Friday, October 24, 2014

Kennedy Center Honors - 2014


The Kennedy Center Honors will take place at the White House on December 7, 2014 and will be broadcast on CBS on December 30, 2014.

Al Green (Singer and songwriter, born April 13, 1946 in Forrest City, Arkansas) (R&B, soul, smooth soul, blues, gospel)

He has sold more than 20 million albums, won 11 Grammy, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2002 Grammy Awards.  Rolling Stone ranked him as one of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.

Green's first single was a cover of the Beatles "I Want to Hold Your Hand," under Memphis's Hi Records.

His first gold single was "Tired of being Alone," which reached No. 11 on the pop charts and No. 7 on the R&B charts in 1971.  Other gold singles included, "You Ought to Be with Me," "Here I Am (Come and Take Me)," and "Take Me to the River."

In 1976, Green was ordained pastor of the full Gospel Tabernacle Church, but he continued to pursue his pop career.  In 1979 he limited his public appearances to religious services in churches across the country.

At the 2009 Grammy Awards, he performed "Let's Stay Together" with Justin Timberlake.

Others being honored:

Tom Hanks (Actor, director, producer, writer, born July 9, 1956 in Concord, California)

Patricia McBride (Ballerina and teacher, born August 23, 1942 in Teaneck, New Jersey)

Sting (Musician, composer, author and actor, born Gordon Sumner on October 2, 1951 in Wallsend, England)

Lily Tomlin (Actress, comedian, writer and producer born September 1, 1939 in Detroit, Michigan)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Great Books for Book Discussions

Each October The Women’s National Book Association selects books for their Great Group Reads list. This annual list always has wonderful titles to consider if you are seeking discussable books for your own book discussion group. The 20 Great Group Reads selections for 2014, all fiction this year, are featured below.

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr  (2014)
Historical Fiction. "From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, a stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II." (448 pages)

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent  (2013)
Historical Fiction. An evocative tale of love and murder in early 19th century Iceland, this story is based on true events. In exquisite and haunting prose, the story of Agnes, convicted and awaiting execution while working on a remote farm, is gradually revealed. This is a multilayered and gripping story that illuminates a little known landscape and history. (256 pages)

Cataract City by Craig Davidson  (2013)
Realistic Fiction. Duncan Diggs and Owen Stuckey grew up on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls in a gritty industrial town. Duncan become a boxer and small-time crook; Owen, a cop. When they meet again as adults, their childhood friendship brings them up against some hard choices in this propulsive story, reminiscent of Joyce Carol Oates and Dennis Lehane. (398 pages)

Children of the Jacaranda Tree by Sahar Delijani  (2013)
Political Fiction. The realities of living through post-revolutionary Iran are intensely portrayed across three decades and from various points of view. Vibrantly explored are the all-too-real themes of suffering, imprisonment, the deep emotional scars borne by the children, the burden of continuous upheaval, but also the ultimate hope of a culture that is still full of poetry and beauty. (288 pages)

The Commandant of Lubizec by Patrick Hicks  (2014)
Historical Fiction. A harrowing tale that explores the mind of the commandant at a Nazi death camp and how he compartmentalized his life: murdering thousands by day and going home to kiss his wife and laugh with his children. A brutal story of survival and guilt, it illustrates Hannah Arendt's "banality of evil". (240 pages)

Euphoria by Lily King  (2014)
Historical Fiction. Set in 1930s New Guinea and inspired by the life of Margaret Mead, the story follows three anthropologists caught in a love triangle. As they study the artistic, female-dominated Tam tribe, their lives spin out of control. This is a captivating story of desire, possession, exploration and sacrifice. (368 pages)

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng  (2014)
Psychological Fiction. "Lydia is dead" runs the first line of the novel. From there, Ng weaves a devastatingly adept story of a mixed race American family in the late 1970s, exploring themes of family secrets, identity, gender perspectives and race. This profound family portrait is also a riveting page-turner. (304 pages)

Foreign Gods, INC. by Okey Ndibe  (2014)
Immigrant Fiction. The American Dream is recast from the perspective of a Nigerian immigrant, Ike, who despairs of success but still seethes with ambition to the extent of traveling back to his homeland to steal a religious statue. Brilliant and unforgettable, full of sly humor and pathos, Okey Ndibe's tale offers up an insider's biting view of both America and Nigeria. (336 pages)

Marching to Zion by Mary Glickman  (2013)
Historical Fiction. This dramatic and tumultuous story of interracial love and the struggles of African Americans and Jewish Americans against prejudice and economic depression in America's heartland takes place over a period of 20 pivotal years from 1916 to 1936, in St. Louis and Memphis. Race riots, tragedy, betrayal and forbidden love are explored in this fast-paced novel. (247 pages)

Neverhome by Laird Hunt  (2014)
Historical Fiction. Based on the lives of women who disguised themselves as men during the Civil War, this tale follows Ash, a farmer's wife, who abandons a conventional life to fight for the Union cause. Fearless and an excellent marksman, Ash lives a precarious life as a soldier, with betrayal always a breath away. It is a fascinating story of identity and reinvention with a vivid historical setting. (224 pages)

The Orphans of Race Point by Patry Francis  (2014)
Literary Fiction. The lives of two children who come together through an horrific event in Provincetown, Massachusetts, are explored in alternating voices over 30 years, covering the themes of faith, betrayal, family secrets, and violence. Atmospheric and passionate, the culture of the Massachusetts coastline and its Portuguese heritage are richly depicted. (336 pages)

Painted Horses by Malcolm Brooks  (2014)
Literary Fiction. Archaeologist Catherine Lemay arrives in Montana in the 1950s to find out if historical artifacts will be lost in the flooded lands resulting from the construction of a dam. She opens her heart to the wild and magnificent landscape as it is revealed to her by John H, a former mustanger and recluse. Elegantly written, it is a love song to a vanishing way of life that raises many topics for discussion: the treatment of Native Americans, the politics of big corporations, preservation of the past, and the role of women post-WWII. (336 pages)

Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement  (2014)
Literary Fiction. The harsh, desolate landscape of a Mexican region owned entirely by drug lords has forced women to hide their girls in the ground and make them 'ugly' so they will not be stolen away. Is there any hope for Ladydi, a young girl who dreams of a better life? This poetical, enchanting, and disturbing portrait of a strange and foreign world right in our midst is powerful, redemptive, and unforgettable. (224 pages)

The Promise by Ann Weisgarber  (2014)
Historical Fiction. In 1900, Catherine, a talented pianist who tried but failed to establish an independent life, finds herself in such a desperate situation, that she agrees to marry an acquaintance, now a widower and rancher in Galveston, Texas. She arrives there to make a life under primitive conditions, and is put to a harsh text--the massive hurricane which would prove to be the deadliest disaster in 20th century America. (304 pages)

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion  (2013)
Romantic Comedy. Don Tillman, a socially-challenged genetics professor who has never been on a second date, sets out to find the ideal wife with a 16-page questionnaire. Enter Rosie Jarman, who doesn't quite fit the profile, but as Don is drawn into Rosie's project to find her biological father, an unlikely relationship develops. In this delightful, feel-good novel, Don and Rosie finally draw the unscientific conclusion that sometimes you don't find love, it finds you. (329 pages)

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin  (2014)
Realistic Fiction. Recently widowed A.J. Fikry has problems: his bookstore is failing, he’s drinking too much, and his rare collection of Edgar Allen Poe’s poems has been stolen. The arrival of a mysterious package brings A.J. an opportunity to make his life over and see everything with new eyes. This is a delightful story of transformation, second chances and above all the power of love. (320 pages)

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay  (2014)
Psychological Fiction. Mireille Jameson returns to Haiti to visit her wealthy parents, but the happy reunion is shattered when she is kidnapped by a gang of armed men and her father refuses to pay the ransom they demand. Gay keeps the reader glued to the page with her harrowing, suspenseful, and graphically violent story about identity, guilt and the obligations we owe our loved ones. (368 pages)

What Is Visible by Kimberly Elkins  (2014)
Historical Fiction. Fifty years before Helen Keller, Laura Bridgman was the first American deaf-blind child to acquire language and with that, great celebrity. Set amidst the chaotic beginnings of 19-century social reform and experimentation, this poignant novel tells Laura’s story, alternating her convincing voice with that of her calculating mentor, Dr. Samuel Howe, his poet wife, Julie Ward Howe, and Laura’s beloved teacher. (352 pages)

Where Somebody Waits by Margaret Kaufman  (2013)
Love Stories. Tall, red-haired Ruby Davidson lives her life in small-town Arkansas, and the reader follows her voice in vignettes over 60 years, as she falls in love, marries into a southern Jewish family, encounters small and large dramas, and carries on with courage and spirit. This story transports the reader directly into the South of the 1940s and 1950s. (200 pages)

The World of Rae English by Lucy Rosenthal  (2013)
Realistic Fiction. Rae English, a smart yet conflicted young woman has secrets. Set in the strait-laced early sixties when women were supposed to be married and pretty, she finds herself divorced from a disgraced politician. Hoping to conceal herself as a writer and rediscover love, she leaves New York and relocates to Iowa City. Book groups will have much to discuss on the themes of abandonment, holding secrets and letting go. (246 pages)




Sunday, October 19, 2014

Antiquing Cozies

Cozy mysteries are all the rage-or should I say lack of rage, since they are considered the "gentle reads" of the mystery genre with a bloodless crime. Antiquing and collecting are popular hobbies for many people, so what better occupation for some of our favorite cozy mystery authors to use in their story lines. If you're interested in antiques, collecting, or maybe you enjoy watching the popular PBS television show Antiques Roadshow you're sure to enjoy reading one of these great series.

Savannah series by Mary Kay Andrews
This series is set in Savannah, Georgia. Eloise "Weezie" Foley is an antique dealer who gets sucked into solving mysteries with her best friend, restaurant owner and habitual divorcee BeBe Loudermilk. Andrews creates amusing characters against the backdrop of this charming city which is famous for eccentric characters and murder. Start with Savannah Blues.

Den of Antiquity mysteries by Tamar Myers
The Den of Antiquity mysteries feature antique store owner Abigail Timberlake. All Abigail wants is to run her antiques store, The Den of Antiquity in peace. In amiable Charlotte, North Carolina, this shouldn't be a problem, but at The Den of Antiquity murder is always on sale, Start with Larceny and Old Lace.

Josie Prescott mysteries by Jane K. Cleland
Since Josie Prescott left a high-paying job in New York City to set up shop as an antiques appraiser on the coast of New Hampshire, her life has not gone exactly as planned. In some ways, it's gone better. She has a growing business, good friends and neighbors, and even a budding romance, but dead bodies seem to be crossing her path. A nice blend of coziness, crime and collecting. Start with Consigned to Death.

Jane Wheel mysteries by Sharon Sloan Fiffer
Charming and resourceful Jane Wheel has been recently laid off from her job, separated from her husband Charley and is headed straight into a midlife crisis. Jane finds solace as an antique "picker" searching Chicago estate sales, garage sales and flea markets. Just as she is settling into her new life, Jane finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time, and discovers she has a knack for unearthing clues and solving mysteries. Start with Killer Stuff. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Recent Award Winners!

I am always interested reading in award-winning titles to see if I concur. Recent awards and their winners are:

Hugo Awards: Best Novel
The Science Fiction Achievement Awards, or Hugos, are selected annually by popular vote of the World Science Fiction Society. Established in 1953 and named for early science fiction publisher Hugo Gernsback, the awards are given for contributions to science fiction writing, art, and publishing.

The 2014 Hugo Award winner is Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie.
One Esk -- an electronic artificial intelligence -- once commanded an entire starship, the formidable Justice of Tore. Now confined to a mortal body cobbled together from interchangeable human parts as the entity called "Breq," the AI must survive as a multisegmented, ancillary humanoid being in a galactic empire ruled by an oppressive government -- without disobeying the law that forbids AIs from harming their creators.

Mythopoeic Award: Adult Literature
The Mythopoeic Awards are presented annually to honor current fantasy works in two categories, adult and children's literature. Children's literature became a separate category in 1992. The award is a statuette of a seated lion, reminiscent of Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia books by C. S. Lewis.

The 2014 Mythopoeic Award is The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker.

After her creator dies en route to America, Chava, a golem from a Polish shtetl, must navigate the streets of 1899 New York City by herself -- her only ally is a rabbi unsure whether to destroy her, or allow her to fulfill her destiny as the harbinger of destruction. Ahmad, a jinni from Syria's deserts has been released from his thousand-year-old glass bottle by a tinsmith but has little intention of remaining a metalworker, despite his uncanny talent for it. Chava and Ahmad meet and discover that they're soul mates, but a dangerous adversary threatens their future. This vibrant blend of myth, adventure, and romance will enchant fans of stories based on folklore.

RITA Awards: Best Historical Romance
The RITA Awards are presented annually by the Romance Writers of America for the best novels in romantic fiction. Award winners are judged by fellow romance writers for quality in writing and overall excellence in the genre. 

The 2014 Rita Award is No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sara MacLean.

He is the Killer Duke, accused of murdering Mara Lowe on the eve of her wedding. With no memory of that fateful night, Temple has reigned over the darkest of London's corners for twelve years, wealthy and powerful, but beyond redemption. Until one night, Mara resurfaces, offering the one thing he's dreamed of--absolution.


Christy Awards: Historical and First Novel
In 1999, Christian publishers realized the need to create a Christian fiction award that would recognize excellence in several genres of Christian fiction. The Christy Award was named to honor popular Christian fiction writer Catherine Marshall and one of her novels, Christy. Categories recognized have changed over time, and winners are announced annually. 

The 2014 Christy Award is Burning Sky: A Novel of the American Frontier by Lori Benton. 

Formerly an Indian captive named Burning-Sky, Willa Obenchain unexpectedly returns to her family's New York homestead after her twelve-year absence. With faith in God and the skills to survive on the frontier, Willa must decide if love is possible as she faces the challenges brought on by her dual identities and an unforgiving land.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fall Classics


Changing leaves, shorter days and pumpkin spice lattes are all signs that autumn has officially arrived. Here is a list of classic films set in the fall, perfect to check out from the library and enjoy at home on those cooler, darker nights.

Far From Heaven
1950's Connecticut, a housewife faces a marital crisis and mounting racial tentions in the outside world.

Dead Poets Society
English teacher John Keating inspires his students to a love of poetry and to seize the day.

The Trouble With Harry
The trouble with Harry is that he's dead, and everyone seems to have a different idea of what needs to be done with his body.

The Sixth Sense
A boy who communicates with spirits that don't know they're dead seeks the help of a disheartened child psychologist.

Rushmore
The extracurricular king of Rushmore preparatory school is put on academic probation.

When Harry Met Sally
Harry and Sally have known each other for years, and are very good friends, but they fear sex would ruin the relationship.

October Sky
The true story of Homer Hickham, a coal miner's son who was inspired by the first Sputnik launch to take up rocketry against his father's wishes.

Hoosiers
A coach with a checkered past and a local drunk train a small town high school basketball team to become a top contender for the championship

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Reading About Reading Groups

I just found out that October is "National Reading Group Month," the brainchild of two members of the Women's National Book Association. For more information on this annual event, check out the website.

In the meantime, I thought it might be fun to find some books featuring Book Clubs and their members and see what adventures and mischief these fictional groups get into.  Here are a few titles to get you started.

Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik
From the initial formation of The Freesia Court Book Club and over the course of the next thirty years, five women in small-town Minnesota share the events, triumphs, tragedies, hardships, joys, and sorrows of their lives.

A Killer Read by Erika Chase
When the first meeting of the Ashton Corners Mystery Readers and Cheese Straws Society results in murder, Lizzie Turner teams up with the police chief to catch the killer.

The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal by Sam Dixon
The Lacuna Cabal Montreal Women's Book Club has been meeting regularly since its members' student days when a couple of them attended a reading of Michael Ondaatje's "In the Skin of the Lion" . Since that time, although their selections have been the standard literary book club fare, their discussions have been anything but. They don't so much read the books as reenact them, going so far as to find appropriate settings for each. Their latest discovery is a book written in cuneiform on clay tablets, which turns out to be The Epic of Gilgamesh .

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Fowler
Six Californians join to discuss Jane Austen's novels. Over the six months they meet, marriages are tested, affairs begin, unsuitable arrangements become suitable, and love happens.

Once Upon A Kiss by Jayne Fresina
Enjoying a salacious romance called "Pride and Prejudice" with the fellow members of her book club, Justina Penny of the sleepy village of Hawcombe Prior attempts to match a proud newcomer and her sweet sister.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Forthcoming Fiction in November

Here are some Fiction titles coming out in November. You can reserve them by searching our Online Catalog, or give us a call at 847-729-7500.

The Escape by David Baldacci
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie by Rita Mae Brown
The Cinderella Murder: and Under Suspicion Novel by Mary Higgins Clark
The Burning Room by Michael Connelly
Flesh and Blood: A Scarpetta Novel by Patricia Daniels Cornwell
The Promise: an Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel by Robert Crais
The Job by Janet Evanovich
The Mistletoe Promise by Richard Paul Evans
The Laws of Murder: a Charles Lenox Mystery by Charles Finch
Let Me Be Frank With You by Richard Ford
Safari: a Stanley Hastings Mystery by Parnell Hall
A Map of Betrayal by Ha Jin
Revival by Stephen King
All is Bright by Thomas Kinkade
Private India: City on Fire by James Patterson
Hope to Die by James Patterson
The Siege by Arturo Perez-Reverte
A New York Christmas by Anne Perry
Baby Labyrinth by Douglas Preston
Betrayed by Lisa Scottoline