Come check out some book suggestions from our Page Turners newsletter, edited by our staff.
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Georgie is a busy TV writer with a great husband. He is a wonderful father who cooks and does the laundry. There is certainly nothing wrong with Neal or Georgie but both of them know that their marriage is on shaky ground. Two days before Christmas Georgie has to back out of a family trip to Neal’s parents in Omaha because her show is about to get picked up by a major network. At home in Los Angeles by herself Georgie stumbles across a link with the past. She is able to talk to Neal as he was in the time before they were married. Can she use this amazing opportunity to mend their marriage before it even begins or should she make sure that it never happens?
The American Mission by Matthew Palmer
Alex Baines used to be on the fast track for promotion at the State Department but things went very wrong for him in Darfur. He lost his security clearance and if he stays with the department he will spend his days stamping visas. Just as he is about to cut his ties with the Department and look for a job in the private sector he gets a call from a former mentor, the US Ambassador to the Congo. He offers Alex a mission that, if successful, will restore his reputation and his career path. As violence in the Congo increases Alex must try to balance the interests of the US government with those of the Congolese people. He must also thwart the machinations of an unduly influential US mining company that has its own sinister agenda.
Diablo 3 is the third official game in the acclaimed series created by Blizzard Entertainment, now part of Activision, Inc. If you have played computer games you have heard of this storied company as they are the makers of the Warcraft series (including the massive hit World of Warcraft), the Starcraft series, and of course the Diablo series. Blizzard had pretty much focused on making games for the PC only, slowly adding Mac and Linux versions for their popular games. They rarely made console games but we are in luck because Blizzard also created versions of Diablo 3 for PS3 and Xbox 360. True, console versions of Diablo 1 and 2 were available, but they were made by other companies which licensed the property from Blizzard. In my opinion these console versions were far inferior to their PC counterpart. Diablo 3 is the first game that they made themselves for consoles. So how does it stack up?
There are dozens of reviews online for the game even for each version, including the two console versions we also have at our library. The results are in and the reviews are mostly quite positive. My personal review? I think the game is excellent, and have been playing on my Playstation 3. I can also confirm that one of my coworkers who played it on the Xbox 360 agrees that it was a fun and addictive game that he spent many hours playing.
We recently ordered new versions of the game that includes the Reaper of Souls expansion pack. It includes an entire new Act V and a new character class, the Crusader. This new version also has some tweaks that make the game less confusing such as straight difficulty levels (getting rid of the multiple difficulty levels for various different difficulty modes). I have been playing it and agree that with the tweaks the game is even more fun than before.
You can add your name to the list here.
Upon entering the world of genealogy and observing the devotion of those searching out their family roots, I have assumed that whenever I come upon someone poring over census records, they are looking for their own ancestors. Not always!
When frequenting my local library to do genealogy, I usually run into someone I know. Recently I saw Mari studying a computer screen and asked her what she was doing. She replied, “I’m looking for information for my neighbor.” It seems that when a non-genealogist talks to one of us genealogists about a long-lost family member, we cannot resist jumping into the challenge for them. This type of helpfulness is prevalent at the Genealogy Interest Group meetings at Indian Trails Library; if you mutter your frustration out loud about your Uncle Al missing from the 1920 census, one or more of the group is likely to dive into the records to assist you. One of those helpful members was Charles.
Charles was one of the first to attend the group meetings that began in Fall 2012 and he was already well into his research. Nonetheless, he is an intensely curious person and cannot resist a stumper. He is also an eternal optimist who believes the answer is out there. To my disappointment, Charles moved out of state but he has kept me informed of his projects, one of which is gifting people he doesn’t even know with family photos.
Charles scours the resale shops and estate sales in his area and buys old photographs of people, but only if they are labeled with names. He then scans and uploads them to a website, www.deadfred.com. This site was created to link descendants with family photos that have wandered away from their original homes, scrapbooks or albums. You can search for your surname and you might be surprised at the results. Charles goes beyond just tagging the photos with names. If a place name is evident, he will search to see if there is someone with the last name still living in the town. He only makes contact by mail. Recently, he successfully returned many pictures that included 3 generations to an Indiana family. What a wonderful treasure to receive!
So if you get bored with your own quest to fill in your family tree, there are opportunities to help people connect with their ancestors.
Whether you’re writing a report, looking for homework help, or need to find a good book to read for school, the library has a lot of awesome ways to help!
Tutor.com offers live homework help for a bunch of different subjects. Log in using your Indian Trails library card, type in your question, and then work one-on-one with a certified tutor to find the answer for your question. There are tutors available between 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. each day, and help is available in both English and Spanish.
Check out Primary Search for sources for your next report. You can search through over 80 magazines for articles, photos and maps on a wide variety of topics. Primary Search includes favorites like Sports Illustrated for Kids, Time for Kids, National Geographic Kids and Ranger Rick! Just make sure you have your Indian Trails library card on hand if you want to search from home.
Searching for a great choice for your next book report? Visit the Downloadables page for ebooks that you can read on your laptop, smartphone, or tablet! Overdrive has a special section with ebooks and eaudiobooks just for kids and teens. Once you download the Overdrive app, you can check out ebooks and eaudiobooks using your Indian Trails library card. The 3m Cloud Library also has ebooks for kids. Click on the Categories tab, and then look for “Juvenile Fiction” and “Juvenile Nonfiction” to see what’s currently available for checkout with your Indian Trails library card.
Visit the Kids’ Learning Center for more online homework help, or stop by the KidZone Desk to ask us a question in person or to participate in our Peer Tutoring program. We’ll match you up with a high school volunteer for one-on-one help with your homework.
Should Scotland be an independent country?
The Flag of Scotland (Bratach na h-Alba in Scottish Gaelic, Banner o Scotland in Scots)
You may have missed it—it’s only recently begun showing up in our major news outlets—but on Thursday, June 18 (yes, this week!), Scotland is holding a national referendum on independence.
In our house, we have followed the question longer and with more interest than most Americans. We’re part Scottish on my side of the family, for one thing; and our middle daughter spent a semester at the University of Aberdeen (where we had the pleasure of visiting her) and visited the country again this summer. She’s pro-independence and brought me home a mug like this one
… which says “Scotland’s Future in Scotland’s Hands” on the other side.
If Scots vote “Yes”—the “no,” or union, side was slightly ahead for months, but now The Telegraph reports that polls are too close to call—a union that has lasted for over 300 years will be dissolved. At least the decision this time will be made at the ballot box and not on a battlefield.
“The Battle of Culloden,” by Mark Churms
If you’d like to get some background on all of this, you can read about Scottish history –understanding that that history is about to change– or just watch some of our many films set or produced in Scotland. Maybe you’ll decide you want to visit! I highly recommend it! Check out our travel DVDs or guidebooks (I like the Lonely Planet series myself, but you may find Fodor, Frommer, or Michelin more to your taste). Whether you end up visiting an independent country or a semi-autonomous part of the United Kingdom, I think you will find Scotland friendly and hospitable and will enjoy your stay in one of the most interesting and beautiful (in my opinion) places in the world.
Highland coos (cows)
The memoir Graduates in Wonderland: The International Misadventures of Two (Almost) Adults explores the post-graduate lives of best friends and twenty-somethings Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale. Every week, they write detailed, brutally honest emails to each other as they experience life abroad. From Beijing and Australia to France and England, these young women share their ups and downs and derive comfort and wisdom from one another. As a recent globetrotter myself, I identified with many of the coauthors’ stories and recommend it to anyone interested in living and working internationally.
If my description intrigues you and you want to learn more before picking up the book, take a look at the coauthors’ website. Here you’ll find a plethora of additional information, such as blog posts from the two ladies detailing where their lives are now, advice on traveling and living abroad, and a neat promotional video trailer for the book.
Those of us who enjoy reading mystery novels know the thrill of discovering a series that we haven’t come across before. You find a book, fall in love with the setting and the characters and then get ready to settle in for several more adventures with your new sleuthing friends.
But mystery series do not arrive on the library shelves all at once. There is often a wait of a year or two between books and patience is a useful companion for mystery lovers.
That is even more true when you read and love the first book in a proposed series which has been written very recently. Now anxiety begins to creep in. Will they write a second one? Can we even hope for a third?
In this spirit of cautious optimism here are some recent debut mystery novels that hold out the promise of many hours of reading pleasure to come:
In a remote part of Montana a young girl, Grace, witnesses the murder of her mother. State detective Macy Greeley, who is eight months pregnant, worked on a shocking case eleven years ago that involved the dead woman. Now Macy must try and uncover what Grace might know and she must get the job done before the baby decides to arrive.
It’s 1882 and when her father dies March Middleton is invited to go and live in London with her godfather Sidney Grice. Sidney turns out to be what he calls a ‘personal’ detective of considerable intellect and since March is no slouch in the brains department she insists on being allowed to help. It’s not really respectable for a young lady to go traipsing about the grimy underbelly of Victorian London but that’s not going to stop her. She likes the occasional swig of gin too.
Fun Fact: fans of the TV series Sherlock will notice that the above new mystery series is called The Gower Street Detective. Gower Street in London is where the Baker Street scenes are shot for Sherlock.
The show dog business can be a cut throat world but the murder of a well known dog breeding couple comes as a big shock to veterinarian Kate Turner, especially as she is the one who finds them dead. The incident is ruled a murder suicide but Kate disagrees, especially when another dog breeder is shot and wounded at a show. With the phoned in help of her grandfather, who used to be an NYFD arson investigator, Kate is determined to find the guilty party, event though she may be putting herself in danger.
Over Labor Day Weekend I walked in the Buffalo Grove Days Parade with staff, trustees and volunteers from the Library. It was great to get out into the community and talk about the library and a new program that I am passionate about, 1000 Books Before Kindergarten.
The program was created to promote reading to babies, toddlers and preschoolers. It was based on a statement made by literacy expert and children’s author Mem Fox. In her book Reading Magic she states that, “Children need to hear 1,000 stories read aloud before they begin to learn to read for themselves.” At the Indian Trails library we want to encourage parents and caregivers to read aloud with their children, to create a lifelong love of books, reading and stories and to help children get ready to read on their own.
1,000 Books Before Kindergarten kicks off on September 13th in the KidZone. Come to the Kids Desk to sign up and receive a folder and your first log. Indian Trails cardholders can apply for a special 1K Club library card. For every 100 books read your child will receive a new log. Prizes will be given out along the way to celebrate the completion of levels.
It’s easy to do!
Read 1 book a day for 5 years = 1825 books
Read 1 book a day for 3 years = 1095 books
Read 3 books a day for 1 year = 1095 books
What books count toward the 1000 books? Any book, including books from the library, from home, from anywhere! You can count a book each time you read it. Attending library storytime is a great way to add books to your log!
To help you along the way the library has suggested book lists and thousands of books available for checkout. Special 1K Club programs will be held throughout the year.
Register for the program on Saturday September 13th and stay for Wiggle Jiggle Jam and Read at 11 am. Miss Michelle (Hunter) will lead everyone in singing and dancing fun. Her upbeat songs make stories come alive. We will start with a story that you can count in your 1K Club log. There is a limit of 100 people. Free tickets will be distributed 30 minutes prior to the start of the program.
Author Emilie Buchwald says, “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” If you have a child age birth through pre-k join us on this wonderful journey.
Post office change of address? Done. Moving company? Yup. New veterinarian for the cats. Check.
The DMV offers proof positive that I’m no longer living in Chicagoland and only the boxes
scattered around my new place remind me of my recent move. But I won’t feel at home until I’ve got a library card tucked into my wallet. It’s my ritual.
I moved from New York to Florida to Georgia and then to several cities in Illinois. With each relocation, one of my first “to-dos” was sleuthing out the address of the nearest library and running over there to apply for a card.
I love the sense of anticipation when I walk into a new library – what books, classes and films will I discover. Which staff member will learn about my fondness for obscure documentaries and lead me to something I’ve never heard about? Inside the library, a sense of community pulses. These are my people – the readers, the writers, the thirsty-for-knowledge thinkings.
Moving to a new place, even when you have family and few friends is unsettling – another reason I seek the familiar shelter of a library. Inside there are friends waiting to be met, programs to experience and learning to enjoy. As I settle into my new neighborhood and discover fascinating things all around me, I’m happy to say I’m a proud card-carrying member of the Champaign Public Library.
About our guest blogger
Gail Cohen is a writer who recently left Chicago for Champaign, Illinois, where her children and grandchildren live. She writes for several websites, including her own blog, 100 Wicked Words.
Generally, I don’t. I must admit I am not a big fan of horror films. There are some, though, that I think are exceptionally good films, and recommend them to anyone who can take it. Have you the intestinal fortitude?
Rosemary’s Baby (1968) – One of the best of the genre, Mia Farrow stars as a young pregnant woman who begins to believe that her kind elderly neighbors have a satanic interest in her unborn child. Chilling!
Exorcist (1973) – It took me a long time to be able to make it through this terrifying film, but I have to admit it is brilliantly done. Linda Blair plays an innocent young girl whose body becomes possessed by a terrifying entity. Two priests and her mother battle to save her life and her soul. Watch this one with the lights on.
The Haunting (1963) – Based on the classic novel by Shirley Jackson, this psychologically unsettling film tells the story of a parapsychologist and two mediums who spend a weekend in a haunted house. Julie Harris turns in the performance of a lifetime. Not to be missed. (Remade, rather badly, in 1999 – starring very expensive special effects and co-starring Liam Neeson, Lili Taylor, and Catherine Zeta-Jones.)
Legend of Hell House (1973) – To me, this is the ultimate ‘haunted house’ movie. A third team of psychic investigators has one week to uncover the secrets of a haunted house which destroyed the two earlier teams – if they can survive the week themselves. There are plenty of twists in the story to keep you on the edge of your chair. Starring Roddy McDowell, Pamela Franklin and Clive Revill, put this one on your must-watch list.
The Devil’s Backbone (2001) – This Spanish language film, set during the final week of the Spanish Civil War, is the tale of a young boy who is sent to a haunted rural orphanage full of terrible secrets. Director Guillermo Del Toro does a brilliant job of combining gothic ghost story with murder mystery to show that sometimes the scariest monsters are often the human ones. Very creepy, but fascinating.
Dead of Night (1945) – A group of strangers gathered at a country estate each tell a chilling (or humorous) tale of the supernatural. This anthology of ghost stories include stories about a haunted mirror, a ghostly child’s appearance at a party, a supernatural game of golf, and possibly the most frightening of all – an ventriloquist’s dummy who wants to control the act. But even after these frightening stories are told, one final nightmare awaits them all. These disturbing tales will stay with you for quite a while.
Also for the brave of heart:
Poltergeist (1982) – Never build your house on an old graveyard. Trust me. Don’t.
Jaws (1975) – Stay out of the water! (And avoid the sequels.)
Psycho (1960) – You will probably never take a shower again!
Dracula (1931) – Bela Lugosi became a star from this classic vampire story.
Frankenstein (1931) – Boris Karloff’s great performance, under incredibly heavy makeup, as the Frankenstein Monster is still powerful. Deleted scenes (considered too intense at the time) have been restored.
Nosferatu (1922) – Silent film classic; a great vampire story that is still creepy today.