Staff Choices

Posted by jdunc on 11/26/13
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What would you do if your loved one, long gone from your life, suddenly returned from the dead? The Returned is the debut novel by Jason Mott that explores the emotional reaction as the dead suddenly return to the living. Set in the small town of Arcadia, North Carolina, The Returned focuses on a family who lost their eight-year-old son in a tragic accident 50 years ago. Suddenly, Jacob shows up on their doorstep, just as “the returned” start reappearing all over the world looking to reunite with family. The book explores how seeing long lost loved ones stirs up forgotten feelings fear, loss, and regret. 

As the number of the returned increases, the government and military attempt to control the situation. Intertwined in the human emotions are questions of politics and religion.  The chilling story grabbed my attention from the first chapter and I kept reading to find out what will happen to the returned. The book provokes questions about death, grief, and acceptance. The Returned has been optioned for a TV show on ABC, titled Resurrection set to air in March 2014. The Sundance Channel is currently airing a French drama set around a similar topic, also titled The Returned. I’ll be tuning in to see how this haunting book plays out on the small screen.
Posted by cstoll on 11/25/13
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Having recently assisted at the library’s Chick Lit Book Discussion group a couple weeks back, I came away with a new Chick Lit Author, Jane Green to give a try.  I took home her most recent title Family Pictures.

While many of my beloved authors (Marian Keyes, Jennifer Weiner, Meg Cabot), who write in this genre, tend to keep things lighthearted and fun, Green’s story was both full of that playful, fast-paced style yet she weaves in a more serious tone, which I came away appreciating. I was refreshed by the realness of the different generations of female characters she introduces through the two families in this story. Real life issues are dealt with in this story, and yet there’s still enough of that enjoyable escapism that draws me to a Chick Lit story, to keep my interest. You’ll walk away from this book feeling as content as the characters are with the outcome of their life decisions. I’ll definitely be picking up another Jane Green book.


Interested in learning more about Chick Lit books and authors or are you already hooked? Keep an eye out on our online programs calendar or you can sign up for our e-newsletters and select the Author Visits/Literary Events box.

Posted by bweiner on 11/21/13
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Envision an ancient world as you travel through the Ice Age in this epic story of survival under extraordinarily challenging conditions. In Shaman, author Kim Stanley Robinson takes us on a right of passage with Loon, a young man trying to fulfill his destiny as a shaman of his tribe.
Enter the vivid landscape of a world covered in ice and snow and watch Loon try to survive the ritualistic passage into adulthood. The environment is his adversary and his salvation as he begins this trial with nothing but instinct and determination.
Hugo and Nebula award winner Kim Stanley Robinson writes intense, expressive science fiction with a solid ability to create new worlds. He is also a scientist, and his careful attention to the ecological details of this story makes it as informative as it is thrilling. Check out this book and breathe in the icy air in this pathway through the Ice Age.
Posted by Ultra Violet on 11/19/13
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The authors called this their love letter to the written word. It is difficult to explain this book properly with being able to show it to you. And not just the cover, but the elegantly designed slipcase, the margin notes printed in different colors and in different hand-writings, the various postcards, doodled-on napkins and obituaries nestled between the pages at key points. S. is a collection of clues, there's even a decoder.
The story is about a woman who finds a book in the stacks of a library that has been written in. She responds to the notes and leaves the book for the owner to find. He responds to her, and the conversation begins. They are both interested in the author of the book they are writing in and their correspondence revolves around his mysterious life and career, at first. Eventually, they find a deeper connection.
J.J. Abrams is a Hollywood director and it shows. This is a thrilling mystery, full of cinematic intrigue. Both plots are compelling, though the contemporary story may attract more readers, the book they are writing in, The Ship of Theseus, is a very believable as an historical sea story in its own right.
This is such a fascinating format. It's well worth checking out just to thumb through, but it makes a very satisfying read if you can stay focused on the story with all that's going on.
Posted by mothic on 11/15/13
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Do you like to debate what makes art “art”? Then this is the story for you. This family drama introduces us to the Morels -Arthur, Penny and Will. They are a complicated group whose problems seem to stem from their strong feelings about art. When Arthur publishes his second book, a barely fictionalized account of his life with a shocking ending, his whole world turns upside down.
This story challenges us as reader to think about how we define art and how far we are willing to stretch that definition. An astute observation by a character in the book is that she sees “art and commerce at opposite ends of the hall.” This seems to be the thrust of the debate in this book. The Morels is a complex, layered story that I enjoyed even though the middle becomes a bit bogged down with background information and occasionally the writing feels heavy-handed (such as naming the main character “Art”). The ending, however, is surprising and intriguing and completely worth the wait.
Posted by jfreier on 11/14/13
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Madeline Hart, a rising star in the British political arena, has gone missing. She has been kidnapped and, in a message to the Prime Minister the kidnappers are demanding ten million pounds or she will die in seven days. Gabriel Allon, master Israeli assassin and art restorer is called in by the Prime Minister to repay a favor and find Madeline. Gabriel is told that Madeline was his mistress and someone is trying to topple the British government.
Gabriel brings in his trusted team and connections to various criminal elements to track her down before it's too late. Gabriel travels to Marseilles, the mountains of Provence. and finally to Moscow to save the Prime Minister and the English Girl. This book is another great thriller by Daniel Silva.
Suspense Spy
Posted by dnapravn on 11/13/13
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If you are anything like me you are having a difficult time waiting for the new season of Downton Abbey to begin. I can't wait to discover what's in store for the Crawley's and their servants this season. To make the time pass a little more quickly, you may want to get your fix of domestics by reading Jo Baker's latest novel, Longbourn. In it she imagines the belowstairs life of the Bennet household, the beloved family of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
While Pride and Prejudice follows the comings and goings of the Bennet family, Longbourn focuses on their small, often overworked domestic staff. Mrs. Hill, the housekeeper, does her best to keep everything running smoothly with the help of her aging husband, two young housemaids, Sarah and Polly, and the new footman, James. The novel focuses primarily on Sarah, who is bound and determined to decipher the mysterious appearance of the new footman in addition to completing all of her household duties.  
This was a fun, quick read that, in my opinion, stayed respectful to Austen's beloved classic. Enjoy! The Crawley family and their servants will be back in no time.
Posted by annetteb on 11/09/13
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"Have you ever felt like you were a little bit different? Like you had something unique to offer the world, if you could just get people to see it. Then you know exactly how it felt to be me." 
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is a film that embraces quirks, individuality, and good humor. It is loosely based on a children's book with the same title, by Judi Barrett.  In this story, we follow protagonist Flint Lockwood's dream of being an amazing inventor. Unfortunately, his inventions do not always succeed as planned. In the meantime, his colorful life and enthusiasm clash hilariously with his drab hometown, Swallow Falls, whose only claim to fame is sardine-canning culture. When the world realizes sardines are "super gross," the citizens are stuck eating all the leftover sardines. Pickled, fried, poached, boiled, juiced... Cue our hero!
Flint manages to create the FLDSMDFR, which takes in clouds and spits out delicious food. Best of all, it works! So, naturally, Flint's invention takes the town by storm. Among other delightful characters, the food weather captures the attention of amateur weather girl, Sam Sparks, who hides her intelligence behind a perky exterior, and quickly finds a kindred spirit in Flint. 
But is bigger always better? Do we really need to tweak and lose our true selves to please others?
Flint's story is hilarious and heartwarming, and frankly, I enjoyed it more than the latest Pixar releases. The script and jokes are perfect for children and adults--I had to pause the film several times because I couldn't stop laughing! This film doesn't solely depend upon A-list stars to draw in an audience. I found that the characters were beautifully developed in this tale of parental recognition, portion sizes, and self-confidence. 
Bring a smile and your biggest appetite for adventure when you see this film! After all, "There's diem to carpe!"
Posted by crossin on 11/05/13
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Unless you live under a rock, you’re aware that November 22 marks the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. It’s interesting that there’s still such interest in JFK, considering that the majority of today’s Americans weren’t even alive in 1963.
My friend, Molly, and I are party of that majority, and even though our teachers didn’t spend much time covering Kennedy, we went through a phase in our teens when we were completely fascinated by his assassination and all the conspiracy surrounding it. We filled ourselves with JFK-related trivia: 
On what side did Kennedy part his hair? The left. 
What was Lee Harvey Oswald’s wife’s name? Marina.
Where is Jack Ruby buried? Westlawn Cemetery in Norridge.
Whether you personally remember that somber day or not, I recommend you check out one of the many DVDs about John F. Kennedy from the library’s collection. Oh, and if you weren’t yet born in 1963, I suggest you don’t tell those who were that they’re outnumbered—some of my older colleagues were not too thrilled when I mentioned this.
Posted by Ultra Violet on 10/25/13
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This 2000 year history of paper is told through personal stories of paper-makers, fascinating historical tidbits, and the author's near-obsession with paper, books and the written word. It's not a perfectly linear history. Basbanes writes about a trip to China, and the amazing families of paper-makers he met there, and tells a bit of the paper-making history in that region, before going on to talking about Japan and the spiritual connection the Japanese people have with paper. He tells a story about how paper was a key component in the only deaths on American soil incurred during WWII because of an attack by the Japanese. I don't want to say too much about it, because it was quite a surprising story. Then it's on to France and the first manned hot air balloon flight, and a bit about how paper influenced the development of Islam.
On Paper is not just a dry history book, but a collection of stories about people from all over the world, and throughout the last 2000 years, who's lives have been changed by, or dedicated to, the art and craft of paper-making. From toilet tissue, to sticky notes, to handmade art paper, to ornate wrapping paper, we all use mass quantities of paper every day without a second thought. Knowing a bit about how it all came about and how all of the various types of paper are produced makes this a great book for readers who are interested in art or books, but also for people who are just interested in history in general. Nicholas Basbanes' conversational, story-telling style makes this book very readable for most people who enjoy nonfiction.

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