By: Todd Warhola, Librarian and Collectioin Development Analyst.  

A long weekend is coming. We can’t treat a long weekend the same way we treat an ordinary weekend. It’s not just a bonus day, it’s a change in our state of mind. This first Saturday is a super Saturday. Most Saturdays, don’t get me wrong, feel amazing, but a long weekend Saturday is like the ultimate free pass. It’s the first of a double Saturday without the Sunday morning blues. We need to take advantage of these days and the best way to do that is to have a plan.

I look at a long weekend as a chance to do one of three things: Learn Something New, Do Something New, or to Avoid Doing Anything. I’ll admit the third one is a lot more likely to happen, but it’s good to have goals even if we fail to achieve them. Here are a few books that can help you to do (or not do) each of these things.

Learn Something:

Paper by Mark Kurlansky
Kurlansky is known for his Micro-histories. He previously published histories of both Cod and Salt. This book looks back at the impact of paper on society from its earliest iterations to the printing press and beyond. With all the talk about “going paperless,” Kurlansky brings our focus to the amazing impact of perhaps the most mundane of objects.

Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson
Everyone knows about Camelot, JFK, and RFK – Beautiful people tossing a football around on Cape Cod. This book follows one of the lesser known Kennedys, Rosemary. Rosemary’s intellectual disability was kept secret for decades. While the family became more and more in the American spotlight, Rosemary was ushered away and out of site.

Do Something:

Teeny Tiny Gardening by Emma Hardy
My wife and I just recently bought our first house. So, for the first time, we have space to grow a garden. However, after years of living in small apartments, we have really grown accustomed to having growing tomatoes in a coffee mug on the window sill. In Teeny Tiny Gardening Emma Hardy gives step by step directions in order to scale your gardening no matter the space. Do you have a full backyard garden? Great! Do you have a tiny broken pot near a window? Even better!

Hand-Built Outdoor Furniture: 20 Step-by-Step Projects Anyone Can Build by Katie Jackson
As I mentioned before, I bought a house. It has a deck. I’m really excited about both of those things. There is something about owning a house that makes you want to buy a circular saw and make a chair so you can sit in your hard barefoot. Is that just me? Hand-Built Outdoor Furniture does a wonderful job of starting with the basics. Jackson explains what to buy and where to buy it. From a flower box to a chair lounge, there are projects here for woodworking enthusiasts of all abilities.

Avoiding Doing Anything:

Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine by Diane Williams
I love to get lost in a good collection of short stories. Diane Williams’ collection, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, is a marvel. They are short but powerful. Her precise wit and humor will amaze.

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
This may not be your average piece of pleasure reading but The Sympathizer will thrill. A past Vietnamese army captain living in the United States after the war. It tackles tough subjects about war, our nation, and the meaning of loyalty.