Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Apollo 13 - 40th Anniversary

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Apollo 13, NASA’s third mission to the moon. Fifty-five hours into the flight, an onboard explosion crippled the ship. Captain Jim Lovell, his crew and the Missions Operations Team were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for their actions which made a safe return to earth possible.

The Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Historical Society will honor this historic event and Captain Lovell’s contributions to space history in a program that marks the beginning of an annual benefit series, “Local Legends”. Bill Kurtis will host a one-on-one conversation with Jim Lovell about his career in space exploration Saturday, October 30 at 4 pm at the Gorton Community Center.*

In anticipation of the program the Library has compiled a bibliography about space exploration and the Apollo missions. The books, DVDs and websites listed below will draw you into this exciting period in American history.

See our collection for:
Apollo 13  (DVD A)
Race to the Moon by William B. Breuer (629.45 BRE)
Apollo, the Race to the Moon by Charles A. Murray (629.45 MUR)
Moon Shot: the Inside Story of America's Race to the Moon by Alan B. Shepard (629.45 SHE)

And visit these web links:
National Air and Space Museum:
A Life magazine slide show about Apollo 13:
NASA's Site:
Interested in the stars? --Ask an Astronomer:

*Tickets are $50 for adults and $25 for students and children – proceeds will benefit the Historical Society.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

2010 Debut Novels

We all have our favorite authors and wait for their new releases. Yet from time to time it can be refreshing or just plain fun to try a work by a new author. Here are three debut novels ranked among the best of 2010 by Booklist magazine:

Anthill  by Edward O. Wilson. The author, a world-renowned biologist, sets his first novel in the swamplands of Alabama. Part thriller/part parable, this novel examines the true meaning of survival in the 21st Century through the eyes of Raff Cody, a modern day Huck Finn.

Bloodroot  by Amy Greene. This novel explores the legacies that haunt one Appalachian family, especially its women --Byrdie, Clio, Myra and Laura-- from the times of the Great Depression to today. But while history and the passage of time play important roles in this story, the characters' family bonds matter most. The landscape changes, their circumstances change but their blood ties are unbreakable.

Rich Boy  by Sharon Pomerantz. Robert Vishniak, the novel’s main character, dreams of escaping Oxford, a working-class Philadelphia neighborhood. His good looks, bright mind, and hard work take him to Tufts University, NYU law school, and finally to a cushy law firm job. A chance encounter with a beautiful girl from his old neighborhood threatens to unravel his new life. Set during the Reagan era.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Book Discussion-Thursday, 10/21 at 12:30 pm

Join us for a discussion of Colm Toíbín’s Brooklyn  with Judy Levin on Thursday, 10/21/10 in the downstairs meeting room.

Brooklyn is the winner of the Costa "Novel of the Year" Award (formerly the Whitbread Award) for 2009 in Great Britain.

In Brooklyn Toíbín contrasts life in small-town Ireland with the excitement of big-city Brooklyn in the early 1950s. Eilis Lacey, a smart, hard-working young woman must leave employment-poor Ireland to find a job. She travels to New York City, where under the auspices of an Irish priest, she secures work at a department store and finds lodging in a rooming house for young women. Soon she meets a handsome, charming Italian man. But her adventures come to an abrupt halt when her sister dies in Ireland. Eilis returns home and must face the decision to stay put or go back to the more stimulating life she has begun to create in Brooklyn.

 Born in 1955 in Enniscorthy, County Wexford, Colm Tóibín currently resides in Dublin. He received a B.A. from University College, Dublin. He is the author of five previous novels including The Master, The Story of the Night, and The Blackwater Lightship, which was shortlisted for the 1999 Booker Prize. He also wrote a collection of short stories, Mothers and Sons. (All titles are available at the Library under Fiction TOI.)

Take a look at Simon and Schuster’s website for a list of discussion questions:

Or just come and listen to Judy Levin lead us through our impressions of this book that The New Yorker calls “a narrative of remarkable power”.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Book Lust To Go

There are many places to go for a book recommendation, but if you like to travel or just dream of travelling Nancy Pearl’s new book is the place to look. Book Lust to Go:Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds, and Dreamers  is a new title full of reading suggestions to spice up your trip whether you’re flying to Afghanistan or Zambia, driving to Niagara Falls or Philadelphia, or sailing to Cornwall or the Caribbean.

Starting off in Afghanistan Pearl assumes you’ve read The Kite Runner (Fiction HOSSEINI) and recommends Atiq Rahimi’s The Patience Stone (Fiction RAHIMI).

But if you’re driving to Florida this winter through the Appalachian Mountains she recommends Lee Smith’s novels especially Fair and Tender Ladies (Fiction SMITH), and Robert Morgan’s family sagas: The Truest Pleasure (Fiction MORGAN), Gap Creek (Fiction MORGAN) and This Rock (Fiction MORGAN).

Or maybe you’re flying to Boston to visit a child at school or attend a college reunion ... she suggests Dennis Lehane’s books beginning with Prayers for Rain (Mystery LEHANE) and Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series, especially The Judas Goat (Mystery PARKER).

And, if you’re heading east, to the Far East that is, Pearl offers a long list of titles about China and Southeast Asia including Ha Jin’s stories in A Good Fall (Fiction JIN), Peter Hessler’s River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze (915.1 HES) and Colin Thubron’s Shadow of the Silk Road (915 THU).

Nancy Pearl is known for her personal, “spot-on” book recommendations. She is a librarian in Seattle and often appears on public radio.

If our circulating copy of Book Lust to Go (028 PEA) is checked out, you can always browse the Reference Room copy during your next visit to the Library.

(Look for more geographically-linked suggestions in future posts.)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Book Discussion-Thursday, 10/7 at 7:15 pm

Elise Barack will lead a discussion of Little Bee by Chris Cleave on Thursday evening, October 7th at 7:15 pm in the downstairs meeting room.

Short listed for the 2008 Costa Book Awards, Little Bee was first published in England under the title, The Other Hand

Little Bee, a young Nigerian refugee, has just been released from the British immigration detention center where she has been held under horrific conditions for the past two years, after narrowly escaping a traumatic fate in her homeland. Alone in a foreign country, she seeks out the only English person she knows. Sarah is a posh young mother and magazine editor with whom Little Bee shares a tumultuous past.

They first met on a beach in Nigeria, where Sarah was vacationing with her husband, Andrew, and their brief encounter has haunted each woman ever since. Now together, they face a disturbing past and an uncertain future.  A sense of humor and an unflinching moral compass allow each woman, and the reader, to believe that even in the face of unspeakable odds, humanity can prevail.

Little Bee has been described as the next Kite Runner by the reviewers in Library Journal.

Take a look at Simon and Schuster’s website for a list of discussion questions:

Or read an interview with the author at:

Chris Cleave was born in London and attended Balliol College, Oxford. He is married with three children.

You won’t want to miss this tension-filled, tightly-written book.  Also available in CD and Large Print formats.