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: Storm Front

Cover image for Storm frontStorm Front by Jim Butcher

Reviewed by: Jimi Roberts, Circulation Assistant

Genre: Modern Fantasy

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: This is book 1 in the Dresden Files.  We follow the protagonist, Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, the only practicing wizard in the phone book.  He is a private investigator, who does a lot of consultation work, for the Chicago Police Department, on cases that have a supernatural ring to them.  This is not to say, everyone in the department believes he is legit – quite the opposite.  But, we follow him as he works to discover the truth behind a double murder, that seems to have been committed by some type of dark magic.

My review: People have been telling me for years to read this series.  I was a bit skeptical because I am getting burned out on fantasy creatures in modern times, because it’s been done to death.  That said, I took the plunge anyway, because so many people recommended it and I was not let down.  In fact, I could not put this book down.  At its core, this is very much a detective story and is formulaic, but I still found it highly entertaining.  The world is lush and vibrant, and the characters charming and inviting.  I am told the series gets better, and fans of it claim that the first installment could be one of the weaker entries.  If that is indeed the case, then sign me up for the series, because I felt it was very solid.  I am about halfway through book 2 and I find the quality to be ramping up quickly, so that bodes well.  I could see this book appealing to multiple types of readers.  Fans of modern fantasy and even high fantasy, will find familiar elements that will make them feel at home in the world.  I could also see fans of something like the Alex Cross books branching into something like this, if they want to try something similar but with magic and fantasy elements.  My literary pleasures are diverse, and I found this book to cater to a lot of them well without spreading itself too thin.  Soon I’ll be one of the masses who tells everyone to read this series, and if you dive into this book, I suspect you will be too.

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: The Empty Throne

Cover image for The empty throne : a novelThe Empty Throne by Bernard Cornwell

Reviewed by: Diane Soffietti, Reference Assistant

Genre: Historical Fiction

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: Pagan warrior, Lord Uhtred, was severely injured in a battle he led against the Danes and Vikings, who want to plunder and control Mercia and West Saxon lands that are held by Christian kings and lords. This battle took place in the last book of this series, The Pagan Lord. As this novel opens the ruling lords have come together to decide the fate of the West Saxon lands when their ruler dies. Priests, Bishops, lords and warriors must decide who will lead the fight and fill the empty throne. Political treachery and intrigue go hand-in-hand, as Cornwell weaves his historical fiction.

My review: This author’s strength is his character development, but also his sense of history in the battle scenes is remarkable. I have enjoyed all eight of these novels and others by Bernard Cornwell, as well. As the main character has aged and negotiated his life through battles and pitfalls, yet Uhtred has remained constant. Conflict and skullduggery make this novel a page-turner even if you know the history of the time period. Anyone who loves the Vikings series on the History Channel or Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth will want to read the Saxon Tales and The Empty Throne.

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: You

Cover image for You : a novelYou by Caroline Kepnes

Reviewed by: Sylvia Shults, Circulation

Genre: Thriller

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: Joe meets Beck when she walks into the bookstore he manages. He thinks she’s just perfect for him, and sets out to convince her of that. Turns out there’s no room for anyone else in Beck’s life — Joe makes sure of that.

My review: This is one of the strangest — and scariest — books I’ve ever read. (And of course I absolutely adored it.) It’s a thriller written from the stalker’s point of view, to his victim. There’s quite a lot of violence in this book, as well as a whole bunch of sex, so if that makes you uncomfortable, don’t even pick this book up. Because once you DO pick it up and start reading, you’ll have to kiss the rest of your evening goodbye. The book is surprisingly literary; the “hero” works in a bookstore, and Joe and Beck bond over a shared love of books. Joe also, though, uses books as weapons, to deadly effect. (And no, I’m not going to explain what I mean by that. You have to read the book. Either you’ll get it, or … never mind. You’ll get it. I trust you.) This book made me extremely glad to be married, and safely out of the dating pool. Highly recommended for those readers who like their thrillers very active and scary and personal.

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: There Will Be Lies

20613635There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake

Reviewed by: Carey Gibbons, Reference Assistant

Genre: Thriller, Fantasy

Suggested Age: Teens and Adults

What is the book about?: Shelby Jane Cooper’s only friend is her mom. Her dad is dead, and her mom is fiercely protective of Shelby, home schooling her and constantly warning her of the dangers of other people. But on Friday nights, Shelby is allowed to visit the public library. This is where she meets Mark, the only person Shelby talks to other than her mom. One night, while waiting for a ride home from her mom, Shelby is hit by a car. She only breaks her ankle, but this incident has brought all of her mom’s worst fears to life. Shelby’s dad isn’t really dead. In fact, he’s coming for them, and they have to run. And that guy from the library – Mark? It turns out he doesn’t actually exist. Except when Shelby closes her eyes and enters The Dreaming. Shelby’s life is about to get really, really weird.

My review: I liked this book a lot. If you’re going to read it, make sure you take the title literally. You can’t believe anything you read in the first two-thirds of the book, and that’s why I liked it so much. Lake does a great job of building this realistic, solid narrative and then breaking it all apart. Some of the lies are obvious, and some of them are so clever, because they’re lies within lies. Throw in a talking Coyote god and the magical land of The Dreaming, and you’ve got yourself a real mind mess. This book kept me guessing, and I like that. I also really liked Shelby’s voice. She’s smart and funny and wry and the only honest character in the whole book. I know this review is rather vague, but I don’t want to spoil any of the lies – or the truths (which are worse than the lies). I can only say it’s worth your time to pick it up and listen as Shelby Cooper tells you her story.

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!

We’re hiring!

Love the library? Why not work here?!

Fondulac District Library is seeking a creative, enthusiastic, and fun-loving person who enjoys working with children of all ages and their parents for a part-time Youth Services Assistant position. Please see the Library Job Openings page for more information.

FDL Reads: Hounded

Cover image for HoundedHounded by Kevin Hearne

Reviewed by: Barb Rude, Reference Assistant

Genre: Fantasy

Suggested Age: Teens and Adults

What is the book about?: Atticus looks twenty-one years old, but in truth he’s more like twenty-one hundred years old. He’s a druid, the only one left, and the only reason he has survived this long is because he is willing to hide. Until now. He stole a sword, and the god he stole it from wants it back. Atticus can’t hide any longer, and he’s going to need all his instincts to survive.

My review: This book is fun. Really fun. The main character, Atticus, has a light sense of humor and enough paranoia to keep him alive. The supporting cast is drawn from many ancient mythologies, which makes for a lot of neat surprises. The story’s pacing is brisk. This book is a breath of fresh air in the genre of gritty, dark urban fantasy—it’s set in Arizona, and while the stakes are high for Atticus, there’s no grit for grit’s sake, no brooding, and—best of all—no love triangles.

If you’re looking for a lot of depth in this story/series, you won’t find it. But there’s a lot of fun to be had, and it’s a quick read.

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: The Squared Circle: Life, Death, and Professional Wrestling

[Cover]The Squared Circle: Life, Death, and Professional Wrestling by David Shoemaker

Reviewed by: Carey Gibbons, Reference Assistant

Genre: Non-fiction

Suggested Age: Teens and Adults

What is the book about?: This is a book about professional wrestling and the tolls it can take on an athlete. Part wrestling history and part tribute to the dead, this book covers American professional wrestling from the early glory days and tragedies of the Von Erich family beginning in the 1950s to the horror of Chris Benoit’s life and 2007 death. While this book is very clear on “kayfabe” (the idea that wrestling storylines are pre-written and winners and losers predetermined by writers) it also points out that professional wrestlers are legitimate athletes who brutalize their own bodies every week in the name of entertainment. Breaking into pro wrestling is hard and staying in is even harder. There is an incredible physical toll that often translates into mental and emotional problems as well. This book is the story of those wrestlers who suffered the cost of fame, many of whom the world lost under tragic circumstances at too young an age.

My review: I was about 14 when I realized that wrestling was “fake.” It crushed me. As a kid, I wasn’t able to separate fake writing from real athleticism and I stopped watching wrestling for years. I like Shoemaker’s book a lot, mainly because it promotes the fact that while storylines are prefabricated, wrestling itself is very real. I gained a new appreciation for what these guys do week after week, year after year. I learned that the creation of a wrestling identity could take over a person’s real life and become a monster. I learned that a lot of addiction problems for wrestlers stem from poor pain management. I learned about the hell that wrestlers go through at wrestling “school” before they even get in front of the camera. And I learned that a lot of wrestlers go through this for love of the game or for love of the family wrestling dynasty (of which there are many).

My only problem with this book was that the information was more a choppy collection of essays as opposed to a cohesive whole. I felt that there were some gaps in information that could have been filled by mentioning living wrestlers. For example, Shoemaker writes about the life and death of Owen Hart, but I feel that story would have had more impact with some information about the epic Hart wrestling dynasty.

Overall though, I enjoyed this book. I have a newfound respect for professional wrestling and would recommend this book to anyone who had even a passing interest in sports entertainment.

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: The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed

7286699The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed by Patrick Rothfuss, Illustrated by Nate Taylor

Reviewed by: Jimi Roberts, Circulation

Genre: Fantasy, Picture Book

Suggested Age: Adult – yes, adult (even though it’s a picture book)

What is the book about?: This is a picture book that you can read cover to cover in 10 minutes.  It’s written in the style (both visually and narratively) of a children’s bedtime story.  Patrick Rothfuss, who many know from his bestselling novels, The Name of the Wind and A Wise Man’s Fear, takes us into a completely separate world.  We go on several adventures with the titular Princess and her stuffed teddy bear Mr. Whiffle, who live all alone in a castle.  They go on adventures by day, and deal with the uneasiness of darkness at night.  To say more would ruin a perfectly entertaining experience.  Please do yourself a favor and give it a read.  The narrative structure is a lot of fun and the illustrations compliment it with a nice blend of typical children’s fairy tale scenes and dark comic book imagery.

My review:  It’s difficult to really say a lot about this book while keeping it shrouded in mystery.  I enjoyed it immensely and if you are into dark humor, I suspect you will like it too.  There is obvious influence from Tim Burton and Neil Gaiman, the latter more pronounced, in my opinion.  I’m one of those who is a big fan of Rothfuss’s prose, but despite great effort, I’ve not found myself able to relate to The Kingkiller Chronicles that everyone in my social circle seems to adore.  From what I’ve seen and read, I do have a great deal of respect for Mr. Rothfuss as an artist and as a person.  He seems like a genuinely nice guy who I’d love to hang out with.  He’s become something of a figurehead in fantasy and nerd culture, so it was nice to find a creation of his that I could relate to and truly enjoy.  After having read this little delight, I’m intrigued about his other similar offerings.  I would highly recommend this title for the sheer novelty alone, but he delivers the goods that makes this worth reading several times.  This is the type of book I can imagine myself always having a copy of.  If I had any nerve whatsoever I would read it to my unsuspecting mother just to see the look on her face.  Alas, only time will tell on that one.

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!

Rokus Now Available

Roku 2Fondulac District Library now lends Rokus! Stream popular movies to your television over your wireless Internet connection. Check out a Roku streaming media device from the library, connect it to your television, and start watching the library’s Vudu channel of more than 100 movies for all ages. Visit fondulaclibrary.org/streamingmediadevices, stop by the Second Floor Information Desk, or call (309) 699-3917 extension 2251 to learn more about this exciting new offering from your library!

FDL Reads: Sandman vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes

[Cover]Sandman vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman; Artists – Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, and Malcolm Jones III

Reviewed by: Laura Warren, Reference Assistant

Genre: Graphic Novel, Science Fiction

Suggested Age: Adult

What is the book about?: Our story begins in a world inhabited by humans like you and I, but under the mundane surface, supernatural entities work their magic. Among them are the physical “human” manifestations of Dream, Death, Destiny and Destruction, along with a few more recognizable characters from the larger DC Comics Universe.  We begin in England in the year 1916. A cult led by Mr. Burgess, in an attempt to gain immortality, conducts a ritual to capture Death, but instead imprisons Dream. Due to Dream’s absence from the world, a sleeping sickness sweeps the globe, manifesting itself in a variety of fashions.  Some experience a waking zombie-like existence, while others slip into a coma-like sleep and only have brief waking moments. While all of this is happening, Dream methodically waits more than 70 years for a chance to escape. Finally in 1989, when a careless guard falls asleep on duty, Dream seizes his chance. He gains power from the sleeping guard and escapes when the guard awakens. Dream is out for revenge and is looking to reclaim the three talismans that were taken from him. A visit from the three graces sets Dream on his path to regain the realm of Dream and everything else that was taken from him. We follow Dream down his path to reclaim each item, and we meet a host of characters from the DC universe, including John Constantine and Dr. Destiny. Dream must be cunning to recover these items since he is still weak. Will he, in his weakened state, be able to recapture the power he once had from such powerful adversaries? We follow him through addiction, Hell, and madness to find out.

My review:  Writing this review bewildered me some, because of the way graphic novels are serialized. If this were a novel, the portion of the book I am discussing would only be the first few chapters. When you reach the end of the book, you are left wanting more, and there is significantly more in the books that follow. The Sandman comics have been one of my favorites since the first time I read them in the 1990s. The series definitely reflects many themes and the feel of the 90s, yet has remained timeless and able to be enjoyed two decades after its run was complete. The collaboration of all those involved leaves us with a timeless unique classic. The artists that they chose to bring these fascinating characters to the page do a fantastic job. The images fit the story in sometimes unexpected ways. The characters have depth, wit, and longing for things which remain out of their grasp. This series has won more industry awards than any other comic series. Through Neil Gaiman’s reimagining of Sandman, DC Comics added a series with a very different atmosphere to their brand. Once again, we see Gaiman’s love of the dark fairytale as well as his great admiration of mythology.  He weaves together a beautifully unique story, which manages to develop and enrich its numerous components. This pairing of story and physical art creates an engaging series which is next to impossible to put down.

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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