Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Are You Ready for the Oscars?

The 88th Academy Awards are only a few days away - are you caught up on 2015's hottest movies?

Five of this year's eight Best Picture nominees are based on books:

Cover image for The big short : inside the doomsday machine
The Big Short: This nonfiction title follows several figures closely involved with the housing and credit bubble of the 2000s up to the financial crisis of 2008. The film stars 
Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, and Steve Carell. 

Brooklyn: This popular novel from Colm Tóibín follows an Irish immigrant in 1950s New York. The film stars Saorise Ronan and Domhnall Gleeson.

Cover image for The Martian
The Martian: After his crewmates presume him dead, astronaut Mark Watney must find a way to survive alone on Mars. The film, starring Matt Damon, is available now for video rental!

Cover image for The revenant : a novel of revenge
Cover image for Room : a novel
The Revenant: Loosely based on Michael Punke's novel of the same name, which in turn is loosely based on the life of Hugh Glass, The Revenant stars Leonardo DiCaprio in a desperate fight for survival and revenge in the American wilderness of the early 19th century.

 Room: This novel is told from the perspective of a five-year-old-boy, who is captive inside a small room along with his mother.

Of the remaining three, two are based on true stories:

Cover image for Bridge of spies
Cover image for SpotlightBridge of Spies: Based on the U-2 spyplane incident of 1960, Bridge of Spies stars Tom Hanks and is the most recent film from Steven Spielberg.
Spotlight: Starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, and Rachel McAdams, Spotlight is the true story of the Boston Globe's "Spotlight" investigatory journalist team developing the series of stories that earned The Boston Globe the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. 

While the final film is the fourth entry in a series that began in 1979:

Mad Max: Fury Road: The first film of the franchise to be recognized for an Academy Award, the fourth installment of the Mad Max series (and the first in 30 years) stars Tom Hardy taking over for Mel Gibson in the title role. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland and has been applauded for its vision and intense action sequences.It has the second most nominations this year - ten total. 

What are your predictions? What are you hoping will win? 

The Oscars air on Sunday, February 28th. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Book Picks for First Time Sci/Fi and Fantasy Readers

New year, why not try a new genre!
Interested in giving the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre a try, but not sure where to start?  Here are some great reads that are a good place to start for those looking to give it a shot.

Dune - Frank Herbert
Given up for dead, Paul Atreides, the son of a betrayed duke, is left to survive a treacherous desert planet and is adopted by its fierce, nomadic people who help him unravel his most unexpected destiny.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell - Susanna Clarke

A historical fantasy set in 19th century England during the Napoleonic Wars that tells the tale of two magicians,who are very much opposites, and become student and teacher. The emergence of the two and their powers will change history.

Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
Born into a society where the government genetically engineers child soldiers and geniuses, the particularly talented and intelligent six year old Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, must fight a desperate battle against a deadly alien race if mankind is to survive.

Dragonflight - Anne McCaffrey

Lessa, birthright stolen, is forced to serve the people who betrayed her father and toke all his land. But her life changes when she bonds with the dragon queen, and is protected by the bond. However, soon she and her world have a new threat to face.

Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss
A first person narrative of Kvothe, legendary magician.  Follow him from his childhood traveling troupe, through magic school and on to his time as a fugitive after the assassination of a king.  Discover the background behind the legend.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Agatha Awards Have Been Announced

The Malice Domestic conference has announced their annual Agatha Award nominations for the "traditional mystery." 

What You See
Best Contemporary Novel:
Bridges Burned by Annette Dashofy
Long Upon the Land by Margaret Maron
The Child Garden by Catriona McPherson
Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny
What You See by Hank Phillipi Ryan

Best Historical Novel:
Malice at the Palace by Rhys Bowen
The Masque of a Murderer by Susanna Calkins
Dreaming Spies by Laurie R. King
Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante by Susan Elia Macneal
Murder on Amsterdam Avenue by Victoria Thompson
Best First Novel:
Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman by Tessa Arlen
Macdeath by Cindy Brown
Plantation Shudders by Ellen Byron
Just Killing Time by Julianne Holmes
On the Road with Del and Louise by Art Taylor

Our Much Ado About Mysteries book discussion group will be having the Agatha Awards as the reading theme for their Thursday June 9th book discussion meeting. Come join us.
Malice at the Palace by Rhys Bowen
By then we will know the winners of this years' Agathas since they will be announced on April 30, 2016. 

For more information on the Agatha Awards (and the short story nominees' links) click here.

For past Agatha Award winners look here.    

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Slow Start, Fantastic Finish

There are many books on my nightstand waiting for me to open. My “To Read” list is so long, and over my long reading life I have started many books I put down after 20 pages because it didn’t hook me. Sometimes I’d pick it up again awhile later – sometimes years later – and have the same experience. However, if a friend recommends a particular after I have attempted to read it, I’ll try it again just based on their good recommendation. Because I’m not one to give up on a book easily, my last resort is to listen to the audio version. This third tactic often works and I get hooked to the point of sitting in my car at my destination and not be able to go into where I was headed. I just can’t “put it down” or “turn it off.”

Here are my recommendations for books that start slow but have fantastic finishes. I hope you enjoy them as much as I eventually did.

The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
The stirring saga of a man's journey to free his sister—and himself—from a tragic family history. Tom Wingo has lost his job, and is on the verge of losing his marriage, when he learns that his twin sister, Savannah, has attempted suicide again. At the behest of Savannah's psychiatrist, Tom reluctantly leaves his home in South Carolina to travel to New York City and aid in his sister's therapy. As Tom's relationship with her psychiatrist deepens, he reveals to her the turbulent history of the Wingo family, and exposes the truth behind the fateful day that changed their lives forever.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
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. 

Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
One thing you could depend on in Cold Sassy, Georgia, was that word got around—fast. If the preacher's wife's petticoat showed, the ladies would make the talk last a week. But on July 5, 1906, things took a scandalous turn. That was the day E. Rucker Blakeslee, proprietor of the general store and barely three weeks a widower, eloped with Miss Love Simpson—a woman half his age and, worse yet, a Yankee. On that day, fourteen-year-old Will Tweedy's adventures began, and an unimpeachably pious town came to life.

The Last Time They Met by Anita Shreve
A dazzling story about marriage, forgiveness, and chances not taken, by the bestselling author of Body Surfing and A Wedding in December. At a literary festival a poet named Linda Fallon meets for the first time in years a fellow poet, Thomas Janes, whose fame has grown during a decade of seclusion. This is no chance meeting. Thomas saw that Linda was scheduled to appear, and chose this moment to re-establish contact with a woman he had passionately pursued years earlier. Their affair was disastrous for them both, a turning point in their lives, and the damage they did in those years still haunts them both.


Sunday, February 7, 2016

PEN Literary Awards Shortlist

The PEN Literary Awards finalists were announced on February 2.
Below is the shortlist for Debut Fiction:

Cover image for The Turner house : a novel In the Country:Stories  by Mia Alvar

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness by Jennifer Tseng
(Available soon)

Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromanuya
(Available soon)

Many other PEN shortlists for both fiction and non-fiction can be found at:

Winners for most of the awards will be announced on March 1, 2016.

Winners for Debut Fiction, Art of the Essay, Open Book, Literary Science Writing, and the PEN/Fusion Prize will be announced on April 11, 2016.

For more good reading, see the longlists for each category at:

Thursday, February 4, 2016

If You're Waiting to Read The Witches by Stacy Schiff...

A new nonfiction book has come out recently covering the fascinating period of history in the early United States history the Salem witch trials.  If you're waiting to read it or more interested in a fictional take on this time period, here are a few historical fiction titles set during and inspired by the events.

The Heretics Daughter: A Novel
Kathleen Kent
A fictional tale of Martha Carrier, the first woman accused of witchcraft to be tried and hanged in Salem.  Her story is told by her daughter, a survivor of the period.
The author is a descendant of Carrier.

The Shape of Mercy
Susan Meissner

A present day college student traces the story of one of her ancestors Mercy Hayworth who was an accused witch and victim during the Salem witch trails. She takes a part time job from a librarian transcribing Mercy's journal.
Daughters of the Witching Hill
Mary Sharratt

A story of another witch-hunt, this one set in England rather than Salem, covering the 1612 Pendle witch-hunt.  Bess, a poor widow, is a known healer, and has passed her skill set on to her granddaughter.  When a peddler has words with her granddaughter and suffers a stroke soon after the family becomes the target of magistrate eager to be know for finding witches.
Deliverance from Evil
Frances Hill

A realistic, gripping fictional account of the Salem witch trials.
Focuses on the hysteria of the trials and the period.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
Katherine Howe

The discovery of a 17th century Bible in her grandmother's home near Salem draws a Harvard graduate student into the past as she becomes haunted with visions of the era and the witch trials.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

"Love your Library" has begun

Our 2016 Winter Reading Program has officially begun!

February is the perfect month to open your heart to warmth and happiness — by entering our winter reading program. The more you read, the greater your chances to win weekly prizes or the grand prize gift basket.

Adults and teens can stop by the Reader Services Desk to fill out an entry slip for each book read in February and rate it on a scale from hot to cold. You may also enter online:

Parents - it's not just for adults and teens this year! Bring your children to the Youth Services Desk to pick up a Winter Reading starter pack to get started.

Special thanks to ArcLight Cinemas –Glenview, the Glenview Grind, Pie Five® Pizza Co. and Zoup! for their generous support of this year's Winter Reading Program.

Adults and Teens - be sure to stop in this month to check out our Blind Date with a Book displays. These books are just waiting for the perfect reader to check them out. Maybe you'll find your perfect book match. Why not take a chance?