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  • Portfolio site I made a portfolio website using Adobe’s... 8 January, 2018
    Portfolio site I made a portfolio website using Adobe’s MyPortfolio to show my print design work and some of the book arts education I’ve done, mostly at Indian Springs School, but now also at the Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest.

My first task in this new job is to spend the book budget, which for various reasons hasn’t been spent this year. Happily, this means that I get to buy books with someone else’s money– pretty much the best thing anyone could ever hope to do.  But this also means that I need to have some kind of collection policy.  Although I haven’t developed a strict one yet, I consulted the following in purchasing the first round of books:

  • My knowledge of fiction and poetry
  • My (very well-read) friends’ memories of what books they enjoyed in high school and what current poetry/fiction might interest teenagers.
  • The YALSA lists (we have most of what they recommend).
  • Amazon’s recommendations.
  • Teacher/student recommendations (when available).
  • Reports of our library’s current holdings.
  • A quick look at the shelves to see what’s obviously missing, what books are falling apart/lost, etc. (Had to immediately replace a well-worn paperback copy of Allen Ginsberg poems.)

For the first round of ordering, I stuck to what I knew and what I heard.  We were missing a bunch of HS reading “standards” (Vonnegut, Palahniuk); we had criticism on the poetry of ee cummings and Ferlinghetti, but none of their poetry.  In fact, our poetry collection was pretty conservative (old) and needing a shot of energy in time for National Poetry Month!  I strove to buy hardbacks when available (preferably used but in good condition) and to buy monographs instead of anthologies (although some anthologies are too good to pass up, like the paperback-only Revolution of the Word). I also bought a small collection of books by Arab-American writers for Arab-American Heritage Month (April) because the only thing I know we have is Khalil Gibran.

These are the books we got:

Author Title
Alexander Dean Fundamentals of Play Directing
Alice Notley The Descent of Alette
Alice Notley Grave of Light: New and Selected Poems, 1970-2005
Alice Sebold The Lovely Bones: A Novel
Alice Sebold Lucky
Allen Ginsberg Collected Poems 1947-1997
Ama Ata Aidoo Our Sister Killjoy
Andrew Sanders The Short Oxford History of English Literature
Ayn Rand The Fountainhead
Barbara Stein Martin Fundamentals of School Library Media Management: A How-To-Do-It Manual
Barry Hannah Airships
Bill Bryson Shakespeare: The World as Stage
Bill Bryson Mother Tongue English & How It Got That W
Bill Raoul Stock Scenery Construction : A Handbook
Christian Bök; Eunoia
Chuck Palahniuk Lullaby
Chuck Palahniuk Fight Club: A Novel
Chuck Palahniuk Survivor: A Novel
Chuck Palahniuk Choke
Craig Santos Perez From Unincorporated Territory
Daniel Mendelsohn The Elusive Embrace: Desire and the Riddle of Identity
Darren Wershler-Henry The Tapeworm Foundry: And or the Dangerous Prevalence of Imagination
David Ball Backwards & Forwards: A Technical Manual for Reading Plays
David Brooks The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement
Denise Duhamel Kinky
Douglas A. Martin In the Time of Assignments
E. E. Cummings E. E. Cummings: Complete Poems, 1904-1962
G. Edward Evans Developing Library and Information Center Collections
Gary Short 10 Moons And 13 Horses: Poems
George Johnson In The Palaces Of Memory: How we Build the Worlds Inside Our Heads
Gregory Orfalea Grape Leaves: A Century of Arab American Poetry
Hanif Kureishi The Buddha of Suburbia
Haruki Murakami Kafka on the Shore
Haruki Murakami What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
Hayan Charara Inclined to Speak: An Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Poetry
Irene Gut Opdyke In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer
Isabel Wilkerson The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration
Jack Pendarvis The Mysterious Secret of the Valuable Treasure
Jerome Rothenberg Revolution Of The Word: A New Gathering of American Avant Garde Poetry 1914-1945
John Holloway Illustrated Theatre Production Guide, Second Edition
John Irving A Prayer for Owen Meany
Jonathan Safran Foer Everything Is Illuminated: A Novel
Jonathan Safran Foer Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Jordan Trachtenberg Verses That Hurt: Pleasure and Pain from the POEMFONE Poets
Joy Harjo How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems
Judith Herman Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence–from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror
Ken Auletta Googled: The End of the World As We Know It
Kurt Vonnegut Breakfast of Champions: A Novel
Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse-five or the Children’s Crusade: A Duty Dance With Death
Lawrence Ferlinghetti These Are My Rivers: New & Selected Poems 1955-1993
Leila Ahmed Ph.D Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate
Leonard Shlain The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image
Leonard Shlain Sex, Time and Power: How Women’s Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution
Linda B. Alexander Multicultural Programs for Tweens and Teens
Lyn Hejinian My Life
Madsen Pirie How to Win Every Argument: The Use and Abuse of Logic
Mary Oliver New and Selected Poems: Volume One
Matthew Zapruder American Linden
Michael Cart Young Adult Literature: From Romance to Realism
Michael Cunningham The Hours: A Novel
Mohja Kahf E-mails from Scheherazad
Mohja Kahf The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf: A Novel
Mona Kerby Collection Development for the School Library Media Program: A Beginner’s Guide
Naomi Shihab Nye 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East
Naomi Shihab Nye Habibi
Neil Gaiman The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes
Neil Gaiman The Sandman Vol. 2: The Doll’s House
Neil Gaiman The Sandman Vol. 3: Dream Country
Neil Gaiman The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mist
Neil Gaiman The Sandman Vol. 5: A Game of You
Neil Gaiman Coraline: The Graphic Novel
Nick Flynn Another Bullshit Night in Suck City: A Memoir
Oliver Sacks The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales
Paul Auster The New York Trilogy
Paul Carter The Backstage Handbook: An Illustrated Almanac of Technical Information
Pauline Kaldas Dinarzad’s Children: An Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Fiction
Peter Brook Empty Space
Peter S. Beagle The Last Unicorn
Rae Armantrout Veil: New and Selected Poems
Randa Jarrar Map of Home, A
Robert Creeley Selected Poems, 1945-2005
Sandra Beasley I Was the Jukebox: Poems
Sandra Beasley Theories of Falling
Sherman Alexie The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Sherman Alexie Face
Sonia Sanchez Shake Loose My Skin: New and Selected Poems
T. S. Eliot T. S. Eliot: Collected Poems, 1909-1962
Theresa Hak Jyung Cha Dictee
Tracy Kidder Mountains Beyond Mountains: Healing the World: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer
Walker Percy The Second Coming
William Ball Sense of Direction: Some Observations on the Art of Directing
Yann Martel Life of Pi


  1. Hayan Charara says:

    Hi, Jessica. Glad to see Inclined to Speak, and some books from its contributors on your list, as well as Randa Jarrar’s novel (we are good friends and were coffee buddies during her writing of the novel).

    • I’m honored that you commented. Feel free to recommend other books if you like. Randa actually suggested some of these titles, via a mutual friend (poet Michelle Detorie).

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