The Best Books of 2017 are about Connection

I can’t sleep. I’ve been reading again, restless and thinking about books again, why they matter, why now, how. We’ve already passed into the new year, yet my best books of 2017 haven’t left my mind. But it’s January, and I need to release this and move on to 2018. This time, though, I don’t want to go through the list point by point like last year, as I’ve been somewhat preoccupied about larger trends in the books that mattered most to me here and now, a flashpoint in history, just 365-odd days on this planet. How books came back to me, how I found them in my blood, my past, my future. These are the books that stayed with me, not necessarily the “best” objectively, but more than that, ones housed on the shelves of my ribcage, floating into my mind while waiting vacantly in the checkout, stopped in traffic. These books are why I read. That’s no small praise. After the high of achieving my goal to read 52 books in 2014, as well as other bookish beginnings like starting my library science graduate program, the years 2015 – 2016 were a bit of a reading low for...

Frozen Fiction: Best Books to Read While Snowed In

Right now, I am snowed in. Philadelphia, and much of the United States, is under a “bomb cyclone,” some kind of wild term for a snowstorm. I admit, it’s pretty fun. My father was a high school English teacher, so whenever he would have off, my brother and I would have off, too. If we were dismissed from school early, we’d somehow manage to find each other (this was before cell phones could help us easily connect) and go to a local dive bar, The Boat House, where the other teachers would congregate. Then we’d head home through the snowy streets of suburban Philadelphia. I would probably already be deep into whatever book I was reading. I liked to read with the lights off knowing that the snow would give a boost of white light. Like any reader, I love snow because it is perfect reading weather. I’ve got snuggly reading socks, a comfy reading sweatshirt, warm leggings, and a house where my office looks out into the snow-covered forest behind our house. Now that I work from home (perk of being a freelancer!), I’m snowed in by default, but it’s fun when everyone is the house is home for...

10 Books to Read If You Love “Mindhunter”

Even though we are supposedly living in the era of “Peak TV,” it is amazing that few shows really rise above the background noise and stand out. Netflix’s drama Mindhunter was one of these shows. I had looked forward to Mindhunter‘s premiere as far back as last year. I’m a huge David Fincher fan. Some of his films, like Zodiac and The Social Network are among my favorite movies ever. And I’ve also enjoyed House of Cards, which Fincher helped launch. From that first chilling first trailer, Mindhunter announced itself as a tense psychological thriller about the rise of criminal profiling in the FBI in the years after J. Edgar Hoover. The first season surpassed my expectations. Mindhunter also felt literary, and indeed many of the crimes were based off historical cases, in some cases the dialogue the original team collected from interviews was used in Fincher’s drama, too. Ten episodes was definitely not enough, and I was left yearning to learn more about this era and the themes the show explores. Thus the birth of this list of 10 books to read if you love Mindhunter. The titles featured here are divided into five nonfiction and five fiction books I recommend for fans of Mindhunter. Each of these...

20 Books to Understand “What Happened” to America

“What happened?” is not just the title of a recent memoir by Hillary Clinton. It’s also a question I think many of us grapple with on a daily basis. How did “this” happen? “This” being a euphemism for many things: the election of Trump, sure, but also attacks on healthcare, efforts to dismantle or cut social services, a disturbing rise in political rage and intolerance, and so on. “This” is 2017, or whatever year you are reading this blog post in. “This” is modern America, and “This” looks different to all voters. But to own and change “This,” we have to be well informed. We can’t shy away from the darker corners in our country. We have to step into the shadows with the people trapped there and bring a candle so we can see each other. We will beat the dark down with light. Reading brings you to directly to confrontation, and change. Information is a weapon. And I have designed this list of books about social justice, current events, and political issues to arm you with knowledge and compassion to disarm hatred and inequality. There are many excellent writers conducting some truly groundbreaking research and combining that with a...

10 Pieces of Advice for New Library Science Graduate Students

The sun is setting earlier each night, the weather is getting chillier, and Starbucks is serving Pumpkin Spice Lattes. It’s autumn, and for the first time in three years, I’m not in school. Having graduated with my master’s of library and information science this past spring, I am suddenly a librarian. Right about now, a new class of library science graduate students have started “iSchool” or “Information School” and are beginning to ask eager, sometimes desperate questions about how to manage work, school, and life. There were a lot of things I wish I knew about grad school before I started, and over the years I’ve found myself trading iSchool “hacks” with other students, the tips and tricks and shortcuts for getting through library school alive. So now that I’ve graduated, I think I’m finally in a position to give some advice for new library science graduate students on how to survive library school, how to make the best of it, and how to prepare for what comes after you complete your degree. After all, my degree must qualify me for something… right? Keep in mind that some of my advice might seem a little… rogue, like a more mellow...

Greetings Fellow Reader!

Welcome to Broke By Books, a blog by Sarah S. Davis, where the guiding mission is to spread a contagious love for reading through helpful, thought provoking, and enjoyable writing about books. Please join me in growing an inspired, engaged, and fearless reading life.

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