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What does a library branch look like without any books or people in it?

April 12, 2016 by Reader's Connection



If you haven’t noticed elsewhere on our website, this is National Library Week. We’re all celebrating in different ways, and the gargoyle at the East Washington Branch–who also lives at the top of this blog page–is going fishing.


No, wait, that’s not true.



The branch really is closed, though. It is being renovated, and will remain closed for the month of April. At some point (we’ll keep you posted) a temporary location will open, and the renovated East Washington will open later in 2016.




After the branch had closed, Manager Doriene Smither took some pictures, and if you’ve ever wondered what a library looks like without the people and books in it, have a look at these pictures. There are more of them on East Washington’s Facebook page.



While the branch is closed, please visit nearby branches like Spades Park or Irvington, or any other branch in the system.



An artist’s rendering of the renovated East Washington Branch

When East Washington re-opens,  7,800 square feet will have been added. Additional seating, ADA access (with a new accessible entrance and an elevator) will be provided, and there will be two private study rooms, a children’s program meeting room, and a new computer lab with 20 computers.

Happy National Library Week! (Share your library story with us.)


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Love Beneath the Covers – a film followed by a discussion among romance authors

April 11, 2016 by Reader's Connection

Convicted“Love Between the Covers” is a documentary that follows five published romance authors as they navigate the ever-changing world of romance publishing. The film will be shown in Central Library‘s Clowes Auditorium on Saturday, April 23 at 2:00 pm.


RebelFollowing the film, a panel of local romance authors will share their stories and give advice to prospective authors. The discussion will be moderated by Ava Cuvay, and the featured authors will be Gina Dryer, Donya Lynne, Cheryl Brooks, Aleatha Romig and A.D. Ellis.


For Nicky
This program is presented in partnership with the Indiana Romance Writers of America.




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The Heart

April 7, 2016 by Reader's Connection

The Heart

Maylis de Kerangal’s new novel is about a heart transplant, and it was originally written in French, but don’t yawn. The Heart is thrilling. How often do I use that word?

We meet Simon Limbres, a devoted surfer who is injured, and we meet the doctor who understands that Simon’s injury is so severe as to make him a potential donor. We meet the nurse who awaits a phone call in connection with a passionate love affair, while she cares (very conscientiously) for the boy in his coma; and we meet the male nurse who sings as a form of therapy and who owns an expensive goldfinch (who also sings). This is the fellow who organizes transplants.

And we meet Simon’s parents. There’s a scene I can’t describe, for fear of giving too much away; but it takes place by a river, with a barge passing in front of Simon’s parents, and it moved me to tears. (How often do I admit that?)

The narrator is a jazz artist, sometimes knowing what’s going on in her character’s minds and sometimes not. Here, sitting in his office at the hospital, is Pierre Révol–the doctor who has realized the depths of Simon’s coma.




Huh? In all likelihood? What kind of story-teller is this?

The mention of the peyote-memory turns out to make sense–it fits with the medical situation at hand–but I love the way de Kerangal weaves around (sometimes inside, sometimes not) the minds of her heroic characters.

And in this reader’s eyes they are heroic, not because they always behave well, or are brave at all moments, but because they are so alive as humans that they give me a charge. They remind me that I’m human, and I’m grateful.

If you think I’m gushing, most of the reviews that you can reach from our catalog are in agreement with me. The exception would be the review in Kirkus, but that critic needs to have some organs inspected.

The Heart is also available as a downloadable e-book.


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Fairy Tales with a Twist

April 4, 2016 by Reader's Connection

From Selector Emily Chandler: Since the beginning of time, people of all ages have delighted in the magic of fairy tales and folklore. Passed down from generation to generation, many of these tales have transcended centuries, oceans, and even cultures. Their influence is absolute, producing works featuring beloved fairy tale characters film, stage, and literature. Their popularity is so widespread, in fact, that many tales have been retold and rewoven into modern adaptations. Here are some adult fiction titles that offer a different approach to some popular fairy tales!


Brackston, Paula   Gretel and the Case of the Missing Frog Prints: a Brothers Grimm Mystery

Gretel and the Case of the Missing Frog Prints: a Brothers Grimm Mystery

Bavaria, 1776. When Albrecht Durer the Much Much Younger’s Frog Prints go missing, he knows exactly where to turn for help. Gretel (yes, that Gretel), now thirty-five and still living with her gluttonous brother Hans, is the country’s most famous private investigator, and she leaps at the opportunity to travel to cosmopolitan Nuremberg to take on the case. But amid the hubbub of the city’s annual sausage festival, Gretel struggles to find any clues that point toward the elusive thief — Dust jacket flap.




Card, Orson Scott   Enchantment



In a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty tale, American graduate student Ivan stumbles upon a mysterious sleeping maiden in the Carpathian forest whom he awakens with a kiss, setting in motion a series of events encompassing the modern world and a world that vanished a thousand years ago. — From the library’s catalog







Chance, Maia   Snow White Red-Handed

Snow White Red-Handed

Miss Ophelia Flax is a Victorian actress who knows all about making quick changes and even quicker exits. But to solve a fairy-tale crime in the haunted Black Forest, she’ll need more than a bit of charm. 1867: After being fired from her latest variety hall engagement, Ophelia acts her way into a lady’s maid position for a crass American millionaire. But when her new job whisks her off to a foreboding castle straight out of a Grimm tale, she begins to wonder if her fast-talking ways might have been too hasty. The vast grounds contain the suspected remains of Snow White’s cottage, along with a disturbing dwarf skeleton. And when her millionaire boss turns up deadpoisoned by an apple, the fantastic setting turns into a once upon a crime scene. To keep from rising to the top of the suspect list, Ophelia fights through a bramble of elegant lies, sinister folklore, and priceless treasure, with only a dashing but mysterious scholar as her ally. And as the clock ticks towards midnight, she’ll have to break a cunning killer’s spell before her own time runs out — Publisher’s description


Cunningham, Michael   A Wild Swan: and Other Tales

 A Wild Swan: and Other Tales

Fairy tales for our times from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours. A poisoned apple and a monkey’s paw with the power to change fate; a girl whose extraordinarily long hair causes catastrophe; a man with one human arm and one swan’s wing; and a house deep in the forest, constructed of gumdrops and gingerbread, vanilla frosting and boiled sugar. In A Wild Swan and Other Tales, the people and the talismans of lands far, far away–the mythic figures of our childhoods and the source of so much of our wonder–are transformed by Michael Cunningham into stories of sublime revelation. Here are the moments that our fairy tales forgot or deliberately concealed: the years after a spell is broken, the rapturous instant of a miracle unexpectedly realized, or the fate of a prince only half cured of a curse. The Beast stands ahead of you in line at the convenience store, buying smokes and a Slim Jim, his devouring smile aimed at the cashier. A malformed little man with a knack for minor acts of wizardry goes to disastrous lengths to procure a child. A loutish and lazy Jack prefers living in his mother’s basement to getting a job, until the day he trades a cow for a handful of magic beans. Reimagined by one of the most gifted storytellers of his generation, and exquisitely illustrated by Yuko Shimizu, rarely have our bedtime stories been this dark, this perverse, or this true. — From the library’s catalog


Maguire, Gregory   Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister


A retelling of the classic fairy tale of Cinderella, told from the point of view of one of the ugly stepsisters, turns the entire legend around in a thoughtful look at what it means to be beautiful.– Publisher’s description








Novik, Naomi   Uprooted

UprootedOnce every ten years, a powerful wizard known as the Dragon chooses one young woman from Agnieszka’s valley and spirits her away to his enchanted tower. Agnieszka expects him to take her best friend, Kasia, who’s beautiful, clever, and brave. However, when Agnieszka is chosen instead of Kasia, she discovers untapped talents, challenges the Dragon’s rules (and patience), and battles the malevolent influence of the nearby enchanted Wood in order to save the people she loves. Based on Polish folklore, this stand-alone novel by Temeraire series author Naomi Novik, is a fantastical coming-of-age tale combining magic, warfare, politics, and romance. —from NoveList


Oyeyemi, Helen   Boy, Snow, Bird

Boy, Snow, Bird

In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty– the opposite of the life she’s left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman. A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she’d become, but the birth of Boy’s daughter, Bird, who is dark-skinned, exposes the Whitmans as light-skinned African Americans passing for white. Now Boy, Snow, and Bird must confront the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold. — Publisher’s description


Pinborough, Sarah   Beauty



Offers a steamy re-telling of the classic tale of a beautiful princess slumbering under a curse that can only broken by a true love’s kiss. — From the library’s catalog








Turgeon, Carolyn   Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale

Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale


Falling in love with a prince whose rescue by a mermaid she secretly witnessed, Princess Margrethe is promised in marriage to the prince to bring peace to their warring kingdoms only to discover that he has taken a familiar-looking lover. By the author of Godmother: A Secret Cinderella Story. —Publisher’s description







Valentine, Genevieve   The Girls at the Kingfisher Club

The Girls at the Kingfisher Club

This reimagining of the “Twelve Dancing Princesses” traces the story of a family of flappers who work in a 1920s speakeasy until their suspicious father decides to marry them off, prompting a confrontation with a bootlegger from the eldest sister’s past. — from the library’s catalog



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LibraryReads for April

March 31, 2016 by Reader's Connection

Yo-ho! A boatload of Midwestern reviews this time! Three from Illinois alone! But the east & west coasts are reporting in, too. Hope you enjoy these April releases.


Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld

Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice
Love, sex, and relationships in contemporary Cincinnati provide an incisive social commentary set in the framework of Pride and Prejudice. Sittenfeld’s inclusion of a Bachelor-like reality show is a brilliant parallel to the scrutiny placed on characters in the neighborhood balls of Jane Austen’s novel, and readers will have no question about the crass nature of the younger Bennets, or the pride—and prejudice—of the heroine. — Leslie DeLooze, Richmond Memorial Library, Batavia, NY



The Obsession by Nora Roberts

The Obsession
Readers who love romantic thrillers will be mesmerized by the latest Roberts offering. The suspense kept me up all night! Naomi Carson, a successful young photographer, has moved across the country and fallen in love. She thinks she has escaped her past, but instead finds that the sins of her father have become an obsession. The serial killer premise makes it a tough read for the faint-hearted, but sticking with it leads to a thrilling conclusion. —
Marilyn Sieb, L. D. Fargo Public Library, Lake Mills, WI



The Murder of Mary Russell: A Novel of Suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes by Laurie R. King

The Murder of Mary Russell
Worried about Mary Russell? Well, you should be. She’s opened her door to the wrong man and deeply troubling secrets are set to tumble out, rewriting her history and putting herself and the people she loves in a dangerous spot. Once again, King spins a tantalizing tale of deception and misdirection for her readers’ delight and scores a direct hit in her latest Russell-Holmes mystery. — Deborah Walsh, Geneva Public Library District, Geneva, IL




‘Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick

‘Til Death Do Us Part
Gothic atmosphere meets tender romance in Quick’s latest Victorian era tour de force. Calista Langley asks crime novelist Trent Hastings for assistance in unmasking a twisted secret admirer that seems to have singled her out, and the two become tangled up in more than just an investigation. Quick perfectly balances setting, characters, plot, and relationship development–the end result being a story that will delight her legion of fans, as well as earn her new ones. — Sharon Layburn, South Huntington Public Library, Huntington Station, NY


Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Lilac Girls
This is story of the Ravensbruck Rabbits: seventy-four women prisoners in the Ravensbruck concentration camp. Using alternating first-person narratives, the characters relate their experiences from 1939 through 1959. Drawing upon a decade of research, Hall reconstructs what life was like in Ravensbruck. More than a war story, this is a tale of how the strength of women’s bonds can carry them through even the most difficult situations. Lilac Girls is a solid, compelling historical read. — Andrea Larson, Cook Memorial Public Library, Libertyville, IL


The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts by Joshua Hammer

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts
For centuries, Arabic manuscripts were collected by private households in Mali, particularly Timbuktu: gilded manuscripts painted with real gold, showing vibrantly colored illustrations of nature. These highly valued manuscripts were handed down within families who acted as caretakers. As radicalized Muslim leaders came into power, the manuscripts were seen as corruptions of true Islam, requiring intervention. History and adventure at its best. — Marika Zemke, Commerce Township Public Library, Commerce Township, MI


Every Heart a Doorway
by Seanan McGuire

 Every Heart a Doorway
What happens to children who find a doorway into a fantasy land, and then come back into the mundane world? It’s certainly not a happily ever after scenario for these children, but those that find their way to Eleanor West’s school are learning to cope. Shortly after Nancy comes to the school, a series of horrific events occur. It’s up to her and others at the school to figure out who is committing these atrocities. This book is so wonderfully written. — Jennifer Kelley, Kershaw County Library, Camden, SC



Best of My Love by Susan Mallery

Best of My Love
Shelby has a plan to help herself overcome her relationship issues: asking Aiden to be her friend. Aiden agrees, because he realizes that he does not treat women very well and wants to learn how to treat them right, even though he doesn’t want to get married. The situation seems to work well for both Aiden and Shelby, until they realize they feel much more than friendship for each other. Mallery never fails to deliver a great story full of love and friendship. Another fantastic read. — Jenelle Klavenga, Marshalltown Public Library, Marshalltown, IA



A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain

A Murder in Time

Kendra is a smart, confident protagonist who is familiar with the hustle it takes to stay afloat in a male-dominated profession. Thrown into a situation completely alien to her, she manages to assimilate to her surroundings, albeit roughly, while using her wits to catch a ruthless killer. She can be abrasive, and I found myself cringing, curling my toes, and muttering out loud. It will be fun to watch her mature in future books. McElwain has created a highly entertaining story. — Randee J Bybee, Upland Public Library, Upland, CA



Tuesday Nights in 1980 by Molly Prentiss

Tuesday Nights in 1980

Following the lives of three individuals in New York on the cusp of 1980, this book was structured in such a unique and original way. Lucy is in her early twenties, experiencing life in a big city; James who after college finds himself the reigning critic of the art world and Raul, escaping the post Peron Dirty War in Argentina will find himself the art world’s new favorite; these three will find their lives entwined in many ways. A tragic accident will change all these characters and others close to them. This is a wonderful book that I wasn’t ready to finish. — Diane Scholl, Batavia Public Library, Batavia, IL



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