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December!

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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November!

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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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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Your Picks for July of 2012

Welcome to the first picks. Here’s how this works: we at the library want to share with you some of the great things in our collection. Staff members will share the things that entertain, intrigue, mystify or inspire them in books, music and movies. We will post monthly. Feel free to discuss your opinions or impressions in the comments section. We would love to hear some of your recommendations as well!

Matt – Circulation Desk
magicians The Magicians – By: Lev Grossman – Fiction: GROSSMAN

The story starts with Quentin, a whiny kid who loves a series of fantasy books set in Fillory, a land similar to C.S. Lewis’ Narnia. Quentin is about to graduate high school and has no idea what to do or where to go. He unwittingly tests for a secret magic school and finds himself at Brakebills with people as strange as he is and in a world completely divorced from the one he grew up in. This may be a book about twenty-somethings using magic, but it brings an honest look at the challenges facing someone starting out in a world they are beginning to understand. A great book and a very entertaining read as Grossman’s writing brings a grim sense of humor to a world of wonder.

 

coriolanusCoriolanus – Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Gerard Butler, Vanessa Redgrave, Brian Cox, Jessica Chastain and James Nesbitt. – New DVDs: CORIOLANUS

There have been many modern adaptations of Shakespeare plays that keep the dialogue but update the scenery and costumes. Most of those are terrible. This one is actually good. It stars Ralph Fiennes as Caius Martius Coriolanus, a feared Roman general who has a particular disdain for the common people as he does for Rome’s enemies. When he returns from a successful campaign, he looks to become Consul in reward for his duty. He ends up getting tossed out of Rome and sent into exile by the people at the goading of rival senators. Coriolanus ends up joining a rival nation to take revenge on the home he once defended. An exciting adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s lesser known works.

Mandy – Youth Services

bearinatticThe Bear in the Attic – By: Patrick McManus – Nonfiction: 814.6 MCM

If you love the great outdoors and consider yourself a wilderness enthusiast, then you will enjoy Patick McManus’s outdoorsman humor.

 

Melissa – Reference


handmaidThe Handmaid’s Tale
– By: Margaret Atwood – Audiobooks: CD ATWOOD

The BBC production of the audiobook is wonderful.  Unlike many other dry readings of books, this production adds sound effects to the background, such as the patter of rain and swishing of windshield wipers during a tense car scene. As for the storyline, it was about a dark dystopia wherein human reproduction is on the steep decline and the harsh measures society takes to ensure the elite are the ones to procreate.  Sadly, the plot is not all that far-fetched.  My favorite aspect was the sampling of the male perspective given through The Commander, which wasn’t what I anticipated.  This tale is one that will stay with me many years to come.

languageflowersThe Language of Flowers – By: Vanessa Diffenbaugh – Fiction: DIFFENBAUGH

This story is of a young girl as she begins to make her own life upon leaving behind the cycle of foster homes she grew up in.  Her outlook is never self-pitying, but positive and practical.  She can form relationships because she chooses too without them being forced upon her, and she forms one with the owner of a flower shop.  The shop is really where she comes into her own, as she has a history with flowers, and (as the title implies) their language.  Through this “language” a number of lives are impacted.  This is a perfect read for Spring or Summer, where the reader can regard flowers in a new light.

Jennifer – Youth Services

ivegotyournumberI’ve Got Your Number -By: Sophie Kinsella – Fiction: KINSELLA

Light and fluffy chick lit novel which revolves around a harebrained plot of a lovable physiotherapist who makes a deal to share a “lost company cell phone” with a suave and debonair businessman. A perfect beach read that will tickle your funny bone!
strongerStronger – By: Kelly Clarkson – New CD’s: 871.63 CLARKSON, K.
American Idol alum Kelly Clarkson belts out inspiring and empowering lyrics which include bubbly pop, rock and electronic beats. Be sure to listen to the hit “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)” and “Einstein” which are masterfully written, motivating, and hard to get out of your head.
Come back next month for some new picks!

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