Staff Choices

Posted by dnapravn on 05/14/13
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I'm almost afraid I'll jinx us by putting this in writing, but spring seems to have finally arrived in Arlington Heights. As soon as the thermometer hit the 70 degree mark for the first time, my thoughts turned to gardening. Our library has many books to get your family of gardeners started outside, no matter what shade of green your thumb may be.
 
Rocks, Dirt, Worms & Weeds by Jeff Hutton is a fun-filled guide to creating vegetable and flower gardens with your kids. From starting seeds indoors to creating gardens that attract birds and butterflies, this book has everything you need (except a shovel) to spend the summer digging in the dirt with your kids.
 
Teeny Tiny Gardening by Emma Hardy is gardening on the smallest of scales. This book is filled with ideas for planting in anything from empty eggshells to salvaged containers. Some of my favorite ideas include planting vegetables in an old colander or having your kids create a fairy or dinosaur garden. This book is beautifully illustrated with clearly numbered steps that make the most challenging projects doable.
 
The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids by Whitney Cohen and John Fisher encourages getting your children outside and involved in all aspects of gardening, from design to harvest. From planting pizza or salsa beds to making sure to incorporate fun family features into your yard, this book if filled with projects to get your kids to stop watching TV and start watching the garden.
 
So grab one of our many wonderful gardening books and a shovel because it's time to garden!
Non-Fiction
Posted by rkong on 05/12/13
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Whether you're a fan of electronic music duo Daft Punk or you simply like robots with shiny helmets, you're probably counting down the days until their new album, Random Access Memories, is released later this month. While you're waiting, check out some of Daft Punk's previous albums like Discovery (2001), Human After All (2005) or the TRON Legacy soundtrack (2010). If that isn't enough to hold you over, you can also listen to Get Lucky, the first single released from the new album, and watch a series of revealing interviews with musicians who collaborated with Daft Punk on the upcoming album. Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers are just some of the featured collaborators. Long live the robots!
Posted by Pam I am on 05/09/13
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If you are looking for an epic novel that spans more than fifty years, then Kate Morton's The Secret Keeper is a must read--it moves between 1941 London during the Blitz, the 1960's, and present day.  This book is part historical fiction, part mystery.  In present day, Laurel remembers a tragic family event from the 1960's and is driven to solve the meaning of this before her aging mother dies.  As she begins to examine her family's past, she uncovers secrets from war-torn London and begins to wonder who her mother really is.  Morton keeps your interest on every page with well developed characters and a rapidly moving plot.  I liked it so much, that I will definitely read Morton's other books.
Posted by Uncle Will on 05/01/13
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This November marks the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination and the cold-blooded killing of Dallas patrolman, J. D. Tippit. What better way to remember it than a new suspense novel by Pulitzer Prize winning author Stephen Hunter? This is the eighth book in the Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger series. Bob the Nailer is back and this time he is solving the crime of the century, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963.
 
Swagger is asked to investigate the death of journalist Jean Marquez's husband, James Aptapton, who was a well-known "gun guy." Just as Swagger begins to unfold the facts, he becomes the target of an international hit man. Swagger immediately goes from prey to hunter. The book is written in two narratives. One is the voice of Swagger and the other is Hugh Meachum, the CIA agent that manipulated Lee Harvey Oswald. 
 
Although this new novel can stand alone, readers should check out Hunter's previous novels in this series:   
Point of Impact (1993)  adapted to film in "Shooter" (2007) starring Mark Wahlberg
Black Light (1996)
Time to Hunt (1998)
The 47th Samurai (2007)
Night of Thunder (2008)
I, Sniper (2009)
Dead Zero (2010)
 
Anyone who has read Stephen Hunter knows his reputation as a respected author of historic fiction. This book does not disappoint.
Posted by bpardue on 04/25/13
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It's always wonderful to run across a long-forgotten treasure. This live recording of Garbarek (saxophone), Gismonti (guitars & piano) and Haden (bass) was made in 1981, after two studio recordings by the trio, but not released until late 2012. The group manages a precarious balancing act, skillfully navigating folk, jazz and avant-garde stylings. This isn't in-your-face "blowing." There's lots of space, often only two instruments being played together at a time, but it's always engaging. Gismonti's guitar work is haunting and ethereal, his piano soulful. Garbarek plays with his trademark icy tone that just grabs you right away, while Haden's bass rewards deeper listening. For me, the high point is Haden's composition "All That is Beautiful." It's intensely lyrical at the start (it reminds me of some Keith Jarrett songs), and then the ensemble starts exploring, until it sounds like contemporary classical music...only to bring it all back together at the end. Since this is an ECM release, you get the clarity that is a hallmark of Manfred Eicher's productions. A great listen.
Posted by crossin on 04/25/13
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Are you an indie or foreign cinema fan? If so, you’ll probably enjoy the library’s collection of DVDs from Film Movement. For the last decade, Film Movement has been distributing award-winning independent and foreign films, including winners from top film festivals around the world. Recent releases include Clandestine Childhood, The Dynamiter and The Day I Saw Your Heart.
 
Posted by cstoll on 04/22/13
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Have you ever read a book that reminded you of another book? I have recently read several books that remind me of novels from my past.  In preparing for author Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s visit to our library, I read her book The Language of Flowers and found it to have similarities to another much-loved book I have read. The strong female lead character Victoria in Diffenbaugh’s book reminds me of Laura, the protagonist in one of my favorite books Lightning by Dean Koontz. Both novels explore how these young women deal with loss of family early in their lives; how they survive the foster system and then continue to overcome the challenges and struggles that their paths’ in life have set before them.
 
Another powerful female getting much attention is Katniss in the currently popular Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. This story also deals with loss and battling through life and reminds me yet again of another past favorite – one of Stephen King’s shorts, The Long Walk. Published originally under King’s pseudonym Richard Bachman in the collected work The Bachman Books. If you’re drawn into the dystopian setting of Hunger Games, King’s walking contest will keep you on your toes till the very end.   
 
Posted by Ultra Violet on 04/17/13
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You don't have to be a gardener or a drinker (although it wouldn't hurt) to appreciate this witty, fascinating account of the history of plants as they have been used to make alcohol. Amy Stewart has a conversational tone as she shares her enthusiasm for the seemingly endless diversity of the plant world and the equally boundless innovation of humans to make intoxicating beverages from said plants.
 
This beautiful edition has quick, engaging anecdotes for those of us with a short attention span, and it has gardening tips for cultivating many of the plants included. Stewart also includes many of her own recipes as well of those of people she has met from all over the globe. Some of the recipes are classics, and some are very edgy.
 
So if you want to explore the correct method for "dancing with the green fairy" or you just want a great non-fiction read, check out The Drunken Botanist.
history
Posted by Auntie Anne. on 04/16/13
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Will was a wealthy and successful businessman who climbed mountains and parachuted out of airplanes in his spare time, that is until he was struck by a motorcycle which left him paraplegic.  Lou was a quirky British lass who had just lost her job at the local coffee shop, but had no plans for herself other than to live at home and watch TV with her parents, that is until Will's mother hired her to be his caregiver and companion.  In spite of Will's acerbic tongue and mood swings, Lou refused to treat him with kid gloves.  Upon the realization that he had attempted to take his own life, Lou sets about a plan to show Will that life is worth living.  The result is an unexpected love affair with a heartbreaking ending.  An ending that is hopeful and thought-provoking, not at all schmaltzy or predictable.
 
I can't remember the last book I read that had me laughing out loud on one page and crying on the next.  Me Before You is that rare book that takes you through so many emotions, but effortlessly and flawlessly.   It's a book that teaches you that it's never too late to start living.
Posted by jfreier on 04/11/13
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The newest novel in the Joe Pickett series is one of the best if not the best in the series and I've read them all.
 
Joe's acquaintance, Butch, has been building a dream home high in the Wyoming wilderness when two EPA agents suddenly arrive to give him a cease and desist order. Both agents are shot and killed, but by who?
 
The federal agents come in and impose overwhelming manpower to catch Butch, when it should have been a local matter, an exciting manhunt begins and the book also tackle issues of the environment and federal power, a great mystery and adventure.
Mystery

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