Thursday, November 30, 2017

Good Reads, Offbeat Characters

One of my favorite reads of the reads of the year thus far has been Eleanor Oliphant  is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.

"Meet Eleanor Oliphant: she struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she's thinking. That, combined with her unusual appearance (scarred cheek, tendency to wear the same clothes year in, year out), means that Eleanor has become a creature of habit (to say the least) and a bit of a loner. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy."

She was such an enjoyable character that I sought out some other novels with other unique characters.  If you enjoyed Eleanor here are some other books with interesting and quirky characters you might also enjoy:

The Seven Rules of Elvira Carr: A Novel  - Frances Maynard
 "Elvira Carr believes in crisp schedules, clear guidelines, and taking people at face value. She lives at home with her overbearing mother, who has deemed her unfit to interact with the rest of society. But when her mother has a stroke, Ellie is suddenly forced to look after herself. She quickly comes up with an ingenious way of coping with the world: the seven social rules spreadsheet. Unfortunately, Ellie soon discovers that most people don't live their lives within a set of rules. As she experiences social missteps and awkward encounters, Ellie continues to learn - about herself, and the people around her. And she'll need this new knowledge if she hopes to pave the way to living life on her own terms."

Britt-Marie Was Here - Fredrik Backman

Britt-Marie is a socially awkward, fussy busybody who is used to being organized. When she walks out on her cheating husband and gets a job as caretaker of the dilapidated recreation center in Borg, she is woefully unprepared for the changes. But as she takes on the task of leading the supremely untalented children's soccer team to victory, she just might find a place she belongs.

Courting Greta - Ramsey Hootman
A tender, cheer-inducing debut novel about two lonely people who don't believe in romance, but who finally decide to give love a chance.

This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! - Jonathan Evison
With her husband Bernard two years in the grave, seventy-nine-year-old Harriet Chance sets sail on an ill-conceived Alaskan cruise only to discover through a series of revelations that she's been living the past sixty years of her life under entirely false pretenses. There, amid the buffets and lounge singers, between the imagined appearance of her late husband and the very real arrival of her estranged daughter midway through the cruise, Harriet is forced to take a long look back.

Monday, November 20, 2017

After the Movie Theater, Try...

Now in theaters:

After checking out the latest hits at the movie theater, try something similar listed below.

Lady Bird: "Lady Bird" McPherson, a teenager in Sacramento, tries to make her own way in the world. 
  • The Diary of a Teenage Girl: A 15-year-old aspiring comic book artist comes of age in 1970's San Francisco. Based on the novel. 
  • Frances Ha: Greta Gerwig, director of Lady Bird, stars as the title character in this black-and-white comedy about an aspiring dancer trying to work her life out in New York. 
  • The Edge of Seventeen: Two high school girls are best friends until one dates the other's older brother. 
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: A mother rents three billboards to send a message to the police after her daughter's murder goes unsolved. 
  • In BrugesDirector Martin McDonagh demonstrated his knack for black humor in this crime caper set in Belgium. 
  • FargoFrances McDormand is determined to catch the criminal in both Three Billboards and Fargo. 
  • PrisonersA darker take on the conflict between parents of victims and the police, from director Denis Villeneuve. 
  • Flannery O'ConnorThree Billboards borrows from O'Connor's Southern Gothic style. 
The Killing of a Sacred Deer: A teenager's attempts to bring a brilliant surgeon into his dysfunctional family take an unexpected turn. 
  • The Lobster: Director Yorgos Lanthimos also directed this surreal science fiction romance, which also stars Colin Farrell. 
  • Blue Velvet: Is Lanthimos the new David Lynch? Both mix the surreal with the everyday, and offer little in the way of explanation. 
  • Funny Games: Two psychotic young men take a family hostage in this sadistic thriller that also plays with reality. 
  • Eyes Wide Shut: Nicole Kidman also stars in this dream-like drama. 

Murder on the Orient Express: A brilliant detective investigates a murder aboard a stalled train in this adaptation of the classic Agatha Christie novel.
  • Murder on the Orient Express (1974): Compare director Branagh's modern take to acclaimed director Sidney Lumet's take from the 70's: both feature star-studded casts! 
  • Henry V: Try another film from Branagh's directing filmography - this acclaimed Shakespeare adaptation shows his attention to lush detail. 
  • Agatha Christie's Poirot: Need more Agatha Christie, or Poirot? David Suchet's performance of the famed detective is iconic. 
  • L.A. Confidential: A twisting mystery unfolds as three detectives unravel the conspiracy behind a killing at a diner. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Morocco in Fiction

Full of mystery and mysticism, here are some reads that take you back to one thousand and one nights!

The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty by Vendela Vida
After being robbed of her wallet and passport while on a mysterious trip to Morocco, a woman feels a strange freedom of being stripped of her identity and soon begins pretending to be a well-known film star.

The Blue Hour by Douglas Kennedy
Reluctantly agreeing to accompany her artsy intellectual husband during a month-long trip to Morocco, meticulous accountant Robin delights in regional culture and hopes to become pregnant only to be wrongly implicated in her husband's disappearance.

The Forgiven by Lawrence Osbourne
A couple in a deteriorating relationship are involved in a fatal car accident on their way to an annual wild party at a friend's house deep in the Moroccan desert and must deal with the repercussions.

The Happy Marriage by Tahar Ben Jelloun
The story of one couple - the husband, a painter in Casablanca, has been paralyzed by a stroke at the very height of his career and becomes convinced that his marriage is the sole reason for his decline. Walled up within his illness and desperate to break free of a deeply destructive relationship, he finds escape in writing a secret book about his hellish marriage. When his wife finds it, she responds point by point with her own version of the facts, offering her own striking and incisive reinterpretation of their story.

The Storyteller of Marrakesh by Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya
Each year, Hassan, the storyteller, gathers listeners to the city square to explore the mysterious disappearance of a young foreign couple through recollections and witness descriptions in the hope of finding new details that absolve his brother of the crime.

Secret Son by Laila Lalami
Follows Youssef El Mekki's journey from a childhood in poverty with his mother on the streets of Casablanca to a life of luxury with his father and back again.

Monday, November 6, 2017

After THOR: RAGNAROK, Try...

Marvel's latest offering handily dominated the post-Halloween box office this last weekend. If you loved Ragnarok's blend of sci-fi, fantasy, and humor, you may be interested in checking these items out.

Big Trouble in Little China - a clueless trucker finds himself in the middle of an occult ritual and a supernatural battle between good and evil. Plenty of magic and weirdness, and tons of laughs.

Midnight Run - After an accountant steals millions from the mob, he's sent on a cross-country journey to evade the mob, the FBI, and bounty hunters. The director of Thor: Ragnarok (Taika Waititi) listed this buddy crime comedy caper as one of his inspirations for his film.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Another intergalactic road trip full of goofs and gags, this classic book was also turned into a film.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople: Check out the director of Ragnarok's previous feature film. This coming of age story features a wild chase through the New Zealand bush.

Norse Mythology: Looking for the source of Thor's adventures? Check out Neil Gaiman's latest take on retelling the old Norse myths. This bestseller is a fun, quick way to bring ancient mythology back to the present.

Thor Comics : Or why not check out some actual Thor comics? This series in particular is referenced quite heavily in Ragnarok - especially volume 3.

Stop by the Reader Services or Audiovisual desks for even more suggestions. You might also love our "On the Road" list of films located here.

For Your Sweet Tooth

Candy is Magic: Real Ingredients, Modern Recipes by Jami Curl, the owner of the Quin Candy Company in Portland, Oregon, is passionate on the subject of candy, and her cookbook promises to teach readers the behind-the-scenes sleight of hand necessary to make great candy at home. Curl uses real ingredients (such as fruit flavorings that come from actual fruit) in gumdrops, caramels, and lollipops. People who are timid about candy-making will find Curl’s detailed instructions encouraging. Her lesson on making caramel—a task that can put fear into the heart of even the most stalwart cook. Take a look at Candy is Magic: Real Ingredients, Modern Recipes by Jami Curl

Readers can learn to make lollipops, gumdrops and marshmallows, all using fruit purees made from scratch. And on days when candy making seems like too much, there are simpler recipes, including homemade colored and flavored sugar sprinkles, peanut butter hot fudge sauce, and a pan of s’mores made with homemade marshmallows. Balancing kid-friendly lollipop flavors (peach, caramel) are Pinot Gris and Rosé, ones for those with more mature palates. Unique flavor combinations can be found throughout the book, and include coffee, orange, and smoked salt caramels, and iced tea and lemonade gumdrops. Curl’s enthusiasm for her craft makes this cookbook a pleasure to read; she is the ideal coach for would-be candy makers. These homemade treats would make great gifts. Here is an NPR review of this deliciously sweet book.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Raising Bertie

We're screening the film Raising Bertie this Sunday, November 5 @ 1:30pm. Not only that but we're fortunate to have the film's director, Margaret Byrne, here to introduce the film and lead a discussion afterward. We feel lucky to have this relationship with the outstanding Chicago based Kartemquim Films as Raising Bertie is a powerful documentary that follows three young African-American boys over the course of six years as they grow into adulthood in Bertie County, North Carolina. The film offers a rare in-depth look at the issues facing America's rural youth and the complex relationships between generational poverty, educational equity and race. The library has a good collection of other Kartemquin films on DVD that you can borrow in the AV ROOM and watch some of these other filmmakers great work:

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail 

Life Itself 

Trials of Muhammad Ali 

The Homestretch 

The Interrupters 

Prisoner of Her Past 

At the Death House Door


Opera Lecture Series II - Fall/Winter

Glenview Public Library Opera Lecture
Given by the Opera Lovers Lecture Corps
Thursdays 7:00-8:30 pm

Turandot by Giacomo Puccini (November 30) (Community Room East)
The story is set in China and involves Prince Calaf, who falls in love with the cold Princess Turandot. To obtain permission to marry her, a suitor has to solve three riddles; any wrong answer results in death. Calaf passes the test, but Turandot still refuses to marry him.

I Puritani by Vincenzo Bellini (January 18) (Multipurpose Room)
I Puritani takes place in 17th-century England, in which a passionate couple find themselves caught up in a conflict between opposing political factions.

Cosi Fan Tutte by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (February 8) (Multipurpose Room)
Subtitled “The School for Lovers,” it starts out with a cynical philosopher’s (Alfonso) bet with two of his friends (Ferrando and Guglielmo) that their fiances (Dorabella and Fiordiligi) can’t remain faithful for 24 hours.

Faust by Charles Gounod (February 22) (Multipurpose Room)
Bored with life, the aging philosopher Faust would give anything to be young again. Enter the devil’s disciple with the answer to his prayers. He falls in love with the innocent Marguerite, with disastrous consequences.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Lisa Lutz

Looking for something light, humorous, and a little mysterious? Try author Lisa Lutz. Her mystery series, starting with The Spellman Files, features 28-year-old Izzy Spellman, unlucky in love and working for the family detective agency. Izzy wants to strike out on her own, but first must solve a fifteen-year-old cold case. She also must avoid the surveillance from her offbeat and sometimes snoopy family. Fast-paced and zany, these books are just the thing to help lift your mood.