Tuesday, April 28, 2015

G'Day Mate: Aussie Authors

Australia is famous for many things kangaroos, koalas, The Great Barrier Reef and a wonderful literary tradition as well. Australian authors are slowly but steadily entering the American market with great success. With the recent death of bestselling Australian author Colleen McCullough (1937-2015) and the emergence of several bestselling authors Graeme C. Simsion and Liane Moriarty I was curious about other popular Aussie novelists, and discovered some real gems. Check out one of these fine novels from the land down-under.

Colleen McCullough
McCullough intertwines a sweeping story of two sets of twins--all trained as nurses but each with her own ambitions. Because they are two sets of twins, the four Latimer sisters are as close as can be. Yet these spirited young women each have their own dreams for themselves. They are famous throughout New South Wales for their beauty, wit and ambition, but they are not enthusiastic about the limited prospects life holds for them Together they decide to enroll in a training program for nurses--a new option for women of their time.

Big Little Lies
Liane Moriarty
The novel begins with a murder, but it's not entirely clear who was murdered. It certainly was someone at the fundraiser for the Piriwee Public School. The novel begins six months prior to the violent act and tells the lives of single mother Jane, twice-married Madeline, and Celeste, who secretly suffers from domestic abuse. Popular author Moriarty revitalizes the tired social-issues themed women's fiction genre with wit, emotional depth and fantastic storytelling.

The Rosie Project
Graeme C. Simsion
Don Tillman, an intense, but emotionally challenged geneticist, thinks having women fill out a six-page, double-sided questionnaire before a date is logical and sensible. Rosie Jarman, a spontaneous barmaid, thinks Don should loosen up and learn to live a little. Follow this unlikely pair as they discover romance.

Tim Winton
The story of Tom Keely, a man who's lost his way in middle-age and is now holed up in an apartment at the top of a dingy high-rise, looking down on the world he's fallen out of love with. He's cut himself off, until one day he runs into some neighbors: a woman he used to know  when they were kids, and her introverted young boy. The encounter shakes him up in a way that he doesn't understand. What follows is a heart-stopping, innovative novel, funny, provoking, exhilarating and populated by memorable characters.

Shame and the Captives
Thomas Keneally
A story inspired by true events follows the experiences of a World War II prisoner's wife who makes friends with an Italian radical in the hope of improving her husband's suffering, only to be swept up in a violent prison break. Keneally nicely blends history, romance, and wartime scheming into another wonderful historical fiction novel.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Move Over, James Bond

Spy thrillers and espionage novels used to focus on the Cold War, think Graham Greene and John Le CarrĂ©. Today’s titles have a different focus and a new kind of spy, sometimes even a woman.

The Expats by Chris Pavone
Kate and Dexter and their two young sons have moved to Luxembourg where Dexter has taken a job at a private bank. Their new expat life is great, but Kate is an ex-CIA agent and their new friends may not be what they seem. Intricate, suspenseful, and compelling.

The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer
Milo Weaver has retired from his post as a “tourist,” a black-ops agent with no name or home base. When his old enemy, an international assassin, reappears, Milo must fight to keep himself and his family alive. Dark, convoluted, and action-packed.

The Swimmer by Joakim Zander
A burned out CIA agent scours Europe to find the now-adult daughter he left behind as she goes on the run with her former lover. Billed as Homeland meets Stieg Larsson. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

This Week in April History - Read More About It

A co-worker and I were talking about April 15th and how it was U.S. tax day - but so much more has happened on that day. Just take a look at these other April fifteenths in history. 

On April 15, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln died at 7:22 a.m. He had been assassinated the night before at Ford's Theater. It was a tragedy that had a great impact on our nation. For a fictional account of Lincoln's life try the classic book Lincoln: a novel by Gore Vidal. For a recent book on his cabinet try the award winning title Team of Rivals: the Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Goodwin Kearns. And for a off-beat, but thoughtful title try Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell. Vowell manages to make connections about the players in the plot that will astound you.

On April 15, 1912 in the early morning the RMS Titanic, a British passenger liner, sank in the North Atlantic Ocean. This sailing tragedy has managed to change shipping and passenger standards that are still in use today. For a fictional account of the adventure try The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott. For an encompassing illustrated volume look at the title  Titanic: an Illustrated History by Donald Lynch.

 On a brighter note Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452 in Vinci, Italy. He was interested in the laws of science and nature, which greatly informed his work as a painter, sculptor, inventor and draftsman. His ideas and his body of work - which included "The Last Supper" and the "Mona Lisa" - have influenced countless artists and made da Vinci a leading light of the Italian Renaissance. Take a look at his brilliance in The Da Vinci Notebooks : a Dazzling Array of Da Vinci's Celebrated and Inspirational Inventions, Theories, and Observations. Or explore Ross King's non-fiction book Leonardo and the Last Supper.

Just a reminder that history is all around us. Find it at your library!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Batter up!

Ah! Spring is when a young man’s fancy turns to…..baseball!   Yes, it’s time to take me out to the ballgame. To feel the sun on my face, to taste the cold beer in my mouth, and to root for my favorite team!
Let's do a little spring training ourselves by watching Ken Burns’ Baseball, which is about the history of baseball, from the 1840’s to 1994: interviews, photographs, and film footage.It's a very informative and interesting DVD.

For some light-hearted look at baseball, watch MLB Bloopers: the funny side of baseball. It recounts tales that happened during the game as well as off the field with the players.
Others of note are: Eight Men Out – based on the real-life scandal of 1919, Pride of the Yankees – starring Gary Cooper as Lou Gehrig, who at the peak of his career with the NY Yankees, was cut down by ALS. A League of Their Own  – based on the true story of the All-American girls professional baseball League  that was formed while the men were at war in 1943.
More recently, 42: the Jackie Robinson Story – the first African American major league player of the modern era.
I'm looking forward to this year, filled with the hope and the promise of a great year!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Forthcoming Fiction for May

Here are some new Fiction titles coming out in May. You can reserve them by searching our Online Catalog, or give us a call at 847-729-7500.

Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews
Secret Brother by V.C. Andrews
Robert B. Parker’s Kickback by Ace Atkins
A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson
The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker
Little Black Lies by S.J. Bolton
Tail Gait: a Mrs. Murphy Mystery by Rita Mae Brown
Folly by Stella Cameron
The Forgotten Room by Lincoln Child
Ming Tea Murder by Laura Childs
Six and a Half Deadly Sins by Colin Cotterill
Piranha by Clive Cussler
Texas Tough by Janet Dailey
Solitude Creek by Jeffery Deaver
Radiant Angel by Nelson DeMille
Detroit is our Beat: Tales of the Four Horsemen by Loren D. Estleman
The Long High Noon by Loran D. Estleman
Born to be Wild: A Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery by Carolyn Haines
Day Shift by Charlaine Harris
The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris
Don’t Go Home by Carolyn G. Hart
Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
Never Die Alone by Lisa Jackson
Born of Defiance by Sherrilyn Kenyon
The Fall by John Lescroart
How to Start a Fire by Lisa Lutz
The Enemy Inside: A Paul Madriani Novel by Steve Martini
Double Down by Fern Michaels
The Marriage Season by Linda Lael Miller
And Sometimes I Wonder About You: a Mystery by Walter Mosley
Jack of Spades: a Tale of Suspense by Joyce Carol Oates
The Body in the Birches by Katherine Hall Page
Trauma by Michael Palmer
14th Deadly Sin by James Patterson
The Guest Cottage by Nancy Thayer
Murder on Amsterdam Avenue by Victoria Thompson

Friday, April 3, 2015

National Library Week

April means National Library Week, to be observed this year from April 12-18. What better way to celebrate the contributions of libraries and librarians than reading a few books that feature them? Whether you prefer librarians in literary fiction, historical fiction, humor, mystery, romance, or memoir, the following list offers a little something for everyone:

The Giant's House by Elizabeth McCracken

The Archivist by Martha Cooley

Raney by Clyde Edgerton    

The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton

The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne (memoir)

The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman

Passing On by Penelope Lively

Distant Blood by Jeff Abbott

Dewey Decimal of Love by Josephine Carr

Poppy Done to Death by Charlaine Harris  

The Librarian by Larry Beinhart

Housewrights by Art Corriveau

The Lord's Motel by Gail D. Storey

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Here's Abe!

The Illinois School Library Media Association announced the list of nominees for the 2016 Abe Lincoln Award.  Students in grades 9-12 can vote for their favorite book in March 2016.  If you start reading now you probably can read them all and vote at your school!

Here are few notable books on the list:

Rot & Ruin by Paige Rawl
In a post-apocalyptic world where fences and border patrols guard the few people left from the zombies that have overtaken civilization, fifteen-year-old Benny Imura is finally convinced that he must follow in his older brother's footsteps and become a bounty hunter.

I Am The Weapon by Allen Zadoff (formerly titled: Boy Nobody)
Sixteen-year-old Boy Nobody, an assassin controlled by a shadowy government organization, The Program, considers sabotaging his latest mission because his target reminds him of the normal life he craves.

Butter by Erin Jade Lange
Unable to control his binge eating, a morbidly obese teenager nicknamed Butter decides to make a live webcast of his last meal as he attempts to eat himself to death.

Boy 21 by Matthew Quick
Finley, an unnaturally quiet boy who is the only white player on his high school's varsity basketball team, lives in a dismal Pennsylvania town that is ruled by the Irish mob, and when his coach asks him to mentor a troubled African American student who has transferred there from an elite private school in California, he finds that they have a lot in common in spite of their apparent differences.

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Betrothed to the demon who rules her country and trained all her life to kill him, seventeen-year-old Nyx Triskelion must now fulfill her destiny and move to the castle to be his wife.

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan
In Iran, where homosexuality is punishable by death, seventeen-year-olds Sahar and Nasrin love each other in secret until Nasrin's parents announce their daughter's arranged marriage and Sahar proposes a drastic solution.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Spending the summers on her family's private island off the coast of Massachusetts with her cousins and a special boy named Gat, teenaged Cadence struggles to remember what happened during her fifteenth summer.

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Nearly a year after a failed suicide attempt, sixteen-year-old Elise discovers that she has the passion, and the talent, to be a disc jockey.