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 Mill River Recluse

The Mill River RecluseThe Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan

Reviewed by: Diane Soffietti, Reference Assistant

Genre: Fiction

Suggested Age: Adult

What is the book about?: This adult literary debut novel is similar in feel to Maeve Binchy’s novels of Ireland, both historical and contemporary, with a setting of a small Vermont town prior to World War II and moving to the present. The Mill River Recluse is the story of Mary and also of the people who populate the small Vermont town, which is the setting for the story of Mary’s sad life. Raised during the depression by her father on a horse breeding farm in Vermont, Mary tries to overcome her anxieties and lead a normal life. What happens to Mary and the people of Mill River over the course of her lifetime becomes the basis for this novel of tragedy and philanthropy. This is a story of family life in a small community with secrets, as well as good and evil acts behind closed doors.

My review: I picked up this book due to the scheduled Skype program. The book was not on my radar, as it is a debut novel. However, I love these types of books that have a believable ensemble cast of characters. I was shocked by the opening, but of course, this is what makes the book such a good read and a real page turner! Mary is a heroine that you will love and that you will want to know more about as she faces her fears and deals with what life has offered her. I will be reading the sequel, The Mill River Redemption next!

On October 22 at 7:30 p.m., the author will be Skype chatting with the library. Anyone interested in discussing both her novels and her writing is welcome.

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 Tuesday 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!

Bestselling Author Darcie Chan to Discuss Book

Darcie ChanDarcie Chan, New York Times bestselling author, will discuss her Mill River novels at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, October 22, 2014, via Skype video conference at Fondulac District Library in East Peoria. The event is free and open to the public.

Chan sold more than 700,000 eBook originals of her first novel, The Mill River Recluse, set in a fictional locale in Vermont. Chan revisited the themes of family, self-discovery, and forgiveness with her newest novel, The Mill River Redemption, which features character cameos from The Mill River Recluse and was released in August 2014.

Having been named “a rising star in the literary world,” Chan has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. For fourteen years, Chan worked as an attorney drafting environmental and natural resource legislation for the U.S. Senate. She now writes fiction full-time and lives north of New York City with her husband and son.

FDL Reads: Quarantine: Book One – The Loners

Quarantine: The LonersQuarantine: Book One – The Loners by Lex Thomas

Reviewed by: Joan Herron, Reference Assistant

Genre: Survival Fiction

Suggested Age: Mature Young Adult or Adult

What is the book about?: A normal day at McKinley High is literally blown apart by an explosion in the school. Loner David Thorpe is as confused as the other students when they are thrown headlong into a nightmare. Think Lord of the Flies on steroids. All the students are infected with a virus that is deadly to adults, causing the outside world to physically quarantine the school and all the students inside by blowing up part of the school and erecting elaborate physical barricades. David and his younger brother, Will, band together against the gangs that form as time passes. Every clique in a typical school is represented: the jocks, the cheerleaders, the geeks…each with their own unique form of leadership and method of control.

My review: I think the scariest part of this series is the comparison to today’s headlines. The paranoia and fear of being infected with the virus easily translates to our current world problems. Thinking of the school environment like a small community, which it actually is, all the fears and emotions that exist in the outside world exist in this “artificial world” as well. I was unprepared for the level of viciousness and violence that would breed in this environment, but also surprised at the level of ingenuity of the students faced with fighting for food at regular supply drops, maintaining the clothing on their backs for months and months, and keeping control of those citizens with all their personal problems. What would a school be like if every child on Ritalin ran out of medicine?  Think of the resources in a school. Then think of dividing and controlling those resources in a hostile society. It isn’t that big a stretch of the imagination to envision the chaos. This series is along the lines of many “end of the world as we know it” series, but the situations are not as unbelievable as they used to seem. The second and third books, The Saints and The Burnouts, follow the evolution of the virus and the status of the outside world. There is intense language, sexual situations, and extreme violence. I recommend this series for those who like a fast-paced read that can get your heart pumping. Even though classed as a Young Adult book, I’d suggest it for mature readers only. Much food for thought and discussion.

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 Tuesday 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 at FDL: Awesome Box!

Fondulac District Library has collaborated with the Harvard Library Innovation Lab (Yes, that Harvard!) and is now offering our patrons an AWESOME BOX!

What’s an AWESOME BOX? It’s an alternate return box for library items that our community finds particularly entertaining, helpful, or eye-opening. Pretty much, anything you think is awesome! It’s a lot of fun to share your favorites and see what others think is awesome, too.

Returning items to an Awesome Box requires no extra work. To “awesome” an item, simply put it in the Awesome Box at the book drops near the checkout desk. Kids, teens, and adults can all easily share what they like with both the library and the rest of the community. (No worries…no personal information is shared.)

After library staff enters your awesome item into our Awesome Box software, the item is automatically posted to our webpage and lets everyone know that someone thought it was awesome. The latest 5 titles are shown right on our home page at fondulaclibrary.org. There’s also a linked Awesome Box page that shows everything that was awesomed at FDL, along with the most awesomed items.

Sorry. Even though they can be entertaining, helpful, and eye-opening, you may not put librarians in the Awesome Box. :)

FDL Reads: The Underground Girls of Kabul

The Underground Girls of KabulThe Underground Girls of Kabul  by Jenny Nordberg

Reviewed by: Barb Rude, Reference Assistant

Genre: Non-fiction

Suggested Age: Adult

What is the book about?: In Afghanistan, a culture ruled almost entirely by men, the birth of a son is cause for celebration and the arrival of a daughter is often mourned as misfortune. A bacha posh (literally translated from Dari as “dressed up like a boy”) is a third kind of child – a girl temporarily raised as a boy and presented as such to the outside world. Jenny Nordberg, the reporter who broke the story of this phenomenon for the New York Times, constructs a powerful and moving account of those secretly living on the other side of a deeply segregated society where women have almost no rights and little freedom.

The Underground Girls of Kabul 
is anchored by vivid characters who bring this remarkable story to life: Azita, a female parliamentarian who sees no other choice but to turn her fourth daughter Mehran into a boy; Zahra, the tomboy teenager who struggles with puberty and refuses her parents’ attempts to turn her back into a girl; Shukria, now a married mother of three after living for twenty years as a man; and Nader, who prays with Shahed, the undercover female police officer, as they both remain in male disguise as adults.

At the heart of this emotional narrative is a new perspective on the extreme sacrifices of Afghan women and girls against the violent backdrop of America’s longest war. Divided into four parts, the book follows those born as the unwanted sex in Afghanistan, but who live as the socially favored gender through childhood and puberty, only to later be forced into marriage and childbirth. The Underground Girls of Kabul charts their dramatic life cycles, while examining our own history and the parallels to subversive actions of people who live under oppression everywhere.

My review: I just finished reading Uprising: A New Age is Dawning for Every Mother’s Daughter when I stumbled into the advanced reading copy of The Underground Girls of Kabul, and it seemed like the perfect follow-up. And it was perfect, not just as a follow-up, but as a light into the secret world of Afghanistan’s women. The characters are painted in vivid colors. Their problems are made sympathetic, their motivations and struggles made clear. The author writes with a delicate touch on a sensitive and very private issue, blending narrative with academia seamlessly.

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 Tuesday 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: Fortunately, the Milk

Fortunately, the MilkFortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

Reviewed by: Ashley Huffines, Youth Services Assistant

Genre: Realistic Fantasy

Suggested Age: All ages!

What is the book about?: Dad leaves his son and daughter to go buy milk one morning while mom is out of town. The children pester their father with questions of why it took him so long. What follows is the spectacular story of his adventurous trip to the store.

My review: Neil Gaiman never fails to impress me with the limitless bounds of his imagination. This book isn’t the simple read aloud and go to bed. It’s a page turner for all ages with its pirates, dinosaurs, ponies, volcanos, aliens, vampires, plastic pink flamingos, dancing gnomes with flower pots on their heads, piranhas, outer space, time traveling hot air balloons, and of course, milk. The complexity of time travel will make the children think about how the different pieces of the story fall into place. Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting a quick, funny, light-hearted adventure to enjoy.

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 Tuesday 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: Angelhide

AngelhideAngelhide by Barb Rude

Reviewed by: Jimi Roberts, Circulation Assistant

Genre: Modern Fantasy

Suggested Age: Adult

What is the book about?: Agnes Halcomb is a newly graduated guardian angel fresh out of Angel Academy.  The story starts off with Agnes (Aggie) in Heaven waiting at the Departure station for her trip to Earth.  She has been tasked with finding her first assignment, Nicholas Bayer.  He proves quite difficult to locate and her guidance from Heaven is…lacking.  I would not dare spoil the hilarity that ensues thanks to her divine cell phone and its effectiveness, but it had me laughing out loud more than once, and that’s just the beginning.  This is a truly engrossing tale about a young Angel trying to find her way in a world that feels so familiar yet so foreign.  The people she meets along the way will change her life forever, and she will no doubt change theirs.  The cast of supporting characters are the real rock stars of the story most of the time.  I actually hesitate to call them supporting characters because they each have their own narrative and I found myself emotionally attached to the fate of each one of them.  They deal with life, death, dreams, reality, love and grief in their own unique and very real ways.  I found the examination of one character’s relationship with dreams and sleep to be particularly fascinating.  As the story unfolds, it is like watching a beautiful, and at times terrifying, world grow up around you.

My review: So here is a book I couldn’t put down.  The plot is complex but easy to follow, the imagery is vivid, and the characters are deep.  I loved the balance of action, drama, comedy and horror.  None of it was there for effect.  Every aspect of the narrative served to grow the characters as they make their way on a journey not entirely dissimilar from one we all must make.  They approach the future with varying levels of acceptance and apprehension.  A lot of fantasy novels, especially when they are the first in a series, spend so much time world building that they get bogged down and don’t leave themselves room to explore the characters.  This is not the case here in any way, shape, or form.  The world is fantastic but it never feels forced.  It grows as it needs to and as the actions of the characters dictate.  The way it all flows together is completely organic.  The next chapter in this series can’t get here fast enough.  I want to learn more about every aspect of the world and each of its unique inhabitants.

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 Tuesday 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!

Teen Read Week Contest

TRW Essay Contest“Turn Dreams into Reality @ Your Library” during Teen Read Week October 12 to 18! From October 1 to 18, high school students may submit a 600 to 1,000 word essay on how they would turn dreams into reality at FDL.

Prompt: Turn Dreams into Reality @ Your Library
What do you love about Fondulac District Library? What would you love to see at FDL? In an essay of 600 – 1,000 words, tell us how you would turn FDL into the library of your dreams!
Rules:
•    Participants must be in grades 9 through 12.
•    Essays must be typed, double spaced, and between 600 and 1,000 words long to be eligible.
•    Essays must address the theme of “Turn Dreams into Reality @ Your Library.”
•    Essays must be submitted between October 1st and 18th, 2014.

Judging: Essays will be judged by Fondulac District Library staff. Essays will be judged based on content creativity, organization, and grammar.

Prizes: One essay winner will receive a $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble. The winner will be notified on October 27th, after Teen Read Week comes to a close.

Sculpture Installed

“Books Flying Off The Shelf,” sculpted by Gregory Johnson, was installed this morning by a very helpful crew from the City of East Peoria. The sculpture was purchased by Fondulac District Library with funds donated by the Peg and Ray Bahnfleth Memorial. The sculpture will be dedicated on the first anniversary of the library’s relocation to 400 Richland Street. All are welcome to attend the celebration at 1 p.m. November 2, 2014.

imagine, inform, inspire