FDL Reads: The Ghost Network

Cover image for The ghost networkThe Ghost Network by Catie Disabato

Reviewed by: Carey Gibbons, Reference and Adult Services

Genre: Fiction

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: International mega superstar Molly Metropolis goes missing in Chicago in the middle of a world tour. She’s disappeared without a trace and not even those closest to her, including her personal assistant Regina Nix or close friend Nicholas Berliner, have a clue. Nix, Berliner, and amateur music critic Caitlyn Taer team up to look for Molly. Told in the form of interviews, journal entries, and recorded conversations, the story follows these three through all of the hidden corners of Chicago. From “trick” houses to secret subway lines, Nix, Berliner, and Taer look for Molly through subtle clues that lead them to French philosophers, secret societies, the sexy side of architecture, and a pair of sinister back-up dancers named Ali and Peaches who do not want Molly to be found.

My Review: This book was so wonderfully weird. There were stories within stories and seemingly unimportant tangents that turn out to be game changers. This book was like reading one of the really good seasons of Lost – full of references that sent me searching down many an internet rabbit hole. I liked this book because it blurred the lines of fantasy and reality both within and without the actual narrative. To say much more would spoil the story, and this is a book that is better if you don’t know much about it going in. This book is great for fans of Twin Peaks, Lost, The X-Files, or any other series or book that invites debate, speculation, and imagination.

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: Big Magic

Cover image for Big magic : creative living beyond fearBig Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Reviewed by: Barb Rude, Reference and Adult Services

Genre: Non-Fiction

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear charts the writing life of one very successful author (of Eat Pray Love fame). It’s part essay, part anecdote, and part inspirational self-help.

My Review: I picked up this book because I enjoyed Gilbert’s TED Talk on creativity (Your Elusive Creative Genius), even though I found the premise of her talk fundamentally flawed. Gilbert asserts that creativity and inspiration are supernatural forces in the world (hence the name Big Magic) and that to channel them, you must woo them. I’m not a fan of the idea, but this book still has some solidly practical advice—showing up to do the work, exploring the world around you, and pursuing creativity for enjoyment’s sake. Gilbert asserts that creativity isn’t just for people who want to make art for a career; it’s for everyone, and I really appreciated that.

If you’re looking for a light read to make you feel good about gardening or push you to take up figure skating again, this is the book for you

Rating: 3/5

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: Isla and the Happily Ever After

Cover image for Isla and the happily ever afterIsla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Reviewed by: Dawn Dickey, Reference and Adult Services

Genre: Young Adult, Romance

Suggested Age: Teens and Adults

What is the book about?: Isla is bilingual (French and English) and studies at the School of America in Paris. She’s had a HUGE crush on Josh since her freshman year. Josh is a talented graphic artist and often in trouble with the school administration. Isla doesn’t think Josh even knows that she exists. But two chance encounters with Josh – one while they are both home in the U.S. during the summer and one in the principal’s office at the start of the new school year – lead Isla to believe that Josh is “aware” of her. These two encounters mark the start of their romance.

My Review: This sweet romance has lots of twists and turns, bubbly happy moments and heartache. The characters are interesting, the settings are wonderful, and their dilemmas are true-to-life and heart wrenching. Josh’s propensity to bend the rules spells trouble for the budding romance. You’ll be on the edge of your seat wondering whether Isla will find her “happily ever after” with Josh!

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!

National Library Week

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Last week was National Library Week. We invited patrons to share what they love most about the library, and here’s what they had to say:

“It teaches my daughter lots of new things. She can look at books and play and make new friends. We also love all the activities that are offered!!!”

“It is family time together!”

“My daughters and their children visit all of the area libraries. We all love the story times, craft projects, special children’s programs, family days…too much to mention. The availability of movies to borrow has come a long way since my kids were small. Of course, they always go home with a bag full of books. Where else can we go and have so many free resources? Such a great place for young families, seniors, and those in between…”

“Free internet and unlimited source of knowledge.”

“I love books!”

“It provides book, internet access, movies and stuff!”

“I have very fond childhood memories of all our time at the library. Later I used it a great deal during my years teaching preschool. (Our local RSA is completely amazing, btw!) Now that I have children of my own, our lives are basically centered around the programs we attend at all the libraries in this area, sometimes 4 days a week. The teachers are wonderful and we have made many lasting friendships. The kids have benefited socially and academically. The library is a lifeline for us. We appreciate all the time and effort everyone voluntarily puts in to special events as well. My 3 year old still talks about the Tiny Tot Drive in Movie you arranged almost a year ago and Star Wars Day is the highlight of the year! There are just too many reasons that libraries are important, but they sure are wonderful and we will continue and use their resources for the rest of our lives.”

Congratulations to Becky and Andrea on winning library prize packs for their comments!

We’d like to thank everyone who commented about the library and its services during National Library Week. Your support is greatly appreciated as we continue to provide quality programming, services, and resources for the community.

FDL Reads: Step Aside, Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection

Cover image for Step aside, pops : a Hark! A vagrant collectionStep Aside, Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection by Kate Beaton

Reviewed by: Carey Gibbons, Reference and Adult Services

Genre: Graphic Novel, Humor

Suggested Age: Adults, Teens

What is the book about?: Step Aside Pops is Kate Beaton’s second compilation of her popular webcomic, Hark! A Vagrant. Beaton is a historian, a nerd, and a literature buff and her comics address everything from the scandal of women riding velocipedes, to the emotional problems of Katharine and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, to the stress of Wonder Woman’s job. My own personal favorite part of this book is Beaton’s take on the “strong female character” and the story arc that involves her uniquely named heroines as they attempt to take down the patriarchy (Maybe? They’re a little confused.). Beaton is both the author and artist of Hark! A Vagrant. While her comics don’t have the polished look of your standard superhero title, her style is endearing, and at times hilariously, purposefully crude.

My Review: I tried to save my love of Hark! A Vagrant for the review portion here, but I can’t keep it a secret how much I love Kate Beaton’s work. I’ve been a fan of Hark! for years and mostly read it online. But both of Beaton’s collections, Hark! A Vagrant, and Step Aside, Pops are so wonderful that I ended up buying them both. Beaton makes me laugh so hard I cry and I really do love her artistic style. If you’re looking for something humorous and unconventional, this book is for you.

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: Anna and the French Kiss

Cover image for Anna and the French KissAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Reviewed by: Susie Rivera, Reference and Adult Services

Genre: YA, Audiobook

Suggested Age: Teens

What is the book about?: Anna is ready to start her senior year in Atlanta when she is unexpectedly sent to Paris to attend boarding school.  She speaks no French, has no friends, and experiences a bit of a culture shock at the beginning of the novel. Things start to change as she adjusts to her new surroundings and begins to form friendships with other students at the boarding school.  One person Anna starts to spend time with is the handsome Etienne St. Clair.  Etienne and Anna find they can talk easily to each other. But, Anna begins to feel more than friendship for Etienne as they spend more and more time together. The only obstacle in the way of their relationship is his girlfriend.

My Review: I listened to the audio for this novel via the library’s Overdrive app.  Kim Mai Guest narrates and does a nice job transitioning from Anna’s seventeen-year-old girl voice to Etienne’s British accent. Guest is an acclaimed voice performer who has narrated other young adult novels including Meg Rosoff’s How I Live Now.   Her voice is a good match for Perkins’s introspective writing style. Listening to this book made me feel like I was in Paris myself, stopping in small creperies and cafes.  Though I felt the novel a little drawn out in terms of pacing, teens will enjoy the exotic Parisian setting as well as the budding romance between Anna and Etienne.

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: Benefit of the Doubt

Cover image for Benefit of the doubtBenefit of the Doubt by Neal Griffin

Reviewed by: Diane Soffietti, Reference and Adult Services

Genre: Suspense/Thriller

Suggested Age: Adult

What is the book about?: We are introduced at the beginning of the story to two different sides of law and order. Ben Sawyer, the cop who had to come home in disgrace from the Oakland, CA police department for rage issues caught on cell phones and who has begun to work for his father-in-law in the small town in Wisconsin; and the second character, Harlan Lee, a recently released convict, who has been plotting his revenge against everyone who put him away illegally (he was innocent of murder, but not drugs) seventeen years ago, including Ben’s father-in-law, who recently had a stroke. Harlan Lee has had time to plot his revenge very carefully, and he has made many friends with other convicts, who can help with his planned vengeance. Ben and his family are trying to do the right thing in their old hometown, but there is plenty of blame for having to leave CA and having to adjust to small town life. These two characters collide to a fast pace ending that shows the dirty side of police work in small towns.

My Review: This debut novel is by a 25 year veteran CA police officer, who was born in Wisconsin. It shows the police procedures of small town departments, with issues of drug and corruption clearly and realistically most of the time. Some crimes are supposedly solved in quick fashion and so not as realistic as could be, mostly for pacing issues. (TV crime dramas are always solved in the allotted one hour!) Other crimes committed are not solved at all or even investigated, again maybe a pacing issue. The characters are mostly believable, and the Wisconsin settings seem truthful. The ending was a page-turner with Ben being true to his convictions within his flawed, raged character. I am interested in reading Neal Griffin’s sophomore novel, A Voice from the Field, which takes a secondary character in Benefit of the Doubt to the lead role.

Disclaimer: This novel is suspense, which means that you read of the crimes as they are committed and know the criminal. Some crimes are graphic.

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!

Spring 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. Printed copies can also be picked up at the library.

Whether you are into history, writing, gaming, music, science, movies, or crafts, we’ve got something planned for everyone at the library this spring! Please take a moment to review the newsletter and mark your calendars with the great lineup of programs happening at Fondulac District Library through June. Enjoy!

Download this file. (PDF, Unknown)

FDL Reads: It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History

Cover image for It ended badly : thirteen of the worst breakups in historyIt Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History by Jennifer Wright

Reviewed by: Sylvia Shults, Circulation Assistant

Genre: Non-fiction

Suggested Age: Adult

What is the book about?: The author, a columnist for the New York Observer, tells the sordid and sometimes amusing tales of the breakups of thirteen historical figures, from Emperor Nero to Norman Mailer.

My Review: Breakup stories are always interesting — as long as they’re happening to someone else and not you! Tales of love and devotion are great and inspiring, but what happens when the love dies and the recriminations start can be just as intriguing. If you’ve ever wanted to be a fly on the wall during historical plate-flinging and hysteria, this book is for you. If you are in a happy, stable relationship, it will be an amusing look at how badly some people can behave in the throes of thwarted romance. And if you are going through a breakup of your own … well, this book may either comfort you or give you ideas. Either way, it is interesting and, at times, really funny.

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!

Star Wars Day 2016

041616 star wars dayFondulac District Library announces Star Wars Day, which celebrates reading and the stories of one of the most popular sagas of all time. The all-ages event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 16, 2016, at Fondulac District Library in East Peoria, Illinois.

Free activities and programs for all ages will run throughout the day and include Jedi training, crafts, a Star Wars Science Station, games, Star Wars Bingo, prize drawings, and much more. Special guests from the 501st Legion, the Rebel Legion, and the Mandalorian Mercs costume clubs will be in attendance and available for photographs. Additionally, members of the East Peoria Robo Raiders, a local First Tech Challenge (FTC) team, will participate in a presentation and demonstration of the real-life “droids” they design, build, and take to competition. The library also offers Star Wars-related books and movies on display and available for check out to library cardholders.

For more information about this special event, visit www.fondulaclibrary.org or call (309) 699-3917.

Special Activities

10:30   Star Wars Bingo
11:00   Costume Parade
11:30   Jedi Training (both Jedi training sessions are the same)
12:30   Jedi Training
2:00     Real-Life Droids: East Peoria Robo-Raiders

Ongoing Activities

I Spy with My Jedi Eye: Starting at the Children’s Information Desk
Craft Cantina: Children’s Department: Story and Craft Room – Paper plate BB8 and paper Darth Vader.
Star Wars Puppet Theater: Children’s Department
Photo Booth: Children’s Department
X-wing Miniature Game: Library Lobby
Video Arcades: Second Floor (Teen Space)
Tattooine Tattoo Parlor: Second Floor
Perler for Padawans: Second Floor
Boba Fett’s Badge Factory: Second Floor
Force Fair: Atrium – Star Wars Bowling, Light Side vs. Dark Side Tic Tac Toe, and Blast-a-Trooper.
Star Wars Science Station: Atrium
Makers Space: Atrium – Take a closer look at R2D2, a battle droid, and a jawa.
Admiral Ackbar’s Snack Bar: Treats for sale from the Friends of the Library
Niima Outpost: Homemade Star Wars crafts for sale from the Friends of the Library

imagine, inform, inspire