Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Stellar Reads

The upcoming solar eclipse is telling of the fascination that people have with the sun, space, and the planets beyond us, a topic that lots of great fiction centers on.  Here are a variety of great reads set in space or involving what life on the planets beyond us might be like.

Lightless by C. A. HigginsServing aboard the Ananke, an experimental military spacecraft launched by the ruthless organization that rules Earth and its solar system, computer scientist Althea has established an intense emotional bond--not with any of her crewmates, but with the ship's electronic systems, which speak more deeply to her analytical mind than human feelings do. But when a pair of fugitive terrorists gain access to the Ananke, Althea must draw upon her heart and soul for the strength to defend her beloved ship.
Nightfall by Isaac Asimov
Kalgash is a world on the edge of chaos, torn between religious fanaticism and scientific rationalism. Their civilization is threatened by Nightfall, the first sunset in over two thousand years.
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children. But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago.
Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
When Captain Jim Holden's ice miner stumbles across a derelict, abandoned ship, he uncovers a secret that threatens to throw the entire system into war. Attacked by a stealth ship belonging to the Mars fleet, Holden must find a way to uncover the motives behind the attack, stop a war and find the truth behind a vast conspiracy that threatens the entire human race.
Coming Home by Jack McDevitt
An antiquities dealer travels to Earth to search for an artifact of the early space age and to search for an interstellar transport that vanished 11 years prior.

by LM

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The End of Summer Reading

Don’t want summer to end? Check out these hot reads as summer cools down.
In the tenements of old New York, a young Russian Jewish immigrant woman is taken in by an Italian family who sells ice. Through sheer persistence and strong will, she manages to build an ice cream empire. Lillian Dunkle is a complex character who will both make you cheer even as you are dismayed. Have ice cream on hand when you read this book! -- Marika Zemke for LibraryReads.
The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close
When Beth and Matt, an aspiring politician, move from NYC to DC, Beth initially hates it. But things start to turn around for her when they befriend another “transplant” couple, Ashleigh and Jimmy. Beth’s loyalty is tested when she is forced to admit to herself that Matt is just not quite as attractive, magnetic or charismatic as his rival-friend, Jimmy…..who harbors similar political aspirations.The Hopefuls is on point in its descriptions of young marriage, career ambition, and complicated friendships. 
The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell
Deep in the heart of London, in a lush communal square, as a festive garden party is taking place, a thirteen year-old girl lies unconscious and bloody in a hidden corner.
The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson
Set during the summer before the outbreak of World War I,follow the story of headstrong, independent Beatrice Nash and kind but stuffy surgeon-in-training Hugh Grange along with his formidable Aunt Agatha. 

by NM

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Time to Get Your Craft On!

Bandana-Rama by Judith Cressy is a colorful, beautifully illustrated beginning sewing book that is packed with ideas you will want to make. Take out your old bandanas or buy some new ones and create some amazing bandana items. This book includes 21 projects from start to finish with easy to follow pictures and directions. Projects include: a bandana belt, drawstring top, purse, decorative pillow, blouse, skirt and more. There is also a tutorial on techniques: from tying a knot to how to use a sewing machine. It may inspire you to design and create your own ideas from bandanas.

Two great books we used to develop ideas for projects to demonstrate our new sewing machines and sergers at our Maker-Faire were Megan Nicolay’s Generation T books. The T-shirt inspired projects Meghan has created are incredibly easy, inexpensive and anyone can make them. I highly recommend making some of these projects. Meghan Nicolay has a great website that has more T-shirt and craft ideas.  

Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform aT-shirt is Megan Nicolay’s first book and she has transformed the way we think about T-shirts. Her ideas are unique and inspirational. Megan's illustrations are easy to follow and easy to sew and you do not need a sewing machine. She encourages you to be your own designer and provides a template to help you design your own ideas. There are projects in this book for every person: tops, skirts, bags, pillows, hats and even a wedding dress. Think outside the box. T-shirts can be made into anything, literally.

Meghan as revolutionized the T-shirt. She has repurposed it, reinterpreted it and reinvented it. Now she explores new ways to slash a tee, scrunch a tee, and sew a tee with Generation T: Beyond Fashion. A collection of 120 projects for every occasion, it takes the humble yet ever-malleable tee in dozens of new directions. The rallying cry is: Don't buy; DIY. The result is hip, imaginative, crafty, and very green. There's a basic primer on techniques: knotting, sewing, braiding and lacing. Projects range from the simplest no-sew to intermediate, and all have easy-to-follow illustrations.

Girl With a Sewing Machine by Jenniffer Taylor
Create your own unique clothes to fit your personality and your shape. This stylish, instructive book from The Great British Sewing Bee’s Jenniffer Taylor shows you how to make and adapt your own clothes in a simple, no-fuss way. Using Jenniffer’s fun and imaginative ideas, this book will teach you how to get started transforming unloved items of clothing into new and exciting outfits; how to customize clothes with doilies, tassels, tie-dyeing and block printing; and finally how to measure yourself, create patterns and make clothes from scratch. The book is packed with all the tricks of the trade that Jenniffer has learned along her sewing journey. 

See Kate Sew by Kate Blocher
Create beautiful crafts for your home and everyone in it--no experience required! Learning how to sew has never been easier! In See Kate Sew, blogger Kate Blocher shows you how to make dozens of beginner-friendly projects with professional polish. From stylish pillows and home decor to adorable soft toys for kids and fashion-forward accessories, there is plenty to make and gift--or keep just for you! Detailed instructions and step-by-step illustrations help ensure your success, while sewing tutorials on everything from creating buttonholes to mitering quilt corners. Best of all, projects can be sewn together in 60 minutes or less. Sew great!

by EM

Monday, July 31, 2017

How About Some Good Sounds?

James Elkington is a Chicago based guitar player (by way of England) who just released his first solo album on the Paradise of Bachelors label. I first saw Elkington play in his band The Zincs at a music festival not long after I moved to Chicago in 2005. Elkington can now be found as a valued sideman to artists like Richard Thompson, Jeff Tweedy, Steve Gunn and Michael Chapman (as well as a regular member of Eleventh Dream Day and Brokeback). He makes anyone that he plays with sound better. It’s a real treat to hear him show off his playing AND his own songwriting on his new album Wintres Woma (old English for “the sound of winter, I looked it up).  Melding British folk (see Bert Jansch) and jazz-traditions, I really enjoy listening to what Pitchfork calls an “elegant and assured collection of acoustic fingerpicking and smart songwriting”. Watch the video below and you can find Wintres Woma in the library’s music CD collection.

by michael w

Friday, July 28, 2017

Check Out What’s New in Spanish

For those of us who like to read in a second language or maybe it is your first, here is a short list of some new titles in our Spanish collection. If you're not sure what to read, we can recommend something. Ask at the Reader Services Desk and check one out today. 
La razón de estar contigo by Bruce Cameron
Cuando aparecen los hombres by Marian Izaguirre
Mi novia preferida fue un bulldog Francés by Legna Rodríguez Iglesias
Respira, Rebecca, respira by Barbara Alves
Yo sí que cocino by Patricia Pérez
La cocina anticáncer by David Khayat
All You Need Is Love by Remedios Gomis

by CR

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tony Awards – 2017

The 71st Annual Tony Awards were held on June 11, 2017, to recognize achievement in Broadway productions during the 2016–17 season. The ceremony was held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, and was broadcast live by CBS. 
Dear Evan Hansen was written by Pasek & Paul, with a book by Steven Levenson.  It opened on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre in December 2016.
The title character, Evan Hansen, is a high school senior with a social anxiety disorder who finds himself amid the turmoil that follows a classmate’s death.
Won: Best Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Music – Ben Platt as Evan Hansen, Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical – Rachel Bay Jones as Heidi Hansen, Best Book of a Musical – Steven Levenson, Best Original Score – Pasek & Paul, and Best Orchestrations – Alex Lacamoire.
Hello, Dolly! (Revival) is a 1964 musical with lyrics and music by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, based on Thornton Wilder’s 1938 farce The Merchant of Yonkers.  The musical follows the story of Dolly Levi (a matchmaker), as she travels to Yonkers, New York, to find a match for the miserly Horace Vandergelder.
Won: Best Performance by a Leading Lady in a Musical – Bette Midler as Dolly Gallagher Levi, Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical – Gavin Creel as Cornelius Hackl, and Best Costume Design – Santo Loquasto.
Come From Away is a musical with book, music, and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein.  It is set in the week following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and tells the true story of what transpired when 38 planes were ordered to land unexpectedly in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland.
Won: Best direction of a Musical – Christopher Ashley.

Friday, July 21, 2017

What Have YOU Been Reading Lately?

News of the World

I highly recommend the powerful, yet tender historical fiction novel News of the World by Paulette Jiles, a book I read quite recently. I am not alone in my positive feelings about this book. News of the World was a 2016 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction.
Set in lawless, post-Civil War Texas, the novel’s hero is Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a retired Civil War captain. Now in his seventies, Kidd spends his time traveling through northern Texas as a respected news reader, giving live readings of the news to paying audiences who are eager to know the events of the world. At one of his stops Kidd is offered a $50 gold piece to return a 10-year-old girl, Johanna, to relatives 400 miles south in San Antonio. Kidd feels obligated to take the job.
Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna’s parents and sister. The Kiowa spared Johanna and raised her as one of their own. Recently “rescued” by the U.S. army, the young girl has once again been torn away from the only home she can remember. She has forgotten the English language and rebels at all efforts to “civilize” her, attempting to escape at every opportunity.
The 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and dangerous and both Kidd and Johanna realize they must rely on one another in order to survive. Slowly a bond begins to form between the two. When they reach San Antonio and Johanna’s relatives, Kidd is confronted with a complex moral decision, one of the most difficult of his life.
The audio version of this title is also highly recommended.
What have YOU enjoyed reading lately? Let us know!