This week on our podcast Lines from Loganberry, Aseelah Shareef of Cleveland’s Karamu House Theater interviews author Caseen Gaines (@caseengaines) on his new book Footnotes: The Black Artists Who Rewrote the Rules of the Great White Way. They discuss the story and legacy of the groundbreaking 1921 musical Shuffle Along, the first African-American Broadway hit, and exactly how the creators behind it became forgotten in the mainstream pop-consciousness.
This week on our podcast Lines from Loganberry, we are hosting interviews with cancer survivors Penny Casselman, author of How To Get A Free Boob Job, and Jacqueline Acho, author of Currency of Empathy: The Secret to Thriving in Business & Life. Local Voices manager Miesha Headen asks how their experiences with cancer changed their lives, and what being a survivor means to them.
If you’ve been wondering why your ability to focus has been declining over the years, this is the book for you! Hari goes into the many facets of focus, including the fact that there are multiple valuable ways to focus, and the many factors that have led to progressively worse attention spans ever since the beginning of the Industrial Age. He is very balanced in his research, and notes where there are conflicts between different studies, so the reader is left to draw their own conclusions. I personally learned that there are many societal factors affecting attention beyond the attention economy of social networking, and that there are ways to combat these factors, if only enough people band together to demand changes (if we can focus long enough to do that). Paying attention to this book is attention well spent! (Out January 25, 2022)
Author Alley is Loganberry Books free annual event where readers can walk around tables to meet the region’s best writers, buy their books, and get personalized signatures. Writers will read portions of their books throughout the day. It’s a day of literary entertainment!
Saturday, August 21, 2021 from noon to 4:00 p.m. at Loganberry Books at 13015 Larchmere Boulevard in Shaker Heights, OH.
Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. That’s what the featured writers for Author Alley nonfiction day will tell you. Come to Loganberry Books to meet and talk with Brandy Schillace, author of Mr. Humble & Dr. Butch, Derf Backderf, author of Kent State and My Friend Dahmer, Betty Weibel, author of The Ohio Literary Trail, and Laura DeMarco, author of Lost Cleveland.
LGBTQ+ author, publisher, and Cleveland favorite, Lou Barrett, will be present to sign her regional bestseller, the Breakup Book: Essays on Queer Breakups.
Artists and Graphic Arts. Visit Scott Kraynak, author of The HeART of Cleveland, Scott MacGregor and Gary Dumm, makers of Fire On the Water, and Ted Sikora, illustrator of Tap Dance Killer.
Memoir. Learn essential parts of Cleveland’s troubles with social justice in Trying Times by Terry Gilbert and Carlo Wolff. Get inspired to achieve your dreams in Janet Wolanin Alexander’s At Home on a Horse in the Woods. Read moving stories of overcoming trauma in Cris Harris’s I Have Not Loved You with my Whole Heart and Reverend Rachel Hollander’s From Here to There.
Author Alley is Loganberry’s free annual event where readers can walk around tables to meet the region’s best writers, buy their books, and get personalized signatures. Writers will read portions of their books throughout the day. It’s a day of literary entertainment!
Saturday, August 14, 2021 from noon to 4:00 p.m. at Loganberry Books at 13015 Larchmere Boulevard in Shaker Heights, OH.
Saturday, August 14th is fiction day, the largest program of the summer with an outstanding line-up of over 20 notable adult, teen, and children’s book writers. In fiction, this year’s featured authors are New York Times bestselling author Paula McLain, Wall Street Journal bestselling author Abby Collette, and Alex DiFrancesco whose most recent book, Transmutation, garnered a glowing review in The New York Times Book Review. The list is jam packed with regional celebrity authors — all in one place!
GENRE FICTION: Get spooked. Solve a mystery. Fall into a fantasy. This year’s writers cover all cover the genre favorites of horror, mystery, fantasy, and science fiction.
Author Alley and the BIPOC Author Showcase is Loganberry’s free annual event where readers can walk around tables to meet the region’s best writers, buy their books, and get personalized signatures. Writers will read portions of their books throughout the day. It’s a day of literary entertainment!
Saturday, August 7, 2021 from noon to 4:00 p.m. at Loganberry Books at 13015 Larchmere Boulevard in Shaker Heights, OH.
Loganberry’s BIPOC Author Showcase is the only book fair of its kind- promoting diversity and inclusion in the literary arts- in northern Ohio through an independent bookstore. The BIPOC Author Showcase offers the reading community a unique opportunity to meet and discuss with authors who identify as black, indigenous, and people of color. Loganberry is proud to host authors representing the black, LatinX, Asian, biracial, and indigenous communities.
Loganberry Books 15th Annual BIPOC Author Showcase and Author Alley — Ohio’s largest book fair and author readings organized by an independent bookstore — is back in August 2021. In-person, rain or shine, the lawn beside Loganberry Books will be transformed into a lively literati camaraderie, featuring talented authors who hail from Northeast Ohio. Participating authors will be present to sell books, sign copies, and chat with readers.
For COVID-19 safety, Loganberry divided Author Alley into four dates:
Overall, April and May were pretty good reading months: quantity was down but quality was up. I am so excited to share with you what I have been reading!
Kind of a Big Deal
What happens when we peak in high school; When we are on top of the world- well the high school world at least. Naturally, we try to take on the rest of the world. That is exactly what Josie Pie does; while technically still in high school she auditions for Broadway. Unfortunately this is not her big break. Josie takes a job as a nanny which sends her across the country where she can hide out and lick her wounds in private. Her life has stalled until she finds a magical bookshop. When she opens a book, she is instantly transported into the story. With each new story she learns something about herself, her life, and where she has found herself.
The concept of being drawn into a book was immediately intriguing to me- I would love to be transported into my favorite series, there are also series I would want to avoid *The Hunger Games* (I do NOT volunteer as tribute). The idea that stories are meant to reflect our lives and teach us something is true, if portrayed a little on the nose in this story. Still it was fun to travel through different worlds and see different genres play out so theatrically. The twist at the end, while not huge or out of left field, was not easily predictable but still added a depth to the story that increases its impact.
Overall, I enjoyed this story and it has inspired an idea for a future blog post- stay tuned!
I have heard nothing but rave reviews of Courtney Summers’ other book, Sadie, but when I picked it up the content matter was a little too heavy for me. When this book was announced, I kept it on my radar to pick up. This book centers around a cult. Judging by my previous posts you can probably guess I love stories about secret societies: this was a whole other level. We follow two sisters’ perspectives: one that was part of the cult a few years ago, the other that lost her sister to the cult in modern day. When a young man’s mysterious death points to the cult the younger sister begins an investigation that will change everything.
While I did not find this content triggering, I found myself on edge throughout the book. The persistent gaslighting made me very uncomfortable- which I think was the point so mission accomplished! Cults are not something I have much knowledge of or interest in so this was the first book I had read on the topic. If I am being honest this fictionalization teetered on too intense for me so a nonfiction account would likely be too much for me.
I do not give star ratings anymore (more on that at a later time) but if I did, I would not know what to rate this book. As a rule of thumb I love when a book makes me feel something and this book made me feel many things. Those things however were uncomfortable- not uncomfortable in a “my worldview is expanding and I am trying to process my new understanding of the world” sort of way more of a “I have pulled back the curtains and gotten a glimpse of something I’d probably rather not have”. I will definitely be reading more from Courtney Summers.
The Curie Society
It is absolutely no secret that women have been behind a number of advancements in many fields throughout history. It is also no secret that they haven’t always gotten the credit they deserve. Marie Curie- yes that Marie Curie- started The Curie Society to empower women in STEM. In this first installment we follow three new recruits into the society as they train and go on their first mission.
Many people are fairly surprised to learn that I studied Chemistry in college- I have zero aspirations to be a chemist and I am not using the knowledge I learned (except to understand my friends’ nerdy jokes). Why did I spend two years earning a minor in Chemistry? Honestly because I enjoyed it! Sure there were times that I struggled but I lived for the satisfying feeling of when things clicked and my whole world shifted as I incorporated what I had learned into various problems. The most fun however was when I was able to apply the concepts I knew to problems I had not seen before. The skills I learned in my General Chemistry labs and lectures also helped me see the world from a new perspective.
Why did I just spend a whole paragraph in the middle of a book review dedicated to my time studying Chemistry? Because the skills I learned in those courses are some of the same skills The Curie Society teaches- it was much more glamorous and exciting watching them do it when compared with all the time I spent at the library. I loved getting to watch as the characters’ worldview and ways of thinking expanded. I also loved going on adventures with them! I am so excited for the next installment!
I really cannot contain my excitement and love for this book! It was the May read for Not Ya Average Book Club (NYABC), Loganberry’s Teen Book Club. I am so glad I read this for the book club so I could gush about it with other people who enjoyed it as well! If you are interested, I will also do a post about our book club!
This is surprisingly one of the first books I have read based on Arthurian legend. Percy Jackson got me hooked on Greek mythology so I was happy to expand my reading into another legend. We meet Bree the day her mother has been killed in a horrible car accident. Bree then goes to UNC Chapel Hill for a pre-college summer program where she discovers the Legendborn. The Legendborn are the descendents of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table tasked with protecting the world. Over the course of the summer, Bree learns about this secret society and how her familial history is entangled with magic.
One of the strongest elements of this book was the diverse cast of characters. These characters were full of depth and nuanced. They were people that I would love to hang out with- well some of them at least. I appreciated that there was not tokenization in the diversity- each character felt like a whole and necessary person without whom the story would not have felt complete.
At first the length of this book intimidated me but I am so glad I picked it up. The story was rich and nuanced and was able to highlight generational trauma without being too heavy to a point of distraction. When you pick this book up- and you definitely should- be aware that there is a table at the end that shows the bloodlines. This will help keep track of all of the characters.
I picked this book up because I thought my younger cousin would like it. We read it together and she enjoyed it! Fern is a unicorn and all she wants to do is code and to run her experiments in peace. The other unicorns don’t understand her and make fun of her. When the dance is in jeopardy and only Fern’s expertise and tools can fix everything, the other unicorns learn how cool math, science, and engineering actually are.
As someone who lives in the intersection of loving all things glitter and finding Chemistry fascinating, I appreciated Fern’s love of STEM. There is definitely subtext about individuality and what happens when someone breaks from the norm of their group but we will save that conversation for another day. I really enjoyed the art style of this book; it was fun and whimsical as a unicorn should be.
I am currently reading way too many books. I am easily distracted by two things: books and glitter. One book I am in the middle of is Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds. I was speaking with a customer about how it’s taking me forever to get through because while I love it and I’m so drawn in by it, I know it is going to gut me. The customer reminded me that “…the best ones always do.” This is so very true but I always make sure to have balance in my reading so as not to burn out.
So far this year I have read 40 books. My list of books to read is growing so these reading updates may be longer in the future! I am looking forward to telling you all about what I am currently reading in another update soon! Have you been reading anything you want to gush about? Let me know in the comments and happy reading!
Secret societies- I am sure we have all heard rumors about secret organizations doing secret things behind closed doors that they are sworn to secrecy about. While I cannot confirm the existence of any real secret societies, I do enjoy reading about fictional secret societies. From sororities with a deeper purpose than sisterhood and philanthropy, to spies hiding in plain sight, to an afterschool club that is way more than it seems, these secret societies save the world quietly and without the praise we give The Avengers.
Gallagher Girls Series by Ally Carter
There is so much more than meets the eye at the illustrious Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women. This exclusive, all-girls boarding school trains spies. Yes, each individual is technically a genius, however their strength and success depend on their bonds of sisterhood.
The Specialists Series by Shannon Greenland
A rag-tag group of teenage prodigies come together to go undercover. Each agent is chosen for their unique talent in their respective areas of expertise. There are plenty of bumps along the road as the young agents learn to trust each other and work together.
The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams
Saving the world from a different kind of evil than the two previous societies are Sitters- a secret society of witches tasked with protecting not only the kids they care for but also the world. Esme Pearl is thrust into this world with little preparation but fulfills her destiny with her signature flair and wit.
The Sisters of Kappa Rho Nu
The Ravens by Kass Morgan and Danielle Paige
The Sisters of Kappa Rho Nu may look like your typical sorority girls but they are really an incredibly powerful coven of witches. A force deeper than their vows of Sisterhood bind them together: their magic. Only together can they stand against whatever tries to take them down.
The Curie Society
The Curie Society by Janet Harvey
Founded by Marie Curie- yes, THAT Marie Curie- The Curie Society serves as a secret organization dedicated to empowering women in STEM. This elite organization also protects the world from nefarious, rogue scientists.
This first installment in the adventures of the Curie Society was such a fun introduction to this clandestine world. I enjoyed meeting the characters and am excited to go on more adventures with them.
Which of these secret societies do you want to join to save the world? Personally I have been waiting on my letter from the Gallagher Academy since the fifth grade (fun fact, it came last summer! That is a story for another time though). If you could create your own secret society, what would it be for? Let me know in the comments what you have been reading recently! Happy Reading!
Recently I have read the brand-new Michio Kaku book, The God Equation. For those unfamiliar with Kaku, he tends to write books about the cutting edge of technology and science, his specialty being physics. This time, he goes back to the start of the modern scientific quest to discover answers to the biggest questions of the universe – where we have come from, and what the ultimate fate of the universe will be – and gives a historical account of this quest up until the present day. There are high level physics concepts mentioned throughout, but beautifully explained – no need to remember your high school or college math for this book (thank goodness). He also explains well the conflicts between various schools of thought over the course of time and their ultimate resolution, which I found interesting in itself. The conclusion? We’re still looking for an ultimate theory of everything – but we may be closer than we have ever been to finding it. I found this book engaging and it was not long or wordy at all, so it was also a quick read. Highly recommended to anybody who likes to think about the bigger picture.
Loganberry Books was established in 1994 as an independent new, used and rare bookshop. Located in Shaker Heights, Ohio, we now feature more than 80,000 volumes and weekly events -- and a loud cat named Otis to greet you. For more information please visit our website www.loganberrybooks.com.