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Staff Pick: Trees: In the Shadow by Warren Ellis and Jason Howard

Picture of ColleenTrees, Volume One: In The Shadow by Warren Ellis (author) and Jason Howard (artist) is a unique concept for a graphic novel about a post-apocalyptic world, told via multiple narrators from all over the alien-invaded earth. The artwork is really well done, and I appreciate that each story had its own styling. Readers will definitely look forward to future volumes.

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on July 14, 2015 Categories: Books, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Picks by Colleen, Staff Picks

What is the Mount Prospect Community Reading?

Picture of Response Display

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Displayed around the Library are the reviews, theme songs, and readalikes Adult Summer Reading participants are sharing! See what your fellow community members are reading and suggesting, and make sure you sign up for Summer Reading to add your voice! Below are a few of the entries so far:

 

Cover of The Heretics Daughter
The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent is historically interesting. The interweaving of the historical aspects of the Salem Witch Trials was great!

Cover of American Wife
I liked Tara Kyle’s perspective of her husband, the American Sniper in American Wife.

Cover of The Gospel of Loki
My readalike for The Gospel of Loki is Loki. It’s hard to get bored of this god.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover of Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’Easter
Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’Easter by Lisa Patton is a fun book about a Memphis belle and her three Southern women friends she grew up with.

Cover of The Escape
My theme song for The Escape by David Baldacci is “You Deserve a Break Today,” because the lead’s brother escapes from federal incarceration to clear his name.

Cover of Magnificent Magnesium
Magnificent Magnesium by Dennis Goodman and Morely M. Robbins is very informative. It details how magnesium affects each part of your body.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover of Feed
My readalike for Feed by M.T. Anderson is The Giver because both are set in the future and discuss mind manipulation.

Cover of House of Small Shadows
My theme song for House of Small Shadows by Adam Nevill is “Go Ask Alice” by Jefferson Airplane. The main character thinks she is going crazy, but there is also something supernatural going on.

Cover of Church of Marvels
Church of Marvels by Leslie Parry is original. The story is a mystery with love, loss, and retribution set in the “church of marvels” or 19th century sideshow. Unusual and original- I liked it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover of The Meursault Investigation
My readalike for The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud is The Stranger. It follows the Arab killed in The Stranger and tells the story from his family’s perspective.

Cover of Dream a Little Dream
My theme song Dream a Little Dream by Kirsten Grier is “Sweet Dreams” by the Eurythmics because of the lyrics about searching in your dreams for fulfillment and adventure.

Cover of Eyes Wide Open
My theme song for Eyes Wide Open by Paul Fleischman is “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell. It’s all about appreciating the environment and weighing the cost of convenience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover of After I’m Gone
My theme song for After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman is “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding. “…somehow nothing is going to change…everything still remains the same...this loneliness will not leave me alone…”

Cover of Waking Up in Charleston
My theme song for Waking Up in Charleston is “You’ll Never Walk Alone” because everyone in this small town helped each other through sadness and happiness.

Cover of Death at Le Fenice
Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon is great for those who like “who dunit” with several suspects.

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on July 10, 2015 Categories: 2015 Summer Reading, Books

Fiction: My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry book coverEvery seven-year-old deserves a superhero. This is true even (or especially) if your superhero is your crazy granny. Elsa’s granny is the one who teaches her about the Land-of-Almost-Awake to help her forget about her parents’ divorce and the bullies at school and her nightmares. Granny was many things: doctor, prankster, savior, free spirit, fighter of evil, and Elsa’s only friend, so when she is gone, Elsa is lost. Granny, who anticipated this, designed a treasure hunt asking Elsa to hand-deliver apology letters to everyone Granny hurt or let down, and so their joint adventures continue. Heartwarming and a bit wacky, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman is a fairy-tale-like story that inspires hope in the real world.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on July 9, 2015 Categories: Books

Book Discussion Questions: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Cover of Water for ElephantsTitle: Water for Elephants
Author: Sara Gruen
Page Count: 350 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction
Tone: Nostalgic, Romantic, Bittersweet

Summary:
A novel of star-crossed lovers, set in the circus world circa 1932. When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, grifters, and misfits, a second-rate circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in town after endless town. A veterinary student who almost earned his degree, Jacob is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It is there that he meets Marlena, the beautiful young star of the equestrian act, who is married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. He also meets Rosie, an elephant who seems untrainable until he discovers a way to reach her.

SPOILER WARNING:
These book discussion questions are highly detailed and will ruin plot points if you have not read the book.

1. What is the appeal of this novel?

2. What part do the animals play in this novel?

3. Describe Rosie and her personality traits. What is Rosie’s role in the novel? Do you think elephants can really think and act the way that she did?

4. How does Jacob’s life in the nursing home compare to the animals at the circus?

5. Why does Jacob prefer Rosemary to the other nursing home staff?

6. Did you like how the author switched back and forth between the nursing home and the circus story? Did this enhance or detract from the story?

7. Who was your favorite character? Why?

8. Who was your least favorite character? Why?

9. Upon reading the prologue, who did you think murdered August? Was the prologue an effective way to begin the story? How did that opening scene, involving chaos, make you feel about the rest of the story?

10. Describe the difference between how Jacob and August felt about Marlena. What was it about August that attracted Marlena to him. What was it about Jacob?

11. What did you learn about circuses from reading this novel? (reality and illusion) Do you like circuses? Has this novel changed the way you look at them?

12. How do the practices of the circus relate to the modern business world?

13. Would you have liked more detail on what became of Jacob, Marlena and their children? It didn’t sound like Jacob was extremely close to his children. Is that the impression you got? If so, were you surprised by that?

14. In the words of one review, Water for Elephants “explores…the pathetic grandeur of the Depression-era circus.” Do you agree? How does the “pathetic grandeur” describe the world that Gruen creates in her novel?

15. Why did Jacob get so upset at the nursing home patient, McGuinty, said he carried water for the elephants?

Other Resources:

Readers’ Guide
Lit Lovers Discussion Questions
Party Ideas for a Water for Elephants discussion
Writer’s Digest Interview with Sara Gruen


If you like Water for Elephants, you might like…

Cover of Little HeathensCover of Seabiscuit Cover of The Adventures of Miles and Isabel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Heathens by Mildred Armstrong Kalish
Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
The Adventures of Miles and Isabel by Tom Gilling

Want help with your book discussion group? Check out tips, advice, and all the ways the Library can help support your group!

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on July 8, 2015 Categories: Book Discussion Questions, Books, Historical Fiction, Literary

Staff Pick: Phenomenal Woman: Four Poems Celebrating Women by Maya Angelou

Cathleen staff picks photoFew articulate as inspiring a blend of grace and gravitas as the transcendent Maya Angelou. Phenomenal Woman celebrates the steel of femininity via a quartet of elegant yet unadorned poems that swell the heart, soothe the soul, and energize a pride in the complex selves we are called to be.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on July 7, 2015 Categories: Books, Literary, Picks by Cathleen, Staff Picks

What is the Mount Prospect Community Reading?

Picture of Response Display

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Displayed around the Library are the reviews, theme songs, and readalikes Adult Summer Reading participants are sharing! See what your fellow community members are reading and suggesting, and make sure you sign up for Summer Reading to add your voice! Below are a few of the entries so far:

 

Cover of Where Woman Are KingsWhere Women Are Kings by Christie Watson is an interesting story of a young Nigerian child adopted by a loving interracial couple, but the scars of his early life never leave.

Cover of GulpMy readalike for Gulp by Mary Roach is Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. They are both richly detailed and deal with food.

Cover of The Boys in the BoatMany readers would enjoy The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown because it’s a well-written, moving, true story. Working-class rowers make it to the 1936 Olympics. Fast-paced and tons of great detail!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover of Nantucket SistersMy readalike for Nantucket Sisters by Nancy Thayer is The Matchmaker by Erin Hilderbrand. Both are heartwarming reads about friendship and love set in Nantucket. Perfect for summer!

Cover of The Next Time You See MeThe Next Time You See Me by Holly Goddard Jones is a real page-turner because you get absorbed into each of the characters– I couldn’t put this book down.

Cover of The Book of ForgivingThe Book of Forgiving by Desmond and Mpho Tutu is an excellent book to read because it is inspiring. It tells stories that reflect our own lives and how people forgive those who harm the mentally and physically.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover of Going HomeMy theme song for Going Home by Nora Roberts is “Hometown” by Eric Church. Both are about their hometowns and how sad/happy they are to be back.

Cover of The Forgotten PlagueThe Forgotten Plague by Frank Ryan is shocking as it is informative… also the disease was a lot more deadly and common than I thought.

Cover of The Book of Unknown AmericansMy readalike for the The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez is Unaccustomed Earth because both are rich, character-driven vignettes about family, culture, and consequences of our choices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover of My Old Man and the Sea
My theme song for My Old Man and the Sea by David and Daniel Hays is “A Pirate Looks at Forty” by Jimmy Buffett. It’s a true sailing story, it’s short, and you feel like you’re on the ocean.

Cover of A Dangerous PlaceThere is a lingering sense of sorrow and dread in A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear but the heroine, Maisie Dobbs, finds a way to ease her personal burden and that of others as she faces grief and war head on.

Cover of Alive
Alive by Piers Paul Read is about finding strength in the most primary state of survival, of letting go of things that are part of life but not essential, and just focus on living to another day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover of Dad is Fat
Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan is hilarious. Real life fatherhood needs a sense of humor at the risk of insanity.

Cover of Bessie Smith
Any blues song is my theme song for Bessie Smith by Jackie Kay because she was the epitome of sadness, tragedy, and blues.

Cover of The Haunted Lady
The Haunted Lady by Mary Roberts Rinehart is cunning and clever. Only Hilda Adams can untangle the web created by Mrs. Fairbanks’ unusual clan to discover the truth and the murderer.

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on July 3, 2015 Categories: 2015 Summer Reading, Books

Fiction: Everybody Walk the Dinosaur!

Has Jurassic World genetically engineered your hunger for dinosaur reads? Gather round for admission because the library park is open!

Dinosaur SummerDinosaur Summer book cover by Greg Bear

Building on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic The Lost World, a teen and his photojournalist father travel to document the last dinosaur circus and the creatures’ release back into the wild.

Raptor RedRaptor Red book cover by Robert T. Bakker

Try the dinosaur’s life on for size. After her mate is killed in an attack on a brontosaurus, a female raptor embarks on a perilous year-long odyssey as she copes with a flash flood, migrates to the ocean, finds a new mate, and produces a family of chicks, in a novel set against the exotic prehistoric background of the early Cretaceous.

The Mystery of IretaMystery of Ireta book cover by Anne McCaffrey

Containing both Dinosaur Planet and its sequel, Dinosaur Planet Survivors, this volume tells the tale of a team originally sent to catalog plant and animal life on another world. Suddenly, they find themselves surrounded by giant swamp creatures, deadly predators, terrifying dinosaurs, and a curious change in their crew members.

Here Kitty, KittyHere Kitty Kitty book cover by Winifred Elze

Pleistocene-era animals are migrating from their time to our own, and it is up to Emma and her cat Billie to protect the public, the environment, and even the prehistoric beasts from utter destruction.

West of EdenWest of Eden book cover by Harry Harrison

The saga of two cultures fated to struggle for control of the earth: the Yilane–cold-blooded intelligent reptiles and the Tanu–warm-blooded humans.

Jurassic ParkJurassic Park book cover by Michael Crichton

In the book that made it cool for adults to hang on to their dinosaur fascination, an American bioengineering research firm erects a theme park on a Caribbean island, complete with living dinosaurs, and invites a group of scientists to be its first terrified guests.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on July 1, 2015 Categories: Books, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Historical Fiction

What is the Mount Prospect Community Reading?

Picture of Response Display

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Displayed around the Library are the reviews, theme songs, and readalikes Adult Summer Reading participants are sharing! See what your fellow community members are reading and suggesting, and make sure you sign up for Summer Reading to add your voice!

Below are a few of the entries so far:

Bitter is the New Black
My theme song for Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster is “Speak Now” by Taylor Swift because Jen does not hold anything back. She says what most of us only think.

Cover of Blackwater Spirits
Blackwater Spirits by Mirriam Grace Monfredo is powerful because of the combination of racial and gender inequality in an educational mystery.

Cover of Love the Home You Have
My theme song for Love the Home You Have by Melissa Michaels is “Love the One You’re With” because it’s the same idea of just digging what you’ve got.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover of A Man Apart
A Man Apart by Peter Forbes is inspiring because it suggest ways to live closer to nature and help the environment

Cover of Little Kitchen
Little Kitchen by Sabrina Parrini has easy creative food/recipes your kids will like!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover of Compulsion
My readalike for Compulsion by Martina Boone is Beautiful Creatures because they are both Southern Gothic stories.

Cover of Twenties Girl
Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinselle is is funny, sweet, and reminds you of the importance of family because it centers around a great aunt who dies, but comes back as a friendly ghost to her bewildered great niece.

Cover of Brothers
Brothers by Da Chen is a great book that should be on your bucket list and/or books you should read before you die list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover of Revival
My readalike for Revival by Stephen King is Leaving Time because the two books are like two sides of the same coin. They deal with family, obsession and death. Who would have thought?

Cover of Hawaii
My theme song for Hawaii by James A. Michener is “Aloha Oe” or any soothing Hawaiian music because Michner is so descriptive in his storytelling, it felt like I was in Hawaii!

Cover of Girl Underwater
Girl Underwater by Claire Kells is the gripping story of a plane crash, survival, and overcoming your fears to find the ultimate strength to fight back and find the love of your life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover of To Timbuktu
To Timbuktu by Casey Scieszka and Steven Weinberg is a great adventure book because it tells a fantastic story of two travelers taking a chance.

Cover of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
My readalike for Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz is I’ll Give You the Sun because both are great coming of age stories about the power of forgiveness and reconnection.

Cover of The Thirteenth Tale
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield led me to read The Turn of the Screw because both are about governesses brought in to care for children in a country manor, although written over 100 years apart.

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on June 26, 2015 Categories: 2015 Summer Reading, Books

Fiction: The Commitments by Roddy Doyle

Commitments book coverJimmy Rabbitte knows his music. He may not have a single note of musical ability, but he has the passion to form a band with guys who do, and the new sound of “Dublin soul” is born. The Commitments by Roddy Doyle is about the world’s hardest working band, one energized by the songs of James Brown, Sam Cooke, and Otis Redding. The characters are scrappy, rude, and hilarious, and the familiar tale of an underdog group’s rise and fall is reborn as something fresh and real. Steeped in local color, youthful ambition, and the sheer joy of making music, this short novel is a great option for anyone in the mood for something other than the typical beach reads.

Rock-and-roll fiction is one way to turn up the volume on your summer reading. Sign up today for Read to the Rhythm and start earning chances toward fab prizes that will make you want to dance!

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on June 25, 2015 Categories: Books, Humor

Book Discussion Questions: The Circle by Dave Eggers

Cover of The CircleTitle: The Circle
Author: Dave Eggers
Page Count: 491 pages
Genre: Fiction, Futuristic
Tone: Thought-Provoking, Witty, Quick

Summary:
When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world—even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

SPOILER WARNING:
These book discussion questions are highly detailed and will ruin plot points if you have not read the book.

1. What messages (if any) did it seem like Eggers was trying to get across? How successful was he? [too subtle, not subtle enough?]

2. What aspects of Mae’s life at the Circle seemed creepy or rubbed you the wrong way? What aspects of Mae’s life at the Circle did you really like?

3. What are people gaining by committing themselves to participating in all of the services the Circle has to offer? What are people losing?

4. Why do you think so many people are choosing to become a part of the Circle? What is so attractive about social media?

5. How do you think Mae would have been treated differently at the Circle if she wasn’t Annie’s friend? Would there even be a difference?

6. When Mae walks onto the campus she sees stones decorating with the following words: Dream; Participate; Find Community; Innovate; Imagine; Breathe. Why these words? How do they compare to the new phrases at the end of the book? (Secrets are Lies, Sharing is caring Privacy is theft)

7. Ty explains how the company had changed from its original start. Has its core values changed from when Mae started to the end of the book?

8. Bailey uses the phrase “All that happens must be known” when he is talking about the SeeChange video project and holding people accountable for their actions. This is a strong statement. In what ways do you agree or disagree with this phrase?

9. Mercer talks about how now that everyone is on social media, “there’s this new neediness.” Did you pick up on that neediness? What does he mean? Why do you think that neediness developed?

10. When Francis videos him and Mae being intimate, he says that that moment was his too and uses that part-ownership as permission to have recorded the moment. Is he implying that people can own events and moments in time? Can they? How does this connect with the direction the Circle is going and what it stands for?

11. Why is Mae so offended that Francis asks for a score on his sexual performance?

12. Do you think Annie always bought into the direction the Circle was heading, or was it just the ancestry project that caused her to see the negative consequences of such a society?

13. Even though there was a lot of negative feedback to the ancestry project and the video of her parents not calling for help when the homeless man fell into the water, there was a lot of support for Annie as well. Why do you think Annie still crumbled?

14. Towards the end at the idea forum, one of the presenters had a malfunction where an alarm went off too loud. Stenton had a big reaction to this, described as being barely able to control his rage, and saying “Turn it off or we walk out of here.” Why did he have such a strong reaction to something that was too loud?

15. Mae makes a lot of mentions to feeling a tear inside of her. Where does this come from? How does she try to fix it? At the end she decides the tear is not knowing (195)- not knowing who would love her and for how long and not knowing who people are. Do you think that’s true?

16. How has Mae changed from the beginning of the book to the end? How hasn’t she changed?

17. Did you think Mae was a fully fleshed out character? Was her naivety believable, or was it just a mechanism to move the story along?

18. As the reader, were there moments where you ever felt manipulated?

19. The book has no chapters, and is just broken up into three parts. How do you think this added to the story? Why do you think this was done?

20. Eggers has said that he hardly did any research when writing this book. How do you think this helped and/or hindered the story?

21. Mae’s friendship with Annie changed from the beginning of the book to the end. In what ways did it change? Why did it change so drastically?

22. Mae gets really mad at Frances when he volunteers her for the LuvLuv dating demonstration. Why did she have such a negative reaction if she willingly put up all of that information about herself?

23. Who did you think Kalden was?

24. Why was Kalden attracted to Mae? Why do you think Mae trusted Kalden so much?

25. Why does Mae have such a negative strong reaction to Mercer? Why was she so persistent in trying to convince him the value of the Circle?

26. One of the times when Mae went kayaking she met a couple in their early fifties, has a drink with them, and then left. What was their purpose in the story?

27. What would closing the Circle mean?

28. Why did Stenson and Eamon need Mae to help close the Circle?

29. At the end, could Kalden/Ty have said something different to convince Mae to stop trying to help close the Circle, or was she too far gone?

30. NYTimes says, “Mae, then, is not a victim but a dull villain.” How is this true? How is this not true?

Other Resources:

The Circle Pinterest board
Lit Lovers Discussion Questions
The New Yorker article: “Sharing is Caring is Sharing
Interview with Dave Eggers

If you like The Circle, you might like…

Super Sad True Love StoryCover of Notes From the Internet Apocalypse Cover of Terms of Service

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
Notes From the Internet Apocalypse by Wayne Gladstone
Terms of Service by Jacob Silverman

Want help with your book discussion group? Check out tips, advice, and all the ways the Library can help support your group!

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on June 24, 2015 Categories: Book Discussion Questions, Books