Monday, November 30, 2009

A novel look at the holidays

Each year, autumn brings a crop of new holiday fiction--and 2009 is no different! Lucky for us, there are some wonderful novels to savor this holiday season. Cecelia Ahern, best known for her novel P.S. I Love You, brings readers The Gift--the charming story of Lou Suffern, an overworked executive known more for his work ethic than his holiday cheer. But a chance encounter with a homeless man forces Lou to reexamine his priorities--and change his life for the better. Novelist Wally Lamb (She's Come Undone, I Know This Much is True) serves a vivid slice of 1960s family life in Wishin' and Hopin': A Christmas Story. Lamb transports readers to the charming fictional town of Three Rivers, Connecticut, as 10-year-old Felix Funicello navigates the fifth grade in this wise and witty holiday tale.

A great American writer

Mark Twain (born Samuel Langhorne Clemens) was born on November 30, 1835 in Florida, Missouri. At the age of 12 he began working at a local newspaper as a printer's apprentice; for the next decade he worked as a printer throughout the country, until a trip down the Mississippi river caused him to change paths and become a steamboat pilot. His childhood in the South and his experiences working on the river served as the foundation for many of his later essays and works of fiction. His most famous book, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, has been hailed as one of the Great American Novels, lauded for its piercingly accurate depictions of the South during slavery. Why not celebrate Twain's contributions to American literature by checking out one of his many books on your next trip to the library? Or, if you'd like to learn more about the man himself, try Mark Twain: A Life by Ron Powers.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Great tastes for the holidays

The holiday season is here, and with it come delicious dinners, cookie swaps and parties galore. The library has cookbooks full of delicious recipes that will amaze friends and guests alike. Try one of Martha Stewart's trusted cooking compendiums, like Martha Stewart's Cooking School, for a dish sure to add class to your holiday table. Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, the first cookbook from Brooklyn bakery owners Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, is full of treats with a twist, like Sweet and Salty Cake, which will add pizzazz to your holiday table. Looking for more traditional tastes? The classic recipes in Dorie Greenspan's Baking are sure to please.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Books with Bite

These days, there seem to be more vampires around than you can shake a stake at. On TV, you'll find "True Blood" and the CW's new series "The Vampire Diaries." On the big screen, the films New Moon and Jennifer's Body are drawing crowds. And, of course, the vampire craze started with books (which inspired all of the above except Jennifer's Body, an original screenplay). A new wave of books is feeding on the lifeblood of this vampire explosion--vampire humor and mashups. The New Vampire's Handbook is a snarky look at life as one of the undead, while The Vampire Is Just Not That Into You is a hilarious guide to snagging a vampire of your very own. And if fiction is your preference, Mr. Darcy, Vampyre could be right up your alley.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Judy Levin's Book Discussion.

Please join Judy Levin's last fall book discussion of "Out Stealing Horses" by Per Petterson, Thursday, November 19 at 12:30 pm.

From Publishers Weekly
Award-winning Norwegian novelist Petterson renders the meditations of Trond Sander, a man nearing 70, dwelling in self-imposed exile at the eastern edge of Norway in a primitive cabin. Trond's peaceful existence is interrupted by a meeting with his only neighbor, who seems familiar. The meeting pries loose a memory from a summer day in 1948 when Trond's friend Jon suggests they go out and steal horses. That distant summer is transformative for Trond as he reflects on the fragility of life while discovering secrets about his father's wartime activities. The past also looms in the present: Trond realizes that his neighbor, Lars, is Jon's younger brother, who "pulls aside the fifty years with a lightness that seems almost indecent." Trond becomes immersed in his memory, recalling that summer that shaped the course of his life while, in the present, Trond and Lars prepare for the winter, allowing Petterson to dabble in parallels both bold and subtle. Petterson coaxes out of Trond's reticent, deliberate narration a story as vast as the Norwegian tundra. (June)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fly Away With Us

During the month of November, not only is it acceptable to have your head stuck in the clouds, it's actually encouraged! Stop by the library and celebrate National Aviation History month by checking out some books on flight. Whether it's brushing up on your mythology (Daedalus and Icarus attempted to fly using wax wings), learning more about the two American brothers who pioneered the first powered airplane or reading the recently released autobiography by Captain Chesley Sullenberger, who successfully navigated the emergency landing of a passenger plane in the Hudson River (Highest Duty: My Search For What Really Matters), your reading this month is sure to transport you up, up and away.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Honoring our veterans

Honoring our veteransOn November 11, readers can celebrate Veterans Day with one of several recent history books that reassess battles where American service members fought and died. New and recommended titles includes The Remains of Company D: A Story of the Great War by James Carl Nelson, whose grandfather was a World War I vet; The Darkest Summer: Pusan and Inchon 1950, Bill Sloan's account of the first year of the Korean War; and Antony Beevor's D-Day, a comprehensive look at the greatest amphibious landing in history.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Social Media 101: For Life, Work & Fun

The City of Lake Forest, Lake Forest Library and other community organizations will host a "Social Media 101" workshop at Gorton Community Center, 400 E. Illinois Rd, Lake Forest, IL on Tuesday, November 10, 2009 from 7:00pm - 8:30 pm.

Michael Hoffman, CEO of S see3Commnications will present a grogrm on using Facebook, Linked-In, and Twitter to network for jobs, marketing, and family fun.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Elise Barack's Book Discussion Group

Join the Library and Elise Barack for a discussion of Netherland by Joseph O'Neill today at 7:15 pm.

In a New York City made phantasmagorical by the events of 9/11, Hans--a banker originally from the Netherlands--finds himself marooned among the strange occupants of the Chelsea Hotel after his English wife and son return to London. Alone and untethered, feeling lost in the country he had come to regard as home, Hans stumbles upon the vibrant New York subculture of cricket, where he revisits his lost childhood and, thanks to a friendship with a charismatic and charming Trinidadian named Chuck Ramkissoon, begins to reconnect with his life and his adopted country. Ramkissoon, a Gatsby-like figure who is part idealist and part operator, introduces Hans to an “other” New York populated by immigrants and strivers of every race and nationality. Hans is alternately seduced and instructed by Chuck’s particular brand of naivete and chutzpah--by his ability to a hold fast to a sense of American and human possibility in which Hans has come to lose faith. Netherland gives us both a flawlessly drawn picture of a little-known New York and a story of much larger, and brilliantly achieved ambition: the grand strangeness and fading promise of 21st century America from an outsider’s vantage point, and the complicated relationship between the American dream and the particular dreamers. Most immediately, though, it is the story of one man--of a marriage foundering and recuperating in its mystery and ordinariness, of the shallows and depths of male friendship, of mourning and memory. Joseph O’Neill’s prose, in its conscientiousness and beauty, involves us utterly in the struggle for meaning that governs any single life.