A New Face in the Library: Welcome, Adrian!

Adrian Knight, May 2023

The Durham Tech Library is thrilled to introduce our new library team member, reference librarian Adrian Knight (he/him). Adrian has worked in the NC Community College library system for several years and most recently comes to us from College of the Albemarle.

A traveler since infanthood, Adrian currently has 48 stamps on his passport with Italy as his favorite place he’s visited so far and was actually born in Vatican City. He also loves cooking (especially Italian food) and is excited to explore the Triangle and Durham food scene. He has five siblings and is a proud middle child.

Adrian is a member of the Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society, Psi Chi Honor Society, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, PFLAG, NAACP, and is a Little Brother for the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.

Adrian has a real passion for reading and getting other people to like reading. He’s especially excited to work with teens and help them rediscover or discover a love of reading beyond what’s assigned in the classroom. He mostly reads and watches supernatural and horror things but is also a big fan of murder/mystery. Adrian is a big reader– ask him about anime or graphic novels!

Stop by the Main Campus during the Library’s summer hours to meet him and keep reading to learn about what Adrian has been reading–Gail Z. Martin’s Deadly Curiosities!

deadly curiosities by gail z. martin

A supernatural antique shop employs a psychic and a vampire to protect regular folks from dangerous magical objects. Book one in a four book series.

Title: Deadly Curiosities (check out the Novelist description and related reads)

Author: Gail Z. Martin

Genre: Supernatural Murder Mystery

This book was read by Adrian Knight, Reference Librarian.

Why did you choose to read this book?

This book was a suggestion by NoveList, a database available through the library (login using your Durham Tech username and password) that shows you suggestions of similar books that you are reading, have read, or just genres, subjects that you like, or are interested in reading.

What did you like about it?

It’s a supernatural book and that always catches my attention, but the supernatural element isn’t overplayed, it blends in well with the “real” world. I also really liked the way the series pays respect to the Afro-Cultural folklore and mythology and how it is an integral part of the storylines.

What feeling did the book leave you with?

That I wanted to fight supernatural entities, then I realized I actually DO NOT want fight monsters and demons and mad gods.

Who would you recommend the book to?

Anyone who like supernatural books, but the supernatural element isn’t hitting them in the head.

Or anyone who checks out Novelist and finds it on their suggested reads. 🙂

What We’re Reading: Winter in Sokcho by Elisa Shua Dusapin

Winter in Sokcho by Elisa Shua Dusapin, translated by Aneesa Abbas Higgins
Available at the Main Campus
(PQ 2704 .U87 H5813 2021)

It’s winter in Sokcho, a tourist town on the border between South and North Korea. The cold slows everything down. A young French Korean woman works as a receptionist in a tired guesthouse. One evening, an unexpected guest arrives: a French cartoonist determined to find inspiration in this desolate landscape. She agrees to accompany him on trips to discover an “authentic” Korea, [b]ut he takes no interest in the Sokcho she knows. As she’s pulled into his vision and taken in by his drawings, she strikes upon a way to finally be seen. –adapted from the publisher summary

Title: Winter in Sokcho

Author: Elisa Shua Dusapin

Genre: Literary fiction; Novella

Read Great Things 2023 Categories: A book about an experience different than your own; A book that piques your curiosity; A book recommended by a Durham Tech staff member on the Library blog

This book was read by Kyle Minton, Reference Librarian.

Why did you choose to read this book?

I’m not too proud to admit it: Winter in Sokcho has an incredibly inviting physical design. The postcard-as-book-cover approach promises big feelings, but the generous use of white space inside offers plenty of contemplation between what ends up being a very sensual reflection on one’s own romantic and professional destinies.

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Durham Tech’s Favorites for Black History Month

It’s nearing the end of Black History Month, so while our blog post topics may broaden, we’d like to leave you with some books by Black Americans that have made an impact on the Durham Tech community to read beyond just February because Black history is American history all year long.

Keep reading for Durham Tech’s favorite reads by Black American authors–fiction, nonfiction, poetry, art, environmental justice, social justice, criminal justice, economics, fantasy, and finance–, and for a documentary exploring if Black History Month accomplishes what it sets out to do.

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What We’re Reading: Waste by Catherine Coleman Flowers

waste: one woman's fight against america's dirty secret by catherine coleman flowers
Available at the Main and Orange County Campus (RA 567.5 .U6 F56 2020) and as an ebook through Dogwood Digital Library

In a place that was once the center of the voting rights movement, another struggle faces Lowndes County, Alabama–basic sanitation. Catherine Coleman Flowers examines the class, racial, and geographic conditions that lead to many people not having an affordable way of disposing of sewage. –paraphrased from publisher’s summary

Title: Waste: One Woman’s Fight Against America’s Dirty Secret 

Author: Catherine Coleman Flowers 

Genre: Memoir; Nonfiction

Read Great Things 2023 Categories: A book about an experience different than your own; A book recommended by a Durham Tech Library staff member or on the blog

This book was read by Julie Humphrey, Durham Tech Library Director.

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What We’re Reading: The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama (& A Request for Audience Participation)

So far we’ve highlighted Black History Month on the blog with Black Visual ArtistsBlack History, and Black Musicians and Poets. We’ve got one left in queue for next week–Activists and Advocates–, but we’d like to finish the month by sharing a list of your favorite books by Black authors. 

Share your favorite 1-2 books by Black American authors. They can be fiction or nonfiction, classic or contemporary, any reading level (kids, middle grades, YA, or adult), any topic or genre, and they do not have to be from/currently in the Durham Tech Library collections. 

We’ve got a form to keep it all organized and orderly: Durham Tech’s Favorite Authors & Books for Black History Month [form]

Some favorite books by Black American authors (Legendborn by Tracey Deonn and The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee) pictured with a Durham Tech Library water bottle and fanny pack, both in an excellent lime green, to illustrate the possible prizes people who fill out our form can win

Participants will be entered to win either a Durham Tech Library water bottle or fanny pack if they so desire!

Respond to Meredith Lewis (lewisma @ durhamtech.edu) with any specific questions.

Now onto the main event!

the light we carry: overcoming in uncertain times by michelle obama
Available at the Main Campus (E 909.024 O24 2022) and as an audiobook through Dogwood Digital Library

This book, more self-help than memoir, draws on Michelle Obama’s personal struggles and shares her strategies for staying optimistic.  Yes, despite fame, financial success, and inestimable clout, Michelle has relatable doubts and fears (is the pandemic ever going to end?, will my family be okay?, how can I keep my balance in an uncertain world?). Creating connection and “going high” are tools we can all use. 

Title: The Light We Carry

Author: Michelle Obama                       

Genre: Self-Help with a memoir twist 

Read Great Things 2023 Categories: A book to improve your mental or physical health; A book about an experience different than your own; A book recommended by a Durham Tech Library staff member or on the blog 

This book was read by Susan Baker, Main Campus Reference Librarian.

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What We’re Reading: Persepolis

Available at the Main Campus, located in our Graphic Novel collection, downstairs in front of the center stairwell

Title: Persepolis
Author: Marjane Satrapi
Genres: memoir, history, graphic novel
2022 Read Great Things Categor(ies): A book about travel; An Artsy Book; A book about community

Political protests in Iran have been in the headlines over the past two weeks, with numerous demonstrations in the country propelled by the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman who died while in police custody. Today I’m highlighting an accessible and personal history of conflict within and surrounding Iran from the perspective of a young woman, Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, which is available at the library.

This book was read by Main Campus Reference Librarian Kyle Minton, who loves graphic novels mixed with a history lesson. (It’s also available as a streaming film, click to read more.)

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What We’re Reading: The Nineties: A Book

the nineties: a book by chuck klosterman
Available at the Main Campus (E 169.12 .K556 2022) and as an ebook through Dogwood Digital Library

Title: The Nineties: A Book
Author: Chuck Klosterman
Genres: history, essays
2022 Read Great Things Category(ies): A book with a number in the title; Blast from the past: A book of short stories or essays (2020); Our favorite category–A book on the Durham Tech Library Blog

This book was read by Main Campus Reference Librarian Stephen Brooks, who is still a playful, discouraged idealist. As such, this What We’re Reading blog is less a review or summary of the book and more of a personal journey. I listened to an audiobook version of The Nineties, which is a collection of essays in approximately chronological order, over several weeks while commuting to Durham Tech, folding laundry, mowing the lawn and working in the kitchen.

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What We’re Reading: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

the storied life of a.j. fikry by gabrielle zevin
Available at the Main Campus
(PS 3626 .E95 S86 2014)

A.J. Fikry owns a bookstore, which he and his late wife Nic started on a vacationers’ island in New England. The story begins with A.J. the widower wallowing in his grief each night with frozen dinners and red wine. As he works through his grief and begins to let people into his life, he finds meaning.

Title: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

Author: Gabrielle Zevin

Genre: contemporary fiction

Read Great Things 2022 Categories: A happy or hopeful book; A book about community; Blast from the past: A book about family (2021), An epistolary book or a book that contains epistolary parts (2019), A book being made into a movie this year (2018)

Why did you choose to read this book?

My book club chose this as an upbeat book. We had been reading a lot of difficult or serious books–which I haven’t finished or quit reading–so this was a welcome change. This one was very light and breezy, without being simplistic.
It covers a lot of ground: love, loss and infidelity; books and reading; comedy, tragedy and hope.

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Hey! READ THIS BOOK! (At least, I’d really like you to…)

Have you read a book that changed your perspective and that you think would be valuable for your peers or colleagues to read?

Gif of Adele on stage speaking to her high school English teacher, a surprise guest at a performance, with the line: "Oh my god. No you really, you  really did change my life."

Let us know by filling out our form: You Should Read This Book! [the form]

Answers will be shared anonymously in a future blog post and will be used for consideration in an upcoming library group read initiative.

What We’re Listening To: Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown

atlas of the heart: mapping meaningful connection and the language of human experience by brené brown, read by the author
Available as an audiobook through Dogwood Digital Library

Emotional intelligence is HARD, but being able to identify where your emotions are coming from and actually having the language to identify those emotions (and the differences between them) can help.

This book was read via audiobook by Meredith Lewis, the (mostly) Orange County Campus Librarian.

Title: Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience

Author and Narrator: Brené Brown

Genre: Psychology, Social Science, Self-Help/Awareness/Mindfulness

Read Great Things 2022 Categories: A happy or hopeful book; Blast from the past: A book that will help you with your self-care (2021), A social science book (2019)

Why did you choose to read this book?

Quite simply, I needed an audiobook to listen to while I was doing some work with my hands.

I’m not always great with audiobooks; I get confused listening to high fantasy without being able to see some of the words, and with other genres, I tend to just zone out depending on the narrator. I’ve used familiar audiobooks to fall asleep so often that sometimes they just make me sleepy.

I picked this book up (digitally) because I know a lot about Brené Brown but hadn’t actually read anything by her before. I only read about one self-help-y book a year (strangely, around this same time each year– last time it was Wintering by Katherine May, also partially by audiobook). I’ll be honest: I didn’t expect to listen to more than an hour or so–it was just meant to be noise company–but Brown’s engaging narration style (it’s like a very long podcast) and the actual content of the book kept me interested. I’m very interested in emotion science and emotional intelligence since it has so much to do with how we navigate the world and how we react to conflicts or stress.

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