FDL Reads: The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories

Cover image for The paper menagerie and other storiesThe Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu

Reviewed by: Carey Gibbons, Reference Assistant – Adult Services

Genre: Short Stories – Science Fiction and Fantasy

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award winner Ken Liu has put together this collection of short stories, representing his work in both science fiction and fantasy. Some of these pieces look to the future, telling the stories of intrepid scientists and engineers travelling through space to colonize new worlds. Some look to the past, telling the tale of Chinese settlers in America’s old west juxtaposed with the legends of the Chinese God of War, or how time travel effects the histories of both China and Japan during and after WWII. Liu has written a wide variety of fiction here, often times including lists for further reading based on the research he did in order to write the story.

My Review: I’ve been reading a lot of short stories lately and this was my first time reading Ken Liu’s work. I enjoyed this collection quite a bit not only for Liu’s high quality writing but because his work is a refreshing and much needed reminder that white American authors don’t have a monopoly on science fiction and fantasy. “All the Flavors” showed a very different perspective on the American Old West from the point of view of a little girl interacting with Chinese settlers. “The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary” was not only a fresh take on time travel but an account of strained relations between China and Japan during and after WWII. My favorite story was “The Waves.” It put all of life into perspective through space travel and the idea of the origin of life story that every culture has. I love short story collections and this one is no exception. I’m looking forward to reading Liu’s longer, silk-punk, fantasy series – The Dandelion Dynasty.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Futuristic, Melancholy, Thoughtful

Give This a Try if You Like…  Alex Marshall, Kelly Link, Daniel Abraham

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: One Hundred Names

Cover image for One hundred namesOne Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern

Reviewed by: Dawn Dickey, Reference Assistant – Adult Services

Genre: Literary Fiction

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: In the opening pages of One Hundred Names, journalist Kitty Logan visits Constance, her friend and mentor, who is terminally ill. Constance is “solid, permanent and steady, stoic but oddly comforting.” And Kitty desperately needs that comforting, for she’s made a muck of her life. In her job as a television journalist, on the air before half a million viewers, Kitty accused a well-respected, married teacher with a young family of sexually abusing two students. Despite doing what she thought was good, in-depth research and reporting for the news program, Kitty fell for a story put forth by the two women – a totally false story. Now she is suspended from the show and is being sued for libel. At the hospital, Kitty asks Constance what story she always wanted to write but didn’t get a chance to. Constance mentions a fairly “recent idea,” instructing Kitty to retrieve a file simply called, “Names.” Kitty finds the file, but Constance dies before Kitty can ask her about the file, a list of 100 names that have no obvious connection. With her television job no longer an option, Kitty decides to follow up on the names, find the connection, and write about the names as a tribute to Constance.

My Review: I’ve read other books by Cecelia Ahern, usually finding the characters to be likeable and often funny. It’s hard to like Kitty in the beginning, however. Sure, she was conned, and her reputation is in ruins. But that’s all she can think about. Kitty initially has little sympathy for the victims of her mistake, the falsely accused teacher and his family, whose lives were truly ruined. Without giving the ending away, I think that in this book Ahern does what she excels at, developing the characters in her story to move beyond their personal tragedies and find redemption. It’s a hopeful, compassionate tale!

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!

Library Hosts Local Author Fair

author-fairFondulac District Library hosts its first ever Author Fair on January 21, 2017, at 1 p.m. Local authors will discuss their books, answer questions, and sell and sign copies of their books.

Paranormal author Sylvia Shults will present a keynote address, and horror author Joe Chianakas will answer questions about the publication process. Attendees are invited to enjoy an author meet and greet as well as dramatic readings from selected authors. Books may be purchased at the event, and a portion of all sales will be donated to the Friends of Fondulac District Library. There will also be prize drawings.

The library encourages local authors to submit an application to promote, sell, and sign copies of their work at the event. Applications are available here or at the library. The deadline to apply is December 27.

For more information, please visit the library or call (309) 699-3917.

We’re hiring!

we-are-hiring1Love the library? Why not work here? We currently have a part-time opening for a Library Page.

Visit http://www.fondulaclibrary.org/about-us/jobs/ for more information.

Interlibrary Loan Service

Fondulac District Library offers an Interlibrary Loan service to its cardholders. This service allows patrons to request items from beyond central Illinois and outside of the RSACat catalog. Interlibrary Loan requests may be placed in person at the library, by phone at (309) 699-3917, or online by using the Interlibrary Loan Request Form.

To learn more about Interlibrary Loans, please contact the library.

 

 

FDL Reads: Pretty Deadly volume 1: The Shrike

Cover image for Pretty deadly. Volume One, The ShrikePretty Deadly volume 1: The Shrike by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios

Reviewed by: Sarah Baker, Circulation

Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: It’s the Wild West, and a travelling show has come to town.  A girl in a vulture cloak tells the story of how Death fell in love and had a daughter. But it’s not just a story – it’s the truth.  Ginny stalks the land, her face marked like a skull by daddy Death.  A beautiful but deadly woman named Alice seems to be searching for Ginny, but also for something called The Binder. Which Sissy, the girl in the vulture cloak, just pick-pocketed from a red headed man.  Sissy’s companion, a blind man named Fox, tries his best to keep her safe but this might be beyond him.  And the truth – about Fox, about Sissy, and about Death – may just break the world.

My Review: Many months ago, I saw this series recommended by Wil Wheaton.  After a quick glance, I knew it was something I had to read.  Alternate history, Death as a being and not just a force, magic, badass women, and amazing artwork.  It was a wonderfully spun yarn.  The narration comes to us by way of Bunny, a talking skeleton of a rabbit, who is telling the story to Butterfly.  The different points of view weave together nicely. but the reader is still left with plenty of questions (Who is Jack Coyote, really?  Will we learn more about Molly Raven?  Do they have a Ladyhawke thing going?  And what’s the deal with Sarah?) that will hopefully be explored in future volumes.
This is definitely not for younger readers!  Violence, nudity, cursing.

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: Curious Minds

Cover image for Curious minds : a Knight and moon novelCurious Minds by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton

Reviewed by: Diane Soffietti, Adult and Reference Services

Genre: Mystery

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: Riley Moon, recent Harvard Business and Law graduate, has a brand new job and is hoping to pay off her student loans by becoming indispensable at a large family-run bank in Washington D.C. The president of the company gives Riley an assignment to placate an important client, and Riley fully intends to give it her best Texan try. The problems start to arise when the client wants to actually see his gold. His father recently died, making Emerson Knight the heir to Mysterioso Manor and a vast amount of gold. Riley’s first encounter with Emerson ends with Riley driving Emerson to the bank and introducing Emerson to the bank president, Werner Grunwald. Riley’s life becomes entangle with the eccentric Emerson’s as she tries her best to do her assignment, which becomes first hunting for a missing person and then solving the mystery of counterfeit gold in the U.S. Reserve Bank. This pursuit takes Moon and Knight to New York City and Area 51, as they try their best to stay alive.

My Review: Janet Evanovich is well known for her humorous Stephanie Plum bounty hunter tales set in Newark, NJ. Phoef Sutton has written numerous television scripts, and together they are writing this new mystery series called Knight and Moon. Evanovich always has snappy, hilarious dialog; and this new series doesn’t disappoint with both major and minor characters and the plot twists. For a fun, page-turning read, you won’t be amiss by picking up this new book by one of my favorite authors. This is a humorous thriller that does Not include graphic violence or vulgarity.

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!

Book Clubs at the Library

Fondulac District Library is currently offering two book clubs for adult readers.

The “Out of the Box Book Club” takes place on the 3rd Wednesday of every month at 6 p.m. at locations throughout East Peoria.

The “Adult Book Club” meets on the 3rd Monday of every month at 1:30 p.m. in the library’s conference room.

Learn more about these book clubs by visiting the library’s calendar.

 

 

 

FDL Reads: Dark Currents: Agent of Hel

Cover image for Dark currents : agent of HelDark Currents: Agent of Hel by Jacqueline Carey

Reviewed by: Joscelyn Lockwood, Children’s Department

Genre: Fantasy

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: Daisy Johanssen is a police liaison in her small town of Pemkowet, Michigan. She’s expected to be the go between the mundane and paranormal, known as the eldritch community and ruled over by the Norse goddess Hel. In addition to being an agent of Hel, Daisy is also unique in that she is a hell-spawn. Born to an incubus father and raised by her single mortal mother, she must constantly toe the line between good and giving into the evil temptation of her father’s race. For if she gives in, it could cause nothing less than the beginning of Armageddon. Problems start to arise in the idyllic resort town when a local college boy drowns in the river. Daisy must team up with a not-so-mortal police officer and start digging for clues to what happened. Signs start to point to the eldritch community, and she realizes this isn’t going to be an open and shut case.

My Review: Having read some other works by Ms. Carey, notably historical in nature, I wasn’t sure what to expect from her as an urban fantasy author. I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised! Calling on a mixture of Norse mythology along with a few other fantasy tropes, she weaves an interesting world in this first book of the trilogy. Daisy’s interpersonal relationships with the many different members of her community, as well as her intrapersonal struggles with certain emotions, or “Deadlies” as she refers to them, are woven into the case they’re trying to solve. My only negative critique for this book is that Daisy comes off as a little shallow and immature throughout the book. I am hoping this changes as the trilogy goes on. Overall though, it was a fairly quick read with a fast-paced storyline that left me eagerly biding my time until I could get to the library to check out the next book.

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 Art Exhibit on Display at FDL

20161108_090736_resizedFondulac District Library is proud to announce a new exhibit on display for its ongoing Fine Arts at FDL program.

A collage series, The Art of Judith Koren Shanahan, will be on display through the end of the year. Shanahan uses acrylic paints, specialty papers, recycled ephemera, textures, and more to represent and interpret a multitude of subjects. Her professional art training began at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and continued at the Instituto de Allende in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She has exhibited locally, as well as in Rockford, and her pieces have been purchased by people across the country.

To learn more about the Fine Arts at FDL program, click here.

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