Thursday, December 30, 2010

"Little Bee" by Chris Cleave

Published in early 2009, Chris Cleave's second novel, Little Bee, continues to be popular and is one of those novels that stays with you for a long time. This excellent read describes what happens when ordinary, mundane Western lives are thrown into stark contrast against the terrifying realities of war-torn Africa. Toward the beginning of the story, readers are faced with a very grim and difficult situation, however the novel then goes on to describe how a friendship is formed because of it. Moral dilemmas and a tension-filled dramatic ending give the reader plenty to think about and discuss. An excellent book discussion title.

If you liked Little Bee and are looking for other similar titles to read, try:

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi

Day After Night by Anita Diamant

The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

A Map of Home by Randa Jarrar

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

The Girls by Lori Lansens

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Broadway Lights

What better way to beat the winter blahs and spend time after the holidays than to attend a Broadway musical here in the Chicago area in person or in the comfort of your home. Here at the Glenview Public Library we have all the musicals, either on CD or DVD, for your listening pleasure. Check them out in the Audiovisual room!

Bank of America Theatre - Chicago:
Irving Berlin's White Christmas (12/15/10-1/2/11)
9 to 5: The Musical (1/18/11-1/31-11)

Cadillac Palace Theatre - Chicago:
Wicked (12/1/10-1/23/11)
Les Miserables (2/2/11-2/27/11)

Circle Theatre - Oak Park:
Kiss Me Kate (Thru 1/30)

Drury Lane - Oak Brook:
Monty Python's Spamalot (12/30/10-3/6/11)

Light Opera Works - Evanston:
Hello, Dolly! (12/26/10-1/2/11)

Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre:
The Music Man (Thru 1/9/11)
Guys & Dolls (1/26/11-3/27/11)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Debbie Macomber

Debbie Macomber, best-selling author of women’s fiction with more than 130 million copies of her novels in print will be leaving her longtime publisher MIRA and joining Random House Publishing Group. Ballantine Bantam Dell division’s Ballantine Imprint will be publishing her novels starting in 2012. Macomber said, “I am delighted and grateful to find a home with the energetic, inspired, and extremely impressive team at Ballantine Bantam Dell. I’m looking forward to a new stage in my 28-year publishing career, full of fresh ideas and exciting opportunities to bring my stories to the widest possible audience, and to deepen my long-term relationships with my loyal readers.” As one of her loyal readers I hope she continues with the same characters I have grown to love. When I pick up a Debbie Macomber book, I know I will get a quality story with inspirational and optimistic characters. Along with her new publisher, she will begin a new series set in her hometown of Port Orchard, Washington. I can’t wait to read it.

Current 2010 Fiction Releases:

Call Me Mrs. Miracle: While working in the toy department of a family-run department store in New York City, Mrs. Miracle seizes the opportunity to connect Holly who is searching for the perfect present for her nephew and the owner’s son Jake. The Hallmark Channel premiered this made for television movie on November 27, 2010.

Hannah’s List: On the first year anniversary of his wife’s death from ovarian cancer, Dr. Michael Everett, pediatrician, finds a letter from her making one last request. She implores him to remarry and she suggests three women for consideration. Two of the women he already knows, Winter Adams Hannah’s cousin and a trained chef, Leanne Lancaster, Hannah’s oncology nurse and the third he never met Macy Roth an animal-loving artist. In the months that follow, he spends time with each woman getting to know them and even learning a few things about himself. Who will Michael choose, pick up a copy and find out.

1022 Evergreen Place: Neighbors Mary Jo Wyse and Mack McAfee feel their love grow stronger as they work together to solve the mystery of what happened to the World War II solider who wrote the letters that Mary Jo found, and to the girl he wrote to. Another great installment in this heart-warming series.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Memories in Movies

It's that time of year to stop by the AV Desk at GPL and bring all your holiday memories back to life. Check out some of our great classic Christmas movies as well as our more modern titles. Go home, curl up by the fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa, relax and enjoy.
Choose a Christmas classic:

"It's a Wonderful Life" (1946) - Frank Capra's magical tale of a man who's allowed to see what his family, his friends, and his community would have been like had he never been born.

"Miracle on 34th Street" (1947) - Charming tale of a department-store Santa who believes he really is Kris Kringle and helps thaw hearts.

"White Christmas" (1954) - Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye shine in this light romantic comedy. Irving Berlin's score is tops.

"A Christmas Carol" (1951) - This is an animated adaptation of Dickens' classic moral fable. This black and white British version where Alastair Sim's Scrooge is visited by the Christmas Eve ghosts is considered to be among the best.

"A Christmas Carol" (1984) - This is my personal favorite of all the film versions. It evokes the glories and miseries of Victorian England that spurred Dickens to write the tale. George C. Scott is masterful as Scrooge and depictions of the ghosts are chilling.

"A Christmas Story" (1983) - Hilarious and sweet, this picture of Christmas and family life in 1950's small-town America is hard to beat. The infamous "leg lamp," the kid who sticks his tongue to a frozen lamppost, the pink bunny pajamas, and Ralphie's vivid imagination will melt the heart of any Christmas grinch. This is storytelling at its best with a terrific cast.

OR, you can add to your classics list by watching more modern Christmas movies of recent years like:

"Elf" (2003) - Will Farrell is hilarious in this solid holiday film.

"The Santa Clause" (1994) - Tim Allen is great as an unwilling Santa in a nice and funny family Christmas movie.

"Love Actually" (2004) - It's all about love and holiday cheer in London.

"Home Alone" (1990) - Voted the greatest family Christmas movie of all time in which Macauley Culkin fends off idiotic burglars after his parents abandon him. Love this movie because when left on his own, Macauley not only danced around in his underwear and at junk food - as you'd expect a kid to do - but also acted like an adult, buying a toothbrush and decorating the house.

"Jingle All the Way" (2007) - A fun family holiday film where the fight for a perfect Christmas present is on.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Room by Emma Donoghue

Have you ever been reading a book that you didn’t want to end? And then, after you’ve finished it, you can’t get it out of your mind? That’s what happened to me when I read Room by Emma Donoghue.

In many ways, Jack is a typical 5-year-old. He likes to read books, watch TV, and play games with his Ma. But Jack is different in a big way--he has lived his entire life in a single room, sharing the tiny space with only his mother and a mysterious nighttime visitor known as Old Nick.  For Jack, Room is the only world he knows, but for Ma it is a prison in which she tries to create a normal life for her son. When their world suddenly expands beyond the confines of their four walls, the consequences are moving and extraordinary. Despite its distressing premise, this unique novel is full of moments of hope and beauty, and the dogged determination to live, even in the most desolate of circumstances. A stunning and original novel, readers who enter Room will leave changed, as though, like Jack, they are seeing the world for the very first time.

Once you’ve finished this novel, you may want to go to to have an interactive look at Room itself.


Monday, December 13, 2010

The Man, The Myth, The Musician: Keith Richards

In the age old question which rock group is better : the Beatles or the Rolling Stones - if you answer the Stones - this is the book for you.

Life by Keith Richards with James Fox, gives the Rolling Stone fan a glimpse into the creative and sometimes chemically enhanced mind of a founding member of the band. Richards is very straightforward on some issues (the music, his ex- girlfriend and Brian Jones), and cagey on others (Altamont.)  It is amazing he remembers as much as he does and it is fun when he has others in his circle being interviewed about the topics at hand.

At 564 pages, this is a long read, but Keith's humor and unique perspective make it worth while. Definitely a must read for anyone who is interested in the 60's and 70's music scene in England, and in one of the biggest rock bands of the last century. Just a warning - you might as well get your Stones music out when reading, because you will be hearing the songs in your head!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday fiction from years before

While there is plenty of new holiday fiction being released every year by popular authors like Jan Karon and Debbie Macomber, I thought it would be nice to revisit some of the classic favorites from the past. Sometimes I find myself reading the same stories year after year (just as we do with our favorite holiday movies!)

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
A miser learns the true meaning of Christmas when three ghostly visitors review his past and foretell his future.

Other Dickens Christmas stories:
Charles Dickens Christmas Tales
A Christmas carol -- The chimes -- The cricket on the hearth -- The haunted man -- A Christmas-tree -- What Christmas is as we grow older -- The poor relation's story -- The seven poor travellers -- The holly-tree -- Doctor Marigold.

Christmas Classics from the Modern Library
Includes The Gift of the Magi and The Fir Tree and many other classics, including
songs and carols.
A Treasury of Christmas Classics
Unforgettable classics by Hans Christian Andersen, Louisa May Alcott, O. Henry, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Corrie ten Boom and many others convey all the mystery and marvelous joy of Christmas.

Inspirational stories:
Chicken soup for the soul : the book of Christmas virtues : inspirational stories to warm the heart
Fatures seven virtues that are traditionally associated with Christmas. Each one is discussed in a short inspirational essay then illustrated by four to five all-new heart-touching true stories.

For the young at heart:
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Chronicles the joys and sorrows of the four March sisters as they grow into young women in nineteenth-century New England.

The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore
Clement C. Moore's famous 19th century poem.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Spotlight on Teen Programming: Cookies in a Jar

Last year I was lucky enough to participate in the program called Cookies in a Jar, which is for students in Grades 6-12. It required plenty of preparation on our part, but the end result was a lot of fun! 

Cookies to sample were baked ahead of time and were shared with the participants.  All the ingredients were supplied by the Library: flour, brown sugar, chocolate chips, salt, etc, along with the jars to put the ingredients in and a gift tag. Each person got a copy of the recipes and all they had to do was measure each ingredient and layer them into the jars. Everything they needed all in one place! Take a look at the pictures of the happy participants – it’s worth a thousand words!!
By popular demand, this program will be back on Saturday, December 18 at 2:00 P.M. There is a limit of 25 participants, so register as soon as you can. Make this to give as a present or for yourself to bake at home! Come alone, bring a friend or make a new friend, and share the good time!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Spotlight on International Fiction: Australia

Our next international stop is Australia! Check out some of these titles which take place "down under", from mysteries to historical fiction to travelogues.

The Slap - Christos Tsiolkas
At a festive barbecue in a Melbourne suburb a man slaps the child of another couple, triggering a court case and a variety of confrontations within the lives of the the families and friends present.

Rifling Paradise - Jem Poster
Moving to Australia, naturalist Charles Redbourne finds his life changing dramatically when he meets the artistic daughter of his host and embarks on an expedition to the Blue Mountains.

Carpentaria - a novel - Alexis Wright
A tale inspired by the plight of the Australian Aborigines follows a clash between a powerful family, tribe leaders, and mobsters in a sparsely populated northern Queensland town, a conflict marked by the machinations of a religious zealot, a murderous politician, and an activist.

Seven Mile Beach - Tom Gilling
It was just a harmless lie -- to say he was driving Danny Grogan's car when it was caught speeding down the Sydney streets on New Year's Eve -- and Danny's father, a billionaire real estate tycoon, had promised to make it worth his while. But when former reporter Nick Carmody stands up in court, it becomes clear that he doesn't know what he's admitting to -- until it's too late.

Wallaby Track - Aaron Fletcher
Vowing to use his doctoring skills to help other settlers survive in the beloved outback territory of his forebears, Stephen Brendell meets Deirdre Kerrick, a courageous young woman determined to preserve her family's destiny.

In armchair travel:

In a Sunburned Country - Bill Bryson
Travel writer and humorist author takes readers on a tour of the land Down Under that goes far beyond packaged-tour routes.

Keep Australia on your Left: a true story of an attempt to circumnavigate Australia by kayak - Eric Stiller
Narrates the journey of two men circumventing Australia by means of a two-man kayak, describing their dangerous encounters with strong currents, rough surf, crocodiles, and sharks.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Holiday Entertaining

With all one must accomplish during the holiday season, everyone is looking for a way to make entertaining easy, yet elegant.  What better resource to utilize than the woman who invented the concept herself, Martha Stewart.

According to, the secret to easy entertaining is organization.  By following her easy to follow Party Planning Checklist, your celebration will be a night to remember for both you and your guests.  Below are a few of Stewart’s party planning musts:

First, set the date.  Informal parties do not require an invitation.  Begin contacting guests several weeks in advance.   Invitations for formal parties can be sent out three to four weeks in advance.

Next, create a guest list.  Make sure that your entertaining space accommodates the number of people on your guest list.

Decide what type of celebration it is going to be.  Something as simple as cocktails and hors d'oeuvres can be chic and effortless.  Music and entertainment can truly set the mood.  Take the time to select the type of entertainment that will suit your guests and the event.

Looking for more great entertaining tips, or Stewart’s complete Party Planning Checklist? Visit her website. or stop in the library, relax by our fireplace, and browse through our Martha Stewart magazines. Martha Stewart ideas may also be found some of her books such as: Great parties: recipes, menus and ideas for perfect Gathering: the best of Martha Stewart living or Martha Stewart’s menus for entertaining

The library also has a selection of Martha Stewart DVD’s which includes Martha's Classic Thanksgiving and Martha's Homemade Holidays.

- BO

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mystery Writers of America 2011 "Grand Master"

The Mystery Writers of America have named author Sara Paretsky as their 2011 Grand Master Award recipient. The Grand Master Award was established to recognize authors' important contributions to the mystery genre.

Chicago based Paretsky introduced the popular V.I. Warshawski detective series in 1985 with the novel Indemnity Only.

The Mystery Writers of America is the premier organization for mystery and crime writers and fans of the genre. The MWA is also responsible for nominating and awarding the famous Edgar Awards since 1946.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thanksgiving Scene Stealers

Everyone has a favorite holiday but I have never met anyone who didn't like Thanksgiving. It must be the food. I can't think of a more enjoyable meal than the menu usually reserved for this holiday. People travel great distances to be home for Thanksgiving and the airports claim the highest travel times. So this Thanksgiving gather around to watch some films with a Thanksgiving appeal.

Home for the Holidays - Based on a short story by Chris Radant, starring Holly Hunter and Dylan McDermott

Pieces of April - Starring Katie Holmes before she was famous

Planes, Trains and Automobiles - A classic John Candy film

Hannah and Her Sisters - A Woody Allen film about 3 sisters and the men they love

Raising Arizona - May be Nicolas Cage's best movie ever; funny and cute

About Last Night - Great Thanksgiving scene and takes place in Chicago

Scent of a Woman - Best Al Pacino movie ever and Chicagoan Chris O'Donnell's first movie role

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cozy Mysteries

Fall is in the air – cool crisp mornings, the scent of wood burning, the leaves turning colors…doesn’t it make you want to sit by the fireplace and knit an afghan? Not so crafty? Then how about just reading a “cozy” mystery from one of the Needlecraft series, Someday Quilts series or the Home Crafting series, to name a few.
Monica Ferris started writing the Needlecraft series in 1999 with Crewel World. She has since written 12 more, the latest of which, Buttons and Bones, will be published later this year.

The Someday Quilts series is written by Clare O’Donohue. At the moment there are only 3 books in the series: The Lover’s Knot published in 2008, A Drunkard’s Path (2009) and The Double Cross (2010).

The first book in the Home Crafting Series, written by Sophie Mae Reynolds, is Lye in Wait, published in 2007. There are 3 subsequent titles, the most recent, Something Borrowed, Something Bleu was published in July.

However, if you do want to knit 1, purl 2 and drop 3…we can also recommend some of those titles.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Aaron Copland

When you think about composers that conjure up images of America, Aaron Copland comes to mind. His life spanned most of the 20th century: November 14, 1900 - December 2, 1990. In the twenties, he was trying to find a serious style which sounded American, rather than European. In this period, his music conveyed the image of energy and power.

In the thirties, Copland wanted music to reach those who weren't interested in modern music. He wrote music for theater, ballet, and films and used folk influences. His most popular works were Billy the Kid and Rodeo for the ballet. He wrote music for Irwin Shaw's play Quiet City, and the film scores for Our Town and The Red Pony. He also wrote music for the full-length opera The Tender Land, Fanfare for the Common Man, Lincoln Portrait for speaker and orchestra, Quiet City, Concerto for Clarinet, Strings, Harp and Piano, the Old American Songs, and Appalachian Spring. You can find these on The Music of America. Watch Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony explore the music of Copland and the cityscapes, landscapes and political developments that shaped it.

In addition, he became an impressario of modern music, establishing the composition department at Tanglewood, helping young composers, and writing and lecturing on a wide range of modern music. He also wrote a music appreciation book, What to Listen for in Music.

Copland retired from composing in 1965, although occasionally he wrote short pieces. He did, however, decided to conduct, specializing in his own scores.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Attention Anna Quindlen Devotees

Anna Quindlen has a devoted following of readers. She wrote five best-selling novels as well as books of nonfiction. There are also movies based on her fiction. She writes columns in Newsweek and her New York Times column, "Public and Private" was awarded the Pulitzer in 1991. Moreover, she has appeared in high school literature and anthologies. She is a gifted writer who uses prose that appears simple. She has an ear for dialogue and an ability to tell a story. She engages readers on a variety of challenging topics from difficult career choices to domestic violence. Her novels feature complex family relationships and mainstream female protagonists struggling with personal crises and grappling for self-awareness. Quindlen's novels are loved for their all-too-human characters and universal conditions. Black and Blue, for example, dealt with family violence. Her most recent novel, Every Last One, delves into a social issue theme.

Every Last One is an unforgettable portrait of a mother, a father, a family, and the explosive, violent consequences of what seems like inconsequential actions. Mary Beth Latham is first and foremost a mother, whose three teenaged children come first, before her career as a landscape gardener, or even her life as the wife of a doctor. Caring for her family and preserving their everyday life is paramount. And so, when one of her sons, Max, becomes depressed, Mary Beth becomes focused on him, and is blindsided by a shocking act of violence. What happens afterward is a testament to the power of a woman's love and determination. Mary Beth must face "every last one" of her fears as she holds onto love and pursues hope and healing.

So, for her devoted readers, Every Last One, is about facing every last one of the things we fear most, about finding ways to traverse an unintended path, and to be brave enough to try to live a life we never dreamed we'd have to live.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Talking Books

Do you or someone you know have difficulty reading conventional print materials due to a visual or physical disability?  Voices of Vision Talking Book Center (VOV) provides FREE library services to eligible readers. VOV provides: books, playback equipment, Braille books, recorded and Braille magazines, recorded and Braille books and magazines for children. All books and equipment are mailed to and from your home postage free as “Free Matter for the Blind or Handicapped”.  There is no longer a waiting list for the new digital players; they are now available to everyone who requests one.  The digital players are much easier to use and do not require a computer in order to use. For more information or an application, please contact Janet McIntyre, Outreach Librarian, at the Readers Services desk. Applications are also available online at the Voices of Vision Talking Book Center.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Looking for a Good Book to Read?

Everybody knows that the libary has books, but did you know that we also have several resources to use when you are looking for a good book to read?
If you are at home and looking for recommendations, visit our What to Read webpage. There are several different links that feature award winning books, read-a-likes and staff picks. You will also find a link to Novelist which is a database created by librarians for readers. Take a look at this tutorial to see how you can use Novelist to find recommended books. Please note that in order to access Novelist you will need to enter your Glenview Public Library card number.

Next time you visit the library, ask about BookPage. BookPage is a monthly newspaper that you can take home with you free of charge. Each month, newly released books are featured, for adults and kids in fiction and non-fiction.

I often recommend browsing the shelves to find a good book. Areas in the collection which are perfect for browsing include the New Book area, which features new fiction and non-fiction, the Book Discussion area, which has titles that have been discussed by library book groups and the topical displays that greet you on your left when you walk into the library.

And, if you still can't find something good to read, please ask for a suggestion at the Reader Services Desk. In addition to our many years of reading experience, we have a variety of tools at our disposal in order to help us make reading suggestions to our patrons. We don't want you to go home empty handed!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

"I realize now that dying is easy. Living is hard." Told through the voice of Mia, the reader is brought into a world where a teen girl is standing outside of her body, after a tragic car accident that took the lives of both parents and her little brother, Teddy. She must decide: should I stay, or should I go? What would life be like without her parents and brother? How would this young cellist go to Julliard as "an orphan" as she hears herself referred to by the nurses in the ICU. Mia has to contemplate this big decision as she watches over her body in the hospital, hooked up to machines. She watches as the people in her life come and go as visitors: her best friend, boyfriend, aunts, uncles, cousins. Beautifully written, the decision is "a choice" that one has in their own destiny. Flashbacks of Mia's life sprinkle throughout the book to bring the reader up to date with where Mia's life has gone, how she became to love music, how relationships with her boyfriend was central, and how her struggle to "stay or go" not only was meaning of her life, but she had wrestled with this same question as one who was living: should she stay in Oregon to stay closer to Adam, the boy she had intense connection with, or follow her dream of going to Julliard if she was accepted, and make a new life in New York. Detail was given to each parent, the way they were as individuals in the present day, and how they transformed into what they are from years back, before Mia was born. Many references to music, both punk and classical, are weaved throughout the book as well. Not until the very end do we know what Mia's choice will be. If I Stay is an excellent read for teens going through a tough personal struggle as well as a great choice for parents.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Belva Plain

Best selling romance writer Belva Plain has died at the age of 95. At her death, there were over 30 million copies of her twenty-plus novels in print in 22 languages. Twenty of her novels appeared on the New York Times bestseller list.

Ms. Plain was known for telling wholesome, inspirational multi-generational sagas of families and the women who held them together. Her first novel, Evergreen, was published in 1978 and told the story of Anna, a Polish orphan who immigrates to the United States at the beginning of the 20th century. After choosing to become a domestic servant, she marries and begins to guide her family through the next decades.

So if you’re looking for a good saga you can sink your teeth into and that’s sure to have sequels, try the writings of the beloved Belva Plain.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Sherman Alexie's book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a wonderful coming of age story.  Junior lives on the Spokane Indian reservation and has found that he needs a better education than what he is receiving in his community. He takes the great leap to attending an all white high school in a neighboring farm town.

As he learns to adjust to his new classmates and they to him, he is being called a traitor by his friends on the "rez."  He discovers that this is a year of challenges both in his personal life - several family tragedies - and his school life - competing with his old school on the basketball court.

Alexie provides the reader with a great character who takes his punches but still manages to keep his sense of humor about life and himself.  He challenges the reader to think about the strength it takes to go against the grain and make changes to your life. Ellen Forney provides the illustrations that add so much to the story and provide the reader with more insight into Junior's character and his cartooning. Take a chance on this National Book Award winner. It is a fun read for both teens and adults.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dame Joan Sutherland

Dame Joan Sutherland (November 7, 1926-October 10, 2010) was named "La Stupenda" by her fans and is best known for the bel canto operas of Donizetti and Bellini.

She made her concert debut in Sydney, as Dido in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, in 1947 and made her operatic debut in Judith, in 1951. In 1952, she first performed as the First Lady in Mozart's The Magic Flute, at London's Royal Opera House.

Sutherland's Methropolitan Opera debut took place on November 26, 1961, when she sang Lucia di Lammermoor. Her last appearance there was on December 19, 1987, when she sang in Il trovatore. Other noteworthy operas she has performed are Lakme, Les Huguenots, Semiramide, Don Giovanni, La Sonnambula, Les contes d'Hoffmann, Gigoletto, Turandot, Dialogues of the Carmelites, The Midsummer Marriage, and Norma.

In 1961, she was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and also named the Australian of the Year. In the Queen's Birthday Honours of June 9, 1975, she was named a Companion of the Order of Australia. In the New Year's Honours of 1979, she was elevated from Commander to Dame Commander.

On November 29, 1991, the Queen bestowed on Dame Joan the Order of Marit. In January 2004 she received the Australia Post Australian Legends Award. Two stamps featuring Joan Sutherland were issued on Australia Day 2004. Laster in 2004, she received a Kennedy Center Honor.

In her own words, given in an interview with The Guardian newspaper in 2002, her biggest achievement was to sing the title role in Esclarmonde in 1971.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Spotlight on International Fiction: Russia

The Jewel of St. Petersburg by Kate Furnivall
Russia, 1910. Valentina Ivanova is the darling of St. Petersburg's elite aristocracy--until her romance with a Danish engineer creates a terrible scandal and her parents push her into a loveless engagement with a Russian count. Meanwhile, Russia itself is bound for rebellion. With the Tsar and the Duma at each other's throats, and the Bolsheviks drawing their battle lines, the elegance and opulence of Tsarist rule are in their last days. And Valentina will be forced to make a choice that will change not only her own life, but the lives of those around her forever

The Line by Olga Grushin
When rumors about an exiled composer's return to Moscow for a farewell symphony spark power abuses among officials and bureaucrats, a disparate gaggle of strangers evolves into a community of friends bonded by long-buried memories..

The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight by Gina Ochsner
Tanya carries a notebook wherever she goes, recording her observations and her dreams of finding love and escaping her job at the All-Russia All-Cosmopolitan Museum, a place which holds a fantastic and terrible collection of art knockoffs created using the tools at hand, from foam to chewing gum, Popsicle sticks to tomato juice. When the museum's director hears of a mysterious American group seeking to fund art in Russia, it looks like she might get her chance at a better life, if she can only convince them of the collection's worth. Enlisting the help of Azade, Olga and even Mircha, Tanya scrambles to save her dreams and her neighbors, and along the way discovers that love may have been waiting in her own courtyard all along.

Three Stations: an Arkady Renko: a novel by Martin Cruz Smith
Struggling with a prosecutor's refusal to send work his way, investigator Arkady Renko of Moscow finds his efforts to watch out for teen chess prodigy Zhenya challenged by a case involving a kidnapped baby, a dead prostitute, and police corruption..

Russian Winter: a novel by Daphne Kalotay
Former Bolshoi ballerina Nina Revskaya auctions off her jewelry collection and becomes overwhelmed by memories of her homeland, the friends she left behind amidst Stalinist aggression, and the dark secret that brought her to a new life in Boston..

City of Thieves: a novel by David Benioff
Documenting his grandparents' experiences during the siege of Leningrad, a young writer learns his grandfather's story about how a military deserter and he tried to secure pardons by gathering hard-to-find ingredients for a powerful colonel's daughter's wedding cake..

New in armchair travel:

Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier
Examines the unforgivable region of Siberia, including its geography, resources, native peoples, and history, with stories of Mongols, fur seekers, tea caravans, American prospectors, prisoners, and exiles of every kind.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Leftovers by Laura Wiess

Another page-turner from the author of Such a Pretty Girl, Leftovers is another brilliant weaving of an unfortunate teenage existance.

Ardith and Blair are not likely friends but the two become best friends and find some common ground as both live with a dysfunctional family. Blair, only child to an up-and-coming judge to whom "appearance is everything" and professional father who dims in her limelight, befriends Ardith, who lives among keg parties and her parents unwillingness to grow up, along with an obnoxious older brother and his many friends that grace their house.

Both girls could for the most part fade into the furniture, that is how unimportant they are to their families. Though Blair is from a wealthy home, she is also emotionally abandoned by both parents, who are always out about town with the other socialites, even on Christmas, except to dictate to Blair who she is to be seen with and how she should act. Ardith is trying to build a life for herself by staying out of all the trouble she has in her home, even to the point of sleeping with a hammer near her pillow and padlocking her bedroom door every night. Blair is raped by Ardith's brother, and Ardith wanted no more than to see her brother pay for that, plus all of his other other narcissistic ways. Blair wants nothing but her old dog Wendy, her old house, and old life back, and Ardith is trying to escape her current living condition, dreaming of one day become a podiatrist. A rumor sets the story in motion...

As the reader, I hoped the girls would seek revenge in a way that they would gain confidence in themselves and eleviate the hurt they had been feeling. The way did this was both remarkable and unexpected.

Leftovers can be seen as a psychological thriller, as the way the girls schemed to get back at those who had shattered their teenage years was absolutely brilliant. A shocking story of those who are abandoned by society, and the consequences it leads to. Excellent read for mature teens and for anyone who has ever felt alienated in their lives.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Do You Want to Dance?

Are you a fan of the reality TV show Dancing With the Stars? Do you wish you can dance like the professionals or do you just enjoy watching them?
One of the stars on this show is Jennifer Grey, who was in the movie Dirty Dancing. Check out her moves in this 1987 movie.

Moreover, there is a fitness DVD with your favorite instructors Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Cheryl Burke, and a Wii video game under that very same reality show title.

Whether you want to learn how to dance the tango or the waltz, exercise to music or just watch a good musical, the library has the DVD or the Video game for you.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

October Artist of the Month - Yo-Yo Ma

Yo-Yo Ma, cellist, composer, pedagogue was born on October 7, 1955 in Paris to Chinese parents.

As a child prodigy, he began performing at the age of five, and performed for Presidents John F. Kennedy and Dwight D. Eisenhower when he was seven. At age eight, he and his sister, Yeou-Cheng Ma appeared on American television in a concert conducted by leonard Bernstein.

Ma currently plays with his own Silk Road Ensemble. Ma's principal instrument is the cello nicknamed Petunia, built by Domenico Montagnana in 1733. This cello is more than 270 years old and valued at US$2.5 million.

In 1997 he was featured on John Williams' soundtrack to the Hollywood film, Seven Years in Tibet. In 2000, he was heard on the soundtrack of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and in 2003 Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. He also has over 75 albums, 15 of which are Grammy Award winners.

Ma was named Peace Ambassador in January 2006. On November 3, 2009, President Obama appointed Ma to serve on the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

Ma performed a duet with Condoleezza Rice at the presentation of the 2001 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal Awards. Ma was the first performer on September 11, 2002, at the site of the World Trade Ceter. He performed a special arrangement of Sting's "Fragile" during the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics in salt Lake City, Utah.

He performed John Williams' "Air and Simple Gifts" at the inauguration ceremony fro Barack Obama on January 20, 2009, along with Itzhak Perman, Gabriela Montero and Anthony McGill. On August 29, 2009, Ma performed at the funeral mass for Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Spotlight on International Fiction: China

The second in the "Spotlight on International" blog series focuses on China. If you like to be whisked away to a far away place through fiction novels, China is a great setting for international fiction - whether it's historical fiction or contemporary. Here are some titles you may enjoy!

Three Sisters by Feyiu Bi
Growing up in a post-Cultural Revolution-era Chinese village, three sisters among seven strive to change the course of their destinies by embracing respective views about dignity, seduction, and ambition.

A Thread of Sky by Deanna Fei
Widowed after a devastating accident and fearful of facing her grief alone, Chinese-American Irene Shen reunites three generations of independent women from her estranged family--including her mother, sister, and daughters--during a tour of mainland China.

Pearl of China: a novel by Anchee Min
A tale based on the life of novelist Pearl S. Buck follows her as she grows up in late-nineteenth-century China; befriends Willow, a Chinese peasant girl; and with Willow shares life's joys and sorrows, despite the Communist revolution.

Peony in Love by Lisa See
Written by bestselling author of "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan". In seventeenth-century China, three women become emotionally involved with "The Peony Pavilion," a famed opera rumored to cause lovesickness and even death.

Woman from China: tales of survival from a Chinese labor camp by Xianhui Yang
Presents the fictionalized stories of twelve survivors from the Chinese work camps in Jiabiangou, exiled there by the Communist Party between 1957 and 1960 to undergo reeducation through hard labor for being rightists.

You can find many more titles in our catalog of fiction that takes place in China.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hello from the inside!

Although the Glenview Public Library is closed to the public, we're still hard at work!

Please remember, the library will be closed until October 8 and will re-open on October 9 for an exciting Opening Celebration and kick-off to a month-long Festival of Programs.
Stay tuned!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Bonnet Novels

Amish- themed books are growing in popularity within the Christian fiction genre. Readers are attracted by the simpler time, curious about the cloistered community and admire the strong and traditional faith of the Amish. Typically, Amish fiction is either a romance or family saga. However, there are a few mysteries that feature either Amish characters or Amish communities.

The Telling by Beverly Lewis
Struggling to come to terms with a serious medical diagnosis, Heather Nelson is determined to forgo traditional medicine, against her father’s wishes, in hopes of finding answers and healing in Amish country. But first, Heather offers to drive her Amish friend Grace to Ohio, in order to find Grace’s mother. Will mother and daughter and a seriously ill student, find the answers they long for?

A Gift of Grace by Amy Clipston
When Rebecca Kauffman’s sister Grace, who left the Amish years earlier is killed in an automobile accident, it is up to Rebecca and her husband Daniel to raise her two teenage English daughters in their Old Order Amish community. Can Rebecca reconcile the two worlds in her home or will the clash of cultures be too much.

When the Heart Cries by Cindy Woodsmall
When seventeen year-old Hannah Lapp, who has been raised in a traditional Old Order Amish family, wants to break with tradition and marry outside her Amish faith, the challenges are many. The night before Hannah and her fiancé Paul are to be married, tragedy strikes and Hannah faces losing her place in the community.

Separate from the World by Paul L. Gaus
When Enos Erb an Amish farmer seeks help from burned-out professor and amateur sleuth Professor Michael Branden about the bizarre death of his brother. Branden’s investigation is hampered by the unwillingness of people to talk, by the apparent suicide of a coed, campus unrest and the kidnapping of an Amish child. His search for the truth teaches Branden and his friends a lesson in what the Amish call “the most beautiful virtue” humility.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Are you buying into the Jonathan Franzen buzz this week? Franzen's new book Freedom hit stores on Tuesday after last week's advanced reading copy kerfuffle involving President Obama sent publishers and booksellers into a frenzy. I have yet to read a single negative review and some book scribes are even calling it a masterpiece in the first sentence of the review! I'll admit I fell for it and even nabbed a copy at the bookstore (I know, I know) for myself. I'm not sure when I'll get to it but I WANTED to have it in the reading pile at home. You can grab a copy when the library reopens (October 9th) and let us know if you think the Great American Novel is alive and well or if FranzenFrenzy is old fashion bloviating.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Book groups to return in the Fall/Winter

The time is almost here! The Glenview Public Library will be closing on Sunday, September 5 to move into our new building. We will reopen on Saturday, October 9 for a special opening celebration.

Due to our closing, our in-house book groups will be not be meeting during the months of September and October. Our off-site Nonfiction group, Book-It WILL be meeting on Friday September 10 (the September book is available now for pickup at the Reader Services desk).

For our in-house groups, Page Turners, Readers Circle, and Travel With Me, the November books are now available for pickup beginning today at the Reader Services desk. They will be available for pickup until our last open day, Saturday, September 4. After that, they can be picked up beginning October 9 when we reopen.

Our Mystery group, Much Ado about Mysteries, will resume with the December 9 program.

Please be on the lookout for the library LINES newsletter this Fall for more details!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess

Riveting from page one, Such a Pretty Girl is an excellent novel focusing on the life of Merideth, a teenage girl who was sexually abused by her father. The story begins with Merideth's father being released from prison after a 3 year term, something Merideth did not expect since he was originally sentenced to 9 years. She had hoped by the time he got out that she would be 18 and long gone.

The mother is in constant denial and never once sides with her daughter, rather seeing Merideth as the one that torn their family apart for her father's "mistake." A very shallow character, she constantly says, after all, "everyone makes mistakes, right?" in her quest to hold onto the marriage, even going as far as concieving another child. Her father also abuses several other young teens who respected his authority and gained trust, though those scenarios were never developed. The only person Merideth can rely on is her friend/love interest who is a parapalegic named Andy, who also was abused by the popular baseball coach Merideth once called Dad.

Merideth is obsessed with "lucky" numbers and pairings. There is also a lot of religious implication throughout the book, as Andy's mother is obsessed with the Virgin Mary and all things holy. This ends up to be in Merideth's favor later on.

When Merideth's mother leaves her unsupervised with her father, life takes another twist, though Merideth mentally and physically prepares for this day and is satisfied with the outcome. The reader hopes that Merideth's life takes a positive turn from this point on.

A sensational page-turner, great read for mature teen or adult. Great discussion book complete with Author's Questions at the back for further inspiration.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Artist of the Month - Itzhak Perlman

Itzhak Perlman, violinist, conductor, pedagogue, will celebrate his 65th birthday on Tuesday, August 31. He made his debut at Carnegie Hall in 1963 at the age of 18 and won the prestigious Leventritt Competition in 1964. In 2003 he was awarded the Kennedy Center honor.

Perlman plays on the antique Soil Stradivarius violin of 1714, formerly owned by Yehudi Menuhin.

Perlman has performed for presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush and on May 7, 2007, Queen Elizabeth II in the East Room at the White House. In 2009, he performed John Williams' "Air and Simple Gifts" for the inauguation of President Barack Obama, along with Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Gabriela Montero (piano) and Anthony McGill (clarinet).

Perlman has been a soloist for a number movie scores including the 1993 film Schindler's List by John Williams, which won an Academy Award for best score, and the 2005 film Memoirs of a Geisha, along with Yo-Yo Ma.

Recently, he has begun to conduct and devotes a great deal of time teaching at the Julliard School and the Perlman Music Program.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Spotlight on International Fiction: Morocco

When I think of Morocco, I think of spices and incense, kasbahs, couscous, souks (bazaars), camels and moonlit desert nights. Ok, maybe most people don't think of all those things when they think of Morocco, but I do! Morocco, natively called al-Maġrib - which means "west" in Arabic- is an exotic land with a rich history and great place for storytelling. It's located in the western most point of North Africa and only a short ferry ride away from the coast of Spain. It's my favorite place in the world to travel to.

Here are some great reads to whisk you off to the land of the One Thousand and One Nights Bessaha ou raha (Enjoy!)

Desert by J.M.G. Le Clezio
After being driven from their land by French colonial soldiers in 1909, Nour and his people, "the blue men" must search for a haven out of the desert that will shelter them. Interspersed with the story of Nour is the contemporary story of Lalla, a descendent of the blue men, who lives in Morocco and tries to stay true to the blood of her ancestors while experiencing life as a modern immigrant.

Secret Son by Leila Lalami
The story of Youssef El Mekki's journey from a childhood in poverty with his mother on the streets of Casablanca to a life of luxury with the father he believed to be dead, in which he is eager to befriend. Youssef assumes a life he could only dream of: a famous and influential father, his own apartment, and all the luxuries associated with his new status. His future appears assured until an abrupt reversal of fortune sends him back to the streets and his childhood friends.

The Serpent's Daughter: a Jade del Cameron mystery by Suzanne Middendorf Arruda
During a vacation in the ancient port city of Tangier, American adventuress Jade del Cameron finds her trip to 1920s Morocco turned upside down by the kidnapping of her mother and by the local French authorities, who seek to arrest her for murder.

Lulu in Marrakech by Diane Johnson
Lulu Sawyer arrives in Marrakech, Morocco, hoping to rekindle her romance with a worldly Englishman. It's the perfect cover for her assignment for the CIA-tracing the flow of money from well-heeled donors to radical Islamic groups. While spending her days poolside among Europeans in villas staffed by maids in abayas, and her nights at lively dinner parties, Lulu observes the fragile and tense coexistence of two cultures. But beneath the surface of this polite expatriate community lies a sinister world laced not only with double standards, but double agents.

The Spider's House: a novel by Paul Bowles
No Morocco list would be complete without something by Paul Bowles.
Set in Fez, Morocco, during that country's 1954 nationalist uprising, dramatizes the way that the French rulers of Morocco and their successors, the Nationalists, succeeded in ending the medieval traditions in the daily life of towns life Fez.

Great reads also in non-fiction:

Quest for the Kasbah by Richard Bangs
Join acclaimed adventurer Richard Bangs, as he journeys through Morocco in search of its true character. It helps you discover the true heart and soul of Morocco with one of the world's greatest adventure travellers as he embarks on a journey to explore the concept of the Kasbah - a fortress, a safe haven, and a place to exchange ideas with people from different backgrounds - and what it means in modern Morocco. Along the way, you will experience a camel trek through the Sahara Desert, an exhilarating hike in the Atlas Mountains, and discover the hidden secrets of Morocco's famous towns and cities - including Casablanca, Fes, and Rabat.

In Arabian Nights: a caravan of Moroccan Dreams by Tahir Shah
Continuing his memoir The Caliph's House, Tahir Shah sets off across Morocco on a bold new adventure worthy of the mythical Arabian Nights. As he winds his way through the medinas of Fez and Marrakech, traverses the Sahara sands, and samples the hospitality of ordinary Moroccans, Tahir collects a dazzling treasury of traditional wisdom stories, gleaned from the heritage of A Thousand and One Nights, which open the doors to layers of culture most visitors hardly realize exist. From master masons who labor only at night to Sufi wise men who write for soap operas, In Arabian Nights takes us on an unforgettable, offbeat, and utterly enchanted journey.

"Spotlight on International" is a new blog post series on "glenVIEW". Stay tuned for more blog posts that will highlight fiction based on a particular country.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Stolen by Lucy Christopher

When I started reading this book, another came to mind that I had read not long ago. Stolen has many parallels to the book Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott. Both dealt with the abduction of a young girl, though Stolen was different in the way that the protagonist had some empathy for her abuductor.

Stolen centered around a 16 year old girl English named Gemma, who was en route to Vietnam with her parents. In the airport, she is drugged and kidnapped by a 25 year old man named Ty who had apparently been following her for years. The story is told through a letter Gemma wrote to Ty after her release.

She is taken from a Bangkok airport after Ty buys her coffee and puts a drug in it. After she begins to feel the effects, he changes her appearance and eventually leads her back to a remote area of the Austrailian Outback. Ty lives soley on the land itself, and when confronted about why he brought her there, all he could say was he wanted to "save her" from big-city life and the emptiness it brings to all people.

The story is odd in the way that not once did the captor try and have any sexual relations with Gemma, nor did he try and hurt her, other than to keep her from escaping. He merely wanted to keep her there so he could have her company and show her that beauty can be a simple life.

The reader is taken back in time to Gemma's childhood up through her adolescence as Ty explains how he has been following her all these years and the people in her life who he has "saved" her from, even though she sees it as being "stolen" from them, as any kidnapp victim would.

The story also takes the reader into the beauty of the land and the many vivid colors of the rainforest and wildlife that would be encountered in an area that is off the map. Gemma comes to appreciate the beauty of nature even though she trys several times to escape, only to find Ty there to "rescue" her from the elements in which she isn't as familiar.

In the quest for her rescue, there is a very interesting paralell with the release of a camel that is clearly much like the life that Gemma is living for the month or so that she is stolen. Ty has mercy on her when she is bitten by a poisonous snake, as he can see as time goes on that she is getting worse and needs the help of professional medical treatment. This leads them to a hospital in Austrailia where Ty turns himself in and begins the journey home for Gemma. How she reacts to it all when she is back with her parents is interesting, but seen in many victims of Stockholm Syndrome.

A riviting read, I would definitely recommend this book to mature teen audiences as well as adults. While Gemma in some respects is not a likable character, she acts like one would expect any kidnap victim to react to their captor when she questions and fights with him as well as her many attempts to escape. And while Ty can be seen as the monster who took this innoncent young girl from everything she knows and everyone she loves, he also shows compassion. This would also make an excellent movie.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Keep Reading While the Library is Closed!

If you haven't heard already, we will be closed approximately 4 weeks while we move our materials, set up furniture and equipment and get the new library ready for opening day. While the official closing dates have yet to be announced, I want to share a few different ways that you can access library materials while we are closed.

If you haven't tried MyMediaMall, now would be the perfect time to do so. By using MyMediaMall you can check out digital books any time you want, without ever having to leave the comfort of your home, and enjoy them either on your computer or portable device (such as an MP3 player, iPod, Sony Reader, Barnes and Noble Nook, Windows mobile-based Smartphones, some PDAs, and more). To get started, be sure to take the guided tour on the upper left corner of the MyMediaMall webpage. For more information about getting started with MyMediaMall take a look at this handy guide.

Another way to access library materials such as books and movies while we are closed is to visit one of our neighboring libraries. Since Glenview Public Library is a member of the North Suburban Library System, your library card can be used to check out materials at any one of 48 public libraries including nearby libraries in Northbrook, Niles and Wilmette.

You can also plan on using our online databases while the library is closed. We have a number of databases that you can use to research stocks, genealogy, health or business information. You can even learn a new language using one of our newest online services called Mango. Click here to see a complete list of databases with their descriptions.

Check our website for updates on the closing dates and the opening dates for our new library. We look forward to seeing you there!