Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pause to Read - 2014 Adult Summer Reading Program

The Adult Summer Reading program begins Monday, June 2 and runs through Saturday, August 2.  Come in and sign up.

It's easy to participate. Stop by the Reference Desk to register and pick up a punch card. Each time you read or listen to a book, get your card punched and fill out a raffle form.  Raffle coupons will be entered in the weekly drawings. Submit a coupon four different weeks, or increase your chances for your favorite prize and put all your coupons in one week's drawing. Look at these wonderful prizes. 

Week One                      June 2 - 8                                Caputo’s Gift Card                      
Week Two                      June 9 - 15                              Chiefs Gift Card                                             
Week Three                   June 16 - 22                            Kittles Gift Card         
Week Four                    June 23 -  29                            Initial Choice Gift Card              
Week Five                     June 30 - July 6                       LF Bookstore Gift Card               
Week Six                        July 7 - 13                                Green Teaist Gift Card                 
Week Seven                 July 14 - 20                              Jolly Good Fellows Gift Card       
Week Eight                   July 21 - 27                              Gifted Gift Card                       
 Week Nine                   July 28 -August 2                    Williams & Sonoma Gift Card  
To be eligible for the grand prize drawing read four books and turn in your punch card.  The grand prize is an $250 Apple Gift Card.  This drawing will be held at the beginning of August.  When you complete four books you will also receive a Lake Forest Library string bag.
There is a limit of one punch card per patron.  Registration and prizes are limited to Lake Forest residents 19 years of age and older.
The Adult Summer Reading program is funded by Friends of Lake Forest Library.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Rosetta Stone!

We are proud to now offer Rosetta Stone online with your library card! You'll find it in the Online Databases area or right here. Currently, we have full access to Level One of all of their languages, from Chinese to Hindi to Spanish; everything you need for travel!

When you first click on the link you will need to create an account. This is important to help you track your place learning your new language. Once you enter your email and password, choose First Time Users for information on the program or, if you want to dive right in, Launch Rosetta Stone.

From there, just choose your language, Level One, then the section you want to focus on! Rosetta Stone for Libraries is still a new service, so if you have any problems, please let us know. We hope to add more levels in the future when they become available.

For advanced learning, try out Mango Languages.

Monday, May 19, 2014

May-December Romances in Movies

Can it be true that Spring has finally arrived?  It's hard to believe that the month of May is almost over when the temperatures for the month have more closely resembled those of December.  Oh well -- the unusually cool weather provides a good excuse to stay inside and watch a movie!

Speaking of May and December -- May-December romances have been integral to the plots of many fine films over the years.  For example, who doesn't love the classic pairing of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall?  Here are just a few of our favorite films featuring couples with a significant age difference between them.

 An Education  (2009)

A British schoolgirl gets an education of a different sort when she sets aside her dreams of attending Oxford after falling for the charms of an older man.  Cary Mulligan shines in her breakthrough role as a naive 1960's teen swept off her feet by the equally talented Peter Sarsgaard.  The film scored Oscar nominations for Mulligan as Best Actress, Best Picture, and Best Screenplay.

Lost in Translation  (2003)

Bill Murray plays an aging American movie star in Tokyo to film a series of cheesy commercials for Japanese television who forms an unusual bond with the lonely, young wife of a visiting photographer (Scarlett Johansson).  Murray scored an Oscar nomination for his sensitive portrayal of a conflicted, middle-aged man who wants to do the right thing.  The film's director, Sofia Coppola, won an Oscar for her screenplay.

As Good as it Gets  (1997)

Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt both won Oscars for their lead performances in this sharp comedy written and directed by James L. Brooks.  Nicholson plays a cranky, obsessive-compulsive writer of romance novels who forms unlikely friendships with a gay neighbor (Greg Kinnear) and the young, single mother who works as a waitress at his local diner (Hunt).

Murphy's Romance  (1985)

James Garner and Sally Field star in this charming romantic comedy in which a young divorcee, struggling to support her small son, acquires a small Arizona ranch with the hope of becoming a successful horse trainer.  The woman befriends the town's pharmacist, a handsome widower with helpful advice on how to win over the local townspeople, who seem to be against the idea of a female rancher.

Harold and Maude  (1971)

Hal Ashby directed this quirky comedy about a wealthy teenager with a death wish who finds love with a 79 year-old woman who is high on life.  Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort are outstanding in their roles as the unusual couple, with thoughtful lessons about making the most of our time on earth thrown in for good measure.  Tunes by Cat Stevens comprise the wonderful soundtrack.

 The Graduate  (1967)

Iconic performances by Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft are the highlight of this classic Mike Nichols film, in which a recent college graduate becomes involved in a complicated affair with a woman twice his age, only to find himself falling in love with her beautiful daughter.  The film boasts a notable soundtrack by Simon & Garfunkel, featuring their songs Mrs. Robinson, The Sound of Silence, and Scarborough Faire/Canticle.

Daddy Long Legs  (1955)

Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron -- need we say more?  A beautiful French orphan falls in love with a millionaire playboy who, unbeknownst to her, sponsored her college education in the United States.  The highlights of the film, of course, are the song and dance numbers choreographed by Astaire -- among them an energetic routine performed to Johnny Mercer's classic song Something's Gotta Give. 

The Big Sleep  (1946)

Our favorite among the four movies that Bogart and Bacall made together.  The chemistry between the pair -- married in real life -- is obvious in this classic film in which Private Detective Philip Marlowe investigates a blackmail case involving the spoiled upper classes.  Check out the couple's other films as well:  To Have and Have Not  (Bacall's film debut), Dark Passage, and Key Largo

Monday, May 12, 2014

Diverging Opinions on Divergent

 Divergent Book 1        Insurgent Book 2    

 Flying in on the tails (& wings) of the hugely popular Hunger Games series comes a new dystopian series featuring a heroine  who continues in the same vein as Katniss Everdeen : the strong female savior.  Divergent and its sequels Insurgent and Allegiant, follow the self-discovery of  teenage Beatrice Prior as she participates in a war among factions  Author Veronica Roth began Divergent several years ago while still an undergraduate at Northwestern University.  Set in a future Chicago where the Lake has dried up and the Willis (Sears) Tower is a crumbling ruin, each faction has one predominent quality :  Abnegation (selflessness), Amity (peace/goodwill), Erudite (knowledge), Candor (honesty) and Dauntless (bravery).  So which house does our heroine Beatrice fit into?  Oops, sorry,  that’s from the Harry Potter series.  A lot of the plot devices in these books are derivative from other popular books for young people.  Beatrice, now Tris,  chooses Dauntless, although she possesses qualities which  would allow her to fit into several other  factions.  She undergoes a  grueling initiation process, both physically and mentally.  Not too surprising, she is also confused about her growing attraction to Four, an antagonist teacher & mentor of the new initiates of their faction.  Outside the world of Dauntless training, the other factions are laying the groundwork to try and wrest control over the others.  Civil war breaks out, with plenty of traitors and twists.  It will take two more books before Tris’s world and her romantic situation resolve themselves. 

Violence is a key component of  Divergent.  Characters face deadly challenges, traumatic situations, fight and kill each other on a regular basis.  Should we be concerned that this prevalence of violence will have an undesirable effect on readers, especially those in middle school?  It’s not just teens who are reading Divergent.  Grade schoolers are devouring this exciting, easy to read sci- fi thriller that features characters not too much older than themselves.  The book is usually recommended for ages 12+, but nothing tempts a reader like being told not to read it.

School shootings and violence are a result of a much more complicated social situation than the popularity of books like Hunger Games and Divergent.  In fact, lessons in good and evil are presented throughout the story.  The use of violence is judicious.  The teen protagonists are fighting to change an existing evil situation.  So even though there are bad things happening, every story is about young people working to dramatically improve their entire worlds - not just get by under horrible conditions.  An earlier sci-fi classic, Ender’s Game, contained similar themes of youth being chosen for a mission of salvation/destruction.  Younger readers will see Divergent as an exciting escapist adventure.  So if your middle schoolers wants to read Divergent, or Ender’s Game, or The Hunger Games, let them have a go.  Read it yourself and talk about the book with him/her. Ask what they thought of it.  That’s the best way to see how the violence in these books is affecting its readers.   If you or your teen readers get sucked into this addictive genre, here are a few more suggestions:

 Maze Runner series by James Dashner Legend series by Marie Lu Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Want something a little gentler?  Try this( sort of) sub-genre: Dystopian YA Hiromance:

 Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver            The Selection series by Kiera Cass       Matched series by Allyson Condie
If you are concerned about the appropriateness of reading material & movies for your children, one source for reviews based on family values is Common Sense Media.  This unpartisan website offers indepth reviews and recommendations, based on principles such as “We can’t cover their eyes, but we can teach them to see.”

Monday, May 5, 2014

May Adult Book Discussions

Don’t miss our final spring book discussions.

Elise Barack will lead a discussion of Schroder by Amity Gaige on Thursday, May 8, 7:14 pm.  

Schroder is a novel loosely based on the Christian Gerhartsreiter/Clark Rockefeller child custody kidnapping case.  The narrator, Erik Schroder,  has lived his life based on lies.  Born in East Berlin and he immigrates to Boston as a child.  But then as a teenager he recreates himself as Eric Kennedy, distancing himself from his past in order to gain entry to the American aristocracy.  His deception lasts for years; through college, marriage and fatherhood.  But as his marriage dissolves, he can no longer keep up the ruse.  He loses custody of his daughter, he kidnaps her and takes  an unsanctioned road trip through New England.  Schroder is written as a thoughtful, reflective apology to his ex-wife as he sits in prison awaiting his trial. 

For critical reviews of Schroder see the articles below:

Transatlantic by Colum McCann is the featured title for Judy Levin's daytime book discussion May 15 at Noon. 
McCann looks at the intertwined lives of four women in his sixth novel, Transatlantic. Lily Dugan, a Dublin servant inspired by a visit from the abolitionist Frederick Douglas, emigrates to New York City in 1846.  Her journey begins a family saga that runs up until the present day. Ties, forged over the course of a century and a half, are stretched and reinforced by trips back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean.  McCann examines how history emerges and converges, time and again, to affect our current lives.

For reviews of Transatlantic see these articles:
Adult Book Discussions meet in the Children's Library Programming Room downstairs. Thanks to Friends of Lake Forest Library for their support.