Find
10 South Emerson, Mount Prospect, IL 60056 | 847/253-5675
Font:

Check It Out

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: Books, Nonfiction, Staff Picks

Nonfiction: Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World that Made Him by David and Joe Henry

Furious Cool book coverRichard Pryor once said, “What I’m saying might be profane, but it’s also profound.” Pryor pushed the boundaries of topics that comedians explored. He could make people laugh – and, by proxy, talk about – everything from love to racial inequality. Furious Cool: Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him explores the flaws and genius of Richad Pryor. National Book Award-winner Colum McCann says of Furious Cool, “Part memoir, part biography, part poem, part history, part ballad, it manages to sing a wake song for an incredible American.”

When you’re done with Furious Cool, have a listen to Is it Something I Said? Released in 1975, it was Pryor’s first comedy album for Warner Brothers.

By Readers' Advisor on February 27, 2014 Categories: Books, Humor, Nonfiction

Book Discussion Questions: Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Infidel book cover

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

 

Title: Infidel
Author: Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Page Count: 353
Genre: Political autobiography
Tone: Candid, thought-provoking, impassioned

 

1. Was this book what you expected?  How so? How did it surprise you?

2. The publisher’s description reads, “Ultimately a celebration of triumph over adversity, Hirsi Ali’s story tells how a bright little girl evolved out of dutiful obedience to become an outspoken, pioneering freedom fighter. As Western governments struggle to balance democratic ideals with religious pressures, no story could be timelier or more significant.” Is this a fair representation of the book?

3. In your opinion, who is the intended audience for this book?

4. The Guardian published an article entitled, “Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Taking the Fight to Islam” in which it addresses the claim that Ayaan moved from one extreme to the other primarily because she was ‘traumatized’ by her upbringing. Ayaan responded that she finds this idea patronizing and wrote Infidel partly to combat that assumption. In her words, “People can see that there is not much trauma in my story.”

a. Is there trauma in her story?
b. Does it surprise you that she would characterize her experiences this way?
c. How does the way she relates difficult events illustrate her perspective?
d. She even acknowledges that her account is subjective, that her family may remember things differently. Do you trust Ayaan’s story?
e. Do you think her past experiences color her present activism? Even if so, does that make her points any less valid?

5. Were there actions Ayaan took at any point in her life that you questioned or that made you uncomfortable? If so, does that color your opinion of her character or politics?

6. What stood out about her family relationships?

7. Contrast the character arcs of Ayaan and her sister Hawaye.

8. Did Ayaan have friends?

9. Did the events of Ayaan’s life shock you? Did they seem real? Does reading about this have impact for American readers?

10. What would you say are some of the more memorable scenes or events from her life?

11. Are there any respects in which you might say Ayaan has had a fortunate life?

12. Was there a country or setting that seemed a little more vivid to you? Was it her depiction of the area or the events that happened there?

13. Would you go so far as to characterize Ali as a role model? For whom?

14. The fact she lies on her application for Dutch citizenship becomes a recurring issue. Do you agree with her decision to do so? Would you have done the same? How did you feel when that was explained away – both at the time and when it caused difficulty as a political leader?

15. Hirsi is a self-described rationalist. How is this evident in her life and relationships?

16. How did you react to her inclusion of her father’s letter?

17. What would you say is her “big idea(s)”? What argument is she trying to advance?

18. Even Ayaan’s allies and friends tried to caution her that she was being too provocative; too explosive in her comments and criticisms. Why didn’t she just back off a little, espouse a little more tact? Should she have? Does she help the cause? Harm it?

19. The event that brought her notoriety outside of her home was the brutal murder of Theo. Discuss him, their project, the reaction, and the repercussions of his murder.

20. How did you feel about the security issue – the around-the-clock bodyguards, housing issues, loss of freedom. How did Ayaan adjust?

21. Did you find the style of writing to enhance the narrative? How would you characterize it?

22. Is this a personal story? Do you feel you know her?

23. Maria Golia, an Egyptian-based academic, wrote in the NYT supplement that “Hirsi Ali seems far more interested in indicting Islam than helping damaged women, whose horror stories she conveniently trots out whenever she needs to bludgeon home a point.” Based on what you know, is there any truth to this?  Does it matter?

24. Does she speak for Muslim women? Does she believe she does?

25. Is there room for feminism in Islam?

26. At a time when we are urged to embrace tolerance, especially as Americans, Hirsi Ali seems set on exposing Islam as flawed [at least in current state]. On Colbert, “I want us to judge.  We should say that one religion is better than another; one culture is better than another.” How do you feel about this?

27. Does the fact that she was devout when younger give her the right to criticize Islam? The credibility?

28. In your opinion, does her persona advance or inhibit her agenda? Would her ideas be received the same (pro or con) if she were male? Older? Less forthright? Less striking?

29. Did you like Ayaan?

30. Infidel spent 31 weeks on the NYT bestseller list. What explains the interest? The appeal? Do you think it has/had/will have a lasting impact? In what way? Is it a positive contribution to the ongoing conversation?

 

Other Resources
Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Wikipedia page
AHA Foundation
AHA Foundation reading group guide
Lit Lovers book discussion questions
Interview with the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne
Interview with the Boston Phoenix
Infidel reviews on Goodreads
Infidel review by The New York Times

If you liked Infidel, try…
Iran Awakening by Shirin Ebadi
The Road to Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Iran Awakening book cover     Road of Lost Innocence book coverPersepolis book cover

By Readers' Advisor on February 26, 2014 Categories: Book Discussion Questions, Books, Nonfiction

E-book: Keys to the Kitchen

Keys to the Kitchen e-book coverDo you know that you can check out cookbooks for your tablet or e-reader? Now’s the perfect time to whet your appetite! Food Network and Cooking Channel star Aida Mollenkamp is the latest author to be chosen for OverDrive’s Big Read program, a promotion that offers a featured title to as many users as want to read it simultaneously. Until March 5, Keys to the Kitchen: The Essential Reference for Becoming a More Accomplished, More Adventurous Cook is available to you with just a few clicks and no waiting list. Enjoy a buffet of contemporary recipes, mouthwatering illustrations, and tips to improve your culinary skills. Visit MyMediaMall, MPPL’s shared digital library, to claim your copy, and browse the menus for other adult, teen, and children’s fiction and nonfiction titles.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on February 24, 2014 Categories: Books, 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

Redhead Plays her Hand book cover

Under the Wide and Starry Sky book cover

Crane Wife book cover

1. Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

2. The Redhead Plays her Hand by Alice Chayton

3. Amor and Psycho: Stories by Carolyn Cooke

4. Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan

5. The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson

6. House of Bathory by Linda Lafferty

7. The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness

8. Department of Speculation by Jenny Offill

9. The Well-tempered Heart by Jan-Philipp Sendker

10. The Empty Chair: Two Novellas by Bruce Wagner

New: Nonfiction Books

Duty: A Secretary at War book cover

Wild Tales book cover

American Mirror book cover

1. Out of the Woods: A Memoir of Wayfinding by Lynn Darling

2. Henry Darger, Throwaway Boy: The Tragic Life of an Outsider Artist by Jim Elledge

3. Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War by Robert M. Gates

4. What Makes Olga Run?: The Mystery of a 90-something Track Star and What she can Teach us About Living Longer, Happier Lives by Bruce Grierson

5. I’ll Take You There: Mavis Staples, The Staple Singers and the March up Freedom’s Highway by Greg Kot

6. My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead

7. Wild Tales: A Rock and Roll Life by Graham Nash

8. The Last Cowboy: A Life of Tom Landry by Mark Ribowsky

9. Company Man: 39 Years of Controversy and Crisis in the C.I.A. by John Anthony Rizzo

10. American Mirror: The Life and Art of Normal Rockwell by Deborah Solomon

By Readers' Advisor on February 7, 2014 Categories: Books, New Arrivals, Nonfiction

Staff Pick: One Goal II: The Inside Story of the 2013 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks by Bob Verdi

One Goal 2 book coverDiane of Fiction/AV/Teen Services recommends One Goal II: The Inside Story of the 2013 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks by Bob Verdi:

From the streak to the Stanley Cup, One Goal II and the 53 minute long DVD 17 Seconds (which comes with the book) portray the inside story of the 2013 Chicago Blackhawks. The hardcover book and DVD provide an all-access pass inside the locker room party in Boston, the airplane ride home with the Cup following Game 6, and interviews with the players. Through full color photos, fans ride along on the players’ buses during the championship parade and follow the Blackhawks as they spend their Cup days with family and friends, sharing the greatest trophy in sports with their communities.

Additionally, the book contains an innovative, mini video screen. It plays the Blackhawks’ two goals in 17 seconds to win the Cup and a five-minute feature with interviews about those two goals and the ensuing celebration.

By Readers' Advisor on February 3, 2014 Categories: Books, Movies and TV, Nonfiction, Picks by Diane, Staff Picks

Staff Pick: The World Without Us by Alan Weisman

Larry staff picks photoThe World Without Us describes the relationship between humans and nature using science with a dash of philosophy to imagine what would happen if the earth was suddenly without us. The human impact on nature and the restorative abilities of the earth are clearly explained in this pop science read.

By Readers' Advisor on January 21, 2014 Categories: Books, Nonfiction, Picks by Larry, Staff Picks

Movies and TV: Trashed

Trashed DVD coverThe Earth has the possibility of becoming a garbage heap. In the documentary Trashed, Jeremy Irons narrates the problems and solutions to modern waste management while he travels from open air heaps in Lebanon to modernized dumpsites in the U.S. Broken down into “Land”, “Air”, “Water”, and “Solutions”, Irons guides the viewer through issues like groundwater pollution, birth defects, and oceans becoming a slurry of toxins – all caused by the world’s lax landfill regulations. With easy solutions, like more stringent fines on those who fail to recycle, Trashed lays out not only problems, but attainable solutions. If you like Jeremy Irons’ golden baritone or movies that are good for watercooler talk in the morning, try Trashed.

By Readers' Advisor on January 16, 2014 Categories: Movies and TV, 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

Mercy Snow book cover

What I Had Before I had you book cover

Andrew's Brain book cover

Today I am a Boy book cover

Invention of Wings book cover

Under the Jeweled Sky book cover

Still Life with Bread Crumbs book cover

What We've Lost is Nothing book cover

New: Nonfiction Books

Short Guide to a Long Life book cover

Thing I've Learned from Dying book cover

Empire of Necessity book cover

Accidental Universe book cover

Talk about a Dream book cover

Polio Wars book coverLittle Failure book cover

Body Counts book cover

By Readers' Advisor on January 10, 2014 Categories: Books, New Arrivals, Nonfiction

Nonfiction: Brassaï: Paris Nocturne

Brassai: Paris NocturneBrassaï moved to Paris in 1924. He slept all day and roamed the streets at night, photographing the moonlit Montparnasse quarter and beyond. Street toughs grinned broadly for him, prostitutes coyly raised thinly-lined eyebrows, and young couples necking on benches ignored the photographer entirely. Brassaï may have been called boring by his friend (and famed writer) Henry Miller, but his work is everything and anything but dull. There are no grittier, livelier images of Depression-era, European nightlife than what Brassaï captured. If you like black and white gangster movies, unflinching photography, or just want a conversation-starter of a coffee table book, try Brassaï: Paris Nocturne.

By Readers' Advisor on January 9, 2014 Categories: Books, Nonfiction