What We’re Reading: Camino Island

Title: Camino Island

Camino Island book cover

Camino Island by John Grisham

Read by: Mary Kennery

Author: John Grisham

 Genre: thriller/suspense

Why did you choose to read this book?  I love mysteries and I have read other books by the author. This 30th novel written by John Grisham published in June 2017 is a different style for the author.  There is no young lawyer this time, but a young soon-to-be unemployed UNC-Chapel Hill English instructor/ struggling novelist Mercer who is pegged to infiltrate a rare book dealer Bruce’s bookstore with a black market connection after F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts are stolen from Princeton and find their way to Camino Island, Florida.

What did you like about it?  How the plot unfolds between Mercer and Bruce and the islanders and all gets resolved.  The island’s inhabitants are certainly characters!  The many fond memories that Mercer has of spending summers with her grandmother on the island are endearing.  You can imagine the author tours, rare book collecting and preservation and storage of prized books.

Did it remind you of any other book, or a movie?  Other mystery authors/ missing artifacts, but this one has a rare book angle.

Was there anything noteworthy about the book? References to UNC-Chapel Hill, Franklin St., and The Lantern Restaurant made it especially appealing.  These are places that Grisham likes to visit.

What feeling did the book leave you with?  Resolution plus wanting to know what future blockbuster novel will be next on the horizon for Mercer when she gets over her writer’s block.  Will Camino Island be made into a movie?  Plus another Grisham book is due out later this year.  I will add that one to my must read list.

Who would you recommend the book to? A mystery lover, a John Grisham fan, a bookstore afficionado.

What would you pair this book with?  Even though Camino Island mainly takes place in Florida, I enjoyed reading it on my front porch under a Carolina blue sky with a sweet tea while dog sitting.  I guess I should have read it on a favorite beach.

Were you one of the lucky ones to meet John Grisham at his first book tour in over 25 years?  One was held at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh in June.  Sorry to say, but I was not there.

John Grisham was interviewed recently in The News & Observer:

The library plans to purchase a copy of this book for our collection in July.  In the meantime, we have most of Grisham’s other novels available.

Popular Author to Speak at Durham Tech!

Meet the Author!

November 15th, 9:30 AM 

TLC Room, Phillips Building

Rejected Princesses by Jason Porath

The Durham Tech Library is thrilled to announce that Jason Porath, author of the newly published Rejected Princesses book (which is based on his incredibly popular blog), will be speaking at our campus. He will talk about his blog, his book, and be answering questions from the audience.

The event will be in the TLC room, building 3, at 9:30 AM on Tuesday, November 15th.

Click the book cover above to visit his website, and then get excited. Really excited.

Reasons to attend this event:

  • Jason Porath will be there.
  • Cool librarians will be there.
  • You will learn about awesome women through history.
  • You’ll have something to talk about at your next dinner party.
  • The book cover is a really nice shade of purple which bodes well.
  • You can buy copy of Rejected Princesses and get it signed.
  • That’s enough reasons, I think you should be convinced.


Introducing the Library’s Book Club

The Library is excited to announce our student, faculty, and staff book club! We will have our first meeting on Monday, Oct. 19th at 3pm in the ERC Schwartz conference room.

The first book selection is I Am Malala by Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai. The library has several copies of the book available for borrowing and you can ask for a copy at the desk.  I Am Malala book cover


Here is a description of the book from the GoodReads website:

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate. I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons. I Am Malala will make you believe in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change in the world.

For more information about the book club, please visit:


Readers anxiously await the debut of Harper Lee’s second novel

Harper Lee’s highly anticipated second novel, Go Set a Watchman, will be released Tues. July 14.   It has been suggested that Go Set a Watchman was written before Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1960 novel, To Kill A Mockingbird.  Details have emerged that Lee’s publisher, asked her to rewrite “Watchman” to focus on the perspective of Scout as a child.  “Watchman” focuses on Scout as an adult and her relationship with her father, Atticus Finch.  Much attention and controversy surrounding the new novel, stems from the portrayal of the beloved character, Atticus Finch.

Go Set A Watchman Book Cover

Book Cover image from Harper Collins

Natasha Trethewey’s recent article in the Washington Post eloquently explores issues that emerge in the new novel.

The library has ordered copies of Go Set A Watchman and will have these available for checkout very soon.

In the meantime, The Guardian has released the first chapter of the novel which you can read online.





Juan Felipe Herrera: First Latino US Poet Laureate


On June 10, 2015, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced the appointment of Juan Felipe Herrera as the 21st US Poet Laureate.  Dr. Billington said, “His poems engage in a serious sense of play—in language and in image–that I feel gives them enduring power. I see how they champion voices and traditions and histories, as well as a cultural perspective, which is a vital part of our larger American identity.”

Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrara, Photo by Tomas Ovalle / Los Angeles Times

Juan Felipe Herrera has published more than a dozen collections of poetry, as well as award-winning fiction, and nonfiction for children and young adults.  Herrera’s poetry is featured in the collection Camino del sol: Fifteen Years of Latina and Latino Writing
(PS 508 .H57 C36 2010) which is currently available in the library.  The library has some of Mr. Herrera’s poetry collections on order.

The new poet laureate has degrees from UCLA, Stanford and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and is currently teaching at the University of Washington.

In a recent Washington Post article, Herrera says, “I’m here to encourage others to speak, to speak out and speak up and write with their voices and their family stories and their sense of humor and their deep concerns and their way of speaking their own languages. I want to encourage people to do that with this amazing medium called poetry.”

Herrera will begin his appointment as the 21st US Poet Laureate at the National Book Festival in September in Washington, DC.

To learn more about Juan Felipe Herrera and to read some of his poetry, visit: https://onpoint.wbur.org/2015/06/23/juan-felipe-herrera-poet-laureate







Read Local Book Festival – This Weekend!

Whether you’re taking summer classes or celebrating the first week of summer vacation, take a few moments (heck, maybe even give it a few hours!) this weekend to check out the Read Local Book Festival in downtown Durham from Friday, May 15 – Sunday, May 17.  

Read Local Book Festival logoThe festival will feature authors and publishers local to Durham (meaning: Durham County and the nearest surrounding counties, including Orange, Wake, Chatham, Person, and Granville).

Check out the list of participants— you may see a familiar Durham Tech face!

Events vary from writing workshops to cookbook “rodeo”s to an exhibitor fair to reading performances.  Look at the schedule of events to find something that fits you!


2014 Nobel Peace Prize Winners

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 was awarded to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai for their advocacy for children’s rights.

Photographs of Kailash Satyarthi on the left and of Malala Yousafzai on the right.

Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai were picked as winners for their struggle against the oppression of children and their right to education. Photograph: Reuters (Source Guardian.com)

Here is background information about Mr. Satyarthi and Miss Yousafzai from the New York Times, “In India, Mr. Satyarthi, a former engineer, has long been associated with the struggle to free bonded laborers, some born into their condition and others lured into servitude. For decades, he has sought to rid India of child slavery and has liberated more than 75,000 bonded and child laborers in the country.  Mr. Satyarthi began working for children’s rights in 1980 as the general secretary of the Bonded Labor Liberation Front, an organization dedicated to freeing bonded laborers forced to work to pay off debts, real or imagined. He also founded the Bachpan Bachao Andolan, or Save the Children Mission, an organization dedicated to ending bonded labor and saving children from trafficking. ” (http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/10/nobel-peace-prize-awarded-to-defenders-of-childrens-rights/)

“Ms. Yousafzai began campaigning for girls’ education at the age of 11, three years before she was shot by the Taliban. She was so young that some observers questioned how well equipped a child of that age could be to put her own safety on the line and commit to a life of activism. The prize she received on Friday validates what she has taken on, but also underscores the disproportionate expectations that trail her: Can she truly influence the culture of her home country of Pakistan, which she cannot even visit because of threats to her safety, and where many revile her as a tool of the West? Ms. Yousafzai may be an Anne Frank-like figure who defied terror, showed extraordinary courage and inspires hope, but how much can one teenager accomplish?” (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/11/world/asia/malala-yousafzai-youngest-nobel-peace-prize-winner-adds-to-her-achievements-and-expectations.html)

 The library has a copy of Malala Yousafzai’s inspiring memoir available for checkout:  LC 2330 .Y69 2013

Photograph of Malala Yousafzai

Book Cover photo: www.hachettebookgroup.com

For further reading, photos, and videos:

Nobel Announcement
Washington Post
The Guardian

Cool author alert! Science writer Mary Roach is coming to Durham

The Dr. Charles Sanders President’s Lecture Series at Durham Tech


Mary Roach

Sunday, April 13th  7:00 p.m. Carolina Theatre, Downtown Durham

Author Mary Roach leans in a doorway

Mary Roach, from

Read more about the author and her fascinating books on her website.  Members of our library staff have read and enjoyed her books immensely and look forward to seeing her.
The subjects of her highly entertaining and well researched books include:  space exploration, the afterlife, sex research, human cadavers, and the digestive system!
Shows the feet of a corpse with a label, "Stiff"
An astronaut floats in space with a suitcase. Title says, "Packing for Mars"

NDC Librarian Toshi Shonek publishes third book of poetry

Santosh 'Toshi' Shonek

Santosh ‘Toshi’ Shonek

Our NDC librarian, Santosh ‘Toshi’ Shonek, has published her third volume of poetry, called Take My Love for Granted, which is now available for checkout from the libraries.  Toshi’s daughter created the art work for each of her book covers.

Toshi has worked at Durham Tech for about thirteen years.  Before Durham Tech, she was a librarian at Duke University.

Toshi recalls how she began writing poetry, “One day in August of 1997, while sitting at work in the Perkins Library of Duke University, some feelings came over me and I had to put them down on paper. Things which were always there became important.  Writing gave me a voice and courage to express what I felt. Poetry is a necessity like breathing. It happens…  I write when the urge is so strong. Poetry is a miracle and a blessing in my life and I am grateful.”

Book cover has the text "Take My Love for Granted" and has a mostly red illustration of a woman with her eyes closed.

Borrow one of Toshi’s books today!

Take My Love for Granted, PK 2097 .S566 T6 2012
Windows to My Heart, PK 2097 .S566 W5 2001
Remembering My Spirit, PK 2097 .S56 R4 1999