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!