Book Buzz Episode 39 – Things to Look Forward To & The Gilded Ones

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Air date: March 3, 2024  

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Things to Look Forward to

The Gilded Ones

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Hi, this is Jessica Russell. I’m the assistant director of collection services at Sno-Isle Libraries. And welcome to Book Buzz. 

Today's reading recommendations include a fantasy novel and coffee table book full of hope.  

First, we’re going to hear from Michael, library associate at the Mariner Library, for a story of a struggling African teenager. Over to you, Michael. 


“The Gilded Ones” is an exciting, quick paced prose that guides the reader through the events of this story. Deka, a strong young woman, is faced with a choice. Does she stay where she is and embrace the status quo of her village, or does she step outside her comfort zone and do something few others get a chance to do? She struggles with that decision, but thinks she knows what she wants just before a ceremony will be held and decided for her.   

It turns out that she doesn’t get a choice when a series of events catches her off guard and she is caught doing the worst thing she can imagine, being an outcast. A woman finds her in captivity and gives her the opportunity to be a hero. She takes that chance and begins learning about her emperor and the city where she travels to and begins her service. She also finds out more about the people they are at war with.   

The tale was written by Namina Forna, who saw that western literature lacked African characters and black female heroes, and she was driven to change this. This is Forna’s debut novel, and it became a New York Times bestseller and an indie bestseller. This read is recommended for high school and older readers. 


Thanks, Michael. You don’t have to be a teen to enjoy stories with teen heroes. 

Next, let’s hear about tips on positivity, from Kerry, cataloging and acquisitions assistant. Take it away, Kerry. 


If you’re looking for something guaranteed to lift anyone’s spirits at any age, “Things to Look Forward To: 52 Large and Small Joys for Today and Every Day” is the book for you. 

After a rough year or two, author and illustrator Sophie Blackall felt in need of some positive inspiration, so she began to draw a list of things she loved: people, places, and experiences that bring good vibes into her life. The list and the drawings she created are delightful and inspiring to behold! Whether it’s hugging a friend, drawing faces on eggs, patting a friendly dog, or gathering flowers that look like brains, these ideas remind us how much better we can feel by appreciating the small joys of living. 

Speaking of which, I highly recommend looking at this book in person. Venture out to your local bookstore or library and hold a copy in your hands. Pass it on to a friend or even a stranger. The joys of sharing books in real places with real people can be infinite. 

For more books to share in person, check out “I’m So Happy You’re Here” by Liz Climo, “Everyone’s a Aliebn When UR a Aliebn Too” by Jonny Sun, and “The Mysteries” by Bill Watterson. 


Thanks, Kerry! The drawings in this book are delightful — Sophie Blackall is best known as a children’s book illustrator. 

Our recommendations this week are: “The Gilded Ones” by Namina Forna and “Things to Look Forward To” by Sophie Blackall.  

Join us next time, when we’ll explore more great reading recommendations — interesting books you can find at your favorite local bookstore or at your local library.   

Until then, I’m Jessica Russell from Sno-Isle Libraries.  

Thanks for joining us for Book Buzz on KSER. 

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