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FDL Reads: The Particular Sadness of lemon Cake

Cover image for The Particular Sadness of Lemon CakeThe Particular Sadness of lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

Reviewed by: Dawn Dickey, Library Volunteer

Genre: Coming-of-age fiction

Suggested Age: Adults, Teens

What is the book about?: Rose first tastes the emotion in cooked items as she nears her 9th birthday. She arrives home from school to find her mother preparing to bake a cake. On the counter are eggs, sugar, flour, lemon peel, chocolate icing, and rainbow sprinkles.  When the cake finishes baking, Rose sneaks a taste. The bite was initially delicious, but that impression is quickly replaced. Rose’s mouth filled “with the taste of smallness, the sensation of shrinking, of upset, tasting a distance [she] somehow knew was connected to [her] mother.” Her second taste – although yummy – includes “in each bite:  absence, hunger, spiraling, hollows.” These are Rose’s first bites of tasting the emotion in her food, food of any and all types made by and grown by all kinds of people of varying emotions from many places. It is, at first, a heavy and frightening burden, made worse because nearly no one believes what she is encountering.

My Review: I don’t normally like coming-of-age fiction, but the premise of this book – as well as the delicious cake on the cover – intrigued me. I ended being very glad that I read this book! It’s written in the first person, so you are immediately drawn into Rose’s life and what she is thinking and feeling. Page by page, her emotional tasting expands, leading her to learn unimagined things about her dysfunctional family:  a rather depressed mother who hasn’t found satisfaction in life, a father who is a good provider but retreats emotionally and a brother who echoes his parents’ dissatisfaction with life and emotional retreat. While my description here might make the book sound rather depressing to read, in fact it was quite interesting to read how each of the characters coped (or didn’t cope) with their lives and how Rose grows into her exceptional gift.  I was left at the end with a sense of hope that a person could learn to cope with exceptional gifts and daunting circumstances. It’s a creative and satisfying read!

Three Words That Describe This Book: Extrasensory, Imaginative, Psychological

Give This a Try if You Like… thinking about where food comes from or reading about psychic phenomena

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!

Online Research Resources

These and other online research resources are available at the library or online 24/7 with your Fondulac District Library card:

News, Magazines, and JournalsEast Peoria Times Courier, Peoria Journal Star, popular magazines, and articles from scholarly publications
Genealogy – Ancestry Library Edition* and HeritageQuest Online
Automotive – Driving permit practice tests and car repair and maintenance information from Chilton Library
Careers and Education – Tools for resume building, job searching, certification exams, and more
Technology – Tutorials for Microsoft Office, social media, and Internet usage
Health – Wellness information and guides to symptoms, treatments, and drug interactions
Finance and Law – Legal forms, legal self-help, and information on the Constitutional Amendments
Geography, History, and Culture – Maps, statistics, and other information on nations worldwide

*Due to licensing restrictions, these resources are only available to users in the library.

Please visit or call the library at (309) 699-3917 if your have questions or need assistance with accessing these resources.

FDL Reads: Hellboy: The Storm and the Fury

Cover image for Hellboy: The Storm and the Fury by Mike Mignola

Reviewed by: Sarah Baker, Circulation Specialist

Genre: Graphic Novel – Horror

Suggested Age: Adults, Teens

What is the book about?: Nimue, former consort of Merlin, has raised an army of displaced and disgruntled magical beings. They are intent on destroying the world of men and of summoning The Dragon. Hellboy is all that can stand against them, and both sides are pushing him to take up the crown and summon his army. Which crown, you ask? Either the crown of Hell or the crown of England; both are his by right of birth. Destiny is pushing, but Hellboy is having none of it. Will he be able to fight an army alone and save the world?

My Review: The previous 11 volumes of the Hellboy series, as well as several issues of B.P.R.D., Lobster Johnson and Edward Grey have been leading us up to this point. Little incidents prove to be the pebbles before the rock slide that catches up the world. You don’t have to have read them all, but it does fill in lots of gaps. This volume also seems to be the story line that will be the basis of the new Hellboy movie, slated to come out in 2018. Hellboy has had it rough. By this point, he’s been beaten more times that I can remember. He’s even died, although that might have been part of a hallucination (the pain was real enough for him to remember it). And as the story unravels, he learns of his heritage – the truth about who his mother and father are, and the purpose of his conception – and multiple versions of his destiny. He’s also found love in the form of Alice, a woman he saved from the fairies when she was a baby. I just want Hellboy to be happy, but it’s not in the cards.What surprised me with this is the tackling of the question free will and destiny/fate. Since the beginning, Hellboy has been told he has a destiny, that he was created for a purpose. He’s fought it every step of the way. Each person who tells him of his fate is usually met with a “screw you” response. Every person has also had different versions of what his destiny is, each one true, but not complete. This volume ties them all together and shows that no matter what path he takes, Hellboy was going to end up here. He takes on the task on his terms, but how much of it was his choice?

Three Words That Describe This Book: Wow, Exciting, Brutal

Give This a Try if You Like… Paranormal Adventure, Action Movies, Philosophical questions of freewill

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: The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

25150798The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

Reviewed by: Susie Rivera, Reference Specialist

Genre: Historical/Cultural Fiction

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: Li-Yan is a member of the Akha people, an ethnic minority in the remote hills of China. The Akha are known for cultivating tea, a practice that has been passed down for generations.  Li-Yan plans to follow in the footsteps of her mother and become a midwife, but when she meets and falls in love with another Akha boy, Li-Yan’s plans are forever changed.

My Review: I thoroughly enjoyed this novel by Lisa See.  I read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by the same author several years ago and learned so much about the Chinese practice of foot-binding.  See has again done quite a bit of research for The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane.  The details about the Akha culture and the art of cultivating tea are fascinating.  This novel is full of emotion as the author explores the relationships between mother and daughter, the pain of loss, and the joy of finding yourself.  I highly recommend this novel if you are interested in Asian culture and identity.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Heartbreaking, emotional, engaging

Give This a Try if You Like… Other books by Lisa See, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Leavers

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!

New & Upcoming Titles for Winter 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 Reads: The Clockwork Dagger

Cover image for The Clockwork DaggerThe Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato

Reviewed by: Joscelyn Lockwood, Children’s Department

Genre: Steampunk Fantasy

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: Octavia Leander was orphaned by a never ending war, her parents killed in a bombing. Raised to embrace her gifts as medician by Miss Percival, she’s about to leave on her first real mission to heal a town ravaged by plague. However, she soon finds out upon boarding the airship that not everything is as clear cut as it seems. Political intrigue and secrets abound, and before the ship embarks, Octavia finds herself starting to doubt everything she thought she knew to be true.

My Review: The weaving of magic and science was remarkable compared to a lot of other magic-forward novels. I also enjoyed the amount of secrecy between characters, which runs alongside the overlying war plot. There were some negatives as well, namely how oblivious Octavia could be even when faced with overwhelming evidence toward a fact. Overall, I was left feeling like the character development was lacking compared to the great development of the world as a whole.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Mild, Underwhelming, Awkward

Give This a Try if You Like… Steampunk, Quick reads, Magic and Science Mixing.

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: High School Study Night

High School Study Night

One of the really cool things that happens at FDL is our lock-in study night program for students in grades 9 through 12. Twice a year, in May and December, the library opens its doors to high school students only for a few hours on the Sunday night before their midterm or final exams. This December, study night will be on the 17th. The library’s doors close to the public at 5pm and open back up to students at 5:30. Study night usually ends around 8pm. Although we hope students actually get studying done in the time they’re here, there are a couple of other reasons to come to study night.

  1. You get the library all to yourselves. Study night is a time for high school students to come to FDL and check it out without adults taking up all the space and shushing them. FDL has a dedicated Teen Area, but study night is a time for high school students to sit wherever they want and be themselves.
  2. Food. FDL knows that your brain needs fuel. That’s why we provide a wide variety of snacks and drinks for study night. Cookies, candy, chips, crackers, pretzels, soda, and water – it’s all there for you to much on while studying.
  3. Free books. Throughout the year, FDL gets books that are called ARCs. ARC stands for Advance Reader Copy. What that means is the book is not available yet for the general public to buy but will be soon. We get these books to promote them. A number of these books that we get are for teens. FDL holds onto those books for study night and gives them away to the students who show up. They’re pretty good books too.
  4. Gift cards. Before everyone leaves for the night, we do a drawing for gift cards to Barnes & Noble (sometimes Target). Anyone who comes to study night and stays until the end is automatically entered into the drawing.
  5. Extra credit. A lot of high school teachers offer extra credit to students who attend study night and stay for the duration of the event. You’ll have to check to see which teachers offer this, but the extra credit it totally worth it if your grade needs that extra bump.

So, FDL goes all out for study night. Signing up ahead of time is voluntary (you can also sign up at the event) and no ID is required to attend. Just bring your books and your brains – we hope to see you there!

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: From Here to Eternity

34068481From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty

Reviewed by: Carey Gibbons, Reference Specialist

Genre: Non-Fiction, Death/Funerary Practices

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: This book is like a travelogue of death. Caitlin Doughty is a mortician who owns her own funeral home and has been fascinated with death her entire life. In her first book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, she discusses her own experiences in caring for the dead. In this book, she takes readers around the world to examine some of the more unusual (to us) death and funerary practices of other cultures. Among other places, we visit a glowing electronic Buddha columbarium in Japan, the most beloved, favor granting ñatitas of Bolivia, and the small (but growing) human remains composting movement in America. Doughty interviews practitioners with each culture she introduces and looks at deathcare from their perspectives.

My Review: I really loved this book and took a lot of comfort from it. Doughty briefly discusses “big funeral” as an industry that has taken over death care, offering very few options for those whose loved ones have passed away. In America, we think that entombed burial or cremation are our only options, and largely that is true. Doughty’s look at the deathcare practices of other cultures is illuminating. She not only covers what these cultures do with human remains but how they feel about death and the people who have died. There is an overarching feeling for many of these cultures that literal care for a person does not end with that person’s death. I especially loved her chapter on the Bolivian ñatitas – skulls that spoke to their current caregivers from the grave to come get them and take care of them in exchange for favors. The ñatitas take on a second life in this new form that is unconnected to the life they lived when they had meat attached. Their caregivers worship and pamper them, lavishing them with clothing (beanies, sunglasses), cigarettes, and even money. That doesn’t seem like a bad post-death gig.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Enlightening, Comforting, Taboo-breaking

Give This a Try if You Like… Stiff (or anything) by Mary Roach, Beetlejuice, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

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!

Seasonal Activities at FDL

Fondulac District Library is hosting a variety of events and activities to welcome the winter season!

Snow Day at the Library • November 21 • 10 a.m.
Friends of the Library Holiday Sale • December 7 • 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. & December 8 • 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Gingerbread House Decorating Workshop • December 9 • 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Music with Tracy: Holiday Edition • December 13 • 10 a.m.
Celebrations Around the World • December 17 • 1 p.m.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas • December 20 • 6-8 p.m.
Nitsch Theatre Arts: NFP Rising Stars • December 28 • 2 p.m.

Please visit or call the library at (309) 699-3917 with questions.

FDL Reads: Best Day Ever

Cover image for Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda

Reviewed by: Sylvia Shults, Circulation

Genre: Suspense

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: Paul Strom and his wife, Mia, are headed out of town for a romantic weekend, to spend some quality time together at their vacation house. It will be the best day ever, according to Paul. But Mia’s not so sure. What secrets are they hiding from each other?

My Review: This was a great nail-biter of a book. I love books with an unreliable narrator, and this was a good one. You got the feeling that Paul was up to no good, but just like Mia, you couldn’t put your finger on it at first … the author did a good job of building suspense and letting hints slip every once in a while that Paul was not the perfect husband he seemed to be. Then when you found out the depths of his treachery, that made it so much worse, because you thought for a while he was okay.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Creepy, unsettling, suspenseful

Give This a Try if You Like… Behind Closed Doors, by B.A. Paris

Rating: 4.5/5

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!

imagine, inform, inspire