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Staff Pick: In the Land of Dreamy Dreams by Ellen Gilchrist

Picture of NancyEscape the winter chill and transport yourself to the South with a collection of short stories by Ellen Gilchrist. The critically acclaimed In the Land of Dreamy Dreams showcases her frank yet warm and lively writing style. Her daring, spirited female protagonists are sometimes flawed but always entertaining.

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on February 10, 2015 Categories: Books, Picks by Nancy, Staff Picks

Fiction: To Please a Lady by Susan Johnson

To Please a Lady book coverRoxane Forrestor, twice-widowed Scottish beauty and Countess of Kilmarnock, has succeeded in keeping several powerful suitors at bay, but her defenses are tested when a wanted rebel earl surprises her in her bedchamber. No matter how her heart feels, she must keep her head. The safety of her children may depend on it. Author Susan Johnson is celebrated for scenes of sizzling seduction, and To Please a Lady lives up to that promise. Balancing rich historical detail and dramatic turns of story, this early novel doesn’t shy from exploring heated encounters while maintaining brisk pacing. The partnering of an older woman with a persistent younger man isn’t often represented in historical romances, but breaking with convention only adds to the intensity of Robbie and Roxane’s love story.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on February 9, 2015 Categories: Books, Historical Fiction, Romance

Cozy up with a good book…

…and get wrapped up in reading!

 

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This winter if you get wrapped up in reading you might possibly win a prize! For each book you read or listen to February 1-28, fill out a drawing slip located on the second floor at the Fiction/AV/Teen services desk. At the end of the month, we will draw winners for the prizes featured above.

Prizes include a gift basket filled with goodies, a Keurig coffeemaker, a flowering tea pot with a cozy throw, and audiobook bundles. Everyone is welcome to stop by for a packet of hot chocolate or apple cider (while supplies last) to kick off their winter reading with a warm drink. Featured below are some of the audiobooks you could possibly win!

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Split by Tara Moss
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

Cover of Little Green Cover of Searching for Zion Cover fo The Rathbones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Green by Walter Mosley
Searching for Zion by Emily Raboteau
The Rathbones by Janice Clark

Cover of The Son Cover of Storied Life of A.J. Fikry Cover of My Brothers Emanuel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Son by Jo Nesbo
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Brothers Emanuel by Ezekiel J. Emanuel

While this program is for adults, we do have kids and teen reading programs going on as well! For any questions about the program or if you would like suggestions on what to read, email us at readers@mppl.org or stop by the Fiction/AV/Teen Services desk on the second floor to speak with a Readers’ Advisor.

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on February 5, 2015 Categories: Audiobooks, Books

Fiction: Literary Reads by Writers of Color from 2014

One of the joys of having such a strong reading community on the internet is being able to find lists others have curated on specific topics or themes. One such list created and contributed by readers is the Anticipated Literary Reads for Readers of Color for 2014. Below are a few of the titles featured on the list. If you would like to diversify your reading even more, email readers@mppl.org or stop by the Fiction/AV/Teen services desk on the second floor to speak to a Readers’ Advisor!

Cover of For Today I Am a Boy Cover of Radiance of Tomorrow Cover of Till the Well Runs Dry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Today I Am a Boy by Kim Fu
Radiance of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah
Til the Well Runs Dry by Lauren Francis-Sharma

Cover of An Untamed State Cover of In the Light of What we Know Cover of Ruby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay
In Light of What we Know by Zia Haider Rahman
Ruby by Cynthia Bond

Cover of Secret History of Las VegasCover of On Such a Full Sea Cover of All Our Names

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Secret History of Las Vegas by Chris Abani
On Such a Full Sea by Chang-Rae Lee
All Our Names by Dinan Mengestu

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Song of the Shank by Jeffery Renard Allen
Family Life by Akhil Sharma
Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

 

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on January 30, 2015 Categories: Books, Lists, Literary

Fiction: Cut to the Bone by Shane Gericke

Cover of Cut to the BoneThe governor has a new electric chamber he wants used, detectives Emily Thompson and Martin Benedetti have a serial killer on the loose they want to find, and a person called the Executioner is out to kill. Set in Naperville, Illinois, Shane Gericke darts between time and characters as he unravels a deadly mystery through the eyes of key players. The story is largely driven by Detective Thompson, who will stop at nothing to catch the killer even though she is still injured from a previous case and her own life is on the line. Cut to the Bone is a suspenseful page-turner where no one is safe.

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on January 29, 2015 Categories: Books, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense

Staff Pick: The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming

Picture of Barbara F.History comes to life in this darkly haunting narrative of murder, rebellion, and aristocracy. Candace Fleming shares the story of the Romanov family and the lives of the Russian peasant class with the help of diary entries, letters, and photos. The Family Romanov is an intense look at the disparity between wealth and poverty and how this clash ended in violence and political change.

 

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on January 27, 2015 Categories: Books, Nonfiction, Picks by Barbara F., Staff Picks

Nonfiction: A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor

History of the World in 100 Objects book coverHere’s a challenge for all you list-makers and students of society: choose only one hundred items to represent the entirety of human history. Tough task, right? Members of the British Museum and of the BBC took up this mission and gave themselves a few rules: draw from all time periods, cover the entire world equally, and include the humble everyday as well as great works of art. Director Neil MacGregor compiled the results in A History of the World in 100 Objects. Sure, you’ll find the Rosetta Stone and Bolivian pieces-of-eight, but also making the cut is a modern UAE credit card and a 2001 throne made of weapons from Mozambique. It’s a fascinating way to chart civilization, and you’ll find yourself unearthing more than you expected.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on January 26, 2015 Categories: Books, Nonfiction

New: Audiobooks, Fantasy, and Sci-Fi

Every Friday the Library will bring you short lists of buzz-worthy books in a rotating series of popular genres.

For these and other fresh reads, stop by the second floor Fiction/AV/Teen desk. While there, talk to a Readers’ Advisor about new and old titles tailored to your taste.

New: Audiobooks

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No Hero by Mark Owen
Small Victories by Anne Lamott
Hope by Richard Zoglin

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Hush by Karen Robards
The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
The Assassination Option by W. E. B. Griffin

New: Fantasy and Sci-Fi

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WIldalone by Krassi Zourkova
The Just City by Jo Walton
Mort(e) by Robert Repino

Cover of The Three Body Problem Cover of Golden Son Cover of Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu
Golden Son by Pierce Brown
The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women edited by Alex Dally Macfarlane

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on January 23, 2015 Categories: Audiobooks, Books, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, New Arrivals

Fiction: You Could be Home by Now by Tracy Manaster

Cover of You Could Be Home By NowWelcome to The Commons. Located an hour and a half outside of Tucson, Arizona, this luxury retirement community is strict in its rules, especially that no one under the age of 55 is allowed to live there. Chaos is unleashed when it’s discovered a resident is permanently taking care of her young grandson. The events unfold from the eyes of three eclectic narrators all dealing poorly with their own personal tragedies: Seth, a young husband, Ben, an older divorcee, and Lily, a teenaged beauty blogger. Breezy yet insightful, You Could be Home by Now by Tracy Manaster is a wacky tale about letting go and moving on.

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on January 22, 2015 Categories: Books

Book Discussion Questions: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Cover of The Orphan TrainTitle: Orphan Train
Author: Christina Baker Kline
Page Count: 278 pages
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Tone: Thoughtful, Poignant, Sobering

Summary from publisher:
Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse…

As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life – answers that will ultimately free them both.

Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

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

1. Were the orphan trains a good thing? Why or why not? What, if any, better options were available at the time?

2. What did you notice about the style of writing and how this story was put together?

3. Thinking back on the children that were highlighted in the book, Carmine, Dutchy and Niamh, what were the motivations of the families who took in these orphans? How did these differing motivations affect the children’s lives?

4. What similarities or differences are there between the past as shown in the story and our present foster care system?

5. In what ways are Molly and Vivian similar? How are they different?

6. Do you have things that you don’t use or are stored away but you can’t part with? What are those things and why do you keep them?

7. What would a timeline of Vivian’s life look like? Use a white board to diagram this or just do it verbally. What characterizes each segment of her life?

8. What would a timeline of Molly’s life look like? What characterizes each segment of her life?

9. “You can’t find peace till you find all the pieces.” How is this true in Vivian’s life? How is it true in Molly’s life?

10. Molly’s charms on her necklace are mentioned throughout the story. What is their significance? What did Vivian’s Claddagh cross and Molly’s charms mean to them?

11. How has Molly changed Vivian’s life? How has Vivian changed Molly’s life?

12.  Read the prologue aloud to the group. Having read the book and rereading the prologue what does this tell you about Vivian’s view of the people in her past? What does this show about her character?

13. How did you feel about the way the author ended the story? Is Vivian’s happy ending enough?

14. If you were to write additional chapters to the book what would happen to Vivian, to Molly?

15. The American Experience, a PBS show, has a program on the orphan trains. There was also a movie made in 1979 called The Orphan Train. Do you think this book will come to the big screen? Would you want to see it?

Other Resources

Lit Lovers’ Discussion Questions
Video interview with Christina Baker Kline
History of orphan trains from The Children’s Aid Society
Huffington Post interview with Christina Baker Kline

If you liked The Orphan Train, try...

Cover of The Forgotten SeamstressCover of Austerlitz Cover of The Language of Flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Forgotten Seamstress by Liz Trenow
Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on January 21, 2015 Categories: Book Discussion Questions, Books, Historical Fiction