Wednesday, April 29, 2009

May Displays

Can you believe it is May already? I'm still getting used to it being 2009! We've got some great displays going for the warmer weather ahead!

For those of you itching to get out in the garden or yard, check out our great selection of landcaping and gardening books - I become motivated just looking at all the beautiful photos in these books.

In honor of those who have perished fighting for our country, we will have selections from our World War II collection out on display. Of course, if you are interested in any other historical time period, just let the Adult Services staff know, and they will be happy to help you locate it.

May is National Barbecue Month, so we've also got our grilling books out for easy pickin's. Nothing says "warm weather" like the smell of meat cooking on the grill!

Finally, times are tough right now, so look for our display on job searching, resumes and interviewing. You can never be too informed in this day and age, especially when it comes to your career.

Stay tuned for information on our Summer Reading Club, "Read on the Wild Side!" which will begin in June.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Slightly Married by Mary Balogh

Ah, the old "marriage of convenience." No stranger to romances, this particular plotline is resurrected here, although it never feels stale in Mary Balogh's capable hands. Colonel Lord Aidan Bedwyn has promised a dying soldier that he will inform his sister, Eve, of his death and protect her "no matter what." The soldier dies before he can clarify this statement. Bedwyn, a powerful and "granite-faced" man is a man of honor, so he visits Eve to relay the sad news. While visiting, he learns that proud, independent Eve is about to be turned out of her house, along with everyone else who resides there, due to the terms of her father's will. However, if she were to marry within the allotted time period left, the estate remains hers. Bedwyn makes Eve an offer she cannot refuse.

The two agree to marry and stay physically together long enough to ensure the estate stays in Eve's hands, then live their separate lives while remaining married in the eyes of the law. Although both had others in mind for matrimony, they both realize this is the only way to save Eve's home and all the people she has taken in there. They travel to London to perform the private, quiet ceremony.

Following the ceremony, Eve and Bedwyn spend the day sightseeing - she begins to see another side of him, and truly enjoys the time she spends with him. Hidden beneath his stoic nature is a kind heart and a subtle sense of humor. They travel back to her estate, where they both thoroughly enjoy turning her cousin away as he comes to claim the estate for his own, and attend an impromptu wedding reception thrown in their honor. Following this, they part forever, or so they think.

Although they are living separate lives, the two think often and fondly of one another, as well as the others they had thought to marry, but now never will. When Aidan's brother, the Duke of Bewcastle, learns that Aidan is married, he forces Aidan to claim her and present her to society in London, despite Aidan and Eve's wish to remain on the downlow. Eve, of course, is up to the challenge despite her obvious lack of aristocratic heritage. What will become of this "marriage of convenience?" Will Eve and Aidan ever be true marriage partners? Will they live happily ever after?

This is a fine example of Regency romance, with the requisite happy ending, so there are no surprises here. The characters are well drawn, the book zips along at a nice pace, and it all culminates in a satisfying conclusion. This is a good, solid, historical romance, sure to appeal to the romantic in all of us!

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Lost City of Z by David Grann

I am on quite the non-fiction kick these days - although overall I probably read more fiction than non, my only requirement is that a book hold my interest. I've read several non-fiction books that read more like fiction thanks to the talented authors that penned them. This is one of those books.

Percy Fawcett was a man's man and larger than life - from an aristocratic British family, he was a natural-born adventurer who quickly learned and adapted his survival skills in the wilderness. Well known for his vast explorations of South America's unmapped areas, he undertook his biggest challenge in 1925, when he and his party went in search of the fabled golden city of El Dorado, believed to be hidden in the jungles of Brazil. Accompanying him were his 21 year-old son, Jack, and Jack's best friend, Raleigh. Little did they know, this would be Fawcett's last adventure.

The mystery surrounding the fate of the unfortunate party sparked several others to enter into the jungle - to search for Fawcett, to rediscover the city of El Dorado, or to at least uncover what became of the expedition. Many of these men were never seen again - yet, the interest continued. Author David Grann, a self-described city fellow who liked, "newspapers, take-out food, sports highlights (recorded on TiVo) and the air conditioning on high," caught the bug himself, and embarked on his own adventure into the jungle, searching for the fate of Percy Fawcett and his party.

This book is an addictive read - I could not put it down! The story of Fawcett and the other explorers was a fascinating look at a history I previously knew nothing about. Grann's account of his own foray into the jungle was also interesting, both for noting the changes that had taken place in the 80 years since Fawcett's trip, and for the aspects that hadn't changed. This would be a great book for someone who would like to give non-fiction a try - it's suspenseful, adventurous and most of all, a great story.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Piscine Molitor Patel, Pi for short, is a thoughtful and curious teenager growing up in Pondicherry, India. His father runs the local zoo, and Pi enjoys a secure and edifying home life with his parents and older brother, Ravi. Pi discovers the joy of spirituality, and has no problem identifying with three major religions: Christianity; Islam; and, his native Hindu, garnering comfort from all three.

Pi and his family leave India, with some of their animals, to emigrate to Canada; however, their ship capsizes and sinks quickly, leaving Pi, an injured zebra, a hyena, an orangutan named Orange Juice and a tiger named Richard Parker the sole survivors and co-inhabitants of a lifeboat. Nature takes its course and soon only Pi and Richard Parker are remaining. Pi comes to realize that the survival of Richard Parker is vital to his survival, and plans accordingly, ensuring that Richard Parker is well fed and watered. Pi and Richard undertake a long, arduous, often humourous journey on the seas, eventually landing on a seeming island paradise, until Pi realizes the island is carnivorous, and he and Richard Parker are off once again. Near death, the two finally land on the coast of Mexico, where Richard Parker disappears into the jungle and Pi is rescued and taken to a hospital.

While at the hospital, Pi is questioned by two Japanese officials in regards to the sinking of the ship, who do not believe his fantastical story. After much grilling, Pi tells the officials a second, less fanciful story. Which one do they believe? Which one will you believe? What do the two stories reflect about Pi's world view? How is Pi not only able to survive 227 days, but also keep a tiger alive as well?

This book is most unusual - I cannot seem to stop thinking about it and pondering its meanings. I realize I'm a little late reading it - it was published in 2002, but better late than never! This is a beautifully written and mesmerizing book and I recommend it to anyone with a lively imagination or someone who needs more imagination in their life (like me!) Enjoy!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Columbine by Dave Cullen

When I first saw early reviews of this book, my first reaction was, "Why would anyone want to read about this?" The more I thought about it, though, the more intrigued I became. It has been almost 10 years since that infamous day in April, 1999 - what have we learned? School shootings continue to pepper the news periodically, some more infamous than others. The NIU shootings of 2008 hit especially close to home. Is there anything to be learned from these acts of violence?

We're all familiar with the myths surrounding Columbine: the killers were targeting jocks; they were members of the "Trench Coat Mafia;" they were acting out after being bullied. Dave Cullen, a journalist who began covering the story the day it happened, reviews the thousands of pages of documents relating to the crime, as well as journals and videos of the killers in order to answer the questions: Why? What really happened? The answers are both enlightening and chilling.

This book is true crime writing at its finest. Despite the difficult nature of the book, it was almost impossible to put down. Cullen's exhaustive research is evident in the details, not only of the crime itself, but of the planning, investigation, and impact on the families directly affected as well as the community as a whole. This was a fascinating, but frightening, book to read. For further information, see the book trailer:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Play Ball with the New Lenox Library!

Baseball season is upon us once again, and with it, hope springs anew! Check out our baseball fiction and nonfiction book display upstairs at the library. There's a little something for everyone - Cubs books, Sox books, mysteries, contemporary fiction, etc.

Also, beginning April 18th, play "Step Up to the Plate" at the New Lenox Public Library. Answer trivia questions online at or at the library for a chance to win a trip for 2 to Cooperstown New York this October. This is a nationwide contest that is sponsored by the American Library Association and the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Good luck!

In addition to our baseball display, we've got a great interactive poetry bulletin board and poetry books, as well as several landscaping and gardening books out on display. Come in and see what's new at your library!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Lisey's Story by Stephen King

I must admit that I haven't read much of Stephen King since I was in high school - which has been longer than I care to remember. I've read a few of his books here and there since then - I remember crying my eyes out while reading The Green Mile - but I just wasn't feeling that old King magic. Then I picked up Lisey's Story.

One thing I've always admired about Stephen King is his ability to craft a story, to suck the reader into his world. Often it was a place I didn't necessarily want to be, but I was hooked anyway. Lisey's Story took me a little while to get into, but once I did, I was in for the long haul.

At its heart, this book is a touching love story about a famous novelist, Scott Landon, and his wife, Lisey, who were married 25 years before the novelist's untimely death. Lisey, trying to deal with her loss 2 years later, has finally started going through Scott's papers and effects to see if there is anything of literary worth. Beginning this process unleashes a torrent of memories, most of which have been purposefully buried for most of her marriage.

Of course, being Stephen King, we soon learn that all had not been milk and honey for Scott and Lisey - Scott 's youth was a nightmare of violence and mental illness, something that ran in his family. As a youngster, Scott learned to escape to another world just beyond our own, a place that could be both beautiful and deadly. As Lisey seemingly follows clues left by her husband, she learns the true depths of despair of his childhood and revisits places she has long since buried. All the while this is going on, she is also dealing with her mentally ill sister and an even more mental psychopath who has targeted her.

This book is rich with layers of intertwining stories, all of which come together in a satisfying conclusion. Lisey Landon is a character readers will not soon forget - her strength, her humor, and most of her love - shine through in Lisey's Story.