Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Love Is In the Air...Or Maybe Not...

Looking for a great teen book with either low or no romance?  Romance for teen readers is often a great part of the story, but there is an an equal amount of teens who don't want to read romance.  Here is a short list of go-to reading recommendations for both types of readers:

Books with no romance, focused on a variety of topics:

Contagion by Erin Bowman

Book Jacket

Responding to a distress call on the distant planet of Achlys, Thea Sadik and her search-and-rescue crew are confronted by a zombie-like outbreak that forces them to uncover a monstrous enemy.

The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco

Book Jacket

Okiku has wandered the world for centuries, freeing the innocent ghosts of the murdered-dead and taking the lives of killers with the vengeance they are due, but when she meets Tark she knows the moody teen with the series of intricate tattoos is not a monster and needs to be freed from the demonic malevolence that clings to him.

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas

Book Jacket

The surviving sister of a cheerleader who was one of five girls who died violently years earlier realizes during a memory-laden memorial that the tragedies may have been more sinister.

Books with low romance, minor sub-plots, and brief scenes of romance:  

You Don't Know Me But I Know You by Rebecca Barrow

Book Jacket

Ignoring a letter written years earlier by her biological mother, Audrey attempts to fill in the missing pieces of her life until an unexpected pregnancy compels her to learn the truth about the history and choices that led to her own existence.

500 Words or Less by Juleah del Rosario

Book Jacket

High school senior Nic, seventeen, tries to salvage her tattered reputation by helping her Ivy League-obsessed classmates with college admission essays and finds herself in the process.

 On the Edge of Gone by Corrine Duyvis

Book Jacket

In Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 2034, a comet is due to hit the Earth within the hour and Denise, who is autistic, must try to find her missing sister and help her neglectful, undependable mother safely aboard a spaceship.

All books mentioned are located in the Teen Scene.

Monday, February 11, 2019


This unusual historical drama from absurdist director Yorgos Lanthimos garnered the most Oscar nominations this year: Best Picture, Best Actress (Olivia Colman), Best Supporting Actress (twice: Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz), Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Editing, and Best Production Design. This awards favorite just might have been yours at the theater, but did it leave you wanting for more? If so, try these movies:

Barry Lyndon: An 18th century Irish man attempts to move up the nobility ladder in this meticulously crafted period piece from director Stanley Kubrick. If you have an eye for historical detail, both Barry Lyndon and The Favourite have plenty of rewards.

The Lobster: Yorgos Lanthimos made his first English-language movie in this 2015 absurdist dystopian comedy, starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz. In the not-too-distant future, single people are forced to find a mate in 45 days or will be turned into an animal of their choosing.

Phantom Thread: A famous dressmaker (played by Daniel Day-Lewis) begins a relationship with a strong-willed woman who inspires his craft. Both Phantom Thread and The Favourite explore complex power structures in odd relationships and pay close attention to period detail and costuming.

Marie Antoinette : A stylish, anachronistic depiction of the life of Marie Antoinette. Much like The Favourite, this is not just another period drama!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Your 2019 Academy Award Nominees

This year's Oscars ceremony will air on Sunday, February 24th. Below is a list of each film nominated for an award - many you can place on hold. What are your predictions for this year's big winners? 
  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Netflix Exclusive - Try our Roku devices!) (3)  - Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Costume Design, Best Original Song (When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings)
  • Black Panther (7) - Best Picture, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Original Score, Best Original Song (All the Stars), Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing
  • BlackKklansman (6) - Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Adam Driver), Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Original Score
  • Bohemian Rhapsody  (5) - Best Picture, Best Actor (Rami Malek), Best Editing, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing
  • Border - Best Makeup and Hairstyling
  • Can You Ever Forgive Me?(3)  - Best Actress (Melissa McCarthy), Best Supporting Actor (Richard E. Grant), Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Capernaum - Best Foreign Language Film
  • Cold War (3) - Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Cinematography
  • The Favourite (10) - Best Picture, Best Actress (Olivia Colman), Best Supporting Actress (Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz), Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Production Design, Best Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design 
  • First Man (4) - Best Production Design, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing
  • Free Solo - Best Documentary
  • Green Book (5) - Best Picture, Best Actor (Viggo Mortensen), Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali), Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing
  • Hale County, This Morning This Evening - Best Documentary
  • Mary Poppins Returns (3) - Best Costume Design, Best Original Score, Best Original Song (The Place Where Lost Things Go)
  • Mary Queen of Scots (3) - Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Original Score
  • Minding the Gap - Best Documentary
  • Mirai - Best Animated Feature
  • Never Look Away - Best Foreign Language Film, Best Cinematography
  • Of Fathers and Sons - Best Documentary
  • RBG - Best Documentary, Best Original Song (I Will Fight)
  • Roma (9) - Best Picture, Best Actress (Yalitza Aparicio), Best Supporting Actress (Marina de Tavira), Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing
  • Shoplifters - Best Foreign Language Film
  • A Star is Born (8) - Best Picture, Best Actress (Lady Gaga), Best Actor (Bradley Cooper), Best Supporting Actor (Sam Elliott), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Original Song (Shallow), Best Sound Mixing
  • Vice (8) - Best Picture, Best Actor (Christian Bale), Best Supporting Actress (Amy Adams), Best Supporting Actor (Sam Rockwell), Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Best Animated Short Films: Animal Behavior, Bao, Late Afternoon, One Small Step, Weekends
Best Documentary Short Subject: Black Sheep, End Game, Lifeboat, A Night At The Garden, Period. End of Sentence. 
Best Live Action Short Film: Detainment, Fauve, Marguerite, Mother, Skin

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Unfriendly Skies (download and go)

This morning I took the dog for an abbreviated walk as I opted to sleep in a bit more. Wow, was it cold, after such a warm December, it was a cold reminder of what winter in Chicago is typically like, frigid and the skies gray and almost unfriendly. I think even the dog noticed, as he picked up the pace. Here is a list of downloadable fiction with a reference to the skies above.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction Shortlist

At the end of this year the American Library Association announced the six books shortlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medals. This is awarded for the previous year's best books written for adult readers and published in the U.S. The medals, established in 2012, guide adults in selecting quality reading material. The two medal winners, one for fiction and one for nonfiction, receive $5,000 each and are honored during an event at ALA's 2019 Annual Conference. The medals are made possible by a partial grant from the Carnegie Corporation as a testament to Andrew Carnegie who believed that books can change the world! The winners will be announced on January 27, 2019.
Take a look at the six finalists and decide which one would get your vote -

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
A novel set in 1980s Chicago and contemporary Paris follows the director of a Chicago art gallery and a woman looking for her estranged daughter in Paris who both struggle to come to terms with the ways AIDS has affected their lives.

There, There by Tommy Orange
A large cast of interwoven characters depicts the experience of Native Americans living in urban settings. Perfect for readers of character-driven fiction with a strong sense of place. -- Abby Johnson for LibraryReads.

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
Unexpectedly chosen to be a family manservant, an 11-year-old Barbados sugar-plantation slave is initiated into a world of technology and dignity before a devastating betrayal propels him throughout the world in search of his true self.

Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America by Beth Macy
In a book that includes deeply human and unforgettable portraits of the families and first responders affected, the author takes readers into the epicenter of America's more than 20-year struggle with opioid addiction.

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon
In this powerful and provocative memoir, genre-bending essayist and novelist Kiese Laymon explores what the weight of a lifetime of secrets, lies, and deception does to a black body, a black family, and a nation teetering on the brink of moral collapse.

The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantu
A former agent for the U.S. Border Patrol describes his upbringing as the son of a park ranger and grandson of a Mexican immigrant, who upon joining the Border Patrol encountered the violence and political rhetoric that overshadows life for both migrants and the police.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Reading Reflections 2018

The New Year is fast approaching and it's a perfect time to reflect on what I've read over the past year. It's been a great reading year for me! I've read and listened my way across the genres and for the first time in a long time a nonfiction book is my favorite read of the year, American Wolf: a true story of survival and obsession in the West by Nate Blakeslee. Here are a few of  my other good reads from 2018.  Maybe you'll find one that peaks your interest. What's your favorite book of 2018?

American Wolf: a true story of survival and obsession the West by Nate Blakeslee
An intimate account of the rise and rein of O-Six, the legendary Yellowstone wolf, describes, how after being hunted to near extinction by the 1920's, conservationists worked tirelessly to restore the species against a backdrop of debates specifically affecting the American West.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Celestial and Roy are newly married with a bright future when Roy is convicted of a crime he did not commit. This is not a heroes vs. villain's tale with a neat resolution. It is a complex, muddled, and thought-provoking story about love, family, and the wide-reaching effects of incarceration.

There, There by Tommy Orange
A large cast of interlaced characters depicts the experience of Native Americans living in urban settings. Perfect for readers of character-driven fiction with a strong sense of place.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Leni and her dysfunctional family embark on a new way of life in Alaska's wilderness in the mid-1970's, hoping this is the solution for her troubled father. In Alaska, each member of the family is tested and when change comes to their community her father's anger threatens to divide the town. This is an exquisitely written novel, descriptive and engaging with well-developed characters and a very strong sense of place.

Carnegie's Maid by Marie Benedict
Charming, richly-detailed, biographical and historical fiction. In 1860s Pittsburgh, Clara, an Irish immigrant takes a job working as a maid for Andrew Carnegie, with whom she falls in love, and then goes missing.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Glenview Opera Lecture Series II

As we enter the year 2019, we are regaled with the stories, history, and music featuring the operas being presented at the Lyric Opera of Chicago by members of The Opera Lovers Lecture Corps.  Come join other opera lovers on Thursday evenings in the Multipurpose Room from
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm.

Elektra by Richard Strauss (January 24)
As a child, Elektra witnesses the murder of her father, King Agamemnon, by her mother, Queen Clyrtemnestra and her lover Aegisthus.  Elektra lives for the death of her mother at the hands of her brother Orestes.  But he has been killed and Elektra seeks her revenge herself.

La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi (February 14)
Violetta, a desirable Paris courtesan, is sought after by society's most important men, but she's wealthy and perfectly content with her carefree existence - until she meets Alfredo Germont.  Alfredo's father pushes them apart, and although they are reunited in the end, it is much too late.

Ariodante by George Frederic Handel (February 21)
Medieval Scotland.  Ginevra, daughter of the King, is in love and betrothed to Prince Ariodante.  She rejects the amorous advances of the duke of Albany, Polinesso, who then cruelly tricks Ariodante and Ginevra's father into believing that Ginevra is unfaithful.  Aridante attemps suicide and Ginevra is condemned, but after a challenge to a duel by Lucanio, Ariodante's brother, the dying Polinesso admits his plot and the lovers are reunited.