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 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!

FDL Reads: Yes Please

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Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Reviewed by: Fellow AMY, Amy E. Falasz-Peterson, Director

Genre: Memoir/Biography

Suggested Age: Adult

What is the book about?: This book is about Amy Poehler’s career…but so much more!  You might recognize Amy Poehler from her stint on Saturday Night Live as one half of the first all-female “Weekend Update” anchors with Tina Fey.  Or, you may recognize her from her stint as the host of the Golden Globes, also with her friend Tina Fey.  Or, from her website http://amysmartgirls.com/ . Or, as Leslie Knope, the eager Pawnee, Indiana, parks department official. She recounts her experiences in her formative years growing up in New England and takes us to the present day.  She spins a yarn about her experiences in comedy.  She talks about some of her most famous characters she’s played, including Hillary Clinton on Saturday Night Live.  She talks about her pregnancy and childbirth experiences.  Her general philosophy is “good for her! Not for me.”

My review:  However you recognize Amy Poehler, you’ll want to read her book. This is a fun, lighthearted read.  Poehler recounts her experiences as a comedy actress in my hometown, Chicago, and her subsequent move to New York City.  I found myself laughing out loud at Amy’s writing.  Her writing is funny and encouraging. I think too often women get caught up in an imaginary competition among each other.  Instead of pitting ourselves against one another, we should encourage and lift each other up.  That seems to sum up Amy Poehler’s book…encouraging and funny…like having a beer with your best friend!

Parks and Recreation is one of the funniest and smartest shows on TV right now.  I went into this book with a predisposed opinion that I would like it a lot, and I certainly did!

Heads up:  There’s plenty of colorful language and some descriptions of her past drug use.

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!

Counselor @ Your Library

Counselor at the LibraryFondulac District Library and Tazwood Center for Wellness are pleased to announce they are partnering to offer free, half-hour confidential counseling and referral sessions in a private space at the library. A licensed clinical professional is available from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on the first Wednesdays of the month to discuss emotional, behavioral, and familial concerns, as well as addiction, DUI, severe relationship conflicts, or difficulty adjusting to life situations. No registration necessary. Please check in at the Second Floor Information Desk at Fondulac District Library.

***Individuals needing immediate assistance with a mental health crisis are encouraged to call the Emergency Response Services hotline at (309) 347-1148.***

FDL Reads: Sworn to Silence

Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo

Reviewed by: Diane Soffietti, Reference Assistant

Genre: Mystery/thriller or Suspense fiction

Suggested Age: Adult

What is the book about?: Without giving too much of the plot away, Kate Burkholder is the chief of police in a small Ohio community with an Amish presence. Her home town is suffering a repeat of gruesome murders of young women. Kate, as an Amish teenager, had also experienced the serial killer on her family’s farm, and this has led her in a totally different direction with her life. Now that the murders have started again, Kate is trying to keep her secrets from city officials and the police staff and also keep her community safe.

My review:  If you like to read mysteries which have a strong heroine and an urgency to discover the murderer or villain, then this series is just for you. Sworn to Silence is the first in a series of mysteries that a co-worker recommended to me when looking for something new. Boy, I was glad she did! This is a real page turner with twists and turns, dark secrets and unusual characters. Kate is a wonderful, strong, and yet flawed heroine. You will be cheering for her to find the killer and survive! And maybe you will want the next book in the series, too! (It is Pray for Silence.)

If you like reading this series, maybe you would also like to read Julia Spencer-Fleming’s Reverend Clare Fergusson and Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne series set in the Adirondack mountain town of Millers Kill, New York. These are also so very good to enjoy on a cold winter’s night.

Heads up: This book contains graphic murder scenes. This is not an Amish cozy mystery.

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: 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!

imagine, inform, inspire