Books for Tornado-Affected Residents Available at FDL

A Book Above, a children’s bookstore in Elmhurst, and Readers Ignite collected donations of new and gently used books for residents affected by last November’s tornado. They have sent the library secular and inspirational books for children and adults.  The library will distribute these books, while supplies last, to affected residents through November 25. Residents may check in with the second floor information desk to select books.

Many thanks to the kind individuals who donated books for the residents of our community!

FDL Reads: Mr. Mercedes

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Reviewed by: Sylvia Shults, Circulation

Genre: Horror

Suggested Age: Adult

What is the book about?: In a mega-stakes, high-suspense race against time, three of the most unlikely and winning heroes Stephen King has ever created try to stop a lone killer from blowing up thousands. In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes. In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy. Brady Hartsfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with a couple of highly unlikely allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.

My review: Full disclosure — I’m a huge Stephen King fan. I love the way he describes his characters’ motivations so thoroughly, I love the way he toys with his heroes, putting them through the worst kinds of terror, I even love his wordiness. When I’m in the clutches of one of King’s novels, I don’t WANT it to end too soon. I hugely enjoyed this book. This is King at the top of his game. It’s not one of his mega-novels; it’s less than 500 pages, which makes it easily digestible even for people who don’t like to wade through the massive books he’s known for writing. This is lean (for King), mean prose that electrifies the reader. The suspense is nail-bitingly wonderful … and I enjoyed the way that King made life difficult for ALL of the characters. He’s known for being tough on his heroes. But in this one, King also made things very difficult for his villain. All in all, a fun, thoroughly enjoyable read.

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 week 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!

Winter Newsletter Available

The latest issue of Community Connection, Fondulac District Library’s quarterly newsletter, is now available! It is mailed to residences within the library district and also is available for download and printing from our website.

2014 was a great inaugural year at 400 Richland Street.  With increased space and staff, the library offers more materials, programs, and services than ever! Within the variety of classes, clubs, and presentations for all ages, you’ll find new STEM programming for kids, several events to help you meet your resolutions, and the introduction of a new Teen Advisory Board. Of course, with all of these new happenings, more space is needed to tell you about them. The library’s newsletter, like the library and all that it offers, has grown from 4 to 8 pages. Enjoy!

Download this file. (PDF, Unknown)

FDL Reads: Grasshopper Jungle

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Reviewed by: Carey Gibbons, Reference Assistant

Genre: Science Fiction

Suggested Age: Older Teens and Adults

What is the book about?: Oh boy. I will do my best to explain. Austin spends most of his time hanging out with his best friend Robby and his girlfriend Shann. One afternoon, Austin and Robby get beaten up for being queer in the alley behind From Attic to Seller Consignments. Robby already knows he’s gay, but Austin isn’t sure because he loves his girlfriend very much. But he also loves Robby. Later that night, Austin and Robby witness the same kids who beat them up break into the consignment shop. Turns out there is a bunch of creepy stuff in jars in the consignment shop’s main office, like a severed head, a set of hands, a two-headed baby, and what appears to be a globe full of bioluminescent mold. The kids who beat up Austin and Robby steal the globe full of “mold”, but they drop and break it on the way out. Unwittingly, they unleash an army of unstoppable giant homicidal praying mantises on the world with this act. Still with me? As if Austin’s life couldn’t get more weird – now he has to try to save the world in addition to dealing with the confusion of being a bisexual teenager.

My review: Ultimately, I liked this book a lot, but there are a few caveats here. The main one is that if you are put off by crude or offensive language or imagery, this book is not for you. Austin is a historian and he believes it is his job to relay the truth of events, no matter how gruesome. With a lot of cursing. This didn’t bother me, but I can see how some folks would be turned off by it. Despite (and maybe because of) some of the language and imagery – much of it sexual and some of it involving giant murderous bugs –  I found Grasshopper Jungle to be a pretty sensitive and honest portrayal of a person’s confusing teenage years. Smith does a great job of telling Austin’s personal story by connecting the dots of history, coincidence and circumstance in regard to Austin’s ancestors, all the way back to his great-great grandfather. As for the giant carnivorous praying mantises and the end of the world… isn’t that what our teen years felt like anyway?

Rating: 4/5

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 week 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: Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend

Memoirs of an Imaginary FriendMemoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks

Reviewed by: Joan Herron, Reference Assistant

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Suggested Age: Adult/Young Adult

What is the book about?: Did you have an imaginary friend when you were growing up?  I think they existed for a large portion of the population, but what were they like?  Did they sleep?  Eat?  Talk?  Max’s friend, Budo, is older than the average imaginary friend – four years old.  Our friends exist as long as we need them, and this autistic young man has needed Budo longer than most.  Both school and home life have been difficult for Max, but Budo understands him and does everything he can to make sure Max is comfortable, safe and happy.  Max’s parents differ on what types of services Max needs, with his father in denial of his diagnosis and the care he will always need.  When a teacher at school takes a special interest in Max, Budo should be relieved but instead he goes into full alarm mode, sensing that the situation is not all it seems.  The reader is immersed in the drama, hoping for the best outcome and going past the point of recognizing that Budo has limits.

My review: I had a hard time relating to this book in the first few pages, having no memory of any imaginary friend.  I quickly responded to Max, however, as we all know someone who has the limits and personality traits of someone who walks to a different drummer.  The mystery of children with types of autism baffles us all, but seeing Max through Budo’s eyes makes the symptoms much easier to understand.  Underneath all the layers of behavior, there are reasons for the layers, and they make sense to Max if no one else.  While gaining more insight to these odd behaviors, the overall story is captivating.  I thought I knew what the mystery teacher was about, but a plot twist moved us in a different direction.  I couldn’t put the book down until the end, rooting for the good guys and trying to guess the next twist.  I think readers will find this a captivating story, and will find themselves searching corners for other imaginary friends in unexpected places.

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 week 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!

Introducing the Teen Advisory Board

Teen Advisory BoardFondulac District Library is excited to offer a unique opportunity to students of East Peoria Community High School. In January 2015, the library will launch a Teen Advisory Board and is currently looking for student volunteers. Any EPCHS student is welcome to apply, including students who need to fulfill volunteer hours for student groups such as Key Club or National Honors Society or those who simply have a love of the library and would like to do more to participate in the community.

Students interested in joining the Teen Advisory Board must fill out a short application and will be responsible for attending organizational meetings twice a month. Those meetings count toward volunteer hours. Students who join the Teen Advisory Board will participate in activities such as Tech Days, where TAB members will be on hand at the library to help older patrons operate and navigate their handheld electronic devices, and Peer to Peer Homework Help, where TAB members will be available to tutor their peers in the subjects they understand best. FDL also hopes to utilize the TAB to launch a student-produced vlog series, in addition to strengthening our existing social media. It is also planned for TAB members to oversee the existing Teen Space Book Club and work with staff to create programming at FDL that is appealing to them.

For more information about the Teen Advisory Board, including an application, visit the new Teen Advisory Board webpage.

FDL Reads: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the LaneThe Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Reviewed by: Laura Warren, Reference Assistant

Genre: Fantasy

Suggested Age: Adult/Young Adult

What is the book about?: The story begins as a middle-aged man returns to Sussex to attend the funeral of a family member. Driving the familiar streets, he is drawn to the site of his childhood home, which hasn’t existed for a number of years. He ends up at the Hempstock’s farmhouse, where a rush of memories leads him to their duck pond, or as his childhood friend Lettie used to call it, the ocean. As he stares into the ocean, he is flooded by memories of his childhood that he had mysteriously forgotten. The memories begin with an opal miner who lodged with the boy’s family. The miner’s suicide opens the door for malicious forces to creep into the lives of the boy’s family. The malicious being hides in plain sight under the guise of normalcy, and our main character is the only family member aware. He turns to the enigmatic Hempstock family for help. Old Mrs. Hempstock, Ginnie Hempstock, and Lettie help navigate the nightmare that has infested the narrator’s family in a bizarre and magical manner. Will their help be enough to free him from this twisted fairytale?

My review: I curled up on my couch, on a rainy night, with this novel and couldn’t put it down until I read the very last word. Neil Gaiman is a master of the dark and twisted fairytale. His imagery is uniquely terrifying, and his storytelling grips you and doesn’t let go. Gaiman has an uncanny ability to remember what it feels like to be a child and to know that there are terrible and beautiful things going on that adults have grown to look past. The isolation and fear that our main character endures will carry you back to your childhood, to those moments where our imaginations get the best of us. You will begin to question those moments. Were they real or were they imagined? Has our adult memory changed our childhood stories? How much faith can we really place in our memories? No one dissects these themes better than Neil Gaiman. I will go back to this sinister story again and again.

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 week 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: Tarkin

TarkinTarkin by James Luceno

Reviewed by: Jimi Roberts, Circulation Assistant

Genre: Science Fiction

Suggested Age: Adult

What is the book about?: This book explores the character of Grand Moff Tarkin, who is most known for being the highest ranking Imperial Officer on the Death Star in Star Wars Episode IV.  His relatively brief time on screen has added to his mystique over the years, and this book finally gives fans the depth that many have wanted for decades.  The story picks up approximately five years after Star Wars Episode III.   Tarkin is overseeing the creation of the Death Star,  and it is facing all the realistic delays and setbacks of any major construction project…and then some.  As problems come up, the past is explored through flashbacks that give an understanding of who Tarkin is and from where he came.  These flashbacks are chock full of references to the prequel movies and the Clone Wars cartoon.

My review: Let me just start out by saying I loved this book, but it’s probably not for everyone.  I’d even go so far as to say it is not for every Star Wars fan.  The light saber battles and starship gunfights are largely (though not completely) absent.  In exchange, we explore how some of the relationships we see on screen later are forged. Perhaps the most fascinating part of the novel is the relationship between Tarkin and Darth Vader, which is explored in great detail. Tarkin and Darth Vader take on the roles of Jim Gordon and Batman, to some extent.  The Emperor continually forces them to work together, and though they never outright dislike each other, there is a level of mystery, distrust, and curiosity between them.  Their fascination with each other is as interesting as, and often more interesting than, their exploration of various Outer Rim systems.  It’s hard to write a recommendation for anything related to Star Wars, because fans come in so many different flavors.  One thing I can say is that this book is for dedicated Star Wars fans, and this book should not be the reader’s first introduction to the series.  This book assumes the reader is familiar with many of the main characters from Star Wars mythology and does little in the way of providing introductions.  Characters from the movies show up, and the reader is expected to know who they are.  While this may be off-putting to new readers, it comes off as inclusive to old fans.  In terms of the “feel” of the book, it definitely lends itself more to A New Hope than The Phantom Menace, which will likely please the audience this book seems so clearly aimed at.  I loved it.

Heads up: I picked up the audiobook, as well, and the production is top notch.  The voice acting and sound effects exceeded my expectations.

Rating: 4/5

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 week 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: Noggin

NogginNoggin by Beth Kephart

Reviewed by: Carey Gibbons, Reference Assistant

Genre: Young Adult Realistic Fiction (with a splash of sci-fi)

Suggested Age: Older teens and adults

What is the book about?: One day, Travis Coates is dead. And then he isn’t. Travis died of cancer when he was 16, but was also part of an experimental program that allowed him to cryogenically freeze his head and attach it to someone else’s healthy body. Doctors told him there would be decades between his “death” and new life, but science moves awfully fast. Travis wakes up five years later with a new body (but same head) that is far healthier and stronger than his old body ever was. Five years have passed for all of Travis’ friends and family – his best friend is in college, his girlfriend is engaged to someone else, and his parents seem a little… off. But for Travis, time has passed in the blink of an eye. He’s on a mission. He’s going to get back his best friend and win back his girlfriend (who never technically broke up with him in the first place, right?).  However, things don’t quite work out the way Travis has planned – missing out on five years of everyone else’s life turns out to be a lot harder than he had thought.

My review: I loved this book. I say the suggested age is for both teens and adults because anyone who has ever been a teen can relate to Travis. Don’t let the light science fiction angle scare you away either. The cryogenics aren’t the point of the story, but a vehicle to get Travis into the awkward situation he’s in. Whaley gives Travis an honest and solid voice. He’s not preternaturally wise or kind. He does some dumb things and some mean things. His obsession with his girlfriend Cate swings back and forth between heartbreaking and creepy. Part of why I loved this book was because I didn’t know how I wanted it to end. I’m not going to lie – I sobbed through the last 3-4 chapters for a variety of reasons.

But I laughed, too. Although Whaley gives us a few flashback chapters where Travis talks about his life before he died, this isn’t a book about a sad sick kid being sad and sick. Yeah, we feel for Travis and some of those flashback chapters are like a punch to the gut, but they serve to enrich the current narrative and illustrate the fact that for Travis, five years felt like overnight. He doesn’t have the same concept of time that everyone else has.

This book was pretty great. Everyone has a real and distinct voice and the plot moves along at a nice clip. This is one of my new favorite YA novels and I have no problem seeing why it’s a National Book Award finalist.

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 week 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!

New Digital Magazine Titles

The library has been offering digital magazines via Zinio for a whole year! Staff has taken a look at usage, renewal costs, and more, and have made some adjustments to the titles we receive. We’ve added nine new titles.

New Zinio Titles November 2014

Current subscriptions include:

The Advocate
Backpacker
Better Homes and Gardens
Country Living
Eating Well
Every Day with Rachael Ray
Family Circle
Family Handyman
FamilyFun
Food Network Magazine
Guideposts
HGTV Magazine
Inked
Kiplinger’s Personal Finance
Macworld
Marie Claire
Martha Stewart Living
Men’s Fitness
mental_floss
Midwest Living
Motor Trend
Newsweek
O, The Oprah Magazine
PCWorld
Popular Mechanics
Popular Science
Prevention
Reader’s Digest
Redbook
Rolling Stone
Shape
Smithsonian Magazine
Taste of Home
Traditional Home
Us Weekly

 

Backlist issues for following titles will still be available; however, the library no longer subscribes to these titles digitally. Those titles with a star are available in print at Fondulac District Library. Other titles may be able to be delivered to FDL for you from another library.

Bloomberg Businessweek*
Chicago Magazine*
Cosmopolitan
Dwell
ESPN the Magazine*
Esquire*
Field & Stream*
Ladies Home Journal*
Men’s Journal*
National Geographic*
National Geographic Traveler*
Nylon
Popular Photography*
Seventeen*
Vegetarian Times
VIV Magazine
Working Mother*
Yoga Journal

FDL Reads: Going Over

Going OverGoing Over by Beth Kephart

Reviewed by: Genna Buhr, Public Services Manager

Genre: Historical Fiction

Suggested Age: Young Adult (although thoroughly enjoyed by this adult)

What is the book about?: In 1983, the city of Berlin was still divided by the Wall. 96 miles of concrete, barbed wire, mine fields, and other barriers encircled the city of West Berlin and made it an enclave in the socialist country of East Germany. Ada and Stefan, the main characters of the story, are in love, but also lead divided lives. West Berliner, rebel, and graffiti artist Ada only gets to visit Stefan, East Berliner and machinist, four times per year. She navigates her life, colored with an unstable home life, a job caring for the youngest members of an outcast immigrant community, and the desire to have Stefan as a permanent fixture in her days. Only a dangerous escape attempt would lead to the latter, but the courage and sacrifice to make it happen have to come from more than Stefan alone.

My review: This book takes a great look at the divided Berlin landscape that existed just six short years before the Wall came down in late 1989 . At the time of the story, the realistic possibility of it coming down wasn’t even a thought for those who lived in its shadow, and the young adults of the era had never known life without it. (Alternately, today’s young adult readers at which the story is aimed, have never known life with it.) While technically Ada is the “free” one, she, too, lives bound by the constraints of the Wall, the limitations of her circumstances, and the taboos of meshed societies. Stefan, while encompassed by the Wall, leads a more structured life and has to decide if he is willing to break the expectations made of him by others and by himself in order to achieve freedom and love.

I was drawn to this story mostly because of its setting. I lived for six months in Berlin in the late 1990s, occupying a flat in the former East. I shared the apartment with two women who grew up with the Wall and would have been just slightly older than Ada at the time in which Going Over is set. Having explored both sides of the city, I was really engaged with this story as I read it, recognizing places and situations as the author described them. That being said, first-hand experience of the city is not required to enjoy this book.

Rating: 4/5

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 week 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!

imagine, inform, inspire