Month: December 2016

Check It Out Blog

Create a Reading Resolution and Enter to Win Prizes

Winter Reading image

Have you been saying you want to read Charles Dickens for the last 10 years? How about finally starting to check books off of your towering to-read list?

Make 2017 your reading year!

This Winter Reading, make up to five of your own reading resolutions, such as finishing a book or trying a genre you’ve never tried before. Check in with us each time you complete one of your five resolutions, and you can enter to win a prize!

Three winners will be drawn every week for eight weeks, and you could be one of them! Plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of starting the year strong.

There is no sign-up, but stop by the Fiction/AV/Teen Services desk to pick up a bookmark to keep track of your progress. Need help? We’re here to be your guides, whether it is to offer book suggestions, brainstorm reading resolutions with you, or cheer you on.

 

New Mystery Spotlight: The Hermit by Thomas Bydahl

The Hermit book coverThomas Bydahl narrows in on the life of Erhard, an older gentleman who left his child and wife to live a life as a hermit on the Spanish island of Fuerteventure. On that island Erhard becomes involved with a murder and is thrown into the technology adapted twenty-first century even though he has completely cut himself off from the modern world since he left his family twenty years ago.

This Danish crime is written in a distant third person narration, which positions readers as if they are sitting in a helicopter over the island, keenly observing Erhard as he slowly wades his way back into life. The Hermit is for the reader that likes an exotic setting, a fully developed character, and a slow burning plot.

Staff Pick: Hello, My Name is Doris

Picture of DorisHello, My Name is Doris is the hilariously awkward and thoughtfully heartwarming tale of a woman in her 60s deciding to take action in her life, specifically on her crush on a younger coworker. As a result of the depth of characters played by a stellar cast, the relationships Doris had with people rang painful at times, but they felt honest and allowed for moments of realistic redemption. The combination of comedy, drama, and romance in this made it an instant favorite!

MPPL Staff Favorites of 2016

Can you choose only two or three favorite items you read, watched, listened to, and/or played this year? MPPL staff can tell you, it’s hard to do! Check out below what staff members chose for the top of their lists this year and make sure to stop by the Library and share what your favorites have been!

This year three different books written by one author were chosen as staff favorites. Which author was it?

Picture of Allison

Book: The Bone Clocks
by David Mitchell
Book: Between the World and Me
by Ta-Nehisi Coats
Book: Unexpected Afghans
by Robyn Chachula

Picture of Amy

Audiobook: The Fireman
by Joe Hill
Audiobook: The Night Gardener
by Jonathan Auxier
Book: Last Days
by Adam Nevill

 

 

Picture of Anne

CD:Traveller
by Chris Stapleton
Book: All Involved
by Ryan Gattis

Picture of Caitlin

Video Game: Dragon Age: Inquisition
DVD: The Descent
Book: The Opposite of Loneliness
by Marina Keegan

Picture of Carol

CD:  Blackstar
by David Bowie
DVD: L’Atalante
Book: Station Eleven
by Emily St. John Mandel

 

Picture of Cathleen

Book: Underground Airlines
by Ben H. Winters
Audiobook: Hag-Seed
by Margaret Atwood
Graphic Novel: Daytripper
by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá

Picture of Claire

DVD: Jane the Virgin
Book: Furiously Happy
by Jenny Lawson
Book: Just Mercy
by Bryan Stevenson

Picture of Colleen

Book: Man Made Boy
by Jon Skovron
Book: Kill the Boy Band
by Goldy Moldavsky
DVD: Hunt for the Wilderpeople

 

 

Picture of Dale

CD: Hopelessness
by Anohni
Book: No One Gets Out Alive
by Adam Nevill
Book: Wolf in White Van
by John Darnielle

Picture of Denise

Book: First Star I See Tonight
by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
DVD: Playing House
Book: And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer
by Fredrik Backman

 

Picture of Donna

Magazine: Time
Book: The Perfect Horse
by Elizabeth Letts
DVD: The Blind Side

Picture of Donna

Book: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
by Robin Sloan
Book: The Rosie Project
by Graeme Simsion
DVD: The One I Love

Picture of Erin

Book: 11/22/63
by Stephen King
Book: As Brave as You
by Jason Reynolds
Book: How to Grow Up
by Michelle Tea

 

Picture of Eva

Book: Daughter of Australia
by Harmony Verna
Book:Pokochalam Wroga
by Miroslawa Kareta
Book: A Man Called Ove
by Fredrik Backman

Picture of Evan

DVD: Sing Street
Graphic Novel: Paper Girls, vol. 1
by Brian K. Vaughan
Book: The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture
by Glen Weldon

Picture of Helgi

Audiobook: The Japanese Lover
by Isabel Allende
Book: The Spellman Files
by Lisa Lutz
DVD: The Jungle Book

 

Picture of Janine

Music: Hamilton: The Original Broadway Cast
Book: The Hating Game
by Sally Thorne
Book: The Trespasser
by Tana French

Picture of Jennifer

DVD: Somm
Book: Stiletto
by Daniel O’Malley
Book: La Davina
by Maria Callas

Picture of Jenny

Audiobook: Behold the Dreamers
by Imbolo Mbue
Book: My Brilliant Friend
by Elena Ferrante
Book: The Mothers
by Brit Bennett

Picture of Joe

Graphic Novel: Darth Vader vol. 1
by Kieron Gillen
Graphic Novel: Killing and Dying
by Adrian Tomine
Graphic NovelLove and Rockets No. 7
by Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez

Picture of Julie

Book: Alice Adams
by Booth Tarkington
Book: The Mill on the Floss
by George Eliot
DVD: War & Peace

 

Picture of Linda

Book: Last Night in Twisted River
by John Irving
Book: Dark Matter
by Blake Crouch
Book: My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry
by Fredrik Backman

Picture of Marsha

Book: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
by Haruki Murakami
Book: The Pearl That Broke Its Shell
by Nadia Hashimi
Book: Karolina’s Twins
by Ronald H. Balson

Picture of Mary

Book: Pretty Girls
by Karin Slaughter
Book: The Soul of an Octopus
by Sy Montgomery
DVD: About Elly

 

Picture of Mary

Book: Crazy Rich Asians
by Kevin Kwan
Book: Still Foolin’ Em
by Billy Crystal
Book: A Great Reckoning
by Louise Penny

Picture of Nancy

Book: Tenth of December
by George Saunders
Book: The One-In-A-Million Boy
by Monica Wood
Book: Language Arts
by Stephanie Kallos

 

Picture of Nancy

Book: How to Party With an Infant
by Kaui Hart Hemmings
CD: Blurryface
by Twenty One Pilots
DVD: Longmire

Picture

DVD: Secrets of Selfridges
Book: Empty Mansions
by Bill Dedman & Paul Clark Newell Jr.
DVD: Central Intelligence

Picture of Rachel

Book: Irena’s Children
by Tilar Mazzeo
DVD: Amy
Book: The Book of Unknown Americans
by Cristina Henríquez

 

 

Picture of Rosemary

Book: 11/22/63
by Stephen King
Audiobook: Behind Closed Doors
by B.A. Paris
Book: Wilde Lake
by Laura Lippman

Picture of Sam

Audiobook: Dark Matter
by Blake Crouch
Book: The Martian
by Andy Weir
Book: The Residence
by Kate Andersen Brower

Picture of Taylor

Book: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
by Mark Haddon
Book: Library of Souls
by Ransom Riggs
Book: The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
by Sylvia Plath, edited by Karen V. Kukil

 


Want more? Take a look at what staff chose in 2014 and in 2015 as their favorites.

We would love to hear from you!
Write to us on Facebook or Twitter and share what your favorites of the year were. If you’re interested in personalized reading, watching, and/or listening suggestions… Ask!

Book Discussion Questions: Small Blessings by Martha Woodroof

Small Blessings book coverTitle:  Small Blessings
Author:  Martha Woodroof
Page Count: 310 pages
Genre: Fiction, Domestic Fiction
Tone:  Heartwarming, Quirky, Thoughtful

Summary:
In an inspiring tale of a small-town college professor, a remarkable new woman at the bookshop, and the ten-year-old son he never knew he had, this comedy of manners reminds us that sometimes, when it feels like life has veered irrevocably off track, the track shifts in ways we never can have imagined.

 

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

The Library is happy to share these original questions for your use. If reproducing, please credit with the following statement:  2016 Mount Prospect Public Library. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.

1. Woodroof said she chose to set Small Blessings in a college to create a bell jar atmosphere where people couldn’t avoid each other.  How does a small college in a small town help create that type of atmosphere?

2. How important were college students to this story?

3. How would you describe Tom’s life at the start of Small Blessings?

4. What things happen to dramatically change his life?

5. In light of all the coincidences that made Tom’s life better, do you consider this book to be realistic fiction?  Why or why not?

6. What words would you use to describe the tone or mood of the story?

7. Who was your favorite character?  Which character was the best well described?  Are they the same person?

8. How did Marjory Puttnam have a hand in getting Tom and Rose together? Do you think she was purposefully matchmaking?

9. Do you think Marjory killed herself?

10. Did Tom and Agnes do the right thing for themselves and Rose to stay with her all those years?

11. What if she had never died? Would it still have been the best choice to make?

12. In what ways are Tom and Agnes a good team?

13. A lot of the book depends on the premise that Rose was a magnetic pull for other people. Was it clear to you what made her so special to them?

14. Tom’s thoughts after Marjory’s death contain the quote from which the book title comes: “Talking to your mother-in-law might seem like small potatoes to people who luxuriated in more richly felt lives, but it had often been enough for him to build a bearable day on. Small blessings, as his mother had so often said…..” What are some of the little things that can make a day better?

15. How are small blessings different than big blessings?

16. If you had to go through life with just small or big blessings, which would you sacrifice?

17. Did Woodroof succeed in writing a book about small blessings?

18. A few days after Marjorie’s death, Rose invites Agnes to lunch.  During her lunch with Agnes, Rose realizes three things about herself:  That she hasn’t had the courage to explore her own heart, that she was lonely, and that she had kept people away with self-imposed separateness.

-Does it take courage to explore your own heart? How so?
-What does it mean to have self-imposed separateness?
-Why do you think Rose lived that way?
-Is it possible to admit to loneliness and not see life or one’s own self negatively?

19. Does Rose change from her realizations?

20. Russell has hidden the pain of his unhappy childhood and awkward childhood from everyone, including his AA sponsor.  Why do you think he kept this to himself?

21. Is there a line between being open about one’s pain and “airing dirty laundry”?  If so, what is the difference to you?

23. How would you describe Iris and Russell’s relationship?  Did you find their personalities very different or very similar?

24. Do you think Russell is capable of changing and will he do it?

25. Tom, Agnes, Russell, Rose and Iris all seem to experience some degree of loneliness.  What examples did you see in the story?

26. In light of these examples, what does Woodroof seem to be saying about loneliness? Is it fixed or changeable?  Is it caused by fault or does it just happen?

27. Rose’s mom, Mavis, tells her, “The worst thing you can do in life is turn away from it.”  What does this mean?  Do you agree?

28. Woodroof is open about being a recovering alcoholic herself. At the story’s end, Iris is beginning a difficult journey to recovery, Russell has relapsed, and we know that Serafina has died. Is this novel hopeful or discouraging about the chances for recovery from addiction?  What made it so to you?

29. There are several relationships in the book: Tom and Agnes, Tom and Rose, Rose and Henry, Henry with Tom and the friendship between Tom and Russell. Which one was your favorite?  Why?

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

OTHER RESOURCES:

Lit Lovers’ Reading Guide
Martha Woodroof’s website
10 Questions for Martha Woodroof (via booksonthetable.com)
Kirkus review of Small Blessings
Interview with Martha Woodroof (video)
Deep South Magazine: “‘Small Blessings’ with Martha Woodroof”

READALIKES:

Gilead book coverGilead
by Marilynne Robinson

Fiction: Twelve Days of Christmas Books

How do you choose your holiday comfort read? Some are drawn to covers with holly-decked cottages, snow-dusted couples, or anything in bright red or green. Others select by genre, familiarity of author, or tone. Anything is fair game to help you find the book that fits your mood! These authors are hoping that echoing a familiar carol in the title might tempt your interest for one or all twelve days of Christmas.

 

Twelve Days book coverTwelve Days 
Teresa Hill
Twelve Days of Christmas book coverTwelve Days of Christmas
Debbie Macomber

 

Three French Hens book coverThree French Hens
Lynsay Sands
Six Geese A-Slaying book coverSix Geese A-Slaying
Donna Andrews
Ten Lords A-Leaping book coverTen Lords A-Leaping
C.C. Benison

 

Twelve Days of Pleasure book coverTwelve Days of Pleasure
Deborah Fletcher Mello

Graphic Novel: Grandville Noël by Bryan Talbot

Grandville Noel book coverUnicorn cult leader pursued by Victorian badger detective and Pinkerton cowboy is hardly the recipe for a traditional holiday story, and that surprise is what makes Grandville Noël  irresistible. Creator Bryan Talbot plays with expectations in a Christmas installment of the steampunk Wind in the Willows-like Grandville series that can be thoroughly entertaining even to newcomers.

Interplay of sepia and color, along with an elegance of line, illuminates in bold detail both action scenes and quieter moments. You’ll be riveted by Scotland Yard Inspector LeBrock’s efforts to rescue a vulnerable young woman who has been dazzled by promises of acceptance and love, proving that the fantasy-allegory-mystery-thriller hybrid speaks to themes of the season after all.

Top 5 Reasons Hamilton Lovers Should Use Hoopla

Hoopla is a website and app that you can use to instantly borrow books, movies, music, ebooks, television episodes, and comics with no added cost. Luckily for Hamilton lovers, there is a wealth of material to fully invest into your current (or new) Hamilton obsession!

This season Hoopla has in store for you…

Simply Christmas album cover#1: The sweet holiday sounds of Aaron Burr

You may not have realized you wanted a Leslie Odom Jr. Christmas album until you listen to his 2016 release, Simply Christmas and you realize the season wouldn’t be complete without it. Odom’s silky jazz voice has a calming effect, setting the for curling up in a Library chair as you watch the snow fall and the cars drive past. For Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson lovers, it includes a cover of “Winter Song.”

 

 

hamilton-mixtape album cover

#2: A mashup of the 18th and 21st century

The Hamilton Mixtape has an all-star mashup of recording artists coming from all different genres, including Sia, Usher, Alicia Keys, K’NAAN, and Kelly Clarkson. There’s a healthy mix of keeping some of the songs close to the original Broadway recording and completely re-imagining them. Plus, there are demos of Valley Forge and Cabinet Battle No. 3 by Lin Manuel-Miranda included.

 

 

the-federalist-papers book cover#3: Original work by Alexander Hamilton

Has your interest in American history been peaked? Take advantage and start with The Federalist Papers which was rapped about in “Non-Stop.”

“Alexander joins forces with James Madison and John Jay to write a series of essays defending the new United States Constitution, entitled The Federalist Papers. The plan was to write a total of twenty-five essays, the work divided evenly among the three men. In the end, they wrote eighty-five essays, in the span of six months. John Jay got sick after writing five. James Madison wrote twenty-nine. Hamilton wrote the other fifty-one!”
“Non-Stop” by Lin Manuel-Miranda

 

aristotle-and-dante-discover-the-secrets-of-the-universe book cover

#4: 7.5 hours of Lin Manuel-Miranda reading to you

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is story of two boys and how their friendship helps them to discover more about themselves and where they fit in the world. The combination of this award-winning story by Bejamin Alire Sâenz and Lin Manuel-Miranda’s voice is an incredible duet.

 

 

And last but definitely not least…

Hamilton#5: The Original Broadway Cast Recording

For the person who still hasn’t gotten a copy of the cast album or listened to it entirely, we’re here for you. Hamilton: An American Musical is available 24/7 to download and listen to at you’re leisure!

 

 

 

For more suggestions to feed your Hamilton obsession no matter how big or small it is, email us at readers@mppl.org or stop by the Fiction/AV/Teen Services desk!