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Bookends: Rainbow Rowell cracks top books of 2010s list

Bookends: Rainbow Rowell cracks top books of 2010s list

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Yeah, this seems to be jumping the gun. But to be fair, there have been many, many great books to come out in the past five years.

The Oyster Review has named the 100 best books of the 2010s so far. What makes the list most interesting is its genre-agnostic mix of fiction and nonfiction, YA and Great American Angry White Man novels, journalism and fantasy.

The No. 1 best book of the decade so far, according to the site, is “Open City” by Teju Cole. Rounding out the top 10 are “Just Kids” by Patti Smith, “Life After Life” by Kate Atkinson, “The Tiger’s Wife” by Téa Obreht, “The Emperor of All Maladies” by Siddhartha Mukherjee, “Skippy Dies” by Paul Murray, “A Visit From the Goon Squad” by Jennifer Egan, “The Empathy Exams” by Leslie Jamison, “The Unnamed” by Joshua Ferris and “People Who Eat Darkness” by Richard Lloyd Parry.

Obligatory mention: Coming in at No. 15 is “Eleanor & Park” by Rainbow Rowell.

See the full list of books at

8 Nebraska authors win Arts Council fellowships

Eight Nebraska writers have won the Nebraska Arts Council’s 2015 Individual Artist Fellowship awards in literature.

The program recognizes exemplary work by Nebraska artists and divides $20,000 among the winners each year.

This year’s winners: Lindsey Baker, Omaha; Erik Campbell, Lincoln; Paul Dickey, Omaha; Terry L. Schifferns, Gibbon; Lisa Knopp, Lincoln; Amy Knox Brown, Lincoln; Kelly Madigan, Lincoln; Kailee Marie Pedersen, Lincoln.

Omaha Public Library going green this month

Omaha Public Library branches are celebrating Earth Day all month long.

Events to take place this month are getting crafty with gardening; creating upcycled book planters; green cleaning; turning old T-shirts into no-sew totes, necklaces and scarves; and much more.

For more info on the programs, go to

Midlands native to start digital romance comics mag

Janelle Asselin is launching Fresh Romance, a digital comics romance magazine.

Asselin, who was raised in Waterloo, Nebraska, and Malvern, Iowa, said she wants to forge a new future for romance comics with diverse stories and characters everyone can relate to.

The new digital magazine, which is expected to debut in May, will be a monthly anthology of stories ranging from “a clandestine, queer high school love affair to an impeccably researched and illustrated Regency-era romance.”

In addition to three romances, each issue will offer a relationship advice column, behind-the-scenes art coverage and a fashion report.

Asselin also is a senior editor of and a former DC Comics editor.

You can keep up on the latest with Fresh Romance at

Fourth-grade teacher publishes novel

Madonna Ball, a fourth-grade teacher at Saddlebrook Elementary School in Omaha Public Schools, has published the novel “Memories of a Mud Bee” with Humble Hound Publishing.

The book, set in an industrial suburb of Detroit during the 1970s, tells the story of a troubled family still in mourning from an accident that took place almost 10 years earlier.

Eight-year-old Suzanne feels the most safe while fantasizing about another life, away from alcoholic fathers, negligent mothers and dead brothers.

When she strikes up a friendship with the new hippie couple next door, she starts asking questions about her own family life.

Ball is a Michigan native who now lives in Omaha.

New books in stores Tuesday

“Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination” by J.K. Rowling: The “Harry Potter” author’s Harvard commencement speech in book form, with illustrations by Joel Holland.

“KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps” by Nikolaus Wachsmann: A historian zooms in on the specifics of the Nazis’ camp system, from the camps’ origins to the ghastly conditions of its inhabitants. Not a beach read.

On the calendar

Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.

Book group: The Books and Bagels book group will discuss “Cocaine Blues: A Phryne Fisher Mystery” by Kerry Greenwood, 11 a.m. today, The Bookworm, 90th Street and West Center Road.

Family event: Storybook Land celebration, in which characters from children’s literature come to life to read books during storytime, 1 to 4 p.m. today, Benson Library, 6015 Binney St.

Book reading: Mark Wisniewski, author of “Watch Me Go,” 1 p.m. today, Harper Center, Room 3027, Creighton University.

Writers group: Genealogy Writers Group, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. today, Meeting Room 1, W. Dale Clark Library, 215 S. 15th St. No registration required.

Workshop: Legend Writers Group, all genres, 9 a.m. Wednesday, Legend Comics & Coffee, 5207 Leavenworth St.

Book group: The Spring Pop-Up Discussion Group focusing on plants and flowers will discuss “Seven Flowers: And How They Shaped Our World,” 1 p.m. Wednesday, The Bookworm.

Author appearance: Darlyn Finch Kuhn will sign and read from her new novel, “Sewing Holes,” 6 p.m. Wednesday, The Bookworm.

Workshop: Nebraska Writers Workshop. Teen mentoring at 5:30 p.m. Adults from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Baright Public Library, 5555 S. 77th St., Ralston.

Book sale: Friends of the Omaha Public Library, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Swanson Library, 9101 West Dodge Road.

Book group: The World War II At Night Group will discuss “Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy” by Eri Hotta, 6 p.m. Thursday, The Bookworm.

Book group: The As the Worm Turns Book Group will discuss “The Cold Dish” by Craig Johnson, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, The Bookworm.

Workshop: Writers Workshop, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Scooters, 9229 Mormon Bridge Plaza.

Writers group: Nebraska Novelists critique group, 7 p.m. Friday, cafe in Barnes & Noble at Crossroads Mall, 72nd and Dodge Streets.

Author appearance: Elizabeth Evans will sign her novel “As Good as Dead,” 1 p.m. Saturday, The Bookworm.

Book signing: Mark Langan, author of “Busting Bad Guys: My True Crime Stories of Bookies, Drug Dealers and Ladies of the Night,” 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, RNG Gallery inside Dixie Quicks, 157 West Broadway, Council Bluffs.

Author appearance: Wally Lamb, author of “She’s Come Undone” and “I Know This Much Is True,” will speak and sign books at the Omaha Public Library Foundation’s annual fundraiser, 6 p.m. Saturday, Millard Library, 13214 Westwood Lane. Tickets start at $85. To purchase tickets or for additional information, contact the Omaha Public Library Foundation at or 444-4589.

Author appearance: Milton Mendel Kleinberg will sign “Bread or Death: Memories of My Childhood During and After the Holocaust,” 1 p.m. April 19, The Bookworm.

Information for this column and other book page items should be sent to

Omaha World-Herald: Inspired Living

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