Mother Day’s Reads

Who introduced you to books? My mother, a teacher turned children’s librarian, instilled a lifelong love of literature in me through bedtime stories to audiobooks in long car trips to chatting about our current reads.

If you’re fortunate enough to have the opportunity, ask your mom for a book recommendation or her favorite when you were growing up.  It will give you great fodder for Sunday brunch.

If you’re looking for some reads to honor the day, consider these:


Picture Books

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman

Are You My Mother? by P. D. Eastman

Someday by Alison McGhee

Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara Joosse


Wild by Cheryl Strayed

The Long Goodbye by Meghan O’Rourke

Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel

The Rainbow Comes and Goes by Anderson Cooper & Gloria Vanderbilt

Best Friends, Occasional Enemies by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella


Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

A Grown-up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson

Tuscan Holiday by Holly Chamberlin

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

A Perfect Life by Danielle Steel

Free Comic Book Day: May 7!

It’s the 15th anniversary of Free Comic Book Day! The first Saturday of May is when comic book shops across the world give out over 6 million comic books–free of charge.

We partner with local Parker-based comic book store, CollectorMania, to hand out free comic books on Saturday. We’ll have selection for kids, teens and adults, while supplies last. These will include super hero stories like Marvel’s Civil War II and DC’s Suicide Squad; kid favorites such as Pokémon, DC Super Hero Girls, Grumpy Cat, Sonic the Hedgehog; stories that feature classic characters like Strawberry Shortcake, Pink Panther, and Archie; and TV tie-ins featuring series such as Doctor Who, The SimpsonsFirefly, and many more*. (*Titles are not guaranteed and may vary by location).

Stop by any Douglas County Libraries location on Saturday, May 7!

5 Great Cookbooks for a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta!

Cinco de Mayo is on Thursday! The holiday commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War, but it’s not commonly celebrated in Mexico. In fact, it can feel a little like May’s St. Patrick’s Day—an excuse to imbibe a little too much at all day happy hours. But we love the excuse to cook up a themed meal. Here are a few great cookbooks to get you started on your meal planning:

61tEBOIho-LSalsas and Moles

Salsa makes a big impression on your appetizer table. Find your favorite in this great cookbook that has 60 authentic salsa and mole recipes from salsa quemada to chunky hatch chile salsa.

Simple Food, Big Flavor

Aarón Sánchez’s passion for food has placed him among the country’s leading contemporary Latin chefs. He’s appeared on Chopped, Chefs vs. City and Heat Seekers. His cookbook breaks down classic Latin cuisine by showing how several base recipes can become many fantastic dishes. For instance, his chorizo would make a great appetizer in Chorizo and Potato Empanadas  or turn them into a side with Black Beans with Chorizo and Chipotle Crema.

Mexico: The Cookbook

This book is comprehensive bible of authentic Mexican home cooking written by a living culinary legend. Author Margarita Carrillo Arronte is a chef, author, TV host, restaurateur and global ambassador of Mexican cuisine. Her 30 years of researching, teaching and cooking Mexican food has resulted in 700 recipes from across the country, which showcases the diversity of Mexican cuisine. There are SO many recipes, that we suggest you just open the book to a random page. It’s sure to be a delicious addition to your meal.

Muy Bueno

Yvette started the Muy Bueno blog because she wanted to honor her grand grandmother’s memory and preserve their family recipes. Once the blog gained a following, she wrote this cookbook with her mother and her sister. The cookbook includes some fantastic drink recipes including a Blood Orange Mezcal Margarita or Persimmon Mojito. She also has some great tamales and enchiladas for mains. (Also: She’s a local author! She lives in Denver).

Fiesta at Rick’s

Rick Bayless, Top Chef Masters winner, has several great Mexican cookbooks. This one stands out as the best for planning a party. He offers four complete menus for parties ranging from a Luxury Guacamole Bar Cocktail Party for 12 to a Classic Mexican Mole Fiesta for 24. There are great recipes for snacking, dynamic cocktails and delicious street food mains.

Other notable mentions: Pati’s Mexican Table, Fresh Mexico, and Tacos, Tortas and Tamales

Also for desserts, you can’t miss: My Sweet Mexico 

Books to Movies in 2016

There are several fantastic books that will be adapted to movies this year. You know what they say, never judge a book based on its movie! So check out these books now before you see them in the theatre later this year:

A Hologram for the King
Author: Dave Eggers
Release Date: April 22

A failed American businessman (Tom Hanks) looks to recoup his losses by traveling to Saudi Arabia and selling his idea to a wealthy monarch

Alice Through the Looking-Glass
Author: Lewis Carroll
Release Date: May 27

Alice (Mia Wasikowska) returns to the whimsical world of Wonderland and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp).

Me Before You
Author: Jojo Moyes
Release Date: June 3

A girl from a small town (Emilia Clarke) forms an unlikely bond with a recently-paralyzed man (Sam Claflin) who she happens to be taking care of.

Max Perkins
Author: A. Scott Berg
Release Date: June 10

A chronicle of Max Perkins’s time as the book editor at Scribner, where he oversaw works by Thomas Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and others.

Author: Roald Dahl
Release Date: July 1

A girl named Sophie encounters the Big Friendly Giant who despite his intimidating appearance, turns out to be a kindhearted soul who is considered an outcast by the other giants because he refuses to eat boys and girls.

Legend of Tarzan
Tarzan of the Apes
Author: Edgar Rice Burroughs
Release Date: July 1

Tarzan, having acclimated to life in London, is called back to his former home in the jungle to investigate the activities at a mining encampment.

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
Authors: Mike and Dave Stangle
Release Date: July 8

Two brothers (Zac Efron and Adam DeVine) place an online ad to find dates for a wedding and the ad goes viral.

The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Release Date: October 7

A woman on a train (Emily Blunt) sees something from her train window that could help in a murder case. She becomes invested in the case.

A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness
Release Date: October 14

A boy seeks the help of a tree monster (Liam Neeson) to cope with his single mom’s (Felicity Jones) terminal illness.


Author: Dan Brown
Release Date: October 28

After waking up in a hospital room in Florence, Italy, with no memory of what has occurred for the last few days, Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) suddenly finds himself the target of a manhunt.

The Light Between Oceans
Author: ML Stedman
Release Date: September 2

A lighthouse keeper (Michael Fassbender) and his wife (Alicia Vikander) living off the coast of Western Australia raise a baby they rescue from an adrift rowboat.

Author: Jeanne Ryan
Release Date: September 16

A high school senior finds herself immersed in an online game of truth or dare, where her every move starts to become manipulated by an anonymous community of watchers.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Author: Ben Fountain
Release Date: November 11

An infantryman recounts the final hours before he and his fellow soldiers return to Iraq.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Author: JK Rowling
Release Date: November 18

The adventures of writer Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Release Date: December 25

When Jacob discovers clues to a mystery that spans different worlds and times, he finds Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. But the mystery and danger deepen as he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers.

5 Books that are Made for Reading Outdoors

“I am going to try to pay attention to the spring. I am going to look around at all the flowers, and look up at the hectic trees. I am going to close my eyes and listen.” –Anne Lamott

National Arbor Day is April 29. This annual holiday celebrates the role of trees in our lives and promotes tree planting and care. Trees are vital. They make our world greener and healthier. Here are some quick facts:

  • Studies show that office workers with a view of trees report significantly less stress and more satisfaction.
  • One tree can absorb as much carbon in a year as a car produces while driving 26,000 miles.
  • Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30%.
  • One large tree can provide a day’s supply of oxygen for a family of four.

If you’re not into hugging a tree or admiring them in silent worship, we recommend you check out one of these books to celebrate. It is highly recommend that you read these under the peaceful canopy of a tree.

51CEDIxGBnL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_Botany of Desire

This book takes a scientific look at the mutually beneficial relationship between plants and humans. Pollan deftly illustrates how plants have evolved to satisfy mankind’s most basic yearnings.

A Walk in the Woods

Witty travel humorist Bill Bryson takes to the Appalachian Trail in this book. Bryson introduces us to the majestic mountains and silent forests along the trail adding in some historical and ecological facts. He meets some interesting characters along his travels. This book is guaranteed to make you long for the great outdoors.

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

This personal narrative captures a year’s exploration around Tinker Creek, Virginia through a series of essays. Dillard’s words are beautiful perfection.

51TKgMSTFwLThe Dirty Life

This riveting memoir explores a year on a sustainable farm where Kristin Kimball and her husband plan to grow everything needed to feed a community. A romantic ambitious idea, but it worked! This a beautiful book about land, food, cooking and marriage.

In the Shadow of Man

This is world-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall’s account of her life among the wild chimpanzees of Gombe. It is one of the most passionate animal behavior stories every written.




For the kids, consider checking out one of these great picture books:
81gkclyNngLTree Lady

The Lorax

The Great Paper Caper

Life in the Ocean

One Plastic Bag

6 Greatest Shakesperian Movies

This week marks the Bard’s birthday. Often our first encounter of Shakespeare’s works is in classroom with bad recitation from fellow classmates. However, combine a talented director with magnificent actors and they can bring Shakespeare’s words to life on the big screen in incredible ways. Here are a few of our favorites:

81IVxkOI6ML._SL1500_Warm Bodies

Take Romeo and Juliet and set them in the zombie apocalypse. R is a zombie who rescues Julie, a human survivor, from a zombie attack. They form a special bond, although star-crossed. It’s a witty, deadpan twist on the romantic comedy genre.   

The Lion King

Did you know that this Disney classic was influenced heavily by Hamlet? Simba, the lion cub is set to succeed his father, Mufasa, as king; however, Simba’s uncle Scar murders Mufasa and convinces Simba to run away. Even though Hamlet is a tragedy, Disney manages to reimagine it as a comedy complete with musical numbers and a happy ending.

Much Ado About Nothing

We cannot have a list of Shakespeare movies without a Kenneth Branagh film. The actor/director has appeared in Henry V, Othello, Hamlet, Love’s Labour’s Lost and As You Like It. We are partial to his second directorial attempt at Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing. This star-studded cast includes Kate Beckinsale, Emma Thompson, Denzel Washington, Keanu Reeves, Michael Keaton and Robert Sean Leonard.


10 Things I Hate About You 

This Taming of the Shrew retelling is set in a late 1990s American high school with Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It’s a Millennial classic that is worth rewatching hundreds of times.

Romeo + Juliet

Baz Luhrmann’s take on a modernized Romeo and Juliet has the Montagues and Capulets as feuding mafia empires but retains the original Shakespearian dialouge. Pre-Titanic Leonardo DiCaprio plays Romeo to Claire Danes’s Juliet.

Much Ado About Nothing

This Joss Whedon project takes the Shakespeare play and sets it in modern day. It includes the Bard’s original words mixed with smart visuals (it is shot entirely in black and white) and charismatic performances.


“Nothing is certain except death and taxes”

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Douglas County Libraries does not carry state or federal tax forms. Library staff do not provide tax advice. 

We are accustomed to filing our taxes on April 15; however, this year, Tax Day falls on April 18 due to Emancipation Day, which is celebrated in Washington, D.C. If you’re still in the process of filing, we have these books that may (or may not) help you:

EY Tax Guide 2016

Deduct It!: Lower Your Small Business Taxes 

Small Business Taxes 2016

Small Business Taxes for Dummies


Book Lovers Recommend at Roxborough

We had a wonderful Book Lovers Evening at Roxborough where we chatted about our favorite recent reads. Here are the staff recommendations:

Sherri’s Recommendations

The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows

Co-author of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, Annie Barrows once again evokes the charm and eccentricity of a small town filled with extraordinary characters. Her new novel brings to life an inquisitive young girl, her beloved aunt, and the alluring visitor who changes the course of their destiny forever.







61GqtF53MPLThe Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds Amy’s funeral guests just leaving. The residents of Broken Wheel are happy to look after their bewildered visitor-there’s not much else to do in a dying small town that’s almost beyond repair. You certainly wouldn’t open a bookstore. And definitely not with the tourist in charge. You’d need a vacant storefront (Main Street is full of them), books (Amy’s house is full of them), and customers. The bookstore might be a little quirky. Then again, so is Sara. But Broken Wheel’s own story might be more eccentric and surprising than she thought. A heartwarming reminder of why we are booklovers, this is a sweet, smart story about how books find us, change us, and connect us.






The Promise by Robert Crais

Loyalty, commitment, and the fight for justice have always driven Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. If they make a promise, they keep it. Even if it could get them killed. When Elvis Cole is secretly hired to find a grief-stricken mother, he’s led to an ordinary house on a rainy night in Echo Park. Only the house isn’t ordinary, and the people hiding inside are a desperate fugitive and a murderous criminal with his own dangerous secrets.







51daPUgjJjLLast Chance Llama Ranch by Hilary Fields

From the author of Bliss comes a heartwarming tale of friendship, romance, self-discovery… and llama drama. When a close encounter with an eighty foot spruce steals Merry Manning’s dreams of Olympic gold, the former ski champ finds herself falling into a career she never expected — the life of a travel writer. Picturing glamorous trips to exotic places, Merry is speechless when her boss assigns her to the blog, “Don’t Do What I Did,” and sends her to a middle-of-nowhere llama ranch with instructions to “fall on her fanny” as often as possible. Soon she’s eyeball-deep in alpacas, llamas, goats, and all the mess that comes with them. But when the Last Chance Llama Ranch — and a certain gruff cowboy– start to grow on her, Merry finds that each life might actually be just what she’s been missing. You know what they say: when life gives you llamas…




91prEBw23OLThe Hollow Ground by Natalie Harnett

Inspired by real-life events in Centralia and Carbondale, where devastating coal mine fires irrevocably changed the lives of residents, The Hollow Ground is an extraordinary debut with an atmospheric, voice-driven narrative and an indelible sense of place. Lovers of literary fiction will find in Harnett’s young, determined protagonist a character as heartbreakingly captivating as any in contemporary literature.







81o+dSsYH8LThe Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner

Ruth Wariner was the thirty-ninth of her father’s forty-two children. Growing up on a farm in rural Mexico, where authorities turn a blind eye to the practices of her community, Ruth lives in a ramshackle house without indoor plumbing or electricity. In need of government assistance and supplemental income, Ruth and her siblings are carted back and forth between Mexico and the United States, where Ruth’s mother collects welfare. Ruth comes to love the time she spends in the States, realizing that perhaps the community into which she was born is not the right one for her. Recounted from the innocent and hopeful perspective of a child, The Sound of Gravel is the remarkable memoir of one girl’s fight for peace and love.





Lisa’s Recommendations 

41AXAQ6noMLA Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories by Lucia Berlin

With the grit of Raymond Carver, the humor of Grace Paley, and a blend of wit and melancholy all her own, Berlin crafts miracles from the everyday, uncovering moments of grace in the Laundromats and halfway houses of the American Southwest, in the homes of the Bay Area upper class, among switchboard operators and struggling mothers, hitchhikers and addicts. I listened to this book and there is an introduction that discusses Lucia’s life and stories. I found that it was giving too much of her stories away so I finally skipped it and just started listening to the stories themselves. I went back after and looked at prologue and introduction. She spent time in many places including Boulder, Colorado, where she taught at the University of Colorado. She died in 2004. This book is a look at so many lives and situations, surprising, blunt, tragic, funny and sad. It’s one I’m glad I read and I will probably re-read.





51HMfl5xx9L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The Luckiest Alive by Jessica Knoll

Her perfect life is a perfect lie. As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve. But Ani has a secret. There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything. With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, The Luckiest Girl Alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that’s bigger than it first appears.

Come see the author at Douglas County Libraries in Highlands Ranch, James H. LaRue on Saturday, April 23rd at 6:30pm. Books will be sold at the event and book signing to follow presentation.  Register for the event here.



51FJFqMnaBLH is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald 

When Helen MacDonald’s father died suddenly, she fell apart. That’s probably an understatement. She isolated herself from her life in Cambridge, England, and her family and friends. As a poet, and naturalist, Helen wasn’t a stranger to the world of falconry. She decided to adopt one of the most vicious predators of the raptor world, a goshawk she named Mabel. She and Mabel were inseparable from day one whether it was watching TV, or hunting afield. H Is for Hawk is a genre-defying debut from one of our most unique and transcendent voices.






51Pg8QjEJQLThe Taxidermist’s Daughter by Kate Moss

In a remote village near the English coast, residents gather in a misty churchyard. More than a decade into the twentieth century, superstition still holds sway: It is St. Mark’s Eve, the night when the shimmering ghosts of those fated to die in the coming year are said to materialize and amble through the church doors. Alone in the crowd is Constantia Gifford, the taxidermist’s daughter. Twenty-two and unmarried, she lives with her father on the fringes of town, in a decaying mansion cluttered with the remains of his once world-famous museum of taxidermy. As the last peal of the midnight bell fades to silence, a woman is found dead—a stranger Connie noticed near the church. Who is the victim, and why has her death affected Connie so deeply? Why is she watched by a mysterious figure who has suddenly appeared on the marsh nearby? The answers are tied to a dark secret that lies at the heart of Blackthorn House, hidden among the bell jars of her father’s workshop—a mystery that draws Connie closer to danger . . . closer to madness . . . closer to the startling truth.



51JhwrqXcNLThe Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton

I can’t say enough good things about The Secret Wisdom of the Earth. Scotton should be on everyone’s reading list. Timely and timeless, this is a dramatic and deeply moving novel about an act of violence in a small, Southern town and the repercussions that will forever change a young man’s view of human cruelty and compassion. After seeing the death of his younger brother in a terrible home accident, fourteen-year-old Kevin and his grieving mother are sent for the summer to live with Kevin’s grandfather. In this peeled-paint coal town deep in Appalachia, Kevin quickly falls in with a half-wild hollow kid named Buzzy Fink who schools him in the mysteries and magnificence of the woods. The events of this fateful summer will affect the entire town of Medgar, Kentucky.





51IPYQukEhLThe Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler 

Simon Watson, a young librarian, lives alone in a house that is slowly crumbling toward the Long Island Sound. His parents are long dead. His mother, a circus mermaid who made her living by holding her breath, drowned in the very water his house overlooks. His younger sister, Enola, ran off six years ago and now reads tarot cards for a traveling carnival. One June day, an old book arrives on Simon’s doorstep, sent by an antiquarian bookseller who purchased it on speculation. Fragile and water damaged, the book is a log from the owner of a traveling carnival in the 1700s, who reports strange and magical things, including the drowning death of a circus mermaid. Since then, generations of “mermaids” in Simon’s family have drowned–always on July 24, which is only weeks away. Could there be a curse on Simon’s family? What does it have to do with the book, and can he get to the heart of the mystery in time to save Enola? I loved this book; it is magical and quirky. The “mermaids” are mercurial creatures and you can see why men fall under their spell. It’s a look into the traveling shows long ago and how times have, and have not, changed.


One Book 4 Colorado 2016

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Do you have a 4-year-old? Drop by any Douglas County Libraries location to pick up a free copy of Giraffes Can’t Dance. This picture book is the winning title of One Book 4 Colorado. Each year, this non-profit gives away 75,000 copies of one picture book to every 4-year-old in the state.

Reading with preschoolers every day helps get kids ready to learn to read in kindergarten.

Giraffes Can’t Dance is a touching tale of Gerald the giraffe, who wants nothing more than to dance. With crooked knees and thin legs, it’s harder for a giraffe than you would think. Gerald is finally able to dance to his own tune when he gets some encouraging words from an unlikely friend. With light-footed rhymes and high-stepping illustrations, this tale is gentle inspiration for every child with dreams of greatness.

Poetry in Movies

April is National Poetry Month! You could celebrate by checking out some Keats or Frost. Or reading some Neurda or Rilke to your love. Or filling bedtime with the verses of Silverstein or Seuss. Or browsing through an entire anthology of modern poetry, like this or that. Or you could make a movie night!

Poetry in movies? In the words of poet laureate Billy Collins, “poetry tells the story of the human heart.” It is often interweaved in other mediums to better tell the story. Here are some movies that add in poetry really well:

Before Sunrise

Jesse (played by Ethan Hawke) imitates Dylan Thomas reading WH Auden’s “As I Walked Out One Evening”

Four Weddings and a Funeral 

Perhaps the best use of an Auden poem in a movie. Matthew reads “Funeral Blues” during a eulogy.

Dead Poet’s Society

True to the title this movie is filled with poetry: Lord Byron, Robert Frost, William Shakespeare, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Henry David Thoreau. The scene above includes an impassioned reciting of “Oh Me! O Life” by Walt Whitman.

In Her Shoes

Several poems appear in this movie, which is based on the Jennifer Weiner novel of the same title. There is a recitation of “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop and “Let Evening Come” by Jane Kenyon, but this recitation of “I Carry Your Heart with Me” by e. e. Cummings is the most moving of the three.

Sense and Sensibility

The 1995 Ang Lee film of this classic Austen novel includes two recitations of poetry. Marianne Dashwood (the sister embodying “sensibility”/sensitivity/emotionality) is fond of poetry and art. Here is a recitation of Hartley Coleridge’s “Sonnet VII” by John Willoughby (played by Greg Wise).