Wednesday, June 29, 2011


If you're looking forward to a great multisensory 4th of July, you may want to check out some of the fireworks from our collection:

In his book, Fireworks: A History and Celebration, the great participatory journalist George Plimpton delved into fireworks around the world, including famous aficionados and displays of the time.  The book is now more than 25 years old, but covers the subject with fascinating detail, many photographs and illustrations, and a glossary of fireworks terms for true enthusiasts.

Two novels in which fireworks figure prominently are Book of Fires by Jane Borodale (2010) and Fireworks Over Toccoa by Jeffrey Stepakoff (2010).  Borodale's story is set in England in the 1750s where a poor pregnant 17-year-old girl flees her rural home for London and becomes apprenticed to a recently widowed fireworks maker.  Fireworks Over Toccoa is a story of forbidden love set in Georgia in the summer of 1945.  A recently married young woman whose husband has gone off to World War II falls in love with a handsome Italian immigrant in town to set up the the 4th of July fireworks display.  It is a passionate, nostalgic read that should appeal to Bridges of Madison County fans and Nicholas Sparks readers.

The DVD Fireworks, part of the History Channel's Modern Marvels series, shows fireworks manufacturing in different world locations, goes to Spain to show the use of holograms with pyrotechnics, and looks at Disney World's remote-controlled, missile-launched displays.  George Plimpton and the Grucci family, who in 1979 became the first American family to win the Gold Medal at the Monte Carlo International Fireworks Competition, serve as hosts.

And finally, some rousing music to accompany fireworks:  Music for Wind Band (John Philip Sousa), Stars & Stripes (Canadian Brass), Ultimate Russian Classics (The 1812 Overture), and The Very Best of Handel (Music for the Royal Fireworks selections).

Happy 4th of July!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Gramophone magazine's June issue identifies ten young conductors "on the verge of greatness."  Among them are some conductors whose recordings we have in our collection.  They are:  Edward Gardner, age 36, English National Opera; Jakub Hrusa, age 29, Prague Philharmonia; Andris Nelsons, age 32, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; Yannick Nezet-Seguin, age 36, Philadelphia Orchestra (Director Designate); and  Vasily Petrenko, age 34, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.  If you're wondering why Gustavo Dudamel (age 30, Los Angeles Philharmonic) isn't included in Gramophone's list, it's because Gramophone identified him in 2006 as one of "Tomorrow's Classical Superstars," and he is now already considered to be a superstar.  Here is a list from the Library's collection of recordings by these young maestros:  Promising Young Maestros: Recordings.

If you're interested in the lives and development of great conductors, you might want to look at the biographies on this list:  Conducting and Conductors.  Included on the list are a couple novels and a feature film with conductors as characters. 

And here's a little matching quiz about some great conductors - most from the past - with facts taken from Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, which can be found in the Library's reference collection.

1. Leonard Bernstein     a. started CSO Chorus in 1957
2. Sarah Caldwell         b. assistant conductor to Gustav Mahler
3. Margaret Hillis          c. Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 1969-1991
4. Herbert Von Karajan  d. 1st woman to conduct at the Met
5. Riccardo Muti           e."Young People's Concerts" in 1958
6. Sir Georg Solti          f. Berlin Philharmonic from 1954-1989 
7. Bruno Walter            g. born in Naples in 1941

Answers: 1(e), 2(d), 3(a), 4(f), 5(g), 6(c), 7(b)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Civil War Navies and the H. L. Hunley

As we look back 150 years to the beginning of the Civil War, the Library features titles relating to Civil War topics being presented in the local area.  Later this month the Lake County Discovery Museum hosts historian Steve Quick's lecture, The H. L. Hunley and the Confederate Navy.  (Click here for event details.

On Feb. 17, 1864, the Confederate submarine the H. L. Hunley became the first submarine to sink a warship when it attacked the USS Housatonic in Charleston Harbor, creating an explosion that sank the Housatonic and killed five of its crew members, but that also resulted in the Hunley and its crew of eight sinking, too.(1)  Though the search for the Hunley began in 1864, it was not until May 3, 1995 that it was found by a group of divers hired by best-selling author Clive Cussler. 

More details of the Hunley's history and crew, of Cussler's search for it, and of its eventual excavation in 2000 are at the Department of the Navy link referenced below and in some titles on this list from the Library's collection:  The Civil War at Sea.  This list includes books about the H. L. Hunley for children and adults as well as adult non-fiction and fiction books about the broader subject of Civil War naval operations.

1.  Department of the Navy -- Naval History & Heritage Command, Underwater Archaeology Branch,  H. L. Hunley, Confederate Submarine. (retrieved 5/31/2011).

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Adult Summer Reading Program Begins

The Adult Summer Reading Program begins June 1st. Come to the Reference Desk to register. It’s easy and there are great prizes. Read, or listen to, four books and you will receive a Lake Forest Library pen. Just turn in your completed reading record to the Reference Desk.

Your name will be entered into the grand prize drawing. The drawing will take place the first week in August and prizes must be claimed by September 1st. Prizes include local restaurant gift certificates, a Lake Forest Chamber of Commerce gift certificate, an Apple gift certificate, Williams and Sonoma gift certificates, and Lake Forest Bookstore gift cards.

You must be a Lake Forest resident 19 years or older to participate. One entry per resident cardholder. The Summer Reading program finishes July 31st.

For information about our Children’s Summer Reading Program click here

For our Teen program click

We look forward to seeing you this summer.