Have you read our Book Talk Tuesdays on the Indian Trails Tumblr blog? Here is what Sarah wrote for John Green’s Paper Towns. You know who John Green is, right? Famous Youtube vlogger but probably better known for writing The Fault in Our Stars.
Quentin Jacobsen has always had a crush on his childhood friend and next door neighbor Margo Roth Spiegelman. They haven’t talked much since their days of riding bikes around their neighborhood eight years ago, but that all changes one night when she comes through his bedroom window. She’s chosen him as her partner in crime for a list of eleven tasks that she wants to complete before the sun rises. Margo and Q have a night of crazy adventures, but the next day, Margo is gone. She’s disappeared without a trace, but Q is pretty sure she’s left some clues for him behind. He’s determined to follow the clues and find her, and once and for all solve the mystery that is Margo Roth Spiegelman.
Read the original post here.
While there are few things I love more than curling up with a nice thick book, I don’t always have the hours it takes to plow through the latest bestseller. Sometimes, instead of a feast of reading, I want just a taste, something short but delicious that I can tear through in less time than the average sitcom episode. That’s when I turn to one of my favorite types of reading: short stories. A great short story collection allows you to dip in and out at will, sampling stories during those small snatches of time that might otherwise be wasted. Here are a few of my favorite short story collections:
Tenth of December – An absolutely brilliant collection of short stories by George Saunders. The stories in this book range from realistic to surreal, but each one is absolutely fantastic. And hey, don’t take my word for it – the New York Times Book Review named this as one of the 10 best books of 2013.
We Live in Water – A collection of short stories, most of which are set in the Pacific Northwest. The stories are mostly realistic, with the exception of my favorite, the not-to-be-missed zombie story “Don’t Eat Cat”. Author Jess Walter also wrote the hugely popular novel Beautiful Ruins, but in my opinion his short stories are even better.
Vampires in the Lemon Grove – Quirky, surreal, and strange are the three words that I’d use to describe the stories in this book. Whether it’s the lemon juice-guzzling vampires from the title story or girls being slowly transformed into silkworms, these stories are populated with unusual situations and characters you won’t soon forget.
Rogues - It only took seven words to convince me to read this new short story collection: Neil Gaiman, Gillian Flynn, and George R.R. Martin. These authors, plus 18 others, have contributed original stories related to the theme “rogues”. And yes, George R.R. Martin’s story is a brand-new tale set in the Game of Thrones universe.
On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated – and because of treaties and royal family ties between European countries, sides were drawn and the world went to war. Millions died; millions more were wounded. The world changed forever.
There have been many movies made about this conflict, and they are worth watching. Here are a few available for checkout from the library.
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) – Possibly the greatest of the WWI films, this anti-war story focuses on one young German man who, caught up in the patriotic fervor, joins the army with his friends and finds the true horrors of war in the trenches. Lew Ayres stars in this brilliant Oscar-winning film. As powerful today as it was when first released, this is a Must-See film.
Paths of Glory (1957) – During WWI, a French battalion is ordered on a suicide mission that is likely to fail. When it does, the general that planned the mission selects three soldiers from the battalion to be executed for cowardice, and selects their leader as their attorney. Stanley Kubrick directed this scathing look at the futility of war especially when combined with incompetent and egocentric leadership. Stars Kirk Douglas and Adolphe Menjou turn in some of their best performances.
Wings (1927)– The very first film to win an Academy Award for best picture, this still incredibly poignant film tells the story of two young men, one middle-class and one wealthy, who fall in love with the same woman, but must leave her behind when they become fighter pilots during WWI. The film stars Charles (Buddy) Rogers, Richard Arlen and “The ‘It’ Girl” Clara Bow, but watch for a young Gary Cooper in the small role that made him a star. The aerial stunts and photography put modern filmmakers to shame! Don’t miss this silent film classic.
My Boy Jack (2007) – Rudyard Kipling’s son is refused when he tries to enlist in the war due to his incredibly poor eyesight. Kipling, an outspoken supporter of the Empire and the war effort uses his influence to get his son a commission. But there is a reason people with health issues shouldn’t be at the front – and Kipling must live with the tragic results of his interference. David Haig wrote and starred as Kipling, and Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe played his ‘boy Jack’.
A Farewell to Arms (1932) and (1957) – Based on the novel by Ernest Hemingway, these films tell the story of an ambulance driver who is wounded and falls in love with his nurse. The 1932 version starred Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes; the 1957 remake starred Rock Hudson and Jennifer Jones. Get out the tissues.
Other films worth a look include:
La Grande Illusion (1937 – French language)
War Horse (2011)
Sergeant York (1941)
Howard Hughes’ Hell’s Angels (1930)
The Big Parade (1925 – silent film)
Looking for a book set in the grandeur of 1940s Barcelona? Check out Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s intriguing mystery novel, The Shadow of the Wind.
While the inhabitants of Barcelona try to heal after the end of the Spanish Civil War, Daniel mourns a very personal loss, that of his mother. The son of an antiquarian book dealer, he finds solace while reading a book called The Shadow of the Wind by Julián Carax. It is so enthralling that as soon as he finishes it, he wants to read the rest of Carax’s books. As his literary search unfolds, Daniel soon discovers that someone has been systematically destroying all of the author’s books. The popular rumor is that a horribly disfigured man has been collecting every single copy and burning them. In his quest to find out the ultimate truth about Carax’s titles, Daniel unwittingly opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest corners and becomes a detective of the grandest proportions.
Looking for a suggestion about a book to read? Come read a recommendation by one of our staff for a novel you may have missed. This excerpt is taken from our very own Page Turners leaflets that you can pick up anytime here at the library.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin.
A.J. Fikry has taken some hard knocks recently. His wife has died in an accident, his bookstore is not doing well and his rare edition of poems by Poe has been stolen. No wonder he is rude and impatient with Amelia, the new salesperson from Knightly Publishing. After a long drive and a ferry ride to reach A.J.’s store, Island Books, Amelia is inclined to be persistent and keeps returning. Then, one night, a troubled young woman walks into the sea and drowns herself. She leaves her infant daughter in the kid’s section of the book store with a note asking the owner, A.J., to look after her child. To everyone’s surprise A.J. steps up and becomes a father to the little girl and, through her, recovers his love for books and for humanity. He will need all of them when his life takes its next turn.
Your nostalgia bone wants to be ticked today. No, I am not talking about the new Trapper Keeper tablet cases. Although I do really kinda sorta want one for myself. Anyone willing to buy me one? But is nostalgia worth $30 for a tablet case when a plain one costs much less? Thankfully, if you are a member of the Indian Trails library nostalgia costs you nothing! I am talking about anime, of course. What? Anime and nostalgia?
You can watch streaming episodes of Astro Boy for free and without ads through our subscription to Hoopla Digital. Come relive your childhood or find out about the childhood of your parents (gulp, er, possibly grandparents by this time) by watching episodes of this iconic television cartoon. Did you know that Astro Boy was the first Japanese anime to be broadcast in the United States? Well now you do. If you have questions about Hoopla Digital or other library services please feel free to stop by the library or call us at 847-459-4100.
Who writes letters anymore? Not many of us. Email has replaced this tangible treasure of communication, even for me, who truly enjoys writing notes and letters to friends and family. I admit that hand writing a letter has become more infrequent for me as well.
There are two shoeboxes of old letters in my closet that span decades, sent to me when I was a youngster and an adult. I don’t look at them often, but they always reconnect me to my past in a unique way. So it should not surprise you that I enjoy reading books that are composed of correspondence, such as 84 Charing Cross Road or Royko in Love.
We have a new book in our library, published by one of our own members, Dennis Depcik. His book, Wouldn’t It Be Something is about a real-life love story. Mr. Depcik and I met across the 2d floor Advisory Desk over a year ago. He was looking for the book 84 Charing Cross Road, because he was contemplating writing something similar to it. He wondered aloud , who in the world who be interested in reading a book like that. I said, “Me!”
Mr. Depcik attended our library’s Writer’s Workshop meetings, and embarked on his project. Using letters that he received in the 1960s from Maggie, a young girl who later became his wife, he penned a beautiful and moving story about their mostly long-distance courtship. Are you intrigued? Mr. Depcik will be sharing this story at our Library on Monday, July 14 at 7pm at a program aptly titled, “Wouldn’t It Be Something?” Sadly, Mr. Depcik lost Maggie a few years ago when she passed away. The letters from her that he found later were instrumental during his grieving process, and the resulting book he wrote is a gift to all of us.
I love musicals. Almost my entire collection of music CDs are of Broadway and film soundtracks. There are so many great movie musicals, and most of them ideal entertainment for the whole family.
My Fair Lady (1964) – There was a lot of anger about the casting of this movie at the time. Jack Warner didn’t want to hire the Broadway stars (Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews). He tried to sign Peter O’Toole or Cary Grant, but finally did cast Rex Harrison. Since Julie Andrews was then unknown in Hollywood, he wanted a more bankable star and chose Audrey Hepburn (most of whose songs had to be dubbed by Marnie Nixon). Walt Disney had seen Julie Andrews on stage and immediately cast her in his new movie Mary Poppins (1964). Hollywood knew how to show its displeasure – when Oscar time came around, Audrey Hepburn wasn’t nominated, but ‘unknown’ Julie Andrews won. In spite of all of the politics involved, My Fair Lady is a wonderful movie, beautifully acted and incredibly costumed. The story tells of a cockney flower girl who is taught to speak beautifully by a phonetics professor who had made a bet that he could pass her off as a lady at an embassy ball. He wins the bet, but she has learned more than to speak well, she has learned to stand up to anyone, even her teacher. Lerner & Loewe’s songs have become standards (including “I Could Have Danced All Night”, I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face”, and “Get Me to the Church on Time”). Highly recommended.
Music Man (1962) – Con man Harold Hill (Robert Preston, reprising his Broadway role) makes a living selling musical instruments and uniforms by convincing small town folks that he will turn their children into a boy’s band. The problem is he doesn’t know ‘one note from another’. Love enters the equation when he falls for Marian the Librarian (Shirley Jones). Be sure to watch for Marian’s little brother Winthrop – played by 8-year-old Ronnie Howard, now a multi-award winning director and producer. Meredith Willson’s delightful songs include “76 Trombones”, “Goodnight My Someone” and “Till There Was You”. A great movie!
Oliver! (1968) – Best Picture Oscar winner for the year, this musical based on Charles Dickens’ classic Oliver Twist is the story of an orphan boy who, though befriended by a group of young pickpockets and thieves under the tutelage of Fagin, yearns for love and happiness. Starring Mark Lester as Oliver, and featuring Ron Moody as Fagin and Oliver Reed as the evil Bill Sikes. The score is filled with memorable songs like “Who Will Buy”, “Consider Yourself”, “As Long As He Needs Me” and “Where is Love?”. A delight for the whole family.
The Sound of Music (1965) – Coming off her Best Actress win, Julie Andrews is amazing as a spirited young postulant who is sent to look after the seven children of Captain von Trapp (Christopher Plummer), an autocratic widower whose strict household rules leave no room for music or fun. Romance is inevitable, but the fall of Austria to the Nazis changes everything for the family. The beautiful city of Saltsburg and its environs is the backdrop for much of this charming film. The score includes such classics as “Climb Every Mountain”, “Do-Re-Mi”, “My Favorite Things”, “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” and the title song. (Note: Look closely during the “I Have Confidence” song, and you’ll spot the real Maria Von Trapp as an extra.) A winner!
Naughty Marietta (1935) – Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald are magnificent in this operetta by Victor Herbert which tells the story of a French princess, who running away from a prearranged marriage, escapes to the New World as a ‘casquette girl’ (an early version of a mail-order bride). There in New Orleans she meets a handsome mercenary solider and the two fall in love. But her past catches up with her when her fiancé arrives and demands her return to France. Songs include “Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life”, “Tramp Tramp Tramp”, and “I’m Falling in Love With Someone”. I also recommend the MacDonald/Eddy film Rose Marie (1936) which tells the love story of an opera singer and a Canadian Mountie and features such popular tunes as “Indian Love Call” and the title song. (A very young James Stewart plays the singers murderer brother.)
Chicago (2002) – This one is probably not a good choice for the whole family, but it’s a fantastic film, and won the Oscar for best picture the year it was released. Starring Richard Gere, Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Queen Latifah, this film tells the depression-era story of a ‘publicity and show biz career seeking’ woman who murders her lover and is put on trial for her life. Her very slick lawyer has a talent for winning and for turning his clients into media darlings. Songs include “Mr. Cellophane”, “And All That Jazz”, and “The Cell Block Tango”. Plenty of ‘razzle-dazzle’ here – after all, ‘That’s Chicago!’
I also highly recommend:
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
The King and I (1956)
The Harvey Girls (1945)
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
My Sister Eileen (1955)
Calamity Jane (1952)
Have a safe and happy Independence Day tomorrow! Are you planning on watching fireworks and grilling hot dogs? Remember that the library will be closed on the Fourth of July, but we will be open normal hours on Saturday and Sunday this weekend.
So what does the Fourth of July celebrate? No, not the signing of the Declaration of Independence which was actually done on July 2, but it celebrates the adoption of the Declaration by our first Congress. Coincidentally, founding fathers John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4. Independence Day did not become an official national holiday until 1870.
Learn more about our nation’s Indpendence Day celebration by checking out some youth books from the library.
Or forgot about the learning and you can enjoy watching Will Smith blow up some aliens!
Here are three more books with Latin flare to check out:
Illegal by Bettina Restrepo
15-year-old Nora misses her father terribly. He left Mexico in search of work in the United States, and Nora and her mother stay behind. When his letters and money stop coming in the mail, Nora decides that she and her mother must go in search for him. After a harrowing journey across the border, the two women try to make sense of a strange place. Will she find her father in time for her much awaited quinceañera?
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
Told in a series of powerful vignettes, this book tells the remarkable story of young Esperanza Cordero. As she is growing up in Chicago, Esperanza constantly searches for answers to the internal questions of who she is and who she wants to become. She strongly desires a better life for herself without forgetting where she comes from and those she must eventually leave behind.
Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments, With Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies by Laura Esquivel
Taking place during the early 1900s in Mexico, this magical realism novel follows the life of Tita, the youngest daughter of a wealthy rancher. Although she has always known her lot in life is to remain single and care for her aging mother, Tita can’t help but fall in love with a dashing young man named Pedro. Her mother won’t let Tita follow her heart, though, and forces Tita’s older sister, Rosaura, to marry Pedro. As Tita bears witness to their loveless marriage, she expresses her unrequited love, hurt, and frustration through her cooking, often with unexpected, magical results.