Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Reading takes you everywhere...Time Travel

The Library's annual summer reading program is underway. Have you mapped out your reading strategy? If not I have a couple of great selections for our Sci-fi/Fantasy readers. Check out one of these Out of This World novels.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffengger
Passionately in love, Clare and Henry vow to hold onto each other and their marriage as the struggle with the effects of Chrono-Displacement Disorder, an illness that casts Henry hesitantly into the world of time travel.

Replay by Ken Grimwood
Jeff Winston is feeling trapped in a bad marriage when he suddenly dies of a heart attack. He awakens at Emory University and he's 18 years old again. Miraculously he remembers what happened during his life and what the future holds. He has no idea how this happened to him or what to do with the lifetime of knowledge he has acquired. 

 Kindred by Olivia Butler
Dana, an African-American woman, finds herself recurrently transported to the antebellum South, where she must make sure that Rufus, the plantation owner's son, survives to father Dana's ancestor. 

11/22/63 by Stephen King
Receiving a horrifying essay from a GED student with a painful past, high-school English teacher Jake Epping is enlisted by a friend to travel back in time to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy, a mission for which he must befriend the troubled Lee Harvey Oswald. 

Timeline by Michael Crichton
In an Arizona desert a man wanders in a daze, speaking words that make no sense. Within a day he's dead, his body quickly cremated.  Halfway around the world archaeologists make an astounding discovery at a medieval sight.  Suddenly they are swept off to the headquarters of a secretive multinational corporation that has developed amazing technology. Now this group is about to get a chance not to study the past but enter it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

A Weird-But-True Story Takes Flight In 'The Feather Thief'

The Feather Thief  by Kirk Wallace Johnson is one weird-but-true story. It's a story that leads readers from 19th century scientific expeditions into the jungles of Malaysia to the "feather fever" of the turn of the last century, when women's hats were be-plumed with ostriches and egrets. And it's a story that focuses on the feather-dependent Victorian art of salmon fly-tying and its present-day practitioners, many of whom lurk online in something called "The Feather Underground."

Johnson takes up fly-fishing as a way to manage his PTSD which is a consequence of years of aid work in Iraq. While fishing in the Red River of New Mexico, Johnson's guide began telling him about his own hobby of Victorian salmon fly-tying. The ornate flies, the guide explained, were more of an art form than a fishing tool; they're composed of the iridescent jewel-toned feathers plucked from many of the rarest birds in the world, like the Indian crow and the king bird of paradise.

Then, the guide went on to tell Johnson the bizarre story of a master fly-tier named Edwin Rist. In 2009, Rist — who was then a 20-year-old American student at the Royal Academy of Music in London — broke into the Tring Museum, a suburban outpost of the British Natural History Museum that was established during the Blitz. Once inside, Rist stuffed hundreds of rare bird skins into a suitcase he'd brought along. Many of those birds bore tags identifying that they'd been collected 150 years earlier by a naturalist named Alfred Russel Wallace, who was a colleague of Charles Darwin.

It turns out that what started off for him as an escape from the strains of refugee aid work became a mission to alert readers to the vulnerability of natural history collections like the Tring that may hold answers to the problems of extinction and climate change. These days, scientists can study those bird specimens to learn about rising mercury levels and other changes in the ocean and atmosphere. The Feather Thief is a real-life story that reads like classic thriller.

Monday, June 11, 2018

After OCEAN'S 8 and HEREDITARY, Try...

Ocean's 8 follows up the Ocean's 11 trilogy of fun heist flicks with a new Ocean, this time played by Sandra Bullock (playing Clooney's brother). The film also stars Cate Blanchett and Anne Hathaway. If you liked Soderbergh's Ocean's trilogy, this new entry to the series, or even just fun heists in general, try these:


The Heist by Janet Evanovich: In this first entry to the "Fox and O'Hare" series, a notorious thief teams up with an FBI agent to bring a corrupt investment banker down.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch: Have you ever wondered, "What if Ocean's 11, but set in the Game of Thrones universe"? You might try this first entry to Lynch's fantasy series, full of fast talking thieves, exhilarating heist sequences, and a totally unique fantasy world.


The Heat: Sandra Bullock plays a thief in Ocean's 8, but an FBI agent in this well received comedy.

Nine to Five: A group of female co-workers work together to get revenge on their boss.

Ghostbusters (2016): Another male-led comedy franchise re-imagined with female leads.

Hereditary has been getting rave reviews, especially for a debut from director Ari Aster. It's billed as one of the scariest movies in recent memory - are you brave enough for a trip to the theater? (This writer was, and agrees with the critics: this one is terrifying!) You might also try these frightening movies:

The Babadook: Both Hereditary and The Babadook deal with family trauma by turning them into haunted-house style scares - while still providing a profound exploration of that trauma.

The Witch: Both films are slow burns until the last act. If you like your horror films more atmospheric and suspenseful than full of things that jump out to scare you, you might like The Witch!

Don't Look Now: Another slower horror film that deals with family trauma at the same time as terror: after the death of their daughter, a couple travels to Italy where they are told their daughter may still be alive.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Spring Forward into Summer

It looks like spring missed us completely and now we are into summer! Here are some titles to get you right into summer:

The Summer List by Amy Mason Doan
Returning home after being away for 17 years, Laura is reunited with her former best friend, Casey, and as they embark on one last scavenger hunt, a devastating secret threatens to tear them apart once again.

The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand
Featuring popular characters from such novels as A Summer Affair, a tale set during a Nantucket wedding season finds Chief of Police Ed Kapenash searching for a bride's killer among her own wedding party.

Holiday in the Hamptoms by Sarah Morgan
In a next enchanting tale in the From Manhattan with Love series, a secret identity and a surprise reunion lead to a second chance at love for an unlikely pair.

The Bookshop at Water's End by Patti Callahan Henry
Reuniting with her best friend and a local bookshop owner at the river house where they spent their childhood summers together, Bonny is challenged to confront painful memories and secrets, including the truth about her friend's mother's mysterious disappearance.

The Light in Summer by Mary McNear
A summertime marked by loneliness, teen precociousness and a faithful dog turns hopeful for beautiful Billy Harper, who confronts painful realities about her father's death while navigating relationships with a complicated newcomer and her son's long-absent father.

Secrets in Summer by Nancy Thayer
Spending her days at the library and her nights stargazing and contemplating a new relationship, Darcy is unexpectedly drawn into the summertime dramas of three families including those of her recently married ex, a situation that compels Darcy to consider what she truly wants.

Friday, May 25, 2018

A Family Mystery, an Epic Quest, and the Secret to Belonging

Journalist Alex Wagner was 12 years old when a line cook in a diner asked her if she was adopted. Wagner was taken aback — her father's family came generations ago from Luxembourg, and her mother came to the U.S. from what was then Burma.

"It was the first time in my life that I realized [that] ... I conceived of myself as generically American, but not everybody else did," Wagner says. "To some Americans, there was no possible way I could naturally be the daughter of this white American; I had to be from someplace else."

Looking back, Wagner says this incident was pivotal to her understanding of herself as a mixed-race person. Decades later, she would attempt to learn more about her roots by traveling to Luxembourg and Myanmar — formerly Burma — and by signing up for DNA ancestry tests. She writes about her efforts in the new book, Futureface.

Ultimately, Wagner says, her book is about a quest for belonging: "I wanted a story to call my own. I wanted to know who my people were. And I, I think like a lot of Americans, I thought I could find those people in the past."

Monday, May 21, 2018

Audiobooks Read by the late Katherine Kellgren

I recently came across the news that one of my favorite audiobook narrators had passed away earlier this year. If you're an audiobook lover chances are you've heard her narration at some point.  These are some of the titles in our collection narrated by her in a wide variety of genres.  Please enjoy one of these read by the gifted Katherine.

After Alice: A Novel - Gregory Maguire

When Alice toppled down the rabbit-hole 150 years ago, she found a Wonderland as rife with inconsistent rules and abrasive egos as the world she left behind. But what of that world? How did 1860s Oxford react to Alice's disappearance? Ada, a friend of Alice's mentioned briefly in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, is off to visit her friend, but arrives a moment too late--and tumbles down the rabbit-hole herself. Ada brings to Wonderland her own imperfect apprehension of cause and effect as she embarks on an odyssey to find Alice and see her safely home from this surreal world below the world

Habits of the House - Fay Weldon

 "As the London Season of 1899 comes to an end, the world is poised on the brink of profound, irrevocable change. In his luxurious--albeit rented--townhouse... the Earl of Dilberne finds his own world threatened by unaccustomed financial concerns. The ripple effects spread to everyone in the household... Lord Robert's thoughts turn to securing a suitable wife (and dowry) for his son. The arrival on the London scene of Minnie, a beautiful heiress whose reputation has been compromised back in Chicago, seems the answer to their prayers--even if her father is a meat baron who would not be received in polite society under less desperate circumstances."

The Queen of the Tearling - Erika Johansen

 An untested young princess must claim her throne, learn to become a queen, and combat a malevolent sorceress in an epic battle between light and darkness in this spectacular debut, the first novel in a trilogy. Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her.

The Boy in the Suitcase - Lene Kaaberbøl
 When Nina's friend Karin gives her a key to a public locker in a Copenhagen train station, Nina opens it to find a suitcase. When Nina opens the suitcase, she is shocked to find a drugged, barely alive three-year-old boy. Before Nina can even decide what to do next, Karin is murdered, forcing Nina to take the boy and go on the run before whomever is responsible for this all goes after her next.

The Knockoff - Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

Fashion maven Sykes and journalist Piazza combine forces to create a winning romp of a tale that skewers a millennial, techie know-it-all who tries to undermine an "old guard" print editor when a top fashion magazine is transformed into an interactive app. Imogen Tate, editor-in-chief for Glossy magazine, returns to work after six months in treatment for breast cancer. She finds her former assistant, Eve Morton, back from a stint at Harvard business school, brimming with superiority and ideas to turn her print magazine into a 24/7 trendy online marketplace app. In this modernized All About Eve plotline, the  maniacally driven Eve goes up against her too-kind boss in ways both large (stealing Imogen's ideas) and small (insulting her lack of tech knowledge), leaving Imogen feeling out of step. Throughout, readers are constantly reminded of the  ubiquity of technology and its potential pitfalls. This breezy, behind-the -scenes tale offers a fresh, modern take on a classic tale of rivalry.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

U2 is coming back to Chicago

Bono and the band is coming back to Chicago on May 22nd and May 23rd and I have tickets. U2 is quite possibly my all-time favorite band. I was thrilled when I heard they were coming back because I missed last summer's show. As I get older it seems, I go to fewer concerts, but this was one not to be missed. I will pull out my record albums and have a listen before I go. If you want to have a listen, here is what we have here at the library. Enjoy!

All That You Can't Leave Behind
The Best of 1990-2000
Unforgettable Fire
18 singles
Under a Blood Red Sky
Joshua Tree
Wide Awake in America
Rattle and Hum (live in concert DVD)
Achtung Baby
No Line on the Horizon
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb