February 29, 2016 by Reader's Connection
The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson
Fans of Simonson’s Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand have reason to rejoice. She has created another engaging novel full of winsome characters, this time set during the summer before the outbreak of World War I. Follow the story of headstrong, independent Beatrice Nash and kind but stuffy surgeon-in-training Hugh Grange along with his formidable Aunt Agatha. Make a cup of tea and prepare to savor every page! — Paulette Brooks, Elm Grove Public Library, Elm Grove, WI
Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye
Jane Steele is a great read for lovers of Victorian literature who especially love their characters to have a lot of pluck! Jane Steele is the adventurous, irreverent, foul-mouthed broad that I so often loved about Jane Eyre, but in more wily circumstances. Remember that fabulous scene in Jane Eyre when she stands up to her aunt for the first time, and how you wanted to stand up from your comfy reading chair and cheer for her? Imagine an entire book just of those sorts of scenes. Absolutely fabulous fun! — Abbey Stroop, Herrick District Library, Holland, MI
The Passenger by Lisa Lutz
This is a compulsively readable story of a young woman who has to keep switching identities and stay on the run. Is she a reliable narrator or not? What was the original event that sent her on the run? There is a lot of action and suspense as she tries to survive and evade the law while trying to keep her moral center intact. Unlike Lutz’s Spellman books, this reads more like a Charles Portis road novel, though considerably more serious and dangerous. Highly recommended. — Beth DeGeer, Bartlesville Public Library, Bartlesville, OK
Marked in Flesh: A Novel of the Others by Anne Bishop
In this thrilling installment, Bishop continues to explore the relationships of The Others and the humans who live at the Lakeside compound. Meanwhile, Humans First and Last organization has been making themselves known, after the attacks in the previous book that killed numerous Others along with their “Wolf Lover” friends, they are not backing down. Little do they know it’s not the Others humans need to be wary of but the Elders for which the Others act as a buffer. This is an excellent installment in the novels of the Others, exciting, heart-wrenching and suspenseful. — Emily Peros, Denver Public Library, Denver, CO
The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
If you think your family is dysfunctional, move over, because here come the Plumbs. Suddenly faced with the dismantling of the nest egg they’ve counted on to solve their financial woes, the four Plumb siblings have to grow up, and fast. But though they all do some terrible things in the name of ambition, there’s something lovable about the Plumbs. You can’t fail to be moved by the beating heart of this novel, which seems to say that family, for good or ill, unites us all. — Mary Kinser, Whatcom County Library System, Bellingham, WA
Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben
Coben has made me lose more sleep over the years than all my other favorite authors combined. Joe Burkett has been murdered in front of his wife Maya. They have a two year old daughter who has a nanny. After the funeral, a friend gives her a picture frame that hides a camera so she can check on the care the nanny is providing her daughter. She watches the recording. Can she believe what she saw? Is she going crazy? Both? Buy a ticket for the coaster and find out for yourself. Keep your hands inside the car; it’s going to be a wild ride. — Lisa Sprague, Public Services Librarian, Enfield Public Library, Enfield, CT
The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell
Meet Samantha Whipple, a descendant of the Bronte family, who arrives at Oxford to study literature, as her father did before her. She receives a copy of Jane Eyre – a volume that she thought was destroyed in the fire that took her father’s life. When a second Bronte novel belonging to her father turns up, she is convinced he has staged an elaborate treasure hunt for her promised inheritance. Enlisting the help of her sexy, young professor,Samantha sets out on a quest to find buried treasure and learns the value of friendship and courage along the way. — Kristen McCallum, Algonquin Area Public Library, Algonquin, IL
Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
This is the first in a prequel series to Quinn’s popular Bridgerton series, set a generation earlier.
Billie Bridgerton spent her childhood running wild with the neighboring Rokesbys, Andrew, Edward, and Mary. Now she runs the family estate for her father and still runs as wild as she can. The eldest Rokesby, George, never really approved of Billie, but when he rescues her from a roof they begin to come to a new understanding. — Mary Aileen Buss, Long Beach Public Library, NY
Dimestore: A Writer’s Life by Lee Smith
Evenly divided between a book about Smith’s process and her life, first as a Southern mountain child and, later, as the parent of a schizophrenic child, this book is interesting and compelling. Despite being surrounded by loving family and being blessed with an active imagination, Lee copes with a mentally ill mother. Later, her son’s mental illness and early death brings her to the breaking point but she is saved by her writing. This is a read-alike for Karr’s The Liars Club. It desperately needs a cinematic translation for it’s elegant and evocative writing. — Lois Gross, Hoboken Public Library, Hoboken, NJ
All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage
When the Clare family purchases a ramshackle farmhouse at a foreclosure auction, it appears that all is well in their world, until George comes home one evening from his job as an Art History Professor at the local private college and finds his wife murdered and their three-year-old untended yet unharmed. Told through the eyes of the townspeople and the families involved, this is a gorgeously unsettling look at a marriage and what happens to a community in the process of change. — Jennifer Dayton, Darien Library, Darien, CT
Lion in Kruger National Park, South Africa was posted at Wikimedia Commons by Chris Eason.
Lamb, Stodmarsh, Kent, England was posted at Wikimedia Commons by Keven Law.
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February 25, 2016 by Reader's Connection
From Selector Jessica Lawrence: 2015 brought us some fantastic book-to-movie adaptations including The Martian, Carol, The Revenant, Room, and Still Alice. Let’s take a peek at Publisher Weekly’s ten most anticipated book adaptations for 2016.
1. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (December 25)
Ransom Riggs’s blockbuster novel and Tim Burton seem like a perfect match, and expectations couldn’t be higher for the Christmas release. The story follows 16-year-old Jacob, who helps protect a group of peculiar orphaned children from the horrible creatures who are out to destroy them. The cast includes Asa Butterfield, Eva Green, Chris O’Dowd, Terence Stamp, Allison Janney, Rupert Everett, Judi Dench, and Samuel L. Jackson, and Danny Elfman will do the score.
2. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (November 18)
J. K. Rowling makes her screenwriting debut in this spin-off from the world of Harry Potter. The film depicts the adventures of writer Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book. David Yates, who directed the final four Harry Potter movies, is on board, as are Colin Farrell, Jon Voight, Samantha Morton, and Ron Perlman.
3. The Girl on the Train (October 7)
Production just started on this one back in October, but we already have our first look at Emily Blunt as Rachel Watson, who witnesses something shocking and starts to realize that she may have been involved. The movie is directed by Tate Taylor (The Help) and the cast includes Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, and Justin Theroux. Time will tell if The Girl on the Train can match Gone Girl‘s $167 million take back in 2014.
4. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (November 11)
Ben Fountain’s 2012 novel, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, is about an infantryman recounting the final hours before he and his fellow soldiers return to Iraq. And it’s in good hands for its adaptation: Ang Lee is directing, the screenplay is by Slumdog Millionaire writer Simon Beaufoy, and the cast includes Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Vin Diesel, Steve Martin, and Chris Tucker.
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is also available as a downloadable audiobook.
5. The Jungle Book (April 15)
Directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), Kipling’s classic gets a a live-action and CGI treatment. Voices include Christopher Walken (King Louie), Ben Kingsley (Bagheera), Bill Murray (Baloo), Idris Elba (Shere Khan), Lupita Nyong’o (Raksha), and Scarlett Johansson as Kaa.
6. The BFG (March 23)
Roald Dahl’s book was already adapted for television back in 1989, but this year’s version ditches animation for live action and CGI, and is directed by Steven Spielberg. The story revolves around a girl named Sophie and the Big Friendly Giant, who is considered an outcast by the other giants because he refuses to eat boys and girls.
7. The Divergent Series: Allegiant (March 18)
The final book of the Divergent trilogy, Allegiant, has been split into two films, beginning with 2016’s Allegiant and concluding with Ascendant, to be released on June 6, 2017. The story follows Beatrice Prior and Tobias Eaton venturing into the world outside of the fence and getting taken into protective custody by a mysterious agency known as the Bureau of Genetic Welfare. 2014’s Divergent and 2015’s
Insurgent grossed $150 million and $130 million, respectively.
8. Inferno (October 14)
The fourth book in Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series gets the big-screen treatment, with Ron Howard returning as director and Tom Hanks returning as Langdon. This time, Langdon wakes up in a Florence hospital room with no memory of how he got there, only to find that he’s the focus of a manhunt. The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons grossed $217 million and $133 million, respectively.
9. A Monster Calls (October 14)
Based on Patrick Ness’s 2011 novel, which won the Carnegie Medal, this fantasy story has found the perfect director in Juan Antonio Bayona, the man behind cult favorite The Orphanage. The movie, about a boy coping with his mother’s terminal illness through the help of a tree monster, stars Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, and Liam Neeson as the Monster.
10. Silence (Release date in 2016 to be announced)
Martin Scorsese’s passion project barely makes the list because it’s been on-and-off for over 10 years now, but with the film hitting post-production last May, it seems 2016 is the year it’s finally released. Based on Shūsaku Endō’s 1966 novel and set in the 17th century, the story follows two Jesuit priests (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) traveling to Japan to find their mentor (Liam Neeson).
Discover all of these titles and more at the Indianapolis Public Library!
NOTE: Descriptions provided by Publishers Weekly.
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February 22, 2016 by Reader's Connection
Nonfiction this month covers the Galveston hurricane of 1900, the Crispus Attucks basketball hurricanes of 1955 and 1956, a 16-year-old who sets off to sail around the world, and the sinking of a British ocean liner. The fiction takes in Seattle, the dust bowl, the planet Mars and each of the Carolinas. And poor Isabel Archer is still overseas (at Spades Park).
The sinking of the British ocean liner Lusitania in 1915 is one of a trio (including the iceberg-wounded Titanic in 1912 and the Italian liner Andrea Doria, which collided with another liner on the high seas in 1956) of the most dramatic and most remembered maritime disasters of the twentieth century. With the narrative skills shown so effectively in his The Devil in the White City (2003), a lively account of Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair, Larson reconstructs the last and fatal voyage of what was widely considered the most beautiful ship of the day, the giant four-stacker Lusitania. Reader engrossment is tightly sustained as we move back and forth between the Lusitania on its return from New York City to its home port of Liverpool under a black cloud of warnings that the imperial German government considered the waters around Britain to be a war zone, and the rapacious German submarine U-20, stalking the seas for prey like a lion on the Serengeti. Factual and personal to a high degree, the narrative reads like a grade-A thriller. — Booklist
“The Celebration of The Grapes of Wrath“ continues in March at three locations.
Warren Library Thursday, March 3rd at 10:30 a.m.
Bookmamas Bookstore (9 S. Johnson Avenue) Saturday, March 5th at 1:30 p.m.
Franklin Road Library Monday, March 7th at 6:30 p.m.
Share your thoughts about John Steinbeck’s classic, in a discussion led by an expert from the Indiana Writers Center. Attendees will receive a discounted ticket to the storytelling performance of “Steinbeck Out Loud” told by Carol Birch presented on March 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Indiana History Center. This program is presented in partnership with Storytelling Arts of Indiana and the Indiana Writers Center.
Dear blog readers: I have been misinforming you for the past two months.
They will not begin to read that novel until Friday, March 4th.
And not only that. The reading will occur at the East 38th Street Library, not at Spades Park. The group has moved!
Join them on the Fridays in March–the 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th–from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. Or 12:00 noon.
Read aloud, if you get a turn, or simply listen. Enjoy the refreshments and the poem.
In his mega-best-selling debut, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Ford depicted a star-crossed romance during the fateful years of World War II. His new work depicts another star-crossed romance, but the real love here is between mother and son. On a movie outing, William Eng, a Chinese American boy at the repressive Sacred Heart Orphanage in 1930s Seattle, sees the beautiful actress Willow Frost on-screen and is convinced that she is his mother. Later, with close friend Charlotte, he breaks out of the orphanage (in a bookmobile, no less) to hunt for Willow. He finds her quickly (an interesting twist, as one initially expects the novel to focus on William’s journey), then hears her plaintive tale of actor parents lost early, an abusive stepfather, and love for a young Chinese man who seems on the verge of rescuing her. Then, as the narrative cuts between William’s confused reactions and the remainder of Willow’s story, both William and the reader come to realize what Willow has done to protect her son. VERDICT Writing in simple, unaffected language befitting both William and the young Willow, Ford delivers a tale his fans will certainly relish. — Library Journal
When Ana Mae Futrell dies, her estranged siblings reluctantly gather in Drapersville, North Carolina, for the funeral. But what JoJo, who had to pawn her wedding ring to pay for the flight from Vegas; Delcine, who goes by “Marguerite” in snootier DC circles; and Clayton, who brings his life partner from San Francisco, did not count on was the fact that their house-cleaner sister was a millionaire. And it’s all theirs–if they can decipher the clues in the quilt she left behind. They are up against Reverend Toussaint “Too Sweet” le Baptiste; Ana Mae’s best friend, Rosalee; and Ana Mae’s son, Howard–the son nobody knew about. This is just the first of many secrets Ana Mae’s siblings uncover, all the while learning what their sister meant to the town and, if they can set aside petty differences long enough, to each of them. Mason packs on the twists, with all the Futrells having dramas of their own as they put the pieces of Ana Mae’s life together. Readers will laugh, cry, and be glad they got to know Ana Mae and her crazy life. — Booklist
Hidden Riches is also available as a downloadable e-book.
“But They Can’t Beat Us!”: Oscar Robertson and the Crispus Attucks Tigers, by Randy Roberts, will be discussed at the Fountain Square Library on Thursday, March 10th at 1:30 p.m.
The 1986 film Hoosiers, based on the true story of tiny Milan High School’s 1954 state basketball championship, trafficked in familiar indiana images — a backboard and a hoop erected on a pole between a house and a field and a solitary boy arching a basketball against a backdrop of corn, soybeans, and the monotony of the rural Midwest. But in the 1950s another Hoosiers myth was taking shape, one in which urban, poor, black kids came together at Indianapolis’s Crispus Attucks High School and overcame greater obstacles and achieved even more than Milan. Led by a talented group of players that included Oscar Robertson and coached by the young and talented Ray Crowe, the Crispus Attucks Tigers won the state championship the next two years in a row, 1955 and 1956. In the first of those years it became the first all-black school to win a championship, and in the second it became the first undefeated state champion. Attucks also was the first Indianapolis team to win the state tournament, a result that brought about mixed emotions among many in the state capital. — Publisher’s note
“But They Can’t Beat Us!” is also available as a downloadable e-book.
Al Roker’s The Storm of the Century: Tragedy, Heroism, Survival, and the Epic True Story of America’s Deadliest Natural Disaster: the Great Gulf Hurricane of 1900 will be discussed at the Irvington Library on Thursday, March 10th at 1:30 p.m.
With hurricanes Sandy in 2012 and Katrina in 2005 still fresh in the collective American memory, it may be hard for most people to imagine that a hurricane far more deadly and devastating than either of these two storms struck the Gulf Coast on September 8, 1900. In this vivid and absorbing account of the infamous Great Galveston Hurricane, a landmark in meteorological history, beloved NBC weatherman Roker (Never Goin’ Back, 2012) covers both the larger international story surrounding the disaster and the individual stories of Galveston citizens who survived it. In addition to chronicling the events leading to the Texas tourist town’s vulnerability to violent weather, Roker also recounts his version of the tragic fate befalling Isaac Cline, the Galveston meteorologist profiled in Erik Larson’s best-seller Isaac’s Storm (1999). Unlike Larson, however, Roker also describes the heroic struggles of Galveston residents, such as painter Boyer Gonzalez and schoolteacher Daisy Thorne, to rescue themselves as well as other townspeople. History buffs and climate watchers alike will find Roker’s work both spellbinding and informative. — Booklist
Dorothea Benton Frank once again takes us deep into the heart of the magical Lowcountry where three amazing middle aged women are bonded by another amazing woman’s death. Through their shared loss they forge a deep friendship, asking critical questions. Who was their friend and what did her life mean? Are they living the lives they imagined for themselves? Will they ever be able to afford to retire? How will they maximize their happiness? Security? Health? And ultimately, their own legacies? — Publisher’s note
In 1965, 16-year-old Robin Lee Graham began a solo around-the-world voyage from San Pedro, California, in a 24-foot sloop. Five years and 33,000 miles later, he returned to home port with a wife and daughter and enough extraordinary experiences to fill this bestselling book, Dove. — Publisher’s note
Portal, the Indianapolis Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Discussion Group, will meet at the Glendale Library on Sunday, March 27th at 1:00 pm.
This month’s theme will be “Mars.” The Red Planet has appeared in a lot of science fiction – but there’s horror set there, too, and once in a while fantasy stories are set there.
BUT WAIT! ALL INDYPL LIBRARIES ARE CLOSED ON MARCH 27 IN OBSERVANCE OF EASTER!
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February 18, 2016 by Reader's Connection
Librarian Sherry Utterback continues her journey around Central, trying to read works by all the authors whose names are engraved on the walls:
The next author on our list was to have been Hugh de Groot, or as he is also known, Hugo Grotius. In a twist I didn’t see coming, we have none of his works at present (does anyone else find this amusing?). That situation is being remedied by our Selection department, and I will go ahead with the other authors, picking up Grotius when his books get here.
What about that John Milton? In a word, “WOW”! I loved every bit of his epic Paradise Lost, and I enjoyed the fact that it is a work I really had to concentrate on. The story of Satan and his band falling from Heaven and man’s expulsion from Eden is timeless, the cadence of the work and the language beautiful. What intrigued me perhaps most of all is the way Milton drew the characters of Satan and the fallen angels, not merely as the one dimensional embodiment of evil and sin, but as very real beings, with drive, motives, and personalities- evil, sly, sneaky personalities, but personalities nonetheless. Adam and Eve are shown as a very loving couple; in fact Adam loves Eve so much that he eats the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge because he cannot imagine life without her. In Eden, Adam, and to a lesser degree Eve, have direct relationships with the angels and with God, and these relationships change significantly after they eat the fruit. Clearly, they not only lost a place to live, but the gentle relationship with all of Heaven’s beings.
I originally chose the enhanced audiobook from the Overdrive portion of our website, and if you don’t know what an enhanced audiobook is, it contains both the recorded and print versions of the work. Sort of like a “buy one, get one free” offer.
Later, I decided that the better path for me was to simply listen to the poem, and I changed to the Blackstone Audiobooks version, narrated by Frederick Davidson [David Case]. Mr. Davidson’s delivery enhances the material, and from this it is easy to see why he is considered in the top tier of audiobook narrators with over 700 titles to his credit. Even if you don’t choose to listen to Paradise Lost, give another book he reads a try. I don’t think you will be disappointed.
John Milton (December 9, 1608 – November 8, 1674) was another overachiever like Aristotle, Marcus Aurelius and Francis Bacon. Milton was a linguist, fluent in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and Old English. In his life, he was a poet, essayist, pamphleteer and civil servant. He held and expressed strong feelings for personal freedom, including political and religious. Because of his Puritan beliefs and writings in 1649, the Council of State appointed him Secretary for Foreign Tongues, which mostly consisted of translating foreign dispatches into Latin.
Whatever else he did, Milton was first and foremost a writer. His writing was very personal: he wrote about friends as in the poem “Lycidias” on the death of a school friend as well as events in his life, such as his essay “On the Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce” after his wife left him. Being familiar with the classic works of Home and Virgil, Milton wanted to write the epic poem of the English language. His first thought was to write about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, but his faith and convictions led him to the subject of Man’s fall. By the time he began “Paradise Lost” in 1652, Milton was totally blind. He wrote his epic by composing and memorizing passages at night, and then dictating them the next day (I told you he was an overachiever!). When the poem came to publication in 1667, Milton was very unsure of how it would be received, and with good reason. At this time, Cromwell and the republicans were out of power, and the monarchy had been re- established under Charles II. Milton had many now powerful enemies, and was fortunate to have escaped execution for treason.
In addition to this, Milton was known as one who embraced and wrote about controversial ideas, such as his favorable view on divorce. Milton need not have feared, as his work was immediately praised as genius, even by his enemies. As further endorsement, John Dryden, a staunch royalist, asked for and got Milton’s permission to adapt “Paradise Lost” into a stage play, The State of Innocence. “Paradise Lost” has, in the 350 or so years since publication, received both positive and negative criticism, but it has been, and continues to be read.
Yes, I think that John Milton succeeded in his goal to write the great epic poem of the English language, and it is one that I can wholeheartedly recommend for your consideration.
[The Fall of Man and the portrait of John Milton are in the public domain and have been copied from Wikimedia Commons.]
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February 15, 2016 by Reader's Connection
The African-American Experience, The American Indian Experience and The Latino American Experience have joined the library’s other databases at ilibrary.org. Since we’re midway through African-American History Month, I’m going to look at The African-American Experience; but the three databases share many of the same features.
Click on the picture above to get started. (You’ll have to log in using your library barcode and PIN.)
The database is pretty easy to use, but here are a few pointers.
When you open one of the titles in the Perspectives section of the main page (I’m clicking on “The Great Emancipator”), you are taken to the opening section of an article.
Be sure you go to the upper left and see the contents that are being offered. When I click on the arrow next to “Dilemma,” a menu opens. I’m going to choose “Dilemma: Perspective 1.”
|This takes me to the first page of text about the subject.|
|Under the “Dilemma” links, there’s an “Investigate” link. There’s a set of questions there . . .|
|. . . that won’t make much sense until you click on the Photos & Illustrations arrow under Related Entries.This opens up a menu of links, and each of those will open a picture.|
The library staff have been warned that the articles here can be controversial. Just so you know.
|A couple of tabs to the right of the Perspectives tab, you’ll see a CLIO-View tab, where you can go to create tables.|
If I select states in the column to the left, and click the Add button . . .
|. . . the states appear in the box to the right.|
|I move Indiana and its neighbors into the Selected States box, and click Submit.|
|I’m only going to use two of the three category columns. I choose Below Poverty Level Afr. Am. and Below Poverty Level Tot. Pop.as my categories, and click Submit.|
|To the right of the CLIOview tab, there’s a Databases tab, where we are reminded that we’ve been looking at one of three new databases in the American Mosaic.|
To the right of the Databases link, there’s a Quick Search field.
|Curious about what-all this database holds, I enter the name of poet-novelist-essayist Ishmael Reed.|
|A number of links are retrieved. I select the first one, which seems to be devoted to Reed.|
|And sure enough, there’s an article about him.|
We hope that you find these new databases helpful.
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