Read Great Things in 2019: Challenge Yourself!

A new year, a new set of Read Great Things categories. Are you ready to participate?

Durham Tech Library Read Great Things Challenge 2019

What is the Read Great Things Challenge?

The Read Great Things Challenge is a personal reading challenge sponsored by the Durham Tech Library throughout 2019 that encourages folks to diversify and/or increase their reading goals by completing books that fit into at least 10 of the following 12 categories:

  • A book that will help you with one of your personal goals
  • A book by or about someone you admire
  • A social science book [nonfiction books about society and the relationships among individuals within a society, including psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, political science, history, public health, and communication books, among others]
  • A book published in the decade you were born
  • An epistolary book or a book that contains epistolary parts [a book written using diary, journal, newspaper, or letter entries]
  • A book you’ve been putting off but—you swear!–you really do want to read
  • A reimagining of a classic tale or work of literature
  • A book about or that features college or higher education
  • A book about an immigrant or immigration
  • A book about technology
  • A book by a North Carolina author or that takes place in North Carolina
  • A book suggested by a Durham Tech librarian either in-person or on the Durham Tech Library Blog

We’ll be highlighting a different category on this blog each month. Your can always ask a librarian for recommendations if you can’t think of a book to read for a certain category (which conveniently fills that final awesome category).

How do I participate in the Read Great Things Challenge?

It’s pretty simple –just start reading! You don’t have to sign up and you can start at any point in the year and read the books in any order you like. You will need to choose books that fit into at least 10 of the 12 categories by the end of Fall Semester (December 2019) to complete the challenge.

What kind of book counts as a “great thing”?

All books count–hardcover, paperback, ebooks, audiobooks, graphic novels, comic books, library books, books you own, books you’ve borrowed… If it fits into one (or two) of the categories and you’ve read it/want to read it in 2019, that counts. We’re not here to judge or assign reading levels.

Can I count a book for multiple categories?

One book can count for up to two categories, so if you read strategically, you can complete the challenge by only reading 5 books in total.

How do I win the challenge? (What do I win?)

To win and complete the challenge, you should finish books throughout 2019 that fit into at least 10 of the 12 listed categories. In mid-December at the end of the Fall Semester, we’ll have bookish prizes available for those who bring their completed book list to the library or fill out the completion form.

You’ll also get a personal sense of satisfaction and bragging rights. (And who doesn’t love those?)

Do the books have to be from the Durham Tech Library?

Nope, but we’re glad to point you in the direction of one already in our collection. We have some great books just waiting to make it on your list.

More questions? Email library [at] durhamtech [dot] edu or Orange County Campus Librarian Meredith Lewis at lewisma [at] durhamtech [dot] edu.

View, download, or print a copy of the checklist and challenge guidelines: Read Great Things 2019 Challenge Checklist [pdf]

Library celebrates their first Read Great Things Challenge

Durham Tech Library celebrated the Read Great Things Challenge 2018 with tea and cookies on Wed. Dec. 12 from 11:00-1:00.  Participants talked about books they read this year, swapped books, and learned about the categories for next year’s Read Great Things Challenge 2019. Participants also picked up their fun tote bags and reading mascot pins.  It’s not too late to pick up your prize if you completed the challenge!  Simply stop by the library or complete your form online.

tote bag prize

Tote bag designed by Meredith Lewis

reading mascot buttons

Reading mascot pins designed by Meredith Lewis

book display

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Downstairs in the library we are featuring a display of books that Library Staff read and enjoyed for this year’s challenge.

Stay tuned for details about the 2019 Read Great Things Challenge.

Happy reading over winter break!

Celebrate reading all the great things in 2018!

Durham Tech Library's Read Great Things 2018 Challenge Celebration! You're invited! Who: Anyone (faculty, staff, student, alumni) who participated in or completed the Read Great Things 2018 Challenge What: A celebration featuring tea, cookies, prizes for participation/completion, and a book swap When: Wed., Dec. 12 from 11a.m.—1p.m. Where: ERC 5-212 (upstairs faculty lounge) Stop by to pick up your participation prizes, have some tea and cookies, and (if you want) participate in a book swap. Completers should fill out the Read Great Things Completion form to reserve a tote bag prize. All participants are eligible for a reading mascot button.

Need some more details? Here you go!

  • Looking for the completion form so you can get yourself a tote bag? Here’s where you can find the Read Great Things 2018 Challenge Completion form.
  • Need more information about the Read Great Things 2018 Challenge? Here’s where you can find the Durham Tech Library blog post about the Read Great Things 2018 Challenge.
  • Looking for information about the Read Great Things 2019 Challenge? You can find out more at the celebration or posted on this blog in January. Subscribe to this blog to keep up-to-date.
  • What’s this about a book swap? In order to participate in the book swap, you should bring at least one used book that you no longer want and will trade it for a book someone else is ready to rehome. Feel free to drop off book swap books–in good used condition without significant stains, smells, or damage–before the event at either the Main Campus or Orange County Campus Library. Any books that are not swapped will be donated to the Durham Tech Little Free Libraries.

Contact Meredith Lewis (lewisma @ durhamtech . edu) if you have questions.

What We’re Reading – There Is No Good Card For This

There is no good card for this: What to say and do when life is scary, awful, and unfair to the people you love

Title: There Is No Good Card For This: What To Say And Do When Life Is Scary, Awful, And Unfair To People You Love

Authors: Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell

When someone you know is hurting, you want to let her know that you care. But many people don’t know what words to use—or are afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. This thoughtful, instructive guide, from empathy expert Dr. Kelsey Crowe and greeting card maverick Emily McDowell, blends well-researched, actionable advice with the no-nonsense humor and the signature illustration style of McDowell’s immensely popular Empathy Cards, to help you feel confident in connecting with anyone experiencing grief, loss, illness, or any other difficult situation. –Goodreads.com

Why did you choose to read this book?

In the past year I have seen people I love and care about lose people they love and care about five times. Each time I felt helpless in the face of their loss, unable to think of anything I could say or do that would make the person feel even incrementally better. I was also afraid of saying something wrong and somehow making them feel worse than they already did. This state of uncertainty and powerlessness made me feel like a bad friend/daughter/coworker and I didn’t like it.

So, as I tend to do, I found a book to apply to the problem. And this book delivered.

What did you like about it?

I liked that this book actually did what it set out to do since I was skeptical when I picked it up. It comforted me while explaining how to best be comforting to others. There are helpful tips on various situations with background on why these things are helpful. They have a ton of examples and it’s written very conversationally with lots of graphics so it never feels overwhelming. They also have the book laid out in such a way that you can skip directly to the Just Help Me Not Be A Disaster section to find concrete dos and don’ts when talking to someone going through a crisis. All this and the book managed to sprinkle in some funny bits as well!

What feeling did the book leave you with?

I finished this book feeling more confident about my ability to support someone. And, a clearer idea of what I’m willing to do to support them. There are a variety of available support roles to someone going through a hard time and I was able to identify the roles I feel like I would be best at filling. The book also left me feeling like I will be able help my friends and family in the future with more grace than I have in the past.

Who would you recommend the book to?

Everyone. Unless you’re some kind of interpersonal relationship savant, then maybe you could skip it. But, really, the holidays are coming up and chances are we all know someone who had something bad happen to them in the past year. What do you say? Do you mention it? Do you say the stock “I’m sorry” and leave it at that? Would even bringing it up make things awkward? Will they think you don’t care if you don’t bring it up? What if they are the ones who bring it up? This book can help you figure out the answers to what to say in each situation and that is valuable for both you and the person you’re talking to.

What would you pair this book with?

This book would go well with a good hug and a hearty casserole of your choice.

Read Great Things Challenge 2018 — Check-in & Celebration Information

Durham Tech Library Read Great Things Challenge 2018

We’re 11.5/12ths of the way through 2018, and the end of the year and the end of the Durham Tech Library’s Read Great Things Challenge 2018 is coming up fast.

To give us an idea of how many prizes (!!!) and participation items we need, if you’re participating or have been trying to participate, please fill out our survey if you haven’t already: Read Great Things Challenge 2018 Check-In Survey

All participants (whether you finish or not) are welcome to stop by the Main Campus Library on Wednesday, Dec. 12 from 11:00 to 1:00 to have some cookies and tea, pick up a tote bag (priority goes to current faculty, staff, and students who submit their challenge completion form) and other swag (any participants are eligible), and participate in a used book swap (bring one, trade for another one). Anyone wanting to donate a book for the book swap ahead of time, drop it by any Durham Tech library location– those not claimed in the swap will be put in one of our Little Free Libraries.

If you want more information about the Read Great Things Challenge, check out our library blog entry about it: Read Great Things Challenge 2018 Information

We’ll be doing this again in 2019, so hold onto your reading glasses and prep your TBR piles! Look out for upcoming TLC events and check-ins throughout the year.

Happy reading! Direct any questions to Meredith Lewis, Orange County Campus Librarian (lewisma @ durham tech . edu)

What We’re Reading: The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

The rise and fall of the dinosaurs: A new history of a lost world by steve brusatte

This book was read by Meredith Lewis, the [mostly] Orange County Campus Librarian, and is available for checkout at the Orange County Campus Library.

Title: The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World
Author: Steve Brusatte

Genre: Popular Science, General Dinosaur Awesomeness

#ReadGreatThings2018 Category: A popular science book; A book that takes place during or is about a historical event 50 years or more in the past [this historical event took place a few million years ago]

Find out more about the Read Great Things Challenge here.


Why did you choose to read this book?

Because dinosaurs are awesome?

Seriously though, I have a four-year-old friend who was telling me about all these dinosaurs that I never heard of. When I saw this book was coming out, I thought, “Self, if this isn’t a dragging and dull science-y book, you should pick that up because you’re not interested in watching Dinosaur Train (the PBS Kids TV show), but you do want to learn more about dinosaurs.” It was AWESOME, although I listened to the audiobook, so I missed out on the pictures. [The OCC copy is in print and full of pictures. I’d recommend this format over the audiobook for even more enjoyment.]

What did you like about it?

I’m going to make a list here:

  1. It’s an engaging history book–in this case, the history of the Earth through its prehistoric times and then after the extinction of the dinosaurs, which I knew very little about. 

  2. It goes into all the newer discoveries about dinosaurs that additional fossils have brought to light, especially regarding how dinosaurs differently evolved after the splitting apart of Pangaea. There are even vignettes where the author goes into, based on fossil evidence, that show how the dinosaurs likely interacted with each other.

  3. It has stuff about the fossil record and how paleontologists use it to draw conclusions and also how fossils are/were discovered and used.

  4. It has an international perspective of dinosaurs, which is cool because while T-Rex’s arms actually were used for something (though, yes, very short), a Brazilian big guy actually did have pretty much non-functional arms. Evolution is fascinating!

  5. It highlights a field in science I wasn’t that familiar with and name drops all these cool paleontologists that I’d never heard of before, but I’m super glad I know of them now.

Did it remind you of any other book, or a movie?

Am I allowed to say Jurassic Park here? Because of course. [Yes, I am allowed to say Jurassic Park.]

What feeling did the book leave you with?

Well, I’m really excited about dinosaurs.

Who would you recommend the book to?

Anyone who likes science or scientists and delving deeper into what people who “do” science actually do to gather their research. Anyone looking for a grown-up book about dinosaurs. Seriously. It was great. I’m going to buy it for several people for the holidays (and upcoming birthdays… and all occasions I can think of).

What would you pair this book with?

A continued appreciation of those awesome inflatable T-Rex costumes and how so many layers of knowledge and expertise go into scientific discovery. In honor of the East Coast (not us) getting some of our first snow, I’d like to share the following awesome video of an inflatable T-Rex ice skating in case you haven’t seen it.

[No transcript available, but to summarize: A person in an inflatable t-rex costume and white ice skates performs surprisingly well on an ice rink. Occasionally, the t-rex trips on its own tail. Hilarity insues.]

New DVDs in the Library

Now that the weather outside is frightful, it’s time to stay inside and watch movies! Check out some of our new DVD titles.

What We’re Reading: Leaving the Sea: Stories

book cover: Leaving the Sea

Title: Leaving the Sea: Stories

Author: Ben Marcus

Genre: short stories / experimental fiction

Read Great Things Challenge 2018 category: a book you chose for the cover; a book with a supernatural creature, occurrence, or event (maybe)

Why did you choose to read this book?

I was drawn in by the cover art at first. The reviews on the back of the dust jacket also made the stories sound interesting to me. One of my favorite authors, Michael Chabon, has a blurb on the back of the book praising Marcus’s The Flame Alphabet (which I haven’t read).

This “themed” collection is of short stories that feature young-to-middle-aged men in crisis. Otherwise, the stories are not related. A divorcé struggles to keep his job and resolve joint custody issues with his ex-wife; a struggling professor teaches a creative writing class aboard a cruise ship; a young man with a mysterious illness seeks treatment in Germany and examines his relationships with his girlfriend, father and a stranger he meets in a hostel; a man worries about his family during a routine evacuation drill in his community; et cetera.

Many of the stories take place in alternate realities: a world in which one can choose to be a baby for one’s whole life, for example.

What did you like about it?

I did not like reading this book. I was motivated to finish it solely to write a thoughtful review.

I found a lot of the book to be interesting, but in many of the stories I felt like Marcus was playing with language for the sole purpose of doing so. Ranging into pure experimental fiction, this book was often either beyond my understanding or it felt like I was being manipulated into feeling stupid for not understanding what is going on, only because the author omitted details I felt would have improved my access to the book.

Did it remind you of any other book, or a movie?

Another collection of experimental fiction is David Foster Wallace’s Oblivion. The freedom with which Marcus uses language and imagery reminds me a little bit of e.e. cummings’s poetry as well.

What feeling did the book leave you with?

In spite of my frustrations with the most experimental stories, this book is memorable and left me wishing I could write fiction with such imagination and confidence in bending language to my will.

Who would you recommend the book to?

Fans and writers of experimental fiction will appreciate this book. Someone who needs a creative spark and doesn’t mind reading some dystopian fiction might find use in this book.

What would you pair this book with?

Even though I don’t keep one myself, a reading or writing journal would be a valuable companion.