FDL Reads: The Men With The Pink Triangle

391661The Men With the Pink Triangle: The True Life-And-Death Story of Homosexuals in the Nazi Death Camps by Heinz Heger

Reviewed by: Sarah Baker, Circulation

Genre: Non-fiction, History

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: In 1939, our author is called to an interview with the SS.  He is accused and arrested on the spot.  His crime?  He is a homosexual.   From there, Heger begins a horrific journey – to prison and then to the death camps.  His tale covers his years in those camps, and the day-to-day life of a prisoner, as well as how he survived.

My Review: I was made aware of this book through a discussion on Tumblr of the Holocaust.  The comment that cemented it for me was something to the effect of “I wondered why there weren’t more books from survivors.  Then I read it, and I don’t wonder anymore.”

The homosexuals that were arrested in this time were male – lesbians were subjected to their own persecution (and is a subject I will be following up on at a later time).  Life in these camps was even more brutal than I had previously thought.  The forms of work these men were forced to do were intensely grueling and a huge number of them died in the process, a fact that didn’t bother their captors in the least.  Heger describes regular sexual assault from the officers, who didn’t see this as a moral shortcoming of their own – after all, these were prisoners and “queers,” so they didn’t really count.  He spares us a lot of details in all but a few cases, which is merciful.  The details he does give us are horrifying, and leave you asking yourself how humans could treat other humans this way.  The account is very matter-of-fact, but it doesn’t lessen its impact in the least.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Heartbreaking, Enlightening, Eye-Opening

Give This a Try if You Like…  Schindler’s List, LGBT History

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!

Online Payments

For patron convenience, Fondulac District Library offers online fine payment.

To pay a fine online:

  1. Click the Pay Fines Online link. (This link also appears in the drop down list under “My Account” on the menu bar.)
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Please call the library at (309) 699-3917 with questions.

AskAway Discontinued

Due to rising costs and low patron usage of AskAway, the library has chosen to discontinue its subscription to this service. Fondulac District Library remains committed to providing high quality and convenient services and strives to use its funds both effectively and efficiently. Our librarians are eager to assist you with your information needs, and the library continues to offer reference service by phone at 309-699-3917 during all open hours, by email at reference@fondulaclibrary.org, through our Ask A Librarian form, and through our Reserve A Librarian service.

FDL Reads: The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck

Cover image for Life-changing magic of not giving a f*ck : how to stop spending time you don't have with people you don't like doing things you don't want to doThe Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight

Reviewed by: Sylvia Shults, Circulation

Genre: Self-Help

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: I didn’t realize this at first, but this is actually a parody of another self-help book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo (which, full disclosure, I have also read). (What? I read self-help books. If only to find out what I’m doing wrong.) The original was about keeping house. The parody is about keeping sane. In the original, Marie Kondo suggests taking a look at every one of your possessions and deciding if it does indeed bring you pleasure to own it. If not, thank it for its service, then discard it. In the parody, Sarah Knight takes much the same approach — only this time, it’s people, habits, obligations that are under the microscope. If there is a relationship that is no longer working for you, get out of that relationship! If a bad habit is dragging you down, change it! The author tells us that it is, in fact, quite all right to just not CARE about the things society tells us we SHOULD care about, things like, oh, attending graduation parties or baby showers when we really would rather stay home and do something else, perhaps something productive. The author argues that it is in our best interest, for our own mental health, to concentrate on doing things that bring us joy, pleasure, and sanity, rather than suffering through things that we don’t … well, that we don’t give a darn about.

My Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck was, in my opinion, a much more useful book than the original. Sure, we all have those evenings (especially this time of year!) when we’d rather stay home and snuggle on the couch with our cats or work in the garden than go out and subject ourselves to karaoke with people whose company we don’t particularly enjoy. It is so freeing to be told — in black and white! — that this is perfectly acceptable, and even something to be encouraged. The book is presented in a light-hearted way, of course — with a title like that, you know the author’s not going to take herself too seriously — but it really does have some pertinent advice for our overscheduled, obligation-filled lives. The book’s message is that it is okay to bow out of doing things you don’t want to do. The further message is to find things that DO excite you — things about which you do give a … darn, and turn your attention and energy to them, instead of wasting your energy on doing things that really don’t bring you joy. We can giggle with guilty pleasure about skipping out on our grade-school reunion. But the book’s real takeaway is this … find things to do that bring you fulfillment. And go out and DO them.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Freeing, encouraging, (and yes, seriously,) life-changing.

Give This a Try if You Like…  Self-help books that don’t take themselves too seriously.

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!

The Friends of FDL Request Book Donations

The Friends of Fondulac District Library are accepting book donations, specifically paperbacks, to support our military troops.

The Friends mail donated books to military bases overseas and stateside for the troops and their families through the program, Operation Paperback. The most requested books are mystery, sci-fi, biographies, and nonfiction on a variety of topics, including military history, politics, business, and self-help. Donations may be made any time the library is open. Donations are currently scheduled to be packaged and shipped on March 8, 2017.

Operation Paperback is a national, non-profit organization, whose volunteers collect gently-used books and send them to American troops overseas, as well as veterans and military families here at home. Since 1999, the organization has shipped over 2.2 million books. Learn more at operationpaperback.org.

The Friends support the library’s mission through advocacy, fundraising, and volunteerism. Donations of fiction and nonfiction books, music CDs, audiobooks on CD, and DVD or Blu-ray videos and films to their ongoing book sale at the library are always welcome.

Please visit or call the library at (309) 699-3917 with questions.

We’re hiring!

The library currently is seeking applicants for a part-time Youth Services Assistant. Please review the job description and qualifications and find more information about the application process at http://www.fondulaclibrary.org/about-us/jobs/.

Watch for our TV commercial!

Fondulac District Library is excited to announce that, in partnership with several other local libraries, it has received a media grant as part of the WMBD/WYZZ and CI Proud $1 Million Dollar Community Investment initiative. A 10-second television commercial and e-Blasts will begin running on regular rotation on WMBD, WYZZ, and CentralIllinoisProud.com. Using photos from local library events and messages inspired by the American Library Association’s Libraries Transform campaign, the promotions spotlight the diverse collections and services provided by central Illinois’ public libraries.

Can’t wait to see the commercial on TV and want to watch it now?
Click on the white screen or the triangle play button to start the video!

FDL Reads: The Vision Volumes 1 and 2


Cover image for The Vision : little better than a beastThe Vision Volume 1: Little Worse Than a Man 
by Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez WaltaCover image for The Vision. 1, Little worse than a man
The Vision Volume 2: Little Better Than a Beast by Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Reviewed by: Dave Gibbons, Library Volunteer

Genre: Superhero Science Fiction (Graphic Novel)

Suggested Age: Teens, Adults

What is the book about?: Moving into a new neighborhood can be challenging. This can be made made more difficult when you and your family are androids. In an effort to achieve a sense of stability after facing the deletion of memories of his previous family, Vision (of Marvel’s Avengers) has built a new family from scratch and moved them into the picture-perfect suburbs. Unfortunately, cracks in the stability he hopes for quickly present themselves as each member of the family struggles with feelings  of “otherness.” Kicking off with a supervillain attack (which will prove the least of Vision’s problems) we watch as Vision and his family strive for normality while being pulled into a dark suburban abyss of their own making.

My Review: I have to confess that when I first heard about this miniseries I quickly dismissed it as a shallow cash grab from Marvel. Fortunately I was persuaded to give it a try and I was completely blown away. While you don’t need prior knowledge of the character, the story does highlight just how strange Vision’s back story is and how trauma takes a toll even on androids. All of the unspoken horror of the suburbs is highlighted by the desperation of the Vision to maintain his happy family. The story is told in a very introspective first person. Walta’s art is perfect for this story, channeling the vibrancy of Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Existential, Chilling, Reinventive

Give This a Try if You Like…  The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin, Powers by Brian Michael Bendis, Edward Scissorhands, Franz Kafka

Rating: 5/5

Find it at the library! (Volume 1) (Volume 2)

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!

Notary Service

The library provides a free notary service in the Adult Services Department during its operating hours. Please be aware that faster service can be provided during regular business hours.

Tips and Reminders:

  • Do NOT sign the form until present with a notary.
  • Call ahead to (309) 699-3917 to check availability.
  • Bring a valid photo ID.
  • Bring witnesses if needed, as the library cannot provide them.
  • Visit fondulaclibrary.org/services for additional information.

Please visit or call the library at (309) 699-3917 with questions.

FDL Reads: Born a Crime

Cover image for Born a crime : stories from a South African childhoodBorn a Crime by Trevor Noah

Reviewed by: Carey Gibbons, Adult Reference Services

Genre: Autobiography

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: Some of you might recognize Trevor Noah as the host of The Daily Show. But before he took over from Jon Stewart, he had a successful comedic and television career in South Africa, where he was born. This book is about Noah’s life as a child and teen, growing up in South Africa, a mixed race child of a black mother and white father at the end of apartheid. Noah’s very existence was a crime in apartheid South Africa and he discusses the challenges of early life where being seen in public with either of his parents could have gotten them arrested. He also tells of his and his parents’ lives immediately after the legal end of apartheid, paying particular attention to his mother and the sacrifices she made to raise him and his brothers with love and care.

My Review: Noah tells the story of his childhood with both humor and grace. He looks back from a personal perspective, infusing dire situations with humor as only an adult can when they are perhaps surprised that they survived those situations. Noah also discusses the political and social aspects of this early childhood and teen years. One of the things I appreciated about this book was that Noah prefaced each chapter with South African history and politics for context. While one of his stories might have been humorous on the surface, the added information gave the story layers, allowing readers to better understand what was at stake when Noah did something as seemingly innocent as steal chocolate from a convenience store. Noah’s book is an entertaining read but it also gives much needed perspective to those who only know the basics of South African history from a long ago high school class (like myself). I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. You don’t need to know Noah from The Daily Show as this book is written about his early life. It’s already one of my favorite books of both 2017 and all time.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Humorous, Educational, Emotional

Give This a Try if You Like…  David Sedaris, Key & Peele, District 9

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!

imagine, inform, inspire