7 Hidden Gems from the Library’s eBook Collection

Anyone who is already using Kentucky Libraries Unbound – the collection of eBooks, digital audiobooks, and streaming video that is shared by over 100 libraries across Kentucky – knows that as new items are added throughout the week, they are checked out with lightning speed. New and returning users alike may be interested in these hidden gems that you may have missed from our growing collection of over 50,000 digital items:

1. Little House in the Suburbs: Backyard Farming and Home Skills for Self-Sufficient Living by Deanna Caswell and Daisy Siskins

“The easy-to-follow advice in this book will show you everything you need to know to enjoy an abundant, independent life on food and products grown in your own back yard. You may feel like you have superpowers the first time you prepare a meal using only ingredients you grew in your garden. And is there anything you can’t do after you lather up with a bar of soap that you made in your own home? This book is full of recipes and tips that will help you discover the joy of self-sufficiency. Don’t worry; suburban gardening doesn’t mean you have to rip up your yard, or risk being ostracized by neighbors or your municipality or homeowners association.”

Homesteading; Do-It-Yourself; Home Design & Décor; Nonfiction

2. Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes

“In this Mean Girls meets The Perks of Being a Wallflower tale, narrator Anika Dragomir

is the third most popular girl at Pound High School. But inside, she knows she’s a freak; she can’t stop thinking about former loner Logan McDonough, who showed up on the first day of tenth grade hotter, bolder, and more mysterious than ever. Logan is fascinating, troubled and off-limits. The Pound High queen bee will make Anika’s life hell if she’s seen with him. So Anika must choose–ignore her feelings and keep her social status? Or follow her heart and risk becoming a pariah. Which will she pick? And what will she think of her choice when an unimaginable tragedy strikes, changing her forever?”

Young Adult Fiction; Romance; Contemporary; Coming of Age

3. Come Juneteenth by Ann Rinaldi

“Sis Goose is a beloved member of Luli’s family, despite the fact that she was born a slave. But the family is harboring a terrible secret. And when Union soldiers arrive on their Texas
plantation to announce that slaves have been declared free for nearly two years, Sis Goose is horrified to learn that the people she called family have lied to her for so long. She runs away—but her newly found freedom has tragic consequences.”

Military History; Civil War; Historical Fiction; Young Adult Fiction

4. Cloudy Jewel by Grace Livingston Hill

“A spinster by the standards of her era, Julia Cloud has agreed to spend the rest of her cloudydays engaged in domestic servitude in the household of her sister. Resigned to a lifetime of loneliness, she’s all the more surprised when an unlikely attraction begins to blossom. Cloudy Jewel is a treat for fans of uplifting historical romance.”

“Grace Livingston Hill is the beloved author of more than 100 books. Read and enjoyed by millions, her wholesome stories contain adventure, romance, and the heartwarming triumphs of people faced with the problems of life and love.”

Classic Literature; Romance; Historical Fiction

5. Burnt Tongues: An Anthology of Transgressive Stories edited by Chuck Palahniuk, Richard Thomas, and Dennis Widmyer

“Transgressive fiction authors write stories some are afraid to tell. Stories with taboo subjects, unique voices, shocking images—nothing safe or dry. Burnt Tongues is a collection of transgressive stories selected by a rigorous nomination and vetting process and hand-selected by Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club, as the best of The Cult workshop. These stories run the gamut from horrific and fantastic to humorous and touching, but each leaves a lasting impression.
Some may say even a scar.”

Short Stories; Horror; Anthologies

6. The Healer’s Touch by Lori Copeland

“Lyric Bolton doesn’t ask for much—just friendship and acceptance from her rural HealerMissouri community. But her family is regarded with suspicion and fear because of her mother’s sickness—a sickness of the mind that grows worse by the day. Lyric is resigned to a life of isolation and doesn’t see any way out…but that’s before Ian Cawley bolts into her life on a runaway stallion.

As she opens her heart to Ian, Lyric dares to imagine a different life. But what will happen when he discovers the secret she holds closest of all?”

Romance; Historical Fiction; Christian Fiction; Inspirational Romance

7. This Journal Belongs to Ratchet by Nancy J. Cavanaugh

journal“If only getting a new life were as easy as getting a new notebook. But it’s not. It’s the first day of school for all the kids in the neighborhood. But not for me. I’m homeschooled. That means nothing new. No new book bag, no new clothes, and no friends – old or new. The best I’ve got is this notebook. I’m supposed to use it for my writing assignments, but my dad never checks. Here’s what I’m really going to use it for:
Ratchet’s Top Secret Plan
Project Goal: turn my old, recycled, freakish, friendless, motherless life into something shiny and new.”

Juvenile Fiction; Middle Grade; Childrens


Emily Kean is the Digital Services Librarian at Boone County Public Library and the consortium administrator for Kentucky Libraries Unbound. She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky School of Information Science and has managed electronic resources in special and public libraries for over ten years.

5 Books Recommended by BCPL’s Eclectic Staff Members

People apply for jobs in libraries because they love to read. We are an eclectic group at Boone County Public Library but we have in common our passion for the written word and the desire to share this passion with others. We think there is a book for every person out there and we want to help you find that book. We might not read the same types of books you do, but we work hard to make sure the books you want are available to you. I’ve seen librarians get almost weepy when they were told to remove an old tome from a shelf to make room for a new book: “I know no one has checked this book out in thirty years, but someone might want it some day!”

I asked some of the staff members at the Library to share their favorite books with you. The Library owns all of these titles, so if you discover one you’d like to read you can find it in our catalog at www.bcpl.org and put it on hold.

1. Kaitlin Barber works in the Library’s Local History Department and one of her all-time favorite books is True Grit by Charles Portis.

“People do not give it credence that a fourteen-year-old girl could leave home and go off in the wintertime to avenge her father’s blood but it did not seem so strange then, although I will say it did not happen every day.”

You may have grown up with the 1969 movie with John Wayne, like me, or more recently become acquainted with the story through the Coen Brothers’ 2010 adaptation with Jeff Bridges, but you haven’t done this story justice until you’ve read it. The real hero is Mattie Ross, who comes across as much more likable in the book, while still hard-headed and matter-of-fact. If you can picture your ornery grandma looking back and saying that first line, you will quickly get a feel for Mattie. This is a great read for a father and daughter, fans of the Western Genre, or anyone with an appreciation of the frontier spirit.

2. Michelle Foster manages the Library’s IT Department and she recommends The Initiate Brother by Sean Russell.

The only book that has ever made me cry is the Initiate Brother, book one of a duology by Canadian author Sean Russell.  It is at once familiar and exotic, playing out the common theme of power struggle against a Far Eastern backdrop.  The story centers on Brother Shuyun, a monk in the service of Lord Shonto, governor of an embattled province.  The various characters evolve in subtle and complex ways and soon you are deeply and irrevocably attached to their fate.  Is this high literature?  No.  But it is completely absorbing and definitely worth reading.

3. Jinny Ussel writes technical manuals and designs training modules for the IT Department. She recently read The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd.

This book has stayed with me. It’s the story of a nineteenth century family from Charleston and the slaves they owned. What made it most interesting was hearing the story from the points of view of eleven-year-old Sarah and Hetty, a ten-year-old slave, whom Sarah received as a gift. It’s well-written and truly gives a picture of what life was like during that time.

Some of my favorite parts of the book were the interactions between Hetty and her mother Charlotte. Hetty, whose real name was Handful, was headstrong, just like her mother. Charlotte took chances and disobeyed her owners, even when the consequences were dire. I liked their spirits.

The book was heartbreaking to read at times, because of the cruelty inflicted on the slaves (one section in particular of a slave mother trying to tread on a wheel while her infant is on her back) and all the hardships that Hetty went through. It reminded me of Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt, because it seemed like when you thought things wouldn’t get worse, they did. I continued to hope Hetty would catch a break.

Though the girls came from different backgrounds, they both fought to overcome their stations in life and find freedom. Days after I finished reading, I couldn’t get the vivid imagery of this story out of my mind. The sadness of their struggles was tempered by wit, tenacity, and some successes. It’s frustrating to know that humans were and still can be so cruel and thoughtless to each other. Color of skin or gender roles caused irreparable restrictions of human spirit in Sarah and Hetty. Reading this book made me think about the past and the present for all people. We can’t fix what happened then, but we can work to make sure it doesn’t continue.

4. Assistant Director Shawn Fry recommends The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.

If we have learned anything from Ikea, unique ideas come from Sweden. None more unique than Jonas Jonasson novel about Allan Karlsoon, a former bomb-making scamp who on his 100th birthday decides he would rather skip the party and head off for an adventure. Allan’s plan was to go as far as his pocket change would take him.

He accidentally, kinda, sorta on purpose steals a briefcase filled with cash belonging to the Swedish version of the Hell’s Angels. As he is on the run, well more of a quick shuffle walk, living one adventure, we learn about the previous 100 years of adventure through flashback stories of history changing encounters with Stalin, Churchill, Oppenheimer, Truman, Mao, Franco, and de Gaulle.

This story is humor, mixed in with somewhat historical events, punctuated with a pachyderm vs. man fight scene (spoiler alert, it doesn’t last long nor go well for the man). Best enjoyed by those who believe we can age instead of getting old, and feel their next adventure is only an open window away.

5. My turn! I’m Becky Kempf and I handle the PR and marketing efforts of the Library. My favorite series of books is the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. 

This series of books is about a wizard named Harry Dresden. The books are similar in some ways to the Harry Potter books – they both involve a wizard named Harry and good always triumphs over evil.  Harry Dresden, however, is an adult and the books have some adult situations. The first book, Storm Front, starts kind of slow, but once you get past the first few chapters, if you enjoy supernatural stories, you’ll quickly be hooked. Plus, if you struggle finding things to read, you’ll love the fact that there are already sixteen books in this series. Harry is a young man in the first book and his reputation is in tatters in the wizarding community. I love the way he grows and matures in each book and becomes one of the greatest wizards of all time. Harry never veers from his values and he always puts the lives of others before his. He’s a true hero. He’s oftentimes irreverent and stands up to authority whenever his moral compass directs him to, but you can always count on him to save the day. Each time I open a new book in the series, I get teary-eyed because I’m so happy to hear from Harry again.


Becky Kempf has been the Public Relations Coordinator at Boone County Public Library for twelve years. A graduate of Wright State University, she previously worked for Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana and the Association for the Advancement of Arts Education.