FDL Reads: Ready Player One

Ready Player OneReady Player One by Ernest Cline

Reviewed by: Jimi Roberts, Circulation Assistant

Genre: Science Fiction

Suggested Age: Adult (with crossover/Young Adult appeal)

What is the book about?: On Earth, in the near future, the economy has collapsed.  Most of humanity has turned to a virtual world called the OASIS for solace.  The OASIS began as a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG), but rapidly became a fully immersive virtual world that most people spend so much time in; they consider it their real life.  In the OASIS, you can be anyone.  You can create a character and live your life almost completely within the virtual world – and most do.  This creation made the eccentric, reclusive, 80s obsessed creator of the OASIS, James Halliday, a billionaire many times over.  Everyone was happy living in their virtual utopia until the day James Halliday died.  With no heirs to his estate, he created a Quest – an elaborate system of riddles, games and puzzles within the OASIS.  Whoever could solve them all and reach the Egg at the end would inherit James Halliday’s entire fortune.  The catch – the only way to make it to the end is to become a true expert on nearly every imaginable pop culture and entertainment topic from the 1980s.  It has been 5 years since Halliday died and no one has been able to crack even the first clue.  Until now…

My review: Let me start by saying that this has quickly become my go-to book.  I read it for inspiration and comfort the way others might read a religious manuscript and snuggle up with a blanket and pillow.  Okay enough of the mushy stuff.  I’ve read the book 3 times now and listened to the audiobook twice, in addition to the countless times that I’ve referenced various sections and reread specific chapters.  The audio book is also incredible.  Wil Wheaton reads it, and if that name means anything to you, I can nearly promise you that this book is for you.  If you were between the ages of 5 and 25 at any point during the 1980s (and look back on the time fondly), this book is for you.  It’s a lovingly nostalgic joyride down memory lane set against the backdrop of a virtual world that is probably only a few years from becoming a reality.  I will admit I am the definitive target audience for this book, but I feel like it has a broad appeal across various genres and age groups.  If you enjoy immersing yourself in a story that feels familiar yet is new and exciting, do yourself a favor, and give this book a try.

There is some mild violence that takes place “off camera” but the descriptions of the events are not overly graphic.  If this book were targeted towards teens, I would consider the content very mild.  Given that it’s targeted to adult readers, I don’t see any cause for concern.

Rating: 5/5

Find it at the library!

FDL ReadsAbout FDL Reads

Welcome 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!

School Supply Drive

School Supply DriveFondulac Library is collecting school supplies at the library for East Peoria District #86 and Robein District #85 from July 21 through August 16.  If you would like to donate, click on the link below for their supply lists.

School Supplies Needed 2014-2015

FDL Reads: Chestnut Street

Chestnut StreetChestnut Street by Maeve Binchy

Reviewed by: Diane Soffietti, Adult Services

Genre: Contemporary women’s relationship fiction, short stories, Irish culture at the end of the 20th century to current times

Suggested Age: Adult

What is the book about?: As always with a Binchy book, there are a multitude of characters of different ages. Each chapter deals with their lives behind the closed doors of their homes on Chestnut Street. Different situations and problems are handled with different life skills or lack of skills.

My review: I like all of the Binchy books. Her style of short chapters that concern one of the characters is similar to short stories. Usually the cast of characters come together in the end to a happy conclusion. These books give me an idea of what life is like in Ireland. I was saddened when I learned that Maeve Binchy died last summer, and I was glad that there was another book of hers to savor. If you like learning about another culture in a short story format, please try Chestnut Street or one of Maeve Binchy’s earlier books. Some of her titles do concern the same characters or family members from previous books, but it is not necessary to read them in order to enjoy reading them.

Although the book deals with marital affairs and unwed mothers, it does not contain strong language or graphic scenes.

Rating: 4/5

Find it at the library!

FDL ReadsAbout FDL Reads

Welcome 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: The Painted Table

The Painted TableThe Painted Table by Suzanne Field

Reviewed by:  Sylvia Shults, Circulation Assistant

Genre: Listed as Inspirational, but it’s really literary fiction.

Suggested age:  Adult

What is the book about?: This is actually the story of two women: Joann, the daughter of Norwegian immigrants, and Saffee, her own daughter. Joann grew up on the frontier, and lost her mother at an early age — finding out much later that her mother died in an insane asylum. Joann, not all that stable mentally to begin with, worries at that information until it drives her completely around the bend. (From the narrative, it looks like Joann’s mother had been committed for distress at losing her youngest child, and wasn’t actually insane as we would recognize it today.) One of the defining moments of Joann’s life revolves around hiding under a dining room table. Joann later inherits the table, and projects all of her issues onto it, obsessively painting and repainting it over the course of the rest of her life. Saffee, Joann’s daughter, assumes that she is destined to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become mentally ill herself. But she manages to break free of the generational curse of mental instability, and strike out on her own. She goes to college, meets a great guy, and makes a solid, stable life for herself, despite her mother’s mental issues.

My review: I really enjoyed this book. It started out rather slowly, building a life from Joann’s perspective. I found the details of Saffee’s life to be much more interesting to read … and that’s really as it should be, since the reader is supposed to cheer for Saffee and her gradually dawning realization that she is not necessarily doomed to a life of mental instability like her mother (and her unknown grandmother). Mental health issues are a very personal, important subject for me … so it was a real pleasure to read a book in which at least one of the main characters triumphed over her difficulties.

Rating: 4/5 because it does take a while to really get rolling.

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

Welcome 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!

We’re hiring!

We're hiring!Love the library? Why not work here?!

Fondulac District Library is currently seeking enthusiastic, tech savvy, and fun qualified applicants for several positions.

Please see the Library Job Openings page for information about positions, job descriptions, qualifications, and more.

FDL Reads: The Flight of the Silvers

The Flight of the SilversThe Flight of the Silvers by Daniel Price

Reviewed by:  Carey Gibbons, Adult Services, Reference Assistant, YA Program Coordinator

NOTE:  Chat with the author and discuss this book  7 p.m. July 7 at Fondulac District Library. Everyone is welcome to attend the library’s Skype conversation.
Genre: Science fiction, alternate reality

Suggested Age: Adult, but with YA crossover appeal

What is the book about?:  This book focuses on six very different people whose lives are spared as the world comes to a very literal crashing end. They don’t know why they were chosen to survive, but each was given an otherworldly silver bracelet that protected them and transferred them to Alt-America, where cigarettes are illegal, money is blue, and people have the ability to manipulate time. These six strangers band together to find out why they were saved, who saved them, and how to use the time manipulation powers they seem to have gained with their salvation.

My review: This book starts with the end of the world. How do you even move forward from there? Price spins an amazing story from the ultimate worst case scenario. Alt-America is a fully realized place with floating restaurants and common household appliances capable of freshening rotten fruit by rewinding it in time. His characters are also fully realized, complete with flaws that make you want to slap them on occasion even as you root for them. I love this book, because it’s straight up adventure, but will also bend your brain in ways you never thought it could bend. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it, and I can’t wait for the sequel.

While this is an adult book, mature YA readers could potentially identify with the teen characters Mia and David. I would limit this to mature YA readers however, due to violence, some gore, non-explicit sex, and strong language.

Rating: 5/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

Welcome 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! Free Practice Driving Tests

Driving TestsThanks to a partnership with Driving-Tests.org, Fondulac District Library now offers free online test prep for those preparing for Illinois’ automobile and motorcycle driving tests! Click on the image to the right to visit our exclusive website and choose from several different permit tests. No library card number or personal information is needed! This resource is also great for anyone looking to brush up on their knowledge of Illinois’s traffic laws or interested in information about visiting local DMVs.

OMG! Lolcat/hotdog contest!

lolcat hotdog contestHave you heard the news? Fondulac District Library is having a lolcat/hotdog contest! You should participate. Here’s how:

  • Take a picture of your pet. This picture must be of your pet or animal (e.g. no stealing pics of animals off the Internet).
  • Caption your photo in the style of icanhazcheezburger. Yours must be an original caption—not one from icanhazcheezburger.com (although you may look there for inspiration).
  • Send your captioned pet photo to carey@fondulaclibrary.org. Entries will be posted on the library’s Facebook page (“Fondulac District Library”).
  • Encourage your friends and family to vote for (“like”) your lolcat, hotdog, or other funny pet!
  • Winners will be chosen in 3 categories based on the most Facebook likes: best cat caption, best dog caption, and best “other pet” caption.
  • Winners will be chosen in 3 categories by staff: cutest cat, cutest dog, and cutest other pet.
  • One winner from the chosen six will be drawn at random for a $25 gift card to Target.
  • Contest runs from June 2nd to July 18th.

Please contact Carey Gibbons, Reference Assistant, at 309-699-3917 or carey@fondulaclibrary.org with questions.

FDL Reads: Bad Luck and Trouble

Bad Luck and TroubleBad Luck and Trouble, Lee Child.  Jack Reacher Series, book 11

Reviewed by: Robert Diskin, Adult Services

Genre: Fiction- Action Thriller

Suggested age: Adult

What is the book about?:  While investigating the disappearance of two of his comrades, Jack Reacher, an ex-military cop, uncovers a secret arms deal between an American weapons manufacturer and foreign terrorists.

My review:  I listened to the audio book version of this title.  The narrator’s deep tone and aloof indifference is true to the character of Jack Reacher.  And Reacher himself is fascinating- he is super strong, super tough, and stands against the unjust.  He is also very intelligent and analytical, usually uncovering the unknown through verbal and mathematical dissection.  The dialogue is very stimulating, and the plot plausible.  The storyline is easy to follow as well- it has an array of characters, locations, and plot elements, but not so many that it becomes confusing or arduous to keep track of.

Some violence, though not too graphic.

Rating: 4/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

Welcome 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!

Share Your Talents and Knowledge…Present a Program!

Fondulac District Library is always looking for people and organizations that have special skills, knowledge, or talent and who are willing to volunteer to share their expertise by presenting a program at the library! Whether leading an introductory class, giving a presentation, leading a discussion, or entertaining with a performance, volunteers help the library offer the community a wide array of opportunities for education, exploration, and entertainment. (Please note that religious, political, or commercial programming, or solicitation of business by presenters, is not allowed.) If interested, please contact Genna Buhr, Public Services Manager, at 699-3917.

imagine, inform, inspire