Saturday, January 30, 2016

Rock legends we've lost

We're barely through the first month of 2016 and we've already lost some MAJOR rock icons. First David Bowie, then Glenn Frey and now Jefferson Airplane's Paul Kantner has passed. The good news: we have plenty of CDs by these amazing artists in AV ROOM to help ease the pain. Stop by and grab some music by these lasting musical legends this week. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Foreign Film Challenge continues

Here's how it works. If you like foreign films, you may want to review this list. I am sorting through the newly-arranged (by language) foreign films and highlighting those that received a rating of 7 or better on So here I am continuing with the Chinese films. If you do have a chance to view any of them and you love them, please leave a comment and start a dialogue. Enjoy!

Good Bye, Dragon Inn (2003) Mandarin & Taiwanese

Bu san (original title)
In Taipei, a movie theater is closing, but not before one final film is shown -- "Dragon Inn," a 1967 action film that is the source of nostalgia for the moviegoers and employees in the old, decrepit and possibly haunted building. The eccentric projectionist and a crippled cashier along with two ghostly actors from the original film come to mourn the passing of an era.

Fallen Angels (1995) Cantonese
Do lok tin si (original title)
Set in contemporary Hong Kong, a disillusioned killer embarks on his last hit. He tries to overcome his affection for his cool, detached partner and sets out to find a surrogate. He crosses paths with a strange drifter and an amusing mute trying to get the world's attention in his own unconventional ways.

Jin ling shi san chai (original title)
A Westerner finds refuge with a group of women in a church during Japan's rape of Nanking in 1937. Posing as a priest, he attempts to lead the women to safety.

Chun gwong cha sit (original title)
Yiu-Fai and Po-Wing arrive in Argentina from Hong Kong and take to the road for a holiday. Something is wrong and their relationship goes adrift. A disillusioned Yiu-Fai starts working at a tango bar to save up for his trip home. When a beaten and bruised Po-Wing reappears, Yiu-Fai is empathetic but is unable to enter a more intimate relationship.

Ying xiong (original title)
In this visually arresting martial arts epic set in ancient China, an unnamed fighter is being honored for defeating three of the king's most dangerous enemies. When he recounts his battles with the assassins, the king begins to question some of the details. The king challenges the tales, interjecting his own take on these events.

House of Flying Daggers (2004) Mandarin
Shi mian mai fu (original title)
The Tang Dynasty is fighting to keep control over China, a battle they are losing to several rebel groups. One such group is the House of Flying Daggers, who steal from the wealthy and give to the poor. Two police deputies working with the government are ordered to investigate a young dancer who is rumored to be working with the House of Flying Daggers. But both men fall under her charms and decide to help her escape instead.

Ilo Ilo (2013) Mandarin
Set in Singapore during the 1997 financial crisis, this film chronicles the Lim family as they adjust to their newly arrived domestic helper, Teresa, who has come, like many others in search of a better life.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Edgar Awards Have Been Announced

Each spring, Mystery Writers of America present the Edgar Awards, widely acknowledged to be the most prestigious awards in the genre. This year's award ceremony will take place on April 28, 2016.

The MWA announce the nominees each year on Edgar Allen Poe's birthday January 19th.

Here are the titles for Best Novel.

The Strangler Vine by M.J. Carter (Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam's Sons)
The Lady From Zagreb by Philip Kerr (Penguin Random House – A Marian Wood Book)
Life or Death by Michael Robotham (Hachette Book Group – Mulholland Books)
Let Me Die in His Footsteps by Lori Roy (Penguin Random House - Dutton)
Canary by Duane Swierczynski (Hachette Book Group – Mulholland Books)
Night Life by David C. Taylor (Forge Books)

For more nominees in all the different categories go here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

"2016 Reading List": The Year's Best in Genre Fiction for Adult Readers

Each winter the American Library Association convenes for a Midwinter Meeting. These annual meetings are most notable for their announcements of the major children’s book awards: The Newbery and the Caldecott.

Many do not know that there are also some great adult books that receive recognition at Midwinter. One of my favorite lists to look for each winter following the meeting is known as the “Reading List”, an annual best-of list comprised of eight different fiction genres for adult readers.

This year’s winning selections are:

Adrenaline (for thriller lovers)
Three sisters are driven apart in the aftermath of one’s disappearance. When a violent crime occurs new fears arise and relationships shift again. Long term effects of family grief are exploited by the compulsions of a psychopath. Brutal and disturbing, this is ultimately a story of love and empowerment.

In this enchanted old-world fable, villagers threatened by a blighted magical wood allow the resident wizard to take one daughter into servitude for ten years. When he chooses klutzy Agnieszka, she faces an unexpected future and confronts the dangers of a wider political world and the roots of magical corruption.

Historical Fiction

Raised by his eccentric ex-suffragette godmother to be a free-thinker, young Noel is thrown into chaos when the London Blitz forces him into the home of a scam artist loyal only to her layabout son. Thrust together, the two oddballs are forced to find a way through the wartime landscape.

Flamboyant antiques dealer Asmodeus “Sax” Saxon-Tang made his fortune by accidentally killing a vampire with a horde of treasure. To protect the only person he loves, his niece, he’s forced to return to old Europe to assemble an eccentric team of vampire hunters in this gory, witty caper.


Cold cases cast a twenty-five year shadow of grief and guilt on the lives of two survivors of traumatic teenage crimes. New leads and new cases bring them back to Oklahoma City as past and present intersect in this poignant and compelling story of lives forever changed by random violence.

Sassy relationship advice columnist Veronica overcomes her commitment anxiety and gains confidence with the help of mountain-climbing librarian Gabe. Steamy romance evolves into a strong relationship as they scale a mountain of family conflicts and share secrets against a majestic Jackson Hole backdrop.

Science Fiction
Insurgent Darrow inveigled his way into high Gold society in 2014’s Red Rising. In this dramatic, high octane follow-up, conflicting loyalties and his own ambitions lure Darrow into an untenable web of deceptions. Bolstered by new alliances, Darrow battles to overthrow corrupt lunar leadership and bring freedom to Mars.

Women’s Fiction

Anxious to escape the strict upbringing of her uncle’s Flushing grocery, Korean-American Jane accepts an au pair position in the pretentious household of two Brooklyn academics and their adopted Chinese daughter. Park has created a bright comic story of falling in love, finding strength, and living on one’s own terms.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Lyric Opera of Chicago winter lectures

The Glenview Public Library is happy to present the following Lyric Opera lectures moderated by former Lyric Opera docents.  All lectures begin at 7:00 pm and are in the Multipurpose Room.

Thursday, January 7 - Nabucco by Giuseppe Verdi

On one side of a love triangle is the Hebrew priest Zaccaria, battling to lead his people from oppression.  On the other, Nabucco, the Babylonian king and his adopted daughter Abigaille, who will stop at nothing to get her father's throne and her sister's lover.

Nabucco lay dormant for many years after its premier until after World War II in Italy and only within the last generation for the rest of the world.

The famous chorus of Hebrew slaves, "Va, pensiero," was so stirring that during the first rehearsal, everyone around the building became silent when it was sung and broke into a spontaneous bravo when it was over. (Opera for Dummies)

Thursday, January 21 - Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss

Can Marschallin find lasting happiness with her lover Octavian, who's half her age?  Does the Baron really think his position guarantees that young Sophie will be his wife?  All bets are off when Sophie receives an engagement rose from the Baron - delivered by Octavian.

Set in baroque Vienna, Der Rosenkavalier, also is Romantic as well as modern all at the same time.  There is the beautiful love scene "The Presentation of the Rose," and the final trio.  Some of the lasting popularity comes from the Viennese waltzes that are heard throughout the score.  Although the opera takes place long before the Viennese waltz had been invented.

Thursday, February 11 - Romeo and Juliet by Charles Gounod

He's a Montague and she's a Capulet - families who have hated each other for centuries.  Yet when Romeo meets Juliet, they fall instantly and rapturously in love.  Secretly, they marry - but Shakespeare's famed young couple is ultimately doomed.  Everything that could have been is lost as they die tragically in each other's arms.

In the opera, we hear  the coloratura soprano aria "Je veux vivre" and the tenor "Ah! Leve-toi soleil," along with the ensemble "Ce jour de deuil."

Friday, January 15, 2016

Winter Listening: New Audiobook Selections

The holiday season is finally over and it's time to get back to your reading list. If you've never tried audiobooks now's a great time to do so. Audiobooks are great for; long commutes, exercising, house cleaning or just relaxing in your favorite chair. If the weather is frightful all of these are available for download at 

After Alice
By Gregory Maguire
Read by Katherine Kellgren, 7 hours 15 minutes
Take a fanciful trip down the rabbit hole with narrator Katherine Kellgren in After Alice. This adaptation tells the story of Alice's friend, Ada and her experience in Wonderland. The narrator does a magnificent job animating each unusual voice. The tone, pace and emotion makes for an enjoyable listen.

Avenue of Mysteries
By John Irving
Read by Armando Duran, 21 hours

How does the environment shape the development of an artist? Juan Diego was a "dump kid" in Oaxaca, Mexico with a smashed foot and a sister with mystical powers. As an older man, Juan Diego will take a trip to the Philippines, but what travels with him are his dreams and memories; he is most alive in his childhood and early adolescence in Mexico. Sometimes, we live more fiercely in the past than in the present. The narrator affects a friendly, curious tone as the episodic events of Juan's life enlighten and entertain.

Career of Evil
By Robert Galbraith
Read by Robert Glenister, 17 hours
(3rd in the Comoran Strike novels)

When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is shocked to discover that it contains a woman's severed leg. Cormoran Strike, war vet turned PI must look to his past to determine who is behind the vile package. Robert Glenister narrator of the first two books in the series is spot on with real-life pacing and vocal differences between characters.

Dark Corners
By Ruth Rendell
Read by Ric Jerrom, 7 hours 15 minutes

Carl Martin's life begins to unravel when a friend he sold homeopathic diet pills to turns up dead and his new tenant, Dermot McKinnon, begins to blackmail him. Ruth Rendell expertly lures the reader into the dark corners of the twisted and disturbing mind of a psychopath and narrator Jerrom keeps things superbly sinister with this fine performance.

Slade House
By David Mitchell
Read by Thomas Judd and Tania Rodrigues, 6 hours 54 minutes

Dynamic narrators Thomas Judd and Tania Rodrigues give remarkable performances of David Mitchell's original characters and peculiar situations. Every nine years, Slade House appears in an alley in London, and every nine years, somebody disappears into it, never to be seen again.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Local Classical Music Concerts - January 17-23

Winter is upon us, but no time like the present to enjoy all the beautiful classical musical around us.

Sunday, January 17

Lyric Opera of Chicago - Lopez: Bel Canto
(2:00 pm) Civic Opera House, Chicago

Music Institute of Chicago - Chamber Music Fall Concert
(2:00 pm) Nichols Concert Hall, Evanston

Northbrook Symphony Orchestra
(4:00 pm) Sheely Center, Glenbrook North High School, Northbrook

Winter Chamber Music Festival - Ashkenasi-Liu-Taylor Trio
(7:30 pm) Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Evanston

Monday, January 18

Chicago Sinfonietta - Martin Luther King Tribute
(7:30 pm) Symphony Center, Chicago

Wednesday, January 20

Baroque Band - Garry Clarke, conductor
(7:30 pm) Symphony Center, Chicago

Friday, January 22

Winter Chamber Music Festival - Jupiter String Quartet
(7:30 pm) Pick-Staiger Concert Hall

Saturday, January 23

Lyric Opera of Chicago - Verdi: Nabucco 
(7:30 pm) Civic Opera House, Chicago

Paul O'Dette, lutenist (7:30 pm) Galvin Recital Hall, Evanston

Lake Forest Symphony - Vladimir Kulenovic, conductor/Netanel Draiblate, violinist
(8:00 pm) Lumber Center for the Performing Arts, Grayslake

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

For some reason I really enjoy a good legal novel in the cold month of January. So, with this in mind, I resurrected my copy of the 2015 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction - the winner as well as the finalists - to help me in my selection. The prize, which is cosponsored by the ABA Journal and the University of Alabama School of Law and authorized by Harper Lee, has been awarded each year since To Kill a Mockingbird's 50th anniversary to the novel that best illuminates the role of lawyers in society and their power to effect change.

The finalists:
My Sister's Grave by Robert Dugoni (received 20.64% votes)
From the publisher: "Tracy Crosswhite has spent 20 years questioning the facts surrounding her sister Sarah's disappearance and the murder trial that followed. She doesn't believe that Edmund House - a convicted rapist and the man condemned for Sarah's murder - is the guilty party. Motivated by the opportunity to obtain real justice, Tracy became a homicide detective with the Seattle PD and dedicated her life to tracking down killers. When Sarah's remains are finally discovered near their hometown in the northern Cascade mountains of Washington State, Tracy is determined to get the answers she's been seeking. As she searches for the real killer, she unearths dark, long-kept secrets that will forever change her relationship to her past - and open the door to deadly danger."

Terminal City by Linda Fairstein (received 37.47% votes)
From the publisher: "From the world's largest Tiffany clock decorating the 42nd Street entrance to its spectacular main concourse, Grand Central has been a symbol of beauty and innovation in New York City for more than 100 years. But "the world's loveliest station" is hiding more than just an underground train system. When the body of a young woman is found in the tower suite of the Waldorf Astoria - one of the most prestigious hotels in Manhattan - assistant DA Alex Cooper and detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace find themselves hunting for an elusive killer whose only signature is carving a carefully drawn symbol into his victims' bodies, a symbol that bears a striking resemblance to train tracks."

And the finalist and winner -
The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson (received 41.89% votes)
This is the story of Regina Robichard, an African-American attorney working for the Legal Defense Fund with Thurgood Marshall in the 1940s. She receives a packet detailing the disappearance and death of Joe Howard Wilson, a young black World War II veteran, and she travels to Mississippi to investigate. When she arrives, she discovers that nothing about the case, the town or its inhabitants is quite what it initially seemed.

Take a read of one or all and see if your legal mind agrees!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Save the Date for Winter Reading!

Winter Reading Program for Adults
February 1-29 • Glenview Library Card Required
Feeling chilly and blue this winter? February is the perfect month to open your heart to warmth and happiness—by reading! The more you read, the greater your chances to win weekly prizes or the grand prize gift basket. Stop by the Reader Services Desk to fill out an entry slip for each book read. Can’t make it to the Library to submit your entry? Enter online at A special thanks to the Glenview Grind for supporting the Winter Reading Program.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Local Classical Music Concerts (January 10-17, 2016)

What better way to enjoy the cold weather than to attend a music concert.  Enjoy!

Sunday, January 10
Newberry Consort - Le Roman de Faulvel (3:00 pm) - Alice Millar Chapel, Evanston

Winter Chamber Music Festival - Dover Quartet (7:30 pm) - Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Evanston

Wednesday, January 13
Lyric Opera of Chicago - Lopez: Bel Canto (7:30 pm) - Civic Opera House, Chicago

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Pinchas Zukerman, conductor and violinist (7:30 pm) - Harris
Theater, Chicago

Friday, January 15
Baroque Band - Garry Clarke, conductor (7:30 pm) - Music Institute, Evanston

Beyond the Aria - Danielle de Niese, soprano, Anthony Roth Costanzo, countertenor, Bradley Smoak, bass, Craig Terry, pianist (7:30 pm) - Pritzker Pavillon Stage, Chicago

Winter Chamber Music Festival (7:30 pm) - Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Evanston

Monday, January 4, 2016

Behind the Scenes

Everyone loves to know the real story, the look behind the curtain at what’s really happening. These books do just that—reveal the other side of the story.

The White House staff have a close-up view of the most powerful people in the country. Read about fifty years of first families, in public and in private.

Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip—Confessions of a Cynical Waiter by The Waiter (Steve Dublanica) (647.95 WAI)
From a blog of the same name, hear what your server really thinks of you, plus inside tips on how to get the best service.

Life at the Zoo: Behind the Scenes with the Animal Doctors by Phillip T. Robinson (590.73 ROB)

A look at all aspects of zoo life, the animals, their care, how their illnesses are detected, and how zoo exhibits are designed.
The Toughest Show on Earth: My Rise and Reign at the Metropolitan Opera by Joseph Volpe with Charles Michener. (782.1092 VOL)
The drama is not just on stage. Read about more than forty years at the New York Metropolitan Opera House—told by the only general manager that worked his way to the top.