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Fiction: The Immigrant Experience

Picture of Immigrant Experience Display
This week on our displays we are featuring books involving the Immigrant Experience. Displays are located on the second floor by the elevators and toward the start of Adult Fiction. Interested in being matched with a book suited to your taste? Stop by the Fiction/AV/Desk on the second floor to speak with a Readers’ Advisor or email us at readers@mppl.org. Check out some of the books below!

Cover of A Free Life Cover of Hedwig and Berti Cover of Giants in the Earth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Free Life by Ha Jin
Hedwig and Berti by Frieda Arkin
Giants in the Earth by O.C. Rölvaag

Cover of Threads of HopeCover of The Saint of Lost Things Cover of Let it Rain Coffee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Threads of Hope by Andrea Boeshaar
The Saint of Lost Things by Christopher Castellani
Let It Rain Coffee by Angie Cruz

Cover of The Arrival Cover of The Book of Unknown Americans Cover of Desirable Daughters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Arrival by Shaun Tan
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez
Desirable Daughters by Bharati Mukherjee

Cover of Panic in a Suitcase Cover of Americanah Cover of The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Panic in a Suitcase by Yelena Akhtiorskaya
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on April 10, 2015 Categories: Books, Historical Fiction, Lists, Literary

Award Longlist: The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction

Previously known as the Orange Prize, Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction is in its 20th year. This week the annual prize has released its longlist featuring 20 different titles with plans to reveal the shortlist April 13th. The award is dedicated to recognizing literary merit in women from around the world “…whilst also stimulating debate about gender and writing, gender and reading, and how the publishing and reviewing business works.”

Up for a challenge? Try to see if you can read all of the nominees before the announcement of the winner on June 3rd! Below are some of the titles Mount Prospect owns.

Cover of A God in Every StoneCover of The Girl Who Was Saturday Night Cover of The Country of Ice Cream Star

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie
The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O’Neill
The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman

 

Cover of I Am China Cover of Dear Thief Cover of Elizabeth is Missing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Am China by Xiaolu Guo
Dear Thief by Samantha Harvey
Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healy

Cover of The Walk Home Cover of Station Eleven Cover of A Spool of Blue Thread

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Walk Home by Rachel Seiffert
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

Cover of Outline Cover of The Paying Guests Cover of The Bees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outline by Rachel Cusk
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
The Bees by Laline Paull

 

Check out the previous winners!

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on March 13, 2015 Categories: Awards, Books, Historical Fiction, Lists, Literary

Book Discussion Questions: The Round House by Louise Erdrich

Cover of The Round HouseTitle: The Round House
Author: Louise Erdrich
Page Count: 321 pages
Genre: Coming of Age Stories, Literary Fiction
Tone: Reflective, Moving, Bleak

Summary from publisher:
One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface because Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and thirteen-year-old son, Joe. In one day, Joe’s life is irrevocably transformed. He tries to heal his mother, but she will not leave her bed and slips into an abyss of solitude. Increasingly alone, Joe finds himself thrust prematurely into an adult world for which he is ill prepared. While his father, who is a tribal judge, endeavors to wrest justice from a situation that defies his efforts, Joe becomes frustrated with the official investigation and sets out with his trusted friends, Cappy, Zack, and Angus, to get some answers of his own. Their quest takes them first to the Round House, a sacred space and place of worship for the Ojibwe. And this is only the beginning.

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

1. The Round House is a book for which a sentence or two summary cannot fully capture the experience it holds. How would you describe the feel of reading this story?

2. As you read, were you conscious of the fact that it was an older Joe looking back on this summer? Did that impact the narrative for you?

3. This work has been described as a coming-of-age story. In what ways are Joe’s experiences universal? In what ways are they specific? Does this category do justice to the narrative?

4. One of the ways a typical adolescence is explored is through sexual curiosity and preoccupation. Were you at all uncomfortable with these depictions in a story that is incited with a brutal sexual assault? Was this intentional?

5. The Round House deals with some deeply troubling themes and struggles. How was that balanced? Were there elements that lightened the story for you?

6. Describe Joe’s friendship with Cappy. What did he add to the story?

7. Is Joe proud of his heritage? What does this narrative have to say about cultural identity?

8. Much of the complication for Geraldine’s case is the question of jurisdiction. How does the legal relationship between the U.S. and the Ojibwe complicate the investigation?

9. Why didn’t Geraldine simply lie and say she knew where it happened? Do you agree with her reasons?

10. When Joe makes his decision, he says it is about justice, not vengeance. What do you think? How does that decision change him? Does his decision change your perception of him?

11. One reviewer shared, “In Erdrich’s hands, you may find yourself, as I did, embracing the prospect of vigilante justice as regrettable but reasonable, a way to connect to timeless wisdom about human behavior. It wasn’t until I put the book down that I recognized – and marveled at – the clever way I had been manipulated.” Was your experience similar to that of the reviewer? Does this affect your assessment of the book and/or the author?

12. How would you describe Father Travis and his role in the story?

13. Near the end of the story (p.306), Joe’s father talks of “ideal justice as opposed to the best-we-can-do justice”. What did he mean? How is this borne out in the story?

14. What else did Joe’s father want him to understand from that conversation? Did he make his point?

15. What was the importance of the wiindigoo motif?

16. Do you feel you have a good understanding of what Geraldine was like before the incident? How does the author convey this?

17. At one literary festival panel, during a discussion of the general lack of strong marriages in fiction, author Lorrie Moore said she felt the marital life of Joe’s parents was a central part of The Round House. In what ways would you agree or disagree with this statement?

18. What were the most uncomfortable scenes for you? Did these lessen your enjoyment of the book as a whole?

19. What was the significance and the symbolism of the Round House? Why choose this as the title?

20. How would you describe the author’s writing style and storytelling choices?

21. At the conclusion of the novel, when Joe’s parents are driving him home and they don’t stop at the roadside café, Erdrich writes, “we passed over in a sweep of sorrow that would persist into our small forever. We just kept going.” What do you think she meant?

22. The Round House won the National Book Award and was later selected for Book Crossing, a shared reading program between Mount Prospect Public Library and our sister city, Sèvres, France. What elements make this book a good choice for discussion?

 

Other Resources
LitLovers guide
Video of National Book Award honors
NY Times Q&A with Louise Erdrich
Resource guide from Minnesota Book Awards
University of North Carolina questions for reflection
Another perspective: book response

If you liked The Round House, try…

Thirteen Moons Canada Perfect

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier
Canada by Richard Ford
Perfect by Rachel Joyce

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on March 11, 2015 Categories: Book Discussion Questions, Books, Literary

2015 Folio Prize Shortlist

As the first English Language book award to recognize novels written internationally, The Folio Prize is dedicated to celebrating the best of literature. Announced at the beginning of February, the shortlist was narrowed down to eight selections from a longlist of eighty titles. Chair of Judges William Fiennes explained in developing the shortlist, “We were looking for boldness, freshness… books in which the form or structure of the story was perfectly matched to the ideas. You feel reading these eight books that you’re witnessing fiction discovering new possibilities for itself.”

The young prize is only in its sophomore year, and will be announcing the 2015 winner March 23. You can view the full shortlist on The Folio Prize website.

Cover of Family Life Cover of Dust Cover of Dept. of Speculation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Life by Akhil Sharma
Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

Cover of OutlineCover of How to Be Both Cover of 10:04

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outline by Rachel Cusk
How to be Both by Ali Smith
10:04 by Ben Lerner

                    2014 Winner:
Tenth of December by George Saunders

 

Cover of Tenth of December

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on February 27, 2015 Categories: Awards, Books, Lists, Literary

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

Cover of Song of the ShankCover of Family LifeCover of Boy Snow Bird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Book Discussion Questions: Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Cover of Cutting for StoneTitle: Cutting for Stone
Author: Abraham Verghese
Page Count: 688 pages
Genre:  Literary Fiction,  Family Sagas
Tone: Haunting, Moving, Richly Detailed

Summary from publisher:
Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon. Orphaned by their mother’s death and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution.

Moving from Addis Ababa to New York City and back again, Cutting for Stone is an unforgettable story of love and betrayal, medicine and ordinary miracles—and two brothers whose fates are forever intertwined

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

“Writing has many similarities to the practice of internal medicine. Both require astute observation and a fondness for detail.”

“At heart I am a physician. It is my first and only calling. As a physician, things move me, and one way to talk about these things is to write about them. For me writing and medicine are not different parts, it is seamless, the same world view: fiction and healing promote the same cause.
~Abraham Verghese

1. As you reflect on this complex story, which scenes stand out in your memory? Why did those particular moments have such impact?

2. At the end of chapter 31 (379-380), Marion reflects on his home, including this statement: “I felt ecstatic, as if I was at the epicenter of our family…” Does this seem arrogant or appropriate for an adolescent to say? In what ways is Marion the epicenter of the book?

3. In what ways is Shiva something of a mystery to the reader? [Also consider, “’What I do is simple. I repair holes,’ said Shiva Praise Stone. Yes, but you make them, too, Shiva.” (577)]

4. Talk about Marion’s parting from his family when he is forced to leave the country (444).

5. Think about how the character of Genet is portrayed at different points. [e.g., “I wanted out of Africa. I began to think that Genet had done me a favor after all.” (457) and “she found her greatness, at last, found it in her suffering.” (601)] How is she integral to the story? How do you feel about her?

6. For a story that most often takes place in small settings with few people, somehow it has an epic “feel”. How is that?

7. When Ghosh returns from prison (350-351), he and Marion talk about a well-known story about a man who couldn’t rid himself of his slippers.

“The slippers in the story mean that everything you see and do and touch, every seed you sow, or don’t sow, becomes part of your destiny.”

Ghosh then shares about his past and has a lesson for Marion.

“I hope one day you see this as clearly as I did…The key to your happiness is to own your slippers, own who you are, own how you look, own your family, own the talents you have, and own the ones you don’t. If you keep saying your slippers aren’t yours, then you’ll die searching, you’ll die bitter, always feeling you were promised more. Not only our actions, but also our omissions, become our destiny.”

Do you agree? Are these sentiments borne out in the novel? What is the role of fate throughout?

8. In what ways is this book about legacy? About exile? Betrayal? Forgiveness?

9. Marion states that he became a physician not to save the world but to heal himself. Do you think he was healed in the end?

10. What do the female characters in the book reveal about what life is like for women in Ethiopia?

11. Did the medical detail add to the novel or detract from it?

12. The latter portion of the book contains commentary on medical practice in America, especially regarding foreign physicians (e.g., 492). Did this seem significant to you?

13. Did “The Afterbird” offer closure for you? For the characters? How did you react to its revelations?

14. Remember Stone’s favorite question? [What treatment in an emergency is administered by ear? words of comfort] How is this poignant, especially given Stone’s choices and manner?

15. What is the role of sexuality in Cutting for Stone? How would you characterize the scenes that are depicted, especially between Marion and Genet?

16. What romantic relationships are central to the story? How so?

17. Though the book earned excellent reviews, it wasn’t in nearly as much demand as it seems to be now. Why do you think that is? With over 600 pages, it isn’t an easy choice for book groups, but that doesn’t seem to be a concern. Did the length bother you?

18. Few works of fiction include a bibliography or an acknowledgment section which credits many literary allusions included in the story. Does this affect your opinion of the book?

19.Verghese said that his aim in writing Cutting for Stone was “to tell a great story, an old-fashioned, truth-telling story.” He has also said “my ambition was to write a big sweeping novel into which you could disappear, travel away as though in a space-ship, disappear, meet exciting people, and return to find that only a couple of days had passed in real life. That’s what happens to me when I am reading a good book.” In your opinion, did he succeed?

Other Resources

Lit Lovers book discussion questions
One Book One City resources
Video of Abraham Verghese discussing Cutting for Stone
Frequently asked questions answered by Abraham Verghese
Radio interview with Verghese on Ethiopia

If you liked Cutting for Stone, try...

Cover of Desirable DaughtersCover of Beneath the Lion's Gaze Cover of God of Small Things

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Desirable Daughters by Bharati Mukherjee
Beneath the Lion’s Gaze by Maaza Mengiste
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on January 14, 2015 Categories: Book Discussion Questions, Books, Literary

Fiction: Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

Cover of Ethan FromeEdith Wharton, the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, tells the fascinating yet depressing tale of a man with a devastating story in Ethan Frome. An unnamed narrator meets Ethan Frome in New England, describing him as, “[seeming] a part of the mute melancholy landscape, an incarnation of its frozen woe.” Curious by the crippled and depressed man, the narrator digs into Ethan’s past to discover a tragic story of love and duty. The narrator easily falls into Frome’s story, attempting to discern the muddled motivations of flawed characters in impossible circumstances. Tinged with foreboding, Wharton plays with the hopes and dreams of her characters and readers in this accessible classic.

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on December 25, 2014 Categories: Books, Literary

Library Staff Favorites of 2014

With 2015 just around the corner bringing a whole new crop of to-be-read lists to tackle, shows to watch, and music to experience, Staff at Mount Prospect Public Library took time to pause and look at what brought us joy in 2014. Check out staff members’ favorite books, CDs, or DVDs they read, watched and/or listened to in 2014. Feel free to share what is on your list of favorites for the year!

Picture of Amy

Amy
Community Services:
Tell the Wolves I’m Home
The Fall

Picture of Amy

Amy
Youth Services:
Never Say Die
Clink

Cover of Barb B.

Barb
Fiction/AV/Teen:
Enough Said
I Must Say

Barbara
Fiction/AV/Teen:
Orphan Black S. 2
Ready Player One

 

Picture of Carla

Carla
Administration:
The Round House
Omar

Picture of Carmel Shane

Carmel Shane
Circulation:
Once Upon a Time
18 Months

Picture of Carol

Carol
Community Services:
Little Failure
Hotel Florida

Picture of Cathleen

Cathleen
Fiction/AV/Teen
:
Station Eleven
Bron/Broen

Colleen
Fiction/AV/Teen:
Steelheart
The 100

 

 

Picture of Cynthia

Cynthia
Research Services:
Ready Player One
The Returned

Picture of Dale

Dale
Research Services:
Hysterical
Transgender Dysphoria Blues

Picture of Diane

Diane
Fiction/AV/Teen:
Among Others
Guardians of the Galaxy

Picture of Donna

Donna
Fiction/AV/Teen:
Winter Street
Duets II

Picture of Janine

Janine
Circulation:
True Detective
Ready Player One

Picture of Joe

Joe
Research Services:
Lowball
Rick and Morty

Picture of KarenKaren
Registration:
Ancillary Justice
Neptune’s Inferno

Picture of Larry

Larry
Fiction/AV/Teen:
The Martian
Redshirts

 

 

 

Picture of Mary Jane

Mary Jane
Research Services:
Controlled Descent
How Dogs Love Us

Picture of Megan

Megan
South Branch
:
Red Rising
Saga

 

 

 

Picture of Nancy

Nancy
Fiction/AV/Teen:
My Salinger Year
American Hustle

 

 

 

Picture of Nicole

Nicole
Circulation:
The Paying Guests
Life in Motion

Picture of Paula

Paula
Registration:
Rush
Dad is Fat

Picture of Rosemary

Rosemary
Technical Services:

Natchez Burning
How the Light Gets In

Picture of Steven

Steve
Research Services:
Death on the Nile
Cosmos

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on December 19, 2014 Categories: Audiobooks, Books, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Humor, Literary, Movies and TV, Music, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, Nonfiction, Romance, Staff Picks

2014 Goodreads Choice Award Winners

Goodreads is a social media website readers can use to keep track of what they have read or want to read and interact with friends. Every year Goodreads hosts the Goodreads Choice Awards in which readers vote for what they consider the best books in different categories are. This year, there were over 3 million votes cast! Check out some of the winners below.

 

Cover of Landline Cover of The Opposite of Loneliness Cover of We Were Liars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiction: Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Nonfiction: The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan
Young Adult: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Cover of The Martian Cover of Written in My Own Heart's BloodCover of The Book of Life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction: The Martian by Andy Weir
Romance:
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon
Fantasy:
The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

Cover of The Romanov Sisters Cover of This Star Won't Go Out Cover of Red Rising

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

History and Biography: The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport
Memoir and Autobiography: This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Earl
Debut Goodreads Author: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Cover of Yes Please #Girlboss Cover of Make it Ahead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Humor: Yes Please by Amy Poehler
Business: #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso
Food and Cookbooks: Make it Ahead by Ina Garten

 

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on December 5, 2014 Categories: Awards, Books, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Historical Fiction, Horror, Humor, Literary, Romance

Audiobook: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven audiobook coverThe greatest books defy category, and the ambitious Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is a shining example. With equal appeal to fans of post-apocalyptic settings and to readers of complex, thought-provoking novels, this National Book Award finalist is a sure bet for multiple Best of 2014 lists. The on-stage death of a celebrity actor portraying King Lear is the harbinger of a global pandemic that destroys life as we know it. The action seamlessly moves between the old and new worlds, and Kirsten Potter’s discerning narration allows the slow revelation of unexpected connections to take the spotlight. Is survival sufficient in a world wiped out by disease, or is there hope for more? When all the world’s a stage, we just may find out.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on December 1, 2014 Categories: Audiobooks, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Literary