2021 Reading Challenge: Read a Book Mentioned on The Book Drop Podcast

In 2021, OPL invites patrons to take part in the reading challenge! For each challenge, OPL offers suggestions for titles to read or listen to. As you’re working through the challenge, feel free to tag @omahalibrary on Twitter, opens a new window, Instagram,, opens a new window or Facebook, opens a new window to let us know which read you picked up this month!

When Omaha Public Library closed its doors in mid-March 2020 as a safety measure against COVID-19, OPL staff were tasked with finding other ways to connect with the local reading community. Staff began creating virtual storytimes and online book lists, and worked to transition in-person programming to a digital platform. Amidst these new services, the library launched The Book Drop, opens a new window, OPL’s first podcast. Each week, a team of OPL staff explores topics related to books, the local community and the joy of reading.

Over the podcast’s first season the team discussed hundreds of book recommendations, including their personal picks for many of the OPL Reading Challenge categories. The ideal way to approach the Read a Book Mentioned on The Book Drop challenge would be to listen to a few episodes; however, to get you started, here’s a sneak peek of a few books that have been mentioned, as recommended by each of the podcast hosts.

Anna Wilcoxon, opens a new window, Diversity & Inclusion Librarian, has lots of praise for “There There, opens a new window” by Tommy Orange. “There There” weaves a story from 12 members of Native communities as their lives converge during one fateful day. 

Adult specialist David Dick, opens a new window is the resident fantasy and science fiction fan and recommends “The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires, opens a new window'' by Grady Hendrix, one of his favorite authors. This ‘90s-set supernatural thriller positions a suburban South Carolina book club against a mysterious new neighbor.

Book Club Librarian Michelle Carlson, opens a new window isn’t shy about her love for celebrity memoirs, and recommends “Open Book, opens a new window” by Jessica Simpson. Guided by Simpson’s personal journals, this memoir offers a glimpse at the famous pop star’s personal life.  

Youth services specialist and fish fan Elly Roberts, opens a new window recommends “What A Fish Knows, opens a new window” by Jonathan P. Balcombe. In this entertaining volume, ethologist Balcombe challenges the many misconceptions of the fish world. 

Readers & Writers Librarian Erin Duerr, opens a new window (that’s me) definitely wants you to know about “We Ride Upon Sticks, opens a new window” by Quan Barry. This late-’80s-set novel combines girls’ high school field hockey, a Faustian bargain and a ton of hairspray.  

For even more titles mentioned on The Book Drop check out this list, opens a new window or find lists of all books and other materials in OPL's catalog, opens a new window in all the episodes team has done so far. Don’t forget to follow The Book Drop, opens a new window on your favorite podcast app and to rate it and leave a review!

Starting April 1, 2021, you may submit your completed reading log online or return a completed tracking sheet to any OPL branch to receive a pin and to be entered into a drawing for some fun literary-themed prizes! All completed tracking sheets or online challenge form entries must be received by December 31, 2021, to be entered into the prize drawing.