Archive for September, 2023

Friday, September 29th, 2023

TinyCat’s September Library of the Month: DANK Haus German American Cultural Center

I had the pleasure of interviewing a wonderful cultural center for TinyCat’s Library of the Month, the DANK Haus German American Cultural Center based out of Chicago. Cultural Director Sarah Matthews was kind enough to field my questions this month. She didn’t hesitate to give much praise to volunteer librarian Chris Graves, who spends time every week helping out at the library! Here’s what they shared about their work:

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”? 

The DANK Haus German American Cultural Center’s mission “is to preserve and promote German culture, heritage, and language through maintaining a center consisting of a museum, art gallery, library, and language school, and organizing educational and social programming focusing on and emphasizing the history, traditions, and contributions of Germans and German Americans.” The DANK Haus library is one important element of our center, and features a variety of German literature, both fiction and nonfiction. The books in our library are written in German and accommodate young adult and adult readers.

Tell us some other interesting things about how your library supports the community.

Another aspect of the DANK Haus is our school, or Kinderschule, where we offer children’s classes and adult language classes, and our library has the opportunity and ability to directly support our school. While the library on our fourth floor contains our young adult and adult literature, our children’s books are located on the third floor where the school classrooms are, so students can have these resources readily available to them. However, you do not need to be enrolled in the school to use our library! Anyone is welcome to not only visit the library, but check out books when interested.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

I love that our collection is tailored to a wide range of genres and reading levels. We offer books for a younger audience such as Schöneli und Schlau, which is a short chapter book that features small illustrations. I also appreciate our selection of cookbooks in German, like Brot und Brötchen. This way readers can not only explore the German language, but German culture, as well. Lastly, I am glad we have a nice selection of German language, grammar, and vocabulary books on hand for people to use, especially since a portion of our visitors and members are learning German through our school.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

Currently, our in person engagement in the library is low. Groups pre-COVID-19 pandemic regularly used the space for library and language related events, but establishing that type of gathering has been difficult to accomplish again. DANK Haus would love to establish more regular, consistent hours of operation for the library, and offer more events in our space to allow for a wider audience to be reached and for our library resources to be used more frequently!

What’s your favorite thing about TinyCat, and what’s something you’d love to see implemented/developed?

I really appreciate the ease and accessibility TinyCat offers. Especially for people who maybe don’t frequent library cataloging systems and online databases often, TinyCat’s cataloging system is easy to use, and people with varying technological skill sets can effectively search for what they are looking for. On that note, however, Chris, our weekly volunteer librarian at the center suggested one improvement could be to add a help link to show people how to search for books using the catalog, just in case visitors prefer to learn from specific, written instructions.

That’s a great suggestion. We have a Help page for patrons here, in the Help Wiki, but perhaps we should automatically show that within TinyCat. You can always link to it from your Homepage, if you’d like. I hope this helps!

Want to learn more about DANK Haus?

Visit their website at, and explore their full TinyCat collection here.

To read up on TinyCat’s previous Libraries of the Month, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

Want to be considered for TinyCat’s Library of the Month? Send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Tuesday, September 19th, 2023

Welcome Lauren!

LibraryThing is pleased to welcome Lauren (LibraryThing Lauren-at-LT, Litsy Lauren-at-LibraryThing) to the team, as our newest librarian and developer!

Lauren comes to LibraryThing with over ten years of experience working in libraries and technology. Her technical background includes Java and Python programming, test engineering, web and graphic design, and UI/UX (User Interface/User Experience). Lauren learned about the Developer position on, so she gets to keep the “Finder’s Fee” of $1,000 in books!

Say hello on the Welcome Lauren Talk topic.

About Lauren
After earning her MLIS from Kent State University in 2016, Lauren began her career in librarianship as a Youth Services Librarian. Since then, she has had the joy of working as a School Media Specialist in the K–12 system, and an Academic Librarian.

In 2022, Lauren decided to pursue her longtime interest in coding, and completed technical training to become a Software Development Engineer in Test. She will be working on, as well as our library products, Syndetics Unbound,, and TinyCat.

Lauren lives with her husband, daughter, and two dogs. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, yoga, and painting.

Favorite Authors: C.S. Lewis, J. Kenji López-Alt, Stuart Turton, and Mo Willems
Favorite Illustrators: Lorena Alvarez, Zachariah OHora, Vera Brosgol, and Dan Santat

LibraryThing Member: Lauren-at-LT
Litsy Member: Lauren-at-LibraryThing

Labels: employees

Monday, September 11th, 2023

An Interview with Jarret Keene

LibraryThing is pleased to sit down this month with author Jarret Keene, who is an assistant professor in the Department of English at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he teaches American literature and the graphic novel. His publications range across a number of genres, from his rock band biography, The Killers: Destiny Is Calling Me, to his travel guide, The Underground Guide to Las Vegas. He has co-edited a number of short story collections, including Las Vegas Noir and Dead Neon: Tales of Near-Future Las Vegas. His latest offering, Hammer of the Dogs, is a dystopian adventure set in an apocalyptic Las Vegas, and was published earlier this month by the University of Nevada Press.

Hammer of the Dogs has been compared by reviewers to such works as The Hunger Games and Divergent—both very popular works of dystopian fiction. Were these books an influence on your story? What were some other influences?

Yes, of course The Hunger Games and Divergent were an influence on Hammer of the Dogs: the books are so fun! But I went back into the past to study the darker, violent influences on these books: Koushon Takami’s Battle Royale, Stephen King’s The Long Walk, Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, Frank Herbert’s Dune, Jack Kirby’s X-Men comics. The best dystopian YA stories tend to explore an intriguing premise: savage yet gifted kids under extreme pressure from corrupt government forces, forced to fight each other and survive lethal threats. Hammer of the Dogs picks up the conceit and cranks it to eleven, with the protagonist, Lash, armed to the teeth and ready to smash the world in order to save her friends and rescue her father.

Dystopian fiction has become increasingly popular in the last twenty years, within the wider world of speculative fiction. Why is that? Is it simply a reflection of our growing concern for the future of humanity and the world around us? What’s significant about this genre of storytelling, and what does it allow the writer to do, that they couldn’t otherwise?

In our teens, we realize that adult life is dystopian. Today the internet and social media amplify the anxiety of youth with “likes” and “comments.” Now young people run a terrifying gauntlet: tech inundation, college debt, unaffordable housing, COVID lockdowns, endless vaccines, school shootings. The reflection is crystal-clear, and the dystopian YA genre allows us to explore the full range of nightmares, and to give solutions if we’re interested. That’s why the genre continues to grow in popularity. Lash’s solution in Hammer of the Dogs is to pick up the deadly tech and refashion her environment. Passivity isn’t an option. Anyhow, it’s fun to wreck and rebuild. As long as you know how to rebuild.

Las Vegas features prominently in your work, both fiction and nonfiction, and is the setting for Hammer of the Dogs. What role, if any, does the city setting, and the wider Nevada landscape, play in your story? What made you choose the Luxor Hotel as the headquarters for Lash’s school? Are there other Las Vegas and Nevada landmarks that make an appearance in the book?

Las Vegas is a sinful, eyeball-seducing playground. Nevada is a frightening military playground. Yet the desert and mountains are gorgeous. Few realize this, and I wanted Hammer of the Dogs to depict Las Vegas in an unfamiliar way, as a site of desert warfare and twisted entertainment. But Las Vegas is also a blank slate of promise. Las Vegas has been this way since its inception, with the media and government masking its true potential. The book’s hero, Lash, eventually sees the city’s mask, and rips it away. So Las Vegas, plus the surrounding valley, is a character all its own. I chose Luxor, because I used to work there in the communications department. For years, I wrote employee newsletters in the bottom of a pyramid, spotlighting sous chefs and Cirque due Soleil acrobats and guest room attendants. Everything I describe in Hammer of the Dogs, from the employee dining commons to the Luxor Sky Beam, is how I experienced it. It was a world within a world, and we competed with other hotel-casinos on the Las Vegas Strip in fundraising efforts, in physical competitions (including hot dog-eating contests), and we were subject to brainwashing by corporate management and the unions alike. It was easy to extrapolate and imagine gangs of teenagers housed in each hotel/casino—Bellagio, CityCenter, Mandalay Bay, Excalibur—plotting to kill all rivals using drone technology. I use everything in Las Vegas—Boulder City, Hoover Dam, Las Vegas Speedway, Fremont Street Experience, the gypsum mines, The Shops at Crystals—as a background against which Lash wages war.

In your work as an educator you explore and teach about the graphic novel format. How has this impacted your writing? Would you say that your storytelling style is a very visual one, or that you have particular images in mind, when writing? What came first, when you were writing this book: ideas, words, characters, images?

Teaching the graphic novel inspires my writing, which is highly visual. I wrote Hammer of the Dogs as a “movie tie-in novel,” the kind that used to be abundant in the 1980s. Every fun sci-fi/fantasy movie (Krull, Tron, The Last Starfighter) back then had a novelization for sale at the mall bookstore. I “saw” the story unfold before I wrote down a word, which helped me accelerate the pacing and maintain the headlong momentum. So Hammer of the Dogs is, in essence, one revved-up cinematic set piece after another, until the very end where I intentionally let the story go off the rails. Lash isn’t patient. She wants to search and destroy, and I did my best to remove the boring parts so that Lash shines and sheds copious amounts of bad-guy blood. She wanted to fall in love with a bad boy, so I helped her with that as well. Lash made this book adventure-packed, fun, easy to write. So yes, images and ideas always arrived first—then character, then words.

As an educator, you work with younger adults, and your novel is aimed at that demographic (among others). What is important, when telling a story for this audience? Does awareness of the audience change how you write?

I wrote Hammer of the Dogs for a younger audience, sure, but I layered in Easter eggs for Gen Ex-ers and Boomers to savor. There’s a nod to postwar popular culture in every page, from Jack Schafer’s Shane to The Empire Strikes Back to Alice Cooper’s Constrictor. There’s a LOT of references to ’80s hard rock and glam metal, with Lash blasting her dad’s music on his old Walkman whenever she needs to get psyched for battle. I think it’s important to NOT condescend to readers by only presenting one generation’s cultural references. Young people are curious, old people are curious. People are curious to learn about pop culture from every era. So I believe it’s important to satisfy a young reader’s curiosity and take them places they’ve never even considered. I also wanted to take young readers on a mythic journey with Lash. That’s the awareness I brought to every sentence in Hammer of the Dogs: I want younger readers, older readers, any and all readers to be swept up in the momentum of Lash’s adventure. I didn’t change the way I write exactly, but I certainly laser-focused on what makes for full-throttle storytelling.

Tell us about your library. What’s on your own shelves?

If you visit my LibraryThing page, you’ll see my favorite books. But my office shelves are loaded with Jack Kirby-rendered comic books, books about Greek and Roman myths and ancient and classical warfare, and various versions and translations of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. Because I teach American literature and world literature, I have so many favorites, including Stephen Crane’s The Black Riders and Other Lines, Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ The Yearling, Isabel Allende’s Zorro, to name a few. I love the classics, but I get a lot of pleasure from reading comics.

What have you been reading lately, and what would you recommend to other readers?

I recently finished reading and highly recommend the following, especially if you have a taste for alternative, non-corporate literature and writing:

Stephen B. Armstrong’s rock history I Want You Around: The Ramones and the Making of Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (Backbeat, 2023)

Bernard Schopen’s Drowning in the Desert: A Nevada Noir Novel (University of Nevada Press, 2023)

Justin Chin’s poetry collection Burden of Ashes (Manic D Press, 2023)

Chris Mullen’s six-book YA Western series Rowdy (Wise Wolf Books, 2022-2023)

Ryan G. Van Cleave’s YA nonfiction book The Witness Trees: Historic Moments and the Trees Who Watched Them Happen (Bushel & Peck Books, 2023)

Labels: author interview, interview

Friday, September 1st, 2023

September 2023 Early Reviewers Batch Is Live!

Win free books from the September 2023 batch of Early Reviewer titles! We’ve got 208 books this month, and a grand total of 4,215 copies to give out. Which books are you hoping to snag this month? Come tell us on Talk.

If you haven’t already, sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing/email address and make sure they’re correct.

» Request books here!

The deadline to request a copy is Monday, September 25th at 6PM EDT.

Eligibility: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to Canada, the UK, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, Denmark, Finland, France and more. Make sure to check the message on each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

Coyote StoriesThe Story of Your Home: A Room-By-Room Guide to Designing with Purpose and PersonalityCrowned with Glory: How Proclaiming the Truth of Black Dignity Has Shaped American HistoryThe Andromeda's CrewGeneration AnnihilationWith a Blighted TouchA Dugout to PeaceThe Last ImmortalHer Secret HopeThe Warsaw SistersCharlie Chaplin vs. America: When Art, Sex, and Politics CollidedKnowing YouTo Spark a MatchRocky Mountain PromiseThis Passing HourGlass HouseEverything You Know About Dinosaurs Is Wrong!Time to Move South for WinterTransported: 50 Vehicles That Changed the WorldWe're Going on a Present HuntSanta Claus and the Three BearsA History of the World in 25 CitiesJust a Minor Threat: The Minor Threat Photographs of Glen E. FriedmanSummer of Hamn: Hollowpointlessness Aiding Mass NihilismCrimson WhisperRe: Apotheosis - MetamorphosisTales from a Teaching Life: Vignettes in VerseNative Knowings: Wisdom Keys for One and AllHow to Negotiate with Oracle: Proven Strategies to Help You Maximise Value and Minimise CostsBoobs of Steel - Decoding the AmazonYpHiTime MachinePoker, Politics & Presidents: How Card Playing and Other Games Impacted the Presidency—From George Washington to Joe BidenGhostly Demarcations: New Poems & The Pandemic PapersJust How EmptyDark Feminine: poetry, prose & the in-betweenThe Last Flight Out: New and Selected PoemsNovemberFlash Gardens and Other Short Fiction: Volume OneFlash Gardens and Other Short Fiction: Volume TwoTroubling the Water: The Urgent Work of Radical BelongingFalling from DisgraceFalling from DisgraceChasing Giants: In Search of the World's Largest Freshwater FishDrowning in the DesertBinky's Protectors: Bk II REVELATIONSA Tale of Five Balloons(IN)SIGHTS: Thirty Years of Peacemaking in the Olso ProcessRestaurant Review Travel Guide: Columbus, OH: We Review the Best Restaurants in the CityThe Toxic Female Gaze: Cue the 'Mean Girls' ReferencesThe Problem with the Male GazeWonder Woman 84's Mistaken Message to WomenSolomon's Pond18194 days in the life of a pigmanBoleyn TimeStorm ChaserThe Darkest StarsEarth Magic & Hot WaterCrown of Salt and BoneThe Order of the BansheeSummoned by DragonsDirty Leeds: Don Revie & the Art of WarLet There Be Light - Genesis: The Simple Meaning of the TextThe Prophets of Gentilly TerraceAlmond, Quartz, and FinchThree Adult LivesPocket Full of PoseysWalking on Divided PathsSudoku Stonkers 2When Light Breaks Through: A Salem Witch Trials StoryGemma & LucasUS Security Issues and World War IThe GlasshouseAnything But Yes: A Novel of Anna Del Monte, Jewish Citizen of Rome, 1749The Ones They TookDim Sum PalaceHans Christian Andersen Lives Next DoorHouse of Ash and BoneThe Relaxsaurus Bedtime Meditation Stories for Kids: A Collection of Calming Dinosaur Stories with Positive Affirmations to Help Children Fall Asleep with Beautiful DreamsHow to Give Your Cat a Bath: In Five Easy StepsMama's Sleeping ScarfThe SheBladefoot: ApocalypseHow to Negotiate with Microsoft: Proven Strategies to Help You Maximise Value and Minimise CostsNarwhal and Jelly: Super Pod Party Pack!PloofPrincesses Versus DinosaursThe Manor House GovernessMacroeconomics Essentials You Always Wanted to KnowServices Marketing Essentials You Always Wanted to KnowOrdinary People - Or Are They?The Ruffled OwlThe Abundant Life: Practical Theology for Abundant LivingA Mother's Gift: Ten Little ToesI Love You GoogolTen Little FingersSignaturesOne of Us Is GoneThe First UnicornA Footnote to PlatoI Am Changing Careers: Questions to Guide A Job SeekerThe Vanquisher of Kings IA Residue of HopePlease DO NOT Go To LondonPlease DO NOT Go To ParisBittersweet BreadcrumbsWe Used to Be Different: A Collection of Stories and MiniaturesPlease DO NOT Go To BangkokThe Road to MorescoPainting the Grand Homes of California's Central ValleyFar OutA Measure of RhymeThe PalisadesDeath DateKeyholeQueens of MoiraiPersonal DemonsEARTH MOVERS: Determined Kids Battle Evil AliensThe Other Side of the Looking-GlassEmbers in the WindThe Import SlotThe Prophet's Mother TrilogyBuried By SunsetMushroom CloudThe Pirate's Curse: Brigands of the Compass RosePlant-Based Meal PrepRiders in DisguiseJackson Haines: The Skating KingRebecca Reznik Reboots the UniverseBill's BytesJourneys of the Lost: The Saga of CaneConfronting Power and Chaos: The Uncharted Kaleidoscope of My LifeIn River CardinalThe Universal Rejuvenation Program and The Laws of Metabolic EfficiencyOf Light and NightmaresDressing for DreamtimeFirefaxPledgeAwakenedFaraway and Forever: More StoriesCubicle to Corner Office: The Ultimate Survival Guide to Your First Job!Eddie's WarA Heart Made of Tissue PaperMore Than TrumpThe Dayhiker's Guide to the National Parks: 280 Trails, All 63 ParksCoralee - A Mermaid's TaleA Counterfeit of DeathThe Air LoungeThe Road to MorescoSisters of the SoulThe Blizzard's SecretsWords with My Father: A Bipolar Journey Through Turbulent TimesKindle Paperwhite User Guide 2023: The Perfect Kindle Paperwhite Manual for Beginners, Seniors, and New Kindle UsersSwapThe Book of Annie: Humor, Heart, and Chutzpah from an Accidental InfluencerThe Hand of God: From Oppenheimer to Hypersonics - A Crash Course on Nuclear Weapons and Humankind's Most Dangerous GameOpen for Interpretation: A Doctor's Journey into AstrologyWar Angel: Korea 1950You Are Not Alone—Understanding And Working Through Postpartum Depression: A Common Condition So Often MisunderstoodThe Well-Mannered Horse: Developing an Ideal Equine BuddyAnywhere for YouHarmonic DissonanceWars of the New Humanity: Collection OneThe Yawning GapThe Pike BoysThe Thief and the HistorianOverthinking Override: An Eight-Step Guide to Master Your Mind, Conquer Stress, and Break Free From AnxietyInconvenienceA Good Rush of BloodPlayin' Possum: My Memories of George JonesThe Mechanics of Changing the World: Political Architecture to Roll Back State & Corporate PowerThe Morgan Film: A JFK Assassination StorySolving the Climate Crisis: A Community Guide to Solving the Biggest Problem on the PlanetOcellicon: Future VisionsStrong in LoveCinders to DustQuantum Reaction8 Essential Steps to Inspire Others & Build A Thriving Workforce: The Servant Leadership AdvantageRide into RomanceEugene J. McGillicuddy's Alien Detective AgencyA Love Story: Ten Sturdy FingersFlames of EaderLiving SecretsThe Dangers of Being Brave & TrueThis Kind Goes Not Except by Fasting and Prayer: Breaking the Invincible Chains Blocking Your BlessingsShadow Work for Women: A Comprehensive Workbook for Self-Discovery, Emotional Healing, and Personal GrowthSacrificial Lamb ClubStrength Training for Seniors: Rewrite Your Fitness Journey Using Simple and Effective Exercises That Help You Improve Balance, Build Confidence and Boost EnergyAbby's FireKisses Don't LieThe Pen Thief and the Division of DestinyBiting Thorns Off RosesBelle and Chloe: Reflections in the MirrorI, AIPoetry for PupsCasting Out Demons for Fun and ProfitPeople Person: How to Talk to Anyone, Improve Social Awkwardness, and Communicate with Ease and ConfidenceThe Repurposed SpyWord PetalsWorkbook: The Silva Mind Control Method: The Revolutionary Program by the Founder of the World’s Most Famous Mind Control CourseThe Stroke Recovery Activity WorkBookThe Stroke Recovery Activity WorkBookFall Word Search Large Print for Adults & Seniors: 100+ Autumn Word Puzzles to Stimulate Your Brain and Reduce Stress AnywhereFall Word Search Large Print for Adults & Seniors: 100+ Autumn Word Puzzles to Stimulate Your Brain and Reduce Stress AnywhereWinter Word Search Large Print for Adults & Seniors: 100+ Autumn Word Puzzles to Stimulate Your Brain and Reduce Stress AnywhereHalf a Cup of Sand and SkyWinter Word Search Large Print for Adults & Seniors: 100+ Autumn Word Puzzles to Stimulate Your Brain and Reduce Stress AnywhereFrom Worrier to Warrior: Tools and Techniques for Overcoming Overthinking and Living Confidently

Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

01Publishing Akashic Books Alcove Press
Anaphora Literary Press Beaufort Books Bethany House
BHC Press Bricktop Hill Books Broadleaf Books
Cardinal Rule Press Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC City Owl Press
Consortium Book Sales and Distribution Cynren Press FTL Publications
Gefen Publishing House Greenleaf Book Group Hawkwood Books
Legacy Books Press Liz Fe Lifestyle Mint Editions
NeoParadoxa New Wind Publishing NewCon Press
Nosy Crow US PublishNation Revell
Sea Vision Publishing Simon & Schuster Soul*Sparks
Tiny Fox Press Tundra Books Underland Press
University of Nevada Press University of New Orleans Press University of North Georgia Press
Useful Publishing Vibrant Publishers Wise Media Group

Labels: early reviewers, LTER