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...

The 10 Best Books I Read as Required Reading

Ever since I was a teen, I’ve been fiercely against mandatory reading. I was opposed about summer reading for high school since I knew the choices were often political rather than based on literary merit. The summer before senior year, I just refused to read the assigned books entirely. I believe in the beautiful freedom to read whatever I want rather than whatever someone else wants. Over the years, though, I’ve been introduced to some amazing books that I wouldn’t have read if they weren’t compulsory to read. And thus, for my first Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly book blog meme started by the Broke and the Bookish blog (no relation to Broke by Books!), here is my answer to the September 12, 2017 prompt: Throwback Freebie: Ten Books I Loved During The First Year I Started My Blog, Favorite Books Published 5 or 10 or 15 Years Ago, Ten Older Books I Forgot How Much I Loved, etc. etc. Tweak however you want! I’m also adding a back to school bookish element to it. This list is unranked and in no particular order. Enjoy! PS: Some of the covers I selected do not match up with the links to...

My Best Books of 2016

Last year I decided to make 2016 new releases my guiding light in what I would order, read, and write about this year. To a large extent, I followed this quest. Many of the books I have read (more than half) were published this year. I thought this would make me more current, that I’d be like a “real” critic who had books to review every week and could say with complete authority that the best books of the year were indeed the best books of the year. I’m not so sure that was the best choice for me as I feel like I missed out on some of the backlist. Regardless, it has helped me get a better picture of books that were published this year. So, here I am, staring down late-December and the New Year, and confident with my choices. These are the Broke By Books Best Book of 2016. Here are my 10 best books published in 2016: The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (Literary fiction) book is not perfect. It’s a little messy, and some elements seem like kind of a reach. But it is the book that gave me immense hope for the author’s...

The Best Long Books to Savor in Fall and Winter

It just took me a whole month to finish a book—Jonathan Franzen’s Great American Novel, Freedom—and man, what a great way to slide into fall. That and tea: lots and lots of tea. Fall is my favorite season of year, closely followed by Christmas (and yes, I count that as a season, not a holiday!). I have a side to me known as “The Elf,” and the Elf enjoys a spirit of generosity, cheer, and spontaneous good deeds. The Elf goes into high gear around October 1 through December 31. Many crafts are undertaken, many ambitious baked goods and complicated soups are crafted in my kitchen, and I start another scarf I won’t finish. And of course, the fall and winter are perfect excuses to stay inside—all readers know this. I enjoyed how Freedom transported me from humid mid-September to the breezy, crisp mid-October, the chill of the AC morphed into the chilly air from my window. And so, I have been feeling a return to long novels. A few years ago, I read The Goldfinch, Outlander, and Flowers from the Storm all in a span of a few months. I was hooked on the bigger-is-better theory and read—or, let’s be honest, only acquired—many huge tomes, but...

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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