Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New for 2010!

The Reader Services Department is excited to announce two new policies that will take effect in the New Year.

Beginning on January 5, Glenview Public Library cardholders will be able to place reserves on Fiction DVDs. Like other library materials, reserves on DVDs can be placed in person, by phone or through the library catalog. When the Fiction DVD is ready, we will let you know via phone or email (depending on your preference) and the DVD will be held at the Circulation Desk for three days.

Another change to note is that we are increasing the limit on the number of DVDs that can be checked out per library card. Starting January 5, library patrons will be able to check out up to 10 DVDs (previously 5), including fiction and non-fiction titles. The loan period for DVD's is 7 days. You'll want to be sure to return them on time to avoid a $1.50 per day late fee.

Happy New Year from the Reader Services Department!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Best Genre Fiction Books of 2009

There are many lists created for best books of the year. Here are some highlights of Library Journal's annual list.


Server Down: A Mad Dog & Englishman Mystery by J.M. Hayes
Half-Cheyenne shaman Mad Dog attends Yaqui tribal Easter ceremonies in Tucson, Arizona, where he is framed for the murder of a local policeman, while back in Kansas, Sheriff English investigates the bombing of Mad Dog's home.

The Shanghai Moon: A Lydia Chin/Bill Smith Mystery by S.J. Rozan
Estranged for months from fellow P.I. Smith, Chinese-American private investigator Chin is brought in by former mentor Joel Pilarsky to help with a case that involves tracking down a valuable brooch, the Shanghai Moon, which disappeared during WWII.


Running Hot by Jayne Ann Krentz
Reluctantly paired for a murder investigation by the paranormal Arcane Society, former cop Luther Malone and aura-reading librarian Grace Renquist find their mutual disgust dissolving into a powerful attraction, during a case that is further complicated by operatives for a ruthless underground psychic group.

What I Did for Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
When actress Georgie York's film career hits rock bottom along with her marriage, the paparazzi has a field day with her misfortune, which is only complicated by the reappearance of her sexy, unscrupulous former costar, Bramwell Shepard.

Science Ficton/Fantasy:

Flood by Stephen Baxter
Four hostages are finally released, but they face a world suddenly inundated as vast amounts of water is released from the earth's mantle. As the world's cities and countries disappear under the rising seas, humanity faces unimaginable global disaster.

Galileo's Dream by Kim Stanley Robinson
In a tale that stretches from Renaissance Italy to the future colonization of the moons of Jupiter, a renegade colonist named Ganymede brings Galileo into the future to alter the history of the human race.


The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly
Pursuing a big story in anticipation of his imminent layoff, Los Angeles reporter Jack McEvoy investigates the murder confession of a teen drug dealer and realizes that the youth may be innocent, a discovery that pits him against a killer operating belowpolice radar.

The Doomsday Key by James Rollins
The Sigma Force must solve a centuries-old secret involving coded prophecies about dark events leading to a future apocalypse.

The full article can be read online at Library Journal's website.

Other best of 2009 lists:

New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2009
Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2009
NPR's Best Books of 2009
Goodreads Best Books of 2009 (User voted)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Honor in Space

On Basilisk Station

A young naval officer has embarrassed some important high-ranking people and is banished to a distant outpost. Crew morale is low, smuggling and corruption is commonplace, and the native population is threatening to rise up. While politicians meddle, merchants complain, and two powerful nations edge closer to war, the crew of the Fearless will do their duty to protect their kingdom.

Yes it is a naval story. However, while the commander in question’s initials are “HH”, this is not Horatio Hornblower, but Honor Harrington. The Fearless is a light cruiser of the Star Kingdom of Manticore’s navy. The outpost in question is Basilisk Station, located near a wormhole of strategic importance to both Manticore and its enemy, the People’s Republic of Haven.

On Basilisk Station by David Weber is the first book in the ongoing Honor Harrington series. It is of course reminiscent of C. S. Forrester’s Hornblower stories as well as the Napoleonic Wars and other historical events. The cast list is quite large and varied. Some are quite decent. Some “allies” you would not want to turn your back on. Honor herself is honest and courageous, though has a temper that gets her in trouble. The technology, while futuristic, is not fanciful or particularly hard to believe, given how far into the future the story is being projected.

The Honor Harrington series currently numbers eleven novels and four short story anthologies. Two spinoff series are also being written; the Saganami Island series and The Wages of Sin series (the latter being co written with Eric Flint).


Monday, December 21, 2009

A Hawaiian Discovery

I recently returned from my first trip to Hawaii, the islands of Aloha. The islands are rich in history, diverse in culture, and overwhelmingly beautiful. The islands named Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui and Hawaii Big Island were born of earth, wind and fire, millions of years ago and then left alone to cultivate their natural splendor. The earliest settlers followed the stars that guided their canoes to these islands of impressive natural beauty. Over time, each chapter of Hawaii's history -- the arrival of Captain Cook, the reign of the Hawaiian Monarchs, the influx of the missionaries, the development of a plantation economy, the impact of World War II and statehood, multi-cultural contributions from later waves of immigrants -- added much to the islands' cultural heritage.

This trip sparked a keen interest in all things Hawaiian, especially Hawaiian historical fiction writing. I discovered James A. Michener's most ambitious book, Hawaii. Here is the story of Hawaii, told in terms of the peoples who made it -- and the forces of nature that held it together. It chronicles Hawaii's prehistory and history through the eyes of its natives, and then the missionaries a thousand years later, and the Asians after that who came to influence it. This is an enormously interesting story of human beings at many levels of struggle.

Kiana Davenport, herself Hawaiian, brings Michener's 1959 Hawaii up-to-date with Shark Dialogues (1995). This novel explores the past and present of Hawaii through the family of a Yankee sailor and the Tahitian princess he marries in Hawaii in 1834. Davenport's descriptions are more poetic and her stories are filled with more folklore and myth than Michener, but yet she includes factual history and digressions about politics, disease and race into her Hawaiian saga. She writes in a vivid prose style and clearly depicts Hawaii's past and present. Shark Dialogues is a favorite with book discussion groups and a solid read for Michener fans. Her Song of the Exile, also set in Hawaii, traces the saga of a Hawaiian jazz musician and a Korean-Hawaiian beauty who narrowly survive the punishments of World War II. She writes profoundly of human relationships and insightfully of racial issues.

New in 2009 is Alan Brennert's Honolulu: a Novel. In this sweeping epic novel, Brennert chronicles the lives of Asian immigrants in and around Hawaii's early 20th-century glamour days. He creates an encyclopedic portrait of Hawaii. As the tale begins, Korean-born Jin journeys to 1914 Hawaii as a mail-order bride only to find her hopes devastated by the realities of a rushed marriage to a callous plantation worker with drinking and gambling problems. Throughout this situation, Jin and her fellow picture brides discover their own ways to prosper in America and find that camaraderie and faith in themselves goes a long way.

Another carefully developed historical fiction novel is Bird of Another Heaven by James D. Houston which engages the theme of knowing our personal heritage and understanding our ancestors as individuals. The main character, Sheridan Brody, sets out to rediscover his family through the journals of his great-grandmother, Nani Keala, a half-Indian, half-Hawaiian woman who became a consort and confidant to the last king of Hawaii. Houston alternates his narrative between a past and present period of time which enables his readers to draw meaningful parallels between historical and present-day events and to appreciate the past's influence on our present-day choices.

Possibly the most memorable and unexpected thing I discovered on my trip was a new reading genre.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

An Interview With Greg Mortenson

An Interview With Greg Mortenson

Humanitarians such as Greg Mortenson wage wars of ideas. In his best-seller Three Cups of Tea, Mortenson told of how he built a school in a remote village in Pakistan. He has since founded more than 130 schools in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, hoping to replace extremism with literacy, especially for girls.
In an interview with Goodreads, a website for book lovers Mortenson explains why girls’ education in these areas is so crucial: “…(T)he first thing that happens is that girls teach their mothers how to read and write. Boys tend to just learn for themselves. Girls immediately start teaching their mothers. It spreads like wildfire….When women have an education…they are much less likely to encourage their sons to participate in violence or terrorism or to join the Taliban.” Throughout the interview, Mortenson displays his unique courage, perseverance and selflessness.
Mortenson’s new book, Stones Into Schools, describes his recent progress in Afghanistan and how women are using education to better their communities. It’s hard not to be inspired by this account of how one person can make a profound difference in the lives of thousands of people.
You have to join Goodreads to see the entire interview, which is FREE, but it’s well worth the effort. Plus, you’ll see all the other great things on this social networking site for readers.

Friday, December 11, 2009

32nd Annual Kennedy Center Honors

On Sunday, December 6, 2009, five outstanding individuals were honored, on the Kennedy Center Opera House stage, for their lifetime contributions to the cultural life of the nation and the world in dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures or television. It was also Dave Brubeck's 89th birthday.

Honored were:
Mel Brooks - writer, composer, actor, director and producer - born June 28, 1926 in Brooklyn, New York
Dave Brubeck, pianist and composer - born December 6, 1920 in Concord, California
Grace Bumbry, opera singer - born January 4, 1937 in St. Louis, Missouri
Robert De Niro, actor, director and producer - born August 17, 1943 in New York, New York
Bruce Springsteen, singer and songwriter - born September 23, 1949 in Freehold, New Jersey

Presenters included Meryl Streep, Martin Scorsese, Herbie Hancock, Carl Reiner, Frank Langella, Martin Short, Aretha Franklin, Jon Stewart and Ron Kovic.

Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman states, "With his hilarious movies and musicals, Mel Brooks has created comedic gems that will keep us laughing for years to come. Dave Brubeck's genius has dazzled us for six decades and has helped to define an American art form. Grace Bumbry helped to break the color barrier on her way to one of the most illustrious operatic careers in the 20th century. One of America's greatest cinematic actors, Robert De Niro has demonstrated a legendary commitment ot his characters and has co-founded one of the world's major film festivals. With his gritty and honest songs that speak to the everyman, Bruce Springteen has always had his finger on the pulse of America."

The show will broadcast on Tuesday, December 30 on CBS 8:00pm (CT)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

100 Notable Books of 2009

Are you looking for a good book to read? Or are you looking to purchase the gift of reading for someone? A great place to get ideas is the New York Times 100 Notable Books list. Every year in December, The New York Times puts out it's coveted list, which includes both fiction and nonfiction. The list is further broken down to The 10 Best Books of 2009, Notable Children's Books of 2009, 2009 Graphic Novels, Art and Architecture Books, Coffee Table Books, and more. Take a look and let us know which titles you think are deserving - or not!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Large Type Books

Located on the west side of the first floor near the fiction collection, is the popular large type collection. Large type books are popular with older adults and patrons with vision loss. The collection contains approximately 6,000 fiction and non fiction titles and is growing by leaps and bounds, with the addition of over 400 new titles per year. Check out the “Just Arrived” book display featuring our newest titles, just opposite this display is a rotating display highlighting a specific genre or special collection within the large type collection. A common misconception about large type books is that they are heavier than the regular print edition. Actually most large type books weigh less then the regular print edition! Publishers use lighter weight paper and most books have narrower margins. Some of our newest titles include; Nevada Barr’s 13 1/2, Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving, Debbie Macomber’s Bride on the Loose and Cheating Death by Sanjay Gupta. Give weary eyes a rest and try a large type book.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey Through China.

Jen Lin-Liu is an American journalist and food writer living in Beijing, China. She decides to hone up on her cooking skills by taking Chinese cooking classes in a state run cooking school. Her adventures have lead to the book, Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey Through China.

So is this book about Chinese cooking? Yes - but it is so much more. It is also a study of China today and where it is headed. It is about the ambition of it's people and where they have been. Who knew that one of the most important people that she meets is the secretary and caretaker of the school? This "non" teacher becomes Jen's guide to the China of yesteryear as well as her traditionalist cooking advisor and friend. As Jen discovers and learns about different regional cuisines, she travels and cooks in different areas and restaurants. Everything from your local small lunchtime noodle shop to the high class international restaurants of Shanghai.

A good book for Chinese food fans, history fans, and those who are trying to get a grasp on the Chinese culture today. After reading this, one has a better understanding of how the latest food scares out of China can happen and why they will probably continue. An excellent read.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A little Big Star

Paul Westerberg half sings, half croaks, "I never travel far, without a little Big Star" on the Replacements (tribute) song 'Alex Chilton' from their 1987 Pleased To Meet Me album. I can certainly see why he wouldn't want to. Big Star were an amazing, neglected 70s rock band from Memphis, TN and with the recent release of the Keep An Eye on the Sky box set, Big Star's name should be cemented in the skulls of rock fans far 'n wide for certain now. Similarly, Chris Bell and Alex Chilton should be taking their seats in the group photo for best songwriting duo(s) of all time. Ok, that probably won't happen, but maybe it should and the revision of history can begin with us, you and me. Ringing and chiming guitars, towering and crumbling bombast, fragile acoustic songs, it's all there. For a few short years and three albums, they were as simultaneously desperate and hopeful as any rock band on the planet. I've been on a steady diet of Big Star since this box set was released and I figure it's past time I spread the word so that somebody can join me. There's been so much written about them already that I couldn't top, I'll get you started with a couple of

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Offical Book Club Selection

Official Book Club Selection

by Kathy Griffin

“Are you there, Oprah? It’s me, Kathy”. She has made it no secret that she wants to be on the Oprah show and have her book become an official Oprah book club selection. This is her big chance to score that coveted book club endorsement that she has always wanted.

A funny honest look at Kathy Griffin, she writes like she talks and I found it entertaining and a great read, but being a fan I’m probably biased. Whether you’re a fan, you’ll respect her tenacity, work ethic and loyalty to her parents. It’s an honest intimate look at her life before and after she made it big, living in a dysfunctional family in suburban Illinois, her plastic surgery disasters to her highly publicized divorce.

Along the way, she shares her celebrity encounters on the red carpet and stories about her early years with Lisa Kudrow, Julia Sweeney, Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz and Margret Cho just to name a few.

Check out the nifty reader’s guide provided at the end as a clue that there’s intellect, wit, politics, religion, romance, tragedy and plenty of gossip at work on these pages, which merit careful reading and reading between the lines.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Amelia Earhart: courageous and adventurous

Amelia Earhart has been a positive role model for women since the 1930's. The Library has twenty-three books, both adult and children's, on her life and mysterious death in 1937. The movie, "Amelia", in theatres now, is a biography of aviation pioneer, Amelia Earhart and her fateful 1937 attempt to fly around the world. Hilary Swank, Richard Gere and Ewan McGregor star in this film.

There are many reasons for continuous interest in the life story of this courageous, adventurous, charismatic, talented, articulate, gracious and glamourous woman. Her fascination with aviation began in Topeka Kansas as a young girl. She was six years old when Orville and Wilbur Wright made their first sustained flight near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1903. Amelia was seventeen when her father took her to a Winter Air Tournament near Los Angeles. Her father arranged her first flight during which she knew she "had to fly." Lessons began soon thereafter.

She is most famous for her decision to fly around the world at its waistline. "Here was shining adventure," she said. Her route of 27,000 miles would be the longest world flight ever attempted. Fred Noonan, a respected and experienced navagator joined Amelia on the projected circling of the globe. On June l, 1937, after a first aborted attempt, Amelia Earhart began her second attempt to circumvent the world. The Navy and Coast Guard thought they were prepared to offer every aid near tiny Howland Island where their plane was scheduled to refuel. Amelia's last radioed message to the Navy ship, Itasca, "We are on the line of position 157-337...we are running north and south." Then there was silence. They had never been close.

A popular song in 1937 after Amelia Earhart's last flight ends:
"Happy landings to you Amelia Earhart.
Farewell first lady of the air."


Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Time of My Life

The Time of My Life
By Patrick Swayze

I have always been a big fan of Patrick Swayze. Who doesn’t remember Dirty Dancing and Ghost? In his career spanning over 30 years he shows us his versatility from the stage to the screen and onto television, he has become one of our most beloved actors.

I found the book simple and honest and his relationship with his wife Lisa Niemi shows great insight to how much he truly loved her, which is reflected throughout the book. Their simple principles, their love for each other and their bond together throughout there years in Hollywood is an inspiration for every married couple.

Patrick describes his early years with his Texas upbringing, his relationship with his mother, a choreographer, and very critical of Patrick and his siblings. He felt he could never measure up to her expectations and he also talks about how he use to get beat up because he wanted to become a ballet dancer, his breakthrough in North and South and also his acting experiences with Dirty Dancing and Ghost. He talks about his father’s death at 57 from a heart attack and his sister’s suicide which started his struggles with alcohol.

In February of 2008, Patrick was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. He refused to let the disease bring him to his knees. Instead he chose to be a fighter where we saw his bravery which has inspired fans and cancer patients everywhere.

Although written in the final months of his life, the book does not concentrate on his illness, but portrays a man who looks back on his life with appreciation, admiration for his loving wife and the legacy he had become and soon left behind.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

First in Food Writing

After seeing the very popular movie Julie & Julia, I started thinking about the food writing trend. I thought about all the food books that came before and I loved every one of them. So I began thinking about which one was the first one, and I remembered Like Water for Chocolate. It was originally written in Spanish Como agua para chocolate by Mexican author Laura Esquivel. It was a huge hit in Spanish and in English in the early nineties and if you like food reading and writing it should not be passed over. The reader is drawn to the recipes and the food which assumes a sort of magical quality. The book was adapted for the screen with the same title and is a good interpretation of the book.

Here is a short list of other good food writing, both fiction and nonfiction.

Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl
Cooking for Mr. Latte by Amanda Hesser
Rosewater and Soda Bread by Marsha Mehran
Pomegranate Soup By Marsha Mehran

Friday, November 6, 2009

Gym Candy by Carl Deuker

If you are into sports novels, especially ones that involve teens, then this is a great read for you! Gym Candy, set in a town near Seattle, the book focuses on a 15 year old named Mick who eats, sleeps, and breathes football for not only himself but for his father. Though Mick had a lot of talent, he still wasn't up to par when it came to playing for his high school team. With his father constantly pushing him, telling him that Football is Life, Mick started on a healthy road to success---by working out at a gym that his dad recommended and set him up in. Being a failed NFL player himself as a youth, Mike Johnson wanted nothing more than for his son's name to be up in lights someday, so anything he could do to lead him down that path he would certainly do. Mick first started with harmless power shakes and vitamins, but it spiraled out of control with the introduction of "gym candy" a.k.a. steroids. This gave him strength and a sense of power he never had, all the while making his dad proud of him. Mick eventually gets caught up in big-time trouble and ends up shooting himself in the head, and then immediately going to drug rehab for his addiction. A super read for a young adult, and one that is on the 2010 Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award nomination titles list. Not only great for boys, but for girls, both athletes and not. Smooth and interesting even for those who are not into sports.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Opera for the Millions II

The next half of our Chicago Lyric education series is also filled with wonderful stories and intrigue. Within 3 1/2 years of its premiere, The Merry Widow was performed more than 18,000 times in German, english, and American theaters.

Donizetti wasn't one to slave over every note, fussily revising and rewriting - he wrote The Elixir of Love in two weeks. On February 24, 1988, Luciano Pavarotti (tenor) received 165 curtan calls and was applauded for 1 hour 7 minutes after singing in Gaetano Donizetti's E 'Elisir 'Amore at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, Germany.

"Did you know that Lorenzo da Ponte (1749-1838) provided Mozart with the inspiration for Don Giovanni,The Marriage of Figaro, and Cosi fan tutte. Da Ponte was a Venetian priest who fathered a child with a maried woman, was run out of town, moved to Vienna, forged a letter of introduction, passed himself off as a librettist, worked with Mozart, had several affairs with leading divas, moved to London, got heavily into debt, and fled to New York, where he started a grocery story and the Italian department at Columbia University. It's safe to say that Lorenzo da Ponte is the greatest librettist ever to be burried in Queens." (Opera for Dummies)

Did you also know that Mozart's real name was Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart.

Come hear more stories and music in the Maynard Room, given by a docent from the Chicago Lyric Education Corps.

The Merry Widow by Lehar - Wednesday, November 18
The Elixir of Love by Donizetti - Thursday, January 14
The Damnation of Faust by Berlioz - Thursday, February 11
The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart - Thursday, February 18

Saturday, October 31, 2009

For Laughs

I have found lately that I’ve been reading some pretty serious books dealing with grim issues. So I lightened things up a bit with the Discworld novel Maskerade. It turned out to be just what I needed. I found it quite humorous, and I don’t know anything about opera.

Discworld is a series of novels by British fantasy writer Terry Pratchett. It is called Discworld because the planet is actually a flat plane resting on the backs of four enormous elephants which are standing on top of Great A’Tuin, the giant star turtle. Satire and parody are used to poke fun at a variety of subjects. These have included other literary genres, such as the police procedural or fairy tales. Other books have done humorous takes on music, religion, the film industry, and Christmas.

There are more than thirty novels in the series so far, but most of these are self-contained stories. They can be grouped together based on the main protagonist, however. For example, some books feature the “good” witch Granny Weatherwax, while others the Ankh-Morpork City Watch and still others follow the misadventures of the incompetent wizard Rincewind. If you are in the mood for a light, funny story in which even Death himself can get some laughs, I would try one of these

- J.K.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Upcoming Holiday Fiction

Halloween is just around the corner, but it's not too early to start on Holiday Fiction. In fact, some Holiday fiction has already started to come in at the library. Whether you're in the mood for a romance, something inspirational, cozy or a good Christmas mystery, many of your favorite bestselling authors have something special for the holiday season. Most of these titles are on order or already in, so reserve a copy today to ensure that you read them before the holidays are over!

A Christmas Blizzard by Garrison Keillor
A wealthy and depressed man bound for Christmas in the tropics is abruptly summoned home to North Dakota to visit an ailing aunt, arriving just in time to be trapped there by a blizzard.

The Christmas Cookie Club: a novel by Ann Pearlman
On a snowy December night, 12 women meet for a cookie exchange, where they tell stories of the cookies they baked, tales that are emblematic of the year that has just passed and focus on sisterly love and conflict.

Merry, Merry Ghost by Carolyn G. Hart
When a determined heir moves to block a wealthy woman's attempt to include her newly discovered grandson in her will, it is up to good-intentioned ghost Bailey Ruth Raeburn to protect a little boy, foil a murderer, and save Christmas.

One Week in December by Holly Chamberlin
Reunited with her family for the holidays, Becca Rowan, fueled by loneliness and longing, makes a shocking announcement that brings up long-buried resentments, secrets, and guilt, which challenges her own preconceptions about family and love.

Lakeshore Christmas by Susan Wiggs
Prim librarian Maureen Davenport lives for Christmas--and there's nothing more magical than Christmas on Willow Lake. Finally getting her chance to direct Avalon's annual holiday pageant, she's determined to make it truly spectacular. But it might just require one of those Christmas miracles she's always read about if her co-director-- recovering former child star Eddie Haven--has his way. Is he trying to sabotage the performance to spite her? Or is she trying too hard to fit the show into her storybook-perfect notion of Christmas?
(part of the Lakeshore Chronicles series)

A Christmas Promise: a novel by Anne Perry
When a younger fellow orphan is imperiled by her uncle's murder and the disappearance of a family donkey, Gracie, Charlotte Pitt's maid, aids the child's search for both the killer and the donkey.

Knit the Season by Kate Jacobs
Dakota Walker--along with her father, her grandparents and her mother's best friend, Catherine--visits her Gran for the Christmas holidays in Scotland, where the family members reminisce about Dakota's mother, Georgia, from Georgia's childhood to her blissful time as a doting new mom.
(from the Friday Night Knitting Club series)

Black Friday: a Maggie O'Dell novel by Alex Kava
Maggie O'Dell leads an investigation into the bombing of the nation's largest shopping center, uncovering paranoia, racism and a sinister secret agenda that extends to the highest ranks of a white-collar lobby group. As retailers count down to Christmas Eve, Maggie knows that infiltration is the only option--even though the cost could be huge.
(part of the Maggie O'Dell series)

The Perfect Christmas by Debbie Macomber
Thirty-three-year-old Cassie wants a husband and kids, and she turns to Simon Dodson, a professional matchmaker for help. Dodson assigns her three tasks to complete, and despite a number of comical mishaps, Cassie completes them all. Her Christmas match turns out to be a wonderful surprise.

Home for Christmas by Andrew Greeley
Years after abandoning his childhood sweetheart, Pete Kane becomes a distinguished army captain and experiences a transforming near-death experience after a bomb attack, a situation throughout which he is encouraged by an old friend to rekindle his past relationship.

Plum Pudding Murder: a Hannah Swensen mystery by Joanne Fluke
When Larry Jaeger, the owner of the Crazy Elf Christmas Tree Lot, is murdered, bakery owner Hannah Swensen, during the busiest time of the year, must sift through a wealth of suspects before a murderous Scrooge strikes again.
(part of the Hannah Swensen mysteries series)

We have many more, including some bestsellers from past holiday seasons, including an oldie by goodie - a riot, and my personal favorite Christmas fiction:

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham
Luther and Nora Krank have decided to set sail on a Caribbean cruise on December 25th and skip Christmas. They are about to discover that their decision brings enormous consequences--and isn't half as easy as they imagined.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Life-Changing Reads

Books have the power to change lives. It is amazing the difference that one book can make in an individual's life. Books convey powerful messages and send us on a path to self-discovery. Is there such a book or maybe several that have influenced your life and made a life-changing impact? If you'd like to share your testimonials, please post to the Readers Services blog.

If you'd like to read about books that have changed the lives of others, consider the following excellent resources:

The Book That Changed My Life: 71 Remarkable Writers Celebrate the Books that Matter Most to Them by Roxanne Coady and Joy Johannessen, eds. This is a collection of personal recollections of famous people in various walks of life about the books that changed their life. Their favorites may encourage a quick perusal or generate a must-read list. Some of the pivotal titles are the Bible (Senator Joe Lieberman), To Kill a Mockingbird (author Wally Lamb), Atlas Shrugged (Nelson DeMille), and Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee (Sebastian Junger). Most moving are the remembrances of books that "saved" someone or made him or her feel less isolated or unusual (e.g., book critic Maureen Corrigan on David Copperfield).

The Book That Changed My Life: Interviews With National Book Award Winners and Finalists by Diane Osen, ed. Osen compiles 15 interviews with National Book Award winners and finalists exploring how their reading has helped shape their lives and their art. A primary bibliography and list of works influencing the author follow each interview. There are expected sources on several writers' lists as well as less obvious influences.

Remarkable Reads: 34 Writers and Their Adventures in Reading by J. Peder Zane, ed.
Authors fill in the blank: "the most ___________ book I ever read" with superlatives like most memorable, enchanting, dangerous, daunting, exotic, devastating, classiest, wisest, disappointing, etc. This exciting little volume contains surprising selections and diverse sensibilities and will delight anyone who has ever loved a book.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Goodreads is the largest social network for readers in the world. 2,500,000 members have added over 60,000,000 books to their virtual bookshelves. I am hooked on the concept because it helps me keep track of my reading and I can more easily recommend books to friends and patrons. Others use it to keep a list of what they want to read; some don't post books but still enjoy the reviews and comments. My favorite feature is that an email is sent directly to you when a friend posts a book. It is heartening to know that my Goodread friends enjoy the same books that I do.

The founder, Otis Y. Chandler, a software engineer, has loved reading since his early discovery of the Hardy Boys. And the idea sprung from his wanting to know what his friends were reading. Goodreads has a blog for their employees where I learned that potential members can register with their Facebook or Google login credentials.

In addition, now provides Goodreads reviews to help users evaluate materials with fellow readers’ comments. Goodreads reviews can be found in the “Reviews” section alongside WorldCat, weRead, and Educational Media reviews.

You'll probably think of other ways it can accelerate your reading life.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Portable Books Three Ways

Listen to books while you exercise, clean your house or drive to work with one of these formats that are available at the Glenview Public Library. In addition to the traditional audiobook on cassette or cd, we have two formats that may be new to you.

If you consider yourself a technophobe and have difficulty with technology you might want to try a Playaway. Playaways are portable mp3 players pre-loaded with a book. Once you have supplied a battery and headphones, all you have to do is press play and you are ready to go. You can find these at the Library on the lower level right next to audiobooks on cassette and cd. It really doesn't get any easier than this! Click for a list of titles.

If you own an mp3 player or iPod and are comfortable using it, you have another option for audiobooks. The Glenview Public Library is part of a consortium called MyMediaMall where you can check out digital audiobooks, download to your computer and then transfer them to your mp3 player or iPod. MyMediaMall is open 24/7. To take the Digital Media Guided Tour, click here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The 2009 Anthony Awards

I had the privilege and fun of being present at the Anthony Awards that were presented at Bouchercon. Bouchercon is the largest mystery authors, fans and readers convention in the United States. It was held in Indianapolis this past weekend.

Here are the winners!

Best Novel: The Brass Verdict, by Michael Connelly

Best First Novel: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson

Best Paperback Original: State of the Onion, by Julie Hyzy

Best Short Story: "A Sleep Not Unlike Death" by Sean Chercover (from Hardcore Hardboiled)

Best Critical/Nonfiction: Anthony Boucher: A Bibliography, by Jeffrey Marks

Best Children's/Young Adult: The Crossroads, by Chris Grabenstein

Best Cover Art: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, designed by Peter Meselund

Special Service Award: Jon & Ruth Jordan

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees! It was great seeing that there were two Chicagoland connections - Julie Hyzy and Sean Chercover. We knew they were good. Now everyone else knows they are too!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pure Escapism

Looking for something frothy and fun, with amnesia, romance and office politics thrown in for good measure? I’ve just finished reading Sophie Kinsella’s Remember Me, and it’s all of these and more.

After getting in a car accident and receiving a nasty bump on the head, Lexi Smart wakes up in the hospital convinced it’s 2004 and that she’s just missed her father’s funeral. But it’s actually 3 years later, and she no longer has crooked teeth, frizzy hair and a no-good boyfriend. She’s become a ruthless businesswoman married to a drop-dead gorgeous millionaire. At first, Lexi thinks her new life is perfect – she has money, power and a stunning loft furnished with expensive designer furniture and priceless works of art. But then reality sets in – her husband is an uptight control freak and all her friends hate her and Lexi doesn’t like who she’s become.

There are lots of laughs and you’ll cringe at the embarrassing situations Lexi lands in, but you’ll be rooting for her all the way.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Piotr Beczala - Lyric Opera of Chicago Debut

Piotr Beczala, tenor, debuts this month in the title role of Gounod's Faust. He was born in southern Poland and trained in Katowice. Beczala has had many phenomenal debuts before this. In April 2004, he made his debut at London's Royal Opera House as the Tenor in Der Rosenkavalier and in October, 2004, the title role of Faust, then in June 2005 as the Duke in Rigoletto, and in September 2006, Faust. He made his San Francisco Opera and US debut as Lensky in Eugene Onegin. Beczala's La Scala debut came in January 2006 as the Duke in Rigoletto, as well as the Metropolitan Opera debut on December 19, 2006.

In 2007 he was award the Munich Opera Festival Prize for Rigoletto, Der Rosenkavalier and Werther. Beczala sings the role of Alfredo Germont in the Farao Classics recording of La traviata, which was nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award.

Lyric Opera of Chicago's director, William Mason, states, "When I first heard Beczala, I was struck most vividly by the clear, beautiful sound he produces, married to an impeccable technique and marvelous artistry.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Revenge of the Spellmans

Laugh out loud with the latest mystery in the Spellman Files series by Liza Lutz. The third in the series, Revenge of the Spellmans which follows Curse of the Spellmans and The Spellman Filescontinues the story of Izzy Spellman and her dysfunctional family. Mom and Dad are co-owners of Spellman Investigations Inc. Somehow Izzy’s near perfect older brother, David, escaped the family business and became a lawyer, but lately he’s been acting uncharacteristically strange. Her younger, teen-aged sister, Rae, typically an academic underachiever, has now aced her PSAT’s. Did she cheat, or is she trying to avoid college so that she can continue working in the family business? And Izzy is recently unemployed and attending court-ordered therapy sessions while on hiatus from the family business. She can’t, however, seem to stay away from the investigative scene.

Revenge of the Spellmans is filled with side-splitting Spellman family antics and will keep you laughing from start to finish. For a real treat, try listening to the series in audio format. Narrator, Christina Moore, brings the story alive through Izzy’s convoluted therapy sessions and her dysfunctional family and friends, including footnotes and appendixes.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Shanghai Girls

Lisa See does it again! Her most recent novel, Shanghai Girls is skillfully plotted with rich characters plus an exotic location. See tells the story of sisters Pearl and May Chin, born to middle class Chinese parents in glamorous 1937 Shanghai. Both girls are modern, smart and beautiful and are having the time of their lives thanks to their father’s successful rickshaw business. Their lives take a dramatic turn when their father tells them he has gambled away his wealth, and in order to settle his debts, he has sold them as wives to two California brothers. The girls must leave Shanghai immediately and travel to Los Angeles to honor their father’s agreement. Pearl and May set out on a perilous journey amidst Japanese bombs and the horror of invasion by Japanese soldiers. When they reach Los Angeles, they must contend with strangers for husbands and try to adapt to American life. Shanghai Girls is the story of sisters; devoted, best friends who share hopes, dreams and a past. See is an expert storyteller and this novel will not let you down. If you like Shanghai Girls, check out her other titles: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, Dragon Bones, The Interior, and Flower Net.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Wicked Plants

Have you threatened to poison someone lately? Apparently it is easier to do than you think. (Not that I'm suggesting anything of course!) But in the book, Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln's Mother & Other Botanical Atrocities by Amy Stewart, you can get a lot of information about dangerous plants and their nasty and lethal side effects.

Everything from Castor beans, Arrow poisons and deadly Nightshade is covered here. Stewart and her illustrators make the details very plain. This tree bark will kill you, this plant will try, and this one can be found in every backyard on your block. Hmmm. Maybe a plant identification session of your yard is in order. Stewart makes the seemingly dry topic interesting, informative and entertaining. This well written and researched book is a great resource your botany shelf. Perfect for those mystery writers who are trying to get rid of a character!

This book makes you want to heed what your mother used to say; "you do not know where that's been, don't put that in your mouth!" A very good read.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Chicago Tribune's "Printers Row"

What better way to keep track of book related news, reviews and events, than the Books section of the Chicago Tribune which has recently been redesigned to Printers Row! You can check out the online blog version of Printers Row on the Chicago Tribune website. It's a great source for local literary events including author signings, awards, reviews, book clubs and major events. Twitter fans can also follow them at ChiTribBooks. For those hardcore book lovers, you might also want to check out the Books section of The New York Times, which is worth bookmarking in your favorite book related sites, as well!

Print editions for both Printers Row and The New York Times Book Review are kept at our Reader Services Desk, on the desk counter which has our new "Readers Shelf" display.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

National Reading Group Month

October has been designated National Reading Group Month by the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA). Reading groups are demonstrating that great books bring people together, a winning combination. The library offers book discussions for every interest from our newest group Book It! On Friday Nights (nonfiction books) to our long time favorite Travel With Me. Have your own book club? Book Club in a Bag provides the tools your group needs for a great discussion in one easy kit. Celebrate the joy of shared reading.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Chicago International Film Festival

The 45th Annual Chicago International Film Festival starts this week on Thursday October 8th. This year's festival kicks off with Uma Thurman's Motherhood and ends on October 22nd with a screening of The Young Victoria. One thing that sets this year's festival apart is that all films will be screened in ONE location, the AMC River East 21. If you're a film buff you won't have to take a car or cab from venue to venue to make it to more than one screening. This is a great opportunity to not only see well regarded first run films on their first trip to the Midwest before wider release, but you can also gain some access to behind the scenes perspectives with appearances from Uma Thurman, Martin Landau, and Willem Dafoe. Of course, you can always do your homework here at the library and check out other films by festival directors (Lars Von Treir, Tsai Ming-Liang, Ken Loach) and actors (Charlotte Gainsbourg, Emily Blunt) to compliment the festival screenings.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Acoustic Soul

I was introduced to India.Arie at Ravinia as an opening act for John Legend. Although she is by no means new to the music scene, she embraces R&B with a touch of hip-hop, but she isn't subject to its stereotypes. The thread that runs through both her music and hip-hop is that it’s a very precise expression of the way she has lived her life. Along with the guitar and beautiful voice, India.Arie plays saxophone, baritone clarinet, french horn, and tenor recorders along with the trumpet. Her personal understanding of the physical, spiritual and emotional aspects of music pervade the album "Testimony; Vol 2 Love Politics". She's a Storyteller, songwriter, singer with music that truly inspires.

Monday, September 28, 2009

That Old Cape Magic

In Richard Russo's new novel called That Old Cape Magic, he uses two weddings and a couple funerals as plot points to tell his story of an autobiographical sounding character Jack Griffin.

As this book begins, Jack is making the same trip once again to the cape that he use to make with his parents. Jack's parents singing their own version and calling it "That Old Cape Magic" as they drove across the Sagamore Bridge and began the summer of a disappointing family vacations. Jack is second guessing some of the decisions he has made in his life, and he is no longer sure where his talents lie.

I found this novel to have deep introspection and every family feeling imaginable, with a middle age man confronting his parents and their failed marriage, his own troubled marriage, his daughters new life and finally , what it was he thought he wanted and what in fact he has.

The storytelling is flawless throughout with moments of great comedy and also others of rueful understanding and heart stopping sadness. Richard Russo goes on to say....The family is where the best ...and worst things happen to us . Whether we embrace it or try and escape it , the family is at the center of our lives.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Waiter Rant: thanks for the tip --confessions of a cynical waiter by Steve Dublanica

I just finished listening to "Waiter Rant" on CD and LOVED IT! It was so funny and very poignant coming from the mind of a restaurant-staffer. From the voice of "the waiter" who remains anonymous and keeps his bistro anonymous as well, telling tales only someone from the inside would know. He spoke about how he came to be a waiter and his beginnings in life wanting to become a priest and attending seminary, only to find jobs in the psychiatric field that came and went. After many job losses, he decided to try being a waiter and only planned on doing so for the short term to earn some cash. His brother was kind enough to get him into the same place that he was working, and the Waiter soon realized that this was not such a glamorous field. He talks about everything from shoddy wait staff, to cheap customers, to horrible owners. He also talks about everything most people think about restaurants but often don't want to confirm---like the spitting in food, dropping food and the 10 second rule, workers not washing their hands after going to the bathroom, etc. A fun read and one that all can relate to if they have ever been a restaurant patron or in the business itself.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

A terrific audiobook that I enjoyed and really thought was charming, funny and an intriguing mystery is called The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by first time novelist 70 year old Alan Bradley. The story is read by Jayne Entwistle who portrays precocious 11 year old Flavia de Luce, as an unconventional young lady with a love of chemistry and a talent for deductive reasoning with enthusiasm, curiosity and a British accent that draws you in. The story begins in the summer of 1950 in a sleepy English village. When Flavia discovers a murdered stranger’s body in a cucumber patch outside her bedroom window, she begins her quest to solve the mystery like a female adolescent version of Sherlock Holmes. I really enjoyed each of the characters in this audiobook and how they all developed their own unique personality.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

RIP - Mary Allin Travers (1936-2009)

Mary Allin Travers died on September 16, 2009, after a long battle with leukemia. She was an American singer-songwriter and member of the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary, along with Peter Yarrow and Noel "Paul" Stookey. This group was one of the most successful folk-singing groups of the 1960s.

She was born on November 9, 1936, in Louisville, Kentucky and song with The Song Swappers in high school, as a backup for Pete Seeger. Travers was also in the cast of the Broadway-theatre show, The Next President.The group Peter, Paul and Mary was formed in 1961. The group's first album, Peter, Paul and Mary came out in 1962 with their versions of "If I Had a Hammer" and "Lemon Tree." "If I Had a Hammer" won them Grammy's for best folk recording and best performance by a vocal group. It also became an anthem for racial equality. Other albums were Moving and In the Wind.

The group broke up in 1970 and Travers pursued a solo career and recorded five albums: Mary (1970), Morning Glory (1972), All My Choices (1973), Circles (1974) and It's in Everyone of Us.

In 1999, Peter, Paul and Mary were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

Check out the tribute to her and Peter, Paul and Mary in Periodicals Room in the lower level of the library.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fall GlenVIEWINGS film series: Doubt

Come to the library on Friday, September 25, at 2 or 6:30 PM
to see the first film in our fall GlenVIEWINGS series. Doubt, starring Meryl Streep and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, is a gripping, provocative, and enigmatic film about the power struggles inside a 1960’s convent. All four major cast members were nominated for acting Oscars. Just drop in on Friday afternoon or evening, no tickets are required. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What I Thought I Knew...

What I Thought I Knew: a Memoir by Alice Eve Cohen

Nothing goes as planned in this brave and candid memoir. At age 44 Alice Even Cohen finally felt like her life was finally going in the right direction. She survived a difficult divorce, her career as a writer and performer was taking off, she loved raising her adopted daughter and was ready to try married life again. Around that time, she began to have a combination of health issues that were diagnosed as early menopause. Six months later, she discovers her health issues were really due to pregnancy despite the fact that she had been told years earlier that she was infertile. She feels guilt and shame as she questions whether she can love her surprise baby who has received no prenatal care. Cohen wrestles with conflicting ideas about what the future holds for her baby, herself and her family. Everyone has advice for her, but in the end she must come to terms on her own about the challenges she faces. Cohen honestly discusses her emotions to create a suspenseful account of her experience which is heartbreaking at times, but uplifting in the end.

Read an excerpt from What I Thought I Knew

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dominican Literature, just in time for Hispanic Heritage Month

I am reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Pulitzer Prize author Junot Díaz. I was pretty sure the book was going to be good and it is; but what I didn’t count on was how anxious I was to learn more about the political history of the Dominican Republic. I can’t recommend this book enough not only for its entertainment value but for the glimpse into what was really going on in the Dominican Republic under Rafael Trujillo’s regime. Written in English with Junot Díaz’s perfect placement of words in Spanish, this book exudes Dominican culture and reads seamlessly. Some may say that the story is hard to follow, but the truth is, the story is complex and the character development is so well done that I felt like I could pick them out in a crowd. Although this is a work of fiction, I couldn't help but think that perhaps somewhere it is someone's true story. Was it fate, was Oscar's life decided for him, or was it what Junot refers to as fukú?

Other reads that be of interest regarding the Dominican Republic and the Trujillo regime are Perejil (in Spanish translated from French) by René Philoctète and two books by author Julia Alvarez, How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents and In the Time of the Butterflies.

Visit for more information on books in Spanish or books in English by Latino authors.

Search our Online Catalog for these titles.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Longlist for the Booker Prize

The Longlist for the Booker Prize was recently announced. The prize, first given in 1969, promotes full-length novels, not in translation, written by a citizen of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland. Many Glenview readers are fond of both the novels and the flurry of interest in the winner. (The prize is 50,000 pounds.) There are usually favorite authors on the list; for example this year's list includes A. S. Byatt, Hilary Mantel, Colm Toibin and Sarah Waters.

The winner will be announced October 6.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Opera for the Millions

When you think of opera what comes to mind? 'Opera is an art form consisting of a dramatic stage performance set to music.' ...or, as George Bernard Shaw put it: '[Opera is when] a tenor and soprano want to make love, but are prevented from doing so by a baritone.'

All operas have interesting facts beyond their stories. Take for instance, Tosca. At the end of the opera, Tosca is supposed to leap to her death from the roof of the prison and fall on a mattress or trampoline. But did you know that in more than one production, a misclaculation involving the bounciness of the trampoline, has sent poor Tosca, after leaping to her death, bouncing back into view above the prison wall. Opera for Dummies by David Pogue

Did you also know that Faust was so popular in the United States that in New York the opera season began with a performance of it every year for decades? In the late nineteenth century and within 3 1/2 years of its premier, The Merry Widow was performed more than 18,000 times in German, English, and American theaters.

Come hear the stories, music and more in the library this Fall, given by the Chicago Lyric Opera Corps.

Tosca by Puccini - Thursday, 9/17/09

Faust by Gounod - Thursday, 9/24/09

Ernani by Verdi - Thursday, 10/22/09

Katya Kabanova by Janacek - Thursday, 11/12/09

The Merry Widow by Lehar - Wednesday, 11/18/09

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Lion Among Men by Gregory Maguire

I'm currently listening to A Lion Among Men by Gregory Maguire, on CD. This is the same author that wrote Wicked and many other Oz related fiction that goes beyond what L. Frank Baum ever imagined. You get to know the main character, Brr, who is the Cowardly Lion in a much different form. He gets to know himself and be a part of the more human world in the land of Oz after his curiosity is poked thanks to a soldier he meets in the forest. The reader is able to see how courage comes to be in his life and the significance of the medal in his life. We also get to experience Dorothy and all her Oz friends in a whole new way as they make their way through the forest to make a special visit to the Wizard.

Search our Online Catalog for these titles.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Write on, Chicago

Chicago writers don’t necessarily need Bristish literary magazine Granta’s approval of the city’s rich literary history, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. In fact, it actually feels pretty good. It’s welcome attention that recognizes Chicago’s cultural significance in a month when the 2016 Olympic Bid is daily front page news. American editor John Freeman chose Chicago over other themes for the next issue because “right now, Chicago is having a real cultural movement”. The issue arrives in mid-September but you can get a head start and check out some of the featured authors (Aleksandar Hemon, Stuart Dybek, Sandra Cisneros, Alex Kotlowitz) now at the library.

Introducing "Chicago" from Granta magazine on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Looking for a Quickie Book Review?...Consider ...

The One Minute Critic!

Your source for critical discussion, one minute at a time.

I came upon a great sight awhile ago in preparing for a book discussion. It is a blog brought to you by the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. It is called One Minute Critic. It is a collection of very short book reviews on a wide variety of books. Librarians highlight their collections as well as members of the community who talk about books they've read and enjoyed, sharing their experiences with you. It could be a useful resource in suggesting book discussion titles. In Google, enter one minute followed by the title of the book. For example, to watch a video critique of the book, Truck: a Love Story by Michael Perry, by an interesting librarian, enter the keywords - "one minute truck". Click on the entry and enjoy the show! Try a title you're considering.

If you don't see your title there, check out -

One Minute Book Reviews

One Minute Book Reviews is an independent blog created by its editor-in-chief, Janice Harayda. It consists of brief reviews of new and classic fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for adults and children. The site does not cover literary news, trends or gossip. It is for people who like to read but dislike hype and review inflation.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cherry Cheesecake Murder (Hannah Swensen mysteries) by Joanne Fluke

The Cookie Jar is the hot-seat of action once again in this culinary mystery! Everyone had a motive to shoot Dean Lawrence, the director who sought out Lake Eden, Minnesota, for his most current film undertaking. Made to look like an accident, Lawrence was shot in the head with one of the gun props, but the reader knows it is not so cut-and-dried. Laced with many delicious recipes along with Hannah Swensen's quirky remarks, this is a fun read for anyone who likes a light mystery. Listening to the book on CD, one might want to go back to the hardcover to jot down all the delicious dessert recipes that are mentioned in detail in the book. The author even gives substitution tips when recounting ingridients which is a nice plus. Get ready to get hungry with this great read! Part of the Hannah Swensen mysteries, don't forget to look for the other books in the series, including Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, Strawberry Shortcake Murder, Blueberry Muffin Murder, and many more!

Search our Online Catalog for these titles.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Hangin' with the Fruit Bats

I’m not sure where The Fruits Bats are hanging out these days, but they are often figured as a Chicago band (OK, Eric Johnson's from here, but hasn't lived here in a while. Maybe?). They certainly have plenty of ties to these parts, and while main Bat Eric D. Johnson may be well traveled, spending time in bands in San Francisco (Vetiver) and Seattle (Factums), you get the feeling he likes it here when he sings on album’s third song, “I’m heading back to the place that makes sense to me, my heart belongs to the snow, Buffalo and Chicago”. Ruminant Band was recorded in Chicago and it's The Fruit Bats 3rd album overall and first since 2003’s Spelled in Bones. What do they sound like? The Fruit Bats music is often compared to The Shins, which makes a lot of sense given Johnson spends time playing in that band too. But rather than the 60s inflected, moody, folk-pop that the Shins employ, the songs on Ruminant Band choogle with a laid-back authority that’s grafted to the sonic bones of The Band, the Allman Brothers, and 70s AM radio in all the best possible ways. Califone’s (another nod to Chicago) Tim Rutilli even lays down a guest vocal on one track. If you like The Shins, or the last couple of Wilco records, do yourself a favor and check out The Fruit Bats.