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-Ma─írib - 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!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Murder, Chicago Style

Chicago has always had the reputation for being a tough, rough-and-tumble town, complete with tough politicians, tough cops and tough crooks. Numerous mysteries have been written in recent years that have reflected the city’s gritty reputation while also showcasing the many faces of Chicago as a backdrop for their stories.

Here are a few suggestions for anyone looking for a Chicago-based mystery story:

Trigger City by Sean Chercover

Unable to believe police reports that blame a mentally ill co-worker for his daughter's murder, a retired army intelligence colonel hires Ray Dudgeon to discern the truth, triggering a confrontation between the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

Terror Town by Stuart Kaminsky

Detective Abe Lieberman works to discover a common link between a baseball player whose career has been cut short by tragedy, a religious fanatic who employs unorthodox conversion methods, and a murdered single mother.

Close Call by John McEvoy

Jack Doyle is hired as the publicity director at Monee Park, a struggling race track owned by Celia McCann. Doyle soon discovers that Celia is being threatened by thugs who are pressuring her to sell the valuable property to real estate developers.

Well Read and Dead by Catherine O’Connell

After a long, decadent European vacation, widowed Chicago socialite Pauline Cook returns to learn she's lost nearly $20 million in bad investments, Air France lost her Louis Vuitton luggage, and her best friend, Whitney, who's been taking care of her precious cat, Fleur, has vanished. Whitney's grief-stricken husband offers Pauline a multimillion-dollar reward to find Whitney, taking the daring amateur sleuth all the way to Thailand and Vietnam.

Person of Interest by Theresa Schwegel

Her marriage to Craig, an undercover Chicago cop, cracking under the stress of his job, Leslie McHugh launches her own investigation when $1000 mysteriously vanishes from their joint bank account and Craig cannot provide an explanation.

City of the Absent by Robert W. Walker

As the great Chicago Exposition of 1893 draws to a close, the city is rocked by the assassination of its mayor. Meanwhile, Inspector Alastair Ransom launches his own investigation into the brutal killing of Nell Hartigan, a Pinkerton agent posing as a prostitute, to find an unspeakable murderer preying on the city's most vulnerable--and disposable--citizens.

The Last Striptease by Michael Wiley

Sick of violence, Chicago private detective Joe Kozmarski reluctantly agrees to assist Judge Rifkin, who wants him to investigate his assistant, Bob Piedras, the prime suspect in the murder of his lover. The case becomes complicated by the judge's murder and the disappearance of Piedras.