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Staff Pick: Vivian Maier

Cynthia staff picks photoVivian Maier was an area nanny whose ubiquitous camera captured life in Chicago in the mid-century. Her rich, evocative work remained unnoticed until 2007 when thousands of negatives were purchased at a storage unit auction. Curiosity in the woman and appreciation for her work have since skyrocketed. Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows offers a glimpse at her talent, and the new DVD Finding Vivian Maier attempts to shed light on the artist.

By Readers' Advisor on July 29, 2014 Categories: Books, Movies and TV, Nonfiction, Picks by Cynthia, Staff Picks

Nonfiction: Little Demon in the City of Light by Steven Levingston

Little Demon in the City of Light book coverIf you were fascinated by The Devil in the White City, allow us to suggest a new true crime book that spotlights a gruesome reality during a celebrated time in history:  Steven Levingston’s  Little Demon in the City of Light: A True Story of Murder and Mesmerism in Belle Époque Paris. The “Little Demon” in question is 20-year-old Gabrielle Bompard, who lured a wealthy Parisian to her rooms where he was then strangled by her lover. When all was exposed, Gabrielle’s defense was that she had been under a hypnotist’s suggestion and so couldn’t be held responsible for her actions. The resulting scientific and legal debates became a story in themselves. History, science, justice, passion — take your pick! You’ll find it in this meticulously researched but surprisingly easy-to-read true tale.

By Readers' Advisor on July 21, 2014 Categories: Books, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, Nonfiction

Audiobooks: Audie Award Winners

Listen up! This year’s winners of the Audie Awards have been announced, celebrating the best audiobooks to bring giggles, sighs, knowledge, and excitement. Treat yourself to one of the top titles pictured below, and make the most of the fun by adding it to your Summer Reading Program log.

Still Foolin Em audiobook coverElephant Whisperer audiobook cover    Goldfinch audiobook cover

Audiobook of the Year: Still Foolin’ ‘Em, written and read by Billy Crystal
** also winner for Humor and for Narration by the Author
Biography/Memoir: The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony, read by Simon Vance
Literary Fiction: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, read by David Pittu
** also winner for Solo Narration (Male)


David and GoliathDoctor Sleep audiobook coverUnleashed audiobook cover


Nonfiction:
David and Goliath, written and read by Malcolm Gladwell
Fiction: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King, read by Will Patton
Mystery: Unleashed  by David Rosenfelt, read by Grover Gardner

Captain Vorpatrils Alliance audiobook coverLongest Ride audiobook coverThe Hit audiobook cover

Science Fiction: Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold, read by Grover Gardner
Romance: The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks, read by Ron McLarty and January LaVoy
Thriller/Suspense: The Hit by David Baldacci, read by Ron McLarty with Orlagh Cassidy

Storm King audiobook coverHooray Anna Hibiscus

Distinguished Achievement in Production: The Storm King, written and read by Pete Seeger; presented by Jeff Haynes
Children’s:
Hooray for Anna Hibiscus! by Atinuke, read by Mutiyat Ade-Salu

By Readers' Advisor on July 11, 2014 Categories: Audiobooks, Awards, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Humor, Literary, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, Nonfiction

Nonfiction: The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha

Book of Awesome book coverWhen times are tough, it can be easy to wish for a little more awesome in our lives, but perhaps the awesome is already there, and we just need to take notice! Celebrate finding the amazing in the ordinary in The Book of Awesome: Snow Days, Bakery Air, Finding Money in Your Pocket, and Other Simple, Brilliant Things by Neil Pasricha, founder of the website 1000 Awesome Things. With bright spots ranging from “eating the French fries at the bottom of the bag” and “the smell of rain on a hot sidewalk” to “the sound of ice cubes cracking in a drink” or “when you hear someone’s smile over the phone,” you can’t help but feel your spirits lift. Open your eyes to simple pleasures and a happier outlook.

By Readers' Advisor on July 10, 2014 Categories: Books, Humor, Nonfiction

New: Fiction and Nonfiction

Every Friday the Library will bring you two 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: Fiction Books

Wonderland book cover Kicking the Sky book coverThe Pink Suit book cover

     -  Wonderland by Stacey D’Erasmo

     -  Kicking the Sky by Anthony De Sa

     -  The Pink Suit by Nicole Mary Kelby

     -  The Memory Garden by Mary Rickert

     -  Where the Earth Meets the Water by Pia Padukone

     -  I Pity the Poor Immigrant by Zachary Lazar

     -  All That Is Solid Melts into Air by Darragh McKeon

     -  The Bend of the World by Jacob Bacharach

New: Nonfiction Books

Cubed book coverLife Is a Wheel book cover A Sliver of Light book cover

     Cubed by Nikil Saval

     -  Life is a Wheel by Bruce Webber

     -  A Sliver of Light by Shane Bauer

     -  The Burning Shore by Ed Offley

     -  The Hiltons by Randy J. Taraborrelli

     -  Grandma Gatewood’s Walk by Ben Montgomery

     -  Cathedral of the Wild by Boyd Varty

     -  The Mad Sculptor by Harold Schechter

By MPPL on June 27, 2014 Categories: Books, New Arrivals, Nonfiction

Nonfiction: My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf

My Friend Dahmer book coverComic book artist Derf Backderf keeps eerily close to home in his exploration of the adolescence of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, his former high school classmate. This graphic novel is stark in its imagery, full of dread and foreboding. As the young Dahmer spirals further and further into depravity, the adults in his life, parents and educators alike, seem not to notice, too absorbed in their own troubles to notice the wolf at the door. While My Friend Dahmer is certainly a frightening read, it’s never gory, and it manages to show, without being sensationalistic, the making of a monster.

By MPPL on June 26, 2014 Categories: Books, Nonfiction

Book Discussion Questions: 1776 by David McCullough

1776 book cover

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

 

Title: 1776
Author: David McCullough
Page Count: 386
Genre: Narrative nonfiction, History
Tone: Upbeat, Nostalgic

 

1.  Could King George III have done anything differently in 1776 to avoid war, or was it inevitable at that point?

2.  Did he underestimate the Americans? How so?

3.  What did you learn about George Washington from this book that surprised you? How much of what we know about Washington is a myth?

4.  How important was Washington’s role in American independence?

5.  How did Washington try to overcome his failings? Was he successful?

6.  Why did—and perhaps still do—people respond so positively to him?

7.  How has the reputation of Commander-in-Chief affected wars in our country since Washington’s time?

8.  Was Congress right in not having Washington attack Boston? Why do you think Washington wanted to attack, especially when nobody else thought it was a good idea?

9.  Washington was very concerned about his appearance. McCullogh writes: “And as with everything connected to that role—his uniform, the house, his horses and equipage, the military dress and the bearing of his staff—appearances were of great importance: a leader must look and act the part” (p. 42). How much of Washington’s ideas about appearance and presentation do you suppose was influenced by his living under a monarchy?

10.  What do you think about Washington later deciding to wear civilian (rather than military) clothes when acting as president? Does this reveal anything about his character, his beliefs, etc.? And how much do you think that decision influenced the American people’s view of the Office of the President?

11.  Washington was originally referred to as “His Excellency.” Do you think Americans today want their president to have an air of grandeur, or do they desire a more approachable “commoner” president? What are the pros and cons of both?

12.  What were some of the biggest differences between the warring armies, and how did they affect the battles?

13.  What about the American army surprised you? Were there any ways in which the inexperience of the American troops and their leaders were helpful to the cause?

14.  In what ways did the technology of the time cause problems for the patriots that could have been avoided with today’s technology?

15.  What formalities of war existed during Revolutionary times, and how does this differ from how wars are waged today?

16.  What wins a war? Number of troops? Talent? Leadership?

17.  Is it necessary for the enlisted to truly believe in the cause in order to win the war?

18.  Are there any parallels to be drawn between the American Revolution and our current military conflicts?

19.  Is it important for Americans to know the history of the Revolution? Why or why not?

20.  How do you think modern English citizens would feel about this book and its portrayal of their history?

21.  McCullough wrote this history as narrative nonfiction. Was he successful? Were you more interested or engaged reading this than you would have been with a more academic take on the subject?

22.  The author chose to focus on a single year: 1776. Was this adequate to tell a compelling and clear story? Do you feel like there are things you still want to know, background information you wish you’d had?

23.  After reading this, do you find it miraculous America gained its independence?

24. Do you think you would have joined the American cause or stayed loyal to England?

 

Other Resources
Radio interview: Author discusses researching and writing 1776
The Declaration of Independence at the Library of Congress
Images from the American Revolution
George Washington biography

 

If you liked 1776, try…
American Gospel by Jon Meacham
Hallowed Ground by James McPherson
Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

American Gospel book cover    Hallowed Ground book coverTeam of Rivals book cover

 

 

 

 

 

By MPPL on June 25, 2014 Categories: Book Discussion Questions, Books, Nonfiction

Staff Pick: Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1798-1815 by Gordon S. Wood

Larry staff picks photoA readable, fascinating history of the early United States, Empire of Liberty describes political and social philosophies of the time and their effect on American society and events. Without directly saying so, the book makes it evident that the roots of current American thought can be traced back to that time, with often striking parallels.

By MPPL on June 24, 2014 Categories: Books, Nonfiction, Picks by Larry, Staff Picks

Staff Pick: The Midwife by Jennifer Worth

Barb B.Worth’s The Midwife tells the fascinating story of her life as a midwife in 1950’s London. Set in the East End, where she worked with nuns from St. Raymond Nonnatus, Worth chronicles the rigorous drama and inspiring magic of birth. It’s a captivating memoir. After reading, watch the excellent television series it inspired.

By MPPL on June 10, 2014 Categories: Movies and TV, Nonfiction, Picks by Barb B., Staff Picks

New Arrivals: Fiction and Nonfiction

Every Friday the Library will bring you two 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: Fiction Books

The Hollow Ground book cover The Possibilities book coverDebbie Doesn't Do It Anymore book cover

     -  The Hollow Ground by Natalie S. Harnett

     -  The Possibilities by Kaui Hart Hemmings

     -  Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore by Walter Mosley

     -  Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

     -  Terms & Conditions by Robert Glancy

     -  Heart of Gold by Beverly Jenkins

     -  To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

     -  The Garden of Burning Sand by Corban Addison

New: Nonfiction Books

Burqas, Baseball, and Apple Pie book coverCreativity, Inc. book cover Little Demon in the City of Light book cover

     Burqas, Baseball, and Apple Pie by Ranya Tabari Idliby

     - Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull

     -  Little Demon in the City of Light by Steven Levingston

     -  Cattitudes by Victoria Roberts

     -  Young Widower by John W. Evans

     -  The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

     -  Allergic Girl by Sloane Miller

     -  Extra Virgin: Recipes & Love from Our Tuscan Kitchen by Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar

By MPPL on May 30, 2014 Categories: Books, New Arrivals, Nonfiction