Monday, December 31, 2012

Change is Good 2013

Tiny BuddhaChange Anything

Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Life's Hard Questions.  With help from her 200,000 twitter followers author Lori Deschene shares their thoughts on life's meaning of pain, happiness, fate and more. 158.1 DES

Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success.
 Based on the latest scientific psychological and medical research author Kathy Patterson offers insight on how to improve not only work relations and overall health but your outlook on life.   155.24 PAT

Happier at HomeHappier at Home:Kiss more, Jump more, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life.  by Gretchen Craft Rubin 158.1 RUB
The 4 Disciplines of Execution52 Small Changes52 Small Changes :One Year to a Happier, Healthier You.  Brett Blumenthal's method is simple:make one small change per week and by the end of the year you can be happier and  healthier. 613.2 BLU

A Unified Theory of HappinessThe 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving your Wildly Important Goals.  Chris McChesney and Sean Covey offer a practical guide for goal setting and execution with-in any organization. 658.4 MCC

A Unified Theory of Happiness :An East-meets-West Approach to Fully Loving your Life. 
by Dr. Andrea F. Polard's book is a warm and personalized guide for the transformation of consciousness that allows personal well-being and fulfillment to flourish. 152.42 POL


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Best Books of 2012

It's customary at this time of year for book reviewers to compile lists of favorite books. Below, a number of of experts weigh in with their lists of “The Best Books of 2012”.  Take a look.

But in a recent Printer's Row John Warner of The Chicago Tribune writes that there is no such thing as an objective "best book."  He says readers need to match good reads with their individual interests.

As 2012 comes to a close have you thought about compiling your own list? Did you like one book better than all others?  I don't know if I have one, top-of-the-list stand-out but my favorites definitely include Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny, and The Art Forger by Barbara A. Shapiro.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Chapter Books for Children

Award Winning Children's Authors

How to get in the Christmas spirit?  Some listen to Christmas music, others bake cookies, and of course, there's shopping!  As with adult fiction, many of the best children's authors have written something specifically for Christmas, usually a short read, sometimes drawing upon their own childhood or memories.  Offer one to your child, or read it yourself if you find yourself feeling "Scrooge-y."  Some will leave you with a tear in your eye, but all provide an emotionally satisfying reading experience.  A few are highlighted below; we have compiled a larger list in our Staff Picks.

A Newbery Christmas     Collection of Christimas themed stories by Newbery Medal winning authors such as Beverly Cleary (Beezus and Ramona), Madeleine L’Engle (A Wrinkle in Time), and Hugh Lofting (Dr. Dolittle).

by Lemony Snicket
The Lump of Coal    A snippet of Snicket for the holidays.  More of a short read aloud, this fable about a lump of coal looking for the chance to be artist’s charcoal instead of fuel of the barbeque, is breezy but still reminds of the miracles at Christmas and in our lives.  Brett Helquist, who also illustrated Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events, renders an appropriately black visaged yet lovable lump of coal who encounters mostly unsympathetic humans.

by Maj Lindmann

 Flicka, Ricka & Dicka and Their New Skates    The Swedish triplets receive ice skates for Christmas.  While enjoying them out on the pond, they befriend and then save a little boy when he falls through the ice.  If you enjoy these easy to read classic children's stories, try their boy counterparts: Snipp, Snapp & Snurr.

by J. Michael Sims
Young Claus: Legend of the Boy Who Became Santa      Sleigh bells, which played such a symbolic part in The Polar Express, are an important part of this adventure story. Claus, alone in the world, gets separated from the other children at his orphanage during a snow storm.  He is saved by a gentle giant who gives him magical bells to aid him in his journeys.  In gratitude for saving them from a ferocious bear, two elves take Claus to their work shop in a mountain.  As you might expect, these elves make toys, but do not know why or what to do with them.  Claus learns his Purpose and the joy of giving in this simple, heartwarming story.  Great for a family read-aloud.
The True Gift: a Christmas Story    MacLachlan crafts another tiny gem, this time drawing upon the stable animals who are part of the Christmas Nativity.  Two children visiting their grandparents for Christmas decide that the lone cow left out in the pasture needs company, and sacrifice their present money to buy a calf.  The children’s empathy with the animal reflect the love and care we strive  for with all God’s creatures.  With poignant pencil drawings by Brian Floca (Avi’s Poppy series). 

Ann Martin
by Ann Martin

On Christmas Eve     The prolific author of The Babysitter Club books and award winning  A Corner of the Universe  writes with tenderness and humor of a girl's belief in the magic of Santa Claus, as she awaits him on Christmas Eve in order to ask him to make her friend's father get well.

by Robert Westall
Christmas Spirit     Two stories, both set in the author’s industrialized Northumberland.  In The Christmas Ghost, a literal Christmas spirit helps a young boy save his father.  In The Christmas Cat, a vicar’s niece brings warmth and hope to a bleak town.  Westall's  novels for children won him Britain's top literary awards.  His stories are simple and blunt, with children wise beyond their years.
by Laurence Yep

Dream Soul     A Chinese immigrant family in the 1920’s approaches Christmas in conflicting ways: the children want to celebrate the holiday like their Western friends do, but their parents resist becoming “too American.”  Yep gives us an insightful look into the difficulties of assimilating  into a foreign culture while retaining one’s native heritage and values.   Ultimately, the universal values of family and love shine through..

Monday, December 3, 2012

Save Your (Online) Reading!

Lets talk about reading articles online. There are so many online publications you will have to get organized, especially if you want to keep up with these two:

Instapaper is a useful resource for the task! Create a free account and save all of those interesting articles, neat present ideas, or websites to one source. The best feature is the "Read Later Bookmark", this is just like a regular bookmark. But(!) instead of clicking on it and going to a specific page, it saves the current page to your Instapaper account. Pretty neat huh?

So lets say its morning and you are getting ready for work. As usual, you check the Lake Forest Library blog and are reading this great post about classical music.You want to finish it, but you have to go to work. Just click on the bookmarklet and the article is saved to your account!

And while we are talking about online publications, take a look at Flipboard, an Apple app. Flipboard combines popular blogs and publications into various categories (eg Science, Design, News). With an account, you can easily scan through the new articles published in your interest areas. (It also lets you save an article to Instapaper so you can read it on your computer!)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Adult Book Discussion

Our next book discussion will meet Thursday, December 6 at 7:15 p.m. in the Children’s Programming Room.  Elise Barack will lead a discussion of The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka.

The Buddha in the Attic offers the reader an array of stories about the Japanese ”picture brides”; women who sailed to California in the early 20th century, seeking to escape the drudgery of their isolated farming communities in exchange for the promise of a comfortable, happy life.  In hauntingly beautiful language she employs rich imagery and a choral-like narrative marked by the recurring phrases “one of us” and “some of us”. She recounts  the brides' hopes, disappointments, hard work, and courage, pulling us into another time and place. The reader finds it easy to emphasize with these unnamed women as they adjust to American culture in San Francisco.

For more information about the book and the author click on a link below: 
- An interview with the author in Psychology Today ,  
- A Newsweek article on Otsuka's family’s wartime internment in Utah .

The Buddha in the Attic is available at the library in print, audio, e-book and e-audiobook formats.

Please join us.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Year-end Personal Finance

While you can find many financial tips on the web, your Lake Forest Library offers some great online resources that will assist you in reviewing your financial fitness and plan for the future.

MorningStar  is an investment analysis tool with three main features: Screeners that use your criteria to create short lists of stocks, funds, and ETFs; Reports & Returns with comprehensive information on stocks, funds, and ETFs plus analyst guidance for some of them; and a PortfolioX-Ray tool to assemble stocks, funds, and ETFs into a portfolio to reveal asset allocation, sector weightings, and more. The Help & Education section has courses on 150 investment topics.  A quick look in the Articles & Videos section offers ratings of 529 College Saving Plans, year-end tax planning, and others.

Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage (available from the library's computers) is an investment tool with analysts’ news and commentary on financial markets and industries. Searchable publications such as industry surveys and stock and mutual fund reports are included.  The Learning Center covers smart investing basics, retirement planning, and more.

Here are some samples of new titles to help with your planning as well:   
Financial Fitness Forever: 5 Steps to More  332.024 MER  Paul Merriman teaches you to build a winning portfolio for life in 5 steps. 

  Your Living Trust & Estate Plan 346.052 PLA  This revised fourth edition from estate-planning expert Harvey J. Platt details the most up-to-date strategies for using a living trust to create a flexible estate plan.

Big Retirement Risk 332.024014 BOT  The author shows you  how to craft an investment strategy to help protect your retirement lifestyle in good economic times and bad.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

On Giving Thanks

Here's a selection of titles from our collection about the practice, effects, and even science of giving thanks:

365 Thank Yous : The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life by John Kralik (Hyperion, 2010) - The memoir of a 53-year-old man who, after going through a period of many troubles, decided to try to feel grateful by writing a thank-you note a day to the people in his life who had been good to him.

The Gift of THANKS : The Roots and Rituals of Gratitude by Margaret Visser (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009) - "This fascinating inquiry into all aspects of gratitude ranges from the unusual determination with which parents teach their children to thank, ... to the ways different cultures handle the complex matters of giving, receiving, and returning favors and presents."[from the dust jacket]

Living Life as a Thank You : The Transformative Power of Daily Gratitude by Nina Lesowitz and Mary Beth Sammons (Viva Editions, 2009) - Believing that gratitude can foster courage, forgiveness, and belonging, the authors offer suggested practices, motivational quotes, and stories of individuals changed by thankfulness.
Thanks! : How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier by Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D. (Houghton Mifflin , 2007) -   Emmons summarizes research showing that practicing grateful thinking contributes to greater happiness and health and to better relationships.  He offers perspectives on gratitude from literature, psychology, religion and anthropology; inspirational stories; and guidelines for grateful living.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Gobble Gobble

The New Thanksgiving Table

Betty Crocker Celebrate

How to Survive and Thrive This Thanksgiving...Without Going Out to Eat

                                                                          How to Cook A Turkey

Giving Thanks Thanksgiving Recipes and History, from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie  641.568  CUR

Betty Crocker Celebrate! A Year-Round Guide to Holiday Food and Fun 641.568  CRO
How to Cook a Turkey and All the other Trimmings From the Editors of Fine Cooking. Photographs, helpful tips and wonderful recipes for turkey, left-overs or not. 641.6659 HOW

Meat Classic preparations, step-by-step preparation with photographs will make you want  to fire up your stove, oven and grill. 641.66 PET
The New Thanksgiving Table
The New Thanksgiving Table  An American Celebration of Family, Friends, and Foods  641.568  Morgan
Warm Maryland Crab Dip with Lemon Panko Topping, Roast Turkey with Vidalia Cream Gravy, Maple-mashed Sweet Potatoes.  End with a Cranberry-Cherry Crisp.  Yum
The Turkey Cookbook 138 new ways to cook America's Favorite Bird
641.66592 Rodgers

Thursday, November 15, 2012

When Author and Fact-Checker Argue

Ever wonder how journalistic works are vetted for the accuracy of their information? Publishers employ fact-checkers to comb through an essay or book to verify its truthfulness. As you might guess, some authors don't enjoy an outside person doubting their research. Lifespan of a Fact gives us a unique window into the combative, evocative relationship between John D'Agata and his assigned fact-checker, Jim Fingal.

The original essay is surrounded by the fact-checker's findings. In black are the sections he has found truthful and the red text are the passages where he has found errors, along with the author's rebuttals.

a typical page from the book

Jim Fingal, an intern at Believer magazine, is asked to fact check John D'Agata's fifteen page essay (already rejected by Harpers) about the suicide of a teen from Las Vegas. What follows is a long drawn out relationship of petty bickering and an attempt to decipher the nature of the essay and non-fiction writing.

D'Agata, then a professor of writing at the University of Iowa contends that the essay is an art form where the feeling of the story matters more than the raw facts. He employs his beliefs by altering small truths (the name of a slot-machine, the number of seconds the teen fell) to create a more aesthetically pleasing narrative. Jim Fingal meticulously researches and reports the inconsistencies of each of D'Agata's words, sometimes devoting an entire book page to a single paragraph.

To Fingal, the truth is the truth and D'Agata is abusing his credibility as a journalist by not reporting the absolute facts that the reader expects.

Find it in our catalog.
Read a review from the New York Times, Slate, and NPR.

Monday, November 12, 2012

November is Picture Book Month

Every week we put new beautifully illustrated picture books on the library shelves for our patrons. We all have our favorites and look forward to new works. Did you know that nowadays many picture books are written by one person and illustrated by another? Publishers and editors are responsible for matching the concept and tone of a book with just the right illustrator. However, a lot of picture book writers are also responsible for the illustrations. We are constantly coming across new talent, illustrators whose work brings a distinctive style to the story being told. Hopefully we will be seeing many more books from these often award-winning illustrators. Following is just the tip of the paintbrush:

illustrated by Kevin Duggan
Kevin Duggan
already an exhibited artist who specializes in natural history has worked with his wife, Sheila Keenan, to author a beautiful book about a not so lovely bird. We learn about the behavior of these common American birds through a rhyming, often humorous text accompanied by soft, colored pencil drawings. Detailed and realistic, Duggan shows us crows from many perspectives, creating striking close-up images which become almost a graphic design.

written/illust. by Tao Nyeu
Tao Nyeu  
 illustrates using silkscreen, with clean simple lines and a distinctive palette of teal, blue and orange . The flat white space and patterning hark back to such classic illustrators as Lois Lenski and Wanda Gag. The text in her books varies from wordless (Wonder Bear) to short chapters(Squid & Octopus) while the pictures complete the gentle humor in the story.

illustrated by Renata Liwska

Renata Liwska 
in collaboration with Deborah Underwood, has illustrated the bestseller The Quiet Book, along with its sequels, The Loud Book and The Christmas Quiet Book. She creates delicately nuanced yet very solid pictures with pencil and digitized coloring. In The Quiet Book, animals experience different kinds of quiet at home, school, and play. The simple, uncluttered drawings have just enough detail to allow us to stop and spend time on each page, while still being able to follow the simple narrative.

written/illustr by Katharine Battersby
Katherine Battersby
has created an unlikely hero - Squish Rabbit - to help children learn the importance of friendship. Although Squish Rabbit is simply drawn, she completes each scene with multi-media collages, soft and reassuring. Illustrations are not always explained by the text, requiring input by reader, a technique to help children increase their visual literacy. The variety of materials used in the collages (watercolor, ink, paper, textiles) create pleasing diversity of texture.

written & illustr. by Levi Pinfold

Levi Pinfold 
has painted an increasingly large and ferocious black dog looking in upon the inhabitants of a house. Leave it to the brave young miss to confront and deflate the unknown danger. Pinfold, uses gouache, tempera, watercolor to achieve a style he describes as stylized realism. The pictures are soft and smoky, misty and atmospheric, but humorous details keep young readers from becoming too afraid of the danger lurking outside.  Check out his rollicking Django for the story of a gypsy folk singer aided (and hindered) by a mysterious leprachaun-like character.

illustrated by Joe Berger
Joe Berger 
who pens comics in addition to illustrating children’s books, has created fun-loving Bridget Fidget with her deadpan companion Capt. Cat and other characters, such as Hattie the Bad. These are all energetic, humorous stories of children having adventures. Berger’s retro, cartoonish style is complete with dot grids, and bright primary colors. He also illustrates the praiseworthy Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again by Frank Cottrell Boyce. Berger’s style is similar to Tony Fucile, who struck a funny bone with his “Let’s Do Nothing” and has brought Kate DiCamillo’s Bink & Gollie to life

writtten/illustr. by Chris Haughton
Chris Haughton 
gives us simple stories and pictures while dealing with common childhood issues such as feeling lost and trying to be good (well, maybe not just childhood issues!) His strong simple shapes with warm vibrant colors pull the reader into the story as much as the questions posed on the pages.

illustrated by Erin Stead
Erin Stead 
won the Caldecott Medal for her illustration debut with fellow picture book author & husband Philip Stead in A Sick Day for Amos McGee. She draws delicate scenes of friendship & patience, judiciously adding areas of muted, textured color via wood block printing. Her latest book Bear Has a Story to Tell, continues this very successful collaboration.

For more on the fabulous authors involved with  Picture Book Month, see the website.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Upcoming Adult Book Discussion

Judy Levin will lead a discussion of White Woman on a Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey this coming Thursday, November 15 at 12:30 pm in the Children’s Programming Room. 

White Woman on a Green Bicycle, an Orange Prize nominee, examines the workings of a troubled marriage, set against the tropical landscape of post-colonial Trinidad.  When the Harwoods arrive in Trinidad from England in 1956, George immediately falls in love with the beguiling island, while his wife Sabine feels isolated and out-of-place. As they both adapt, their marriage endures, despite growing political unrest and racial tensions that affect their daily lives.  Booklist says that White Woman on a Green Bicycle captures postcolonial culture with “searing honesty.”

For more reviews visit the Publishers Weekly  and Shelf Love websites.

Monique Roffey was born in Trinidad in 1965 and later moved to England to study.  Her early body of work comprises three novels and a memoir, including Sun Dog and Archipelago.  She currently divides her time between London and Port of Spain, and is a member of the CALAG (Caribbean Literature Action Group), launched in April 2012.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Research the Vote!

So it isn't quite as catchy as Rock the Vote, but it is important to make well informed decisions when you visit the voting booth on November 6. (Haven't registered? You have until Nov. 3rd.)

Much of the campaigning this campaign season has focused on fact-checking statements made by all candidates. Even the coverage from many news outlets are biased in some way. Researching each candidate to make sure he or she will accurately represent your needs and wants in government has never been more difficult.

Below you will find some resources that provide unbiased information about the 2012 election candidates. Each has been chosen for its non-partisan viewpoint and accurate information.

  • Lake County Voter Information Guide:A sample Lake County ballot. Here you can find the names of the candidates for the election as well as proposed amendments.
  • League of Women Voters Links: Useful links compiled by the League of Women Voters - Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Area.
  • Illinois Voter's Guide: This is the state's information resource for candidates from President to judges. 
  • Find the Data: An informative site that provides information on all candidates. Especially for donations and financial matters.
  • Illinois Election Guide:, a non-partisan organization, has information for national, congressional, state legislature, and statewide candidates.

Need help researching candidates or making sure an information source is reliable? Just ask us and we are more than happy to help!