Thursday, August 30, 2012


Audiobooks in some form have been around for many years. In 1931 the government started a program called Books for the Blind which circulated recordings on vinyl or special cassettes. Not until the 1980’s did audios become available commercially for the general public, first in cassette form and later, as more cars contained the players, CD’s.

The Library no longer circulates cassettes but they and CD’s will be sold at the Book Sale Sept. 14-16., The lower level A-V Department circulates hundreds of CD’s, Playaways (self-contained battery-operated devices) plus downloads from My Media Mall and Overdrive. Reviews are available in “Audiofile” magazine and a list of “Classics on Audio” is on a cart in front of the audio fiction. The Children’s Department also has a large collection.

Naturally, the reader is of prime importance. A good reader can really make an audiobook come alive. Jim Dale’s superlative reads of the Harry Potter books are a good example – his talents are more recently on display in “Night Circus” by Morgenstern. Other favorites are Scott Brick, the late Frank Muller, George Guidall, Barbara Rosenblat and Kate Reading. Occasionally, authors read their own works – David Sedaris is a successful example.

So, try out one of the Library’s many audio offerings. They’re mobile and hands-free. They shorten car trips and long walks, entertain you while cooking or sewing and make the written word sparkle.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Lyric Opera's New Season

The Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2012-2013 season opens October 7 with Richard Strauss's Elektra.  Recordings, DVDs, scores, and librettos for Elektra and other operas of the coming season are listed in our Bibliocommons catalog under Staff Picks and on our web site's Lyric Opera Resources page.

The Lyric 2012/13 Season Companion is also available in the library's collection.  It includes stories and histories of the operas, information on the composers and librettists, and notes about the Lyric's production of each opera.

Articles and audio previews for each opera are available at the Lyric Opera of Chicago's web site: (Select Season + Tickets, and then the individual opera.)

Here are the operas for the season.  Can you match them up with with the one-phrase plot summaries taken from the Lyric's season brochure?

1. Elektra (Strauss)                                       a. “A father’s worst nightmare”  
2. Simon Boccanegra (Verdi)                          b. “The big sing” 
3. Werther (Massenet)                                  c. “Here, kiddie, kiddie”
4. Don Pasquale (Donizetti)                           d. “Before Mommie Dearest there was…”
5. Hansel and Gretel (Humperdinck)               e. “Stell-ahhhhh!”
6. La Boheme (Puccini)                                  f. “Older man marries younger woman
                                                                      and boy, is he sorry!”
7. Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg (Wagner)    g. “Who said being in charge was easy?”
8. Rigoletto (Verdi )                                      h. “In the end he just can’t take it anymore.”
9. A Streetcar Named Desire (Previn)               i. “Oh, to be young and in love in Paris.”

Answers:  1.d.; 2.g.; 3.h.; 4.f.; 5.c.; 6.i.; 7.b.; 8.a.; 9.e.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Fall Book Discussion Schedule

Titles have been selected for the Lake Forest Library’s Fall 2012 Adult Book Discussion programs. Click on the highlighted titles for reviews and other information about the novels and their authors.  

Thursday, September 20 – The Submission by Amy Waldman
Thursday, October 18 – The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
Thursday, November 15 –The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey

Thursday, October 4 -- The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje
Thursday, November 1 -- Death and the Penguin by Andrei Kurkov
Thursday, December 6 -- The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

All programs will be held downstairs in the Children’s Activity Room.

Funded by the Friends of Lake Forest Library.

(Note: This time our evening book discussion will not meet
in September but in early December instead.)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Community-Wide Mystery Movie

To Kill a Mockingbird, starring Gregory Peck is the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff-Knollwood 2012 Mystery Movie. Based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, this 1962 film captures the racially-charged atmosphere that lurks behind life as observed through the innocent eyes of a child in small town Alabama in the 1930s.

There will be four public screenings on Wednesday, August 22:

        Dickinson Hall (Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Senior Center), 1:30 p.m.
100 East Old Mill Road, Lake Forest
Reservations suggested; please call 847-234-2209 or email

        CROYA, 6:30 p.m.
400 Hastings Road, Lake Forest (enter at north end of building)
Reservations suggested; please call 847-810-3980 or email

        Lake Bluff Public Library, 1:30 p.m.
123 East Scranton Avenue, Lake Bluff
Reservations suggested; please call Nicki at 847-802-9059 or email

        Lake Bluff Park District, 6:30 p.m.
355 West Washington, Lake Bluff
Reservations suggested; please call Nicki at 847-802-9059 or email

Free refreshments will be served.  An informal discussion will follow the end of each screening.

If you’re unable to attend one of the public screenings you can still participate. Pick up a copy of the DVD or read Lee’s novel.  Both are available at the library.  

Monday, August 13, 2012

Where are your Legos?

Legos, those wonderful little toy bricks of Scandinavian design, have been in our popular culture since 1961. You've probably played with them as a child and bought them for your own children. We've also seen them slowly making their way from the physical world to the digital in games like Lego Harry Potter and Lego Star Wars.

Legos have made a recent comeback with the growth of DIY (do-it-yourself) culture. These interchangeable building blocks lend themselves to endless customization that is only limited by the creativity of the builder. Keep forgetting your keys? Build a Lego key holder! Love bird-watching and have a big tub of Legos left over from your kids? Follow Tom Poulsom's lead and build birds out of them

People all over have discovered new and exciting ways to play and use legos. Hillel Cooperman's TED Talk shows the growing subculture of Lego-designers complete with conventions and post-market products. Amazingly researchers at the University of Cambridge have used the automated properties of Lego Mindstorms to grow bones in their lab. Let me say that again, they are using toys designed to teach programming to GROW BONES! 

Need inspiration? You can find plenty of it: architecture, robotics, home decoration, film, and even installation art.

So dig out that old tub of Legos and get to work. If you need some help, consider these books at the library:

Lego Ideas Book: Full of inspiration from trains to space ships.

The Unofficial Lego Builder's Guide by Allen Bedford: Full of great building techniques to make great (and stable) works of Lego art.

The Lego Book by Daniel Lipkowitz: Full of great pictures and descriptions, you'll find the history of Legos and all of its various themes.

Monday, August 6, 2012

She Blinded Me with Popular Science

The news cycles are abuzz with happenings in the world of science. First it was the possible discovery of the Higgs Boson particle and then, as of 10:32 pm Sunday, the landing of the Mars rover Curiosity. We celebrate these achievements because we know that our leading scientific minds have pushed the boundaries once again. But do we understand them? Can the majority of us explain why the Higgs Boson is significant?

We live in a world full of amazing phenomena: aurora borealis, fire rainbows, and black holes . Yet, the majority of us understand little of the magic behind the magic. Mainstream scientific research is . We imagine scientists to be in white lab coats working with Bunsen burners and test tubes in a sterile lab. 

Even the greatest scientists are humans, with all of the accompanying faults and quirks. They fall in love, tell great jokes, and make mistakes. Similarly, scientific knowledge is not locked away in expensive journals and masked with specialized languages. Many great writers have taken it upon themselves to explain scientific theory and history.

Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything is just that. He takes on physics, geology, epidemiology, and biology while taking the reader through the history of science. His history is peppered with interesting and quirky men and women who devote their life, and sometimes physical well-being, to their work.

Richard Cohen, over seven years and eighteen countries, traces the history of and the relationship that humankind has had with the sun in Chasing the Sun. Among a myriad of other areas, his studies take him through fields such as psychology, medicine, oceanography, and astronomy.

Jonathon Fetter-Vorm's Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb is a great visual introduction to nuclear reactions. Along the way, he brings life and feeling to the story of the Manhattan Project.  

Or, if you are too invested in the Olympics to think about anything else, try learning about particle physics through one of the coolest Olympic sports: the hammer throw.

And finally, here is celebrated theoretical physicist Richard Feynman playing the bongos and singing about orange juice.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Have you been following the Olympics in London?  At least for these three weeks, all of us channel our inner athlete and dream our own gold medal moments.  Children, especially, can be motivated to strive for physical fitness and enjoy the exhilaration of participating in sports.  We have lots of books about the Olympics, motivating sports-related stories and books set in London.  After seeing the city of London on the world stage, read about this well-chronicled city, so often a literary setting for mysteries!
Olympics have an ancient tradition.  Follow its history in A Passion for Victory .  Older children and adults will be able to read highlights of famous Olympics in this new, well-illustrated history.
  Great Moments in the Summer Olympics are chronicled by Matt Christopher, the classic sports author for children.  High-Tech Olympics points out the amazing changes that have taken place in equipment, training, timing, and the inclusion of disabled athletes. 
Lake Forest boasts of at least one Olympic team member in native son Matt Grevers, the gold medal swimmer.  Young readers will be amazed by the training regime he and fellow swimmer Michael Phelps undergo in How to Train with a T. Rex and Win 8 Gold Medals.  Chicago’s own Michael Jordan played on the U.S. Olympic basketball team in 1984.
His mother recounts simply the determination it took for him to become an Olympian in Dream Big.  Read this to your children before bed, so they can “dream big” too!
John Feinstein, sports writer and author for adults and children, takes us to this summer’s Olympics with Rush for the Gold: Mystery at the Olympics. 
 Fans of his previous sports mysteries know how his sense of immediacy and realism add to the enjoyment of the story.  Readers of the Magic Tree House series can go  to ancient Greece with Jack and Annie in Ancient Greece and the Olympics and learn more about what they read in Hour of the Olympics.

As Emily Dickinson is oft quoted,  There is no frigate like a book. To take us to lands away.  If seeing London makes you want to visit, read The London Eye Mystery.  Younger readers will enjoy the adventures of Dodsworth in London.