Thursday, April 27, 2017

Get Your Calendars Ready! Book Festivals in the Chicago Area.

Getting ready for some book festivals? There are many book and author opportunities throughout the Chicago area. Check with your local independent or chain bookstore to see what is happening there. But here are some bigger festivals on the horizon.

What are you doing this weekend? From April 29 to May 11th is the Evanston Literary Festival. Events, lectures and documentaries are scattered throughout the town and held at various venues and bookstores. Go to their website for more details.

A little further afield is Printer's Row Lit Fest. This event is held the weekend of June 10- 11th, with sessions, readings, and discussions held in the Harold Washington Library and tents along S. Dearborn.  They feature local and nationally known authors. And if you are not into fiction - there are many opportunities to listen to non-fiction authors speaking on their topic.

And did you know there is a food tent? That's a great time to see some of Chicago's renowned chefs.  Things take place rain or shine. Depending on the weather, my tip is to plan for some air-conditioned sessions throughout the day. It's great fun. For more details on this year's schedule and authors go here.

Just want to buy some cool older titles? The 2017 Newberry Library Book Fair takes place at the library July 27 - 30.  For more details see their website. You never know what titles you will discover there.

If you're a long distance planner - Keep an eye out for Columbia College's Chicago Book Expo this fall. Chicago Book Expo's mission is "to celebrate Chicago’s vital independent publishing scene." Columbia College’s Creative Writing Department helps to sponsor it. Take a peek at last year's website to get a feel for what they offer.

So there is no excuse! Lots of book activities at the Glenview Public Library and beyond.

Monday, April 24, 2017

After THE CIRCLE, Try...

The Circle, based on the novel by Dave Eggers, comes to theaters this Friday, starring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks. Here are some titles to try either before or after the movie.

  • The Circle by Dave Eggers: Try the book first! A young tech worker takes a job at a powerful Internet corporation, quickly rises up the company’s ranks, and soon finds herself in a perilous situation concerning privacy, surveillance and freedom. 
  • The Private Eye by Brian K. Vaughan: Years after the digital cloud “bursts” and exposes all of our worst secrets, THE PRIVATE EYE is set in an inevitable future where everyone has a secret identity. Following an unlicensed P.I. who is thrust into the most important case of his life, this sci-fi mystery explores the nature of privacy with frightening prescience.
  • The Terranauts by T. C. Boyle: As climate change threatens the earth, eight scientists, four men and four women dubbed the “Terranauts,” have been selected to live under glass in E2, a prototype of a possible off-earth colony.
  • 1984 by George Orwell: The original novel warning about the dangers of surveillance - Big Brother is watching! 
  • Data and Goliath by Bruce Schneier: Learn the truth behind the novels and all about the digital information and surveillance age. 
  • Children of Men: In 2027, in a chaotic world in which humans can no longer procreate, a former activist agrees to help transport a miraculously pregnant woman to a sanctuary. You might also try the novel
  • Gattaca: A slick science fiction drama in a world where your DNA determines everything about the course of your life, starring Ethan Hawke and Jude Law. 
  • Her: Your phone might be watching you...but what if you fell in love with it? This unconventional love story blends science fiction and romance.
  • The End of the Tour: Directed by James Ponsoldt, the director of The Circle, this is the story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace, which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace’s groundbreaking epic novel, Infinite Jest.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Paranormal Romance Author Chloe Neill

Chloe Neill is the New York Times bestselling author of the Chicagoland Vampires Novels, the Devil's Isle Novels, and a YA series, Dark Elite. Chloe was born and raised in the South, but now makes her home in the Midwest. When she's not writing, she bakes, works, and scours the internet for good recipes and great graphic design. Chloe also maintains her sanity by spending time with her boys--her husband and their dogs, Baxter and Scout. 
Neill's series Chicagoland Vampires is fun and the heroin is all Chicago-Girl sassy. You will enjoy that Chloe mentions many of Chicago's amazing locations and delicious eateries.

Dark Debt  Book 11
Springtime brings new challenges to Chicago’s vampires, as Merit, the Cadogan House Sentinel, and her Master and paramour, Ethan Sullivan, face personal threats from Balthasar, Ethan’s presumed-dead creator, and a shadow organization headed by Merit’s ex, Morgan Greer. The cooperative skills of the newly minted Assembly of American Masters are tested, and Merit’s previous immunity to vampire glamour can’t withstand assault by Balthasar, creating intimacy issues for her and Ethan. Merit and Ethan are aided (and occasionally hindered) by magical allies, the Cadogan House staff, and Merit’s father and grandfather, as they engage in overt and covert battles for control over the powerful vampire houses. Little characterization details like Merit’s enthusiasm for refreshments, destructive tendencies toward formal wear, and complicated family emotions enhance this brisk adventure.

Midnight Marked Book 12
In book 12 of the Chicagoland Vampires series, vampire Merit attempts to attend a Cubs night game with her Master (and lover), Ethan, along with her best friend, Mallory, and Mallory's husband. When Mallory senses some strange magic, she leads them to the dead body of a shape-shifter. They arrive just in time to give chase to the killer, another vampire. He eludes capture and, to save the alliance with the shape-shifters, they investigate the murder. Sorcery, alchemy, and a friendly necromancer contribute to the supernatural fun. The comradely banter between the characters and the continued hot romance between Merit and Ethan add to the enjoyment of the book.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2017

On Friday, April 7, 2017 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, performer inductees were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Artists are eligible for inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twenty-five years after their first recording is released.  Inductees include Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), Joan Baez, Journey, Pearl Jam, Tupac Shakur, and Yes.

The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) is an English rock band from Birmingham, West Midlands, England.  It was formed in 1970 by Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood with drummer Bev Bevan.  Lynne and Wood wanted to create modern rock and pop songs with classical overtones.  Their first single "10538 Overture" was released in 1972 as a homage to the Beatles.  Some of their albums include Eldorado, a Symphony (1974) and Time (1981)  They have sold over 50 million records worldwide.

Joan Chandos Baez, and American folk singer, songwriter, musician, and activist was born on January 9, 1941 on Staten Island, New York.  Her contemporary folk music includes songs of protest or social justice.  She has performed from 1960 and has released over 30 albums.  Her first three albums, Joan Baez, Joan Baez, Vol. 2 and Joan Baez in Concert have all achieved gold records.  Some of her songs include, "Diamonds & Rust", "Farewell, Angelia", "Love Is Just a Four-Letter Word", "Forever Young", "Joe Hill", "Sweet Sir Galahad" and "We Shall Overcome" (which became prominent during the Civil Rights Movement).

Journey is an American rock bank from San Francisco, California.  They formed in 1973 with former members of Santana and Rumious Bandersnatch.  "Don't Stop Believin'" (1981) was one of their top hits.  They have had two gold albums, eight multi-platinum albums, one diamond album, and 18 top 40 singles in the United States.  Their style is Arena Rock, Stadium Rock, and Concert Rock.  In the United States they have sold 48 million albums and worldwide close to 90 million records.

Pearl Jam, also known as Mookie Blaylock originated in Seattle, Washington in 1990.  They play alternative rock, grunge, and hard rock music.  Its debute album was Ten in 1991.  Members included Eddie Vedder (lead vocals), Mike McCready (lead guitar), Stone Gossard (rhythm guitar), Jeff Ament (bass), and Matt Cameron (drummer).  They have refused to make proper music videos, give interviews, and have boycotted Ticketmaster.  They have sold nearly 32 million records in the United States and 60 million worldwide.

Tupac Amaru Shakur (Lesane Parish Crooks) was born on June 16, 1971 in East Harlem, New York, and died on September 13, 1996 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  He was an American rapper who was also known as 2Pac, Makaveli or Pac.  He had sold over 75 million records worldwide, with All Eyez on Me and his Greatest Hits best-selling albums.  His themes are about violence and hardship in inner cities, racism and other social issues.

Yes (originally Mabel Greer's Toyshop) are an English rock band from London that began in 1968 by singer Jon Anderson and bassist Chris Squire.  They began playing covers to progressive and art rock in the 1970s and then pop in the 1980s.  They have sold 13.5 million albums in the United States.  Their most successful albums are The Yes Album (1971) and Close to the Edge (1972).  They disbanded in 1981 and reformed in 1983 with new musicians.  Their highest-selling album was 90125 (1983), which included "Owner of a Lonely Heart".  In 1985, they won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Performance with "Cinema", and received five Grammy nominations between 1985 and 1992.

Friday, April 14, 2017

What Are You Reading Lately?

I recently listened to and have now become an enthusiastic promoter of comedian Trevor Noah’s incredible coming-of-age memoir, “Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood". 

Trevor Noah, the host of Comedy’s Central’s The Daily Show, relates tales of his growing up during the final years of apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa. Because his father was a Swiss-German white and his mother an African black, Noah was "born a crime”. Relations between whites and blacks were strictly prohibited under apartheid law. Noah, a light-skinned child, struggled to find his place in world that seemed determined to cast him as an outsider. While there are certainly funny moments in this memoir, Noah’s book is a fascinating and, at times, sobering look at life inside apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa.

Noah is a masterful storyteller with an extraordinary facility with accents, dialects and languages. His narration of the audiobook makes the listening experience particularly intimate and very powerful.

What books have you been enjoying lately?

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Motion Picture Music

Often when I watch a movie, it is the music that makes an impression on me. I love how they use a certain song to invoke an emotion or demonstrate the character's feelings. I find myself thinking what a great choice or I wonder what song I would have chosen. Right now I can't stop listening to the soundtrack from 500 Days of Summer. I think I like the music more than the movie. Artists include the Smiths, Doves, Temper Traps and Feist to name a few. Many of the songs take me back in time, which I love, they make me feel a little lighter, like I did when I was younger. My favorite tracks are 3-9, and since I love all things foreign, the French song by Carla Bruni makes me smile. I love singing along to it even though I don't speak French. Have a listen, you won't regret it.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Animation - Not Just for Kids!

When we think of animation or cartoons, the first images conjured to our minds are frequently children's films or television shows, Disney and Dreamworks and the like. But there are plenty of animated films made for adults. Below is a list of just a few animated titles you might enjoy.

Cover image for Anomalisa

Cover image for Persepolis
  • Grave of the Fireflies: The story of two orphans struggling to survive in Japan during World War II, based on a semi-autobiographical short story. 

Cover image for Waltz with Bashir
  • A Scanner Darkly: A science fiction thriller starring Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, and Robert Downey Jr. based on the novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick. This film uses an animation style called "rotoscoping": it was filmed with the actors as a normal live action movie, then painted over with traditional animation techniques. 

  • Waltz with Bashir: Based on the graphic novel. A story of the 1982 Lebanon War that blends documentary and drama as a man searches for his lost memories as a soldier. 
Cover image for Watership down

  • Watership Down: The story of a group of rabbits searching for a new home after their home is destroyed by humans. Based on the novel

Stop by the Audiovisual desk for more great animated titles.