Tag Archives: Chicago

First Post of 2014!

Happy New Year to you! The colder it gets the more we’d all like to stay inside. Snuggle up and enjoy some of these items from our collection!

Sue – Circulation 

img_17591Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry – Edited by Billy Collins – Nonfiction 811.6 Poe

A collection of 180 poems, all written by contemporary poets and chosen by former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins. My favorite poem in the book is “Dog’s Death” by John Updike, a heartbreaking, but beautiful tribute to the poet’s late dog and the devotion and love of dogs. Another poem in the collection that moved me is “St. Francis and the Sow” by Galway Kinnell, which speaks of finding beauty beyond physical appearance – that all beings have their own loveliness within and we need to look deeper and believe in ourselves. I also enjoyed “Not Bad, Dad, Not Bad” by Jan Heller Levi, about a son looking back on his relationship with his father with the benefit of maturity, and seeing the relationship from a different perspective. The 180 poems are all diverse and you are sure to find some that speak to you as these three spoke to me.

 51DiLm5WXKLPsych Seasons 1-7 – Starring: James Roday, Dule Hill, Timothy Omundson, Maggie Lawson – DVD: Psych 

If you want a serious crime drama, Psych is not for you. But if you want a laugh-out loud, irreverent crime show, give Psych a try. The show stars the hilarious James Roday as Shawn, a fake psychic whose real ability is his uncanny attention to detail and photographic memory, and Dule Hill as his long-suffering best friend Gus who helps Shawn run their psychic detective agency and assist the police department in solving crimes. The show deals with a different case each week and the relationships among Shawn, Gus, Shawn’s dad, and the two police detectives Shawn and Gus work cases with, Lassiter and Juliet. Watch and laugh and see if you can find the pineapple – each episode features a pineapple somewhere in it, a long-standing joke since the pilot. Season 8 begins this month on USA Network.

6506307Blackout – by Connie Willis – FICTION: Willis

Part science fiction and part historical fiction, this book is set 50 years in the future when time travel has become possible and historians travel back in time to experience historical events firsthand. Three students from Oxford University travel back in time to World War II: Eileen is taking care of evacuated children in the country, Polly is working as a shopgirl in London during the Blitz, and Mike is observing heroes who helped rescue soldiers from Dunkirk. Historians believe that their presence in the past does not affect the outcome of history; however this theory might prove to be wrong when something goes awry and Eileen, Polly, and Mike are trapped in 1940 and can’t get home. The story is continued to its conclusion in a second volume, All Clear, also found under Fiction Willis. This is an excellent novel, rich in details about the everyday life of English civilians during the war, complex, and exciting.

Mary – Youth Services

downloadA Single Man—Starring: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode – DVD: SINGLE MAN

After the sudden death of his partner, George (Colin Firth) has the last day of his life planned. The only predictable part of the plan is the small shotgun he carries in his briefcase, which, he reasons, will be a suitable prop to end the day. While making the effort to carry on his last day as normal, this British professor teaching in California is overwhelmed with increasingly strange and mesmerizing details of life. Colin Firth plays a complex, dark character, whose microexpressions are enough to make your stomach curl in some scenes, guiltily laugh in others. Based off a novel of the same title, this is a brilliantly dark drama of love, loss, and the universal need for human connection.

Margaux Circulation

1795179Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – By: Benjamin Alire Sáenz – Call Number: YA SAENZ

It’s 1987 in New Mexico and Aristotle is on a mission to spend the summer by himself. His plan is working perfectly until he meets Dante at the local pool. In attitude, the two are complete opposites. However, they both share a love for reading and culture. After just one summer, the two are best friends. Dante’s father is transferred to Chicago and his letters to Ari go largely unanswered. When reunited the following summer, Dante reveals a secret to his best friend that will change their relationship forever. This novel has a very introspective mood that is heightened by Dante’s tumultuous family history. If you’re a fan of any of Rainbow Rowell’s work, or Sherman Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, you’re bound to fall in love with Dante and Aristotle.

16068905Fangirl – By: Rainbow Rowell – Call Number: YA ROWELL

When Cath and her twin sister Wren start college at the University of Nebraska, the last thing Cath expects is a change in the status quo. Cath is used to spending every moment possible with her sister and a majority of the rest of her time is spent on her dirty little secret: writing fan fiction about Simon Snow (a character not unlike Harry Potter). But when Wren takes her freshmen year as an opportunity to “branch out,” Cath becomes a shut-in. Her roommate seems to have a vendetta against her, and her roommate’s boyfriend insists on talking constantly. Throughout the novel, Cath tries to come into her own and figure out a balance between her Simon Snow obsession and trying to figure out dating, friendship and family in college. This might be a formidably sized novel but the story moves quickly.

Matt – Reference

Savages-Silence-YourselfSilence Yourself – By: Savages – NEW CD: CD 781.66 SAVAGES

This French foursome has an aggressive, raw sound that pushes them above many of the post-punk acts around. The songs are excellently crafted yet feel unhinged as their wild energy coupled with articulate emotions gives each song an exciting conflicting feel. Definitely one of the stand out records of 2013.

 

unnamedWe The Common – Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – New CD:781.66 THAO

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down have been a buzz band for a few years now and they don’t disappoint. Their songs are as catchy as they are inspired mixing styles into a seamless unification of indie, pop, folk and dance.

 

Check back next month for more!

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November!

This is a very late edition of the blog. Apologies to our loyal readers.

November: leaves, football, Thanksgiving. Here are some things to do while you wait for turkey.

Sue – Circulation


sparrowsAn Episode of Sparrows
by: Rumer Godden, YA: Godden

Although classified as a young adult novel, this is really more of an adult novel with a child as the main character. It is a lovely story of redemption and transformation set during post-World War II London. A young girl named Lovejoy, abandoned by her mother and living with a poor restaurateur and his wife, plants a secret garden in her bombed-out neighborhood using stolen soil and seeds bought with money stolen from the local Catholic church offering box. A neighborhood boy, Tip, helps her with the garden after his group of friends destroyed her first attempt at a garden. Tip and Lovejoy develop a strong friendship while cultivating the garden. Complications ensue when adults in the neighborhood discover the children’s actions. In the end, Lovejoy’s garden affects the lives of a number of people in the neighborhood for the better.

841887018838_p0_v2_s260x420The Bletchley Circle, Starring: Anna Maxwell Martin, Rachael Stirling, Julie Graham, NEW DVD: Bletchley

An intelligent series from PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery, this series tells the story of four women who worked together at Bletchley Park during World War II, breaking German codes. Now the war has ended and the ladies have returned to their normal lives, unable to share their war work with their loved ones because it is still classified. The main character, Susan, sees a pattern in murders that have been committed throughout the city and shares her ideas with her husband, a policeman. He is skeptical, unaware of her experiences during the war, but takes her to see his boss anyway. When that lead doesn’t pan out, he loses confidence in her. She then recruits her three friends from Bletchley Park and they investigate the murders on their own. This is an exciting thriller. A second season has been ordered by PBS and will air in the spring of 2014.


throughdogsearThrough a Dog’s Ear, Volume 1: Music to Calm Your Canine Companion
, CD 784 Through

This is an excellent music CD of soft piano music created especially for dogs to help calm them. It is great to play for a dog who is afraid of thunder or fireworks to help keep him calm during a storm or on the 4th of July. It it also soothing music for people to help them wind down and fall asleep. I have always needed total silence to fall asleep and now I turn this music on at night when I go to bed and it really does help me fall asleep. It’s also great for kids to get them to settle down and sleep – I play this for my niece and nephew at bedtime when they sleep over. I wouldn’t play it all day for your dog (there are other music CDs for dogs meant to be played throughout the day), but it works well for calming during stressful times and at bedtime.

Mary – Youth Services

51YfDmh7eULBlack Books Series 1-3 Starring: Dylan Moran- DVD BLACK

Bernard Black (comedian Dylan Moran) is the nihilistic, depressed owner of a bookshop called “Black Books.” The British sitcom begins with Bernard Black finding a strange foil and friend in an accountant, Manny, who he comes across in his shop. One drunken night later, Bernard Black mistakenly hires a very confused Manny to help him run Black Books. Once this irreversible transaction is made, Bernard Black is forced to live with the decision of having a person around who loves other people. And as for people, well; they are what Bernard Black hates the most. Black Books is a witty, dark, and very British gem.

CuckoosCallingCoverCuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith – NEW FICTION : Galbraith

High up, overlooking a deserted London street, this crime novel begins with the death of a promising young model. Of course this situation has been played at before dozens of times within the genre (please, no more dead models), but J.K. Rowling, writing posthumously under the name Robert Galbraith, brings within these pages an illuminating new crime novel, which in its execution, avoids cliché. It follows wounded war-veteran Cormoran Strike as he delves into this bizarre death with his partner, Robin. Along the way, the two are thrown into an ugly world of wealth, were navigating it secretly is the only means of obtaining the truth.

tinker_tailor_soldier_spy_300Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy  Starring: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch – DVD: TINKER…

This is the type of film you watch, re-watch, then proceed to question your life, and then you watch it again. With pristine, enviable writing, each character within this Cold War espionage film is both a public man, and a private human being. And for me, this is what makes the film set apart from others on the same topic. And of course, the fates of these masked individuals are all intertwined with the dullness, bitterness, and confusion of the Cold War. Told through flashbacks, and tense, yet cool characters, this is a film that will continue to baffle me. Recommended!

Chris – Technical Services

17182421The Returned by: Jason Mott – NEW FICTION: Mott

What if the dead suddenly appeared, alive and well as the day before they died? They can’t explain where they have been, they are just back.  Are they real, are they a threat?  This story explores this “what if scenario” and how individuals, towns, and governments react.  A new-age morality play by a brand new author Jason Mott.

 

17288635The Distancers: An American Memoir by: Lee Sandlin – NEW NONFICTION: 920 Sandlin

The lives of a German American immigrant family who settled near Edwardsville, Illinois in1850.  Boyhood remembrances of summers spent on a farm in the rural Midwest.  Learning life lessons from those who lived through wars and depressions and the significance of respecting your roots and the people that came before.

 

Check back next month for more!

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July!

Hello and welcome once again to our little blog. Here are some things we liked and hope you’ll check out!

Melissa – Reference


inferno“Inferno”
– by Dan Brown – NEW FICTION: Brown
Having read all of his books, I was disappointed by his last, “The Lost Symbol”. I felt Brown found a successful formula, and was sticking to it, leaving little surprise for his readers. However, I was intrigued by this book because it focuses on Dante’s Inferno, which I find fascinating. I was eager to read it and I was not at all disappointed this time.
Robert Langdon returns as the intelligent art and symbology professor who finds himself involved in a complex web of deceit. This time, he doesn’t seem to know too much as he has lost his memory, and readers discover the truth along with him. Brown offered quite a few surprises. This book keeps all of the high points of his writing, such as his historical knowledge, creative characters, and social commentary, while adding different mystery-writing techniques.


bookthief“The Book Thief”
– by Markus Zusak – Young Adult: YA Zusak
The Book Thief is actually a young girl, Liesel, who takes to stealing books during the height of World War II. These books are used to help sustain her family and others among the different horrors going on around them. The story is narrated by Death as he perceives the happenings during this time. He is among the many fascinating characters in this beautiful tale of courage told during a dark time.

Mary – Youth Services


sixfeetSix Feet Under
 – Starring:Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy – DVDs: SIX FEET UNDER 

In a narrative of acrid wit where a visit from a dead father, an avocado-colored hearse,  and plenty of dead bodies are the ordinary, the TV series Six Feet Under delves straight into one of the most longstanding social stigmas: the topic of mortality. With piercing insight into the human condition, this series is consistently humorous, as it is bitter and distressing. And as this journey is taken with the Fisher Family, one can find some amity, or reflect on what it means that everyone, everywhere, along with everything, will come to a final end.


royaltThe Royal Tenenbaums
Starring: Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Bill Murray, Luke Wilson, Ben Stiller, Gwyeneth Paltrow – DVDs: ROYAL

When a bitter father lies that he is dying of an aggressive cancer while taking tic-tac “cancer pills,” he brings his children, now grown adults, back from their estrangement and into his life. In this black, absurdist comedy, one is challenged with the choice between the ties of family, and the need to make one’s way and move ahead from an odd and damaging childhood. The thee Tenenbaum siblings are shown—past and present—in a darker, moody atmosphere. The dialogue is smart; the music is a lost atmosphere to past eras. A brilliant, funny, and remarkably odd film.

Matt – Reference


melbrooksMel Brooks: Make a Noise – Starring: Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Joan Rivers, Cloris Leachman – NEW DVD: DVD 791.43092 MEL BROOKS

If you love Mel Brooks as much as I do (and you probably do) then you need to see this documentary. This movie goes over the turbulent career of one of the greats of American comedy as he narrates his professional highs and lows talking about films such as Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, High Anxiety, The Producers, Spaceballs and many more. The movie also features Brooks’ friends Carl Reiner, Cloris Leachman, Joan Rivers, Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Tracey Ullman and others. A very entertaining movie.


hilariousHilarious
 – By: Louis C.K. – NEW CDs: CD 1792.76 LOUIS C.K,

If you have casually been paying attention to comedy then you know about Louis C.K. He’s been around the comedy scene for a while now and his unique take on life is one hardened by his life experiences and his genuine attitude. In Hilarious C.K. talks about society, his kids, relationships, sex and parenthood. C.K. is always fantastic and is at the top of his game.

 

Check back next week for more suggestions!

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May 2013

Hello and welcome to Sprummer. That’s Spring and Summer in one season, which is how its been feeling. Here’s some suggestions:

Jacob – Circulation


clapton“Clapton: The Autobiography”
– by Eric Clapton – Non-Fiction: 781.66 CLA
Eric Clapton chronicles his life in this touching autobiography. Not only does he detail the famous albums and musicians he is associated with, but he also shares his personal struggles and triumphs. It is these personal touches that make the book memorable. You learn what makes this man tick and why he is so successful writing songs and playing guitar. This is a great read.


chicago“Chicago: Then and Now”
– by Kathleen Maguire – Non-Fiction: 977.311 MAG
If you like Chicago and historical photographs, then this book is for you. Kathleen Maguire does a great job compiling pictures of old and new Chicago and then giving you the details in print. My favorite pictures are of horse carriages going down Lake Shore Drive in 1905 juxtaposed with the traffic of today’s LSD. This is a must read for any Chicagoan.

Melissa – Reference


mortality“Mortality”
– by Christopher Hitchens – Non-Fiction: 921 HITCHENS
This is Hitchens’s final work before he died, and it is as intelligent and well-written as his fans have come to expect. Although it is a small book, it was full of information and though-provoking points. The title makes it clear what this book is about, and Hitchens uses his own state of dying to reflect on life. He points out what a struggle it is for most people to accept their own mortality which leads them to hope for something more after death. The most interesting aspect of this book is the way he uses his own illness to construct arguments for his case, and does not change ideologies as many thought he might. He distances himself from the situation and still composes compelling arguments.


feast“The Feast of Love: A Novel”
– by Charles Baxter – Fiction: BAXTER
The characters in this story are connected through happenstance and love. Each character relates his or her experiences to the reader, who plays the role of a writer recording the tales and forms of love. The characters were complex and well-developed, though at times too self-aware to be realistic.
The story is well-crafted, and the reality of the situations is a strong feature of the book.

Matt – Circulation

MOSQUITO“Mosquito” – Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Music: CD781.66 YEAH YEAH YEAHS

When this band broke their style of straight, dark minimalistic rock was a breath of fresh air. Then they went on hiatus. Now they’re back and this album delivers some great songs from a very talented trio. There’s even a guest spot by Kool Keith as Dr. Octagon! A solid album.


embroyonic“Embryonic”
– The Flaming Lips – Music: CD 781.66 THE FLAMING LIPS

While this record came out in 2009 it was the last full Flaming Lips album and since our library doesn’t have the new record (yet) I’ll talk about this one. In regards to their other albums its heavier: heavy sounding, full of distortion and sound effects. While this record was panned by many, its a solid album with only a few faltering tracks. It still has all the good things about the Lips: good lyrics, solid compositions and memorable songs.

Check back next week for more recommendations!

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August Picks!

Let’s face it: it’s been hot. Standing in a sauna while wearing a parka kind of hot. So grab some shade, a comfy spot and a cold drink to beat the heat. Here are the recommendations for you to keep cool through August!

Chris – Technical Services

hogan I Like To Keep Myself In Pain – By: Kelly Hogan – New CD’s: 781.63 HOGAN, K.

This is the first CD for Kelly Hogan, better known as a backup singer for the likes of Neko Case among others.  I would describe her as a cross between country singer, Deanna Carter and Cyndi Lauper.  Her 13 tracks are bluesy, soulful and poetic.

harrison Living In The Material World – By: George Harrison – Music CD: 781.66 HARRISON

George’s 2nd Solo album following the breakup of the Beatles in 1970 follows him on his spiritual path.  George said he was greatly influenced by Bob Dylan’s way of writing, each word chosen, each phrase having meaning.  In my mind another great poet taken from us to soon.

 lauperMemphis Blues – By: Cyndi Lauper – Music CD’s: 781.63 LAUPER, C.

What can I say, Cyndi at her best, interpreting some great blues songs.

 

angels To Sleep With the Angels – By: David Cowan & John Kuenster – Non-Fiction: 372.9 COW

Of the ½ dozen books I have read on the subject of the Our Lady of the Angels fire of December, 1958 this is the best researched and most complete of this day in Chicago history. The authors takes you step by step through the day from the vantage point of everyone involved-the fire department, the nuns and teachers in the school, the children who survived, the parish priests, the school boards and the police investigators who pieced this puzzle together and still came up with an “Undetermined Cause”.

quiet Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – By: Susan Cain – New Non-Fiction: 155.232 CAI

An exploration of the EXTROVERT ideal, how we undervalue the introvert, inspiring stories of successful introverts, and how introverts can change how they see themselves.  I especially enjoyed Chapter 5, The Secret of public speaking for introverts.

Melissa – Reference

secretoflostThe Secret of Lost Things – By:Sheridan Hay – Fiction: HAY

This novel is about a young girl who travels to America from Australia upon her mother’s death to carve her own path in life.  She finds a job with a New York book dealer, where she meets a true cast of characters and finds herself in the midst of a hunt for a lost manuscript. What this novel is really about is the plight of human suffering and how that can be used to form relationships that help heal wounds. The characterization is excellent, and while they each vastly differ from each other, Hay presents them in way that allows empathy for each. The surface storyline is captivating, and like many of the classics housed within the book dealer’s store, there is more to the story than it seems.

athome At Home: A Short History of Private Life – By: Bill Bryson – Non-Fiction: 643.1 BRY

Looking around his own home, Bryson wondered about the history of domestic life.  For instance, why of all countless spices available, do salt and pepper both have a permanent place on the table?  Where and how did company sit before the risqué invention of the sofa?  How has the home changed throughout history? Absolutely an interesting read through and through.  Bryson does an excellent job sharing the history of the home by touring from room to room, and giving the surprisingly interesting tales of the items found within each room.

Michelle – Administration
 wanderWanderlust – Starring: Paul Rudd, Jennifer Aniston – New DVDs: WANDERLUST
This is a hysterical look at a Manhattan couple who lose everything and moves to a hippie commune.
yemen Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – Starring: Ewon McGregor, Emily Blunt, Kristin Scott Thomas – New DVDs: SALMON FISHING…
This is a charming story of an unlikely group of people working together to bring Salmon to the Yemen. Based on the best-selling novel, the movie has everything; romance, comedy, drama and even a little action.

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