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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: What We’re Reading (and loving!) Right Now

Check out what the FDL staff is reading and loving right now!   Click on each book cover to view it in our online catalog or to place a hold.

Oathbringer

By: Brandon Sanderson

Recommended by Jessica R. “I just finished Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson, and I already want to read it again! It was an emotional roller coaster of a book, both exciting and heartbreaking. I can’t wait for the next one!”

 

Killing Floor

By: Lee Child

Recommended by Jacob. “Killing Floor is the first book of the Jack Reacher series and is a phenomenal crime novel full of action, suspense, and mystery!”

 

 

Changes: A Novel of the Dresden Files

By: Jim Butcher

Recommended by Sarah. “That title is an understatement; it could also have been called Murphy’s Law. That’s how much goes wrong.”

 

 

The Year of the Flood

By:  Margaret Atwood

Recommended by Susie. “This is the second book in Atwood’s dystopian trilogy.  I’m going back and forth between the print and audio book.  It’s probably one of the strangest visions of the future out there.”

 

 

 Magic Burns

By: Ilona Andrews

Recommended by Melissa. “I am listening to Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews. This is the second book in the series that follows Kate Daniels, a snarky, mercenary-turned-heroine, through a futuristic Atlanta where sometimes magic works and sometimes technology reigns. Kate has to battle undead creatures with the help of a werewolf and a vampire to get to the bottom of what’s going on.” *Contains explicit language

 

 The Taste of War: World War Two and the Battle for Food

By: Lizzie Collingham

Recommended by Jonathan. “An interesting perspective on the role food played in World War II, discussing everything from strategy, politics, logistics, and technology.”

 

 

Strange Weather

By: Joe Hill

Recommended by Tom. This book is a collection of “four novellas about a Polaroid camera that erases memories, a multi-sided look at the gun debate, a solid “cloud,” and what happens when it rains nails.”

 

 

Post by: Susie Rivera, 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: 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)

Online Catalog

Have you checked out the library’s online catalog? For the best experience, log in with your library card number and PIN. Manage your account, browse Fondulac District Library’s collection, as well as those of other area libraries, and place holds on items to pick up at the library of your choosing. If you don’t have a library card, or don’t know your PIN, contact the library at 309-699-3917 for assistance.

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 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!

#FDL: No Shave November

No Shave November

In addition to being National Novel Writing Month, November is also known as No Shave November for those taking this time to grow epic facial hair instead of (or in addition to) writing an epic novel. And as always, FDL has you covered with some items of facial hair inspiration.

  1. The Gigantic Beard that was Evil by Stephen Collins. I mean, no one is telling you to grow a giant evil beard. That’s your own decision. But this graphic novel tale of one man’s facial hair run amok is epic in scope. And if your beard needs a little taming, perhaps this book will do the trick.
  2. Star Trek: The Original Series. I believe it is a known fact that somewhere in the multi-verse is another version of you who is evil. And evil you definitely has evil looking facial hair. Thanks to Star Trek and the Mirror Universe, we have Spock’s slick Vulcan goatee. But is it really the facial hair’s fault that alterna-you is evil? And why is all of this facial hair evil in the first place?
  3. Orc Dave in the comic Rat Queens. So, not all beards are evil. Have you ever wanted to grow your facial hair for a good cause? Look no further than Orc Dave in the Dungeons & Dragons inspired comic series Rat Queens. When Orc Dave heals a person wounded in battle, his beard sprouts bluebirds. So, it’s both excellent facial hair and home to small wildlife. 

4. Detective Poirot Mysteries. Maybe you’re not really a beard type of person. Maybe you are more into mustaches. If this is the case, there are few mustaches as notorious as that of the one belonging to Detective Hercule Poirot. You can read about the glory that is his meticulous mustache in the books by Agatha Christie, or you can see the mustache in action on David Suchet on the television series (both at FDL) or check out Kenneth Branaugh as Poirot in the film adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express, opening this weekend.

5. Singh from A Crown for Cold Silver by Alex Marshall. It would be rude of me to leave ladies off of this list as they are also capable of growing excellent facial hair if they so choose. Singh is not a major character in the first book of this dark fantasy trilogy but she plays a major role in the life of our main character, Zosia. She’s also a dual blade wielding war machine with the most glorious mustache in all the land.

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.

imagine, inform, inspire