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.