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Reading Takes You Places: Week 4 - Serbia & other Balkan Countries

Posted: June 30, 2020, 12:03PM

Where do you want to go this summer? This week we're heading to Serbia!

This week we are visiting Nigeria for summer reading!

Zdravo! Dobrodosli to week 3. On July 2, Dr. John Cox, former history professor at Wheeling Jesuit and current Professor of East European History, North Dakota State University, will shepherd students 5,700 miles back west (and 330 years back to the future) to Serbia through the novels of Biljana Jovanovic. A translator of books from Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian, Hungarian, and Slovene to English, Dr. Cox will teach useful words and phrases in Serbian.

Watch this People's University Online live, July 2 at 6:30 pm on YouTube, Facebook, or the OCPL website. The program will also be recorded and available for playback through all three platforms. 

Have kids? Don't miss our online Summer Reading programs! We'll be heading to China and Japan on June 29 for Toddler Time, June 30 for Story Time, and July 1 for a special story and craft! Our featured stories and more are listed below

Featured Serbian Literature

Author: Biljana Jovanovic

Dogs and Others book coverDogs and Others
The heroine of Dogs and Others encapsulates the Zeitgeist of her generation. Coming of age in 1970s Belgrade, then the capital city of thriving, socialist Yugoslavia, we follow Lida and the bohemian life she leads, made more complicated by the trials and tribulations of her eccentric family. The whole novel breathes with a raw sensibility so aptly captured in the voice of the narrator — a striking, rebellious, overtly feminist and somewhat neurotic young woman.

Reserve for Curbside pickup at Library
Regular print

Recommended Book on Serbian History

History of Serbia book coverThe History of Serbia, by John K. Cox.
A definitive and compelling history of Japan details the tumultuous political, economic, and social change, over four centuries, that molded Japan into a modern world power by bringing to life the many historical figures who helped build a successful and strong nation. Japan: A Modern History provides a comprehensive narrative that integrates the history of modern Japan from the investiture of Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1603 to the present.

Reserve for Curbside pickup at Library
Regular print

Other books on Serbia:
➤ Available to reserve for curbside pick-up at the Library
➤ No waitlists through Hoopla

Interested in reading some great contemporary Balkan literature?

Try some books from some of these authors:


Téa Obreht
Téa Obreht is a Serbian-American novelist. Her debut novel, The Tiger's Wife, won the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction and was a 2011 National Book Award finalist. Obreht was born in Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia in 1985 and has lived in the United States since the age of twelve.

The Tiger's Wife available to reserve for curbside pick-up at the Library
ebooks and audiobooks available through WVDeli


Aleksandar Hemon
Aleksandar Hemon is a Bosnian-American fiction writer, essayist, and critic. His best-known novels are Nowhere Man and The Lazarus Project

Aleksandar Hemon books available to reserve for curbside pick-up at the Library
Aleksandar Hemon audiobooks available through Hoopla


Dubravka Ugresic
Dubravka Ugresic is a writer born and raised in Yugoslavia. Her novels, short stories, and essays have won wide acclaim, and who is the winner of, among other awards, the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. She was born in Yugoslavia, studied Russian and comparative literature at the University of Zagreb, and is currently based in Amsterdam. Her works in English translation include Fording the Stream of Consciousness (1991), In the Jaws of Life (1992), Have A Nice Day: From the Balkan War to the American Dream (1994), The Culture of Lies (1998), Thank You For Not Reading (2003), The Ministry of Pain (2005), Baba Yaga Laid an Egg (2009), Karaoke Culture (2011), and, most recently, Fox (2018) and American Fictionary (2018).

➤ Check out Dubravka Ugresic ebooks and audiobooks through Hoopla

Czech Republic

Jaroslav Kalfar
Jaroslav Kalfar was born and raised in Prague, Czech Republic, and immigrated to the United States at the age of fifteen. He earned an MFA at New York University, where he was a Goldwater Fellow and a nominee for the inaugural E. L. Doctorow Fellowship. Spaceman of Bohemia is his first novel.

Reserve Spaceman of Bohemia for curbside pick-up at the Library


Dezso Kosztolányi
Dezso Kosztolányi was a Hungarian writer, journalist, and translator. He wrote in all literary genres, from poetry through essays to theatre plays. Building his own style, he used French symbolism, impressionism, expressionism, psychological realism and is considered the father of futurism in Hungarian literature. A masterpiece of twentieth-century Hungarian fiction, Kosztolányi's Skylark is a classic portrait of provincial life in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy.

Reserve a copy of Skylark for curbside pick-up at the Library

Featured Children's Books

Panda Bear book coverPanda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr., illustrated by Eric Carle
Thirty-five years after their first groundbreaking collaboration, the creators of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? reunite to address the important topic of animal conservation. With the important pre-reading concepts of rhyme, rhythm, and repetition, these picture books have long been used as beginning readers.

Reserve for Curbside pickup at Library
Picture book (will not be available until after Toddle Time on June 29) 

Available through Hoopla - no waitlist!

Other books about panda bears:
Reserve  for curbside pick-up at the Library
Reserve through WVDeli
Check out ebooks immediately with no waitlist through Hoopla!

The Beckoning Cat book coverThe Beckoning Cat: Based on a Japanese Folktale, by Koko Nishizuka; illustrated by Rosanne Litzinger
This is a retelling of the traditional Japanese tale describing the origins of the beckoning cat and how it came to be a symbol of good luck. The Maneki-neko, literally meaning "beckoning cat", is a common Japanese lucky charm figurine, often believed to bring good luck to the owner. The figurine depicts a cat (traditionally a calico Japanese Bobtail) beckoning with an upright paw. In this story, an impoverished boy named Yohei shares his dinner with a cat that appears on his doorstep. When Yohei faces a crisis, the cat remembers his generosity and brings help.

Reserve for Curbside pickup at Library
Regular print (will not be available until after Story Time on June 30) 

Other books about the lucky Japanese beckoning cat:
Reserve  for curbside pick-up at the Library

Watch an Animal Planet video about the Beckoning Good Luck Cat
The Legend of Maneki Neko | Must Love Cats

A Carp For Kimiko book coverA Carp For Kimiko, by Virginia Kroll; illustrated by Katherine Roundtree.
A Carp For Kimiko is the story of a young girl's struggle against the strong current of tradition. Every year on Children's Day in Japan a kite in the shape of a carp is flown for each boy in the family. Kimiko is a little girl who desperately wants an orange, black, and white calico carp kite of her own to fly on this holiday. Kimiko's parents remind her that there is a holiday just for girls–Doll's Festival Day, but this does not stop Kimiko from dreaming about and wishing for her very own carp. The magical ending achieves the impossible–Kimiko gets what she longs for without breaking tradition. 

Reserve for Curbside pickup at Library
Picture book (will not be available until after our online Special Activity on July 2) 

Available through Hoopla - no waitlist!

Have you read some great world literature you'd like to share?

Tell us what you've been reading in the comments below!

And don't forget to join our online Summer Reading Challenge, "Reading Takes You Places." Each minute you read between now and August 15th will count as one mile. We'll be keeping track of countries visited in books and miles (in minutes) read through an online platform. Want to participate? Starting June 15, 2020 sign up online at or download the READsquared app at the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. Find even more suggested books in the Adult Summer Reading Book List in READSquared. Let us know where you've traveled and how far this summer through books!


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