Downtown Provo

In my last post I wrote about some hidden gems on Provo Center Street. If you enjoyed that and want other fun places to explore in Provo, here are some other hidden gems that I found on University Avenue.

DRAGONS KEEP
260 N. University Ave.

My friend and I meandered in not really knowing what to expect other than comic books. As it turns out, they have a lot more to offer! The store is set up in two rooms. The first room has board games, dice, trading cards, role playing games, and miniatures (primed and ready to paint). Tables are also set up that the store uses for game tournaments. You can check their calendar for more details.

The second room has an impressive collection of comics, graphic novels, and manga. There are old school products (I found Archie and Peanuts) and newer ones (think current movies and TV shows). Whether you’re a novice in the comic book world or you’re a well-seasoned pro, there’s something for you here.

As an added bonus, they occasionally have free comic book days (usually around the time a new superhero movie comes out). The next giveaway will be the first Saturday in March. Mark it on your calendar and pay them a visit!

180 TACOS AND GLOBAL STREET EATS
3368 N. University Ave.

You know those teen novels that describe the boyfriend/girlfriend relationship as the one thing that keeps them going? Well, that’s what these street tacos are for me. They are delicious, perfect portion sizes, and come in a variety of flavors. I like their Korean Barbeque, Old Skool Steak Asada, and the different specials they offer. There’s always a flavor to satisfy any craving.

What’s entertaining about my visits to this place is that my life really becomes a teen romance. The rivalry between my love of their tacos and adoration of their tater tots can only be described as one thing: the love triangle of the century. Try both of these items and let us know if you are #teamtaco or #teamtater.

THE ATTIC AT ACADEMY SQUARE
550 N. University Ave
4th Floor, Academy Wing

Yes, this is technically located at the library. But I worked here for almost two years and plenty of people said, “I had no idea this was up here!” So, I’m claiming it as a hidden gem of the library and (by extension) University Avenue.

The Attic is the beautiful museum space located on the fourth floor of the Academy Wing in the library. Here we have art shows, programs, events, history exhibits, and much more. The Attic makes for a good date night location or proposal spot (yes, I witnessed one there. It was magical). The nice thing about the exhibits is that they rotate every few months. Even if you’ve gone in the past, you are guaranteed a new experience when you visit again.If you want more information about current exhibits, here is The Attic’s website.

Beach Reads

For me, one of the best things about living in Utah is appreciating a dramatic change in seasons. I love bundling up to see the Midway Ice Castles in Winter and cooling off at the Provo Rec Center poolside with a Diet Coke in the summer. The downside of seasons, though, is that even though I mostly love the winter – it’s cold, it’s snowing, and my cabin fever is bad enough that I might be willing to sell my most prized books in exchange for a 90 degree day at the pool. 

What I’m trying to say here is – I wore a cardigan over a sweater to work today and I am dreaming of summer vacation. Here are some choices for beach reads to help us all escape the snow if only in our dreams

For Middle Grade Readers 

3.18 Secret Sisters of the Salty SeaSECRET SISTERS OF THE SALTY SEA
By Lynne Rae Perkins
(2018)

For the first time in their life, Alix and her sister Jools are going on a real-life vacation. One where they aren’t just going to visit cousins and stay with family – and they even get to go to the real ocean for the first time. This is an episodic novel that focuses on the extraordinary ordinary things that happen over a summer vacation and the sights, sounds, smells and feelings of the beach are perfectly described in this quick read. 

 

For Young Adults 

3.18 The Summer I Turned PrettyTHE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY
By Jenny Han
(2009) 

***A quick round of applause for the master of YA Romance Ms. Jenny Han.***

Fans of TO ALL THE BOYS I LOVED BEFORE will love this summer-centric trilogy about Belly and the boys she loves at the beach – Jeremiah and Conrad. If you take the time to look up “YA Beach Reads” this book will often show up on the list because it is so synonymous with summer. Each book in this series focuses on summers at the beach house owned by Belly’s mother’s best friend Susannah because as Belly reminds us – everything important happens from June to August. This book has some emotional depth (divorce, parents with cancer, etc.) but it is filled with the kind of warm, poignant writing that makes a beach read satisfying. 

 

For Fans of Light and Fluffy 

3.18 My Not So Perfect LifeMY (NOT SO) PERFECT LIFE: A NOVEL
By Sophie Kinsella
(2017) 

Listen, Sophie Kinsella is the Queen of Chick-Literature and whenever I want a nice romantic-comedy to make me think of warmer times she is the first lady I turn to. This book is the story of Katie Brenner who quickly learns that a “perfect” life might not actually exist after she is fired from her London advertising job and forced to return to her family farm – where her parents are attempting to create a luxury “glampground.” Then of course Katie’s former boss Demeter shows up at the family farm causing Katie’s two worlds to crash and collide with hilarious results. It we want to get technical, this book is more of a spring-farm than summer-beach read, but I’ll allow it. 

 

For Fans of the Dark Side 

3.18 First We Were IVFIRST WE WERE IV
By Alexandra Siroway
(2017)

Sometimes you just want to read a dark, pulpy, page-turning thriller and this is the book for you. Four best friends form a secret society to call out misbehaving adults in their small sea-side community and solidify their bond as a group. The group of four soon learn that the road to hell is paved with good intentions and something good can easily turn catastrophic. This is a jet-black mystery thriller with an ocean setting that makes for a perfect dark beach read. 

 

For Celebrity-stalkers 

3.18 This Will Only Hurt A LittleTHIS WILL ONLY HURT A LITTLE
By Busy Philipps
(2018)

As is my advice with all celebrity memoirs, I probably wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone who isn’t at least a casual fan of Busy Philipps. But if you are a fan of Busy – from DAWSON’S CREEK, FREAKS AND GEEKS, or her remarkably relatable Instagram – her autobiography is filled with the best (and at times worst) of Busy. She is well-known to her internet fans for her impressive candor and this book is lacking none of that – she shares her personal experiences with betrayal, body shaming, and bullying in a voice that is totally and undeniably her own.  

 

Coding 

Every Tuesday from 4:00pm-5:00pm, kids ages 9-12 fill the story room in the children’s department for Coding +. After taking the Coding + Basics class on the first Tuesday of the month, they are free to come to other classes that teach them coding skills using Bitsbox, Harry Potter, Codecademy, and more. Not only do they learn a thing or two about coding, but they have fun and make new friends. For those outside of the age range, or looking to learn more about coding at home, below are a few books and websites to get them ready for their future as a programmer. 

Books

3.15 Computer CodingCOMPUTER CODING
By Jon Woodcock
(2014)

This workbook provides detailed instructions to take your child from a novice to a programmer using Python. The tasks can be done alone or with a parent to help them along. 

 

3.15 Get CodingGET CODING!: LEARN HTML, CSS, AND JAVASCRIPT AND BUILD A WEBSITE, APP, AND GAME
By Duncan Beedie
(2016)

If your child is interested in building websites and applications, this is a great book to check out. It teaches the basics of HTML, which provides the basic layout of the site; CSS, which adds style and flair; and Javascript, which makes the site interactive. 

 

3.15 Python for KidsPYTHON FOR KIDS
By Jason R. Briggs
(2012)

A Python textbook made fun, this book takes kids through the basics and into the nitty gritty of programming in Python. With sections dedicated to particular topics and fun programming tasks along the way, this is a great in-depth introduction to programming for kids and adults alike. 

 

3.15 Star Wars Coding ProjectsSTAR WARS CODING PROJECTS: WITH SCRATCH
By Jon Woodcock
(2017)

Using the website Scratch (https://scratch.mit.edu/), your child’s favorite Star Wars characters show them how to make games and animations that teach coding principles along the way. 

 

Websites

  • Code.org uses games and recognizable characters to teach kids coding basics at their learning level.

  • Codecademy has a step by step approach to real coding that is good for kids and adults.

  • Codemoji teaches web development in a kid-friendly way.

  • Scratch is a creative outlet for kids that utilizes block coding.  
 

UT WHistory FB 

Women have been shaking things up in Utah since before it was even officially a state! Utah women were some of the earliest participants in the fight for women’s voting rights, they helped establish settlements and whole cities as Utah’s population grew, advocated and supplied funding for education and commerce, were active participants in the realms of art, theater, and entertainment, and have long had a hand in government and lawmaking in our great state. Basically, Utah would not be what it is without them!

For Monday's blog post and today's, we’ve compiled a list of notable books about some of these female movers and shakers. Since March is Women’s History Month and the library is hosting a Utah women's history lecture by Better Days 2020 tonight, there’s no better time to use the resources the library provides to learn more about some of the women whose contributions make Utah such a great place to live. 

3.11 More than PetticoatsMORE THAN PETTICOATS: REMARKABLE UTAH WOMEN 
by Christy Karras
(2010)

Maybe you want to know more about notable female figures from Utah’s history, but don’t know where to start? Look no further than More Than Petticoats! Containing 12 succinct bios of notable Utah women, this book covers ladies from all walks of life, including Mormon and non-Mormon settlers, polygamy advocates and opponents, actresses who would go on to originate iconic roles, wild western women, and even a notorious “madam” (with a heart of gold, of course). These women broke through social and cultural norms of the day to better the experience of those around them and influence the path of women going forward, both in Utah and beyond.

This title is available as a set for Book Clubs and the broad topics and varied lives and statuses of the book’s subjects lend themselves well to discussion. You can check out our Book Club set here.

 

3.11 Mormon MidwifeMORMON MIDWIFE: THE 1946-1888 DIARIES OF PATTY BARTLETT SESSIONS 
by Patty Bartlett Sessions
(1997)

Though the above mentioned MORE THAN PETTICOATS book gives Patty Barlett Sessions a chapter, this compilation of her journals is a wonderful deep dive into her life. Patty was a midwife who delivered thousands of babies, and hundreds of these were first generation Utahans. She was appointed by Brigham Young to accompany the first trek of pioneers to the Salt Lake Valley. She administered to the sick and even performed deliveries of babies along the trail.

We know so much about her because she was a prolific journal writer, keeping records of the goings on of the day until she was 92 years old. Her entries are very matter of fact and to the point, but give valuable insight into what life was like for her, and other early Utah settlers, especially women. In addition to medical treatments and her midwifery, she planted some of Utah’s first orchards from cuttings, helped found a women’s organization in the Mormon church called the “Relief Society,” and was an early investor in the “Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution” (ZCMI). Patty used the proceeds she gained from this to open a school, where she also taught classes-- at age 88.

 

3.11 Hidden History of UtahHIDDEN HISTORY OF UTAH 
by Eileen Hallet Stone
(2013)

Author and historian Eileen Hallet Stone is a Utah transplant but is nonetheless a notable woman herself! Her work uncovering hidden and forgotten Utah history stories are documented in this compilation of 58 articles she wrote for her Salt Lake Tribune column called “Living History." While not every article in this book is about women, many that are include eye catching front page worthy titles like “Physic Widow Founded Spiritualist Utopia” and “1890s, Utah’s Women Found Freedom on Bicycles."

She includes well researched chapters on the suffragette movement in Utah, women homesteaders (including one with ties to Butch Cassidy), and Utah women’s contributions as pilots and “Rosies” during World War II. This is a gem of a book where you’ll discover many delightful and heartening stories about lesser known historical figures from Utah’s past.

 

Provo Library Blog

Your daily stop for recommendations, reviews, and random facts about the Provo City Library. Look for new content every week day. 

Blog Contributors

Other Blogs

Library Staff Reviews 

Children's Book Reviews 

Archive