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Fiction and Nonfiction: Awards Spotlight

Every Friday the Library will bring you short lists of buzz-worthy books in a rotating series of popular genres.  This week we invite you to check out a winner!

Are you drawn to the adventure and panorama of the West?  Try one or more of the Spur Awards honorees:

Light of the World book cover

Crossing Purgatory book cover

Spider Woman's Daughter book cover

Best Western Contemporary NovelLight of the World by James Lee Burke

Best Western Traditional NovelCrossing Purgatory by Gary Schanbacher

Best First NovelSpider Woman’s Daughter by Anne Hillerman

 

Have a taste for distinguished American writing?  Read a newly minted Pulitzer Prize winner:

Goldfinch book cover

Toms River book cover

Margaret Fuller book cover

FictionThe Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

General NonfictionToms River: A Story of Science and Salvation by Dan Fagin

Biography or AutobiographyMargaret Fuller: A New American Life by Megan Marshall

 

Which titles have the respect of their peers?  The Los Angeles Times Book Awards are chosen by working writers to celebrate how reading is an essential way of connecting with and understanding the world in which we live:

Tale for the Time Being book cover

Cuckoo's Calling book cover

We Need New Names book cover

FictionA Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

Mystery/ThrillerThe Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

Art Seidenbaum Award for First FictionWe Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo

 

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.

By Readers' Advisor on April 18, 2014 Categories: Awards, Books, Lists, Literary, Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, Nonfiction

Nonfiction: Gluten-free Breakfast, Brunch, and Beyond by Linda J. Amendt

Gluten Free Breakfast, Brunch and Beyond book coverLiving a gluten-free lifestyle does not mean that you have to forgo the loveliness of waffles, pancakes, and other scrumptious breakfast stuff. In Gluten-free Breakfast, Brunch, and Beyond Linda J. Amendt showcases short, simple-to-follow recipes with full-color photography. In addition to recipes, Amendt gives tips and lists on what everyday ingredients can have hidden gluten. Your mouth will water over the cinnamon pecan bread, cranberry orange scones, and sour cream coffeecake. With 100 recipes that range from kid-friendly French toast to savory stratas, Gluten-free Breakfast, Brunch, and Beyond will be a hit with everyone in your home.

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

Book Discussion Questions: My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor

My Stroke of Insight book cover

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

 

Title: My Stroke of Insight
Author: Jill Bolte Taylor
Page Count: 183
Genre: Medical Memoir
Tone: Fast-paced, popular science

 

1. Why did the Jill Bolte Taylor want to write My Stroke of Insight? What response do you think Taylor wants out of her readers?

2. Who can benefit from reading this memoir (or other medical memoirs)? Do you think medical memoirs are important, why or why not?

3. What are other must-read medical memoirs?

4. What was the most surprising thing you learned about having a stroke in My Stroke of Insight?

5. Do strokes only affect the elderly? How old was Taylor when she had her stroke?

6. What made Taylor want to go into brain science? How did she continue her brain science career after her stroke?

7. What did you think of the pace of this book? Was it a fast read for you?

8. Were there any chapters you would cut? Was there anything about Taylor’s stroke or recovery you wanted to hear more on?

9. Have any of you seen Jill BolteTaylor’s Ted Talk? How was hearing her story live a different experience than reading it?

10. What are the warning signs of having a stroke? (p. 26)

11. When and how did Taylor realize she was having a stroke? (p. 37) How big did her blood clot end up being? (p. 35)

12. At one point, Taylor talks about her thinking process like this:

“…I visualize myself sitting in the middle of my brain, which is completely lined with filing cabinets. When I am looking for a thought or an idea or a memory, I scan the cabinets and identify the correct drawer. Once I find the appropriate file, I then have access to all of the information in that file.”  (p. 48)

Do you have a similar thought process? How does your thought process differ from Taylor’s?

13. Taylor sometimes refers to thoughts as “brain chatter”. How do you calm your mind when your brain chatter is going in overdrive? Has My Stroke of Insight given you any techniques to quiet brain chatter?

14. How long did it take Taylor to call for help, once she realized that she was in physical harm? Why did it take her so long to call for help? Who does she end up calling?

15. When Steve and Taylor arrived at Mount Auburn Hospital, staff put Taylor in a wheelchair and then put her in the waiting room. Were you surprised by this? Did Taylor have to wait long, why or why not?

16. Taylor says, “Despite the overwhelming presence of the engulfing bliss of my right mind, I fought desperately to hold on to whatever conscious connections I still retained in my left mind.” It is a striking realization, that something that feels beautiful and light could be so harmful. Were there any other passages in this book that felt powerful to you?

17. What does the right brain mainly control? What does the left brain mainly control? How are they different?

18. How many years did it take for Taylor to recover from her stroke? (8 years – p. 35)

19. Who helps Jill Bolte Taylor recover from her stroke? Does this person live-in with her? How would Taylor’s outcome been different if she did not have a support system?

20. What other lucky breaks did Taylor have in her recovery? (Rose Hulman Institute of Technology hired her to teach anatomy in her 2nd year of recovery, p. 126)

21. What are a few of the 40 things Jill Bolte Taylor said she needed most when she was recovering from her stroke? (Appendix B)

22. Taylor said, “…I learned that I had the power to choose whether to hook into a feeling and prolong its presence in my body, or just let it quickly flow right out of me.” (p. 120)  and then goes on to explain that it takes 90 seconds for a feeling to physically run through your body, causing a negative or positive response. If it takes only 90 seconds for a first wave of anger to exit the body, why do so many people stay angry for years?

23. Does Jill Bolte Taylor see herself as completely recovered? (p. 131)

24. Have you ever felt a deep inner peace like Taylor talked about? What helps you get to that mindspace?

25. Did Jill Bolte Taylor have a typical stroke experience? Does a typical stroke exist? Do you think this book will help stroke victims and their friends/families?

26. Are you an organ donor? Would you consider donating your brain?

 

Other Resources

My Stroke of Insight website
Jill Bolte Taylor’s TedTalk
Oprah interview
RealitySandwich interview
Jill Bolte Taylor’s list of 40 Things Need for her Recovery

 

If you liked My Stroke of Insight, try…

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge
Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly book cover     The Brain That Changes Itself book coverLeft Neglected book cover

By Readers' Advisor on April 9, 2014 Categories: Book Discussion Questions, Books, Nonfiction

Staff Pick: The De-Textbook: The Stuff You Didn’t Know About the Stuff You Thought You Knew

De-Textbook book coverSteve from Research Services recommends The De-Textbook: The Stuff You Didn’t Know About the Stuff You Thought You Knew by Cracked.com:

The De-Textbook is full of lists that will blow your mind. You’ll find out how little you know about real ninjas, Puritans, Thomas Jefferson, why you lay awake at night, and velociraptors. One interesting fact is that the symbol of the modern anarchist movement is Guy Fawkes, a supervillain who wanted to blow up the English king and Parliament. You’ve seen his pointed moustache on a thousand protest masks. In actuality this man was no anarchist. Guy Fawkes wanted to install a much more conservative government ruled by the Pope. He’s been misappropriated by a movement that doesn’t understand what he wanted. But then, most everything any of us think we know about most anything is probably wrong, and this book will astound you out of ignorance.

By Readers' Advisor on April 7, 2014 Categories: All Staff Picks, Books, Humor, Nonfiction

Staff Pick: My Pinterest

Joyce Staff Picks photoLooking for ideas on deck designs, weddings, or gluten-free cookies? Pinterest is your friend! It is a visually-oriented social network used to collect and share ideas for your projects or interests. Check out Michael Miller’s book My Pinterest for tips on navigating or enhancing your Pinterest experience.

By Readers' Advisor on April 1, 2014 Categories: All Staff Picks, Books, Nonfiction, Picks by Joyce

Movies and TV: Blackfish

Blackfish DVD coverTilikum is a 12,000 pound bull orca. He is blamed for the deaths of three people. Blackfish is a hypercritical documentary against SeaWorld and other marine parks like it. It explores Tilikum’s story through trainers and whale experts with a notable lack of involvement from SeaWorld executives, who refused to participate. With commanding cinematography Blackfish doesn’t shy away from showing the bleeding, living situations, and mental distress that leads these highly social creatures to turn dangerous. Though SeaWorld denies Blackfish’s claims, this documentary will force viewers to choose between attending and supporting marine-parks or boycotting them for their alleged animal abuse. If you liked The Cove or movies that make you reexamine your beliefs, try Blackfish.

By Readers' Advisor on March 27, 2014 Categories: Movies and Television, 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.

Get your reading glasses on, because here we go!

New: Fiction Books

Tempting Fate book cover The Land of Steady Habits book cover The Cairo Affair book cover

     -  Tempting Fate by Jane Green

     -  The Land of Steady Habits by Ted Thompson

     -  The Cairo Affair by Olen Steinhauer

     -  Four Friends by Robyn Carr

     -  Falling Out of Time by David Grossman

     -  Citadel by Kate Mosse

     -  The Wicked by Douglas Nicholas

     -  Bone Deep by Randy Wayne White

New: Nonfiction Books

The Hippest Trip in AmericaA Nice Little Place on the North Side book cover Wolfgang Puck Makes It Healthy book cover

     -  The Hippest Trip in America by Nelson George

     -  A Nice Little Place on the North Side by George Will

     -  Wolfgang Puck Makes it Healthy by Wolfgang Puck

     -  Parentology by Dalton Conley

     -  The Age of Radiance by Craig Nelson

     -  The Crusades of Cesar Chavez by Miriam Pawel

     -  The Thing with Feathers by Noah Strycker

     -  The Book of Forgiving by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu 

By Readers' Advisor on March 21, 2014 Categories: Books, New Arrivals, Nonfiction

National Book Critics Circle Awards

Five Days at Memorial book cover

Looking for something a little more substantial in your reading diet?  Check out the newly-named honorees of the National Book Critics Circle Awards.  The NBCC “honors outstanding writing and fosters a national conversation about reading, criticism, and literature.”

NonfictionFive Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink
Fink provides a landmark investigation of patient deaths at a New Orleans hospital ravaged by Hurricane Katrina–and a suspenseful portrayal of the quest for truth and justice.  Also available in audio, e-book, and e-audio.

FictionAmericanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A young woman from Nigeria leaves behind her home and her first love to start a new life in America, only to find her dreams are not all she expected.

AutobiographyFarewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter from Haiti by Amy Wilentz
Describes the author’s long and painful relationship with Haiti before and after the 2010 earthquake, tracing the country’s turbulent history and its status as a symbol of human rights activism and social transformation.

John Leonard PrizeA Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
In a rural village in December 2004 Chechnya, a failed doctor Akhmed harbors the traumatized 8-year-old daughter of a father abducted by Russian forces and treats a series of wounded rebels and refugees while exploring the shared past that binds him to the child.
Also available in large print, audio, and e-book.

By Readers' Advisor on March 19, 2014 Categories: Audiobooks, Awards, Books, Lists, Literary, Nonfiction

Audiobook: Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss

Salt, Sugar, Fat book coverThere are foods that, when eaten, activate the same part of the human brain that heroin does. Food scientists have developed our edibles to have “bliss points”. Arguably, the obesity epidemic may not only be about personal willpower, but also about processed foods being highly addictive. Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Moss examines the development and advertisement of processed foods in his bestseller Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. Narrated by the straightforward – and sometimes incredulous – Scott Brick, the audiobook is a phenomenal read. If you liked The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Food, Inc., or Fast Food Nation, definitely give Salt, Sugar, Fat a try.

By Readers' Advisor on March 6, 2014 Categories: Audiobooks, Books, Nonfiction

Staff Pick: Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum

Patty staff picks photoWhy are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum is a must-read, conversational sociology book that lays out the structural racism inherent in the United States. In a non-combative manner, Tatum defines racism and reveals ways to talk about it, especially to children.

By Readers' Advisor on March 4, 2014 Categories: All Staff Picks, Books, Nonfiction, Picks by Patty