Community Picks!

Community Picks!

Community Picks!

Every couple months, we ask a special guest to give us some book recommendations. These recs range from time-tested faves to life changers, page-turners, inspirational/rad stories, awesome hot-off-the-presses stuff, classic joints, and picks that mean something special and they want to share em with you.


Our awesome volunteer librarian Jessica Fanaselle is the GUEST PICKER this time around. Here’s what she has to say: “Did you know that the Holland Project has zines? Local zines, happy zines, sad zines, activist zines, art zines, photography zines, comic zines, travel zines, bicycle zines… So. Many. Zines. Stop in and check them out. Be inspired, let us know about other zines you have found and even zines you have made! For this month, I have chosen four zines that represent just a tiny fraction of the variety of zines in the collection. Check out these picks, and then come over and peruse the zines for yourself—you won’t regret it.”

Public Notice, Nathaniel Russell

This collection of wry, witty fliers will make you laugh, smile, and (hopefully) go out and flier your own neighborhood. Stressing humor and almost suspiciously earnest positivity, this mix of nonsense advertisements (one advert is for “Gary’s blimp message service” and another encourages viewers to join a “Calm down party” by the creek) will leave you feeling inspired and delighted. These fliers are very much in the alt. lit. genre made recently popular by internet poets/writers such as @horse_ebooks and Steve Roggenbuck. The use of simple language and unconventional sentence formatting provides insight into a provocative new form of art and writing that conveys one experience of and response to life as a young person in the 2010s.

King-Cat: Comics and Stories, John Porcellino

King-Cat is part travelogue, part meditation on the natural world, part introduction to an ancient Greek philosopher, and all awesome. An excellent example of some of the simple yet compellingly illustrated zines in the collection, King-Cat displays the power of black and white illustration and hand-written typography. Seemingly a meditation on things Porcellino and his wife were contemplating on a move from San Francisco to Denver, this zine meanders through the journey, stopping to observe the “Top Forty” of their trip (several things about Reno and Northern Nevada make the list!), the strangeness of the weather, and two squirrels running at one another on a telephone wire—I won’t reveal how it ends.

Beings: Film Photography

I am certainly no expert in this genre, but it is clear that the photography zine genre is really developing into something provocative. Beings is a small group of black and white photos that focus on beings: people and animals, some posing, some not, some alone, some together, but all unique. Flipping through this work helps you to appreciate the absurdity and wonder of the mundane. The uncanny is a sense of something being both familiar and strange at the same time, and many of these photos capture this sense beautifully. Featuring portraits of the everyday, there is much to ponder about the nature of existence packed into this photo-sized zine.

The Body is a Wild Wild Thing, Tomas Moniz

Thirty poems written during April, National Poetry Month, this poetry zine focuses on the body. With titles like “Clavicle #10,” “Uvula #26,” and “Beard #1” it is perhaps unsurprising that the poems serve as meditations on the human body and the experience of living as a human body. Running the gamut from humorous to wistful and nostalgic, these easily accessible poems compel you to contemplate your own very material existence. Sweet and simple, with lovely illustrations from Amanda Englund, these poems will help you appreciate the bodies in your life. One poem urges you to check out your own body, reminding us “there is such sweet sweet delight in self-exploration” (Back of the Knee #12).


Beef Pony is Reno’s newest all-girl punk band featuring Maisie, Kaelie, Cheyanna, and Jamie. Here’s what they recommend for you this month.

“This book gets the Beef Pony neigh of approval. It’s a manifesto, a history, a how-to, and it is proof of the lasting power of the female voice. As a band we range in age from 18 to 35. Some of us were there when Riot GRRRL first went down and felt its reverberations; some of us weren’t. But it’s the fact of the movement and its continued existence that brings us together as a band in the first place. Do you want to play guitar in a band and be respected for your abilities? Do you want to self publish and be taken seriously as a writer? Do you want to stand up to misogyny and demand respect for your personal boundaries? This book will inspire you to act on those hidden impulses. It’s never too late to let your inner Kathleen Hanna come kicking and screaming out!”  – BEEF PONY

“I’ve probably read this book about four times in the last three years.  At the risk of sounding too serious, this author is virtually unknown so if “obscurity” is something you rate your reads on, you can safely add this to your list. But that’s not why I read it. Don’t worry. The thing that I really love about this book is the female lead. Almost every young adult book I’ve read, the female leads are an extreme disappointment. This book, for once, features a strong female character. Sometimes I want to kill her. Sometimes I want to be her. Most of the time I just want to surround myself with everything she is and does and reads and listens to (there’s a handful of killer playlists throughout the novel). She grabs the narrator by the throat, and the reader to, and forces herself into their entire world (spoiler alert….she disappears almost immediately). Anna is a force all her own, and thank god, not the usual meek-and oh-so-normal-but-pretty-and-waiting-to-be-recognized b.s. character that spends the entirety of the novel changing herself to get the guy. Man, I HATE young adult novels!

But I love this book.

Comparison: like “perks…” but way better

Bonus element: it’s a nearly unsolvable mystery that comes with codes and clues to follow after the read

Rating: 4 Hooves up

This pony recommends this read to horses of all ages” – MAISIE

“On the topic of female liberation (see the Beef Pony pick), this a book about growing up lesbian in the south. It is fiction. I think a lot of people will relate to the narrator!”  – KAELIE

“If you are at all interested in living a more authentic life the first thing that will help you get there is learning how to let yourself be vulnerable. Take the mask off. Take risks. Let yourself be truly known and seen. Who are you? Get cool with being uncomfortable rather than looking for ways to hide. Vulnerability is solving problems rather than running from them. Sticking your neck out. Taking creative risks and sitting with the idea that maybe no one is even going to like or notice what you do. (It’s also the vulnerability hangover of “Oh my god now everyone has seen my work and I can’t take it back!”) It is also not letting shame or fear keep you from moving forward into the unknown. I’ve taken more creative risks this year than I have in decades. It has all been worth it. Do all of the things you thought you’d never do. Read this book for inspiration. I also highly recommend watching Brene Brown’s TED talks, and her other book, I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t): Making the Journey From “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough.”” – JAMIE

“In 2008 while nursing a broken heart I wandered into the bookstore and stared at the books in the Eastern Religion section. I was looking for relief in Buddhism and I did find some. But it was a different book in the Graphic Novels section that really caught my eye. I sat there on that floor and read entire volumes in the series without ever buying them. It sucked me in and momentarily took my mind off of my suffering. It was a soothing escape into Buddha and Tezuka’s conjoined worlds. Buddha is a fun introduction to Buddhist philosophy, and the perfect introduction to the mastery of Osamu Tezuka, often spoken of as the “father of manga.” I consider the series a friend of mine that mysteriously pops back into my life from time to time.” – JAMIE

“Lynda Barry is a total weirdo badass and you should get to know her. Her book Cruddy: An Illustrated Novel is an insane sit-down-and-don’t-get-up-till-you’re-done, drug-addled, knife-wielding, teenage misfit freak-out! But first and foremost Lynda Barry is an artist who writes and a writer who “arts.” Pictures and words work best for her when they are put together. What It Is is a collage style motivational tool for creatively stuck people. I first found the book at a time when I was paralyzed by artistic inactivity. I knew I was a creative performer who was dying to artistically “out” myself. But in Reno, let’s be honest, sometimes it feels like nothing you do is going to matter because everyone you know is already an artist in a band who paints murals in their free time, when they are not busy writing plays and teaching college level print-making. Why would your tiny contribution ever matter? Well Lynda is here to tell you that it does. And you should let your inner creative weirdo come out and play. Make art because you want to. Because it’s relaxing. It’s fun. Write because you and your experiences are unique! Who cares if everybody you know is already doing what you want to do. Lynda Barry urges you to plug into the mysterious unknown and do your thing!”  – JAMIE