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Fiction: Inspired by Reality TV

For ideal summer viewing, you can’t top the curiously addictive appeal of reality television. It can also make for deliciously sudsy storytelling — just ask anyone currently tuning in to UnREAL, a new series that exposes the dark, twisty manipulations from both sides of the camera on a Bachelor-style dating program. This sparked our thinking: what other fiction is built on different types of competition shows?

 

Like this?
Cover of American Idol
Try this! Cover of Elimination Night

 

 

Elimination Night (provocatively attributed to “Anonymous”) shines a comic spotlight on star-making shows like American Idol, and half the fun is drawing direct lines to real-life counterparts! Sasha King is a new producer who is forced to juggle the demands of celebrity judges, unstable contestants, and divas of all stripes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like this? Cover of The Amazing Race
Try this!Cover of Lost and Found

 

 

For globe-trotting adventure mixed with a grand-scale scavenger hunt, join the teams of Lost and Found by Carolyn Parkhurst. Told from the point of view of multiple contestants, the fast-paced action and dramatic antics will have you racing to the finish line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like this?
Cover of Trading Spaces
Try this!
Cover of Room for Improvement

Double your reality-TV pleasure with Stacey Ballis’s Room for Improvement and see what happens when you work the DIY angle along with the search for romance. Chicago interior designer Lily Allen is thrilled to work on Swap/Meet, a home makeover show that matches singles looking for both a room re-do and new love potential, but she isn’t immune to the drama in this fun, frothy, and sexy send-up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like this?
Cover of Deadliest Catch
Try this!
Cover of Primal Waters

 

 

If high-stakes action is more your speed, dive into Primal Waters by Steve Alten. A renown adventurer is invited to join Daredevils, a televised survival series which may be grossly underestimating the dangers the players will have to face. Read for the suspense, the adrenaline, and did we mention shark attacks?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like this?
Cover of 1900 house
Try this!
Cover f The Corset Diaries

 

 

Those who romanticize the past may wish they could join the cast of A Month in the Life of a Victorian Duke, a show in which contemporary folk attempt to live for weeks on an authentically retro estate. Giving up modern conveniences may almost be worth the prize, especially if you are cast opposite a dashing Englishman. In The Corset Diaries by Kate MacAlister, the costumes aren’t the only thing that make it hard to breathe!

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on July 23, 2015 Categories: Books, Humor, Lists, Movies and TV, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, Romance

Staff Pick: Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver

Picture of MartaCrisp characters, witty dialogue, engaging mystery, and an excellent love triangle create a strong debut in Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver. When Amory Ames travels to a seaside resort in order to help an old beau, she never intended to reignite her husband’s interest, much less get involved in a murder investigation.

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on June 9, 2015 Categories: Books, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, Picks by Marta, Staff Picks

We Asked Staff: What Do You Hope to Read This Summer?

Summer is growing closer! To some this means filling these warm sunny days up with activity after activity, while for others this means pausing all non-imminent responsibilities and relaxing. Regardless of how you choose to set the tempo of your days, we hope you make time for reading!

In honor of Read to the Rhythm, our Summer Reading Program running June 1-July 31, we asked Mount Prospect Library Staff what their reading hopes and dreams are for the summer. We’re planning on sharing the reading experiences of other Mount Prospect readers as well, so make sure you stop back here to see what your fellow community members are reading or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Anne S.
Research Services
Cover of Dead Wake
Dead Wake by Erik Larson—I hope I get to it, because I’m on the waiting list!

Nancy
Fiction/AV/Teen
Cover of The Secret History
I recently enjoyed Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, so this summer I am finally going to read The Secret History

Mary Jane
Research Services
Cover of Bad Monkey
I want to listen to the audio of Carl Hiaasen’s Bad Monkey on my husband’s and my driving trip to Alaska. It’s a new author for both of us so it will be fun to explore together.

Mary Jane
Research ServicesCover of The Lighthouse
I want to listen to P.D. James on our trip because I love a good mystery!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carol
Community Services
Cover of West of Sunset
The first book on my summer list is Stewart O’Nan’s West of Sunset, a fictionalization of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s time in Hollywood. I love reading about the 1920s and 1930s.

Carol
Community ServicesCover of Casual Vacancy
I might try J.K. Rowling’s Casual Vacancy. The plot looks interesting.

Carol
Community ServicesCover of Alexandria Quartet
I’d really like to finally finish Lawrence Durell’s Alexandria Quartet. It is four short novels in one large book, so I have been taking my time with it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Donna
Fiction/AV/Teen
Cover of The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House
This summer I hope to read Kate Andersen Brower’s non-fiction book, The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House. The title is what peaked my interest

Elaine
Collection ManagementCover of On the Move
I am planning to read On the Move: A Life by Oliver Sacks because I think the author must be as fascinating as the stories he has written!

Diane
Fiction/AV/TeenCover of Uprooted
Uprooted by Naomi Novik! According to the many, many rave reviews on amazon.com, it looks like it will be a fantasy classic.

Mary
Youth ServicesCover of The Rosie Project
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. I’ve been meaning to read this forever!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Janine
Circulation
Cover of Where'd You Go, Bernadette
I’m going to re-read Where’d You Go, Bernadette on audiobook. I loved the book the first time around, and have heard amazing things about the audiobook.

Janine
Circulation
Cover of The Sound and the Fury
I’m going to try to read The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. I’ve been too scared to attempt it in the past, but this summer I’ll rope my cousin in and we’ll get through it!

Janine
Circulation
Cover of The Sky is Everywhere
I want to read The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, because I LOVED I’ll Give You the Sun and want to read more by her!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joyce
Fiction/AV/Teen
Cover of The Girl on the Train
I hope to listen to The Girl on the Train in audiobook because I love psychological thrillers.

Joyce
Fiction/AV/Teen
Cover of The Husband's Secret
I hope to listen to The Husband’s Secret in audiobook because I haven’t read Liane Moriarty previously.

John
IT Services
Cover of Wheel of Time series
I’ve been meaning to read the Wheel of Time series because my friend has been bugging me to for years. It’s a fantasy series similar to LotR but written more casually like ASoIaF (without a lot of the backstabbing and scheming).

John
IT Services
Cover of The Martian
I like science fiction and The Martian has accrued so much hype I figure at this point it’s essentially a must-read.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cathleen
Fiction/AV/Teen
Cover of Wolf Hall
I’m overdue for meaty historical fiction, and this will be the season I finally lose myself in the world of Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.

Cathleen
Fiction/AV/Teen
Cover of Armada
For pure fun, imagination, action, and heart, Armada, Ernest Cline’s follow-up to Ready Player One, is at the top of my list.

Cathleen
Fiction/AV/Teen
Cover of X
As much as I adore Sue Grafton’s character of Kinsey Millhone, she is most vivid when voiced by Judy Kaye. Can’t wait for X!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary
Technical Services
Cover of The Girl Next DoorI will be reading one of the last books by my favorite author, Ruth Rendell: The Girl Next Door.

Kathi
Registration
Cover of Pirate HuntersThis summer I plan to read Pirate Hunters by Robert Kurson. His first two books (Crashing Through and Shadow Divers) were awesome; I met him and he’s a great guy!

Rebeca
Collection Management
Cover of The Night Manager The Night Manager is a must read for me as it’s soon to be a miniseries starring Tom Hiddleston.

Joe
Research Services
Cover of The CircleI’m going to try and read The Circle by Dave Eggers, because my boss has been recommending it for months!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Linda
IT Services
Cover of The Thirteenth Tale
I am intrigued by reviews praising the atmospheric, historic thriller The Thirteenth Tale for “lovers of books about book lovers” about a famous, reclusive author known for fictionalizing her biography but who claims she will reveal her true family story now that she is dying.

Linda
IT Services
Cover of Sapiens
Earning great reviews as thoughtful, readable non-fiction, Sapiens explores how homo sapiens became the sole surviving human species and came to dominate all life on the planet and the consequences.

Linda
IT Services
Cover of The Silkworm
Having read Rowling/Galbraith’s first book in her new adult series, The Cuckoo’s Calling, I expect to also enjoy this second one, The Silkworm, as anyone who’s read Harry Potter knows her masterful writing skills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carla
Administration
Cover of Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo
The American Institute of CPAs recommended Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo by Nicholas Carlson.

Carla
Administration
Cover of Good Leaders Ask Great Questions
Good Leaders Ask Great Questions by John Maxwell was also recommended by the American Institute of CPAs

Jenny
Fiction/AV/Teen
Cover of Half a King
I’m drawn to long epic fantasies during the summer, and have heard fantastic things about Joe Abercrombie’s Half a King.

Jenny
Fiction/AV/Teen
Cover of The First Bad Man
Miranda July has a knack for striking the perfect balance of offbeat hilarity and gut wrenching truths, which I’m hoping translates into The First Bad Man!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jo
Research Services
Cover of Foxcatcher
I’ve been meaning to read Foxcatcher by Mark Schultz ever since I saw the movie. The movie was so bizarre – I just want to find out more about the characters and the situation.

Jo
Research Services
Cover of The Rosie Effect
I’m looking forward to listening to The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion. I just finished The Rosie Project and it actually made me laugh out loud! Perfect for a long road trip!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interested in joining in on the reading fun? You can register for the Adult Summer Reading Program online or at the Fiction/AV/Teen Desk on the second floor, starting Monday, June 1st.

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on May 29, 2015 Categories: Audiobooks, Books, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Literary, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, Nonfiction, Romance, Staff Picks

Discussion Questions: The Ritual Bath by Faye Kellerman

Cover of The Ritual BathTitle: The Ritual Bath
Author: Faye Kellerman
Page Count: 374 pages
Genre:  Mystery
Tone: Atmospheric, Suspenseful

Summary:
Detective Peter Decker is stunned when he learns one of the women in a remote yeshiva community in the California hills was brutally raped as she returned from the mikvah, the bathhouse where the cleansing ritual is performed and Rina Lazarus is also the only one in the sheltered community willing to speak of this unspeakable violation. As Rina tries to steer Decker through the maze of religious laws the two grow closer. Before they get to the bottom of this horrendous crime, revelations come to light that are so shocking that they threaten to come between the hard-nosed cop and the deeply religious woman with whom he has become irrevocably linked.

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

1. Did the author do a good job describing the yeshiva and the mikvah? Did you learn something about the Orthodox Jewish faith that you didn’t know before?

2. What was it about Rina Lazarus that Detective Decker was attracted to? What did you think of him when he fantasized about her being out of yeshiva context?

3. Did the author do a good job of describing the feelings of attraction that both Rina and Detective Decker had toward each other?

4. How did Rina try to discourage Detective Decker from being involved with her? Were there any ways she encouraged him?

5. Were you surprised at how open Rina was with Decker about her religion and why it wouldn’t be a good idea for them to go out with each other?

6. How do Rina and Detective Decker’s decisions affect their own lives and the lives of other characters in the book?

7. Was it believable that Decker’s biological parents were Jewish? Or does it seem too contrived?

8. Did you suspect that Moshe was the rapist/murderer? Were the Jewish people in the Yeshiva blinded by their faith while searching for clues/suspects?

9. Did the author do a good job of planting clues and developing the suspects?

10. Did you guess who the rapist was? Was the rapist a surprise?

11. Was it necessary to have Mrs. Marley, the security guard, murdered?

12. What was the author trying to accomplish with this mystery novel? (Begin a series? Provide entertainment? Send a message?)

13. Is the novel believable?

14. This is classified as a mystery novel. Do you think the mystery was the main point of the novel, or was it the relationship between Rina and Detective Decker?

15. What was the books greatest strength or most serious flaw?

16. How has the author set the book up to continue the series? Have any of you read further in the series? Do you plan on reading other books in this series?

Other Resources

What is a ritual bath?
Article: Reclaiming and re-imagining the ritual bath in 2015
Book discussion resources
Detective Decker and Rina Lazarus series order

If you liked The Ritual Bath, try

Cover of In the Bleak Midwinter Cover of Friday the Rabbi Slept Late Cover of When the Bough Breaks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming
Friday the Rabbi Slept Late by Harry Kemelman
When the Bough Breaks by Jonathan Kellerman

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on May 20, 2015 Categories: Book Discussion Questions, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense

Nonfiction: Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America by Jill Leovy

Ghettoside book coverDetective John Skaggs could be the intrepid hero cop of your favorite mystery novel. He has an imposing physical presence, he is an extreme perfectionist working within an ailing system, and he is equally compassionate and relentless. Murder may be his beat, but he believes in investigating every homicide, no matter the victim, as if it were the biggest media event of the year. In Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America, Jill Leovy reports one tragic case in gripping true-crime style and exposes the larger sociological issues we as a nation have allowed to take root. Few nonfiction crime books tell the story equally well from both sides of the crime tape. This one does, and it doesn’t stop there.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on May 18, 2015 Categories: Books, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, Nonfiction

Staff Pick: The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera

Cover of The Awakening of Miss PrimMarta of Fiction/AV/Teen services suggests The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera.

Step with Miss Prim into the village of San Ireneo de Arnois and enjoy the stores filled with luscious chocolates, beautiful flowers and well-chosen books.   Meet the intelligent children who have been carefully educated by their parents in the classics of literature and art. But, if you are not looking to be married, beware the San Ireneo Feminist League, who might place husband finding on the agenda.

Imagine Prudencia Prim’s horrified surprise when she finds herself subject to this scrutiny. And yet… as she searches her heart she finds that love is growing for her employer: the inscrutable Man in the Wing Chair.

Fans of Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy will relish a romance based on moral ideals, attraction and longing. Readers who love a well described sense of place will want to visit San Ireneo and never leave.

For more charming international cozies try

 

Cover of Hector and the Search for Happiness
Hector and the Search for Happiness
by Francois LeLord

The French author tells a charming yet meaning laden tale of a burned out psychiatrist who leaves his job and travels the world trying to discover what makes people happy or unhappy.

Cover of The House at the End of Hope Street
The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna Van Praag
11 Hope Street is literally a life changing location. Alba has recently suffered disappointment and is offered 99 days to stay in this unusual home. Will its magic work for her?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover of Hotel Pastis
Hotel Pastis
by Peter Mayle
Simon Shaw ditches his career as an advertising executive and escapes to the south of France. Pleasures and obstacles are equally great in this ode to provincial life and the desire to begin again.


The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
by Andrew McCall Smith
More than a mystery, the first book in this popular series draws readers into small village life in Botswana and into the wise, contented mind of Mma Ramatswa.

Cover of Jana Bibi’s Excellent Fortunes
Jana Bibi’s Excellent Fortunes
by Betsy Woodman
Far from her native Scotland, Janet Laird moves to a small home in India. When the proposed building of a new dam threatens to wipe out the village, Janet comes up with a plan to save this new home that she loves.

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on May 14, 2015 Categories: Books, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, Picks by Marta, Staff Picks

Fiction: Hiding the Past by Nathan Dylan Goodwin

Hiding the Past book coverGenealogists are, by definition, detectives. They start with one or more clues, apply patience and a great deal of detail work, and follow the threads wherever they lead, hoping for a satisfying conclusion. Nathan Dylan Goodwin’s Hiding the Past plays those similarities to great effect by creating an original genealogical mystery novel. A British man with no family history calls on expert Morton Farrier to trace his roots but is dead by apparent suicide the day after they meet. As Farrier doggedly investigates, others are determined to keep past events from seeing the light of the present, including a possible WWII conspiracy. However, even mounting danger won’t keep a dedicated researcher from his answers, and his adventures are worth scaling this particular family tree.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on April 20, 2015 Categories: Books, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense

Fiction: The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith

Cover of The Sunday Philosophy ClubAfter witnessing a young man fall to his death at a symphony and with a tendency toward nosiness, Isabel accidentally ends up in the middle of a mystery in the first of Alexander McCall Smith’s Isabel Dalhousie series. Between editing philosophy articles, advising her niece on her love life, and attending art shows Isabel happens upon information leading her to believe the fall may not have been an accident. Although Isabel is a relaxed detective, focusing often on the engaging characters in her life and questions of morality, she is still determined to find the truth no matter what it takes. The Sunday Philosophy Club is just the beginning of a series sprinkled with humor and life’s bigger questions.

 

 

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on April 9, 2015 Categories: Books, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense

New Arrivals: Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense

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: Mystery Books

Cover of Whiskers of the Lion Cover of Lethal Beauty Cover of Tattered Legacy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whiskers of the Lion by P.L. Gaus
Lethal Beauty by Lis Wiehl
Tattered Legacy by Shannon Baker

Cover of AsylumCover of Stiff Penalty Cover of Blue Avenue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asylum by Jeannette De Beauvoir
Stiff Penalty by Annelise Ryan
Blue Avenue by Michael Wiley

New: Thrillers and Suspense

Cover of The Patriot Threat Cover of The Pocket Wife Cover of Lacy Eye

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Patriot Threat by Steve Berry
The Pocket Wife by Susan Crawford
Lacy Eye by Jessica Treadway

Cover of The Devil's Detective Cover of As Good as Dead Cover of Werewolf Cop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Devil’s Detective by Simon Kurt Unsworth
As Good As Dead by Elizabeth Evans
Werewolf Cop by Andrew Klavan

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on April 3, 2015 Categories: Books, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, New Arrivals

Fiction: Murder with Fried Chicken and Waffles by A.L. Herbert

Cover of Murder with Fried Chicken and WafflesA.L. Herbert has packed Murder with Fried Chicken and Waffles with comfort food and the entertaining antics of Halia Watkins and her family. Along with running her restaurant Mahalia’s Sweet Tea, Halia looks out for her boisterous cousin Wavonne and grudgingly answers to the whims of Marcus, the primary investor of the restaurant and a schemer doused in cologne. Halia’s plate is filled even fuller when she finds a dead body in her kitchen and moves the body into the alley to “fix” the situation. As a result, Wavonne is named a primary suspect and it’s up to Halia to clear her cousin’s name, all the while running a restaurant with the most delicious corn bread in town.

By Jenny, Readers' Advisor on March 19, 2015 Categories: Books, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense