Month: July 2015

Check It Out Blog

What is the Mount Prospect Community Reading?

Displayed around the Library are the reviews, theme songs, and readalikes Adult Summer Reading participants are sharing! See what your fellow community members are reading and suggesting below! Friday, July 31 is the last day of the 2015 Summer Reading program. If you haven’t checked in make sure you stop by the Fiction/AV/Teen services desk on the second floor and enter to win a prize!

Cover of Colorless
My theme song for Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki is “Years of Pilgrimage.” The characters all had reasons to love a particular song by Lizst. MPPL has several variations available. I enjoyed listening to both and reading the history.

Gabi, A Girl in Pieces
Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero is rawwsome. Gabi is a strong, funny, and totally endearing heroine I love to read about.

Dr. Mutter's Marvel
Dr. Mutters Marvels by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz is awesome if you’re interested in both history and medicine and aren’t squeamish!














Cover of The Left Hand of DarkenssMy readalike for The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin is Woman on the Edge of Time. Both deal interestingly with gender roles in Utopian worlds.

Cover of 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Chicago by is helpful and informative. It gives a lot of detail on hiking trails that the average person wouldn’t know.

Cover of Coincidence of Coconut CakeMy theme song for The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is “Sugar.” The coconut cake in the title is a character itself.











Cover of Lizzy and JaneLizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay is an enjoyable read. References to Jane Austin, family relationships, and cooking ties the story together.

Cover of GeektasticGeektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd is edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci is two lightsabers up. It was a wonderful, witty collection of comic book/”nerd” anecdotes.

Cover of Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold FryMy readalike for The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce is Wild. Both main characters went on a solo journey of self-discovery and forgiveness.











Cover of MausEveryone should read Maus by Art Spiegelman. It transformed both comics and Holocaust literature. It is poignant, heartbreaking, and eye-opening.

Cover of The America's Test Kitchen HEalthy Family CookbookMy readalike for The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook is The America’s Test Kitchen Baking Book. It provides solutions to common baking problems as well as helpful tips for all levels of home bakers— the science behind baking!

Cover of The Dry Grass of AugustThe Dry Grass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew is a must read in today’s world. It’s amazing that in 60 years(+) not much has changed in our world. Segregation still exists.












Cover of An Absent MindAn Absent Mind by Eric Rill is very similar to Still Alice. It profiles a family struggling with a new diagnosis of Alzheimers Disease and how each member of the family copes and finally accepts the fate of the disease.

Cover of The Clutter-Busting HandbookThe Clutter-Busting Handbook by Rita Emmett is motivating. It is written in a simple and lighthearted way, which helps guide you to clear things out and keep your life clutter free.

Cover of InuYashaMy theme song for the Anime book series InuYasha created by Rumiko Takahashi is “To Loves End.” It reminds me of the relationship of the main characters.













Cover of The End of the AffairMy readalike for The End of the Affair by Graham Greene is A Widow for One Year. Both authors are incredibly profound while perfectly describing feelings that we’ve all had. Two of my literary favorites.

Cover of Playlist for the DeadMy theme song for Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff is “How to Disappear Completely.” The protagonist of the story was fighting to figure out why his best friend disappeared.

Cover of LilaLila by Marilynne is a sweet story of love, unexpected love.

Nonfiction: You Learn by Living by Eleanor Roosevelt

Cover of You Learn by LivingUsing her own philosophies and struggles, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt advises individuals of all backgrounds on how they can craft a productive fulfilling life in her self-improvement novel You Learn by Living. The result is compassionate and personable, as Roosevelt offers up her blunders along the way in her pursuits of embracing lifelong learning and facing fear head on. Although published more than fifty years ago, Roosevelt’s work still holds relevance today through its coverage of broad topics, such as being a public servant and facing responsibility, plus highly quotable motivational snippets like, “Happiness is not a goal, it is a by-product” sprinkled throughout.

Staff Pick: Mort(e) by Robert Repino

Picture of BarbarbaMort(e) by Robert Repino will feed your need for a quirky indulgence this summer. The story chronicles the “war with no name” where human extinction is the goal. A race of intelligent ants has plotted for years to create an army of self-aware animals who will rise up and overthrow their human masters. Mort(e) a former house cat turned war hero tries to discover the origins of a deadly plague while relentlessly searching for his prewar friend Sheba.

Movies and TV: My Neighbor Totoro

My Neighbor Totoro DVD coverImagination is a quality more often celebrated in movies for the young, but that doesn’t mean we adults don’t crave a bit of childlike wonder, too. Break from routine and open your mind to the joyful story of My Neighbor Totoro. Two young girls move with their father to a new home and discover a world of whimsical creatures: a riot of soot sprites, a fantastical cat bus, and three sizes of fuzzy spirits that mysteriously appear and leave delight in their wake. The animation style is energetic, and the inventive details of expression and gesture bring touches of heart-tugging realism to a tale that will entertain all ages.

Crafted by the famed Studio Ghibli, the film can be viewed in English or in the original Japanese. Choose this title or another of the World Language Movies You Can Watch with Your Kids (or on your own!) for the final days of our Summer Reading Program. There’s still time to enroll and let us know what you’ve been reading and watching in June and July, though be sure to submit entries by July 31.

What is the Mount Prospect Community Reading?

Picture of Response Display

Displayed around the Library are the reviews, theme songs, and readalikes Adult Summer Reading participants are sharing! See what your fellow community members are reading and suggesting, and make sure you sign up for Summer Reading to add your voice! Below are a few of the entries so far:

Cover of The Bees
The Bees by Laline Paull is thrilling. It is so well written that I finished it in two days!
Cover of The Atonement Child
My theme song for The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers is “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper. Both Joe and God are there for her when she needs them.
Cover of Slow Dancing with a Stranger
Slow Dancing with a Stranger by Meryl Comer is inspiring and informative. It gave me an inside to Alzheimer’s.
Cover of Sweet Spot
Sweet Spot by Susan Mallery is a great romance novel because the couple was very believable in the great love they had for each other.
Cover of Relationship Rescue
Relationship Rescue by Philip McGraw is helpful. It has good practical tips/steps to help your relationship with a significant other.
Cover of Everything I Never Told You
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng is a great read for those who like mystery and family drama. It is really well-written and unravels at a great pace!
Cover of Love Suburban Style
Love Suburban Style by Wendy Markham kept me amused as to how the main characters would end up with each other.
Cover of How Good do we Have to Be
How Good do we Have to Be? by Harold Kushner Is an excellent read for all harried/worried parents because it helps us to realize that we were not meant to be perfect parents, siblings, friends, and children!
Cover of Entwined
My theme song for Entwined by Heather Dixon is “Devil’s Dance Floor.” The heroines make a deal with the devil to pursue their love of dance.
Cover of 2 Bodies for the Price of 1
My readalike for 2 Bodies for the Price of 1 by Stephanie Bond is any of the Stephanie Plum novels. It’s a light, “fluffy” read with just enough of a story and interesting characters to keep you reading.
Cover of H is for Hawk
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald is an amazing immersion into the world of falconry and hawks. The author described her own experience taming her Goshawk “Mabel” with the author of the King Arthur Legen stories and his taming of hawks.
Cover of Dead Wake
Dead Wake by Erik Larson is fascinating and compelling and makes for an engaging book discussion!
Cover of The Shop on Blossom Street
The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber is a touching poignant book. It takes four women’s lives and intertwines them. They help each other overcome problems and difficult circumstances while enjoying being part of a knitting club.
Cover of Celebrations
Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer is a good compilation of Maya Angelou’s poems. Read by the author, you get to experience her delivery of her work.
Cover of whatever love is love
My theme song for Whatever… Love is Love is “One Love” by Bob Marley. Love is beautiful, no matter what form it comes in.
Cover of Etta and Otto and Russell and James
Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper is an unusual love story! I count at last 4 different love stories interconnected over time and circumstance. How many do you see?”
Cover of People I Want to Punch in the Throat
People I Want to Punch in the Throat by Jen Mann is “Tubthumping.” No matter what happens to this author she gets back up again!
Cover of The Wonder of All Things
The Wonder of All Things by Jason Mott is amazing. It was a very emotional, thought-provoking read.


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!

Book Discussion Questions: Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard

Cover of Destiny of the RepublicTitle: Destiny of the Republic
Author: Candice Millard
Page Count: 339 pages
Genre: Biography, Nonfiction
Tone: Detailed, Compelling

James A. Garfield was one of the most extraordinary men ever elected president. Born into abject poverty, he rose to become a wunderkind scholar, a Civil War hero, and a renowned and admired reformist congressman. Nominated for president against his will, he engaged in a fierce battle with the corrupt political establishment. But four months after his inauguration, a deranged office seeker tracked Garfield down and shot him in the back. But the shot didn’t kill Garfield. The drama of what hap­pened subsequently is a powerful story of a nation in tur­moil.

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

1. When you first saw the cover and learned the subject, what expectations did you have for your reading experience?

2. You are at a party and mention you read this book. Someone asks you what was so interesting about President Garfield. What would you answer?

3. What was better about living in that time than now? What was worse? Would you swap?

4. Let’s talk about Garfield’s life. At the opening of Destiny of the Republic, Millard claims that Garfield, born into “desperate poverty” overcame the odds with a passionate love of learning.   If his mother had not been an educated woman herself, would this still have been possible just based on values and interest?

5. Canal drivers were considered a pretty rough crowd. If we could look in a crystal ball and see that someone like this would become our future president, would you be full of wonder or alarm?

6. James marries fellow student Lucretia Rudolph. Even in their courtship, James has deep concerns about what he sees as Lucretia’s lack of demonstrativeness. A few years into their marriage, James has an affair, which he confesses. In this instance, has he been basically honest or dishonest?

7. How would you describe Lucretia Rudolph Millard?

8. Why do you think Lucretia went through with a marriage to Garfield when she was afraid that he was marrying her out of a sense of duty?

10. During the Civil War, what did Millard show us of Garfield’s talents and character?

11. What was Garfield’s stance on black civil rights? Do you think things would have been different for African Americans if he had been able to fulfill his presidency? Why or why not?

12. Garfield did not run for US senator, but got that seat. He did not run for President, but got nominated. In his stirring speech, for which the book is named, Garfield says that, “not here… is the destiny of the republic to be decreed for the next four years…but by four million republican firesides.”

How much do you agree with his description of how the public decides on a president

A president is chosen by…

-thoughtful voters, with their wives and children around them.

-voters with the calm thoughts inspired by love of home and country.

-voters with the history of the past and the hopes of the future in mind.

-voters with reverence for the great men who have adorned and blessed our nation in days gone by burning in their hearts.

13. When he wraps up with, “Who do we want?” and a voice shouts, “We want Garfield!” do you think there was anything he could have done to shut down his nomination?

14. Would it be possible any more for a candidate to sit out his campaign?

15. What leaders would people travel great distances to hear speak? Do we think of anyone any more as wise?

16. When Garfield was elected, he felt sad. Why do you think he felt sad?

17. A good deal of time is spent on Alexander Graham Bell. What did you learn about him?

18. Bell was clearly pretty driven and intense: insisting on not being interrupted, resisting sleep, playing piano late late at night, but also very smart, caring, committed to the well being of the deaf. Did his wife have a catch or a lemon for a husband?

19. It’s interesting that Bell would blame his neglect for his infant son’s death and then throw himself into his work. Do you think his work ethic was a free choice or a compulsion?

20. Bell was devoted to helping save the president. Can you think of other people, famous or not, with that sense of commitment?

21. Millard also spends a lot of time on Charles Gitteau. Was this necessary? What aspects of Gitteau’s life stand out in your mind?

22. Both Gitteau and Garfield had one thing in common. They had been spared drowning and felt it had been through divine intervention. How did it impact their lives?

23. Do you agree that Gitteau was insane? If yes, then do you think his life should have been spared?

24. Who do you think is more morally responsible for Garfield’s death? Dr. Bliss or Charles Gitteau?

25. Dr. Bliss was clearly not open to new ideas from Europe. Could you see the same thing happening today? Do you think the American medical establishment is open to ideas from other countries or healing traditions?

26. What particularly stands out about Garfield’s time and treatment after he was shot? What feelings did you have from the time of his being shot until he dies?

27. Describe Vice President Arthur. Did he deserve the hatred that came his way after Garfield had been shot? There are many passages that describe him crying. Was your impression that he was crying for Garfield or himself? Did you expect him to be the kind of president he was?

28. The mysterious Julia Sand writes letters to Arthur, giving him a very needed pep talk. Who would you most like to encourage? On the flip side, would you enjoy having a mystery letter writer advise you or would you find it creepy?

29. How did the country respond to Garfield’s shooting?

30. There are two moments of silence described after the shooting. One is the agreement to keep the news criers and people silent so the Garfield boys won’t learn of the shooting while traveling. The next is the silent pushing of Garfield’s train car up the hill to Elberon. Can you think of a public moment of spontaneous quiet?

31. On one of the last days of his life, Garfield asks Rockwell, “’Do you think my name will have a place in human history?’ ‘Yes,’ his friend replied,’ a ‘grand one, but a grander place in human hearts.'” (p. 264)   If you had to choose, which would you prefer: to leave a legacy that impacts generations to come, or to be embedded in the hearts of the currently living?

32. How do you judge the quality of a historical retelling? By your own standards, how would you rate this book?

Other Resources:

Lit Lovers Discussion Questions
NPR interview on Garfield’s death
New York Times book review
Discussion experience of Destiny of the Republic
More Resources curated by Mary Riley Styles Library


Cover of The President is a Sick ManCover of Dark HorseCover of The President and the Assassin







The President is a Sick Man by Matthew Algeo
Dark Horse
by Kenneth D. Ackerman
The President and the Assassin by Scott Miller

Want help with your book discussion group? Check out tips, advice, and all the ways the Library can help support your group!

Staff Pick: The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth

Picture of JennyKate Forsyth takes us back to the Napoleonic Wars and into the story of Dortchen Wild, a dreamy girl responsible for telling the Brothers Grimm several of the stories found in their collections. Taut with the tension of trying to believe in the magic and beauty of fairy tales while being faced with life’s cruelties, The Wild Girl vividly seeps into your heart leaving a lingering enchanting darkness.

Movies and TV: The Way He Looks

Cover of The Way He LooksThe Way He Looks is a funny coming-of-age story centered around Leo, a charming blind teenager. Yearning to escape his parents’ overprotective eyes to somewhere new where he can be someone different, Leo’s life is suddenly turned topsy-turvy when a new student, Gabriel, starts school. Gabriel refreshingly treats him as if he weren’t blind and Leo finds they have a connection he has never felt with anyone else before. Friends feeling left out, budding romance, the trials of fitting in: this Portuguese film captures the everyday sweetness and struggles of life as a restless discontent teenager.

The Library is constantly adding to the World Language Collections, so make sure to check out what other newer materials have arrived. Narrow down your search using the left sidebar by topic, language, and genre to find the right movie for you! Need help finding a DVD? Ask!

Don’t forget: Watching a World Language DVD is a bonus step for the 2015 Adult Summer Reading Program. There is still plenty of time to participate and try something new!

What is the Mount Prospect Community Reading?

Picture of What is Mount Prospect Reading display

Displayed around the Library are the reviews, theme songs, and readalikes Adult Summer Reading participants are sharing! See what your fellow community members are reading and suggesting, and make sure you sign up for Summer Reading to add your voice! Below are a few of the entries so far:

Cover of Sapiens
My readalike for Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari is Guns, Germs and Steel. The author discusses reasons that may explain why societies around the globe developed differently from each other.
Cover of Lotus Eaters
Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli is courageous. A female photojournalist shares her experience in the jungles of war torn Vietnam as she is torn between the love of two men.
Cover of Big Little Lies
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty makes you wonder and think about life decisions because there are many lies in these people’s lives and you wonder what lies should be told or kept secret and the effect it could have on yourself and others!
Cover of The Apple Orchard
My theme song for The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs is “We Are Family.” It is a story where family members come first and roots of history run deep.
Cover of Modern Romance
My readalike for Modern Romance is Yes Please by Amy Poehler. If you are going through Parks and Recreation withdrawal there’s no better way to deal with it than by reading the books of the comedians on the show.
Cover of Euphoria
Euphoria by Lily King is an atmospheric and probing read. You can feel the heat of the novel and become invested in the characters’ relationships.
Cover of The Noticer
The Noticer by Andy Andrews is a must read, fast read book for those who feel life is full of negatives. It makes you understand perspective.
Cover of The Museum of Extraordinary Things
The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman is outstanding. Two story lines merge into a tale full of historic truths through the eyes of those involved. Murder, comedy, romance, history all mix together with the unusual.
Cover of The Good Girl
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica is a “must” read! I can’t give any comments- I don’t want to give it away! A much better book than Gone Girl.
Cover of The Precious One
My theme song for The Precious One by Marisa de los Santos is “Pretty in Pink.” One of my favorite scenes in the book is when the older sister and mom of one of the characters is getting her ready for her first prom. They show her the movie Pretty in Pink.
Cover of Us
My readalike for Us by David Nicholls is The Rosie Project. Both are humorous stories from the man point of view about love and relationships.
Cover of As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust
As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley is a whodunit book with twists and riddles. Flavia de Luce can always find a good puzzle to solve even when banished from her home.
Cover of Flickering Empire
Flickering Empire: How Chicago Invented the US Film Industry reminded me that Chicago is such a creative place.
Cover of Here I Go Again
My theme song for Here I Go Again by Jen Lancaster is “Back in Time.” She goes into the past many times to correct her wrongs.
Cover of Angelhood
Angelhood by A.J. Cattapn is a good read and look into what it is like to be 18. It shows the stress of daily life for an 18-yr-old girl and why she ended her life and what her spirit could do to save someone else.