Month: February 2017

Staff Pick: Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley

Picture of LarryTed’s twelve-year-old dachshund, Lily, has been a source of strength for him after his long-term relationship ended in bitterness and loneliness. Now Lily has a tumor shaped like an octopus growing on her head. Ted’s personal struggle caring for his dearest companion as the disease overtakes Lily is a self-realization experience which plays out in real life and in his vivid dreams. Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley is serious and funny, emotional and insightful, and authentic in its depiction of the human experience.

What Has Mount Prospect Been Resolving and Reading?

Winter Reading image

One feature of this year’s Adult Winter Reading is that you decide your own reading resolutions. Whether your goals are modest or ambitious, we’ll cheer you on! It’s not too late to participate in Winter Reading. You still have a few days to share what you’ve been striving to achieve, enter to win some neat prizes, and share your experiences on the community pillar.

Take a look at what your neighbors have been sharing.

Mount Prospect readers have resolved to…

picture of reading resolutions for winter reading

1. Get back into actively reading.

2. Read: A Brontë sister book, a Mormon studies books, a January 2017 or February 2017 book of the month club book, a non-Brontë work of classic literature, and some thing that has been sitting on my Goodreads reading list for over a year.

3. I will finally read a Western.

4. Read five different genre/styles of books for the Winter Reading Program.

Some books read so far have been…

picture of books read for winter reading
  1. Nicotine by Nell Zink
    Zink’s books are for those who find sameness and predictability maddening and who despise boring characters. Zink creates situations that are messy and uncomfortable, but the ick factor is worth pushing through to see what kinds of ideals will pop into her character’s head next. -Carol

Presence by Amy Cuddy
I love the idea of fake it until you become it!

I read Men Explains Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit spontaneously. I saw a copy of the modest paperback and that brightly sarcastic title called to me. When I wasn’t laughing at her sharp humor, I was crying in fury… and now I recommend it to everyone.

Flight by Sherman Alexie
A young troubled boy, an orphan, finds his way when her goes into a time warp. He discovers what is important and who really loves him. Sometimes very brutal!

Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
Anne was the BEST Brontë!


Now it’s your turn!
Share your reading resolutions on the MPPL Facebook page, on Twitter, or in person at the Fiction/AV/Teen Services Desk.

Book Discussion Questions: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

Boys in the Boat book coverTitle: The Boys in the Boat
Author:  Daniel James Brown
Page Count: 404 pages
Genre:  Nonfiction, Sports
Tone:  Impassioned, Inspiring

Summary:
Out of the depths of the Depression comes an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times – the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant.

 

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:  2017 Mount Prospect Public Library. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.

1. What made you want to read this book? Would you have felt compelled to read it outside of book club?

2. Do you think that reading this during the Olympics would make a difference to you?

3. What are the differences, if any, as to how the Olympics were regarded in the 1930s to how they are regarded now?

4. What are your thoughts on Avery Brundage and his role on the Olympic committee?

5. Bobby Moch was Jewish. Knowing what he knew about Germany, are you surprised he went? Would you have gone? Why did his father not tell him sooner?

6. Should there have been a boycott against the Olympics?

7. Leni Riefenstiahl is probably the most famous female director ever; what did you think of her?

8. Let’s talk about Joe’s family life. What are your thoughts? Specifically Thula and Harry ?

9. Which relationship do you believe was ultimately the most pivotal for Joe?

10. Ulbrickson kept putting different boys in different boats, what do you think made these boys fit together?

11. What do you think was the turning point for Joe to become a unit with the rest of the boys in the boat?

12. Why do you think the boys were so unbeatable?

13. How much of a pivotal character was Pocock? Could they have won without him?

14. What did you think of George Pocock’s issues with the California coach Ky Ebright?

15. What did you think about the journey over to Germany on the cruise ship? Did anything interest you?

16. What did you think about the way the Germans handled the race?

OTHER RESOURCES:

Lit Lovers’ Reading Group Guide
West Maui Book Club discussion questions
Seattle Times Q&A
(Video) Daniel James Brown on The Boys in the Boat
“Nazi Olympics Berlin 1936” article by United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The Rowing Team That Stunned the World

 

READALIKES:

The Three-Year Swim Club
by Julie Checkoway

Salt Sweat Tears
by Adam Rackley

Nazi GamesNazi Games
by David Clay Large

Staff Pick: Southeastern by Jason Isbell

Picture of EvanOn Southeastern, singer/songwriter Jason Isbell has crafted soulful, catchy songs with lyrics of dust-coated poetry about finding warmth in love when the world offers none, “Cover Me Up”, watching a friend die, “Elephant”, and a rollicking barn-burner about barely surviving an addiction,“Super 8”. It’s an album that proves the famous quote about how a great country song is only “three chords and the truth.”

Staff Resolution Feature: Taking Inspiration from TV Readers

Winter Reading image

One feature of this year’s Adult Winter Reading is that you decide your own reading resolutions. Whether your goals are modest or ambitious, we’ll cheer you on! To help inspire and spark ideas, we’ll be sharing resolutions here every week, so keep checking back to see what other resolute readers are striving to achieve!

Parisian Novels by Van Gogh

 

Who: Rebeca from Collection Management

What is your reading resolution?

About ten years ago I started a list of books that are featured on television shows that I watch. This year I am going to read at least 5 books off that list.

Why did you choose this?

I rarely read outside of two genres.  I believe this will help me read a variety of different books.

What are you thinking of reading to complete your resolution?

The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring by Alexander Rose
The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg

Island of Dr Moreau book cover Washingtons Spies book cover Invisible Man book coverFrom the Mixed Up Files book cover

 

 

 

 

 


Now it’s your turn!
Share your reading resolutions on the MPPL Facebook page, on Twitter, or in person at the Fiction/AV/Teen Services Desk.

Fiction: Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

Alledgedly book coverBy the time Mary B. Addison is sixteen she has been in jail for six years accused of killing a baby when she was nine, has been the main topic of multiple books, and is now living in a group home on her way of being reintroduced to some semblance of freedom.

However, everything may not be what it seems.

Tied to a past that only Mary knows the truth to, her efforts to look toward her future are mangled with stumbling blocks every which way.  Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson is a surprising bucket of cold water as Mary and the reader must grapple with all of the possible what ifs and should haves that come from a young girl growing up in an unstable home and the justice system.

Staff Resolution Feature: Science Fiction by Diverse Authors, Current Events, and More!

Winter Reading image

One feature of this year’s Adult Winter Reading is that you decide your own reading resolutions. Whether your goals are modest or ambitious, we’ll cheer you on! To help inspire and spark ideas, we’ll be sharing resolutions here every week, so keep checking back to see what other resolute readers are striving to achieve!

Who: Allison from South Branch

What are some of your reading resolutions?
I decided that for 2017 I was going to give myself a reading theme: Science Fiction by Diverse Authors!

2- Why did you choose that?
I used to read science fiction quite avidly, and when Library Journal published a mini-article on Diverse Authors within the SF/Fantasy genre, my interest was piqued! At the end of last year I read The Three-Body Problem by Ken Liu, and wanted to keep going in that vein…. Here’s the thing…I got a little distracted since deciding on that theme, so here are my one-off resolutions from the last few weeks….

Something with feminism! Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
Something in Spanish! Afrodita by Isabel Allende
Something about gender! None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
Something about current events! Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

3- Have you completed a resolution yet? How did it go?
I am finally reading Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor, which totally falls under my original reading resolution, and am enjoying it so far! It’s set in Nigeria, and I love how carefully she builds suspense, piece by piece!


Now it’s your turn!
Share your reading resolutions on the MPPL Facebook page, on Twitter, or in person at the Fiction/AV/Teen Services Desk.

Book Discussion Questions: The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

Dovekeepers book coverTitle:  The Dovekeepers
Author:  Alice Hoffman
Page Count: 505 pages
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Tone:  Lyrical, Thought-provoking, Haunting

Summary:
In 70 CE, 900 Jews held out against armies of Romans on a mountain in Masada. According to an ancient historian, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic event, Hoffman weaves a tale of four bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom has come to Masada by a different path.

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:  2017 Mount Prospect Public Library. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.

1. Who was your favorite character and why?

Yael’s Story

2. What had Yael’s life been like when we first meet her?

3. Why was her red hair so important?

4. What does Yael do to break free of Sia and her attempts to ruin her pregnancy? Do you think that acts of contrition have power?

5. Yael says of Ben Simon that of all the people he murdered, he did his best work on me. What did she mean? Why did she then remember him with love?

6. Yael’s father says that he sees her mom when he looks at her, but he treats her horribly. Shouldn’t this have made him more loving?

7. Why did Yael see her pregnancy as a gift instead of another burden in her sad life?

8. What about the Man from the North? Why was he important to the story?

Revka’s (the Baker’s Wife) Story

9. Her story opens with sorrowful looking back. She says, “I didn’t understand what the wind was capable of and how we must bow before it, grateful no matter where it takes us.” What has happened to her?

10. Hoffman does not hold back the details in the rape and torture scene of Zara. Why might the author have made this choice? What was your reaction?

11. Yoav becomes the Man from the Valley, apparently driven by his sorrow to distance himself from his sons and court death in battle. Revka seems to understand. What was your response to how he chose to deal with his grief?

12. It seems like a generous thing that Revka would have breathed her daughter’s soul into the mouth of her husband. Why then, does she call it the 2nd worse thing a mother could do?

13. How does she get back the voices of Noah and Levi?

Aziza’s Story

14. If Rebekah could have truly changed her gender, do you think she would have, or was it the things that men were able to do that she wanted?

15. Do you think she was blessed because she had such unique abilities or was it a burden for her?

16. Rebekah has four key men in her life. Who was most influential? Did any of them really love her?

17. What does withholding her given name say about the power of a name?

18. How would you describe Rebekah based on her relationship with her sister and brother?

19. The Man from the Valley was able to love Aziza because she was a boy. How did this thinking make sense to both of them?  Was he good for her?

20. Did Amram deserve the death he received?

Shirah’s (the Witch of Moab) Story

21. Would the story have been better without the element of magic?

22. What did you think of Shirah’s all-consuming love for Eleazor? Was he her equal?

23. She leaves Moab. What did you think of her decision?

24. Chana says you can’t have my husband and Shirah replies, “I’ve had him all along?” Powerful sentence, but it is true? What did she have?

25. In the end, was Shirah’s death a failure or a triumph?

General Questions

26. Do you have a new awareness of what daily life or warfare must have been like?

27. How did the women relate to God?

28. Were you surprised at the intertwining of superstition, magic ritual, and religious belief? Does that take away from their faith experience?

29. Were any of the father figures in this book reliable? Do you think this book was fair to men?

30. Hoffman has said that she bases her works on fairy tales because she appreciates their emotional truths, the lessons they teach about human nature, love and hatred. What seemed fairy tale-like to you? Do you agree that fairy tales teach valuable lessons?

31. Based on this story, what does Hoffman seem to believe about romantic love? Is it a positive thing?

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

OTHER RESOURCES:

book review from The Washington Post
video:  How I Wrote [The Dovekeepers]: An Exclusive Interview with Alice Hoffman
audio or transcript: A Tale of Forgiveness from the Tragedy of the Masada via NPR
Masada description, photos, and maps via UNESCO
discussion guide from the publisher
additional questions from Southfield Public Library

READALIKES:

Secret Chord book coverThe Secret Chord
by Geraldine Brooks

Antagonists book coverThe Antagonists
by Ernest K. Gann

Women book coverThe Women
by T. C. Boyle

Staff Pick: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Dan from Building Services suggests A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Tale of Two Cities book coverCharles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities combines a colorful mixture of history, adventure, and romance set to the backdrop of the French Revolution. The story revolves around 3 characters: Lucie, a British girl of French descent, her lover Charles, a French nobleman seeking asylum from the bloody revolution, and their friend Sydney, a banker who harbors a secret love for Lucie.

Dickens summons up multiple emotions in the reader as Charles is forcefully extradited back to France in order to stand trial for his family’s crimes. This novel is sure to inspire wonder and horror as the author masterfully depicts this tale of love amidst one of the most unsettling times in French history.