Friday, January 29, 2010

J.D. Salinger dies at 91

Yesterday the world learned that J.D. Salinger, author of Catcher in the Rye, died at the age of 91. The reculsive author lived the last 30 years or so in self-imposed isolation. He refused interviews, turned away fan mail, sued authors who tried to include letters Salinger had written in their biographies of him, blocked sequels to "Catcher" and rebuffed attempts of making "Catcher" into movies. It's been interesting to read some of the few details of his highly private life and I'm guessing that now that he's passed away, much more will come out.

Of course now the question comes up - did the author leave behind unpublished works, and if he did, will they be published now?

Regardless of the fact that Salinger was quoted to say: "Publishing is a terrible invasion of my privacy. I like to write. I love to write. But I write just for myself and my own pleasure," he has a huge following. I even came across an "Official Facebook Page of J.D. Salinger" while browsing the Internet for information on him. An official Facebook page? Something tells me Salinger was definitely not behind that one.

The library has some of the biographies that were published about his life - by his daughter, a former lover, etc - for those interested in learning more about his life. I'm guessing there will be a lot more to come in the near future, as well as some posthumous works perhaps?

You can read more about the death of J.D. Salinger on the New York Times book section online.

Biographies of J.D. Salinger at GPL:

Dream Catcher: a memoir by Margaret Ann Salinger
Memoir of her childhood, written in 2000 by the daughter of J.D. Salinger.

Salinger: a biography by Paul Alexander
While nothing in this biography is anything new from what few information was written about Salinger, its neatly compiled of already available sources written about J.D. Salinger. Some reviewers compare this to the tabloids. Written in 1999.

At Home in the World: a memoir by Joyce Maynard
Memoir of her year long affair with J.D. Salinger in 1972, when she was 18 and he was 53. Written in 1998.

In Search of J.D. Salinger by Ian Hamilton
Revised and delayed because of a legal suit by Salinger to stop this from publication, a chronology of the life of J.D. Salinger and about the author's legal battles in publishing this biography. Published in 1988.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

CookOff: Recipe Fever in America

Do you watch eagerly any and all cooking competitions on the Food Network? Do you dream of entering the Pillsbury BakeOff? If so then Amy Sutherland's book Cookoff: Recipe Fever in America is for you. Sutherland captures the history, enthusiasm and a bit of the wackiness that is inherent in these contests that are promoted as being all American. But do these contests really reflect what America eats? Or is this a case of the contestants giving the big food conglomerates what they want? And are they really cooking anyway? Or just assembling ingredients?

Sutherland delves into all those questions and many more as she follows contestants to the Pillsbury, garlic fest and other cook offs and well as a couple chili competitions. Just who are these people who compete? Some are what they call "contesters" people who have been doing this for quite a while. (Pillsbury has limits now on how many years you can compete at the contest - three!) Some are fresh faced newcomers just thrilled to be at their first contest. Most of the branded contests have women as the majority of their contestants. Men on the other hand, seem to dominate the chili and BBQ contests.

Sutherland has a great way of making these folks come alive in her writing. And she shows them to be very human with all their foibles, humor and passion. Most of these people love food and love to be creative in the kitchen. And it shows. Check out the mania and maybe you too will compete. A very entertaining read.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tis the season for reading

The weather is gloomy, but it's the perfect season to catch up on your reading or just curl up with your favorite author's latest novel. Our winter reading program is now underway at the Glenview Public Library to reward our readers for simply doing what they already love - to read! The Winter Reading Program is a "mini" version of our popular Adult Summer Reading Program. The program is shorter, only 6 weeks, and you only have to read 4 books (or audiobooks) instead of 6. As you complete your 4 books, the first 50 patrons will receive a coupon for free Guacamole and Chips at any Chipotle restaurant. You will also be entered into our Grand Prize to win dinner for 10 at any Chipotle!

It's not too late to sign up for the program. Stop at the Readers Services desk and we'll give you the details.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Golden Globe At Home

Make what you will of award season ramble, but it's a great time to be reminded of some worthwhile cinema you might have missed over the past year. If you didn't catch the Golden Globe Awards ceremony last weekend and haven't already heard about the winners (and losers) you can start getting caught up here. Of course, not to worry. We're already quickly careening toward the 82nd Academy Awards ceremony on March 7th (with the nominations to be announced on Tuesday, February 2nd) so there's ample time between now and then to catch up. The good news is that your library card offers a great chance to catch up on some of the films you may have missed, including Golden Globe Winners (and losers) that have now been released on DVD. Grab your library card and head over to pick up Inglourious Basterds, (500) Days of Summer, Up, Julie and Julia, Duplicty, Coraline, and much, much more. Stayed tuned for brand new DVD releases and frequent new additions to the collection. And don't forget about our new policies.

The end of the year/decade also had many music types clamouring to assess the best releases of both '09 and the 00's, at least in the rock and pop categories. You can peruse a few links here, starting with All Songs Considered, Pitchfork, Spin, The Wire, and Rolling Stone. For total and complete year-end overload check out Metacritic.

Me? I didn't make any year-end lists, but I really enjoyed 2009 releases from Yo La Tengo, Blues Control, The Fruit Bats, Kurt Vile, Times New Viking, and Ilyas Ahmed. On the reissue front, the Big Star box set Keep An Eye On The Sky took up a lot of my time. So did the Fire In My Bones compilation of early Gospel and Sanctified Blues. A heaping mess of rediscovered greatness.

What about YOU? What are you listening too and watching these days? What were your favorites of 2009? OR the 2000's? Stop by the Periodicals desk and let us know!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mystery Novelist Robert B. Parker Dies at 77

Robert B. Parker, whose spare, eloquent prose turned wisecracking private investigator Spenser into one of the country’s most recognizable fictional characters, died in his Cambridge, Massachusetts home Monday, January 18th.

Mr. Parker published 65 books in 37 years, with Spenser featured in 37 of those titles which inspired the 1980’s television series Spenser: For Hire, starring Robert Urich. He also wrote 28 other books, including a series each for Jesse Stone, the police chief of fictional Paradise, Massachusetts, and Sunny Randall, a female PI in Boston. His book Appaloosa, his 2005 Western, was made into a 2008 movie directed by and starring Ed Harris.

In 2002, he was named Grand Master at the Edgar awards by the Mystery Writers of America, and has sold more than four million copies of his books around the world.

Mr. Parker, who would publish up to three books a year, said he would write 10 pages a day, often not knowing “who did it” until near the end of the book. “I don’t rewrite, I don’t write a second draft,” he said in a 2005 interview. “When I am finished, I don’t reread it. Joan [his wife] reads it to make sure I haven’t committed a public disgrace, and, if I haven’t, I send it in. Then I begin the next book.”

His latest book, Split Image, part of the Jesse Stone series, is due out next month and the fourth Western, Blue-Eyed Devil, will be released in May. More titles, including some Spenser novels, are “in the pipeline,” said Mr. Parker’s editor, Chris Pepe of G.P. Putnam Sons.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Parker leaves two sons, David and Daniel.

Search our Online Catalog for these titles.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

GPL Book Groups

The Glenview Library has six Book Discussion Groups, all well-attended. Our two monthly groups, Page Turners, which meet on the first Monday afternoon of the month and Readers Circle, which meets on the second Monday evening of the month, read popular book group titles, both fiction and nonfiction. Two Groups, Book-It and Travel with Me read non-fiction books. One Group, All Things Spanish, read about Spanish/Latino culture in all forms; from literature to music, film and food. There is also a quarterly Mystery group, Much Ado About Mysteries.

For a full schedule of the library's groups, click here.

A new service for Book Discussion Groups everywhere is our Book Club in a Bag. These Book Kits contain 12 copies of the title and Book Discussion Guides. The loan period for the Kits is six weeks.

The "BRD" collection is a collection of books from our Book Discussion Groups selections. Multiple copies of these books are available to check out for established book clubs, informal book discussions or for a group of friends who want to share ideas or a lively discussion. Some favorite titles from this collection are:

House of Sand and Fog. 1999 by Alexander Dubus
Colonel Behrani, once a wealthy man in Iran, is now a struggling immigrant trying to restore his family's dignity by owning a home in the California hills. Kathy Nicolo's small home is all she has. Sheriff Lester Burton, although married, is attracted to Kathy and obsessively helps her fight for justice concerning the ownership of her home. A tragic study of the clash of cultures.

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society 2008 by Mary Ann Schaffer
The story of Guernsey during the German occupation in WWII is told through letters from Juliet Ashton in London to members of the Society. After Juliet moves to Guernsey to write her book about Guernsey, she finds it impossible to leave the Island and her new friends.

Letters from Yellowstone 1999 by Diane Smith
In the spring of 1898 A. E. (Alexandria) Bartram, a young botanist, is invited to join a field of naturalists who assume she is a "male". The men grow in respect for Alexandria who proves to be a great asset to the male naturalists. They forge ahead sharing a summer of discovery and an awe of Yellowstone's magnificent beauty.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

2009 Books for Good Discussion

At the Readers Services desk, positioned right by the new titles, patrons often ask librarians about the current books they have read. There were some very good books published in 2009. Here are a few that can easily be recommended to readers or for book discussions:

When Everything Changed: The amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present by Gail Collins (Non-Fiction)
For readers of a certain age, this book will combine familiar scenarios with ones they missed. Covering heavily the 60's, we learn about civil rights, abortion, and a lot about the strong women who fought (and lost) battles for women's rights. Sexism was the norm--the dean of an Ivy League medical school proudly stated that women were not welcome. Stewardesses had to light the cigars of male passengers in "business" class where women were not allowed. This is plenty more in this well-written collection about public figures and ordinary women's experiences.

The Art Student's War by Brad Leithauser (Fiction)
Brad Leithauser has written a compelling novel about Detroit during WW II and peopled it with wonderfully engaging characters. Each one makes for a rich reading experience. The protagonist is Bea (Bianca) an art student who draws portraits of hospitalized soldiers injured in the war. Of course she becomes involved with one and she is also dating an art student from a prominent Detroit family. Those familiar with Detroit will enjoy the details of past restaurants, landmarks, etc. The 2nd half of the novel brings us a post-war Detroit. Leithauser based his story on his mother-in-law, who also drew portraits of soldiers. A solid and multilayered read.

American Salvage by Bonnie Jo Campbell (Fiction)
This National Book Award nominated collection of short stories is written with an assured voice and deep knowledge of the pitfalls of living in rural Michigan at the end of the 20th century. The women treat the men badly, but are usually smarter or at least more confident than the men. These characters have skills and talents: they can cook meth (and burn down their houses), use a rifle to hunt animals or people, but still believe in love and redemption. Rich, detailed stories with great dialogue. Campbell is pure talent.

Beg, Borrow, Steal: A writer's life by Michael Greenberg (Non-Fiction)
Michael Greenberg never goes far from NYC and that serves the reader well. All the material in these short essays is influenced by living, observing and analyzing both his own family and his present life there. These highly readable and thoughtful pieces were commissioned by the Times Literary Supplement. There is a lot about
becoming a writer and a lot of wisdom. Excellent writing.

Both Ways is the Only Way I want It by Maile Meloy (Fiction)
Meloy demonstrates her knowledge of the west (usually Montana) in most of these stories. The stories were previously in the New Yorker, Zoetrope: all story, Paris Review and Playboy. Meloy gives the reader the little but important details with picture perfect observations. Her endings have bite. Her skill and strength is the short story--her novels don't measure up. She can be compared with Alice Munro, Raymond Carver and William Trevor. What higher praise could there be?

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin (Fiction)
Short stories involving social classes in post colonial Pakistan by an Ivy League educated lawyer who currently resides in Pakistan. Relationships drive the plot, often between landlords and servants, between families and neighbors, in stories that capture a place not familiar to most readers. (Quick--name three fictional treatments of Pakistan.) The stories are not linked, but often feel connected. For those readers who admire Jhumpa Lahiri, Alice Munro and Rohintan Mistry. These are memorable stories


Search our Online Catalog for these titles.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Have a Little Faith

By Mitch Albom

In his most recent book Have a Little Faith, Mitch Albom takes you on a journey. He captures thoughts and stories that touch the soul and explore some of life’s greatest mysteries and unanswered questions with depth, honesty and self reflection. I found this book inspirational and a powerful story regardless of your religious beliefs or lack thereof. In this true story, Albom observes the contrast of these two men of God: one an ageing rabbi and the other an African American pastor working in the Ghetto. Two men, two entirely different backgrounds and two different faiths. in the end the message is clear; faith ties us closely together and gives us an opportunity to accomplish dreams we never thought were possible.

Mitch captures the reader from page one as he takes us on a journey with a dying 82 year old rabbi (Reb), who seeks out Mitch, who is from the rabbi’s hometown and requests that Mitch deliver his eulogy. As the story unfolds we also learn the story of Henry, a Detroit pastor and a reformed drug dealer and convict who preaches to the poor and homeless in a decaying old church.

The only bond between these two men is their faith in God, one being Jewish and the other being Christian. The book does not preach nor does it favor either religion, it merely suggests looking at yourself and the importance of faith in trying times. Although the histories of both religions are different, Albom begins to recognize a striking unity between the two worlds, life’s purpose; losing belief and finding it again.

Search our Online Catalog for his titles.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Below Zero

Below Zero is the ninth installment in highly regarded Joe Pickett series by C.J. Box. Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett’s teenage daughter Sheridan receives a mysterious text message from someone claiming to be April, her dead sister. April was killed six years earlier in a Waco-style shoot out gone bad. Still suffering with guilt over her death Pickett will enlist the help of his fugitive friend Nate Romanowski, keep the FBI at bay and receive a crash course in cell-phone-tracking technology to solve this thriller.

Box has done it again with another winning addition to the Pickett series! The writing is a smooth combination of interesting characters and intelligent sleuthing. Box’s environmental theme is global warming and he does a good job in discussing the complex issue. The chase scene through the rugged back roads of the Black Hills is suspenseful and believable. I have read every book in the Pickett series and I just love them. Are they the best mysteries out there, no, however they are well done and entertaining and if you like the out –of-doors setting these will not disappoint. The stories are fact paced with good twists and meaningful conclusions. It will be interesting to see where Box will take the characters next.

The next installment Nowhere to Run is scheduled for release on April 6, 2010, can’t wait.

Search our Online Catalog for these titles.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Spanglish on Broadway

I was going to blog about the Broadway show I saw over the weekend. It was In the Heights, the 2008 Tony Award winner. I was going to say that if you love all things Spanish you will love this musical. Next I would have said that the show takes place in the primarily Latino neighborhood in Manhattan called Washington Heights and how well the set depicts the barrio. I would have rambled on a bit more about the fact that the characters are from all different parts of the Spanish-speaking world; Usnavi is Dominican, Nina is Puerto Rican and Claudia is Cuban. And that my favorite scene and song takes place on a balcony with Nina teaching Sammy, some tender words in Spanish. And finally that the show is fresh, hip and fun.

Only, I didn’t realize I went the last weekend of its run.

However, all is not lost, check out the CD and have a listen. Several libraries have it in their collection.