspect may be God. He has forced them to tend to his library, where he has them study his ancient customs and powers. When Father goes missing, his adopted children, now adults, are left to protect his secret library and the vast control it holds over the world. Facing off against impossibly powerful foes, Carolyn and her siblings must defend the library without sacrificing the very things that once made them human.

Binge-worthy Literary Web Series

If you’ve been keeping up with YouTube in the past eight years, you might have noticed a growing trend in book adaptations. More and more, classic literature is being adapted are modernized as web series, typically available through video sites like YouTube.

The series tend to be shot vlog style, meaning they are presented as a video blog. Though the series still have actors, by mimicking the vlog formula, these adaptations tend to feel much more personal. The vlog setting, albeit fictional in this case, also functions on the idea that the characters are aware of their audience, and that other characters in the story are able to watch their videos.

Here are just a few literary web series that put fun new spins on classic tales!

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

The Emmy award-winning literary web series that kicked off the trend, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is still considered by many to be the best literature-inspired web series. It’s not hard to see why, with the lovable Bennet sisters stealing the show in this modern spin on Jane Austen’s classic romance Pride and Prejudice.

Emma Approved

Emma Approved is made by the same people who made The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, so it has a similar feel to the other series. Of course, this could also be in part because it’s source material, Emma, is also written by Jane Austen. This series aired after the completion of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and so its influence can be seen all over the show. However, this series still manages to feel fresh and new, and took home a few Emmy awards of its own as well.

Nothing Much To Do

Nothing Much To Do is the first web series from New Zealand based production company The Candle Wasters, and was so popular it was even given a sequel series. Based on William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, Nothing Much To Do brings the classic characters into a modern day New Zealand high school, where the leads get into just as many wacky hi-jinks as they do in the original play. The sequel series, Lovely Little Losers, is based on Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost, and follows the Nothing Much To Do characters as they go away to university.

Green Gables Fables

Green Gables Fables is a modern web series adaptation of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series. The first season of the series focuses on Anne Shirley as she moves to Avonlea, where she is adopted by siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert and makes friends in her new home. The second season follows Anne and her friends as they head off to college, and covers the later books in the series. The series is known for its multimedia presence during its airing, with almost all of the characters having their own Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter accounts.

The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy

The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy brings the tale of J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan into the modern world, without sacrificing any of the magic and whimsy from the original. Follow Peter, Wendy, and many of your other favorite Peter Pan characters as they tackle friendship, romance, and what it means to finally grow up. The show was funded by the crowdfunding website Kickstarter, and successfully funded a second and third season as well!

Call Me Katie

Fans of the movie 10 Things I Hate About You might notice some similarities in this web series, which is because they are both based on William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. The web series follows two sisters, Katie and Bianca, whose father has set a strict rule on Bianca for dating: she can date once Katie dates. Headstrong Katie has no plans to enter a romantic relationship any time soon, which spurs one of Bianca’s suitors to pay bad boy Peter to romance Katie so that Bianca will be allowed to date. Just like 10 Things, the modern adaptation here allows for a much more progressive and comedic version of Shakespeare’s original play.

Classic Alice

Classic Alice is a little different than the rest of the web series on this list, and that is because it is not based on one single work of literature. In the series, the main character, Alice, lives her life as according to certain pieces of classic literature. The series starts with Alice living her life based on Crime and Punishment, and over the course of the show she moves on to many other novels and stories. This format has allowed the show to run for quite some time, as the writers have much more source material to work with.

Carmilla

Written in 1872, 26 years before Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla tells the story of a female vampire named Carmilla, who attempts to steal the life and vital fluids of the innocent Laura. In the web series, Carmilla and Laura share a dorm in college, and Laura begins to suspect that her roommate isn’t all that she seems. As opposed to the undeniably evil Carmilla in the original novella, the web series instead frames her as misunderstood, and eventually has Carmilla and Laura falling in love. This popular web series has spawned multiple seasons, and even a feature film adaptation. Season two and on are completely off-book, but the series is definitely still worth checking out!

In Earnest

An adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, this web series brings the classic play into the twenty-first century, where the main characters each upload videos to their individual YouTube channels. The series takes place in Pennsylvania, and was filmed at Grove City College and stars many Pennsylvania actors and actresses.

 

 

 

Feast of the Rings: Eat Your Way Through the Entire Trilogy

This past weekend, my friends and I sat down to accomplish what we considered to be one of the nerdiest things we had ever done: marathon the Lord of the Rings trilogy (extended editions, of course) while eating all the foods from the series along with the characters. We can’t claim credit for the idea, as we were inspired by this Twitter thread. Here’s some ideas on how to hold your own food-filled Lord of the Rings marathon!

Note: Not all food is featured in this list, but most of it has been included.

The Fellowship of the Ring

Our Victoria Sponge Cakes, which were a bright start to a day full of food in Middle Earth.

1. The movie starts off with cake, jam, and tea for breakfast. We chose to make Victoria Sponge Cakes, which have jam in them, to start off our day. To match the berry jam, we made ourselves cups of berry tea.

2. When Gandalf and Frodo meet about the One Ring, there is jam, bread, and tea on the table. We decided to make some Lemon Raspberry Tarts to cover the first two ingredients, and finished off our tea from the first meal.

3. Pippin and Merry are stealing raw vegetables from Farmer Maggot. Time to munch on some raw carrots!

4. Aragorn throws an apple to Pippin when he inquires about Second Breakfast, so we all ate a fresh Gala apple.

5. The hobbits’ hunger leads to poor decision making as they cook up bacon and mushrooms on Weathertop, alerting the Nazgûl to their location. Bad for the hobbits, but a delicious meal for us.

6. The Fellowship stops for food at the Gap of Rohan, where they eat sausages. More delicious breakfast food!

7. Lembas bread in Lothlorien! We found a recipe for homemade Lembas bread, and just like Sam and Frodo, we got quite sick of eating it by the end of our marathon. While I only mention it here, make sure to keep lots of Lembas bread on hand for the plethora of times it gets eaten in the series.

The Two Towers

Our “Orc Power Juice,” also known as strawberry pomegranate sangria.

8. After some Lembas bread to start us off, the Orcs give Pippin and Merry what we dubbed “Orc Power Juice” to keep them going. For our marathon, this meant sangria, but you could also substitute grape juice, cranberry juice, or another dark reddish liquid!

9. Our star Uruk-hai proudly declares that meat is back on the menu. While the orcs cannibalize a slain orc, we decided to instead just have some barbecue pork ribs.

10. Gimli munches on some cheeses when the group arrives at Rohan, so we made ourselves a nice cheese plate.

11. Gollum finds a rabbit, which Sam adds to a stew with potatoes (boil ’em, mash ’em, stick ’em in a stew). We couldn’t get our hands on a rabbit, so we just settled for stew with potatoes.

12. Immediately after the rabbit stew, Eowyn makes Aragorn some gross fish stew. Not wanting another full meal or unappetizing food, we all decided to take one bite each of clam chowder.

13. Faramir takes Sam and Frodo to see Gollum hiding out by a waterfall, eating a raw fish. We enjoyed some fresh sashimi to avoid having to feast Gollum style.

Return of the King

Denethor has great taste in food, he’s just not very good at eating it.

14. After a largely foodless end to The Two Towers, we kicked off our third and final feast with some more sashimi as Gollum munches on yet another fish, washing it down with the Lembas bread Frodo and Sam are running out of.

15. Pippin and Merry find Isengard’s store room filled with preserves, and the salted pork is particularly good. We had some pork and beans so that we could include preserves in the mix.

16. Hail the victorious dead! We toasted the fallen warriors with the leftover sangria from our Orc Power Juice, but what really matters is that you toast, not what you are drinking.

17. Denethor once again beats out Gollum for the title of “Grossest Eater” with his meal of chicken, grapes, bread, and tomatoes. We bought a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, and made sure to eat our cherry tomatoes without getting them everywhere (it’s not that hard, Denethor).

18. As Frodo and Sam try to remember the taste of strawberries on the side of an erupting Mount Doom, we somewhat insensitively reminded ourselves by feasting on strawberries with whipped cream.

19. We finish our feast back at the Shire, with more cake and tea. We decided to make some petit fours to switch it up, but feel free to just use the leftover cake from the beginning of your marathon.

And thus ends the glorious undertaking that is a Lord of the Rings marathon feast!

Conclusion

My advice? As tempting as it is to eat as much as the characters for all of these meals, pace yourself and instead have small portions. Don’t be a fool of a Took and eat four pieces of Lembas bread instead of one bite. Your stomach will thank you halfway through the marathon, when you’re starting to feel full but still have hours of eating ahead of you (much of which will be the aforementioned Lembas bread).

If you’re wondering if a similar marathon could be done with the Hobbit movies, I assure you it is possible. That being said, it’s definitely going to be a long while until my friends and I attempt another marathon feast.

Happy eating!

Morbid Curiosity Reads

Ever wonder what it’s like to work in a morgue? Want to know what uses science has for human cadavers? You might have a case of what’s been dubbed “morbid curiosity,” or a fascination with the macabre. Inspired by this month’s Get Lit! Book Club pick, here are a few morbidly curious nonfiction titles that approach death from a unique, fresh perspective.

 

Cover Image

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
The book that inspired this list, Stiff details the torrid relationship between science and human cadavers, from its origins in grave-robbing to today’s university owned “body farms.” This book is not Mary Roach’s first foray into the more macabre aspects of science, and her expertise in making the subjects approachable and fun is quite clear. Fans of this book will be glad to hear that she has several other in the same vein, including books on the science behind war, the void of space, digestion, and the afterlife.

 

Cover ImageSmoke Gets in Your Eyes: & Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty
Caitlin Doughty is not your average twenty-something. Instead of going a more traditional route after college, Doughty decided to indulge her morbid curiosity and start working at a crematory. Now a licensed mortician with her own practice, Doughty  intersperses hilarious anecdotes from her years working with the deceased with the answers to questions many of us are too afraid to ask, and compels readers to change the way they think about dying.

 

The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and ObsessionCover Image by David Grann
This collection of twelve tales by David Grann, who originally published each of the true stories in the New Yorker, delves into what it means to be obsessed. The title is pulled from a particular story in which a man’s erratic obsession with Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle eventually leads to his untimely demise. For fans of The Lost City of Z, this book features Grann’s signature writing style mixed with tales that will appeal to readers’ interest in the macabre.

 

Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical ExaminerCover Image by Judy Melinek
Judy Melinek has worked as a forensic pathologist in New York City for over fifteen years. She has performed autopsies and death investigations through every New York catastrophe, from September 11 to the anthrax attacks to the crash of American Airlines flight 587. In this book, Melinek details the funny, morbid, and challenging aspects of being a medical examiner, and reveals what is fact and fiction about the morgue stereotypes portrayed by decades of police procedural television dramas.

 

The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian MedicineCover Image by Lindsey Fitzharris
Medical practices in the Victorian age were shockingly brutal, including a lack of anesthesia, rampant infection, and entire theaters dedicated to the live viewing of surgeries. In this brutal climate, Joseph Lister began to hypothesize about sterilization and germs, eventually making discoveries that revolutionized the medical profession. In incredible detail, this book uncovers both the grisly past of Victorian medicine and the incredible changes Joseph Lister was able to bring to the profession.

 

Cover ImageMortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt by Todd Harra and Ken McKenzie
As opposed to the stories of just one mortician, this book features a compilation of greatest hit anecdotes from undertakers across the United States. From hilarious experiences with corpses to dramatic encounters with families and funerals, these morticians have stories that will make you laugh, cry, and grimace. This book is a must read for fans of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Stiff.

 

Death’s Acre: Inside the Legendary Forensic Lab The Body Farm Where the Dead Do Tell TalesCover Image by Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson
Have you ever wondered how forensic pathologists know how the human corpse reacts to so many different scenarios? The answer is simple: body farms. Body farms are places, often run by universities, where cadavers donated to science are put through a variety of stressors to see the different ways decomposition can set in. This book reveals the secrets behind one of the first body farms, and all that goes into running such a bizarre science experiment.

 

Cover ImageThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
This bestselling book reveals the never-before-told story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells, gathered in 1951, helped science discover the polio vaccine, explore cloning, and even further the field of gene mapping. The twist? Henrietta never knew her cells were taken, and was never compensated or credited for her incredible impact on the world of medicine and genetics. Now an HBO film starring Oprah Winfrey, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is crucial to understanding the history of genetics.

 

Cover ImageThe Invention of Murder: How Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime by Judith Flanders
With stories like Sweeney Todd and Jack the Ripper, it may seem that murder was rampant in Victorian England. In reality, murder was rare; it was the publicity and sensationalization of murder that swept through British society. This interesting book explains how the Victorian obsession with murder created the first of detective fiction, and some of the most famous Gothic stories literature has to offer.

 

Cover ImageAdvice for Future Corpses and Those Who Love Them: A Practical Perspective on Death and Dying by Sallie Tisdale
Written by a nurse, this book examines the idea of death, both in witnessing it and experiencing it. As stated by the title, we are all future corpses, and Sallie Tisdale hopes to make that transition as easy for us as possible. With an even mix of humorous and emotional anecdotes, Tisdale investigates what death truly means for us, and how we should approach it.

 

Related imageBonus: A Museum for the Morbidly Curious at Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum
If you feel in the mood for a bit of a road trip, the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia is world-renowned for its collection of medical oddities. From surgically removed tumors to a wall of real human skulls, this museum, owned by the College of Physicians in Philadelphia, has just about every medical oddity on display.

 

Related imageThe Origin of Morbid Curiosity
Many scholars trace the idea of morbid curiosity back to the Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, who wrote in Poetics in 322 B.C.E. that the immensely tragic Greek plays allowed people to “enjoy contemplating the most precise images of things whose sight is painful to us.”

Tips and Tricks for Ancestry.com Library Edition

 

Image result for ancestry library

Looking to research your family tree, but not sure where to start? Want to find out who owned your house in the 1800’s? Ancestry.com is an expansive resource for genealogy and historical information, with over 20 billion records in its database, and about 2 million added each day.

Ancestry.com offers a special edition for library users, which can be instrumental in your genealogical research. Here are some quick tricks and tips to help get you started!

Library Only Access
Unlike many of the other databases offered by the Sewickley Public Library, Ancestry.com Library Edition must be used inside the library. However, this does not mean that the information you find can only be accessed in the library. When you find a document using Ancestry Library, the information and document can be saved with the “Send Document” feature. By inputting your email address, Ancestry Library will send an email to your account describing how to access the document from home.

Accessing From Home
To access documents sent to your email from the library, simply use the link emailed to you by Ancestry Library. You will be taken to the “My Discoveries” page, where all of the documents you have sent to your email will be located. These documents can either be viewed in browser or downloaded to your computer.

Create Your Own Family Tree
Ancestry Library’s Family Tree creation service is unavailable through the Library Edition, but that does not mean you cannot compose a family tree. There are several online sites that allow for the creation of free family trees, and can be used to manually track the names and information you find on Ancestry Library. Some great sites for this include Family Search, Family Echo, and FamilyTree.com. For a completely manual tree, chart creators like Draw.io allow users to create flowcharts that can easily be used as family trees.

Combine Resources
While Ancestry Library is an invaluable tool, it is best utilized when combined with other resources. The United States Government has a portion of their website dedicated entirely to genealogy tools and archives, which can be found here. Other genealogy sites, local records, and newspaper databases like Newspapers.com and Newspaper Source Plus can also help paint a more distinct picture of your ancestors’ lives.

Be Aware of Misspellings
Many genealogical resources like the U.S. Census are digitized incorrectly, or may even have incorrect information. A person with the last name Fitzgerald may be listed as such in the 1920 Census, but listed as “Fitzjerald” in the 1930 Census. Regardless of whether the mistake is in the handwriting, the digitization, or the original information, small details like these can throw off an entire search.

Change Up the Names
Sometimes with the Ancestry Library database, the information provided can alter which results are generated. For a fictional example, the character Harry James Potter could be listed in records as Harry J. Potter, H. J. Potter, H. Potter, or Harry Potter. Try searching with these different types of writing names, because it might just lead you to some extra information.

Another thing to remember is that many married women legally change their middle name to their maiden name once they are married, meaning that an additional search including a maiden name and married name may be necessary. To keep with the Harry Potter example, Hermione Jean Granger would hypothetically be listed in the Ancestry Library database as both Hermione J. Granger and Hermione G. Weasley, provided she changed her name this way.

Ancestry.com and Living Relatives
Though it provides a great deal of historical information, Ancestry.com protects the information of people who are still living. If you trace a distant branch of your family tree to current day, names that do not appear may be those of currently living relatives. There is also a chance a living relative with an Ancestry.com subscription has added the ancestor you are researching to their Ancestry.com Family Tree. For this reason, make sure to check the “Family Trees” category of the search results.

Understand the United States Census
Ancestry.com provides information that is made publicly available, but it is important to know the details of where this information comes from. The National Archives has a 72-year rule for census data, meaning that 72 years need to have passed in order for a census’s data to be released to the public. In 2012, the 1940 Census was made available, and in 2022 the data from the 1950 Census will be released.

It is important to note that almost all census data from the 1890 Census is unavailable, as most of the files were lost to a fire in the Commerce Department Building in 1921.

Census data can reveal a lot about your ancestors. Note information such as who is listed as Head of Household, how many people lived in the household, and how old each family member was at the time. The census can reveal that four generations of your family were at one point living under the same roof!

Information from Draft Cards
One of the most helpful databases on Ancestry.com is that of the draft cards and military information for the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. Most draft cards will contain information already revealed by the census and other resources, but will offer a much more personal view of your ancestor, including their signature. Draft cards can also reveal who they considered next of kin, what occupation they had at the time of the war, and a basic physical description for relatives of which you cannot find a picture.

Double Check Information
Sometimes in your research, you may find that there is a person who has the same name as your relative who lived at the same time they did. A good way to make sure the information you are finding pertains to the person you are researching is to corroborate it with other information you have found. If you know your great-grandfather Joe Smith was a steel worker in Pittsburgh in 1910, you can probably infer that the Joe Smith who got baptized in Ireland that same year is not the same person.

Be Mindful of Too Much Information in Searches
The search function on Ancestry Library is very advanced, but the amount of information that can be provided for a single search can be overwhelming. While searching with all relevant data is recommended, it may also be wise to run a search with only partial information, even with just a person’s name and their birth year. Though there will be a lot less specific information, it is possible you may find something your ultra-specific search did not see.

Periodically Repeat Searches
Though the same search two weeks apart might not yield different results, with the incredible amount of data added to Ancestry’s database each year, it may be wise to repeat the same searches every few months. In addition to the public information that gets added, a person with an Ancestry.com subscription that is descended from the same ancestor may have uploaded a resource their family owns, such as a photograph.

The Great American Read @ SPL

Have you heard about The Great American Read?  This eight-part series from PBS explores the power of reading through the viewpoints of America’s Top 100 books.  They examine writer’s perspectives, reader’s receptions, and what these books say about diversity our nation.  At the end of the series, the results from a nationwide survey will be announced of what book wins the title of America’s best-loved book. The aim of the campaign is to get the country reading and talking about books – something we do here every day at the Sewickley Public Library!

We thought it would be fun to have our community vote for their favorite book from the Top 100 list of titles from The Great American Read.  Find the voting station set up in the library’s lobby where you can vote for your favorite book! Will it be Little Women? The DaVinci Code? Gone Girl? War and Peace? Come help us decide by casting your ballot anytime throughout the summer.  Voting will be open through Saturday, August 4th.  We will announce the winner on Monday, August 6th!

You can find more information about The Great American Read on the PBS website.  Or jump straight to the list of all 100 titles.

Happy voting!

 

Westworld Readalikes

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As season two of Westworld draws to a close, viewers will be happy to hear that the show has been renewed for a third season. Until that third season comes out, here are a few great reads to fill the theme park-sized hole in your life!

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Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Fans of Jurassic Park won’t be surprised to learn that Michael Crichton also wrote and directed the original 1973 Westworld. Though many have seen the movies, Jurassic Park is a great novel that also covers the concept of a futuristic theme park gone wrong. Just like the hosts in Westworld, it doesn’t take long for the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park to misbehave. Even if you love the films, give the book a try!

 

Image result for utopia lincoln childUtopia by Lincoln Child
From acclaimed author Lincoln Child, Utopia tells the story of a futuristic theme park that utilizes robots in its attractions, several of which feature reproductions of past eras. The robots’ programmer is called in to fix the malfunctioning robots, only to discover that the park is being held hostage by a mysterious guest. This novel is a great read for Westworld fans, and the familiar plot elements allow for just as exciting of a story.

Image result for love in the age of mechanical reproduction coverLove in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Judd Trichter
Judd Trichter’s book takes readers to futuristic Los Angeles, where the main character Eliot falls in love with an android woman who gets sold for parts to the black market. Unable to let go of his love, Eliot travels all over the city to find her parts and put her back together. The novel covers many of the same issues as Westworld, such as the concept of love between human and machine, and the morality of artificial life.

Image result for do androids dream of electric sheep coverDo Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
The novel that inspired the film Blade Runner, Philip K. Dick’s classic novel tells the story of Rick Deckard (played by Harrison Ford in the movie), a bounty hunter tasked with hunting down and eliminating a group of rogue androids that have escaped from Mars. Just like Westworld, the novel brings into question what it means to be human as Deckard begins to wonder what makes the androids so different from human beings.

Image result for lonesome dove bookLonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
For fans of Westworld’s cowboys and Wild West narratives, Lonesome Dove tells the tale of a group of retired Texas Rangers as they drive a herd of cattle across the country, coming to terms with their old age and the loss of love in their lives. Though it lacks the futuristic elements of Westworld, the story lines of the show’s fictional park mirror this tale in tone and themes. The deep emotional core of the friendship between the main characters makes this novel much more than your typical Western story.

Image result for civilwarland in bad declineCivilWarLand in Bad Decline by George Saunders
This collection of six short stories and a novella follow various different people in a dystopian world. Each story takes place in the fictional futuristic theme park of CivilWarLand, which recreates the American Civil War, and the many things that go wrong there. The historic theme park connection to Westworld is clear, but the book’s focus on multiple plots through its short stories and novella may appeal to fans who enjoy the many different story lines the television series follows.

 

<p>Asimov&#8217;s groundbreaking series originated as a series of stories published in the 1940s and &#8217;50s. This book interlinks them, exporing the development of the robot and offering an unnervingly cogent vision of the near future. Buy it <a href="https://www.amazon.com/I-Robot-Isaac-Asimov/dp/055338256X/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1524261156&amp;sr=1-2&amp;keywords=i+robot">here</a>.</p> I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
Science fiction legend Isaac Asimov’s famous collection of short stories paints a future in which robots and artificial intelligence are a part of everyday life, and their positronic brains (a term Asimov developed for the artificial conscience in robots) create a host of complicated issues for humanity. Fans of the 2004 Will Smith movie will be surprised to learn that there is little in common in the book with the film. Asimov’s famous Three Laws of Robotics, outlined in this book, still effect science fiction to this day, and can be identified all over Westworld.

 

Image result for brave new world coverBrave New World by Aldous Huxley
Originally published in 1931, Brave New World set the groundwork for stories on artificial intelligence, futuristic technology, and robotics. There likely isn’t a single book on this list that has not been affected by Brave New World, and its influences can be found all over the Westworld television series. The book imagines a Utopian society achieved through technology and genetics, where the perfection of life is not all that it seems. This novel is a must read, especially for fans of Dystopias like Westworld and Blade Runner.

 

 

Upcoming Movie Adaptations of Books

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Starring Constance Wu (Fresh Off the Boat), this adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s national bestseller comes out on August 15, 2018. The movie follows Rachel Chu, an American woman who finds out her boyfriend secretly comes from an extremely wealthy and powerful family in Singapore. You can watch the trailer here!

 

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
This supernatural horror novel is coming to the big screen on August 31, 2018. From the director of 2015’s Academy Award-winning film Room and starring Domhnall Gleeson (Star Wars) and Ruth Wilson (Jane Eyre), the film will tell the tale of a British doctor’s terrifying experience at a family’s countryside estate. You can watch the trailer here!

 

Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart by John Guy
Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird), Margot Robbie (I, Tonya), and David Tennant (Doctor Who) are just a few of the talented actors in this film’s star studded cast. Saoirse Ronan stars as Mary Stuart opposite Margot Robbie as Queen Elizabeth I. Written by the creator of Netflix’s House of Cards, the film is scheduled to be released on December 7, 2018. You can watch the trailer here!

 

Boy Erased by Garrard Conley
Coming to theaters September 28, 2018, this film tells the harrowing true story of Garrard Conley, who was outed as gay at age 19 and sent to a gay conversion therapy program by his parents. The movie stars Joel Edgerton (Red Sparrow), Nicole Kidman (Big Little Lies), and Russell Crowe (Gladiator). You can watch the trailer here!

 

First man: the life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen
Ryan Gosling (La La Land) stars as Neil Armstrong in this biographical film about the first astronaut to walk on the moon. Directed by Damien Chazelle of La La Land and Whiplash, the movie is set to be released on October 12, 2018. You can watch the trailer here!

 

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Cate Blanchett (Carol) stars as the titular Bernadette, who disappears and is pursued by her teenage daughter. The movie also features actors Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live, and Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix), and directed by Richard Linklater, director of the 2014 Best Picture Academy Award-winning movie Boyhood. The release date is set for October 19, 2018.

 

The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz
In this sequel to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Claire Foy (The Crown) takes over the role of Lisbeth Salander, a computer hacker who teams up with a journalist to investigate corrupt government. The movie comes out on November 9, 2018. You can watch the trailer here!

 

The Black Hand by Stephan Talty
This movie follows a New York City detective as he goes up against the Italian mafia. The film is produced by Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), who also stars in the movie. No release date has been announced yet, but the movie is expected to hit theaters in 2019.

 

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
Produced by Peter Jackson, director of the award-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy, Mortal Engines tells the tale of a post-apocalyptic future in which humans are forced to live in moving cities, and suffer under a corrupt government. The movie is set to be released on December 14, 2018. You can watch the trailer here!

 

Ophelia by Lisa Klein
In this reimagining of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Daisy Ridley (Star Wars) stars as Hamlet’s forbidden love, and stars Naomi Watts (The Glass Castle) and Tom Felton (Harry Potter). The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2018, but is set to be released in theaters later this year.

 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
From the producer of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, this movie tells the story of a British author, played by Lily James (Cinderella), who travels to the island of Guernsey at the end of World War II, where she meets a book club that began as an alibi during the island’s German occupation. Netflix has purchased the streaming rights to the film, which will be released through their service on August 10. You can watch the trailer here!

 

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Sylvia Plath’s famous novel is once again coming to the big screen, this time directed by Kirsten Dunst (Marie Antoinette). The movie tells the tale of Esther, played by Dakota Fanning (The Alienist), and her struggle with her mental health. No official release date has been announced, but the film is expected to hit theaters in 2018.

 

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
From the mind behind Mozart in the Jungle, Bel Canto tells the story of an opera star, played by Julianne Moore (Still Alice), and several other members of an embassy party as they are taken hostage by terrorists. The film also stars Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai), and is set for a September 2018 release.

 

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel has been developed into a star-studded adaptation, with names such as Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver), Nicole Kidman (Big Little Lies), and Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story). The movie tells the tale of a young man living in Las Vegas with his deadbeat father, where he gets involved in the dangerous world of art forgery. The film is set to be released on October 11, 2019.

 

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Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan

Coming to Netflix on June 22 is the movie adaptation of Susannah Cahalan’s bestselling memoir, which tells the story of Cahalan’s struggle with a rare autoimmune disorder, which had been discovered only three years before she was diagnosed. The movie stars Chloë Grace Moretz (Carrie), Tyler Perry (Acrimony), and Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix)

 

 

Honorable Mention: “Mary Shelley”

Currently in theaters, this movie tells the tale of literary legend Mary Shelley, who wrote Frankenstein when she was just eighteen. Elle Fanning (The Neon Demon) stars in the titular role as the movie follows Shelley through her stay in Geneva, in which she wrote Frankenstein as a part of a competition to write the best horror story between herself, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Lord Byron. Though it is not based on a book, the film tells the story of how one of fiction’s most famous monsters came to be. You can watch the trailer here!

New Music for Spring!

​Both Sides of the Sky by Jimi Hendrix
Little Dark Age by MGMT
Twin Fantasy by Car Seat Headrest
There’s a Riot Going On by Yo La Tengo
Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt by Moby
Firepower  by Judas Priest
Dark Horse by Devin Dawson
Home State by Jordan Davis
American Utopia by David Byrne
I’ll Be Your Girl by The Decemberists
Sex & Cigarettes by Toni Braxton
Boarding House Reach by Jack White
Seasons Change by Scotty McCreery