FDL Reads: The Martian

The Martian by Andy WeirThe Martian by Andy Weir

Reviewed by: Sylvia Shults, Circulation Assistant

Genre: Science Fiction

Suggested Age: Adult

What is the book about?: This book could easily be described as “Robinson Crusoe on Mars”, but it’s so much more than that. The hero, one of the astronauts on a six-person mission to Mars, gets left behind on the Red Planet during a ferocious dust storm. His crewmates, thinking Mark is dead, have no choice but to leave without him. When he wakes up, he finds himself a very, very, very long way from home. Luckily, the crew had left behind a survival module, and there is another module several hundred kilometers away — the landing base for the next Mars mission, due to arrive at the planet in four years. So if Mark can stay alive that long … he just might make it home.

My review:  I hugely enjoyed this book. The science was just complex enough to make me feel smart reading it, but not at all overwhelming. Mark is the perfect hero: he faces unimaginable odds, but he finds a way to survive, and he’s got a great sense of humor while doing it. I really recommend this to anyone, not just people who normally read science fiction.

Rating: 5/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each Tuesday at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

 

Edible Book Contest

Edible Book ContestLike to read and play with your food? Create an edible book! “Books” will be displayed and photographed September 13. Call 699-3917 by September 6 to reserve your space.

Links to edible book ideas
http://www.pinterest.com/texasdogmom/library-edible-books/
http://www.pinterest.com/nanlynsto/edible-book-festival-ideas/

About challenged or banned books
What does it mean for a book to be challenged or banned? A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.

Top 10 by year
100 Most challenged books from 1990 – 1999
Most challenged books from 2000 – 2009

Edible Book Contest Rules
1. Each food creation must be at least 95% edible. Edible means made of food or foodstuffs. This can mean anything from candy to vegetables.
2. Entries must be inspired by a banned/challenged book, literary figure, or book character.
3. The base can be no larger than 24 x 24 inches. Edible books will not be refrigerated. Creations must survive at room temperature for at least two hours.
4. All entries will be photographed and photographs will be displayed for voting in the adult reference area. By entering this contest the creator of the edible book is giving the library permission to photograph and publish information on the creation and its creator on the library’s website, in library publications such as the newsletter, and other community publications of the library’s choosing such as the local newspaper as well as promotional materials by co-sponsoring organizations.
5. Fondulac District Library reserves the right to reject any entry that is unsuitable for the festival. (Please do not submit entries in poor taste).
6. Each entry will be judged on the following criteria: (a) Originality and Creativity; (b) Skill and Construction; (c) Visual Appeal; and (d) tie-in with the literary work being depicted.
7. Categories will be as follows: Adult (18 and older), Young Adult (12 – 18) Child, (12 and under).
8. A winner in each category will be selected by library patrons and staff. An overall Judges Choice winner will be selected by members of the Library Board of Trustees.
9. Judging will be determined by the number of votes a work receives from those viewing the displays live, or by their picture as posted in the adult reference area.
10. Voting will continue from September 13 at 3 p.m. to September 19 at 6 p.m.
11. All Decisions will be final.
12. Entry is free and open to all ages, public and staff.
13. Entries can be by an individual or a group.
14. All entries must be dropped off between 2:30 – 3:00 p.m. on September 13, 2014 and the contestant is asked to remain with the entry until close of floor display at 4:00 p.m.
15. Winners will be announced September 20, 2014.

FDL Reads: The Magicians Trilogy

The Magicians Trilogy (The Magicians, The Magician King, and The Magician’s Land) by Lev Grossman

Reviewed by: Carey Gibbons, Reference Assistant

Genre: Fantasy(ish)

Suggested Age: Definitely Adult

What is the book about?: It’s hard to talk about one of these books without talking about all of them. I will do my best to avoid spoilers. This trilogy is about Quentin Coldwater, a regular kid in Brooklyn who happens to also be a genius. His senior year of high school, he gets invited to test into Brakebills, a secret college that teaches magic. Real magic. Quentin is obsessed with the idea of a magical “other” land. He thinks he’s found it at Brakebills, until he actually does find the kingdom of Fillory (a stand-in for Narnia). The Magicians is largely Quentin’s journey. The Magician King focuses on Julia, Quentin’s high school friend who did not get into Brakebills and had to learn magic on the streets. The Magician’s Land goes where few fantasy series dare to tread: adulthood. It explores what life is like for the magical adventurer after the fun and games are over.

My review:  These books have been called “Harry Potter for adults,” but I think that does a disservice to both series. First, Harry Potter is already for adults. It’s for everyone! Second, the Magicians trilogy is so vastly different in so many ways. There’s a magical school, but it’s definitely not Hogwarts. Grossman breaks the fourth wall on a number of occasions with Harry Potter references. Where Harry is your typical Chosen One, Quentin is the anti-Chosen One. Quentin is a jerk. He whines. He drinks too much. He hides from danger. He cheats on his girlfriend. He gets everything he wants without much effort, and for a while, it doesn’t seem like he learns much of anything about life. A lot of readers really hate Quentin, and I don’t blame them. I kind of hate him, too, but this is one of those few stories where the narrative trumps the characters involved. I hate Quentin, but he’s real. If we weren’t him at that age, we knew someone like him. Quentin’s journey is only epic on the surface – it’s actually very insular. Yeah, this book is full of magic and swords and talking sloths and clockwork boats, but it’s about the journey into adulthood. And really, that journey is hard enough without also being asked to save the world.

Rating: 5/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each Tuesday at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

 

Thank You Sponsors!

Fondulac District Library recently completed another successful summer reading program.   We would like to thank the following businesses and civic organizations.  Their generous support allowed Fondulac District Library the ability to give the community the best reading program possible.  Thank you for helping us promote the love of reading!

  •  A&W/Long John Silvers
  •  Applebee’s
  •  Avanti’s Ristorante
  •  Barnes & Noble
  •  Bob’s Dairy Dream
  •  Buffalo Wild Wings
  •  Caterpillar Visitor Center
  •  CEFCU
  •  Chili’s
  •  Culver’s
  •  Family Video
  •  Firehouse Pizza
  •  Fon Du Lac Park District
  •  Fondulac  Banking Center
  •  Friends of Fondulac Library
  •  Great Clips
  •  Heritage Bank Of Central Illinois
  •  Kiwanis Club of East Peoria
  •  Kreiling  Roofing Co.
  •  Liberty  Termite & Pest Control
  •  McDonald’s
  •  Monical’s Pizza
  •  Papa John’s
  •  Peoria Chiefs
  •  Peoria Riverfront Museum
  •  Peoria Rivermen
  •  Peoria Symphony Orchestra
  •  Rotary Club of East Peoria
  •  Smoothie King
  •  State Farm Insurance-Karen McClelland
  •  Stewart Radio
  •  Taco Bell
  •  Taco John’s
  •  Tanner’s Orchard
  •  Target
  •  Texas Road House
  •  Walmart
  •  Wheels of Time Museum

FDL Reads: Annie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral

Annie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral by Kris Radish

Reviewed by: Joan Herron, Reference Assistant

Genre: Fiction

Suggested Age: Adult

What is the book about?: After Annie’s death, her good friend Katherine receives a mysterious UPS package. The letter inside explains that Annie is sending her ashes packed in her favorite red tennis shoes, along with detailed instructions for what is to follow. As Annie’s son is quoted in her obituary: “Mom’s gone, but believe me, she is not done – not done at all.” Katherine and four other women are asked to embark on a “traveling funeral” of sorts, and along the way they learn much more about Annie, themselves, and each other.

My review:  Have you ever thought much about what you want your friends to remember about you, or learn in the process? While we tend to avoid any thoughts of our own demise, it is intriguing to experience this somewhat painlessly following Annie’s journey. Relationships are so important to all of us, and even when we lose someone close, there are lessons to be learned and a future to be experienced. Each chapter of the book is concentrates on a different friend’s story, and the reader feels like a part of the trip. Where would you fit in? How would you handle each situation? To complicate all the feelings evoked on the trip, Annie has included an audio tape to be played at each location. Imagine hearing your departed friend’s voice after the fact. The friends’ additions to “the funeral book” give us insight to the development of their own stories and their combined story. As Marie says, “these women are a jumble of fineness.”  Along the reading path, we all find books that never grow old and deserve to be revisited.  Annie Freeman is one such volume.  I dare you to join the traveling funeral!

Rating: 5/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each Tuesday at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

 

FDL Reads: mental_floss

mental_floss magazine

Reviewed by: Genna Buhr, Public Services Manager

Genre: Entertaining and Educational Facts

Suggested Age: Adult (but most content is appropriate for high schoolers, too)

What is the book about?: First up, mental_floss is a magazine, not a book. As a magazine, it offers articles – both long and short – on a seemingly endless variety of topics presented in entertaining and often humorous ways. Currently published 9 times each year, it covers science, the arts, entertainment, literature, health, language, history, and other mysteries with the approach of answering questions you’ve always had…or didn’t even know you had!  Here’s a sneak peak at some of its more recent stories:

  • “The White Whale” – Moby-Dick made Melville a legend – and sank his career.
  • “Miracle on ice” – Scientists scale glaciers to study miniscule and elusive ice worms.
  • “13 secrets of ice cream science” – Get the inside scoop (ha!) from one of Ben & Jerry’s elite food scientists.
  • “The Barnum of Baseball” – Charlie Finley had some doozies when it came to ideas for bettering baseball.
  • “Inside Star City” – Once a top-secret military base, this remote Russian campus has become a playground for space-bound billionaires.
  • “Hop to it! Who invented India Pale Ale?” – Hint: It wasn’t an Indian.

My review: As far as magazine’s go, mental_floss is my fave. As a non-fiction reader and trivia lover, it’s perfect. As someone who doesn’t get to read as much grown-up stuff as she likes, it’s perfect. It’s interesting, it’s funny, and it’s quick. It gets me thinking, without making me snore. They used to have a slogan – “Where Knowledge Junkies Get Their Fix,” and they’ve moved on to “Feel Smart Again!” If you’re a sucker for BuzzFeed type lists, but want some with a little more heft, check out their website at mentalfloss.com. They also publish great compendium books that are easy to pick up and put down as needed; FDL owns many you can borrow.  Speaking of borrowing, FDL not only subscribes to the print magazine, but also offers the digital version of the print magazine through the library’s Zinio downloadable magazine service. (If you need help getting started with Zinio, click the link at the top of the Zinio page or stop by the library with your device.)

Heads up: Beware of their website…it can be somewhat addicting! (At least with the magazine, there’s an end.)

Rating: 5/5

Find it at the library! Download full issues from the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each Tuesday at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

FDL Reads: Dad is Fat

Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

Reviewed by: Amy Falasz-Peterson, Library Director

Genre: Memoir

Suggested Age: Adult

What is the book about?: Jim Gaffigan is a well-known “Hot Pockets” loving comedian. He also happens to be the father of five children.  This book is written as a love letter to his wife and details their adventures in parenting five small children. In a two bedroom walk up in New York.

My review: I personally find Jim Gaffigan to be rather entertaining.  He was on one of my favorite short lived TBS comedies, My Boys.  As the mother to only two young people, I enjoy reading about other people’s parenting experiences.  And, the funnier the better!  It’s a really quick read but rather uplifting!

Heads up: You will snort with laughter.

Rating: 5/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each Tuesday at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

FDL Reads: Cat’s Cradle

Cat's CradleCat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

Reviewed by: Laura Warren, Reference Assistant

Genre: Science Fiction

Suggested Age: Adult

What is the book about?: Jonah has set out to write a book called The Day the World Ended, which chronicles the activities and thoughts of important Americans on the day the atomic bomb was dropped.  Jonah contacts the children of Dr. Felix Hoenikker, the father of the atomic bomb, and their story begins an unexpected journey full of both self-discovery, and humanity. Jonah is whisked away to a seeming Caribbean paradise in a plane full of bizarre characters. The island of San Lorenzo, its inhabitants, and those Jonah arrived with teach him about science, religion and truth. He also learns of Ice-9, Dr. Hoenikker’s final legacy, which could ultimately change the destiny of the planet Earth. Will this unlikely group learn from Bokonon, the mysterious, outlaw, religious leader of San Lorenzo, or will their folly change the fate of mankind?

My review: For such a small book, Kurt Vonnegut packs each page with an insightful, satiric punch. Though originally published in 1963 the social issues discussed throughout this novel are as relevant today as the first time Vonnegut put these ideas to paper. This novel frankly debates science, technology, truth, lies, and religion, in a way little fiction does. He is brutally irreverent, but shines a light on humanity, relationships, and the machine we all are a part of every day. He discusses religion with bravery as well as compassion. He encourages happiness as well as awareness, but with an ever present pessimism. This book is full of characters that are walking contradictions, just as we all ultimately are. The first time I read this book I was blown away by the discussion, insight, and dark comedy with which Vonnegut tackles very delicate issues that plague our minds daily. His insight and wit had me hooked in a way no other author hasduplicated. I return to this book often and come away with new thoughts and ideas each and every time. Kurt Vonnegut saw the atrocities human kind is capable of as a prisoner of war during the bombing of Dresden. Though this experience scarred him forever, he still roots for humanity, encourages us not to take ourselves too seriously, and above all asks us to be kind.

Rating: 5/5

Find it at the library!

FDL ReadsAbout FDL Reads

Welcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each Tuesday at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

FDL Reads: Ready Player One

Ready Player OneReady Player One by Ernest Cline

Reviewed by: Jimi Roberts, Circulation Assistant

Genre: Science Fiction

Suggested Age: Adult (with crossover/Young Adult appeal)

What is the book about?: On Earth, in the near future, the economy has collapsed.  Most of humanity has turned to a virtual world called the OASIS for solace.  The OASIS began as a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG), but rapidly became a fully immersive virtual world that most people spend so much time in; they consider it their real life.  In the OASIS, you can be anyone.  You can create a character and live your life almost completely within the virtual world – and most do.  This creation made the eccentric, reclusive, 80s obsessed creator of the OASIS, James Halliday, a billionaire many times over.  Everyone was happy living in their virtual utopia until the day James Halliday died.  With no heirs to his estate, he created a Quest – an elaborate system of riddles, games and puzzles within the OASIS.  Whoever could solve them all and reach the Egg at the end would inherit James Halliday’s entire fortune.  The catch – the only way to make it to the end is to become a true expert on nearly every imaginable pop culture and entertainment topic from the 1980s.  It has been 5 years since Halliday died and no one has been able to crack even the first clue.  Until now…

My review: Let me start by saying that this has quickly become my go-to book.  I read it for inspiration and comfort the way others might read a religious manuscript and snuggle up with a blanket and pillow.  Okay enough of the mushy stuff.  I’ve read the book 3 times now and listened to the audiobook twice, in addition to the countless times that I’ve referenced various sections and reread specific chapters.  The audio book is also incredible.  Wil Wheaton reads it, and if that name means anything to you, I can nearly promise you that this book is for you.  If you were between the ages of 5 and 25 at any point during the 1980s (and look back on the time fondly), this book is for you.  It’s a lovingly nostalgic joyride down memory lane set against the backdrop of a virtual world that is probably only a few years from becoming a reality.  I will admit I am the definitive target audience for this book, but I feel like it has a broad appeal across various genres and age groups.  If you enjoy immersing yourself in a story that feels familiar yet is new and exciting, do yourself a favor, and give this book a try.

There is some mild violence that takes place “off camera” but the descriptions of the events are not overly graphic.  If this book were targeted towards teens, I would consider the content very mild.  Given that it’s targeted to adult readers, I don’t see any cause for concern.

Rating: 5/5

Find it at the library!

FDL ReadsAbout FDL Reads

Welcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each Tuesday at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

School Supply Drive

School Supply DriveFondulac Library is collecting school supplies at the library for East Peoria District #86 and Robein District #85 from July 21 through August 16.  If you would like to donate, click on the link below for their supply lists.

School Supplies Needed 2014-2015

imagine, inform, inspire