Tag Archives: Drama


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

Melissa – Reference

– 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.

 – 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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Sorry for the delay! Here’s some items to check out.

Jacob – Circulation

MV5BMTIxODg2NDU1MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTc3MDM0MQ@@._V1_SX214_AL_Hot Fuzz – Starring: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost – DVD: HOT…
In this offbeat English comedy Simon Pegg plays a London cop named Nicholas Angel. In the film Nicholas is sent to a small town as punishment for being too good of a police officer. Once in this small town, Nicholas starts noticing a variety of strange occurrences. It is while investigating these happenings with his witless partner that humor ensues. If this film makes you laugh, be sure to check out Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s other collaboration Shaun of the Dead.

180px-YearoflivingbiblicallyThe Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible – By: A.J. Jacobs – 220 JAC

As the title indicates, this book is about a man trying to follow the bible as close as possible for one year while living in New York City with his wife. Not only does he strive to follow the major rules that everyone has heard of, but also the less popular rules as well. This man’s journey is not only profound, but also humorous. It will cause you to look at the bible in a whole new way. A very interesting read.

Mary – Youth Services

cover1“The Night Bookmobile” – by Audrey Niffenegger – Fiction: 921 NIFFENEGGER
Heaven for a bibliophile? In the case of this illustrated novel for adults, Audrey Niffenegger presents this very world housed within a rusted out Winnebago. With the familiar setting of Chicago, this illustrated story tells the tale of a young woman who stumbles upon this book-lover’s paradise, or The Bookmobile Winnebago, which contains everything she has ever read in her life. The tale is an ode to lifelong readers, librarians, and a darker testament to the cost of not finding ways to integrate fiction into forming a better reality.

100129-ninestories75csm“Nine Stories”—by J.D. Salinger—Fiction: SALINGER

What very few individuals know is that J.D. Salinger was also an astounding short story writer. Often overshadowed by his other works—such as the cult-classic novel “The Catcher in the Rye,” or the novella collection “Franny and Zooey”—J.D. Salinger’s short stories often go overlooked. “Nine Stories,” fittingly-to-title, is a collection of short stories, which expose the struggle of artistic and sensitive individuals in society. Within these short stories is all one could desire; a trip to the beach, biting wit, war, love and loss. Each story is embedded with a writing-style that is distinct, and always indelibly accurate in dialogue, and haunting; like the dead cigarette smoke of all Salinger characters.

Matt – Circulation

the_master_turkish_poster_color_high__spanThe Master – Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Joaquin Phoenix – New DVDs: DVD: MASTER

This is a story about Freddie Quell: a World War II Navy veteran who just can’t seem to find his place in the world after the war’s end. An alcoholic, Freddie drifts from place to place finding work where he can get it, but his wild ways keep him from settling down. He ends up stowing away on the ship of Lancaster Dodd: leader of a movement of his own creation. Dodd, his wife Peggy, and their family of followers give Freddie a new way to live and indoctrinate him in their belief system. An engrossing story about personal identity, loyalty, belief with strong allusions to L. Ron Hubbard and the development of Scientology.

Kiss_kiss_bang_bang_posterKiss Kiss Bang Bang – Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer – DVD Kiss…

Harry Lockheart leads a life of petty crime in Los Angeles until, mid-escape, he barges into in an acting audition and gets a role in a movie as a detective. Harry then decides he likes his new persona and finds himself in the middle of a real murder investigation which puts him in over his head. A darkly funny movie with plenty of action and one of my favorites.


god-bless-you-mr-rosewaterGod Bless You, Mr. Rosewater – By: Kurt Vonnegut – FICTION: VONNEGUT

While not one of Vonnegut’s best known works, it is one of his most idealistic and funny. Eliot Rosewater is of a wealthy family and spends most of his time as a volunteer firefighter and full-time drunk. When Eliot decides that he wants to give away the money in the Rosewater Trust, we see Eliot’s life fall apart in a comically tragic way. As I said, this is Vonnegut at his most idealistic and addresses things like wealth, society, and altruism with an overall Humanistic message.

Check back next month for more!

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Spring is on its way. Here’s some things to check out!

Michelle – Administration

straightaStraight A’s – Starring Anna Pacquin, Ryan Phillipe, Luke Wilson – NEW DVD: DVD STRAIGHT A’S

Staring Anna Pacquin, Ryan Phillipe and Luke Wilson, this engaging, character driven family drama has great acting and an unexpected plot twist.

crywolfCry Wolf – By: Patricia Briggs – NEW FICTION: Briggs

A fun romp through the forest with a new werewolf pack. This is an entertaining, light read for those who enjoy the supernatural genre. It is the first book in the series and includes the novella that started everything.


Matt – Circulation

holmesMastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes – By: Maria Konnikova – NEW NONFICTION: 153.4 KON

This is a great book for people who want to de-clutter their mind and start thinking more purposefully. In her book Konnikova ( a science and psychology writer) focuses on the techniques used by the greatest fictional detective of all time to help regular people learn to streamline their thinking. A good read for people who like Holmes and those just looking to see the world a different way.

Stranger Than Fiction
– Starring: Will Farrell, Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman, Maggie Gyllenhaal – DVD: STRANGER..

A superbly absurd comedy about a man who finds himself the center of a living novel. Will Farrell plays Harold Crick: an IRS adjuster who lives a very orderly life until he starts to hear narration of his thoughts and actions. It is when Harold learns the author of his book likes to kill her main characters, that Harold decides to live the life he’s always wanted. A funny and touching movie.

intreatmentIn Treatment – Season 1 – Starring: Gabriel Byrne, Dianne Wiest, Michelle Forbes – DVD: IN TREATMENT

In Treatment is about therapist Paul Weston as he tries to help his patients and keep his own life in order. The format follows 4 different patients and Paul’s session with his own therapist giving each session its own 30-minute episode. In this episode format its possible to watch the progression of one patient at a time or watch all the sessions in the same week. It was a very daring and well done series full of questions about the fragility of the human condition and how people cope with difficulties in their lives.

Julia – Circulation

heistThe Heist – By: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – CD 781.649 MACKLEMORE
In Macklemore’s debut, full-length album, The Heist, he showcases songs about his personal struggles with addiction, in “Starting Over,” as well as touches on social and race issues with “Wing$” and “A Wake”. His fifth and most popular radio single from this album, “Thrift Shop”, peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. This is a must-listen-to cd, because every song is different from the one before it. If you’ve only heard “Thrift Shop” on the radio, get ready to hear some really amazing, and completely unique indie rap and hip hop.

Check back in next month for more!

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February is here and we have some things for you to check out!

Melissa – Reference

In2ition+2CellosIn2ition – By: 2Cellos – New CD’s: CD 787 2Cellos

This record covers a wide variety of music styles and shows just how versatile the cello really is. The two members of the band play their cellos and often have guest vocals, including Elton John. The songs range from “Highway to Hell” by ACDC to “Clocks” by Coldplay. My two favorites on the disc were “We Found Love” and “Benedictus”.


12908137Little Night – By: Luanne Rice – Fiction: Rice

Luanne Rice tells the story of a family who has encountered some of the worst tragedies possible, and only continues to experience death, betrayal, and violence. The daughter is expelled from the family, though it is viewed by some as the escape they can only dream of. As the story progresses, readers learn more about the seemingly awful decisions made, and hope for whatever mending is possible. Although it seems dark, this is a story of courage and resilience, as well as true loyalty. The characters are well developed, and it is clear just how easy it is to fall into a vicious cycle with seemingly now escape.

Jacob – Circulation

da_dvdcover.previewDownton Abbey – Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Maggie Smith- DVD: DOWNTON ABBEY

This is a British television series set in the early 1900s. The series portrays the Crawley family and the servants who work for them. The characters are complex and compelling. The scenery is beautiful. If this does not keep you coming back, the plot twists will for sure. Seasons 1 and 2 are on DVD and season 3 is currently running on PBS. Don’t miss out on this great melodrama.

97094445Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World – By: Michael Lewis – New Non-Fiction: 330.9 LEW

Michael Lewis (Moneyball and the Big Short) travels to the countries of Iceland, Ireland, and Greece in an attempt to discover what led to their financial meltdowns. During his journeys he comes across numerous characters that help paint a picture of what happened. This humorous read is light in nature, but gives great insights to the complexities of global finance.

Matt – Circulation

DeadwoodSeason1_DVDcoverDeadwood – Starring: Ian McShane, Timothy Olyphant, Molly Parker, John Hawkes- DVD: DEADWOOD

The “Wild West” period of American history has, like none other, been subject to over-romanticizing. People know of exploits of big-name heroes and dusty, lawless towns. Well, here’s a Western drama that’s a little more grounded in history than most and isn’t afraid to be the rough, dirty and dangerous place that was the American West. The show begins with former sheriff Seth Bullock and his business partner Saul as they arrive in Deadwood, South Dakota just as Wild Bill Hickock is rolling into town and Deadwood is just being put on the map. This show has masterful performances from Timothy Olyphant and Ian McShane and will have you hooked from the start. The show’s language has its own foul poetry and loves to show, dirt, blood and all, a taste of the real Wild West.

bored_to_death_-_season_1_2_disc_nordic-11943300-frntlBored To Death – Starring: Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson, Zach Galifianakis – DVD: BORED TO DEATH

Bored to Death is the story of Jonathan Ames: a man whose writing career is stalled and has been left by his girlfriend. He decides to put an ad on Craigslist as a private detective and try to live his life like the hard-boiled detectives he reads in old pulp detective books. Accompanied by his suave literary agent and his hapless best friend, Jonathan’s misguided adventures are always hysterical.


Come back next month for some more recommendations!

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Oh the new year. So full of wonderful possibilities and those promises you make to yourself that you probably break by second week. Here are some new things for that (kind of) new you.

Courtney – Reference

12262741“Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” – by: Cheryl Strayed – NEW NONFICTION: 921 STRAYED, C.

Wild describes the real life journey of one woman on a 1,100 mile solitary hike through California, Oregon, and Washington in the ’90s.  After her mother dies suddenly from cancer, twenty-two year old Cheryl Strayed’s (a name the author fittingly chooses for herself) life falls apart. Her once tight-knit family soon scatters away from her, she continually cheats on her seemingly “perfect” husband time and again, and after her marriage dissolves, she jumps into a toxic relationship that results in a dangerous heroin habit.  Thus, four years later and with nothing left to lose, Strayed decides to hike the massive Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) on her own, despite her utter lack of preparedness (or a proper fitting pair of boots). Strayed weaves her past with her present as she tackles the trail, meets eccentric and amiable characters along the way, and not so amiable characters in rattlesnakes, bears, and other critters.  Strayed tells her story with brutal honesty, never sugarcoating her own shortcomings and mistakes, as well as with a skilled storyteller’s voice.  You will find yourself rooting for Strayed as she hitchhikes to and from the PCT, small towns and remote campsites, constantly struggling to get by on $20 or less at a time.  But most of all, you will root for Strayed to find in the PCT what it is she needs to move on with her life.  Wild is an Oprah Book Club 2.0 selection.

Melissa – Reference

15929264“The Magic of Reality” – by: Richard Dawkins – NON-FICTION: 501 DAW

Dawkins collects information from all the sciences into this book to discuss the nature and workings of our planet and universe.  He also shares the various myths different cultures have used (and still use) to explain these workings.

A truly interesting and educational read, Dawkins not only seeks to enlighten his audience, but also wishes to relay the message that magic exists in finding real answers to mankind’s questions.

A1tgMgJxNYL._SL1500_“How Do You Kill 11 Million People?” – by: Andy Andrews – NON-FICTION: 320.01 AND

This book is an essay that discusses integrity in politics and the consequences that derive from a lack of it.  Andrews encourages the public to not only heed the promises and intentions of politicians, but make them accountable for each.

The author succeeds in avoiding party politics, and discusses the role of politicians in general.  The most intriguing section of the essay includes his discussion of the role of politicians in the Holocaust.

Matt – Circulation

810Fw8dOh4L._SL1500_“Jiro Dreams of Sushi” – Directed by: David Gelb, Starring: Jiro Ono, Yoshikazu Ono, Masuhiro Yamamoto, Daisuke Nakazawa – DVDs: JIRO 641.5092

Much like sushi itself this documentary seems simple: its a story of Jiro Ono a sushi chef who owns a small restaurant. But just like sushi once you bite into it the movie releases a complex and satisfying story about Jiro Ono: 3-star Michelin chef whose small, 10-seat restaurant is so exclusive it is the only 3-star restaurant in Japan and reservations are made far in advance. For anyone who loves food this is an excellent movie as the viewer gets to watch Jiro and his sons at work while learning about Jiro’s life and his philosophies of cooking. I recommend you don’t watch this hungry, or you may find yourself pausing the movie to order take out.

breaking-bad-season-2-poster“Breaking Bad” – Starring: Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, RJ Mitte, Aaron Paul, Raymond Cruz, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt – DVDs: BREAKING BAD

This is that show that you’ve probably heard about but were on the fence. I’m here to tell you: watch this show. To say it is addicting would be apropos. The story starts with Walter White a high school chemistry teacher whose life is turned sideways when he learns he has lung cancer. Walter wants to find a way to pay for the outrageous cost of his treatments and leave some money behind to take care of his family. He then runs into a former student Jesse who dropped out of school to deal drugs and Walter finds that his chemistry skills are put to use to cook the best methamphetamine recipe on the black market. Walter finds out that his life gets more complicated the deeper he gets into his second life as he slowly morphs into someone different. This show is dark but very funny and a great sketch of the nuances and tragedies involved with methamphetamines and America’s attitudes about drugs but also an honest look into the healthcare industry and a man battling cancer.

91ZoGCoGjaL._SL1500_“Community” – Starring: Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Alison Brie, Donald Glover, Ken Jeong, Chevy Chase, Jim Rash, John Oliver – DVDs: COMMUNITY

Community is an easy show to describe: its about people at a community college who form a study group and become friends. What isn’t easy to describe is how good this show is. It is not like any other show you have seen. The characters are all starkly different from each other and each episode is funnier than the last. Packed with pop culture references and the best writing on television, its a show with episodes that will have you watching them repeatedly if only to catch the jokes you laughed through the first time. It has a big cult following and is one of the most underrated comedies currently on television.

Come back next month for more recommendations!

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The holidays are here and something something something cheer! I don’t know, I’m no Yuletide poet but I am proud to present these gifts of recommendations from the Oak Brook Library staff. Happy Holidays!

Mary – Reference
13067005“Talking to the Dead” – by: Harry Bingham – NEW FICTION: BINGHAM
Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths is strange.  Not in the regular sense, like everyone is a bit odd.  But rather, Fiona finds solace amongst the dead. She does not pick up on social clues.Yet, when it comes to crime, she is intuitive and resourceful, a crack investigator.
This mystery begins with the discovery of two bodies, a mother and her 6-year old child.  D.C. Griffiths believes the young girl is trying to tell her something which leads her on a complex journey to solve her murder.
A good storyline with an intriguing character study makes this mystery work.
Michelle – Administration

MV5BMTM3MzUyNzg3NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjk3NDA4Nw@@._V1_SX214_AL_“People Like Us” – Starring: Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael D’Addario, Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Olivia Wilde – NEW DVDs: PEOPLE LIKE US

This is the story of a man discovering that his recently deceased father had an extended affair that resulted in a daughter. In his quest to learn about his sister, he reevaluates his own life. This movie is a great drama that examines the meaning of family.


1676855“Supernatural: Season 7” – Starring: Nicholas Knight, Eric Kripke – NEW DVDs: SUPERNATURAL

I am more than a little biased since Supernatural is one of my favorite shows, but I think it is a must-see. The show has everything: action, adventure, laughs, mild-horror and is, at its heart, the story of two brothers trying to survive. Like all previous seasons, this DVD set has outtakes that are hilarious.


Julia – Circulation

downloadThe Fault In Our Stars”–  by John Green – YA: GREEN

Popular YA author, John Green, tells the heart-wrenching, love story of teenagers Hazel and Augustus, who meet for the first time at a cancer support group. Hazel, who is terminally ill, and Augustus, whose cancer is in remission, bond and learn how to live their lives when so much is uncertain.
This book portrays teens with cancer and their families in an honest way — showing their bravery, fear and anger — along with their happier moments.
Although this book is intended for teens, I would also recommend it to adults.

taylor-swift-red-album-400x400“Red” – by Taylor Swift – AUDIO CD: 781.64 SWIFTIn Taylor Swift’s fourth studio album, Red, she leaves her country roots behind for a more “pop” feel with songs like, “22,” “Holy Ground,” and her first single, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” Swift even experiments with dubstep on the track “I Knew You Were Trouble.” Following the same path as her previous albums, Swift’s songs mirror her personal life, as well as her many public romances.

This is definitely one of Swift’s best albums to date.
Matt – Circulation
7743117“Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d’Arte” – By: Christopher Moore – NEW FICTION: MOORE
For those who have not been introduced to Christopher Moore, his 13th book isn’t a bad place to start. Moore’s style of comedy is raunchy, absurd, cheeky, witty and intelligent all at the same time while pushing compelling plots and fleshing out lovable characters. This book is perfect for any lover of 19th Century art as Moore uses famous artists such as Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Gauguin, Camille Pissaro, Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, Georges Seurat, James Whistler, Vincent Van Gogh and other Impressionists hanging around 19th Century France as characters. The story revolves around the mysterious death of Van Gogh and its impact on his friends Lucien Lessard, a baker turned artist and his debaucherous companion Henri Toulouse-Letrec as they try to figure out the reasons behind Van Gogh’s mysterious suicide and why the color sacré bleu seems to turn artists insane. An immensely entertaining read and one that includes color photos of many of the pieces of the mentioned artists.
13528336“The Onion Book of Known Knowledge” – By: The Onion Writing Staff – NEW NONFICTION: 818.607 ONION
This truly is the greatest parody of encyclopedias ever assembled. “The Onion” as a publication has been a staple of Chicago media and a source of solid satire for 24 years. From start to finish this book is incredibly funny provoking all manner of guffaws, giggles, belly laughs, howls, roars, cackling and the occasional snort.
Thanks for reading and come back next month for more picks!


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So here were are in crisp November just around the corner to Thanksgiving. Here are some things to make your holiday a little warmer.

Melissa – Reference

13503109This Is How You Lose Her” – by Junot Diaz – NEW FICTION: DIAZ
Diaz has compiled several short stories with a continual protagonist by the name of Yunior.  He has a really unique voice; he is intelligent and educated but still at home on the streets.  Each story is about the universal topic of love and all its forms; from romantic to familial, simple to complex.  However, though each chapter is an exploration of love, they are retrospective, thereby centering on loss. 
            Diaz fluctuates frequently between Spanish and English, and while my Spanish is elementary at best, there were few instances where meaning was lost.  Diaz is truly a gifted writer, and I often found myself repeating his lines to myself. 
Turn of the Screw” – by Henry James – YA: James
n511912542_1665309_8017171This book is one my all-time favorites.  A group of friends begin to share ghost stories around the fire, which leads to the telling of an old tale.  A governess is hired to care for two children in a country house, and after some time, she begins to see the figures of a man and woman, whom she later learns are the former governess and former valet. 
            James leads the readers through the psychological thriller, preying of the fear of the unknown.  Unlike many other tales, James does not attempt to explain the phenomena.  Doing so can often cause the tale to lose something, and the focus is on the questions rather than the answers. 
Jacob – Circulation
148821Brunelleschi’s Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture” – by: Ross King – NONFICTION: 726.6 KIN 

Brunelleschi’s Dome tells the story of an unlikely architect who found a solution to finishing the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral in 15th century Florence, Italy. His clever solution won him many critics, but also fans. One fan in particular was said to be Leonardo Da Vinci. Scholars believe that some of the Da Vinci’s mechanical drawings were inspired by the elaborate cranes Brunelleschi designed to complete the dome. This is a great Renaissance read.

10690678Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” – By: Michael Lewis – NONFICTION: 796.357 LEW

This is a great baseball book. It looks closely at the Oakland Athletics and their general manager Billy Beane. Beane realizes that Oakland will never be able to compete with the larger market teams such as New York with their giant payrolls, so he devises a whole new way of fielding a team. He and his staff begin analyzing players using statistics and metrics that no other team is using. Within a couple of years, Oakland is consistently competing for the playoffs, while spending a fraction of what teams like the Yankees are spending. This book turned the baseball world upside down and highlighted the genius of Billy Beane.

Michelle – Administration

16655352“Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story” – By: Arnold Schwarzenegger – NEW NONFICTION: 921 SCHWARTZENEGGER

This is an in-depth look at the very interesting life of a man who has been Mr. Universe, a huge action star, a businessman and the Governator.  Schwarzenegger doesn’t shy away from the unflattering, while making sure you are aware of all he has accomplished.


Green_Day_-_Uno!_cover“Uno!” – By: Green Day – NEW AUDIO: 781.66 GREEN DAY

Green Day return to their simple punk roots, leaving the rock operas behind.  The songs are short and snappy and stick in your mind long after you’ve stopped listening. This is the first album in a three part release over the next couple months.



battleship-dvd-cover-35“Battleship” – Starring: Alexander Skarsgard, Brooklyn Decker, Liam Neeson, Rihanna – NEW DVDs: BATTLESHIP

After the movie was panned by critics, I didn’t have high expectations but Battleship provided entertainment and explosions.  What more can you ask for? If you are looking for pure movie fluff, this is the DVD for you.



Check back next month for more recommendations from the library!

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October Picks

Welcome to a seasonably nice Autumn as we start October. Here are some things to check out between carving pumpkins, assembling your costume and consuming a large amount of candy.

Melissa – Reference

13151175“Niceville” – by Carsten Stroud – NEW FICTION: STROUD

Niceville is a quaint, Southern town full of history and old families.  The only thing “nice” about it is the real estate.  Niceville is mostly known for its uncommonly high number of random disappearances.  Everyone knows each other, which makes it all the worse during a disappearance.

After a young boy’s disappearance is caught by a pawn shop security camera, the town rallies to find him and aid his family.  After he is found under very mysterious circumstances and falls into a coma, his mother disappears and his father commits suicide, leaving the boy parentless.  Slowly, the truth emerges about the old Southern town.
The-Historian-Elizabeth-Kostova-abridged-compact-discs“The Historian” – by Elizabeth Kostova – AUDIOBOOKS: KOSTOVA
In reading “The Historian” the second time around, I find that I’m enjoying it just as much as the first time.  The book is a beautifully written quest that begins when a young girl finds a mysterious book in her father’s library.  She begins to learn of harrowing events of her father’s past, and thus of her own, and an evil hidden in the depths of history and legend.
Kostova takes readers all over the world with the characters in search of answers that several (and perhaps countless others) have died seeking.  The landscapes are breathtaking and the voices she gives the characters are eloquent and intelligent.  Much of the adventure takes place in libraries of old institutions, so there is nothing I don’t love about this. 
 Matt – Circulation 
American_gods“American Gods” – By: Neil Gaiman – FICTION: GAIMAN
There’s so much I like about American Gods, its hard not to write an entire paper about it. For those not familiar with the writings of Neil Gaiman I suggest starting here as he is in his element creating compelling characters in a world populated with new twists on old characters. The story begins with Shadow a recently released convict who finds out that his life outside of prison is just as bleak as it was inside. He unwittingly meets Mr. Wednesday who convinces Shadow to work as his companion in an effort to bring together the forgotten Gods of old to take on the new American Gods. 
Half of the fun of this book is trying to guess which mythology each character is from and is a very interesting take on the role of mythology in people’s lives and the stories we make real. I loved the characters and the plot had me hooked from the beginning, not to mention parts of the book occur in the “Little Egypt” region of southern Illinois and other roadside destinations in the Midwest. Read this now before the HBO series comes out and everyone has it on hold.
91qt73QkZqL._SL1500_“SHERLOCK” – Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman – DVDs: SHERLOCK
I have a big soft spot for British television and an even bigger spot for Sherlock Holmes, undoubtedly my favorite literary character of all time, so I’m a little biased when I say this is the best modern Sherlock Holmes to date. Cumberbatch’s Holmes is modern update using text messages, hacking techniques and, as always, cutting edge Science to solve crimes but still has his trademark incorrigable temperment and dark sense of humor. Dr. Watson is played expertly by Martin Freeman who brings a great deal of humor to Watson’s character and plays nicely off of Cumberbatch. The episodes are cinematic in scope and blend together many of Conan Doyle’s stories. A great series and I can’t wait for season 3.
Jacob – Circulation
devil-in-the-white-city-185x300Devil in the White City – By: Erik Larson – 364.152 LAR
Devil in the White City is a book about the Chicago’s World Fair of 1893. The author, Erik Larson, masterfully intertwines the true stories of Daniel Burnham, chief architect, and Dr. H. H. Holmes, serial murder, as they each use the Fair to gain international notoriety. This book is hard to put down and keeps the reader wanting more. A must read for any Chicagoland resident.
51tddaAA4WL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students who took Vegas for Millions – By: Ben Mezrich – 920 MEZ
Bringing Down the House follows a group MIT students who team up to beat the odds in blackjack. This book is for any gambler who has dreamed of finding a competitive edge or those who like an underdog story. This is a quick read that will surely entertain.
Thats all for now. Be sure to check back next month for new recommendations!

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Picks for September

Here we are winding down the long summer nights into the (hopefully) cooler Autumn days. So as the leaves begin to change and school starts up, grab a warm glass of cider and curl up with some of the things we enjoy and hope you will too.

Melissa – Reference


 The_Sense_of_an_EndingThe Sense of an Ending – By: Julian Barnes – Fiction: BARNES

 This novel is both enigmatic and fascinating.  The story follows the experiences of a young man through his formidable years and the experiences that shaped him.  Later in life, he receives a letter that forces him to question what he thought he knew about his friends and himself.

Julian Barnes sets up the novel perfectly.  As soon as I finished, I had questions about what really happened versus what was perceived to have happened, which I think is exactly the message Barnes wanted to deliver. 


 5345The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town – By: John Grisham – NONFICTION: 345 GRI

 Although Grisham isn’t known for his nonfiction, he certainly is an adept researcher.  “The Innocent Man” relates the tale of two men who were found guilty of the rape and murder of a young woman in a small town.  Although neither man had a spotless record, they did not commit this crime.

Grisham takes readers through the inaccurate police investigation and unlawful trial that led the two men to serve twelve years in prison.  One man received the death penalty and narrowly missed his execution.  I thought this book would be very upsetting to read, but it was in fact quite humbling.


Theresa – Youth Services

 Stitches-David-SmallStitches: A Memoir – By: David Small – Non-Fiction: 921 Small.

 Author and illustrator David Small effectively tells a story of his own sickly childhood growing up in Detroit. Using hauntingly beautiful illustrations and  minimal dialogue, this graphic novel captures spellbinding snippets in time. Quickly paced, Small’s grimly dysfunctional family life and lonely existence keep the reader’s morbid curiosity piqued. Although sad and disturbing, this memoir reveals Small’s amazing ability to survive, overcome, and perhaps even forgive family members for their shortcomings.  

Matt – Circulation


 81ZowVA-D8L._SL1500_Parks and Recreation – Starring: Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, Rashida Jones, Rob Lowe – DVDs: PARKS AND RECREATION

 For people who have not seen this show, you need to see this show. Parks and Recreation is about Leslie Knope: an idealistic government worker who loves her home town of Pawnee, Indiana. You can’t help but root for Leslie as she tries to improve an apathetic town with an excellent cast of characters whose quirks make this show a constant cavalcade of solid satire and a warm show with real heart. Every season this show gets better and is the best comedy currently on television. 


 foundation-isaac-asimovFoundation – By: Isaac Asimov – Fiction: ASIMOV

 This is the first in one of the most influential Sci-Fi series of all time Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Series. This was the first book written in the series but not the first of the series as Asimov later wrote two prequels. I started with Foundation and was instantly hooked by the premise: the galactic empire is collapsing and PsychoHistorian Hari Seldon has come up with a mathematical formula mixed with psychology and evolutionary theory to predict major events in the collapse of the empire. Seldon decides to make The Foundation on two worlds at opposite ends of the universe to scientifically advance the primitive cultures of the outer worlds while trying to slow the coming collapse from within.

Rife with allusions to the fall of the Roman Empire and the politics of the Cold War, Asimov tells a compelling narrative about leaders who use their wits and cunning in the face of fanaticism and militarization. An interesting read and a classic Sci-Fi series.


Check back next month for more suggestions!

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