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: 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!

FDL Reads: Dorothy Must Die

Dorothy Must Die by D.M. Paige

Reviewed by: Sylvia Shults, Circulation Assistant

Genre: Horror

Suggested Age: Teen (although adults will like it, too)

What is the book about?: Amy Gumm, a girl from Kansas, gets swept away by a tornado to the Land of Oz … a land where Dorothy Gale is in charge. And things aren’t all Technicolor here. Dorothy is a crazed, power-hungry despot intent on stealing all of Oz’s magic. The Scarecrow is a mad scientist who tinkers in deeply unnatural ways with his subjects. The Cowardly Lion is a deadly predator. Good witches are poisonously evil, bad witches are … perhaps not to be trusted. Amy finds herself allied with the ”bad” witches, drawn into a plot to assassinate Dorothy.

My review: When I was a kid, I was absolutely, utterly addicted to the MGM version of The Wizard of Oz. If VCRs had been around back in the day, I’d have worn a tape of that movie to tissue. A little later in grade school, I read a few of the Oz books by L. Frank Baum. I enjoyed them, but they never had the pull over me that the movie did. They were filled with characters I wasn’t familiar with, and some that were a bit on the scary side. Dorothy Must Die took me back, in a way, to those grade-school readings of the Oz books. The characters are unfamiliar — this is most assuredly NOT the MGM version of the story. The author KNOWS her Oz, though. From the nod to Judy Garland’s birth name in the name of the main character, to the reveal of one of the mysterious characters later on in the book, the author demonstrates an easy familiarity with the background of her utterly original story. Which is what makes Dorothy Must Die so creepily perfect. I was a little nonplussed to get the feeling, at the book’s end, that there was way more to the story. It turns out to be the first in a trilogy, although that’s not stated anywhere on the cover or at the end of the book. The follow-up, The Wicked Will Rise, is scheduled to be released next March.

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 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: The Mill River Recluse

The Mill River RecluseThe Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan

Reviewed by: Diane Soffietti, Reference Assistant

Genre: Fiction

Suggested Age: Adult

What is the book about?: This adult literary debut novel is similar in feel to Maeve Binchy’s novels of Ireland, both historical and contemporary, with a setting of a small Vermont town prior to World War II and moving to the present. The Mill River Recluse is the story of Mary and also of the people who populate the small Vermont town, which is the setting for the story of Mary’s sad life. Raised during the depression by her father on a horse breeding farm in Vermont, Mary tries to overcome her anxieties and lead a normal life. What happens to Mary and the people of Mill River over the course of her lifetime becomes the basis for this novel of tragedy and philanthropy. This is a story of family life in a small community with secrets, as well as good and evil acts behind closed doors.

My review: I picked up this book due to the scheduled Skype program. The book was not on my radar, as it is a debut novel. However, I love these types of books that have a believable ensemble cast of characters. I was shocked by the opening, but of course, this is what makes the book such a good read and a real page turner! Mary is a heroine that you will love and that you will want to know more about as she faces her fears and deals with what life has offered her. I will be reading the sequel, The Mill River Redemption next!

On October 22 at 7:30 p.m., the author will be Skype chatting with the library. Anyone interested in discussing both her novels and her writing is welcome.

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!

Bestselling Author Darcie Chan to Discuss Book

Darcie ChanDarcie Chan, New York Times bestselling author, will discuss her Mill River novels at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, October 22, 2014, via Skype video conference at Fondulac District Library in East Peoria. The event is free and open to the public.

Chan sold more than 700,000 eBook originals of her first novel, The Mill River Recluse, set in a fictional locale in Vermont. Chan revisited the themes of family, self-discovery, and forgiveness with her newest novel, The Mill River Redemption, which features character cameos from The Mill River Recluse and was released in August 2014.

Having been named “a rising star in the literary world,” Chan has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. For fourteen years, Chan worked as an attorney drafting environmental and natural resource legislation for the U.S. Senate. She now writes fiction full-time and lives north of New York City with her husband and son.

FDL Reads: Quarantine: Book One – The Loners

Quarantine: The LonersQuarantine: Book One – The Loners by Lex Thomas

Reviewed by: Joan Herron, Reference Assistant

Genre: Survival Fiction

Suggested Age: Mature Young Adult or Adult

What is the book about?: A normal day at McKinley High is literally blown apart by an explosion in the school. Loner David Thorpe is as confused as the other students when they are thrown headlong into a nightmare. Think Lord of the Flies on steroids. All the students are infected with a virus that is deadly to adults, causing the outside world to physically quarantine the school and all the students inside by blowing up part of the school and erecting elaborate physical barricades. David and his younger brother, Will, band together against the gangs that form as time passes. Every clique in a typical school is represented: the jocks, the cheerleaders, the geeks…each with their own unique form of leadership and method of control.

My review: I think the scariest part of this series is the comparison to today’s headlines. The paranoia and fear of being infected with the virus easily translates to our current world problems. Thinking of the school environment like a small community, which it actually is, all the fears and emotions that exist in the outside world exist in this “artificial world” as well. I was unprepared for the level of viciousness and violence that would breed in this environment, but also surprised at the level of ingenuity of the students faced with fighting for food at regular supply drops, maintaining the clothing on their backs for months and months, and keeping control of those citizens with all their personal problems. What would a school be like if every child on Ritalin ran out of medicine?  Think of the resources in a school. Then think of dividing and controlling those resources in a hostile society. It isn’t that big a stretch of the imagination to envision the chaos. This series is along the lines of many “end of the world as we know it” series, but the situations are not as unbelievable as they used to seem. The second and third books, The Saints and The Burnouts, follow the evolution of the virus and the status of the outside world. There is intense language, sexual situations, and extreme violence. I recommend this series for those who like a fast-paced read that can get your heart pumping. Even though classed as a Young Adult book, I’d suggest it for mature readers only. Much food for thought and discussion.

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!

imagine, inform, inspire