Sunday, July 31, 2011

Books That Crack Into Art Theft 2.0

Last month I blogged about books devoted to the real-life adventures of missing art and noted that my next post would cover fiction titles and authors who write about art and crime, as I continue to be fascinated by the subject of art theft. Genres such as crime fiction often portray fictional art thefts as glamorous or exciting. In literature, a niche of the mystery genre is devoted to art theft and forgery. In film, a caper story usually features complicated heist plots and visually exciting getaway scenes.

Author Noah Charney is a pioneer who started the academic field of the study of art theft. He currently works at the American University of Rome as a professor of art history. His newest book is a 2009 nonfiction work entitled Art and Crime: Exploring the Dark Side of the Art World. His fiction book, The Art Thief (2007), is based on facts and is a twisty and complicated who done it! In the wake of the thefts of three priceless art treasures from Rome, Paris, and London, an art detective and an art historian team up to investigate a series of false leads, forgeries and bizarre clues. Some plots are based on the real theft of missing Carvaggio from Palermo. Through a character's mouth the author also gives his conclusion as to how to narrow the circle of suspects for the famous robbing of the Boston Gardner Museum.

Loot (1999) by Aaron Elkins is another fiction title where ex-curator Ben Revere stumbles across a rare painting from the fabled Nazi truck that disappeared while transporting looted treasure in 1945. He then must journey to Europe and discover the truth about the Nazi truck before a half-century of hatred, revenge, and betrayal destroy him.

Author Iain Pears has a series of novels known as the Art History Mysteries, each of which follows a fictional shady dealing in the art history world. They are quite amusing.

Author James Twining has written a trio of novels featuring a character called Tom Kirk, who is/was an art thief. The third book, The Gilded Seal is centered around a fictional theft of Da Vinci works, specifically, the Mona Lisa.

Author Eoin Colfer's book, Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception features the theft of a painting from a highly guarded Swiss bank.

In the Tenth Chamber by Glenn Cooper, a fictional town hijacks a train and steals, amongst other artifacts, the Portrait of a Young Man by Raphael (missing in real life), offering a fictional explanation as to its disappearance.

The Man Who Stole the Mona Lisa by Robert Noah is a historical fiction speculating on the motivations behind the actual theft.

Inca Gold by Clive Cussler is a Dirk Pitt adventure about pre-Columbian art theft.

St. Agatha's Breast by T. C. Van Adler follows an order of monks attempting to track the theft of an early Poussin work.

Heist Society by Ally Carter is a young adult fiction novel depicting teens who rob the Henley.

Hope you enjoy investigating these art theft tales.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Spotlight on International Fiction: Canada

Bachelor Brothers' Bed and Breakfast by Bill Richardson
Hector and Virgil are the kindly and slightly eccentric hosts at a rustic retreat on a beautiful island in British Columbia. The bed and breadfast is the perfect refuge for guests who find that the ratio of books available to time available to read them is terribly skewed. Brief biographical sketches of these bibliophiles alternate with stories from Hector and Virgil on their growing up, their neighbors, the vicissitudes of running a Bed and Breakfast, and, of course, lists of books for various occasions.

Still Life by Louise Penny
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surete du Quebec is called to Three Pines, a tiny hamlet south of Montreal, just north of the U.S. border, to investigate the suspicious hunting "accident" that claimed the life of Jane Neal, a local fixture in the village. First in the Inspector Armand Gamanche mysteries series.

The Outlander by Gil Adamson
Fleeing the law in 1903 after killing her husband, Mary Boulton races toward the mountains while being tormented by visions of the cold-blooded brothers-in-law who pursue her, forcing her to retreat deeper into the wilds of the Western Canada and her own imagination.

Too Much Happiness: stories by Alice Munro
Includes the stories of a grieving mother who is aided by a surprising source, awoman's response to a humiliating seduction, and a nineteenth-century Russian emigre's winter journey to the Riviera.

Midnight at the Dragon Cafe by Judy Fong Bates
Su-Jen Chou, a Chinese immigrant growing up in 1950s Ontario, finds herself shouldering the weight of her mother's hopes and dreams as her isolated family attempts to forge a life for themselves in a small town.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Nebula Awards: Outstanding Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels

The Nebula Awards were established in 1965 by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and are awarded to outstanding works of science fiction or fantasy novels and are voted on by members of the SFWA. The Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy is also awarded by the SFWA, and it was established in honor of prolific science fiction and fantasy author Andre Norton (1912 – 2005).

Nebula Award: Best Novel
• 2010 – Black Out by Connie Willis and All Clear by Connie Willis
• 2009 – The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
• 2008 – Powers by Le Guin, Ursula K.

Andre Norton Award: Best Novel
• 2010 – I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett
• 2009 – The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
• 2008 – Flora’s Dare by Ysabeau S. Wilce

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Beat the Heat!

Read one of these books that will transport you to a much cooler place!

Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg - If you're hooked on Scandinavian crime books like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, you might be interested in this thriller set in Denmark, published back in 1993.

Light on Snow by Anita Shreve - Twelve-year-old Nicky and her father discover an abandoned baby in the snowdrifts of their rural New Hampshire home, further altering Nicky's understanding of adults and the world around her.

Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak - Pasternak brings to life the harsh Russian winters through the story of Yuri Zhivago, a poet and doctor, as he lives through the Russian Revolution and the Russian Civil War. Watch the movie to see a visual interpretation of this literary classic.

Snow in August by Pete Hamill - Despite the blizzard, an eleven-year-old boy tries his best to make his way to church to serve mass. On the way he becomes acquainted with an Orthodox rabbi, but as their friendship grows over time, an Irish gang shows their disapproval.

Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell - Chilling, but in dark way, this novel set in the Ozarks was the basis for the critically acclaimed movie of the same title.

Into Thin Air: a personal account of the Mount Everest disaster by Jon Krakauer - Krakauer tells the true story of how his dream of climbing Everest turned horrific with 8 other climbers meeting their demise on the trek. Also made into a movie.

Winterdance: the fine madness of riding the Iditarod by Gary Paulsen - Popular young adult author Gary Paulsen describes his personal experience of completing the Alaskan Iditarod despite life-threatening disasters and harsh conditions.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mama Does Time - A Humorous Southern Mystery

Florida native, Deborah Sharp does her home state proud with her book Mama Does Time. Mama's home town of Himmarshee is not necessary the touristy part of the state, but she makes news when a body is discovered in the back of her car when she is at the Dairy Queen. When Mace, her middle daughter gets her Mama's phone call, she tries to spring into action, even though she had just settled down to "wanting to see if she could spot any of her ex-boyfriends on Cops."

Now Mama is southern damsel in distress - what is she going to do in jail (besides making friends with her purple haired cellmate)? With the help of her cousin, the lawyer, Mace gets Mama out and shows the new detective in town (the one from Miami) what chaos really is. Mace and her sisters try to get Mama out of her mess and manage to involve most of the town, including Mama's latest fiance (a Northerner!) who is wanting to be spouse number five!

Filled with southern humor, quirky characters, and goofy family dynamics, Sharpe takes us along for a roller coaster ride of fun. And there is a pretty good mystery too! I'm looking forward to the sequels! A fun and frothy read at its finest.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Nantucket Summer Reads

Many times when I'm looking for a good "beach read" I'm often led to novels by authors like Elin Hildenbrand and Nancy Thayer - they tend to write books that take place in Nantucket. These are novels about women and friendship (though not always!)and usually focus around the lives of the locals who live on the island year-round.

Here are some titles to get you started.

Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand
Facing homelessness and a loss of social standing after her husband cheats rich investors out of billions of dollars, Meredith and her best friend, Connie, who has troubles of her own, escape to Nantucket to heal.
Beachcombers by Nancy Thayer
Reuniting on Nantucket to start a business and keep an eye on their father's new romance, three sisters work, gossip, and squabble while struggling with respective approaches to their responsibilities and losses.
The Beach House by Jane Green
Disregarding local gossip that pegs her as an eccentric, sixty-five-year-old Nantucket widow Nan skinny-dips in unattended pools and steals her neighbors' flowers before her dwindling funds force her to take in boarders, a change that brings an unexpected visitor.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Art in Fiction

Having read Shop Girl by Steve Martin, I was curious about his latest book, An Object of Beauty. Right from the beginning I am struck by how much talent Martin has, writer, musician, comedian/actor, and those are the ones of which we know. It almost seems unfair for one person to have so much. While the characters are likeable they are not overly developed, I felt as though it was because the art itself is the object of beauty here, the story is not about Lacey and Daniel, but about the art and the art world in New York. Martin himself is clearly quite adept on the subject and almost seems to want to impart that knowledge. I learned a bit about paintings and the artists that created them, there are some pictures of works which I appreciated. I love fiction with reference to real things and places.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Forthcoming Fiction for August

Here are some titles coming out this August. You can reserve these by going to our Online Catalog, Bibliocommons, or by calling the Reader Services Desk at 847-729-7500 x7600!

House of Holes: a Book of Raunch by Nicholson Baker
Death in High Places by Jo Bannister
Back of Beyond by C.J. Box
Measure of the Magic by Terry Brooks
Cold Vengeance by Lincoln Child
Bye Bye Baby by Max Allen Collins
Brute Strength by Susan Conant
Cat in a Vegas Gold Vendetta : A Midnight Louie Mystery
 by Carole Nelson Douglas
The Ideal Man by Julie Garwood
Victory and Honor by W.E.B. Griffin
Flowering Judas : A Gregor Demarkian Novel by Jane Haddam
King’s Gold by Michael Jecks
Retribution by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Northwest Angle: a Novel by William Kreuger
The Most Dangerous Thing by Laura Lippman
The Ballad of Tom Dooley by Sharyn McCrumb
Saint’s Gate by Carla Neggers
Kill Me if you Can by James Patterson
The Cut by George Pelecanos
A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny
Acceptable Loss by Anne Perry
Flash and Bones: a Novel by Kathy Reichs
A Bitter Truth: a Bess Crawford Mystery by Charles Todd
The Sixes by Kate White
40 Love: a Novel by Madeleine Wickham

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Scrapbooking for Teens

Ever want to learn to scrapbook? Have a lot of vacation photos you don't know what to do with? Then don't miss the Glenview Public Library's Scrapbooking for Teens on July 22nd from 2:00-3:00pm.

Teens ages 13 and up are asked to bring at least 5 photos to work with, and all supplies and embellishments will be provided. Make a beautiful scrapbook page and make a memory! Scrapbooking is a great way to organize photos by theme and tell stories with photos. Different papers and many decorations will be available to choose from, so get creative!

Light refreshments will be provided in a relaxed atmosphere. Bring a friend or come solo. Registration may be done by going to and clicking on Calendar and Events, or by calling 847-729-7500. A Reader Services Staff member would be happy to assist you. Register no later than July 15th.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Another British Invasion

Former Beatle Paul McCartney might be playing shows at Wrigley Field in July but this summer's GlenVIEWINGS film series brings a British Invasion of a different sort: Three top-notch films from our good friends across the pond. Please consider joining us on July 15th for the cheeky Made in Dagenham featuring the always brilliant Sally Hawkins. If that's not your cup of tea, how about visiting the library on Friday July 29th for Mike Leigh's elegiac Another Year which features amazing performances from Jim Broadbent and Lesley Manville. Another Year is, for my taste, the best film that came out in 2010 that I didn't see until 2011. We'll close out this summer series of British films with the John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy on August 19th. All films screen at 2:00PM and 6:30PM. Hope to see you there!