With the holidays over and the beginning of the new year behind us, we have entered the time of year I like to call “the endless void.” With little to look forward to until spring, grey skies all around us, and daylight disappearing in the blink of an eye, it’s hard not to feel the effects of the winter doldrums. With it, though, it comes the chance to find new and different ways to entertain ourselves. Even though all we really want to do is curl up under a blanket and binge hours of our favorite comfort shows.

If your community is looking for ways to entertain themselves while staying indoors, we are here to help!

Books You Should Know About

Shitty Craft Club by Sam Reece and Lizzie Darden

Buy the ebook here

If you’ve spent any time on a craft of any sort, you know how much can accumulate in the way of supplies. You also know the pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect, even when we’re supposed to be creating something for fun. This book not only encourages you to be imperfect, but it also celebrates the imperfections in our creations.

From the publisher:

Did you know that you are a glorious and incredible artist? Wait, really? Well, you are. Through silly and deeply relatable tales from her life, Sam Reece, founder of the Shitty Craft Club, guides you through dozens of craft projects that give you permission to be as weird, wild, and wonderful as you want to be.

Melding the nihilistic spirit of millennial/Gen Z humor with Amy Sedaris’s gonzo crafting style and a healthy dose of Lisa Frank vibes, the Shitty Craft Club proves there’s no limit to what a craft can be. Making a bunch of pom-poms so you can be your own cheerleader? That’s a craft. Sculpting a rhinestone shrimp out of aluminum foil and a glue gun? A craft. Having literally one sip of water (congrats, by the way)? Yup, you bet—a craft. Because life is hard. So why not spend a bit of time gluing some trash to more trash if it makes you happy?

This is your sign to embrace anti-perfectionism. In times of uncertainty, we all need a little more self-compassion. Treat yourself with kindness and care. Shitty Craft Club gives us the tools to cope in a creative and fun way, without feeling the pressure to make everything perfect.

Board to Death by CJ Connor

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Buy the audiobook here

Board games are the perfect way to spend a cold afternoon or evening, especially with friends. But if actual board games aren’t your cup of tea, there’s a cozy mystery for that. It’s all the entertainment without the overly complex set of rules. With a dash of murder, of course.

From the publisher:

In a trendy Salt Lake City, Utah, neighborhood, Ben Rosencrantz’s board game shop has become a community hotspot for players of all ages—and for killer collectors.

Back in his hometown of Sugar House, running his family’s board game shop and café, Ben Rosencrantz just can’t seem to get his life to pass go, much less collect $200. Once he was a happily married English professor in Seattle. Now he’s a divorced caregiver, looking after his ill father and a Chihuahua named Beans while still figuring out the rules of retail management. At least the town has become more LGBTQ+ friendly than when Ben was a teenager—and that flower shop owner, Ezra McCaslin, enjoys flirting with him.

But despite his usual clientele of gamers, Ben is barely earning enough to keep the store running and stay on top of his father’s medical bills. Then a local toy and game collector named Clive offers him a winning strategy—to purchase a turn-of-the-twentieth-century edition of The Landlord’s Game, the realty and taxation game that inspired Monopoly, at a tenth of the rare edition’s true value. Suspicious of Clive’s shady, low-priced deal, Ben turns the offer down.

Then Clive turns up dead at the front door of Ben’s shop and a backpack full of $100 bills appears on his doorstep. Now Ben is the #1 suspect in Clive’s death, and unless he and Ezra can prove his innocence and find the real killer, he’ll go to jail for murder—and no amount of double dice rolls will set him free.

Mixology and Murder: Cocktails Inspired by Infamous Serial Killers, Cold Cases, Cults and Other Disturbing True Crime Stories by Kierra Sondereker

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True Crime continues to be one of the most popular topics among podcasts and documentaries. Both of which are prime ways to spend the winter. Somehow, it’s just easy to get sucked into a story about a small town you may have visited once and is home to an infamous murder. Grab a friend or two and experiment with some of these recipes, if nothing else you may become a true crime fanatic or develop an interest in mixology!

From the publisher:

Pour yourself a drink and discover your latest true crime obsession—with seventy-five deliciously chilling cocktails and the infamous stories that inspired them.

From terrifying serial killers to baffling cold cases and secretive cults, murderinos can’t get enough of true crime. Now, you have yet another way to dive into these horrifyingly true stories with a first-of-its-kind cocktail book that gives a new meaning to the phrase “bad and boozy.”

Inside Mixology and Murder, you’ll find 75 step-by-step drink recipes alongside the terrifying stories that inspired them, from must-know cases like JonBenét Ramsey and Ted Bundy to lesser-known stories like the Ant Hill Kids cult and the Circleville Letter Writer. This cocktail book is your go-to resource for true crime info and delightfully boozy drinks, including: * Fugitive Fizz * Sazer-Ax Murderer * The Perfect Lime (Mojito) * Amityville Amaretto * Colada Confessions * In Cold Blood Orange * and more!

Mixology and Murder is perfect for any true crime junkie who knows that sometimes the best way to deal with the excitement of a serial killer finally getting caught—or the frustration of finding out that the case is still unsolved—is a good, strong drink.

How to House-Plant by Heather Rodino

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House plants are a touchy subject for most people. You either have a green thumb or you don’t, no matter how many people gift you plants that are supposedly indestructible. But believe it or not, caring for a plant can help beat the winter blues and, once you find the right one, even be a great way to decorate.

From the publisher:

In this beginner’s guide to indoor gardening, you’ll learn how to care for fifty of the most popular houseplants.

Houseplants are more popular than ever: as expert writer and gardening enthusiast Heather Rodino notes, “plants have demonstrated therapeutic value, clean the air, and are an affordable way of decorating, adding beauty to your home, and making even the smallest rented space feel like your own.” She offers a lighthearted, colorfully illustrated overview of caring for your indoor garden, profiling fifty of the most popular houseplants, from the Boston fern and the fiddle-leaf fig to the moth orchid. Her accessible advice on handling pests and diseases, troubleshooting problems, and assessing your growing conditions, will give novices the confidence they need to begin nurturing their own collection. Includes tips and lists detailing everything from which plants are pet-friendly to the top five plants for frequent travelers.

Doodle Days: Over 100 Creative Ideas for Doodling, Drawing and Journaling by Jane Maday

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One of the first things people often do in the new year is buy a journal. The problem often is…what do you do with it? For some a lack of prompts or ideas can be frustrating, especially when you’re trying to use journaling to relieve stress. The same goes for drawing, if you’ve never tried it, how do you know where to start? With 100 prompts for drawing, doodling and journaling, this is the best way to start with something that may be new to you. And once you get started who knows where your own ideas will take you.

From the publisher:

Simple and fun doodle ideas and inspiration for anyone who loves to draw, sketch, or journal

Whether you’re into journaling, drawing, or both, this delightful guide will provide creative ideas and simple instruction for doodling to your heart’s content. Artist and author Jane Maday presents basic techniques, step-by-step instructions, and a world of ideas for drawing animals, flora and fauna, seashells, shapes, and more. The perfect way to add whimsy and fun to any sketchbook, journal, or bujo page, these doodles will make you smile and help you express your creativity, one adorable little doodle at a time.

Creative Watercolor: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners by Ana Victoria Calderon

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As someone who had never touched a paintbrush, no less tried to create anything, watercolor was the easiest way to be introduced to the idea of painting. The expectations are low, and you can just pick a color or two and see what comes of it! Whether the result looks like a flower, a sunset, or just a blob, it’s an easy option when you find yourself stuck in a rut deep in the throes of winter. Turn on your favorite show or playlist and see where it takes you.

From the publisher:

A fun, modern, and practical approach with instructions on how to paint simple motifs, create elegant lettering, and embellish projects beautifully.

Popular watercolor artist and workshop instructor Ana Victoria Calderón shares her step-by-step techniques for painting modern designs in this classic medium. All the fundamentals needed to get started in watercolor are here, allowing you to quickly learn how to create beautiful watercolor paintings. Through a series of easy tutorials and projects, you will:

Discover basic materials and tools, plus options for embellishing your paintings

Master essential techniques, starting with easy warm-up activities. Then, learn to layer, and get into the flow with watercolor

Get an introduction to scanning and digital editing for making multiples

Paint a variety of simple, beautiful designs: flowers and leaves, butterflies and critters, fruits and vegetables, and delightful lettering

Use what you’ve learned to create unique, stylish stationery, including beautiful invitations, place cards, menus, monograms, recipe gift cards, thank you notes—any project you can imagine, for any kind of event you can think of!

Baking Yesteryear by B. Dylan Hollis

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If you’ve had any interaction with TikTok over the last few years, then you know who B. Dylan Hollis is and what he’s famous for. Baking is one of the best ways to pass the time during the winter, or any time really, and some of the recipes in Hollis’s cookbook are perfect for anyone who is in the mood to be experimental with their desserts. The results may surprise you.

From the publisher:

Friends of baking, are you sick and tired of making the same recipes again and again? Then look no further than this baking blast from the past, as B. Dylan Hollis highlights the most unique tasty treats of yesteryear.

Travel back in time on a delicious decade-by-decade jaunt as Dylan shows you how to bake vintage forgotten greats. With a big pinch of fun and a full cup of humor, you’ll be baking everything from Chocolate Potato Cake from the 1910s to Avocado Pie from the 1960s.

Dylan has baked hundreds of recipes from countless antique cookbooks and selected only the best for this bakebook, sharing the shining stars from each decade. And because some of the recipes Dylan shares on his wildly popular social media channels are spectacular failures, he’s thrown in a few of the most disastrously strange recipes for you to try if you dare.

A few of Dylan’s favorites that are going to have you licking your lips and begging for more include:

  • 1900s Cornflake Macaroons
  • 1910s ANZAC Biscuits
  • 1930s Peanut Butter Bread
  • 1940s Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake
  • 1950s Tomato Soup Cake
  • 1970s Potato Chip Cookies

Baking Yesteryear contains 101 expertly curated recipes that will take you on a delicious journey through the past. With a larger-than-life personality and comedic puns galore, baking with Dylan never gets old. We’ll leave that to the recipes.

If you’re looking for more entertainment ideas, you can explore some of our full Reader’s Advisory Lists here:

Craft Book Club

Turn Over a New Leaf

For the New Plant Parent

A Little Something Extra

Support your community by diversifying your Libby offerings with Libby Extras. Today, we’re highlighting Craftsy.

Craftsy and Craftsy en español offer resources for all creative makers, from basic instruction to advanced techniques for fabric and yarn crafts, baking, drawing, and much more.

Test run Libby Extras to see how each service can entertain and educate your patrons!

About the author: Sarah Filiberto spent 10 years in public libraries answering reference questions, providing community outreach to seniors, and even helping run Nerf nights for teens. At OverDrive, she spends most of her time helping public libraries utilize their digital collections and making some of the fun lists you see on Libby! In her spare time she loves to read, cross stitch, and crochet. She can also be found spoiling her 4 year old lab mix, Buddy, and his brother, a 4 year old cat, Franklin.