Thursday, December 25, 2014

Children's Book Discussion Groups Winter/Spring 2015

The holidays will be over before we know it: what's there to look forward to in 2015?  The second half of our Children's Book Clubs!  We will be resuming in January and continuing on monthly through April.  Stories full of fantasy, fun and humor will make for some lively evenings of talk. For those of you new to our children’s discussion groups, we offer a Junior Readers Club for students in grades 2-3 and a Family Book Club for students in grades 4, 5 & 6.  Registration for each discussion is required here at the library.  Copies of the book are available for check out upon registration.  Parents are highly encouraged to read the book and accompany their child to the librarian led discussion.  Participation in the discussions is not demanded.  Exposure to and participation in book discussions will enhance critical thinking skills in young readers and give them chances to express themselves in a positive, grade-free environment.  Please join us, along with faces new and old, Wednesday evenings this winter and spring as we talk about the following books:

 Tuck Evelasting
January 21st   If you could choose to stay the age you are and never die, would you?  Young Winnie Foster faces this opportunity (?) when she discovers the Tuck family and their secret about a spring whose water prevents one from ever growing any older.

 The Thing About Luck
February 18  Summer believes in luck and wonders why she and her family don't seem to have any.  Her latest run of bad luck includes spending the summer caring for her little brother while helping her grandmother cook and do laundry for harvest workers.  The generation gap between contemporary Summer and her Japanese grandparents will strike a chord with many young readers.  However, through them and her own determination, Summer learns that you make your own luck through hard work.

 Middle School: the Worst Years of My Life
March 18th  Every teacher's nightmare: when Rafe Kane enters middle school, he teams up with his best friend, "Leo the Silent," to create a game to make school more fun by trying to break every rule in the school's code of conduct.  As we get to know Rafe, we discover his idea of "fun" is a way of avoiding some very real problems.

 The Apothecary
April 15th Follows Janine, a fourteen-year-old American girl whose life unexpectedly transforms when she moves to London in 1952 and gets swept up in the burgeoning Cold War AND the search for her friend's apothecary/alchemist father. He has mysteriously disappeared, leaving the two teens with an ancient book of magic elixers and formulas.  The atomic bomb looms in this exciting adventure of science and magic battling each other.


 Harry's Mad
January 28th  Harry's not crazy; he owns a parrot - Madison - inherited from his great-uncle.  This parrot goes way beyond "Polly wants a cracker" and becomes the treasure Harry had originally hoped for. Stolen by burglars, Mad must make his way back using his ingenuity (and beak).  If you liked Kate DiCamillo's Flora & Ulysses, this book is for you.

Danny the Champion of the World
February 25th   What is Danny champion at?  Danny and his father live a simple idyllic existence in a caravan operating a filling station near rich Mr. Hazell's Wood.  One night, Danny discovers his dad is a master poacher and learns all about the fine art of this English pasttime.  We can't help but be taken in as his dad describes the thrill of flirting with danger (game keepers with their guns) and his irritation with the "bloated" landowner, Mr. Hazell.  The annual pheasant hunt provides Danny & his dad a marvelous opportunity to pull off an amazing coup.  Any child would love to be part of Danny's world.

March 25th  The story of Roan Novachez, Jedi Academy student, is told through comics, journal entries, letters, doodles, and newspaper clippings. This original story from author/illustrator Jeffrey Brown captures all of the humor, awkwardness, fun, and frustrations of middle school ... in a galaxy far, far away.

April 22nd.   We'll end the year with a lighthearted look at middle school through the jottings and doodles of Big Nate.  Among his achievements are managing to get detention from every one of his teachers in the same day.

We keep a list of past book club selections, so if you are looking for a suggestion for a children’s book club of your own, or just a quality book, please ask us.  We love to talk books!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

New Gaming Collection

"Great graphic!", "Great controller!", "Great social features!"  These are just a few wows from gamers with either PS4 or Xbox One.

We are responding to patron's claims and now Lake Forest Library has added some new titles for both Xbox One and PS4 platforms.

Check out these titles: Madden 15, Minecraft, NBA2K15, Shadow of Mordor, Halo (Xbox One only), farCry 4, The Crew, Assassin's Creed: Unity, and more on the lower level.  Click here for the list of growing titles.


Friday, December 12, 2014

An Armfull of Joy

Cover image for Veranda : a passion for living : houses of style and inspirationColorful. Creative. Beautifully photographed. Oversize books not only make wonderful gifts but are fun to have in the guest room, on your coffee tables and available to peruse in front of the fire. The library has many of these in art, architecture, travel, cooking and cinema.  Here are a few new additions to our collection.  Enjoy!!

Veranda : a Passion for Living : Houses of Style and Inspiration. by Carolyn Englefield  Exceptional homes from around the world including France, Italy, Switzerland and Sweden.
Ryan Korban: Luxury Redefined Elegant, comfortable and glamorous interiors are highlighted in over 100 color photographs.

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Art of the House : Reflections on Design. Bobby McAlpine & Susan Ferrier.  This team of architect and designer discuss the principles that guide their work creating environments that are both sensual and poetic.

Cover image for
Camille Styles: Entertaining.  Inspired gatherings & Effortless Style.  Menus, decor, floral design and table designs are all beautifully photographed and very inspiring.

Fay Peck:American Expressionist.
Local artist Fay Peck's work is beautifully reproduced in this colorful book. Interspersed between the art reproductions are photos of and comments by the author.

Cover image for The West Point History of the Civil War. by The United States Military Academy. This definitive book is part of a new military history series with text and commentary by preeminent historians.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

What Will You Read? - 2014 Adult Favorites

It's a great time of year to look for reading recommendatons.  Newspapers, websites, and book review magazines are posting their lists of "the best books of 2014".   All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr has made the most fiction lists to date (and most lists are in).  But it's been a  favorite in Lake Forest as well, so you may have already read it.  And how about The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel Brown? It's probably the most popular nonfiction book in town this year.  The library can't keep our copies on the shelves.

The New York Times has published a list of 100 Notable Books of 2014.  In addition to the universal favorites mentioned above they have selected more unusual choices such as Thirty Girls by Susan Minot (a Lake Forest Library book discussion title for February 2015) and Can't and Won't: Stories by Lydia Davis.

National Public Radio (NPR) has just released their 2014 Book Concierge of 250 titles that NPR staff and critics loved this year.  Use a variety of filters including "Eye-Opening Reads" and "Mysteries and Thrillers" to maximize your search.  And if that's not enough click on a link to lists from 2009 - 2013.

Other best book lists include:

Amazon's Best Books 
GoodReads - the only best book list selected by readers
LibraryReads Favorites of Favorites 2014
Washington Post Top 50 Fiction Books for 2014
Washington Post 50 Notable Works of Nonfiction 2014

Don't forget you can always peruse the library's "Too Good to Miss" shelf in the rotunda or stop by the Reference Desk for personalized assistance. Where will you look for your next read?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

November is Picture Book Month

November is Picture Book Month ,which  libraries, book stores, authors and illustrators happily celebrate.  Amidst the eBook revolution, picture books have been about the last to participate.  However, publishers are providing more and more app versions of preschool favorites.  Controversy over electronic vs paper has inevitably ensued.  In addition to the social and tactile aspects, the educational quality of learning language and how to read on a tablet is also being challenged.  The New York Times published an article last month entitled Is E-Reading Story Time? questioning the value of using a tablet for a preschooler’s reading adventures. 
Regardless of how you approach using eBooks with young children, the following books definitely come off better in paper: large pictures that showcase the illustrator's artistic technique without any distracting sound effects.  All are new offerings from favorite award winners.

 Misadventures of Sweetie Pie
  Misadventuresof Sweetie Pie (Chris Van Allsburg).  Poor hamster Sweetie Pie goes from one irresponsible owner to the next before she is finally freed by an unexpected ally.  Van Allsburg, best known for the Christmas classic The Polar Express, uses his precise drawings and ground level perspective  to sympathize with the hamster. The children in this story are naughty, not nice.

 The Animals' Santa
  The  Animals’ Santa (Jan Brett) Those of us who are Jan Brett fans love to pore over her detailed scenes and accompanying borders filled with delicate intricate designs.  She always gives us two stories in one. Here, Little Snow Hare is skeptical that there is a Santa for animals.  The other woodland creatures are sure, because they get gifts every year, but no one has seen a Santa.  Little Snow’s big brother figures out a way to help discover whooo (I’m giving it away) is the animals’ Santa. All the while we see animal “elves” making the gifts for Santa to deliver. 

 Give and Take
  Give and Take (Chris Raschka)  This Caldecott award winning author/illustrator (A Ball for Daisy) combines  a traditional folktale with some word play and a morality lesson.  Give and Take are two little gnomes who urge a farmer to “Take, Take, Take” one day, and “Give, Give, Give” the next.  Neither result is satisfactory.  The bold, expressionistic brushwork and multiple imagings give this story the feel of video.

 Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas
  Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas (Lynn Cox, Brian Floca) Floca’s previous award winning book, Locomotive, brings to life the excitement of riding the newly built transcontinental railroad in the 1800’s.  Now he illustrates a true story about an elephant seal in Christchurch, New Zealand, who repeatedly returns to the local river where she also likes to sunbath in the middle of the street.  Despite being taken hundreds of miles away to live in a more appropriate environment, she travels back on her own Incredible Journey.  Floca’s illustrations tell the story sweetly and simply, culminating  with a wonderfully atmospheric scene of Elizabeth swimming up the river in the moonlight.
So settle in, open the cover and turn the page for some wonderful reading time together.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Latino Authors

Last week Luis Alberto Urrea visited Lake Forest to talk about his novel, Into the Beautiful North, as part of Lake Forest Reads: Ragdale our city’s one book/one community program.  This funny, poignant story deals with topical issues surrounding the United States’ relationship with Mexico and our policies along the Mexican-American border. 

Nineteen-year-old Nayeli is the heroine of this tale.  She works at a taco shop in her Mexican village and dreams about her father, who journeyed to the U.S. when she was young. He hasn't been home since then and his letters have stopped. While watching the film, The Magnificent Seven, she decides to go north herself and recruit seven men -- her own "Siete Magníficos"-- to repopulate her hometown and protect it from the bandidos who plan on taking it over.

If you haven’t had a chance to read it, there are still plenty of copies at the library. Stop by and check one out. But there are also other Latino authors that you may find interesting; you can’t go wrong with these classics:

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel is set in Mexico at the beginning of the 20th century.   Tita, the youngest daughter of a well-born rancher, has always known her destiny: to remain single and care for her aging mother. When she falls in love, her mother prohibits the liaison and insists that Tita's sister marry Pedro, in her place.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros is told in a series of vignettes. It is the story of a young girl, Esperanza Cordero,  growing up in the Latino section of Chicago.

How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez. Four sisters recount their adventures of growing up in two cultures after they are forced to flee the Dominican Republic and arrive in New York City in the 1960s.

Check out this list of books by other Latino authors including recently released Loteria by Mario Alberto Zambrano and This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Object Lessons

Here are a variety of histories told through museum objects and other items such as maps, stamps, recipes, and songs.  So if you're a visual learner, a museum-goer, or you just like to approach your learning and reading in manageable lists or bits, you might enjoy these histories, listed here from broader to narrower subjects:

A History of the World in 100 Objects   by Neil MacGregor (Viking, 2011).  As Director of the British Museum, MacGregor wrote this book based on a BBC radio program that described 100 of the museum's objects chosen by these rules: 1) They represent the beginning of human history to the present. 2) They represent the whole world as much as possible. 3) They represent varied aspects of human experience. 4) They represent whole societies, not just the rich or powerful.  
The objects and their brief stories are laid out chronologically, but could easily be read and appreciated in random order.  [Other titles of a similar world-wide scope are:  Earth in 100 Groundbreaking Discoveries  by Douglas Palmer (Firefly, 2011) and A History of the World in Twelve Maps  by Jerry Brotton (Viking, 2012).]

These two recent books by West (America, 2014 and Britain, 2013) give interesting 3-5 page glimpses into British and American events, people, styles, and attitudes based on individual stamps laid out chronologically.  You need not be a stamp collector to enjoy these books.  In fact, West prefaces the British history with these words: "Stamps tell stories.  They speak to us across generations - if only we'd stop squeezing them into albums and worrying about their catalogue value, and just listen to their voices instead."

A History of New York in 101 Objects   by Sam Roberts (Simon & Schuster, 2014).  Roberts, The New York Times urban affairs correspondentwrote this history following the example of MacGregor from the British Museum (see above). He looked for enduring objects that played a transformative role in the city's history, and consulted museum curators, archivists, librarians, other journalists, and other New Yorkers to assemble this collection of "distinctive objects that span the history of New York, nearly all reproduced in brilliant color." [from flyleaf].

And here are three histories on narrower subjects:  The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs  by Greil Marcus (Yale Univ. Press, 2014) - the significance of ten songs recorded and re-recorded between 1956 and 2008; Season of Saturdays : a History of College Football in 14 Games  by Michael Weinreb (Scribner, 2014) - 14 of the greatest games of all time and their greater significance; A History of Food in 100 Recipes  by William Sitwell (Little, Brown, 2013) - the British food writer's selection of the best chapters in the history of food, with culinary characters, villains, and recipes, which have not been updated for modern cooks.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Opera Resources at the Library

Link to Giovanni Program Book
Lyric Opera of Chicago's season is well underway with Don Giovanni, Mozart's "comic drama" based on the Don Juan story, running through October 29th; and Capriccio, Richard Strauss's "conversation piece for music" that weighs the importance of words against music, running through October 28th.  

Recordings, DVDs, scores. and librettos for opera-goers and others wanting to further their appreciation of any of this season's operas can be found at this link:  Lyric Opera of Chicago Resources 2014-15 Season.  Free streaming commentary for each opera is available through the
Lyric Opera's website at this link:  
Lyric Opera Commentaries 

More information about Don Giovanni can also be found in the Lyric Opera's complete program book (link to PDF is above) and in the following title and others like it from the library's collection:

Getting the most out of Mozart : the Vocal Works  by David Hurwitz (Amadeus Press, 2005).  This book begins with an overview of Mozart's operatic style and continues with chapters on several of Mozart's great operas, including Don Giovanni; placing each opera in the context of Mozart's other works, summarizing the plot, discussing orchestration, and the opera's characters and their music.  The accompanying CD includes a few arias from Don Giovanni as well as selections from other Mozart works.

Find out more about Capriccio in The Cambridge Companion to Richard Strauss  edited by Charles Youmans (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2010).  Discussions of it can be found in the chapters on Strauss's last works, his musical quotations and allusions, and his musical commentary on the nature of music itself.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

October is Lake Forest Reads:Ragdale Month

Join your friends and neighbors in reading the novel, Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea during Lake Forest Reads:Ragdale, October’s celebration of literature and the arts in Lake Forest. Then choose from a schedule of related activities ranging from a festive Mariachi Band performance, to book discussions, to a lecture on Mexican-American border issues. The month-long calendar culminates in a visit by the author, Luis Alberto Urrea on October 28th. (Click here for the full schedule,)

Into the Beautiful North is the story of nineteen-year-old Nayeli who works at a taco shop in her Mexican village and dreams about her father, who left for the U.S. when she was young. He hasn’t been home since then and his letters have stopped. While watching the film, The Magnificent Seven, she decides to go north herself and recruit seven men -- her own "Siete Magníficos"-- to repopulate her hometown and protect it from the banditos who plan on taking it over. This funny, poignant story deals with topical issues surrounding the United States’ relationship with Mexico and our policies along the Mexican-American border. 

Lake Forest Reads:Ragdale is a one book/one community program sponsored by Lake Forest Library and The Radgale Foundation.  The program encourages the Lake Forest community to read one book by a writer affiliated with Ragdale, the artists’ residency that has supported emerging and best-selling authors and their creative process for over 35 years. Community Partners include Dickinson Hall, Friends of Lake Forest Library, Jolly Good Fellows, and Lake Forest College. Programs are being held throughout the community and all are open to the public. Most are free unless otherwise noted.  Copies of the book are available to borrow at Lake Forest Library and to purchase at Lake Forest Book S

Luis Alberto Urrea, 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction and member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame, is a prolific and acclaimed writer who uses his dual-culture life experiences to explore greater themes of love, loss and triumph. Born in Tijuana, Mexico to a Mexican father and an American mother the critically acclaimed and best-selling author of 13 books, Urrea has won numerous awards for his poetry, fiction and essays. Urrea's recent novel, Into the Beautiful North, a national best-seller, earned a citation of excellence from the American Library Association Rainbow's Project and was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts for their Big Read program.  Urrea lives with his family in Naperville, Illinois. He is a professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Fall in Chocolate

     This years Lake Forest Reads Ragdale book selection is Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea.  Read his novel and then stop in at the Adult Services Desk  to fill out a coupon to try Jolly Good Fellows Feisty Brownie  free with any $5.00 purchases  October 1 through November 1. 

Cover image for Seriously bitter sweet : the ultimate dessert maker's guide to chocolateSeriously Bitter Sweet : the Ultimate Dessert Maker's Guide to Chocolate 
(Alice Medrich)    These days, people are accustomed to seeing chocolate labeled 54%, 61%, or 72% on grocery store shelves, but some bakers are still confused by what the labeling means and how to use it. In Seriously Bitter Sweet, Alice Medrich presents 150 meticulously tested, seriously delicious recipes—both savory and sweet—for a wide range of percentage chocolates.

Cover image for The paleo chocolate lovers' cookbook : 80 gluten-free treats for breakfast & dessertThe Paleo Chocolate Lovers' Cookbook : 80 Gluten-Free Treats for Breakfast & Dessert
(Kelly V. Brozyna) The Paleo Chocolate Lovers Cookbook features 80 gluten-, grain-, and dairy-free recipes for the health-conscious chocolate lover. Kelly Brozyna, host of the delightful cooking blog, The Spunky Coconut, has created delicious chocolate treats made with coconut and ground nut flours for both breakfast and dessert. 

It's true that Anna Trent is a supervisor in a chocolate factory...but that doesn't necessarily mean she knows how to make chocolate. And when a fateful accident gives her the opportunity to work at Paris's elite chocolatier Le Chapeau Chocolat, Anna expects to be outed as a fraud. After all, there is a world of difference between chalky, mass-produced English chocolate and the gourmet confections Anna's new boss creates. But with a bit of luck and a lot of patience, Anna might learn that the sweetest things in life are always worth working for.

Cover image for The chocolate heartThe Chocolate Heart
(Laura Florand)

When Summer Corey takes over ownership of the Parisian restaurant where chef Luc Leroi works, their workplace clashes turn into private passions.
Cover image for Chocolates for breakfast : [a novel]

Chocolates for breakfast : [a novel] 
(Pamela Moore)
Courtney Farrell is a disaffected, sexually precocious fifteen-year-old. She splits her time between Manhattan, where her father works in publishing, and Los Angeles, where her mother is a still-beautiful Hollywood actress. After a boarding-school crush on a female teacher ends badly, Courtney sets out to learn everything fast. Her first drink is a very dry martini, and her first kiss the beginning of a full-blown love affair with an older man.
A riveting coming-of-age story, Chocolates for Breakfast became an international sensation upon its initial publication in 1956, and it still stands out as a shocking and moving account of the way teenagers collide, often disastrously, against love and sex for the first time.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Fall Crafts

Here are some recent craft and DIY titles from our collection having at least a few Fall-themed ideas that are highlighted in the annotations below.  Just click on the link to find the books in our catalog or give us a call at the Reference Desk (847-810-4610) to check availability.

Candy aisle crafts : create fun projects with supermarket sweets   Levine, Jodi.  (Potter Craft, 2014)

Regular grocery store candy finds are used to fashion festive treats.  Thinking Halloween?  Try the Boo and Spider cake topper using licorice candy sticks, shoestring licorice, and skewers (p. 34).  And alter regular s'more ingredients a bit with scissors to create Monster S'mores (p. 72).

Sheldon, Kathy. (Lark, 2014)
Much more cute than scary, along with the many Halloween projects are these strictly Fall ones: Silly Scarecrow Plant Picks (p. 58), Pumpkin Napkins (p. 76), and Felted Fall Acorns (p.96).

Mini quilts : fresh, fun patterns to quilt in a snap 
Davis, Jodie. (Taunton, 2013)

Among these 16" x 16" quilt patterns are many done in fall colors:  Frayed Star (p. 44), Hawaiian Gone Modern Stenciled Quilt (p. 54), and All Tied Up in Wool (p. 68). Each mini project highlights a quilting technique.  The book includes instructions for making mini quilts into other items such as a tote bag, quilt pillow, and table runner.

Modern quilt perspectives : 12 patterns for meaningful quilts 
Knauer, Thomas. (KP Craft, 2014)

This is a Fall craft book if you associate quilting with the cooler weather.  It has no Fall-themed quilts, but does contain patterns for 12 striking, imaginative, and symbolic quilts from artist and designer Thomas Knauer.

30 min-knits : what can you knit in half an hour or less?  Meldrum, Carol.  (Barron's, 2012)

These quick projects fall under the categories of Useful Items, Accessories, Whimsies, Hats and Headbands, and For Little People.  "Fallish" items include Apple Pincushion (p. 22), Pencil Case (p. 27), Picture Frames- school picture size (p.52) , Acorn (p. 95), and Tumbling Leaves (p. 96).