Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Celebrate the Right to Read: Banned Books Week September 25 to October 1, 2016

Welcome to Banned Books Week 2016. What?  People are still banning books? Yes, they are.

All the books on our display have been challenged within the past year or previous years. And we have a whole book  (Banned Books: Challenging Our Freedom to Read by Robert P. Doyle) that just talks about the hundreds of other titles that we cannot fit on our small display. New books to the banned list this year are the title  The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri and the children's book The Librarian of Basra: A True Story of Iraq by Jeanette Winter.

Why are people banning books? There can be various reasons that titles are challenged in schools and libraries (and sometimes bookstores) and they can change as society changes.  TIME magazine has a great article entitled What the List of Most Banned Books Says About Our Society’s Fears,  that talks about this topic. What we think is shocking now - may not be so shocking in later years.

But eliminating ones' access to materials and information is what banning is all about - taking one person's opinion and enforcing it on others' choices. It may have worked for awhile in the past - but with today's technology and media - it is hard to keep anything undercover. (And it raises sales on the banned author's titles!)

Everyone is different. What one reader enjoys, the other reader may not. The right book, with the right reader, for the right time is what librarians like to say.

So stand up for your right to read and read the banned book of your choice. I'm going to take The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks of off my TBR shelf and start it this week.

What about you?

Monday, September 26, 2016

If You Liked The Magnificent Seven...

The remake of The Magnificent Seven opened this Friday and won the weekend box office. Check out these similar titles!

  • 3:10 to Yuma - Also a remake of a western classic, this contemporary western stars Christian Bale and Russell Crowe. 
  • The Magnificent Seven - Why not get the original film while you're at it? This classic features an all star cast, including Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson. 
  • Seven Samurai - While the new film starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt is a remake of the 1960 film, the 1960 film is itself a remake of Akira Kurosawa's 1954 action masterpiece. A must-see! 
  • True Grit by Charles Portis - Also adapted to the big screen twice, True Grit is a quintessential western and tale of revenge. 
  • Blue-Eye Devil by Robert B. Parker - From acclaimed author Robert B. Parker comes this story of lawmen intent on protecting local merchants who are being harassed for protection money. 
  • Zeke and Ned by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana - From the author of Lonesome Dove! A case of adultery escalates into a desperate shootout. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Glenview Public Library Opera Lecture Series - 2016

Indulge your passion for opera by attending our opera lecture series moderated by former Lyric Opera of Chicago docents.

All of our lectures are on Thursday evenings from 7:00-8:30 and are held in the Multipurpose Room.

September 22 - Das Rheingold by Richard Wagner

The Rhinemaidens guard the magical gold that can be transformed into a ring that grants its owner unlimited power.  When Alberich steals the gold, Wotan, the king of the gods, vies with him for supreme power.

The first of the four music dramas that make up Der Ring des Nibelungen.  Wagner was forced to allow it to be performed without the other three dramas.

October 6 - Lucia di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti

Lucia and Edgardo of Ravenswood are in love, but their two clans are bitter rivals.  Lucia's brother Enrico sets out to kill his young sister's romance by lies, forgery, and finally the false revelation of Edgardo's infidelity.

Lucia is a drama tragico (tragic opera) in three acts and is the most famous of all bel canto opera.  The "Lucia Sextet" ("Chi mi frena in tal momento?") is used in the film The Great Caruso, Scarface, and The Departed.

October 27 - Les Troyens (The Trojans) by Hector Berlioz

The drama of the Trojan War, filled with heroes and tragedy, is an operatic retelling of Virgil's Aeneid.  Carthage queen, Didon, falls in love with the Trojan prince Enee. In the end, she kills herself because he has to found the Roman Empire.

The most famous aria is "Nuit d'ivresse," the love duet before Enee abandons Cathage.

November 10 - Don Quichotte by Jules Massenet

Inspired by the greatest of all Spanish novels, Don Quichotte is the story of an eccentric idealist and self-proclaimed knight errant who tilts at windmills and fights for the honor of his lady Dulcinee.

Massenet's was inspired by Le chevalier de la longue figure, a play by the poet Jacques Le Lorrain.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Third Novel in the Door County Mystery Series, Death in Cold Water, Set for October Release

In January 2015 I wrote a blog entitled "Sleuth for the New Door County Detective Series." I talked about how Door County is a place like no other and a favorite destination of mine as well as many North Shore residents. I added how excited I was to spy a book entitled, Death Stalks Door County (2014) by Patricia Skalka. According to the author, there is this one and there will be four more in her crime series. It introduces a new detective series, The Dave Cubiak Door County Mysteries. These mysteries pit a former troubled Chicago cop against a roster of clever killers on the Door County peninsula in the heart of the Midwest. It is set against a backdrop of stunning natural beauty.

Not quite sure how, but the second volume, Death at Gills Rock (2015) slipped by me. So what's the second book about? In this one, Dave Cubiak is back, and this time he's the new sheriff in town. After tracking a clever killer in Death Stalks Door County, park ranger and former Chicago homicide detective Dave Cubiak is elected Door County sheriff. His newest challenge arrives as spring brings not new life but tragic death to the isolated fishing village of Gills Rock. Three prominent World War II veterans who are about to be honored for their military heroics die from carbon monoxide poisoning during a weekly card game. Blame falls to a faulty heater but Cubiak puzzles over details. When one of the widows receives a message claiming the men "got what they deserved," he realizes that there may be more to the death than a simple accident. Investigating, Cubiak discovers that the men's veneer of success and respectability hides a trail of lies and betrayal that stems from a single, desperate act of treachery and eventually spreads a web of deceit across the peninsula.

Then there's the third book in the mystery series, Death in Cold Water (2016) due out in October. The third installment in this series begins on a bracing autumn day in Door County when a prominent philanthropist disappears. Is the elderly Gerald Sneider - known as "Mr. Packer" for his legendary support of Green Bay football - suffering from dementia or just avoiding his greedy son? Is there a connection to threats against the National Football League? As tourists flood the peninsula for the fall colors, Sheriff Dave Cubiak's search for Sneider is stymied by the FBI. When human bones wash up on the Lake Michigan shore, the sheriff has more than a missing man to worry about. With the media demanding answers and two puzzles to solve, Cubiak must follow his instincts down a trail of half-remembered rumors and local history to discover the shocking truth.

Patricia Skalka is the author of The Dave Cubiak Door County Mysteries. She is a former writer for Reader's Digest, presents writing workshops throughout the country and divides her time between Chicago and Door County.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Happy Birthday Mary Stewart!

Prolific British author and grand dame of romantic suspense Mary Stewart (1916-2014) would have celebrated her 100th birthday on September 17th. She wrote best-selling novels for over 40-years and is recognized for her romantic-suspense novels. Her novels are often set in remote locations and draw heavily on historical and classical literature references, these fast-paced contemporary romances feature a young woman, smart and compassionate if inexperienced, who stumbles into danger and must differentiate which of several likely characters is the true scoundrel in order to save her own and others' lives. In her 50's she switched genres and wrote a trilogy of fantasy novels featuring King Arthur and Merlin. The series brought her a new generation of readers and a legion of male readers as well. Her American publisher William Morrow & Company estimated that she sold between 25 and 30 million books in the United States. Check out a couple of her books or try a read alike author.

Rose Cottage
In 1940's England, a young woman searches for information on her mother. Kate Herrick was born out of wedlock and abandoned at the age of six. Now a widow, she returns to the boarded up cottage of her childhood and finds that someone was there before her.

Working as a secretary at the British Embassy on Crete, Nicola Ferris is enjoying a day off when she meets up with two hiking friends who accidentally stumbled into the middle of a frightening act of revenge.

Crystal Cave
Born out of wedlock son of a Welsh princess, Myridden Emrys--or as she would later be known, Merlin--leads a dangerous childhood, troubled by portents and visions. But fate has great plans no-man's-son, taking him from prophesying before the High King Vortigern to the crowning of Uther Pendragon...and the conception of Arthur--king for once and always.

Hollow Hills
In this sequel to The Crystal Cave, Merlin conceals and tutors the child Arthur until the time of his coronation.

Read Alike Authors

Barbara Michaels
M.M. Kaye
Victoria Holt

Friday, September 16, 2016

How do you find a good read?

How do you find a good read (of course, after you ask the Readers Services librarians)? Have you tried NoveList? It’s an online way to find a great book. Just put together all the things you like about a book into a search. You’ll get some great titles in return. Here are a few books from my search for “literary, psychological, and character-driven fiction”. (All summaries from NoveList)

Outline by Rachel Cusk
An innovative novel captures ten conversations involving the narrator, a novelist teaching a course in creative writing, during one oppressively hot summer in Athens.

The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst
Discovering clues that indicate his beloved wife may not have died accidentally, Paul Iverson begins a perilous search for the truth while attempting to teach his dog, who witnessed the crime, to communicate. 

The Echo Maker by Richard Powers
Twenty-seven-year-old Mark Schluter, suffering from a rare brain disorder that causes him to believe his sister to be an impostor, endeavors to discover the cause of the motor vehicle accident that resulted in his head injury.

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
Set against the gorgeous backdrop of Rome, Tom Rachman’s wry, vibrant debut follows the topsy-turvy private lives of the reporters, editors, and executives of an international English language newspaper as they struggle to keep it—and themselves—afloat.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Weird Fiction and New Weird

Weird fiction is a sub-genre of speculative fiction, and a term used to categorize stories that combine elements of horror, fantasy, or science fiction, but do not fall easily into one single genre. As H.P. Lovecraft (one of the forerunners of weird fiction) described it, "The true weird tale has something more than secret murder, bloody bones, or a sheeted form clanking chains according to rule. A certain atmosphere of breathless and unexplainable dread of outer, unknown forces must be present; and there must be a hint, expressed with a seriousness and portentousness becoming its subject, of that most terrible conception of the human brain--a malign and particular suspension or defeat of those fixed laws of Nature which are our only safeguard against the assaults of chaos and the daemons of unplumbed space."

“New weird” or “slipstream” fiction are contemporary, modern works that follow in the footsteps of the trailblazers of weird, and is largely inspired by the pulp horror serials of the past, such as those compiled in the magazine "Weird Tales," to which Lovecraft was a major contributor. The common unifying factor of these pieces of literature is some degree of the surreal, the not-entirely-real, or the markedly anti-real.

Necromonicon: Best Weird Tales of H.P. Lovecraft by H.P. Lovecraft
Originally written for the pulp magazines of the 1920s and 1930s, H. P. Lovecraft's astonishing tales blend elements of horror, science fiction, and cosmology that are as powerful today as they were when first published. This tome presents original versions of many of his most harrowing stories, including the complete Cthulhu Mythos cycle, in order of publication.

Perdido Street Station by China Mieville
Beneath the towering bleached ribs of a dead, ancient beast lies the city of New Crobuzon, where the unsavory deal is stranger to no one--not even to Isaac, a gifted and eccentric scientist who has spent a lifetime quietly carrying out his unique research. But when a half-bird, half-human creature known as the Garuda comes to him from afar, Isaac is faced with challenges he has never before encountered.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

Johnny Truant, an employee in a LA tattoo parlour, finds a notebook kept by Zampano, a reclusive old man found dead in a cluttered apartment. Herein is the heavily annotated story of the Navidson Report. Will Navidson, a photojournalist, and his family move into a new house. What happens next is recorded on videotapes and in interviews

The Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker

Memory, prophecy and fantasy; the past, the future, and the dreaming moment between are all one country living one immortal day. To know that is Wisdom. To use it is the Art. Armageddon begins with a murder in the Dead Letter Office in Omaha. A lake that has never existed falls from the clouds over Palomo Grove, CA. Young passion blossoms, as the world withers with war. The Great and Secret Show has begun on the stage of the world. Soon the final curtain must fall.
Exotic and esoteric, The Weird plunges you into dark domains and brings you face to face with surreal monstrosities. You won’t find any elves or wizards here...but you will find the biggest, boldest, and downright most peculiar stories from the last hundred years bound together in the biggest Weird collection ever assembled.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

If You Liked Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale...

One of the recent favorites for readers has been Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale.  If this a book that you really enjoyed, here are some other great reads.

The Light in the Ruins -  Christopher Bohjalian
Hoping to safeguard themselves from the ravages of World War II within the walls of their ancient villa in Florence, the noble Rosatis family become prisoners in their home when eighteen-year-old Cristina's courtship by a German lieutenant prompts the Nazis to take over the estate, a situation that leads to a serial murder investigation years later.

Charlotte Gray - Sebastian Faulks
A young Scottish woman who falls in love with a World War II RAF pilot shortly before his plane is lost over France joins the Resistance movement to find him, only to discover a larger meaning in her new role.

The Diplomat's Wife - Pam Jenoff
1945. Surviving the brutality of a Nazi prison camp, Marta is lucky to have escaped with her life. When the American soldier she plans to wed is killed in a plane crash, she discovers she is pregnant, and marries a British diplomat in an attempt to create a happier life.

The Undertaking - Audrey Magee
In a desperate bid to escape the trenches of the Eastern front, Peter Faber, an ordinary German soldier, marries Katharina Spinell, a woman he has never met, in a marriage of convenience that promises 'honeymoon' leave for him and a pension for her should he die in the war. With ten days' leave secured, Peter visits his new wife in Berlin, and both are surprised by the passion that develops between them. When Peter returns to the horror of the front, it is only the dream of Katharina that sustains him as he approaches Stalingrad. Back in Berlin, Katharina, goaded on by her desperate and delusional parents, ruthlessly works her way into Nazi high society, wedding herself, her young husband, and her unborn child to the regime. But when the tide of war turns and Berlin falls, Peter and Katharina find their simple dream of family cast in tragic light and increasingly hard to hold on to.

Suite Française - Irène Némirovsky
A story of life in France under the Nazi occupation includes two parts--"Storm in June," set amid the chaotic 1940 exodus from Paris, and "Dolce," set in a German-occupied village rife with resentment, resistance, and collaboration.