Thursday, January 29, 2015

Go on a Blind Date...with a book

How often do you ask a friend to "fix you up" with a good book?

Are you looking looking for love, friendship or company?
Come to the Lake Forest Library and choose a Valentine Bag book from our “Blind date with a Book” display.  Read the book and turn in your comment/entry form to the Adult Services desk.   Each Lake Forest Library card holder is eligible for two entries in the drawing to win a $60.00 Chamber of Commerce gift card. All entries must be submitted by 12 noon on Friday, February 13th.The drawing will take place on Friday, 12:30.

Titles you may find yourself on a date with include: fiction, memoirs, humor, biography and travel.  Who knows, you may just fall in love.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Secret Places

The three books highlighted here are about places to which most people cannot travel due to the locations' high security, exclusivity, or remoteness.  (And some of the places described are places one might prefer to visit in imagination only.)  See the end of the blog for a list of titles similar to these three:

100 places you will never visit : the world's most secret locations 
by Daniel Smith.  (Quercus: 2014, 2012)

Travel from the Pacific eastward around the world to ghost towns, secret services, secret societies, tunnels, subways, and secret passageways.  Maps, photos, and diagrams supplement the one to two-page descriptions of these fascinating places.  
Here are links to a few of the places mentioned:

•  The Svalbard (Norway) Global Seed Vault  - for the underground storage of plant seeds from around the world.

•  Surtsey Island (off the south coast of Iceland) - an island formed by volcanic eruption in the 1960s and possibly the world's most pristine nature reserve where scientists can study the colonization of new land by plants and animals.

•  Forensic Anthropology Research Facility (Freeman Ranch, Texas) - Texas State University's 26-acre outdoor research area to study human decomposition.  It is a resource for state and national law enforcement agencies and forensic anthropologists and researchers.

•  Granite Mountain Records Vault (near Salt Lake City, Utah) - The Morman Church's deep-storage facility housing the world's largest collection of genealogical records.

Secret places, hidden sanctuaries : uncovering mysterious sites, symbols, and societies  by Stephen Klimczuk. (Sterling Ethos, 2009)

This book offers up many sites under enticing chapter headings such as:

Shrines and Sanctuaries, Ancient and Modern (Places of primordial spiritual impulses and folklore - and a psychedelic West Coast enclave) - from Lhasa, Tibet to Big Sur, California
University Secret Societies and Dueling Corps - from the Apostles of Cambridge to Yale's Skull and Bones
Grottoes and Grotesques (Strange and historic passageways, caverns, and hiding places) - from Rome's Magic Door to England's Priest Holes
Modern-Day Bolt-Holes (Secret government installations, well-oiled for use in time of war or crisis) - from Area 51 to Menwith Hill in England
(Very) Private Banking ( A discreet tour through the great temples of high finance and private wealth management) - Rothschilds, London; Swiss banks, and more.

Unruly places : lost spaces, secret cities, and other inscrutable geographies  
by Alastair Bonnett. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014)

The 47 places in this book were chosen for their provoking or disorienting nature such as Sandy Island, which was on maps for years as being east of Australia, but which never existed.  And then there are places that exist but are not on the map, such as Zheleznogorsk, Russia (a town founded in 1950 for the purpose of making nuclear weapons).  The Sicilian seaside town of Giarre is home to the "Archaeological Park of Sicilian Incompletion," a "dead city" of twenty-five incomplete concrete structures, many quite large, begun between the 1950s and the 2000s. Described in the chapter on enclaves and breakaway nations is Sealand, established by a retired British officer in 1967 on an abandoned WWII gun platform of the coast from Essex.  Bonnett takes a whimsical approach to documenting this quirky geography.

Similar Titles:

London under : the secret history beneath the streets  by Peter Ackroyd. (Nan A. Talese, 2011)
Quiet London. Culture  by Siobhan Wall. (Frances Lincoln, 2014)
Quiet Paris  by Siobhan Wll. (Frances Lincoln, 2013)

The secrets of Italy : people, places, and hidden histories
by Corrado Augias. (Rizzoli Ex Libris, 2014)