Thursday, July 25, 2013

Man Booker Prize Longlist

Earlier this week, a panel of  judges announced the longlist for the prestigious Man Booker Prize.  This year's list is noted for its diversity with seven countries represented.  Chair of the judges Robert Macfarlane commented "After we put the list together, we tried to see what links them together, and all that linked them was how varied they are, in form, in tone, in length."

 Currently six of the nominated titles are available in the United States and at the Library.

Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw
Harvest by Jim Crace
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
The Testament of  Mary by Colm Toibin
TransAtlantic by Colum McCann
We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo

Two others will be released here this fall:The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri in September and The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton in October.  

The prize, launched in 1969, "aims to promote the finest in fiction by rewarding the best novel of the year written by a citizen of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland." The prize winner receives ₤50,000; each shortlisted author a ₤2,500 check.  The shortlist will be announced September 10th and the winner will be chosen in October.

TransAtlantic is already popular in Lake Forest.  If you enjoy literary fiction, others on the list are also worth a look.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

New Historical Novels

Do you like to read about distant times and places? Do you look for novels that bring history to life? Here are some recently released historical novels that are well-written and well-researched.

Blood and Beauty by Sarah Dunant explores the lives of siblings Lucretia and Cesare Borgia in late 15th century Italy. Caught up in their father's quest for power, these illegitimate children of Pope Alexander VI will stop at almost nothing to extend their family's influence beyond the Papacy.  By the author of the popular The Birth of Venus.

The White Princess by Philippa Gregory.  Elizabeth of York loved Richard III but was forced to marry Henry Tudor. Her marriage united two powerful families and in effect, ended England's famous War of the Roses. Mostly forgotten today she was also the mother of Henry VIII and grandmother of Elizabeth I.  This is her story as imagined by Gregory. Fans of The Red Queen and The Kingmaker's Daughter will enjoy this new installment in the "Cousins' War" series.

Paris by Edward Rutherfurd traces the evolution of "The City of Light" from the 13th century through the mid-20th century, weaving together stories of Parisians from various walks of life. Beginning in the era of great cathedrals and the construction of Notre Dame, through the Belle Epoch, to the humiliations of the Nazi occupation during World War II, the author offers insights into this European city's timeless appeal. Rutherfurd is well-known for his sweeping historical sagas including New York and London.

Crossing Purgatory by Gary Schanbacher. When his wife and children die from prairie fever, Thompson Grey buries his family and then, tormented by grief and guilt, walks away from his prosperous Indiana farm. It's the mid-19th century; he joins a Santa Fe Trail wagon train and heads west to the Colorado Territory. Border ruffians, abolitionists, and a plague of grasshoppers test his mettle as he looks for redemption among new and challenging terrain. An eloquent, elegant first novel.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Exploring Mind and Memory

We have passed the middle mark of the summer and hopefully everyone has enjoyed their fair share of cookouts, afternoons on the beach, and sunny bike rides. This time of relaxation is an excellent opportunity to explore new interests. For that, we submit this series of books that we have put together on memory and the mind. The authors explore these introspective topics with wit and deep subject knowledge. These aren't ponderous books written by isolated academics, the following selections will introduce you to new ideas, skills, and ways of thought through a combination of anecdote and study.

A Very Short Tour of the Mind by Michael C. Corballis. The best place to start is with a tour, or 21 short vignettes about the human mind. Curious if we really only use 10% of our brain, or why it is easier to remember faces and not names? A Very Short Tour of the Mind is the perfect start to our longer tour of the mind.

Pieces of Light by Charles Fernyhough. Next we dive into memory, and the theory of psychologist Charles Fernyhough, "remembering is an act of narrative imagination as much as it is a neurological process". He takes the reader through his past memories to talk about memory how memory can change and how it can be recalled.

Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer. Follow up the more narrative idea of memory with Joshua Foer as he dives into the subculture of mentalists and mental athletes. Foer learns about and implements ancient and modern memory strategies to participate in mental competitions as well as visiting those on both ends of the memory spectrum.

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Now that we are more cognizant of our thought processes, why not learn about our two modes of thought and decision making processes? Kahneman describes a slow, deliberate thought process and a quick, intuitive way of thinking (similar to Gladwell's Blink).

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. For the final book, we focus down to habit and explore the neurological basis and method of changing habits to become more productive. Duhigg uses case studies to elaborate of how to identify, understand, and alter bad habits.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Great New Mystery Authors!

Do you love mysteries and thrillers but feel like you’ve already read everything by your favorite authors?  Each spring, the Mystery Writers of America honors the best mysteries of the past year through its prestigious Edgar Awards.  Check out these great new mystery authors who were this year’s Edgar nominees for Best First Novels:

2013 Edgar Award Winner for Best First Novel:

The Expats  by Chris Pavone

In this international thriller, an American woman living abroad with her husband struggles to keep details of her secret prior life buried.  At the same time, she begins to suspect that her husband and another American couple, with whom they have become friends, are hiding dangerous secrets of their own.  


2013 Edgar Award Runners-up for Best First Novel: 

In this historical adventure set in 1920’s China and Cambodia, a young woman embarks on an archaeological quest for a set of ancient scrolls that may hold the history to Cambodia’s Khmer Empire.  In addition to a great adventure, the novel offers a fascinating look at China during the period of its transition from colonialism to communism.  

 Don’t Ever Get Old  by Daniel Friedman

In a great blend of humor and mystery, 87-year-old retired Memphis homicide cop Buck Schatz learns that a former Nazi prison guard, who beat him mercilessly during his days as a POW, escaped Germany after WWII with a fortune in stolen gold.  With the help of his grandson, Buck tracks his former tormentor in hopes of bringing him to justice and retrieving the riches for himself – only to find that a host of other interested parties are on the former Nazi’s trail as well. 

The 500  by Matthew Quirk

A recent Harvard Law School grad hired by a prestigious Washington, D.C. consulting firm finds his life threatened when he stumbles upon corruption among major players in the world of politics – a group of 500 political heavyweights who run Washington from behind the scenes. 

Mr. Churchill’s Secretary  by Susan Elia MacNeal

British-born Maggie Hope, educated in America, returns home to London in 1940 and finds employment as a secretary to recently-elected Prime Minister Winston Churchill.  With WWII escalating,  Maggie finds that her access to the inner workings of the Prime Minister’s office and her talent for code-breaking provide her with a unique opportunity to unravel a plot against the life of Churchill that may also threaten her own family.

Black Fridays  by Michael Sears
Jason Stafford, a young father and former high-flying Wall Street trader, is released from prison after serving two years for committing a significant financial fraud.  Hired by an investment firm to try and get ahead of a Federal investigation into its trading practices, Jake soon discovers that the firm’s sleazy business dealings may reflect a scandal of epic proportions.  Jake's involvement in the dangerous scandal threatens his desperate efforts to regain custody of his autistic son.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Summer Entertainment for the Kids at the Library

The long lazy days of summer are here.  Well, maybe not lazy, with all the camps that abound nowadays.  Not to mention day trips, vacation trips, days at the lake, Great America, the pool.  We here at the Lake Forest Children’s Library are doing our part to keep children entertained this summer with our FREE afternoon programs by PROFESSIONAL entertainers – musicians, jugglers, theater companies, puppeteers, naturalists and scientists.  Through the month of July, we have programs several afternoons a week.  Take a peek:

Tuesday, July 9th: Yes, science can be fun.  Fun with Physics presented by the Science Alliance  

Thursday, July 11: Incredible Bats Show.   Eeek!

Ready for some pint sized rock and roll?  Join us Tuesday, July 16 :  Scribble Monster Band

Thursday, July 18:  THE BEST juggler, unicycle rider in Chicagoland  (and personal  favorite)  Andy Head  

PopBubble Wonders  with Geoff Akins offers  an amazing array of soap bubble structures :Tuesday, July 23rd.

Emerald City Theatre troupe performs original, often literature based, interactive plays.  We'll be seeing Charlotte's Web on Thursday, July 25, but here are some of their other productions.

YoYo Mark Hayward Tuesday July 30th.

We'll finish the summer with popular musician Dave Rudolf on Thursday, August 1.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Rain or Shine It's BBQing Time

Grilling Vegan Style:125 Fired-up recipes to turn every bite into a Backyard BBQ
641.5636 Schlimm

Grilling Vegan StyleGrilling Vegan StyleGrilling Vegan Style

The Gardener and the Grill:The Bounty of the Garden Meets the Sizzle of the Grill
641.5784 Adler
The Gardener & the GrillThe Gardener & the GrillThe Gardener & the Grill
Good Housekeeping: Grilling: More than 275 Perfect Year Round Recipes
641.5784 Good                
Good Housekeeping GrillingGood Housekeeping GrillingGood Housekeeping Grilling
   Grill It! Secrets to Delicious Flamed-kissed Food
   641.5784  GRI
Grill It!Grill It!Grill It!

500 Barbecue Dishes: The Only Barbecuing Compendium that You'll Ever Need  
 641.5784 Kirk

500 Barbecue Dishes500 Barbecue Dishes500 Barbecue Dishes

Monday, July 1, 2013

Beach Reads 2013

The beach ... aahh ... relaxation.  And there's nothing like sitting in the sand with a good book. Below are some suggestions from the abundance of titles released this summer. Enjoy!

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. By the author of A Thousand Splendid Suns.  One of this summer's favorites.

Beautiful Day by Elin Hildenbrand. Quintessential family drama emerges during a beach wedding.  Funny ... for fans of women's fiction.

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Olympics by Daniel Brown. True sports adventure set against the backdrop of Nazi Germany.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. Funny, tongue-in-cheek debut novel about what it means to be amazingly rich -- full of conflicting social expectations and family drama.

The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan. Is a diamond forever?  Four couples are connected by one opulent engagement ring. Well-written, intricate plot.

Ladies' Night by Mary Kay Andrews. The author has been offering hilarious "beach reads" for years.  This title is no exception.

No One Could Have Guessed the Weather by Anne-Marie Casey. What brings you happiness? Join Lucy and three other women in this debut novel as they find fulfillment and peace in the most unexpected places.

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier.  What does it take for the digital economy to thrive? Is the Internet destroying jobs?  The author's examination has been called "brilliant" and "troubling".

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp by Anton DiSclafani. A beautifully written coming of age story about a young girl during The Great Depression.