Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Great Courses at Lake Forest Library

One of the frequently overlooked Lake Forest Library collections is the Great Courses lecture series that is available in both Audio and DVD formats.  These courses are arranged in 30 minutes segments for the ease of use. To further encourage lifelong learners in our community, the library carries over 280 items on various subjects. 

Why not honor the First World War centenary with World War I: The "Great War" by Professor Vejas Liulevicius of University of Tennessee?  Re-assess your finances with the help of Financial Literacy by Professor Connel Fullenkamp of Duke University and Thinking like an Economist by Professor Randall Bartlett of Smith College. You may want to refresh your knowledge of How the Earth Works with Professor Michael Wysession from Washington University in St. Louis or even investigate the Physics in Your Life with Professor Richard Wolfson of Middlebury College.

On a lighter note, learn to enjoy great music and art with How to Listen to and Understand Great Music with Professor Robert Greenberg of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and How to Look at and Understand Great Art with Professor Sharon Hirsh of the Rosemont College.  Are you a wine connoisseur at heart?  Check out The Everyday Guide to Wine by Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, the Master of Wine.

There are many more subjects worth exploring, and we welcome your suggestions.  Please call the Reference Desk at 847-810-4609.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Books Coming Soon to a Theater Near You!

A bumper crop of movies based on bestselling books is slated for release in 2014.  Are you someone who likes to read the book before seeing the movie?  If so -- grab a few of the titles highlighted below and get reading before these high-profile projects hit the big screen!  Click on the book titles to determine availability in our catalog.

The Monuments Men  by R. Edsel and B. Witter

The fascinating, true story of a special international force of men assigned the seemingly impossible mission of saving great works of art in Europe from theft and destruction by the Nazis during WWII.  The film, scheduled for release in February, stars George Clooney, Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett.

Winter's Tale  by Mark Helprin

A mystical story of a love affair between an Irish burglar and the young, terminally-ill heiress he unexpectedly finds at home during his attempted robbery of her family's New York mansion.  Due out in February, the film features an all-star cast including Colin Ferrell, Russell Crowe, Will Smith and Jennifer Connelly.

Divergent  by Veronica Roth

Like the Hunger Games trilogy before it, Veronica Roth's bestselling young adult series has proven to have huge appeal to adult readers as well.  Roth expertly spins the dystopian tale of a futuristic society divided into five factions, each representing a different virtue.  A Chicago setting is an added bonus.  Talented young actress Shailene Woodley is the star of the new film franchise.  Highly anticipated, the movie is slated for a March release.

The Fault in our Stars  by John Green

John Green is a true rock star among young adult authors, and his most recent bestseller hits all the right notes with adult readers as well.  Two teen cancer survivors struggling with depression meet at a cancer support group and fall in love.  Both poignant and funny, Green's novel expertly explores the themes of love, life and death.  There is already a lot of buzz about this film, which is set for release in June.  Shailene Woodley stars in this movie as well.

This is Where I Leave You  by Jonathon Tropper

Jonathon Tropper's painfully funny bestseller about a young man forced to spend seven days with his dysfunctional family sitting shiva for his father, while also struggling to accept that his wife has just left him for another man -- his boss.  The September release stars Rose Byrne, Jason Bateman, Tina Fey and Timothy Oliphant.

Gone Girl  by Gillian Flynn

Gillian Flynn's runaway bestseller tells the twisted tale of a marriage gone awry.  A young husband becomes the primary suspect in his wife's disappearance when she goes missing on their fifth wedding anniversary.  You can bet this movie will be big!  Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike star.  The film debuts in October.

Serena  by Ron Rash

North Carolina lumber magnate George Pemberton is delighted when his new wife, Serena, proves to be a shrewd and determined business partner.  When she discovers that she will not be able to provide George with an heir to his empire, however, her jealousy over his illegitimate son escalates.  Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper star in the 1920's era drama. A fall release date is planned.

Wild  by Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed's breathtaking memoir details her harrowing solo hike of over a thousand miles along the Pacific Coast Trail -- a journey she began on impulse with no prior long-distance hiking experience.  Reese Witherspoon stars in the fall release.

Unbroken  by Laura Hillenbrand

The monumental bestseller chronicles the inspirational, true story of Louie Zamperini, Olympic runner turned Army Air Corps bombardier, who survives tortuous conditions in a POW camp after his plane crashes in the Pacific Ocean during WWII.  Angelina Jolie is producing and directing the project, which boasts a screenplay by the Coen brothers.  Scheduled for a December release. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Back to the Basics

The temperature, salt, air are all commonplace items that hardly get any attention or a second thought. Luckily some intelligent authors have taken the time to write about these basics that we all take for granted.

William Bryant Logan has three books about Oak trees, Dirt, and Air. In each, he dives into his subject with a fine-tooth comb. Each of his books takes what seems to be a basic building block of everyday life and unfolds it into a complex shape that shows how embedded they are as a natural resource.

Mark Kurlansky's Salt: A World History sheds light on the impressive history of a now basic food additive. The reader learns what salt meant for civilizations, how it influenced the building of cities, was used as a currency, what it meant for science, and how it altered food and food supplies.

Sand: The Never-Ending Story by Michael Welland is about the pervasiveness of sand in all aspects of humanity. It is important in science (geology, archaeology, etc.) and in a human context (exploration, art, etc.). Welland pulls the various aspects of such a common material and weaves it with stories about creators and scientists who have made great works or discoveries with sand.

The temperature is really only noticed when it either rises or falls below our comfort levels. Bill Streever's Cold and Heat take the reader to the hottest and coldest locations in the world. He explores how these temperature extremes affect the ecosystem and how our search for ways to create both cold and heat have progressed.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Music of Winter

The wintry selections highlighted below won't necessarily lift your spirits nor give respite from the chill and snow of late, but if you're of a mood to embrace this dark season, you may want to listen to some of these pieces from the comfort of your home or fireplace.

 "An evocative collection of lullabies, carols and songs ...celebrat[ing] the many facets of winter"  [from the cover]

Concerto no. 4 in F Minor - Winter

[sonnet on which Vivaldi's L'Inverno
Winter from the Four Seasons is based;
possibly written by Vivaldi, 
translated by H.C. Robbins Landon]

The Four Seasons: Concertos
by Antonio Vivaldi;Leonard Bernstein
and the New York Philharmonic
(Sony, 1998) CD Chamber Music V
Frozen and trembling among the chilly snow
Our breathing hampered by horrid winds,
As we run, we stamp our feet continuously,
Our teeth chatter with the frightful cold:

We move to the fire and contented peace,
While the rain outside pours in sheets.
Now we walk on the ice, with slow steps,
Attentive how we walk, for fear of falling;

If we move quickly, we slip and fall to earth,
Again walking heavily on the ice,
Until the ice breaks and dissolves;

We hear from the closed doors
Boreas and all the winds at war -
This is winter, but such as brings joy.

Winterreise by Franz Schubert; Matthew Rose, bass; Gary Matthewman, piano.(Stone Records, 2012)  CD Vocal S 
These 24 songs of a winter journey by a lone wanderer are based on poems by Wilhelm Muller (1794-1827).  "Winterreise is not charming, not light, not pretty; its beauty is of a different and deeper order, like that of Greek tragedy or Rembrandt's portraits of his own old age." [from Susan Youens' liner notes].

If interested in hearing the cycle sung by a tenor, as Schubert originally composed it, try this version:
Winterreise by Franz Schubert; Ian Bostridge, tenor; Leif Ove Andsnes, piano. (EMI Classics, 2004)  CD Vocal S

Northern Lights, vocals by Sissel; featuring Jose Carreras. (Denon, 2007)  CD New Age S

Norwegian soprano Sissel Kyrkjebo sings a mix of traditional, classical, and original songs of a winter theme including Icelandic Lullaby and Hymn to Winter.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Book Discussion-Mary Coin

Judy Levin will lead a discussion of the novel, Mary Coin by Marisa Silver this Thursday 1/16 at 12 noon in the Children's Programming Room.

Looking at the cover most readers will think, "I've seen this picture." Mary Coin was inspired by the iconic photograph, "Migrant Mother". Dorothea Lange, took the picture of an unknown sharecropper in 1936 while documenting the plight of this country's displaced farm families during the Great Depression.  With the snap of her camera this renowned American photographer captured the essence of the times. (See the black and white image below.)

What about the stories behind the picture? Until now history has left us to wonder. Where history stopped Marisa Silver began. The author stirs up our imagination and helps us explore the possibilities in this crisply-written, original work.  She re-imagines the lives of the photographer (character Vera Dare) and the young mother (renamed Mary Coin) in vivid detail. Anchored in a particular time and place Mary Coin explores universal truths and the unfaltering depths of the human spirit.

Check out these reviews for a critical look at the novel:
New York Times

or for more information, read an interview with the author Marisa Silver. 

We hope you can join us!

Friday, January 10, 2014


The Great Books reading group kicks off its 2014 season on January 15 with a discussion of Shakespeare's Hamlet. Read any copy of Hamlet and come and discuss it with us.  Try us out without having to buy any other books until you see if you like our format. 

For the 2014 programs we will be using the 3rd Series in the Adult Great Books Program as well as the Vital Ideas-Crime collection, both published by the Great Books Foundation.  Excerpts from works by Dewey, Chekhov, Homer, Chaucer, and Tolstoy are among some of the time-tested pieces to be discussed.  The Vital Ideas series is for readers who care about ideas that will stand the test of time and about topics arousing perennial interest.

The Great Books reading group meets on the first and third Wednesdays of each month from 10-11:30 am. in the Library   Please call the Reference Desk at 847-810-4609 for more information.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Children's Book Discussion Groups 2014

Starting in January, the Children’s Library will be continuing monthly book discussions of popular and award-winning novels. Our children’s fiction librarian, Kate Parker, has chosen a variety of genres from well-regarded authors, books sure to provide lively discussion.  We offer a Junior Readers Club for children 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 to be discussed are available for check out upon registration.  Parents are highly encouraged to read the book and accompany their child to the discussion.  Participation in the discussions is not required.  Exposure to and participation in book discussions will enhance critical thinking skills in young readers and give them chances to express themselves in a casual, positive, grade-free environment.  Please join us this winter and spring as we talk about the following books:

 January 22.  Geronimo Stilton and the Golden Statue Plot.  This latest offering in the super popular illustrated novels about an adventuresome mouse and his cohorts follows Geronimo as he thwarts  pirate cats who are planning to steal New Mouse City's Statue of Liberty and taking it back to Cat Island, with some messages about energy conservation along the way.

February 26.  Courage of Sarah Noble. Before there was Laura Ingalls Wilder, there was Sarah Noble. 
 “Frontier tales, with the authentic feel of place and time and people, have endless fascination for young and old. This one is unusual in that it harks back to a time when the wooded hills of western Connecticut were frontiers, It is simply told, with no embroidering of melodrama, but it carries the warmth of sincerity, and the wholesome appeal of true adventure.” –Kirkus Reviews 

 April 2.  Zeus and the Thunderbolt of Doom.
If your 2nd/3rd grader has heard the buzz about the Percy Jackson books, but is too young to wade in, try this new Heroes in Training series by Joan Holub (Goddess Girls).
  “After 10-year-old Zeus is plucked from his childhood cave in Crete by armed “Cronies” of the Titan king, Cronus, he is rescued by harpies. He then finds himself in a Grecian temple where he acquires a lightning bolt with the general personality of a puppy and receives hints of his destiny from an Oracle with fogged eyeglasses…”  -KirkusReviews
Humorous and hip, this book should appeal to the youngest mythology fans.


 January 15. One and Only Ivan.  (Rescheduled from last October.)
 "Living in a "domain" of glass, metal and cement at the Big Top Mall, Ivan sometimes forgets whether to act like a gorilla or a human—except Ivan does not think much of humans. He describes their behavior as frantic, whereas he is a peaceful artist . . . In a pivotal scene, Ivan finally admits his domain is a cage, and rather than let Ruby live and die in grim circumstances, he promises to save her. In order to express his plea in a painting, Ivan must bravely face buried memories . . . Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan . . . In a compelling ending, the more challenging question Applegate poses is whether or not Ivan will remember what it was like to be a gorilla." - Kirkus Reviews
 February 19.  Out of My Mind.  Reminiscent of Wonder, a look into the life of a physically challenged child. 
 “Melody, diagnosed with cerebral palsy, cannot walk or talk… [she] is an entirely complete character, who gives a compelling view from inside her mind…Realistically, Melody’s resilient spirit cannot keep her from experiencing heartbreak and disappointment even after she has demonstrated her intellect…” -Kirkus Reviews

  March 19.  I Funny. Are you a fan of James Patterson? (If so, see the blog from November 2013.) Either way, who doesn’t find a book with a fake nose, busy eyebrows and glasses on the cover funny? 
 “Middle school student Jamie is an aspiring comic. Frequently quoting his favorite comedians, Jamie reflects on life, using his forthright observations to hone his own comedic skills. Jamie relies on his quick wit and sometimes-audacious jokes to deflect inquiries about his circumstances…The affecting ending, which reveals a more vulnerable Jamie behind the guise of his humor, celebrates Jamie's resilient spirit.” -Kirkus Reviews
 April 9.  Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library. Chris Grabenstein, who collaborated with James Patterson on the previous month’s selection, has here authored a completely different type of book.
  "When a lock-in becomes a reality game, 12-year-old Kyle Keeley and his friends use library resources to find their way out of Alexandriaville's new public library.…Full of puzzles to think about, puns to groan at and references to children's book titles, this solid, tightly plotted read is a winner for readers and game-players alike.” Kirkus Reviews

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, January 2, 2014

Adult Book Discussion Thursday, January 9th

Elise Barack leads a discussion of the New York Times bestseller The Dog Stars by Peter Heller on Thursday, January 9th at 7:15 p.m. in the Children's Programming Room.

The Dog Stars is set in Colorado, nine years after a pandemic has wiped out 99% of the world's population.  Among the survivors is Hig, an amateur pilot who has taken refuge at a small, abandoned airport -- with only his loyal dog Japser, an unstable survivalist named Bangley, and memories of his deceased wife to keep him company.  Hig and Bangley spend most of their days protecting their fortified domain from bands of violent mobs that roam the devastated countryside in search of sustenance.  When an unexpected transmission is received over the radio of his 1956 Cessna airplane, Hig is consumed with hope that a better life exists somewhere beyond his small world, and sets off in his plane in search of additional survivors.

A post-apocalyptic novel in the tradition of Cormac McCarthy's The Road, Heller's darkly humorous,  emotionally-charged novel is a survival tale with great heart, offering a reassuring and optimistic portrait of loss, love, and hope.

Author Peter Heller is an award-winning adventure writer and a long-time contributor to NPR and publications such as Businessweek and National GeographicThe Dog Stars is his first novel, and his debut effort earned Best Book of the Year honors from several institutions in 2012, including The Atlantic Monthly, Publisher's Weekly, The Guardian, and Amazon
Critical reviews of Heller's novel can be found by clicking on the publication titles below:
Publisher's Weekly
Kirkus Reviews
Library Journal

The Dog Stars is available at the library in print, large-type, audiobook, eBook, and eAudiobook formats.

Please join us!