FDL Reads: A Good Birth

Cover image for A good birth : finding the positive and profound in your childbirth experienceA Good Birth by Anne Drapkin Lyerly, MD

Reviewed by: Barb Rude, Adult and Reference Services

Genre: Non-fiction

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: A Good Birth: finding the positive and profound in your childbirth experience chronicles the Good Birth Project, where Dr. Lyerly collects hundreds of birth stories and defines what she considers the most important aspects of a good birth: control, agency, security, respect, and knowledge. Unlike many other childbirth books, this one remains neutral on the ‘how’ and focuses on the mother’s experience.

My Review: Sometimes you find just the right book at just the right time and it fills a gap. This definitely happened to me. I enjoyed the book’s compassionate tone and complete acceptance of all mothers regardless of how they gave birth. The book’s definition of a ‘good’ birth is about experience, not method, and allows for some frank discussions on a topic that has generally been private. This book helped me find some peace with previous birth experiences and accept that delivering my children would be a tangle of good and bad, of complicated feelings and transformations, but most importantly, they would be good births.

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: Monstress Volume 1: The Awakening

Cover image for Monstress. Volume one, AwakeningMonstress vol. 1: The Awakening by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda

Reviewed by: Susie Rivera, Adult and Reference Services

Genre: Graphic Novel

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: Having a monster inside you is awkward.  It’s even harder when you are trying to escape powerful sorceresses who are trying to kill you.  I was immediately drawn to Monstress because of its beautiful cover art. I am a big fan of fantasy, so this graphic novel looked very intriguing.  Marjorie Liu presents a steampunk alternate world where conflict exists between humans and animal hybrids called Aranics.  The main character is an Arcanic named Maika Halfwolf, a teenage girl who is just starting to unravel the mystery behind her mother’s death and understand the dark powers within her own body.  All of the central characters are strong, powerful women. Some are benevolent, but all are deadly.  Maika relies on just a couple allies, including a talking cat, to help her escape the Cumaeans, or human witches. Her internal struggle to resist the darkness within her is just as powerful as the external conflict in this story.

My Review: The world building presented in Monstress is very impressive.  To me, it was reminiscent of Frank Herbert’s Dune universe in terms of the political/religious backdrop and potentially epic storyline.  The beautiful illustrations are inspired by Manga and reminded me of Princess Mononoke and H.R Giger’s artwork at the same time.  If you like immersive fantasy, you will enjoy Monstress.  This is a short read, but it will leave you wanting more.  There are plenty of unanswered questions as well as hints of big revelations to come.

*This comic does include graphic content and would be most appropriate for mature readers.

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!

Recurring Children’s Programs at the Library

weekly-program-promowebFondulac District Library offers numerous recurring programs for children of all ages. Introduce your child to art, science, and more! A variety of clubs, workshops, and hands on activities are scheduled for fall, 2016. Call the library at (309) 699-3917 or check out the calendar to register or learn more.

Story Times – Sept. 12-Nov 18

  • Little Listeners
    Mondays • 10:00-10:30 a.m.
    4-6 years old
  • Together Time
    Tuesdays • 10:00-10:30 a.m.
    3 years old & adult
  • Family Story Time
    Tuesdays • 1:00-1:30 p.m.
    2 + years old & adult
  • Tiny Tot Time
    Thursdays • 10:00-10:20 a.m.
    1-2 years old & adult
  • Baby Lapsit
    Fridays • 10:00-10:20 a.m.
    Birth to 1 year old with adult

Little Explorers *
Wednesdays • Oct. 5-Nov. 16
10 a.m. • Preschoolers

Science Sunday
Sundays • Oct. 16 & Nov. 13
2 p.m. • Grades K-5

Pokémon Club
2nd Tuesdays • 6 p.m.
Grades 3-8

Adventures in Drawing *
Tuesdays • Oct. 11 & 25 and Nov. 8 & 22
3:30 p.m. • Grades 6-8

FDL Chess Club
1st Thursdays • 6:30 p.m.
Grades 6-12

Yu-Gi-Oh! Night
1st Thursdays • 6 p.m.
All ages

*Registration Required. If you are unable to register online, please call the library.

Autumn 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. Printed copies can also be picked up at the library.

Whether you are into history, writing, gaming, music, science, or crafts, we’ve got something planned for everyone at the library this fall! Please take a moment to review the newsletter and mark your calendars with the great lineup of programs happening at Fondulac District Library through December. Enjoy!

Download this file. (PDF, Unknown)

FDL Reads: The One Man

Cover image for The one manThe One Man by Andrew Gross

Reviewed by: Diane Soffietti, Adult and Reference Services

Genre: Suspense

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: This novel of realistic fiction is set during World War II in the concentration camp of Auschwitz and strategic Allied offices in Washington, DC. It is a story of courageous feats to help end the war and free “one man” in the concentration camps. Alfred Mendl was a Jewish scientist, whose theories and formulas could help develop the atomic bomb. But he was locked in the camp at Auschwitz with little hope of escaping or even living for long. He sees an opportunity to pass his knowledge on to a sixteen year old chess prodigy with a remarkable mind. On the other side of the world, FDR and his OSS officers are trying desperately to devise a plan of extraction that seems like a suicide mission for a young Jewish officer. This officer, Nathan Blum, is willing to do more for the war effort than the translations he does on a daily basis. He regrets leaving the Warsaw ghetto and his family, although his father requested that he escape with a prized Jewish book from the local synagogue. Nathan must navigate many obstacles to complete his mission. Will he succeed?

My Review: The treatment of those of Jewish faith in the concentration camps is vivid and realistic. The suspense of the main story line with the daring plot to enter the camp and extract Mendl is thrilling to read. Even more so when the author’s Epilogue is read about his family’s connection and the truth of the characters, although the escape plot is fiction. Andrew Gross has written many bestselling books, some with James Patterson; and this novel is both thrilling and suspenseful with the right amount of realistic history. It is truly a story of good versus evil.

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: Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs

Cover image for Brainiac : adventures in the curious, competitive, compulsive world of trivia buffsBrainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs by Ken Jennings

Reviewed by: Sylvia Shults, Circulation

Genre: Nonfiction

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: A look at trivia through the eyes of Ken Jennings, whose 75-game run on Jeopardy! gained him $2.5 million in winnings.

My Review: You’d expect a book on trivia, written by the Jeopardy! champion, to be kind of … well, snooty. But this book is chatty and filled with interesting facts — a trivia book on trivia. Jennings isn’t all like “Hey, I won 75 games in a row on Jeopardy!, look at how smart I am.” He’s just as astonished at his run as everyone else was, and he comes across as an everyday guy who just happened to win $2.5 million on a game show. Jennings also gives his readers a history of trivia, from 16th-century collections to last Tuesday night’s bar competition. Plus, there’s an entire chapter on the annual trivia contest in Stevens Point, WI, which made me smile with nostalgia, as I went up there for several years in a row. This is a fun read, and not too mentally strenuous — you don’t have to stand there with YOUR hand on a buzzer to enjoy this book.

Rating: 4.5/5

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!

Voter Registration at the Library

RegistertoVoteYou can register to vote at Fondulac District Library!

  • Registrants must be:
    • U.S. citizens
    • A resident of Illinois for 30 days prior to the election
    • 18 years old by Election Day
  • Bring two valid forms of ID. One must have your current address.
  • The deadline to register at the library is October 11.
  • You can check your registration status by visiting elections.il.gov.

If you have any questions, please visit or call the library at (309) 699-3917.

Career Transitions Workshop

Career TransitionsIn response to the recent additional local layoffs and in recognition that many members of the community are searching for new employment, Fondulac District Library is offering a tutorial for using its free Career Transitions resource on September 8 at 6 p.m. Career Transitions is an online resource that helps users to search and apply for jobs. It is accessible to any user on Fondulac District Library’s computers, or 24/7 with an Internet-connected computer or device and your Fondulac District Library card number. Visit the online research resources page to access Career Transitions and explore its features.

On October 11 at 3 p.m. the library is offering a resume workshop. Learn the important do’s and don’ts of resume writing, including how to format using templates. This workshop is for those who are just entering or returning to the workforce. Registration is now open, and you can sign up here.

FDL Reads: The Fireman

The Fireman by Joe Hill

Cover image for The fireman : [a novel]Reviewed by: David Gibbons, Volunteer

Genre: Horror, Audiobook

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: Living in a burnt out dystopia can be rough, and it only gets worse when you have to deal with the effects of being several months pregnant. This is the situation Harper Willows finds herself in as she escapes her righteously abusive husband after contracting the “dragonscale” plague. Nearly always resulting in spontaneous human combustion, this plague makes its victims’ skin erupt with delicate black lines not unlike elaborate tattoos. Rescued by the enigmatic Fireman and his cohorts from a society’s fear induced sociopathic culling, Harper flees to a summer camp turned refugee commune where she finds renewed purpose. But just as every bright light casts a shadow the camp’s darker side reveals itself as Harper begins to learn more about dragonscale and its implications as the true natures of those around her show for better and worse.

My Review: One part Michael Crichton and two parts Margret Atwood, The Fireman is a bright burning magenta phoenix in the beige landscape that dystopia fiction is starting to become. Taking an idea that is on its surface completely absurd, a disease that causes it’s carriers to spontaneously combust, Hill manages to make the premise very believable. While not always sympathetic, the diverse cast of characters are at times very extreme in their beliefs and actions but never become two dimensional tropes. Rather, you find that each is desperately hanging onto a core belief. Harper’s need to stay positive and protect those she loves (including her unborn child) are regularly tested, and rather than coming off as a “Pollyanna” she feels like someone who is toughened but not broken. Her husband clings to his own sense of superiority as do those he falls in with. Even the  over use of pop culture references hint at characters’ needs to hold to the idea of a better world.

This book has been compared by many to The Stand, which I honestly feel is a bit unfair. When boiled down, the similarities amount to its length and the fact that both involve a plague. While The Stand reads as more of a quasi-religious tome where things happen by divine right, this story feels more like a well researched sci-fi novel that moves at a rapid fire pace. If any comparisons to other books could be implied a good choice would be Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.

Story: 4/5
Audio: 3/5

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: The Monster of Florence

Cover image for The monster of FlorenceThe Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi

Reviewed by: Sarah Baker, Circulation

Genre: Nonfiction, True Crime

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: In the 70s and 80s, a serial killer stalked the hills around Florence, Italy.  He targeted young lovers in their cars, killing them both before mutilating the women.  The case remained unsolved, but not forgotten.  Douglas Preston, an American author, meets Mario Spezi, a respected Florentine journalist, who has been tracking this case since the first killing.  Spezi presents the history – the false accusations, the theories that couldn’t fully be proven, the competition between the police and the ​Carabinieri ​(the Italian military police) – and then gives his theories.  The two set about trying to follow the twisting leads.  But there are those who do not appreciate the interference of the journalists, and have the power to stop them.

My Review: This book caught my eye, and piqued my interest right away.  Fans of Hannibal Lecter will recognize the source material – Thomas Harris worked this into Hannibal’s backstory.  It’s a tragic tale, that’s complicated by the Italian justice system and conspiracy theories.  The book is well paced, with short chapters that allow for quick reads and easy stopping points.  But the tale itself is hard to stop.  This case is stranger than fiction, and will stay with you.

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!

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