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FDL Reads: One for Sorrow

Cover image for One for Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn

Reviewed by: Elizabeth Anderson, Communications Assistant

Genre: Horror

Suggested Age: Tweens, Teens

What is the book about?: When Annie starts attending a new school, one of her classmates, an outcast named Elsie, claims her as her very best friend. Elsie is unusual, dishonest, and unpleasant. Annie is quick to extract herself from the relationship in order to fit in with the other girls in the class. When Elsie dies of the flu, her vengeful spirit possesses Annie, forces her to do her bidding, and does her best to claim Annie as her friend for always.

My Review: This story contains elements of Hahn’s flare for historical fiction as well as ghost stories. Set at the end of World War I, the book contains well integrated facts and details about the time period and the influenza epidemic. Hahn’s novels typically craft characters that are imperfect, but lovable. This novel was no exception when it came to the flawed aspects of the characters, but it struck me as one of her more extreme works in terms of the mean spiritedness and sometimes downright hateful and disrespectful behavior of the core group of characters. While I typically wince at a character’s mistake and continue to root for them, I found myself a bit detached from the characters in this book because none of them had many endearing qualities, nor did the events of the story seem to cultivate positive traits in a genuine way. This novel exchanges characterization for a fairly solid and eventful plot, however, so if a reader is more interested in the story itself than the characters, this book will not disappoint. While it is not a “scary” ghost story, it is a troubling narrative in terms of the cruelty and malice of the characters, as well as the frustrating and upsetting ramifications of Annie’s possession by Elsie’s ghost.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Hatefulness, insanity, illness

Give This a Try if You Like… The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall and Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn, and The Ghost of Ernie P. by Betty Ren Wright

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: Youth Media Awards 2018

ALA Youth Media Awards 2018

Last week was a big week. We had Galentine’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Fat Tuesday, and Ash Wednesday. The ALA (American Library Association) also announced their Youth Media Awards recipients, a pretty big deal in library land, and also a big deal for you who are interested in children’s and YA books. This is also a big deal for authors as new editions of their books are now released with one of the sweet medals showing they won on the cover. So, here are 2018’s Youth Media Awards, with links to library holdings. I have listed the major award winners only for the sake of brevity – to see all of the winners and honor books as well, click here.

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:
Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly – Four kids’ lives intertwine after a prank involving a guinea pig and a well. Will friendship triumph in this middle grade story of the perils of middle school life?

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:
Wolf in the Snow, illustrated and written by Matthew Cordell – A little girl and a wolf cub are both lost in the snaow. Can they help each other find their way home in this picture book?

Coretta Scott King Book Awards recognizing African American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults:
Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson, is the King Author Award winner – Jade needs to get out of her neighborhood if she’s going to succeed. She takes every opportunity she can, but some of those opportunities try to pigeonhole her into roles that don’t fit her at all.
Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets, illustrated by Ekua Holmes, is the King Illustrator Award winner – This is an anthology of poems celebrating great poets.

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour, is the 2018 Printz Award winner – Marin ran away from her old life. But now, 3000 miles away, she’s alone in her dorm during winter break and her best friend is coming to visit.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Award honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children:
The 2018 winner is Jacqueline Woodson, whose award-winning works include Brown Girl Dreaming, After Tupac & D Foster, Locomotion and Show Way.

Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults:
The 2018 winner is Angela Johnson. Her books include Heaven, Looking for Red, The First Part Last and Sweet, Hereafter.

Odyssey Award for best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States:
The Hate U Give, (link to audiobook) is the 2018 Odyssey Award winner. The book is written by Angie Thomas and narrated by Bahni Turpin – Star Carter is the only witness to her friend Khalil’s murder at the hands of a police officer. She now has to navigate life with pressure on all sides, trying to maintain peace in her community and her own safety and well being.

Stonewall Book Award–Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award given annually to English-language children’s and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience:
Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert – Suzette comes home from boarding school and doesn’t think she ever wants to go back. Her friends and family are here, including her brother,who has been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. But to complicate things, Suzette ends up falling for this amazing girl… the girl her brother loves.
The 57 Bus, written by Dashka Slater – Two teenagers from vastly different backgrounds spend 8 minutes together on the same bus. Their lives will never be the same.

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished book for beginning readers is:
Charlie & Mouse, written by Laurel Snyder and illustrated by Emily Hughes – Two brothers spend the day together, doing awesome brother things.

William C. Morris Award for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens:
The Hate U Give by by Angie Thomas (link to printed book) (see description above)

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: Oathbringer

Cover image for Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

Reviewed by: Jessica Reeves, Reference Specialist

Genre: Fantasy

Suggested Age: Adults, Teens

What is the book about?: This is the third book in Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive series. In each book, Sanderson focuses on one character’s past through flashbacks while also furthering the plot in the present. This book focuses on Dalinar Kholin’s past, one of the current political leaders. Throughout the first two books we see Dalinar as a man of honor who follows The Codes set forth in the titular book The Way of Kings (also the name of the first book in this series). Throughout this book’s flashbacks, we see a very different man: harsh, rash, unconcerned with decorum and the lives of others. We see his absolute lowest points and the devastating catalyst for the change into the better man he strives to be in the present.

As far as the current plot (without giving spoilers for the first two books), it focuses on the ongoing war between the Alethi, the human inhabitants of Roshar, and the Parshendi, humanoid inhabitants of Roshar with marbled skin and thick shell growing out of their bodies. There’s a bit of everything in this book: murder mystery, politics, love triangles, battling inner demons, and the multiple layers of war.

My Review: I read almost exclusively through audiobooks these days. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to start over and listen again. At 55 hours long, however, I decided to maybe give myself a breather. Michael Kramer and Kate Reading are amazing narrators, and the few inconsistent pronunciations/accents from the first couple of books were corrected in this book. I’m sure it’s hard to keep it all straight between two narrators in an epic level fantasy series dealing with made up cultures and names. The pacing in this book was good, though I did find myself drifting in a few places waiting for people to make decisions. After the epic climax of the last book, we needed some down time to recuperate before the next epic climax of this book, and it did not disappoint.

I will say I was disappointed by some reactions from characters that I felt were, well, out of character and unrealistic. I can’t really go into that without spoilers, but it involved the fact that Sanderson changed the ending of the second book post-production, and that was not updated in the audio version. Even with the change, though, I felt certain reactions were still unrealistic on some characters’ parts. You’ll have to tell me if you agree or not!

Three Words That Describe This Book: Epic, Exhilarating, Fantastical

Give This a Try if You Like… Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, Skyrim, Lord of the Rings.

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: David and Goliath

Cover image for David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell

Reviewed by: Carey Gibbons, Reference Specialist

Genre: Non-fiction, Social Science

Suggested Age: Adults, Teens

What is the book about?: Malcolm Gladwell has written a lot of social science oriented books that take human behavior and attempt to look at them from different angles. He does the same in David and Goliath, and specifically looks at situations where an individual appears to have a clear disadvantage when facing adversity and ends up triumphing despite, or perhaps because of, their supposed disadvantage. Gladwell looks at multiple cases, from mega-rich entrepreneurs who grew up with dyslexia to the phenomenon of super successful and powerful adults who suffered the hardship of losing one or both parents. Gladwell also looks at how too much of a good thing can become detrimental.

My Review: A patron once asked me for this book and referred to it as a “thinking book.” I really like that description. This is a book that isn’t a very long or difficult read, but will make you rethink the way you perceive certain aspects of life. I very much enjoyed reading about the people in this book as individuals. But I think that Gladwell misses the mark in lumping them all together in a single book claiming that disadvantages can be beneficial. It’s true that they can – in some circumstances. But I didn’t feel that there was enough of a holistic approach to telling the stories of the people in this book. Gladwell only looked at their disadvantages. It’s not necessarily correct to say that x leads directly to y without examining all of the letters before and after. So, while this is an interesting and perhaps inspiring book, it’s important to read it with a grain of salt.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Thoughtful, Inspiring, Emotional

Give This a Try if You Like… Freakonomics, Penn and Teller: Bullsh*t!, underdog sports movies

Rating: 3.5/5

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: February 9th is National Pizza Day

Omnomnom

National Pizza Day!

Friday, February 9th, is National Pizza Day. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited. I love pizza. I’m a native New Yorker, so NY style pizza will always be my favorite. But I have learned to love Chicago deep dish too. Pizza is kind of like a universal food, no matter how it’s served up.  Everyone also claims to have the best pizza – it’s a food we’re all pretty passionate about. So, FDL has you covered for all things pizza this coming Friday, or (if you’re like me) every day is National Pizza Day.

  • Do you like making your own pizzas? FDL has a number of recipe books for this if you’re looking for something more than your standard cheese and pepperoni combo. Check out The Ultimate Pizza by Pasquale Bruno, Jr. It covers everything from deep dish to desert. If it’s flat – it’s a pizza.
  • Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois are known for their books on home made bread, but they branch out a bit with Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day. This book is great for pizza in a hurry. It also includes gluten free and whole grain recipes.
  • Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough have a book called Pizza: Grill It, Bake, It, Love It! Most people think of baking a pizza, whether it’s in a traditional or brick oven. But I have had grilled pizza before, and while I can’t speak to this book’s recipes specifically, I can say that grilled pizza is surprisingly delicious.
  • If you’re more in the mood to watch TV and order pizza out, FDL has seasons 1-4 of Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place. This is your chance to check out Ryan Reynolds before he was Deadpool.
  • And for the little ones, pizza is a great starter food for kids who are interested in cooking. It can be as easy or difficult as you want to make it. Check out the pizza and pasta volume from The Little Chef series. And then as a bedtime story, we have Pizza Kittens by Charlotte Voake. It tells the story of three kittens who really want pizza for dinner and their long-suffering parents who just want them to behave.

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: Artemis

Cover image for Artemis by Andy Weir

Reviewed by: Jonathan Richardson, Reference Assistant

Genre: Science Fiction

Suggested Age: Adults, Teens

What is the book about?: In the near-future, humans have colonized the moon and turned the city of Artemis into a booming tourist attraction.  Jasmine “Jazz” Bashara is one of the city’s permanent residents, scraping by after a few poor life choices.  Jazz works as a courier, making deliveries throughout the city, not all of them exactly “legal.”  Her reputation as the best smuggler on the moon leads to her being approached by a wealthy businessman with a fiendish plan, and the promise of a huge payout that would mean the end of her troubles.  Of course, things never work out as planned…

My Review: Andy Weir’s first novel, The Martian, was a huge success, so there was a lot of excitement for Artemis long before it was released.  The two books are similar: both books incorporate large amounts of scientific facts and current technologies to create a realistic and believable sci-fi story, both books focus mainly on a single, relatable character and their point-of-view, and both books throw a never-ending series of seemingly over-the-top complications in the protagonist’s path.  However, I don’t think this book lived up to the hype surrounding it.  There are a few instances where the plot is a tad generic (even if it *is* on the moon) or that you wish the characters were maybe a bit more complex.  That said, it is still a good read.  Weir does a great job of presenting how a lunar base would be designed, how its systems would function, and how its inhabitants would live.  There are also plenty of moments where Jazz channels her inner MacGyver to get out of a sticky situation.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Nerdy, Fan-Fiction, Heist

Give This a Try if You Like… The Expanse (SyFy Television Series), Moon (2009 Movie), Michael Crichton novels, 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

Rating: 3.5/5

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: Sailing Alone Around the Room

Cover image for Sailing Alone Around the Room by Billy Collins

Reviewed by: Dawn Dickey, Library Volunteer

Genre: Poetry

Suggested Age: Adults, Teens

What is the book about?: You might know former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins from his creation of Poetry 180, a project Collins started to make poetry more accessible and acquaint high school students with the finest poets of our times. In Sailing Alone Around the Room, Collins’s poems touch on all aspects of life.  His poignant “In Memoriam” dedication of the book to his late mother and father sets the tone for the volume, as the poems examine everyday life in quiet or unexpected moments, grief and joy.

My Review: We all have things we enjoy doing. I enjoy reading, although I’ve never considered myself a poetry person. But I love the poems in this collection!  Filled with humor, irony, and imagery, the poems in Sailing Alone Around the Room are short – many just one page – but exquisitely crafted and emotionally engaging. Witness, for example, the sentiment in the poem “Another Reason Why I Don’t Keep a Gun in the House,” which begins:  “The neighbors’ dog will not stop barking.”  And perhaps during a wakeful night you, like me, can identify with the feelings in the poem “Insomnia”:  “someone inside me will not / get off his tricycle, / will not stop tracing the same tight circle / on the same green threadbare carpet.”

Although sometimes people can find reading poetry to be difficult, Collins excels at describing thoughts and feelings that we all have in common. Don’t be afraid to check out this book and read a poem or three or the whole book! You’ll enjoy it!

Three Words That Describe This Book: emotion, humor, thoughtful

Give This a Try if You Like… Gabbie Hanna or Tracy K. Smith (current U.S. poet laureate)

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: 5 Minute Facial Workout

Cover image for 5 Minute Facial Workout by Catherine Pez

Reviewed by: Jessica Reeves, Reference Specialist

Genre: Face Workout (it’s a genre now)

Suggested Age: Everyone

Today we’re posting FDL’s first video book review ever! Enjoy!
https://youtu.be/8c6CzgjavNA

 

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: Shadow and Bone

Cover image for Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Reviewed by: Joscelyn Lockwood, Youth Services Assistant

Genre: Fantasy

Suggested Age: Teens, Adults

What is the book about?: Alina Sarkova is an orphan, raised in the household of a Duke known for taking on charity cases. Drafted into the army with her childhood best friend Mal, a dormant power reveals itself to save his life… and change Alina’s forever. She’s swept away to the capital, to be trained as a Grisha under the enigmatic Darkling. The Grisha are treated as a Second Army in Ravka, using their magic, often referred to as “small science” to provide support to the First Army. Attacked on all fronts, the nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold. A strange, almost living swatch of darkness filled with monsters and crossed only by the bravest, or most foolhardy, people. But Ravka, its ruling family, and its people, will soon find out that they have more to worry about than just the Fold.

My Review: Admittedly, what hooked me into this book was the description of magic and the Grishas. What kept me reading? Wanting to know how it would end. There were some annoying inconsistencies, and most of the time, I couldn’t stand Alina or the superficial Grisha.  But I ended up caring about other characters in the story, especially as I got into the second and third books. Overall, it was enjoyable but a bit unremarkable in the ever-growing field of YA books available.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Decent, Enjoyable, a Bit Predictable

Give This a Try if You Like… Quick reads, happily ever after.

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!

imagine, inform, inspire