Reasons to Read Nonfiction: Women In Jazz

April is Jazz Appreciation Month, and this year the focus is on women in jazz. Here are some highlights from our collection of books and CDs (and even an LP!).

April is National Humor Poetry Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM)! This year, The National Museum of American History, where JAM began, is recognizing the contributions of women in jazz, with special focus on the great Nina Simone. This week's list of reading recommendations collects books on some of the leading figures in jazz who happen to be women, from the ground-breaking Miss Simone, to Mary Lou Williams, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and more. Of course, no jazz reading list would be complete without an appropriate soundtrack, so we have included a list of some excellent jazz on CD, created by (primarily) women artists. In addition to recordings by the above-mentioned musicians, you will find works by Mary Halvorson, Terri Lyne Carrington, Gerri Allen, Alice Coltrane, Esperanza Spaulding, Toshiko Akyoshi, and Oakland's own Carla Bley (on vinyl LP!). Please join

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10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in April 2021

Wondering what great books are arriving this month? Here are ten of them.

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It's National Poetry Month!

A collection of new poetry books for National Poetry Month.

April is National Poetry Month and Oakland Public Library has many new poetry books in our collection to help you celebrate. Some of the poets featured below may be familiar to you and others may be new. Some are available in print format and others are e-books that you can access through our catalog. Enjoy diving into these poet's words!

We want it all

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Reasons to Read Nonfiction: Laughter (is the Seventh Best Medicine)

April is National Humor Month, so this week we are highlighting hilarious humor books from the past year.

April is, among many other things, National Humor Month, so this week's Advice for Readers blog offers up a selection of great humor books from the past year. According to, National Humor Month was started in 1976, "as a means to heighten public awareness of the therapeutic value of humor. Laughter and joy - the benchmarks of humor - lead to improved well-being, boosted morale, increased communication skills, and an enriched quality of life." Everyone has heard that laughter is the best medicine, and nobody enjoys a good laugh more than I do, but I'm here to say that, in light of recent events, actual medicine is the best medicine, followed by nutrition, exercise, therapy, magic elixers, and rest. Then comes laughter, tied for seventh with having a good cry. Maybe that's why many of the books in this week's list succeed in finding the humor in difficult subjects and make us laugh through our tears. From using humor to create better communication and morale in the workplace, to the funny side of cheese, we hope you find something

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Taking a Fictional Break from the Here and Now

Would you like to visit another time and place? Try one of these excellent recent works of Historical Fiction.

Have you found your reading habits changed during the pandemic? Early on, I just couldn’t read much at all. Lately I’ve found myself enjoying historical fiction--even though it’s not usually my first pick from the bookshelfVisits to other times and places have offered me respite from our challenging here and now. Here are a few that I’ve especially enjoyed: 

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It's Time for Spring Planting!

Gardening books to help with spring planting.

It's almost spring and for some, that means spring planting. Maybe you've never had a garden but you're thinking now is the time to start one. Whether you're an experienced or novice gardener, Oakland Public Library has plenty of books to help your garden grow. Clicking the cover image or the title will take you directly to our online catalog where you can place a hold with your library card and PIN.

Vegetable and Kitchen Gardens

 The Kitchen Garden

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10 Reasons to Read Non-Fiction: Books On Women's History

March is Women's History Month, so we've put together selection of recently published books celebrating and honoring women.

March is Women's History Month, and this week's Advice For Readers blog gathers together ten books published in the last year that highlight some incredible individual women, as well as the social movements and legacies they helped create. Celebrate women's history by checking out these fascinating stories, from the Jewish women of 19th century New York, whose stories are told in the objects and culture they left behind, to the story of the first Chicana librarian, Elizabeth Martinez. From the struggle for Women's Suffrage, to the fight against fascism in WWII, to the struggle for civil rights here in the U.S., these books about some of history's true heroines will inspire and uplift.   

Click on the links below to visit the item’s page in OPL’s catalog. There you can check on the item’s availability, place holds, and access our online materials. For information about our sidewalk pickup service, go 

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10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in March 2021

March is springing with great new fiction! Here are ten novels and story collections arriving this month.

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African American Food Memoirs and Cookbooks

A selection of cookbooks and food memoirs by African American chefs and writers.

To celebrate Black History Month, this week's Advice for Reader's blog post highlights African American food memoirs and cookbooks. You'll find recipes for delicious vegan meals, meat dishes, and vegetarian cuisine from award winning authors and chefs.

To learn more about each book and/or to place books on hold, just click on the book cover or the title.

Happy reading (and eating)!

Food Memoirs and History

Notes from a Young Black Chef

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Black History Month: African American Poetry

This week, in celebration of Black History Month, we take a look at books by some of the great African American poets, from Phillis Wheatley to Rita Dove.

This week, in celebration of Black History Month, the Advice for Readers blog highlights books by some of America’s greatest poetsOur recommendations begin with a selection of poetry anthologies of African American poetscovering the vast, rich history of African American poetry, from Philllis Wheatley to Jamila Woods and more. Next, a very incomplete selection of poetry books and collections by some of the most important figures in African American poetry and American literature: James Weldon Johnson, Gwendolyn Brooks, Bob Kaufman, Rita Dove, and others. Though this list is far from exhaustive, OPL’s poetry collection contains works by and about many more of the great African-American poets of past and present. If you would like further reading

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