#FDL: Getting Started With Margaret Atwood

Getting Started With Margaret Atwood

Maybe you all saw the Emmy’s this weekend and noticed that the television adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale cleaned up. Or maybe you didn’t see the awards show but have watched The Handmaid’s Tale and really liked it. Maybe neither of those statements are true but you’ve heard of Margaret Atwood and wanted to read something by her. Or maybe you’re just between books right now and in the mood for something that will twist up your brain. Margaret Atwood is one of those unique and awesome writers where you can’t really pin down what type of fiction she writes and so she appeals to a wide variety of readers. Her books are a little bit mystery, a little bit contemporary fiction, a little sci-fi, and a little bit women’s lit. If any of that appeals to you, here are a few good selections on where to start.

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale – This pick is a little obvious, but it’s an amazing and unfortunately timely book that has been adapted into an incredibly popular television show. Published in 1985, the narrative follows Offred, a Handmaid in the near future Republic of Gilead. The story alternates between Offred’s current role in a wold where women are only valued for their ability to produce children, and her past where she had her own life and her own name.
  2. Oryx and Crake – This book will suit the sci-fi fan and is my own personal favorite novel by Atwood. It starts with a disjointed account of life by the weirdly named narrator, the Snowman. Gradually, the book takes into Snowman’s past and our future, telling of a world where genetic engineering is a part of every day life and cities and colleges are owned and funded by corporations. Snowman’s personal story involves his best friend Crake and a mysterious woman tied to both of them named Oryx.
  3. The Year of the Flood – Some people have a difficult time with Oryx and Crake because it gets off to a confusing start. The Year of the Flood tells a story set in the same universe and at the same time as Oryx and Crake but featuring different characters. It’s a more traditional beginning to the MaddAddam trilogy and you can read either book first. Atwood is a fan of time jumping narratives and The Year of the Flood goes between the childhood lives of Ren and Toby as disciples of Adam One and his eco-religious group God’s Gardeners, and their current predicaments hiding in their respective strongholds from what remains of humanity after a mass-extinction event.
  4. Hag-Seed – Hag-Seed is Margaret Atwood’s take on The Tempest in a contemporary setting with a psychological twist. After Felix is fired from his artistic director position at the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival, he exiles himself to rural Ontario with his imaginary daughter, Miranda. He takes a job teaching Literacy Through Theatre to the prisoners at the nearby Burgess Correctional Institution, where his class stages their own bizarre production of The Tempest.
  5. Stone Mattress: Nine Tales – Short story collections are always a great way to introduce yourself to a new author. Each story in this collection is classic Atwood – a total genre mash-up. And with short stories, you can figure out a lot faster whether this author is right for you.

About #FDL

Welcome to #FDL! #FDL is a twice weekly update on all things Fondulac District Library and East Peoria. Twice a week, library staff will make posts that highlight some aspect of library life and relate it to you – our readers. Have you ever wanted to know which Dewey number represented a certain topic? Are you looking for book recommendations based on your favorite television show or television recommendations based on your favorite book? Have you ever wondered about the secret details of librarian life? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then #FDL is for you. We look forward to writing posts that are informative and entertaining and hope that you enjoy getting better acquainted with Fondulac District Library.

FDL Reads: River of Teeth

Cover image for River of teethRiver of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

Reviewed by: Sylvia Shults, Circulation

Genre: Fantasy

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: In the early 20th century, the United States government actually had a plan to release hippos into the swamps and bayous of Louisiana as an alternative meat source. (It’s a good thing this never historically happened, because hippos are a whole lot meaner and nastier than most people realize.) This book is set in the late 1890s, in an America that DOES have feral hippos wandering southern Louisiana. Hippo wrangler Winslow Houndstooth has a mission to deal with these hippos. He’s also out for revenge.

My Review:  Wow, what a fun, FUN book! This book has the action and careless disregard for personal safety of a really well-written western. (Probably because of the time period and the action.) It’s a believable piece of alternative history, and oh my goodness, it has teeth. The characters are completely original and completely unexpected. And the author leaves the ending wide open for a sequel. (In fact, that’s my only beef with the book: it’s very short, and it has the feel of an unfinished longer novel.)

Three Words That Describe This Book: Bloody exciting adventure!

Give This a Try if You Like… Westerns, adventure

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!

Study Rooms at the Library

Fondulac District Library has two study rooms that seat 4 people each. Please call the library at (309) 699-3917 to reserve this space.

  • Study rooms can be reserved up to 4 weeks  in advance and are available for walk-in requests if no reservations exist.
  • The library reserves study rooms on a first come, first served basis, and a patron may have up to 5 reservations at one time.
  • A library card or photo ID must be left with staff at the Second Floor Information Desk while the study room is in use.
  • Patrons must be 13 years of age or older to reserve a study room.
  • For larger groups, Fondulac District Library and the City of East Peoria, as part of the Civic Complex, share spaces for their common use.  As a part of their public purpose, the City and Library do provide a means by which the atrium and meeting rooms may be provided for use by the public. Please visit or call the library for details.

 

 

#FDL: Five Questions

Welcome to #FDL’s feature column, Five Questions, where we ask library staff and other East Peoria residents roughly the same five questions. For this Five Questions column, we’re interviewing Genna Buhr, FDL’s Director – the lady who makes the wheels on this bus go round and round.

1. Who are you?

Hi! I’m Genna Buhr, Library Director of Fondulac District Library. I’ve been at the library for about seven years and have been leading our staff of about thirty as Director for the past two years. I’m a mom to two young boys who keep me on my toes and have been married for almost eleven years. I’m a member of the East Peoria Kiwanis and active in various library organizations. I like futzing in my yard when I have time, Muppets, and cheese. I can’t hold a tune, and I’m not a speed reader. I do like fast cars, though.

2. What is your favorite part of working at FDL?

My favorite part is that none of my days are the same. One day I might be working to ensure that the library’s budget for the next fiscal year is ready, the next day I might be helping launch a new service for the public, and the day after that I might be hanging out with Clifford the Big Red Dog. Every day brings a new surprise, and there’s always something happening at FDL.

3. What are you reading/watching/listening to right now?

I’m reading Ray and Joan by Lisa Napoli. It’s the story of Ray and Joan Kroc of the McDonald’s fortune. The book looks at not only at their complicated relationship, but also how he led the business to making its billions and how she used it for the greater good.  My family is kind of wrapped up in watching the end of the latest season of America’s Got Talent, mostly because it’s entertaining and something on which we can all agree. (We agree on the show, not necessarily on which acts are our favorites!) We also like to watch The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation, which highlights past and current inventors and innovators who use (or have used) technology and design to solve problems. On the off chance I get to watch something all on my own, it’s usually a movie I brought home from the library (no horror films for me, though) or maybe something I saved to the DVR and have had every intention of watching for months, but still have gotten around to. I listen to the radio back and forth to work, but if you were sneak a peek at my Pandora or iPod, you’d see a lot of 80s, 90s, and alt-rock, some Patsy Cline, Jim Croce, Carole King, and Jimmy Buffett, and about 6  different renditions of Wild Horses.

4. If you didn’t already have your dream job, what would you be doing?

If you mean in lieu of working, I’d want to be traveling! I’ve been fortunate to see many places, but there are so many more I’d like to visit or revisit, both in the U.S. and abroad.  I’ve always loved sightseeing, but I’m learning to appreciate being on a beach with a book and a frozen concoction more and more.

5. Who would win in a fight – the monster truck Bigfoot or the sasquatch Bigfoot?

That’s a toughie. So, assuming the furry Bigfoot does exist, I figure she’s fairly intelligent to have eluded everyone for this long and would probably just avoid the fight with the truck altogether. (Yeah, I’m going with a girl Bigfoot.) Then again, toe to tire, I’m not sure the yeti stands a chance against nearly 11,000 pounds and 1,000 horsepower. That’s a lot of truck. Of course, that’s assuming Bigfoot has a driver who has eluded the sasquatch! In the end, though, I think I have to pick big blue as the winner. I’ve been to the monster truck shows several times. They’re capable of some serious tricks.

Interviewed by: Carey Gibbons, Reference Specialist

About #FDL

Welcome to #FDL! #FDL is a twice weekly update on all things Fondulac District Library and East Peoria. Twice a week, library staff will make posts that highlight some aspect of library life and relate it to you – our readers. Have you ever wanted to know which Dewey number represented a certain topic? Are you looking for book recommendations based on your favorite television show or television recommendations based on your favorite book? Have you ever wondered about the secret details of librarian life? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then #FDL is for you. We look forward to writing posts that are informative and entertaining and hope that you enjoy getting better acquainted with Fondulac District Library.

FDL Reads: Strange the Dreamer

Cover image for Strange the dreamerStrange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Reviewed by: Dave Gibbons, Volunteer

Genre: Fantasy

Suggested Age: Teens, Adults

What is the book about?: Moths that invade dreams, a nameless city, trapped ghosts and blue skinned gods all await Lazlo Strange as his legend unfolds. Seemingly trapped at the bottom rung of the world’s social ladder in a dull grey library monastery, the orphaned boy’s world erupts into color as mystical barbarians from ancient stories march into town looking for people to go on a long journey to a place besieged by the magic. Sarai’s people have been brutally wiped out. She and a few traumatized survivors are living atop a tower that looms above the very home of the man who perpetuated this violence. These characters’ stories intertwine to create an interesting narrative.

My Review:  The world that Laini Taylor has created is lush and vibrant, full of original and relatable people and creatures. It is truly a well thought out world that is not only filled with vibrant color but also several shades of grey morality. Her world-building and character are unparalleled. The pacing and plot however are not. While absolutely gorgeous the prose is also very slow. A quarter of the book passes before anything starts to happen, and when it does the flow is either racing or crawling with little in-between. The plot does rely on tropes and clichés at times. From star crossed instant romance to the blatant hero’s journey set up – while interesting, these plots are still predictable.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Exotic, Beautiful, Epic

Give This a Try if You Like… Stardust by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess, Seraphina by Rachael Hartman, The Mighty Thor by Walt Simonson

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!

New & Upcoming Titles for Autumn 2017

An updated list of New & Upcoming Titles at Fondulac District Library has been added to the website! The books on this list are available to check out or place on hold.

Here is a sampling of a few of the latest titles:

Download this file. (PDF, Unknown)

#FDL: Stephen King is Having a Heck of a Year

Photo used with permission by photographer Tyler Liston, Assistant Store Manager of the Peoria Barnes & Noble.

Stephen King is Having a Heck of a Year

2017 appears to be a banner year for Stephen King and his fans. The author is going through a bit of a rediscovery process in Hollywood, which multiple works of his either having been adapted or slated to be adapted to television or film in the next year or so.  He also has new written material coming out soon. Here’s a quick rundown of all 2017 things King for new and seasoned fans alike.

Television/Movies

The Mist. This SpikeTV series is based on King’s novella of the same name and is its second film adaptation. This series focuses on the individuals trapped by a deadly mist and how they live out their lives from one moment to the next, not knowing if anything remains of the outside world. The series just wrapped up on television so is not yet available on DVD.

The Dark Tower. This is a complicated adaptation. It’s named after the entirety of King’s magnum opus, starting with book 1 – The Gunslinger. But, this film adaptation isn’t a true re-creation of the series or a prequel. It’s a sort of sequel, following Roland of Gilead and Jake Chambers as they fight to stop the Man in Black from destroying the eponymous tower and the universe. A dvd release date is set for October of this year.

It. This movie that adapts of one of King’s most popular works opens tomorrow in movie theaters. Like The Mist, it is based on a book by the same name and is a second film adaptation after a two-part television mini-series from 1990. It follows a group of bullied teens taking action after they discover that a monster is hunting them one by one.

Mr. Mercedes. This adaptation is a television show currently in the middle of its first season and available through local cable providers. It’s based on King’s novel by the same name and follows retired detective Bill Hodges as he tries to find a murderer who uses a Mercedes as his weapon of choice.

Gerald’s Game. This movie adaptation of King’s book also comes out in theaters this month – on September 29th. Jessie and her husband Gerald try to add a little something extra to their marriage, and Jessie unexpectedly finds herself fighting for survival.

Books

Gwendy’s Button Box. King released this title in May of this year, co-authored by Richard T. Chizmar. This short novel takes place in Castle Rock, in the summer of 1974, when Gwendy’s daily routine is interrupted by a man dressed all in black.

Sleeping Beauties. To be released on September 26th, King has authored this book with his son, Owen King. Women all over the world are falling asleep and not waking up. With the exception of a lone woman, men are left to their own devices in this strange, new world.

The Outsider. This title will be released sometime in 2018, and very little is known about it. King was quoted by USA Today as saying, “There’s a lot of things I want to say about [this book], but I can’t. It’s too cool to talk about right now. All I can say is it won’t be out in 2017 because I’ve got enough going on.” No kidding.

Post by Carey Gibbons, Reference Specialist

About #FDL

Welcome to #FDL! #FDL is a twice weekly update on all things Fondulac District Library and East Peoria. Twice a week, library staff will make posts that highlight some aspect of library life and relate it to you – our readers. Have you ever wanted to know which Dewey number represented a certain topic? Are you looking for book recommendations based on your favorite television show or television recommendations based on your favorite book? Have you ever wondered about the secret details of librarian life? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then #FDL is for you. We look forward to writing posts that are informative and entertaining and hope that you enjoy getting better acquainted with Fondulac District Library.

FDL Reads: The Ninth Wife

Cover image for The ninth wife : a novelThe Ninth Wife by Amy Stolls

Reviewed by: Dawn Dickey, Reference Specialist

Genre: Romantic Contemporary Fiction

Suggested Age: Adult

What is the book about?: Rory and Bess have known each other only a few months before Rory proposes. Bess wants to know more about the man she is deeply in love with. She knows that his wife died and encourages Rory, on the day he proposes marriage, to tell her more about his wife:

“Wives,” [Rory] mumbles.

Bess takes a moment. “Wives?” she cries. “Plural?”. . .  “And what does that mean, anyway? Two? Two wives?”

Rory doesn’t answer.

“Rory? How many?”

“Eight.” . . .

“You’ve been married eight times?” . . . Now she’s hyperventilating. The room is spinning. She has to sit down. . . . “I just want to be sure I get this right: I’d be your ninth wife.”  

What is she supposed to do now? Run out? Wouldn’t any sane woman do that?

My Review:  I was intrigued by the title and premise of this book, and author Amy Stolls delivered an intriguing read. Stolls deftly and realistically changes voices from Irish-born Rory to folklorist Bess, with Rory explaining the history of his multiple marriages to Bess and the fact that he is, at heart, a romantic:  “I dream of everlasting love. I dream of that with you.” Stolls also deftly brings out Bess’s pragmatism and caution, which are balanced against the not-so-harmonious 65-year-long marriage of Bess’s grandparents. This caution leads her to contact some of Rory’s ex-wives. The book is an interesting and amusing look at the ups and downs of relationships and how relationships both mirror who we are and force us to grow. I loved the story and the characters!

Three Words That Describe This Book: quirky, out-of-the-ordinary, romance

Give This a Try if You Like… romantic fiction / chick lit

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!

Strategic Plan Update

In April 2016, the library adopted a strategic plan for fiscal years 2017 to 2019 to provide leadership with focus for making decisions related to resource allocation and the achievement of the organization’s vision. Fondulac District Library’s goals for fiscal years 2017 through 2019 are the result of meetings with and input from East Peoria residents and stakeholders, the library’s staff, and the library’s Board of Trustees. As a result of the planning process, the Board adopted the following goals for FY2017:

  • Marketing: Empower the staff to market the library’s resources
  • Services: Provide opportunities for patron collaboration and training
  • Technology: Develop library apps for streamlined mobile access to library services and features

In the past year, library leadership and staff made great strides toward achieving these goals. The library decided to focus on communication of existing services in a more consistent manner, both inside and outside of the library and by using its current marketing practices and additional new methods. Furthermore, library staff collaborated with schools, non-profit organizations, individuals, and businesses to create programs and learning opportunities both at the library and at locations throughout the community.  More than 9,100 people participated in the 553 programs offered by the library in FY2017. Library staff also worked throughout the year to make more information, services, and content available online. A robust mobile-responsive website with new content, 24/7 access to downloadable eBooks and audiobooks, the library catalog’s app and text services, mobile printing, and more provide convenient online access to much of what the library offers.

The library’s strategic plan calls for the library to continue its focus on these same goals in FY2018, and library leadership and staff are looking forward to making further progress in these areas.

Additional background about the plan and a more detailed FY2017 update are available here.

Story Times at the Library

Fondulac District Library’s Story Times feature a different theme every week and include songs, flannel board stories, and crafts, in addition to great books! Story Time is a great way to introduce your child to new friends and encourage early literacy. View the details below or click here to see the Story Time Calendar.

WEEKDAY STORY TIMES
September 11-November 17

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

OTHER STORY TIMES
Sensory Story Time • 2-7 years old • Saturday, Sept.16, at 11 a.m.
Prince and Princess Story Time • 2-7 years old • Oct. 14 & Nov. 11 at 11 a.m.
Saturday Morning Story Time • 2-7 years old • Oct. 28 & Nov. 25 at 11 a.m.

imagine, inform, inspire