“The Half of It” Read-alikes

Many of us are enjoying the Netflix movie The Half of It, a coming-of-age romantic comedy that focuses on shy and friendless high school student Ellie Chu, who is the only Asian student in her town. Ellie makes extra money writing papers for her fellow classmates and is approached by football star Paul Munsky to write a love letter to the popular Aster Flores. Ellie initially refuses because she is also secretly in love with Aster, but reluctantly accepts after she learns her home’s electricity will be cut off if payment isn’t made by the end of the day. Whether you love coming-of-age rom-coms, Asian American teen stories, or LGBTQ teen stories, here are some read-alikes you might enjoy: High School Fiction It’s Not Like It’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura Sixteen-year-old Sana Kiyohara has too many secrets. Some are small, like how it bothers her when her friends don’t invite her to parties. Some are big, like the fact that her father may be having an affair. And then there’s the one that she can barely even admit to herself—the one about how she might have a crush on her best friend. When Sana and her family move to California, she begins to wonder if it’s finally time for some honesty, especially after she meets Jamie Ramirez. Jamie is beautiful and smart and unlike anyone Sana’s ever known. Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki Montgomery Sole is a square peg in a small town, forced to go to a school full of jocks and girls who don’t even know what irony is. It would all be impossible if it weren’t for her best friends, Thomas and Naoki. The three are also the only members of Jefferson High’s Mystery Club, dedicated to exploring the weird and unexplained, from ESP and astrology to super powers and mysterious objects. Then there’s the Eye of Know, the possibly powerful crystal amulet Monty bought online. Will it help her predict the future or fight back against the ignorant jerks who make fun of Thomas for being gay or Monty for having two moms? Maybe the Eye is here just in time, because the newest resident of their small town is scarier than mothmen, poltergeists, or, you know, gym. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han This book was also turned into a popular Netflix movie and is the first in a trilogy. Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control. Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier Dimple Lala of Springfield, NJ has spent her whole life resisting her parents’ traditions. But now she’s turning seventeen and things are more complicated than ever. She’s still recovering from a year-old break-up, and her best friend isn’t around the way she used to be. Then, to make matters worse, her parents arrange for her to meet a “suitable boy.” Of course, it doesn’t go well, until Dimple goes to a club and finds him spinning a magical web of words and music. Suddenly the suitable boy is suitable because of his sheer unsuitability. If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love—Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed. So they carry on in secret until Nasrin’s parents suddenly announce that they’ve arranged for her marriage. Then Sahar discovers what seems like the perfect solution: homosexuality may be a crime, but to be a man trapped in a woman’s body is seen as nature’s mistake, and sex reassignment is legal and accessible. Sahar will never be able to love Nasrin in the body she wants to be loved in without risking their lives, but is saving their love worth sacrificing her true self? Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard All Pen wants is to be the kind of girl she’s always been. So why does everyone have a problem with it? They think the way she looks and acts means she’s trying to be a boy—that she should quit trying to be something she’s not. If she dresses like a girl, and does what her folks want, it will show respect. If she takes orders and does what her friend Colby wants, it will show her loyalty. But respect and loyalty, Pen discovers, are empty words. Old-world parents, disintegrating friendships, and strong feelings for other girls drive Pen to see the truth—that in order to be who she truly wants to be, she’ll have to man up. Ashes to Asheville by Sarah Dooley After Mama Lacy’s death, Fella was forced to move in with her grandmother, Mrs. Madison. The move brought Fella all sorts of comforts she wasn’t used to at home, but it also meant saying goodbye to her sister Zoey (a.k.a. Zany) and her other mother, Mama Shannon. Though Mama Shannon fought hard to keep Fella, it was no use. The marriage act is still a few years away and the courts thought Fella would be better off with a blood relation. Already heartbroken, Fella soon finds herself alone in Mrs. Madison’s house, grieving both the death of her mother and the loss of her entire family.  Highly Illogical Behavior By John Corey Whaley Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn’t left the house in three years, which is fine by him. Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she’s being realistic). But how can she

Great Tribute Albums on Hoopla

One of the greatest joys of being a music lover is hearing artists you love covering songs by artists they love on tribute albums. Here’s a sampling of noteworthy tribute albums you can currently listen to for free on Hoopla thanks to your Livingston Library card. Rock n’ Roll Pioneers Rave On Buddy Holly Amazingly, Buddy Holly only recorded music for three years of his shortened life, but his prodigious talent and prolific output resulted in a massive musical legacy.  The roster of artists on this tribute album– from rock & roll hall of famers like Paul McCartney and Lou Reed, to 21st Century stars like Julian Casablancas and Florence + the Machine– is a testament to that. Goin’ Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino Fats Domino and his music have been beloved far and wide across generations, genres, and geography. This tribute includes contributions from John Lennon, Tom Petty, Neil Young, Norah Jones, Lucinda Williams, Bonnie Raitt, Los Lobos, plus fellow New Orleans natives Trombone Shorty, Dr. John, and Allen Toussaint…and that’s not even the half of it! Beatlemania This Bird Has Flown – A 40th Anniversary Tribute to The Beatles’ Rubber Soul Rubber Soul is the album where The Beatles took a giant leap forward in their songwriting sophistication. This 2005 album runs the gamut from beautifully faithful covers (Rhett Miller’s lovely rendition of “Girl”) to playfully avant-garde (The Fiery Furnaces’ experimental reimagining of “Norwegian Wood”). Concert for George Recorded at Royal Albert Hall a year after George Harrison’s death, this touching memorial concert features performances from friends and collaborators like Eric Clapton, Jeff Lynne, Anoushka Shankar, Tom Petty, Billy Preston, members of Monty Python, and of course, Paul & Ringo. Imagine: John Lennon 75th Birthday Concert Celebrating what would’ve been Lennon’s 75th birthday, this concert’s all-star lineup includes John Fogerty, Sheryl Crow, Spoon, The Roots, Willie Nelson, and an explosive guitar solo from Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello during “Power to the People.” Classic Rock / Pop Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix Hendrix’s talent and psychedelic blues style were so awesome that this album contains tributes not only from a variety of artists that he influenced (The Cure’s spacey take on “Purple Haze,” PM Dawn’s hip-hop spin on “You Got Me Floatin””), but also from his guitar-hero contemporaries (Eric Clapton’s version of “Stone Free”) and predecessors (Buddy Guy’s cover of “Red House”). Revamp: The Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin Restoration: The Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin Elton John and his co-songwriter Bernie Taupin have influenced so many musicians, they couldn’t all fit on one album. Revamp features artists from the pop, rock, and R&B side of the spectrum (Lady Gaga, Queens of the Stone Age, Mary J. Blige), while Restoration showcases John & Taupin’s more country-styled fans (Kacey Musgraves, Chris Stapleton, Miranda Lambert). Osaka Ramones: Tribute to the Ramones – Shonen Knife Japanese garage rockers Shonen Knife play The Ramones’ pop-punk classics with sunnier style and a slightly softer edge, and they’re just as irresistibly fun as the originals. If I Were a Carpenter Shonen Knife also appears on this tribute to 70’s soft-rock superstars The Carpenters, along with other 90’s alternative rock icons like Sonic Youth, The Cranberries, and Matthew Sweet. Singers & Standards Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Songbgook Dear Ella – Dee Dee Bridgewater Ella Fitzgerald’s 1957 tribute to Duke Ellington marked the beginning of many memorable collaborations between the two legendary artists. Forty years later (and just a year after her death), Fitzgerald received her own jazzy tribute from Grammy and Tony award-winner Dee Dee Bridgewater. Dinah Sings Bessie Smith Dinah Washington was known as the “Queen of the Blues,” so it’s fitting that she paid her respects to Bessie Smith (“Empress of the Blues”) with this soulful album. Tribute to Billie Holiday – Rosemary Clooney As part of her late-70’s comeback, vocal jazz icon Clooney recorded this gorgeous tribute (also known as Here’s to My Lady) in honor of the incomparable Billie Holiday. Normal as Blueberry Pie: A Tribute to Doris Day – Nellie McKay Nellie McKay infuses 21st-Century sensibility and wry humor into good old-fashioned song styles, and she seems to have a ball channeling national treasure Doris Day on this album. Folk / Singer-Songwriters Is It Rolling Bob? A Reggae Tribute to Bob Dylan Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan (Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International) A Tribute to Bob Dylan in the 80s: Volume 1 How many ways can a musical artist honor the great Bob Dylan? The possibilities are endless, judging by these three albums. There’s reggae-styled covers on Is It Rolling Bob? , like Frederick “Toots” Hibbert doing “Maggie’s Farm” and Gregory Isaacs singing “Mr. Tambourine Man.” Chimes of Freedom has everything from mariachi (Mariachi El Bronx playing “Love Sick”) to Celtic punk (Flogging Molly rocking “The Times They Are-A Changin’”), and an array of more mainstream heroes in between (Johnny Cash, Patti Smith, Elvis Costello). Even one of Dylan’s lesser-appreciated periods gets some love on A Tribute to Dylan in the 80s, an eclectic collection starring the likes of indie rockers Built to Spill, comedian Reggie Watts– even a collaboration between Slash of Guns N’ Roses and Aaron Freeman of Ween. Tower of Song: The Songs of Leonard Cohen Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man (Motion Picture Soundtrack) For a compilation of studio-recorded tributes to Leonard Cohen by artists like Billy Joel, Tori Amos, and Willie Nelson, check out Tower of Song. For a soundtrack of live concert tributes from musicians such as Nick Cave, Jarvis Cocker, and Martha Wainwright, there’s Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man. A Tribute to Joni Mitchell As you can hear on this album, Joni Mitchell’s songwriting touched not just fellow acoustic guitar-strummers like James Taylor (“River”) and Emmylou Harris (“Magdalene Laundries”), but artists as diverse as Prince (“A Case of You”) and Bjork (“The Boho Dance”). Tapestry Revisited: A Tribute to Carole King Few classic albums can boast as many hits as Carole King’s Tapestry, and this tribute offers worthwhile covers featuring Rod Stewart, Aretha Franklin, Faith Hill, The

U.S. Presidents and Their Impact on Sports

Presidential Impact on Sports From Theodore Roosevelt to Barack Obama American Presidents impact all areas of life including the world of sports. Theodore Roosevelt is credited with saving football. William Howard Taft had a bad morning at the office in 1910 as women demanded the right to vote and he fled to watch a baseball game which would become the first ever Presidential opener.  FDR, JFK and LBJ all had sports impacts. Richard Nixon opened up China because of sports.  Jimmy Carter used sports as leverage in dealing with the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. There are other times when Presidential decisions were made with a sports calculus in mind. You can learn all about how the Oval Office and its occupants have impacted sports in our country, in this engaging presentation by Evan Weiner, an award winning journalist and recognized global expert of the “Politics of Sports Business”. He has a daily video podcast of the same name.  In the United States, he has been a radio commentator, TV pundit on MSNBC, NewsMax and ABC.  He is also an author of nine books and is a frequent college speaker.  He has been a regular on BBC radio as well as TalkSport London and has been quoted in Bolivian and Australian newspapers. Evan won the 2010 Ronald Reagan Media Award from the United States Sports Academy. In 2015, Evan was featured on the documentary, “The Sons of Ben” about the economic fall of Chester, Pennsylvania and how the city thought a soccer team would be a key to economic revival. You can view the presentation on the Livingston Public Library’s YouTube channel: [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Szj4tjsHDb8&w=560&h=315]   -Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian