Books We Love: Under the Udala Trees

Kiyoko Shiosaki shares the joyous experience of discovering a blazing new talent: Chinelo Okparanta, Author of Under the Udala Trees.

By Kiyoko Shiosaki, OPL Collection Development Intern


As NoViolet Bulawayo says in her interview with Chinelo Okparanta, “When you encounter a good storyteller you want to find all of [their] work and inhale it.”

This is exactly how I felt when I checked out Okparanta’s novel Under the Udala Trees  (see 10

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Joan Didion: a Love Song

We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live

This fall brings us a new biography of Joan Didion and an occasion to sing a love song to her. One of my own favorite writers, Joan Didion has published extensively since the early 1960s. She is perhaps best known today for The Year of Magical Thinking, a memoir of grief that she wrote after her husband’s sudden death in 2003 and for which she won the National Book Award in 2005. Didion’s elegant and precise writing spans many genres: fiction, essays, memoirs, and screenwriting.

Some of her most intriguing work, for this Californian, are the ones whose subject is California itself. From

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Oakland Public Library's 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

Our holiday advice? Give a book!

What would a librarian recommend as a great holiday gift? A book of course! And we're proud to help with our first ever Holiday Gift Guide, featuring some of our favorite books this season. And as if that weren't great enough, we're capping it off with a list of local indie bookstores where you can buy these gems. (Call ahead to confirm availability!)

This page has recommendations for adults and teens, plus check out our gift guide for children's books here. You can also view the teen recommendations on Pinterest here.

Books For Adults

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10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in November 2015

It's getting cold--time to curl up with a great book! Here are 10 coming out this month.

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They're All Dead.

All the good ones are dead. Some amazing writers have left us this year. Who will you miss most?

My plan was to tell you all about this great book: How to be a Friend to a Friend who's Sick, but then my sick friend died so I never finished the book. Instead, for these Days of the Dead, our days to remember and honor our beloved deceased; I thought I'd remind you of all the awesome authors who've passed away this year. Biographies, written while the authors were still alive, provided by the publishers.

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New Ghostly Delights

Check out a ghost story for Halloween.

Have you read a good ghost story lately? With Halloween just a few days away, why not check out one of these new titles featuring ghosts both figurative and literal. Whether you like spooky stories or something more amusing, if you're looking for a good ghost story, read on.

Ghost Summer     Trigger Warning    

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Advice for Readers Librarian Recommendations Featured on Overdrive

Get started on Overdrive for eBooks and eAudio Librarian recommendations, and more.

Hiya eBook Readers! Here's a tip: You can find titles featured in this blog on Overdrive. We are maintaining a featured collection list entitled, Advice for Readers Blog Picks. Go directly there anytime to scroll through eBook and eAudio librarian recommendations, dating back to our first post in July 2012. Get started with this videoAdditional E-Book Help is available on an appointment basis. 

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10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in October 2015

The days grow shorter, the nights grow longer... time for something terrific to read! Here are 10 great October releases.

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The Supermoon and other Astronomical Phenomena

Learn more about Sunday's supermoon.lunar eclipse.

If you're under 33 years-old, you've never seen a supermoon lunar eclipse. And if you're older than 33, it's been a while. Now's your chance to view this phenomenon!  This Sunday night a blood-red moon will appear in the sky, announcing the lunar eclipse. While the earth is lined up between the full moon and the sun during the eclipse a bit of sunlight still reaches the moon, bathing it in a reddish color. 

Sunday's lunar eclipse is unique because the moon will be closer to the earth than usual, making it appear bigger -- a supermoon. This is the first supermoon lunar eclipse since 1982 and will be the last until 2033.   

The NASA website has in-depth information about Sunday's supermoon eclipse. If you're intersted in learning more about viewing eclipses or other astronomical phenomena, take a look at the following titles from OPL's collection. Happy

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Hey, That Harry Potter Lady Can Write

Career of evil, the third in the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith, comes out in October. How does Robert Galbraith's new adult mystery series compare to J.K. Rowling's world of Harry Potter, you ask?


I imagine that JK Rowling began her new Cormoran Strike mystery series under the pen name of Robert Galbraith so that readers wouldn’t make assumptions or judge it alongside her ubiquitous children’s fantasy series. I can only speculate that her publisher then leaked the author’s true identity to boost the modest initial sales of the first title in the series, The cuckoo

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