Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Toast to the New Year

Ring in the New Year with one of these novels inspired by spirits (without the hangover).

Happy New Year!

Midnight Champagne by A. Manette Ansay. Wedding guests offer opinions and predictions about the future of the new bride and groom--April Liesgang and Caleb Shannon, who have known each other for just three months--in a novel about the the complexities of love.

Whiskey Sour by J.A. Konrath. Struggling with a broken relationship, credit card bills, the FBI's inaccurate profiling computer, and a band of street thugs, Chicago Police lieutenant Jacqueline Daniels works on a serial murder case alongside her binge-eating partner, Herb. First in the Jack Daniels mysteries series.

The Martini Shot by Peter Craig. Aging action-film star Charlie West is forced to confront his demons when his illegitimate teenage son shows up in search of the father he never knew.

The Merlot Murders: a Wine Country Mystery by Ellen Crosby. Returning to her Virginia vineyard home after the unexpected death of her father, Lucie Montgomery is dismayed by her father's gambling debts, and discovers that someone had a lot to gain from her father's death and the sale of his winery.

Vodka Neat: a Faith Zanetti Thriller by Anna Blundy. Moscow correspondent Faith Zanetti is in trouble with the local authorities when her estranged husband, a Russian black marketeer, confesses to a murder that had taken place when they were married, and the police think that she had been his accomplice in a crime that she cannot recall because she had been drinking the night of the killing.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Page Turners Book Discussion Group “Best Books of 2013”

December 2nd was the last meeting of the year for the Page Turners book discussion group and what a great year we had. The group had increased attendance, a new facilitator and read books from a variety of literary genres. One of my favorite discussions, was the June selection, The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes The other facilitators favorite's are listed below, I hope you enjoy the books as much as our group did. 

Little Bee by Chris Cleave
The destinies of a 16-year-old Nigerian orphan and a well-to-do British couple seeking to repair their tense marriage with a free vacation are joined when the couple decides to stray beyond the walls of their vacation resort on a Nigerian beach. A great story which focuses on the plight and friendship between two characters who really grip the readers' heart and in so doing challenges their conception of civility and ethical choice, as well as compassion - how much do we give away of our own lives to help others?”

Please Look after Mom by Kyong-suk Sin
A poignant story of a family's search for their missing mother, and their discovery of the desires, sorrows and secrets they never realized she hidden within. The facilitator stated, “this emotional book stimulated a good discussion on the effects of losing traditional values, the consequent guilt that family members felt about not appreciating mom’s suffering and sacrifices, and the changing roles and expectations in a suddenly modern Korea.”

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
Tony Webster and his circle of friends first met Adrian Finn at school. Maybe Adrian was a little more thoughtful than the others, undoubtedly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life. Now Tony is in middle age. He's retired, divorced from his wife and his life is quiet and unassuming.  He's certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is flawed. It can always throw up surprises, as an attorney's letter is about to prove. A novella that explores the reliability of one's memory, does the narrator rewrite his history so he can live with himself? A wonderful exploration into the intricacies and fragility of being human. Recommended for those who enjoy literary reads.

The Virgin of SmallPlains by Nancy Pickard
 On the night of the decade's worst blizzard, a farm boy discovers the body of a gorgeous woman in the snow. Seventeen years later, the "Virgin of Small Plains" has become a local myth. Extraordinary miracles have visited those who tend to her grave and Small Plains becomes a refuge for those hoping the Virgin will cure them. But soon strange and disturbing events unfold. What really happened seventeen years ago?  The novel stimulated discussions on the nature of good and evil and moral responsibility, and was a combination of a love story and a mystery.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


I don't know about you, but I'm inundated by cookies - at home, at work, at friends' homes, everywhere! So, if you can't beat 'em, might as well join 'em. Here are some books with bakers playing a crucial role. And, if you haven't had your fill of cookies or cakes or pies yet, some of these titles even include recipes. Remember, there are no calories consumed in just reading about sweets!

Cookie-baking sleuth Hannah Swenson must protect her reputation when a popular delivery man is found murdered behind her bakery with Hannah's cookies scattered around him. Includes recipes.

Sugar Rush by Donna Kauffman
Leilani Trusdale sets up her own cupcake business on Sugarberry island in Georgia, but when her former boss, Baxter Dunne, wants to film a segment of his cooking show at her bakery Lielani has to come to terms with her true feelings about him and her own future. Includes recipes.

Bake Sale Murder by Leslie Meier
When Lucy Stone stumbles upon the dead body of Mimi, the annoying and whiny wife of local developer Fred Stanton, she launches her own investigation into the murder, a quest that makes the killer nervous and results in threatening notes.

Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray
Ruth draws on her talent for concocting delectable cakes and desserts when her family begins to disintegrate around her--her husband loses his job, her mother moves in, and her long-estranged father shows up at the door with no place to go. Recipes included.

Tough Cookie by Diane Mott Davidson
A new stint hosting a cooking show for PBS turns sour for caterer Goldy Shulz when the taping session at one of Colorado's most exclusive skiing resorts is plagued by accidents and death. Includes recipes.

Bran New Death by Victoria Hamilton
Merry Wynter incurs the enmity of Binny and Tom Turner after moving to Autumn Vale and converting her late uncle's castle into a muffin bakery, and so when Tom is found murdered, she investigates in order to clear her name.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Nonfiction Wrap Up 2013

There seems to be an overwhelming number of "best books" lists this time of year. Here is an abbreviated list of nonfiction that has been popular here in Glenview in 2013.

Reconstructs five days at Memorial Medical Center after Hurricane Katrina destroyed its generators to reveal how caregivers were forced to make life-and-death decisions without essential resources.

Wiseman (Queen Bees and Wannabesreveals how boys think, showing parents, educators, and coaches how to reach out and help boys overcome their most common yet difficult challenges. 

Daniel James Brown's robust book tells the story of the University of Washington's 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans.

Based on more than two hundred personal interviews with current and former scientologists, both famous and less well known, and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uncovers the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.

The humor scientist behind Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers and Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife takes a tour of the human digestive system, explaining why the stomach doesn't digest itself and whether constipation can kill you.

A look at the men and events involved in the Arab Revolt in the Middle East during the first World War.

Billy Crystal is turning 65, and he's not happy about it. With his trademark wit and heart, he outlines the absurdities and challenges that come with growing old, from insomnia to memory loss to leaving dinners with half your meal on your shirt.

What was the best nonfiction book you read this past year?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

On the Road Again

Cold? Bundled up? Tired of the insides of your house? It might be time to armchair travel and plan next year's traveling adventure. 

Want to do a Road Trip?  Foodies Jane and Michael Stern take to the American byways and back roads to discover American cuisine at its finest in their memoir of their early (and humorous) adventures, Two for the Road: Our Love Affair with American Food. They wrote the book Road Food and started the Road Food blog for those travelers who want eat at other local establishments other than a chain fast food joint on the side of the intersection. In a world before Yelp and the Internet, the Sterns were the people to go to when you wanted to find out about good road food.

On a bit of a different kind of road, there is the book On the Noodle Road: From Beijing to Rome with Love and Pasta by Jen Lin-Liu. The title of this delightful book is a play on the legendary Silk Road, the major trade route between Asia and Europe. Chef and cooking school founder Lin-Liu (Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey Through China ) wanted to settle a burning question: Who really invented the noodle? To do this, she embarked on a cooking and eating journey through China, Central Asia, Iran, Turkey, and Italy. She was occasionally joined by her husband, Craig, who adds charm and a personal feel to her culinary adventure.

Want to get away with the girlfriends? Are they your book group buddies too? Take a look at this title, Off the Beaten Page: the Best Trips for Lit Lovers, Book Clubs, and Girls on Getaways by Terri Peterson Smith.  

It has some great ideas for simple literary field trips close to home, and thoughtful essays describing each destination's literary heritage and attractions. From New York to Chicago, Memphis, Miami, Santa Fe and more there are various three-day itineraries that include such lit inspired excursions such as Santa Monica through the eyes of noir crime master Raymond Chandler; a Devil in the White City view of Chicago in the Gilded Age; an exploration of Edith Wharton's elite Newport, Rhode Island, while talking about other side trips in the area. There are location specific reading lists for each destination and along with a profile of an author who current lives and works there. It also covers various book festivals around the country.

Get ready to read about your next trip now.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sleuthing in the Snow

There's a blizzard and it's freezing out there. I hear the woosh of a bitter icy wind. I'm snowed-in and snowbound possibly for days. This weather makes me want to spend a quiet, cozy evening curled up next to my fireplace with a mug of hot cocoa and classic mystery books that conjure up dark, snowy, shadowy events.

GPL has several mystery books that feature snowed-in/snowbound settings, where snowfalls play a prominent part in the story. One of the best is Death Wore White by Jim Kelly. This book begins with unexplained deaths in a snowstorm. The snows of January complicate the investigations of three mysterious deaths in a police procedural set on the northern Norfolk coast of England. All of the action happens in the dead of winter, so you'll feel cold and windblown throughout the book. It is a modern version of the classic locked room mystery. A locked room mystery is a sub-genre of detective fiction in which a crime - almost always murder - is committed under apparently impossible circumstances. The crime typically involves a crime scene that no intruder could have entered or left, e.g. a locked room.

Snow also plays a role in An English Murder by Cyril Hare, a classic mystery set at Christmas.  Warbeck Hall is an old-fashioned English country house and the scene of equally English murders. All the classic ingredients are there: Christmas decorations, tea and cake, a faithful butler, a foreigner, snow falling and an interesting cast of characters thrown together.

Then there is Christmas Is Murder by C. S. Challinor where inhabitants of a hotel are snowed in and of course, murders happen. Not even a blizzard can keep Rex Graves away from Swanmere Manor, a secluded Victorian hotel in the English countryside. But instead of Christmas cheer, the Scottish barrister finds a dead guest. Was it a stroke or a dessert laced with poison? When more guests die, all hopes for a jolly holiday are dashed. Snowbound and terrified, no one can escape the cold-blooded killer. Rex Graves attempts to unravel the mystery.

Continuing on in such atmospheric conditions is the classic Three Blind Mice by Agatha Christie, where patrons and residents of a newly opened guesthouse find themselves trapped by a snowstorm and threatened by a psychotic killer. With a finite cast of characters in this "locked room" mystery, it is not long before suspicions are voiced and when pressure grows, even newlyweds start to suspect the other of being a killer.

So when the weather is terrible and blizzard conditions prevail, hopefully these recommendations will pique your desire to go sleuthing in the snow!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Forthcoming Fiction in January 2014

Here are some titles coming out this January. You can reserve them by clicking on the links to our Online Catalog.

Ripper by Isabel Allende
Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival by Jennifer Chiaverini
Eggs in a Casket by Laura Childs
The Pagan Lord by Bernard Cornwell
Shadows of Death by Jeanne M. Dams
Andrew’s Brain by E.L. Doctorow
The Guts by Roddy Doyle
Dark Wolf by Christine Feehan
Fear Nothing: A Detective D.D. Warren Novel by Lisa Gardner
The Way of All Fish by Martha Grimes
NYPD Puzzle: A Puzzle Lady Mystery by Parnell Hall
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
River Road by Jayne Ann Krentz
Revolution: The Secret World Chronicle III by Mercedes Lackey
The Ape Man’s Brother by Joe R. Lansdale
Lake of Tears: A Claire Watkins Mystery by Mary Logue
Curse of the Infidel by Richard Marcinko
Worthy Brown’s Daughter by Phillip Margolin
Carthage by Joyce Carol Oates
First Love by James Patterson
Still Life With Bread Crumbs: a Novel by Anna Quindlen
Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin
Hunting Shadows: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery by Charles Todd
Snapshot by Lis W. Wiehl
Standup Guy by Stuart Woods

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Television on DVD

Do you have a favorite show that you follow on TV? Did you go on vacation and missed a couple of weeks and now you want to catch up? Whether you are just hearing about a fabulous series like Scandal, Homeland, or Downton Abbey and want to watch it from the first season, or one that was just released on DVD, check it out at the Library.

First seasons available on DVD this year:

NASHVILLE - it is not all song and dance in Nashville. This is the story of the rivalry between the Queen of Country, played by Connie Britton and the hot, young diva, played by Hayden Panettiere, who is looking to dethrone her.

VEEP– follow the hectic day-to-day life of Selina Meyer, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, a former Senator, and now Vice-President, as she juggles her public and private life and her relationship with the Chief Executive.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST –Kristin Kreuk plays the role of a homicide detective involved with a  mysterious Dr. Vincent Keller, played by Brian White. This drama/thriller won the 2013 People’s Choice Award for Favorite New TV Drama.

HOUSE OF CARDS – starring Kevin Spacey as a politician who forms a relationship with a journalist, played by Kate Mara in order to trade secrets for personal and political gains.

THE NEWSROOM – starring Jeff Daniels and Emily Mortimer.  This drama takes a behind-the-scenes look at the fictional network, ACN, its anchor, producer and newsroom staff.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Family Drama-Rama -- It's National Family Story Month

Just in the nick of time, you can still celebrate November’s National Family Drama Month by reading a book about someone else’s family! They say life is stranger than fiction, and sometimes it’s more fun to delve into the lives other families and experience their trials and tribulations, their joys and sorrows, and the crazy situations that families find themselves navigating. If you like to read stories about families, take a look at these gripping family sagas – and don’t let the early publication dates scare you away. Families were just as dysfunctional back “in the day” as they are today! Be sure to check out the various formats these books come in.


Eden Close by Anita Shreve (1998, c1989) - A "measured and haunting" modern gothic tale of one man's attempt to uncover the obsessions that killed a neighbor and blinded a beautiful girl seventeen years earlier. (excerpt from Bibliocommons)

Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler (1995) – Forty-year-old Delia Grinstead is last seen strolling down the Delaware shore, wearing nothing more than a bathing suit and carrying a beach tote with five hundred dollars tucked inside. To her husband and three almost-grown children, she has vanished without trace or reason. But for Delia, who feels like a tiny gnat buzzing around her family's edges, "walking away from it all" is not a premeditated act but an impulse that will lead her into a new, exciting, and unimagined life. (excerpt from Bibliocommons)

And the Mountains Echoed by Kahled Hosseini (2013) - A novel about how people love, how they take care of each other, and how choices made today can resonate through future generations. Author Khaled Hosseini gives listeners a multi-generational family story revolving around siblings and how they love, betray, hurt, honor, and would do anything for one another. (excerpt from Bibliocommons)

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (1998) - The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it-from garden seeds to Scripture-is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa. (excerpt from Bibliocommons)

The Shell Seekers by Rosamude Pilcher (1987) - Set in London and Cornwall from World War II to present, The Shell Seekers tells the story of the Keeling family, and of the passions and heartbreak that have held them together for three generations. The family centers around Penelope, and it is her love, courage, and sense of values that determine the course of all their lives. (excerpt from Bibliocommons)


The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon (2011) - The incredible true account of Kamila Sidiqi who, when her father and brother were forced to flee Kabul, became the sole breadwinner for her five siblings. Armed only with grit and determination, she picked up a needle and thread and created a thriving business of her own and held her family together. (excerpt from Bibliocommons)

The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap by Stephanie Coontz - The Way We Never Were examines two centuries of American family life and shatters a series of myths and half-truths that burden modern families. Placing current family dilemmas in the context of far-reaching economic, political, and demographic changes, Coontz sheds new light on such contemporary concerns as parenting, privacy, love, the division of labor along gender lines, the black family, feminism, and sexual practice. (excerpt from Bibliocommons)

Downloadable Audio Book: 

Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy (2009) - Spanning forty years, this is the story of turbulent Tom Wingo, his gifted and troubled twin sister Savannah, and their struggle to triumph over the dark and tragic legacy of the extraordinary family into which they were born. (excerpt from Bibliocommons)


Monday, November 25, 2013

National Book Awards - 2013

On November 20th, the winners of the National Book Awards were announced.
After careful consideration,  The Good Lord Bird  by James McBride was chosen as this year's winner for fiction.

James McBride portrays white abolitionist John Brown as "part Crocodile Dundee, part backwoods preacher, part con man" according to Baz Dreisinger in her New York Times Book Review. She also calls McBride himself a "modern-day Mark Twain" with his comic twists and turns threaded with sadness. While a humorous approach to such a serious topic is risky, McBride manages to entertain readers and leave them with his own creative (and potentially controversial) take on historical figures like Brown, Harriet Tubman, and Frederick Douglass. 

The Good Lord Bird and the other four finalists below can all be checked out at Glenview Public Library:

The Lowland  by Jhumpa Lahiri (The Lowland was also on the Man Booker Prize shortlist.)

The Flame Throwers  by Rachel Kushner  (Kushner's Telex from Cuba was a National Book Award finalist in 2008.)

Bleeding Edge  by Thomas Pynchon (Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow was a National Book Award winner in 1974.)

Tenth of December  by George Saunders (Saunders also won the 2013 PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story.)

Who were the National Book Award judges?
The judges included three award-winning novelists (Charles Baxter,  Gish Jen and Rene Steinke), a  noted Seattle bookseller/editor (Rick Simonson), and a New York Times writer (Charles McGrath ).


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Amy Tan is back!

In years past, before I worked in a library I had periods of time when I wasn't reading as much as I do now. In one of those periods I picked up an Amy Tan book called The Joy Luck Club. From that moment on I became a reader again and I basically have not stopped since. This book made a big impression on me.
 The Joy Luck Club was also a movie and it was very entertaining, but read the book first. Amy Tan is a talented writer and she has made a recent sort-of-comeback with her new book Valley of Amazement which is on my list of what to read next. Here is a list of some of her other works of fiction. You won't be disappointed.

The Bonesetter's Daughter
Saving Fish From Drowning
The Hundred Secret Senses
The Kitchen God's Wife

Monday, November 18, 2013

November 22, 1963

November 22, 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, one of the most significant and analyzed moments in recent American history.  Many questions still persist today: Who really shot JFK? Was there a conspiracy? How many shots rang out from the Texas School Book Depository? There are many nonfiction books attempting to answer these persistent questions, but novelists have used this tragedy to explore the countless theories and conspiracies as well. The result is a variety of fiction novels ranging from alternative histories to time travel. Enjoy.

Top down: a novel of the Kennedy assassination by James Lehrer (2013)
Ask not: a Nathan Heller thriller by Max Allan Collins (2013)
The third bullet by Stephen Hunter (2013)
11/22/63 by Stephen King (2011)
November 22, 1963: a novel by Adam Braver (2008)
The tears of autumn by Charles McCarry (2008)
The Berlin conspiracy: a novel by Tom Gabbay (2006)
The shot: a thriller by Philip Kerr
Where there's smoke by Mel McKinney (1999)
The legacy by Stephen Frey (1998)
The people v. Lee Harvey Oswald by Walt Brown (1992)
Libra by Don DeLilo (1988)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Forthcoming Fiction for December

Here are some titles coming out this December. You can reserve them by clicking on the links to our Online Catalog.

Mars, Inc. by Ben Bova
Command Authority by Tom Clancy
The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly
Hazardous Duty by W.E.B. Griffin
Going Dark by James W. Hall
Murder as a Second Language: A Claire Malloy Mystery by Joan Hess
The Death Trade by Jack Higgins
The Funeral Owl by Jim Kelly
Innocence by Dean Koontz
Killing Cupid by Laura Levine
Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Retribution by Eric Lustbader
Forget Me Not by Fern Michaels
A Christmas Hope by Anne Perry
The Spook Lights Affair: A Carpenter and Quincannon Mystery by Bill Pronzini
Scandal at Six by Ann Purser
The Prince of Risk by Christopher Reich
Hunted by Karen Robards
Innocent Blood by James Rollins
Things Fall Apart by Harry Turtledove
The New Countess by Fay Weldon

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Kennedy Center Honors - 2013

The 36th Kennedy Honors gala will be broadcast Sunday, December 29 at 8:00 p.m.

Recipients are recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts.

Martina Arroyo (Opera singer; born February 2, 1937 in New York, New York)

Arroyo made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1958 in the American premiere of Ildebrando Pizzetti's Murder in the Cathedral.  After this, she had many success in major roles in Vienna, Berlin, Frankfurt and Zurich.

In 1965, Arroya replaced Birgit Nilsson in Aida at the Met.  She later stated, "Nobody replaces Birgit Nilsson.  You just sing for her that night."  Her 1968 London debut came in a concert version of Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots and later at Covent Garden debut in Aida.

She has had guest appearances on The Odd Couple and has had more that 20 appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

Herbie Hancock (Pianist, keyboardist, bandleader and composer; born April 12, 1940 in Chicago Illinois)

Herbie began his career as a classical piano prodigy, playing with the Chicago Symphony at the age of 11.  He later learned jazz in high school simply by listening.  As Miles Davis put it in his autobiography, "Herbie was the step after bud Powell and Thelonious Monk, and I haven't heard anybody yet who has come after him."

He graduated from Grinnell College with a degree in music and electrical engineering, following this by studies in composition with the opera composer Vittorio Giannini at the Manhattan School of Music.

In 1963 he joined the Miles Davis Quintet where he explored every rhythm, harmonic and colors available at his fingertips.  He also played with Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams, Bobby Hutcherson, Donald Byrd and Freddie Hubbard.

He set the jazz standards with his own albums Empyrean Isles in 1964 and Maiden Voyage in 1965.

Hancock was one of the first jazz pianists to fully embrace electronic keyboards, along with bassist Buster Williams, drummer Billy Hart and horn players Eddie Henderson, Julian Piester, and Bannie Maupin.  Patrick Gleeson helped Hancock program the synthesizers.

Billy Joel (Pianist, singer, and songwriter; born May 9, 1949 in New York, New York)

Billy Joel played the first rock concert at Yankee Stadium and the final concert at Shea Stadium.  His songs have been covered by Barry White, Barbra Streisand, the Beastie Boys, to name a few.

Joel is a six-time Grammy Award winner and 23-time nominee.  He has sold over 150 million record worldwide.  He has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In 1973, recording executive Clive Davis signed Joel to Columbia Records with "Piano Man."  The song became his first top 20 single, first gold album and the final song of nearly all his concerts.

In 1987, Joel made history by giving the first rock radio broadcast in Soviet history.

In 1998, he began concentrating on composing classical music, resulting in the 2001's Fantasie & Delusions.  Segments were included in the 2002's hit Broadway musical Movin' Out, that earned him a Tony Award for Best Orchestrations.

Shirley MacLaine (Actress; born April 24, 1934 in Richmond, Virginia)

As a young girl of 10, she attended ballet lessons and has played her cello at the Kennedy Center in the past.

MacLaine started her film debut in 1955's The Trouble with Harry, directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

She has earned four Best Actrees Oscar nominations - for 1958's Some Came Running, 1960's The Apartment, 1963's Irma la Douce and 1977's The Turning Point

MacLaine has performed on Broadway The Pajama Game at the age of 20 and won an Emmy Award for her TV Variety Special, "Gypsy in My Soul."  She has also written 13 best-selling memoirs.  At one time she was the "mascot" of the Rat Pack and is the sister of Warren Beatty.

In 2013 she began a role in Downton Abbey and will be in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

Carlos Santana (Musician and songwriter; born July 20, 1947 in Autlan de Navarro, Jalisco, Mexico)

According to Rolling Stone, "Two things about Santana never go out of style, the spiritual and the sensual."  He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

His father was a musician and he learned from him at a very early age.  He learned the violin and joined his father on stage.

In the early 1960s his group, Santana, used rock and jazz fusions, the norteno lilt, Afro-Cuban beats, daring polyrhythms and 12-bar blues.  Santas has won 10 Grammys and 3 Latin Grammys so far.  He swept the 2000 Grammy Awards in nine categories with his album "Supernatural."

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Waiting for the latest Stephanie Plum title by Janet Evanovich?

If you are eager to read the latest title in the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, but have found yourself stuck in the middle of the hold list, you might consider one of the series below while you wait. Each features a feisty, wise-cracking female investigator, a fast-paced plot with plenty of suspense, an entertaining cast of quirky characters, and a generous dose of humor.

Bubbles Yablonsky Mysteries by Sarah Strohmeyer
Bubbles Yablonsky, hairdresser-reporter-sleuth, works out of Lehigh, Pennsylvania in this amateur detective mystery series that includes plenty of humorous mayhem. The series begins with Bubbles Unbound (2001).

Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz
Izzy Spellman, a 28-year-old San Francisco private eye working in her dysfunctional family's PI business, stars in these hilarious novels that combine chick lit with mystery. The series begins with The Spellman Files (2007).

Heather Wells Mysteries by Meg Cabot
Former pop-star Heather Wells, now amateur sleuth and assistant director in a college dorm, is the heroine in this chick lit/mystery series set in New York City. Witty dialog and outrageous, fast-paced plots make this series a good choice for Stephanie Plum fans. Start with Size 12 is Not Fat (2006).

Tai Randolph Mysteries by Tina Whittle
Tai Randolph, a wise-cracking, amateur detective...and gunshop owner...is also streetwise and intelligent. This intricately plotted mystery series set in Atlanta begins with The Dangerous Edge of Things (2011).

Charley Davidson Novels by Darynda Jones
Charley Davidson uses her unusual ability to see and speak with murder victims to help find their killers. If you are open to a bit of the occult and some paranormal romance in your mysteries, these sarcastic, fast-paced stories might be just right for you. First Grave on the Right (2011) is the first title in the Charley Davidson series.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Hear Ye Hear Ye - Nobel Peace Prize in Literature 2013 Announced

On November 27, 1895, Alfred Nobel signed his last will and testament, giving the largest share of his fortunes to a series of prizes, the Nobel Prizes. As described in Nobel's will, one part was dedicated to "the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction". 106 Nobel Prizes in Literature have been awarded since 1901.

The Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences announced that Canada's Alice Munro - called the "master of the contemporary short story" - won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature. The committee compared the 82-year-old author to Anton Chekhov, the 19th century Russian who is considered one of the greatest short story writers in history. Alice Munro's regional stories, set with great detail in Huron County, Ontario, are sometimes chronologically out of order, often ending with ambiguity. Her omniscient narrators, almost always female, experience isolation, alienation, disappointments, and failed mother-daughter relationships. Munro explores the complexity of emotions in even the most ordinary person. The focus is more on Munro's three dimensional, familiar characters than the plot. Female characters are more complicated than males-young girls coming of age and women dealing with the problems of aging.

GPL has an extensive collection of her writings. Begin with Lives of Girls and Women: a Novel, published in 1972. This is her only novel. Continue with her short stories, the first collection being Dance of the Happy Shades and Other Stories (1973) and then her most recent, Dear Life: Stories, published in 2012. Check out the rest of her descriptive, moving, character-driven stories written in the intervening 39 years. Just the titles alone pique my interest in re-discovering the amazing, newly awarded author, Alice Munro.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Hot Dates

Recently I noticed that there are a number of books with titles that are simply dates. I thought it would be fun to compile a list of some of them, along with short synopses, and maybe you'll discover a hidden gem among all the standard titles on the shelf. So make a date with some of these great books!

1356 by Bernard Cornwell
Bringing to life the violence, action and heroism of the battlefield, this brilliant recreation of the Battle of the Poitiers in 1356 follows a severely outnumbered English army as they, through the ingenious planning of Edward the Black Prince, defeated the French and captured the Poitiers and French King John II.

1632 by Eric Flint
A mysterious accident in time causes twenty-first-century American democracy to collide head-on with the Thirty Years War in seventeenth-century Germany as Mike Stearn and a group of armed miners take on a gang of strangely attired invaders who are threatening peaceful Grantville, West Virginia.

1876 by Gore Vidal
Returning to America after his long European sojourn, Charlie Schuyler, Aaron Burr's unacknowledged son, and Charlie's widowed daughter seek financial and political advancement in the centennial power centers, as republican idealism is giving way to imperial expediency.

1929 by Frederick Turner
A novelization of jazz artist Bix Beiderbecke's early jams at a Capone-controlled casino, grueling cross-country tours, disastrous cinematic efforts, experiences during the stock market crash, and his final musical efforts.

1940 by Jay Neugeboren
Set on the eve of America's entry into WWII, award-winning novelist Jay Neugeboren's first novel in 20 years is built around the fascinating historical figure, Dr. Eduard Bloch, an Austrian doctor who had been physician to Adolf Hitler and his family when Hitler was a boy and young man, and who cared for Hitler's mother during her illness and death. The historical Bloch was the only Jew for whom Hitler ever personally arranged departure from Europe, and he must now, living in the Bronx, face accusations over the special treatment he received from the Nazi dictator.

1968 by Joe Haldeman
Spider, a confused young soldier, barely escapes the horrors of Vietnam and is nearly destroyed in the postwar psychomedical establishment, while his old girlfriend, Beverly, finds challenges in her antiwar protests.

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
The year is 2312. Scientific and technological advances have opened gateways to an extraordinary future. Earth is no longer humanity's only home; new habitats have been created throughout the solar system on moons, planets, and in between. But in this year, 2312, a sequence of events will force humanity to confront its past, its present, and its future.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Celebrate National Magic Week...

by reading one of these magical titles for adults.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
A fierce competition is underway, a contest between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in "a game," in which each must use their powers of illusion to best the other. Unbeknownst to them, this game is a duel to the death, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.

Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow
In America at the beginning of this century three families become entwined with Henry Ford, Emma Goldman, Harry Houdini, Theodore Dreiser, Sigmund, and Emiliano Zapata.

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
In nineteenth-century England, all is going well for rich, reclusive Mr Norell, who has regained some of the power of England's magicians from the past, until a rival magician, Jonathan Strange, appears and becomes Mr Norrell's pupil.

Vaclav and Lena by Haley Tanner
Vaclav, a young aspiring magician, lives in a loving, caring home with his parents in Brooklyn. Lena, an orphan with very broken English, joins his ESL class. Taken in by his family, Vaclav and Lena fall in love. Then one day, without explanation, Lena stops showing up for class and disappears for the next 17 years, until fate brings them together once more.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Harboring secret preoccupations with a magical land he read about in a childhood fantasy series, Quentin Coldwater is unexpectedly admitted into an exclusive college of magic and rigorously educated in modern sorcery.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Discovering a magical manuscript in Oxford's library, scholar Diana Bishop, a descendant of witches who has rejected her heritage, inadvertently unleashes a fantastical underworld of daemons, witches and vampires whose activities center around an enchanted treasure.

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
The story of two sisters, Gillian and Sally Owens, brought up by their elderly guardian aunts in a small New England town. The aunts possess magic that they in turn hand down to their nieces.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
Forced to set aside her Ph.D. research in order to help the settling of her late grandmother's abandoned home, Connie Goodwin discovers a hidden key among her grandmother's possessions that is linked to a darker chapter in Salem witch trial history.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ray Bradbury Storytelling Festival

Storytelling is not just for little kids. It is one of the oldest forms of human communication. Adults have been telling stories for centuries. Here's a chance to see storytelling for adults (there is also a performance for schools that morning) at the annual Ray Bradbury Storytelling Festival at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan.

This year's tales are from books that have been banned. This year's lineup includes:

Jim May - telling excerpts from Fahrenheit 451, banned for offensive language and content

Jay O’Callahan - performing Don Quixote, banned for promoting questioning authority and glorifying individualism

Megan Wells - performing Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, banned for sinister and frightening themes

I have seen some of these performers several times and they are fantastic. They make you want to go home and read the rest of the story. It is a great time to take a look at the beautifully restored Genesee Theatre. (And if you're lucky maybe you will see the theater ghost!) Having attended for several years, I believe it is worth the time to trek up north to see this wonderful and fun event! I highly recommend it.

Tickets are $17 for the evening show at 7:30 p.m. and $6 for the 10:30 a.m. school matinee at the Genesee box office or www.ticketmaster.com. Library patrons can present any library card and receive $1 off the evening show at the box office.

The Festival will begin with A Conversation with Ray Bradbury, a short film by the National Endowment for the Art , a slideshow and commentary by Waukegan Public Library Director Richard Lee about his recent trip to Ray Bradbury's home in Los Angeles. Library officials traveled to California in June and October to assess, pack, and move 22,000 pounds of books, manuscripts, and personal belongings from Bradbury's private collection to Waukegan. The Library was named as a beneficiary of Bradbury's estate in January.

For more information, call or visit the Waukegan Public Library at (847) 623-2041, or check out the information on their website.

Can't go, but want to read more by Ray Bradbury? Come by our library or check out this link to the catalog.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Celebrate Teen Read Week With These Out of this World Science Fiction!

Celebrate Teen Read Week October 13-19, 2013 and explore titles that take you beyond the real world to lands far, far away.  All books are in the Teen Scene and on display for all of October along with a book list highlighting other Out of this World Science Fiction. 

Barnes, John
Losers in Space
In 2029,Susan and her almost-boyfriend Derlock, and seven fellow students stow away on a ship to Mars, unaware that Derlock is a sociopath with bigger plans.

 Book Jacket
 Cross, Julie

After his girlfriend Holly is fatally shot during a violent struggle, nineteen-year-old Jackson uses his supernatural abilities and travels back in time two years, where he falls in love with Holly all over again.  First in the Tempest trilogy.

Book Jacket
Grant, Michael

In the near future, the conjoined Armstrong twins plot to create their own version of utopia using nanobots, while a guerilla group known as BZRK develops a DNA-based biot that can stop bots, but at risk of the host's brain.  First in the BZRK trilogy.

Healey, Karen
When We Wake

In 2027, sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl--playing the guitar, falling in love, and protesting the wrongs of the world with her friends. But then Tegan dies, waking up 100 years in the future as the unknowing first government guinea pig to be cryogenically frozen and successfully revived. Appalling secrets about her new world come to light, and Tegan must choose to either keep her head down or fight for a better future.

 Book Jacket
Johnson, Alaya Dawn
The Summer Prince

In a Brazil of the distant future, June Costa falls in love with Enki, a fellow artist and rebel against the strict limits of the legendary pyramid city of Palmares Tres' matriarchal government, knowing that, like all Summer Kings before him, Enki is destined to die.

Lo, Malinda

In the aftermath of a series of plane crashes caused by birds, seventeen-year-old Reese and her debate-team partner, David, receive medical treatment at a secret government facility and become tangled in a conspiracy that is, according to Reese's friend, Julian, connected with aliens and UFOs.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Man Booker Prize Shortlist

On September 10, the 2013 Man Booker Prize short list was announced. After reading 151 novels,the judges finally chose six books that represent a very diverse range of selections. One of those chosen was the latest novel by Jhumpa Lahiri, The Lowland. Lahiri is also the acclaimed author of Interpreter of Maladies (winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 2000), The Namesake, and Unaccustomed Earth. Much of her writing deals with people trying to bridge cultures and generations.Her parents were born and raised in India, while she was born in London and moved to Rhode Island with her family a few years later. She considers herself American, but her deep familiarity with India allows her to write with authority on her chosen theme.

 The other novels making the list are:

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

Harvest by Jim Crace

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín

The finalist will be announced on October 15th. Meanwhile, the books on the list are all worth considering for anyone's "want to read" list.

The rules of the Man Booker Prize will change for 2014. Entries will include any book originally written in English, published in the UK, and entered by the UK publisher. Geography and nationality will not be considered. As with any change in tradition, this move has sparked debate. For details, check the website:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Fall into Fiction

Some people turn over a new leaf in the new year, making resolutions and all, but I like to do it in the Fall when the leaves are actually falling. I think it must be tied to the season, sort of a way of preparing for what comes next, winter. The shorter and colder days sometimes make it hard to complete tasks so before winter, a sort of nesting instinct kicks in. Here are a few autumn titles to go along with the season.

Wicked Autumn: A Max Tudor Novel by G. M. Malliet

Mary Ann in Autumn by Armistead Maupin

A Year Without Autumn by Liz Kessler

When Autumn Leaves by Amy S. Foster 

Autumn Bridge by Takashi Matsuoka

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Celebrate Rocktober at home this month and choose a film from our display in the Audiovisual room -- chock full of a great rock-and-roll film moments on DVD in both the non-fiction and feature film collections.  Check out Jack Black's classes at the School of Rock or walk the halls of the Rock 'n' Roll High School, explore the Beatles' A Hard Day's Night or take a look at the fascinating, Academy Award winning documentary on Detroit musician Sixto Rodriguez called Searching for Sugar Man.  Follow Cameron Crowe's semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story in Almost Famous or watch the beautifully chronicled romance between Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova in Once.  Whatever flavor or style you like, there's plenty of good rock and roll movies to choose from.  And while we are watching the rock this month, keep your eyes peeled for new CD releases in the music collection this fall by Nine Inch Nails, Arctic Monkeys, Sebadoh, Neko Case, Sting, Jack Johnson, MGMT, Sheryl Crow and many, many more.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Witching Hour Is Upon Us

It’s only three weeks until the clock strikes midnight on Halloween Eve, and the spirits are swirling in the witch’s caldron. We are ready with all your witching needs so pick up a witches’ brew book and start reading!

Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult (2002, c2001) - Love can redeem a man...but secrets and lies can condemn him. A handsome stranger comes to the sleepy New England town of Salem Falls in hopes of burying his past: Once a teacher at a girls' prep school, Jack St. Bride was destroyed when a student's crush sparked a powder keg of accusation. Now, washing dishes for Addie Peabody at the Do-Or-Diner, he slips quietly into his new routine, and Addie finds this unassuming man fitting easily inside her heart. But amid the rustic calm of Salem Falls, a quartet of teenage girls harbor dark secrets -- and they maliciously target Jack with a shattering allegation. (excerpt from Bibliocommons)

The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike (1984) - It's the marvelous story of three ambitious witches living in a small New England town in the late 1960s, who find themselves quite under the spell of the new man in town, Darryl Van Horne, whose hot tub is the scene of some rather bewitching delights. (excerpt from Bibliocommons)

The Witching Hour by Anne Rice (1997, c1990) - Demonstrating once again her gift for spellbinding stoyrtelling, Anne Rice makes real a family of witches--a family given to poetry and incest, to murder and philsophy, a family that is itself haunted by a powerful, dangerous and seductive being. "Unfolds like a poisonous lotus blossom redolent with luxurious evil." THE LOS ANGELES TIMES (excerpt from Bibliocommons)

A Discover of Witches by Deborah Harkness (2011) - Witch and Yale historian Diana Bishop discovers an enchanted manuscript, attracting the attention of 1,500-year-old vampire Matthew Clairmont. The orphaned daughter of two powerful witches, Bishop prefers intellect, but relies on magic when her discovery of a palimpsest documenting the origin of supernatural species releases an assortment of undead who threaten, stalk, and harass her. (excerpt from Bibliocommons)

Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft by Raven Grimassi (2000) - Craft Elder and author Raven Grimassi has revised and expanded his indispensable reference work, the award-winning Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft. (excerpt from Bibliocommons)

Witch: A Magickal Journey: A Hip Guide to Modern Witchcraft by Fiona Horn (2000) - It's enchanting, making magick. In Witch: A Magickal Journey, the beautiful Fiona Horne reveals the intimate secrets and know-how of her spiritual calling, including the daily business of being a modern Witch at home, work, and play. With practical tips for effective Witchcraft, detailed outlines of annual festivals, interviews, internet sites, and a whole reference library of contacts and events, Witch also delves deep into the mysteries of spellcasting, moon worship, reincarnation and magical music. (excerpt from Bibliocommons)

Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire (2005) (CD) - In the land of Oz, after Dorothy has destroyed the witch, an adolescent boy named Liir, who may be the witch's son, is willed back to life at the Cloister of Saint Gilda. (excerpt from Bibliocommons)

The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston (2013) (Downloadable) - Mute fledgling witch Morgana is married for her safety to a kind farmer in the mountains of Wales before she is targeted by townspeople who are being manipulated by a dark force that compels Morgana to harness her powers. (excerpt from Bibliocommons)

Practical Magic (DVD) (2009) - The wry, comic romantic tale follows the Owens sisters as they struggle to use their hereditary gift for practical magic to overcome the obstacles in discovering true love. (excerpt from Bibliocommons)

Witches of Eastwick (DVD) (1997) - The "witches" are three modern-day women yearning for Mr. Right in a quaint New England town. Wealthy Daryl Van Horne arrives in town and sets out to prove he's a devil with the ladies. (excerpt from Bibliocommons)