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Read-Watch-Listen: Three Collections of Christmas Classics

Every year brings a new crop of holiday stories, but sometimes we can’t help but long for the good old days. If you are one to appreciate tales of Christmases gone by, cozy up to one of these collections.

Christmas Sampler book cover
Bing Crosby Christmas Specials DVD cover
Classic Christmas Stories audiobook cover

Read:  A Christmas Sampler: Classic Stories of the Season, from Twain to Cheever

Selected from the collections of The New York Public Library, A Christmas Sampler celebrates literary quality in interpretations of the meaning of Christmas. Classic American talents Langston Hughes, Washington Irving, and Edna Ferber are included along with titles such as Damon Runyon’s “The Three Wise Guys” and the iconic “Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus” by Francis P. Church.

Watch:  Bing Crosby, The Christmas Specials

Christmas songs are a favorite style of story, and one of the most famous renditions of “The Little Drummer Boy” was the strange pairing of Bing Crosby and David Bowie during a television event.  See for yourself on Bing Crosby, The Christmas Specials, which features nostalgia-rich entertainment that offers a respite from modern tech-obsessed holidays.

Listen:  Classic Christmas Stories

Catch the holiday spirit with an audio recording of nine timeless classics that celebrate the season. Classic Christmas Stories from L.M. Montgomery, Mark Twain, O. Henry, Willa Cather, Hans Christian Andersen, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Bret Harte and Anthony Trollope are professionally recorded so you can listen while you trim the tree, wrap gifts, or simply curl up by the fire.

Like Settlers of Catan? Try These Books!

Settlers of Catan Game Cover

The tabletop board game Settlers of Catan is more than tricking your friends into giving you more wheat than is fair. It’s about exploring new frontiers and trying to gather the resources to successfully build a new settlement to support your loved ones. Bring the game to life in a different way, with one of these four novels covering the experiences of settling into a new land.


Clash of Eagles Book CoverWhat would have happened if the Roman empire hadn’t collapsed? Find out in the action-packed Clash of Eagles by Alan Smale.
Conquistador Book CoverJoin in the adventure of an ex-marine finding a portal to America before Europeans stepped foot on the soil in Conquistador by S.M. Stirling.



The Emigrants Book CoverFor a quieter novel about a Swedish family immigrating to America, try The Emigrants by Vilhelm Moberg
Red Mars Book CoverWant an epic saga of colonizing Mars? Try Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson.


Want to have fun meeting new people and playing games? Join us Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 6pm for a game night for adults! Read more about it here.

New Books: Holiday Romances

Sprinkle some uplifting holiday romances into the hustle and bustle of December with these 2015 releases. Want more options? Let us know what you’re looking for and we’ll email you back with some suggestions!

A Christmas Kiss book cover
A Knights Bridge book cover


A Christmas Kiss stories by Celeste O. Norfleet, Regina Hart, and Deborah Fletcher Mello
A Knights Bridge Christmas by Carla Neggers

Falling Like Snowflakes book cover
Marry Me At Christmas book cover
Snowbound at Christmas book cover


Falling Like Snowflakes by Denise Hunter
Marry Me at Christmas by Susan Mallery
Snowbound at Christmas by Debbie Mason

Staff Pick: Star Wars

Picture of Diane“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….”  Rewatch the Star Wars original trilogy and prequel trilogy   before you join me and millions of fans at the cinema on December 18 to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens the first film in the sequel trilogy.  Use the force, and your Library card, to check out the DVDs at MPPL!


Because of the popularity of the film, copies may not be on shelf. Put yourself on hold for the films:

Star Wars: A New Hope (Episode IV)
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (Episode V)
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (Episode VI)

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (Episode I)
Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (Episode II)
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (Episode III)

Join Other Adults For a Night of Games

night off game on sign

Drop in between 6-9pm on Thursday, December 3rd to meet new people, play games, and have fun!

While there will be a large variety of games to play, the two we will definitely be playing are Ticket to Ride and Zombie Dice. Regardless of your skill level take a chance and stop by!

Mount Prospect Library Game Night

Thursday, Dec 3, 2015, 6:00 PM

Mount Prospect Public Library
10 South Emerson Street Mount Prospect, IL

1 Gamers Attending

The wonderful folks over at Mount Prospect Public Library will be hosting their FIRST EVER tabletop game night!This is not a [toggle Gaming] event, however we wanted to share this with the community because it could be a great time! Feel free to meet up with some of our gamers and get some table time. If we can fit it into our schedule, we hope to…

Check out this Meetup →


Science Fiction Novellas: Short in Length, Big on Ideas

Science fiction is a genre in which novellas are flourishing, and they can be a way to sample without a big commitment. Try Sci-Fi month may be winding down, but with books that are less than 130 pages, you still have time to read one start-to-finish and enter to win a prize! Read here for more details.

All about Emily book cover


In All About Emily, acclaimed author Connie Willis combines the glamour of old Hollywood and the eternal allure of Broadway to explore the cutting edge robotics of a richly-imagined near future, all with trademark wit and heart.




Time Machine book cover


A classic novel of the future, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells follows the Time Traveller as he hurtles one million years into the future and encounters a world populated by two distinct races, the childlike Eloi and the disgusting Morlocks.




Women of Nell Gwynnes book cover


Try steampunk with Kage Baker’s The Women of Nell Gwynne’s.  After joining an exclusive brothel (and sister organization to the Gentlemen’s Speculative Society), Lady Beatrice finds herself in the middle of a mystery when a member of the Society goes missing.




D.A. book cover


Theodora Baumgarten has just been selected for a coveted spot as an IASA space cadet, but she is one of the few who didn’t apply. In D.A., another light comedy from Connie Willis, Theodora and her hacker best friend will stop at nothing to uncover the conspiracy that has her shanghaied.




13 Short Science Fiction Novels book cover


Like to keep your options open? Take home a collection of short novels from master storytellers such as Isaac Asimov, Frederik Pohl, Larry Niven, and Philip José Farmer. In Baker’s Dozen: 13 Short Science Fiction Novels, you might find yourself reading more than one!

Graphic Novel: Serenity by Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews

Serenity Book CoverWant to take a break from reality and join in on the space adventures of the Serenity crew? A prequel to the movie Serenity and set after the TV series Firefly, Those Left Behind by Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews features all of the beloved characters, humor, and action fans previously fell in love with. This short episode ties up loose ends from Firefly, bringing the story to life with its realistic portraits.

Can’t wait to read it? Check it out instantly on Hoopla with your Library card along with other Dark Horse Comic titles!


Don’t forget:  for each science fiction book read during November 2015, adults are eligible to enter a drawing for a gift card to AMC Theatres or to Barnes & Noble. Read more about Try Sci-Fi!

Book Discussion Questions: The Shack by WM. Paul Young

Cover of The ShackTitle: The Shack
Author: WM. Paul Young
Page Count: 248 pages
Genre: Christian Fiction
Tone:  Inspirational, Thriller

Mackenzie Allen Phillips’ youngest daughter has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack. Four years later, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare.

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

Questions composed by MPPL Staff

  1. 1. Did this book shock or disturb you? Intrigue you?

2. Were you drawn in by the plot of The Shack? How is it as a story?

3. Who is the intended audience?

4. The book maintained a spot on bestseller lists for several weeks and over one million copies have been sold. If religion is such a touchy subject, how can we explain the runaway success of this book?

5. Did you find the character of Mack to be sympathetic?

6. Many readers find the early chapters of The Shack almost too painful to read. Could they have been written in a way that would be less painful without changing the book’s message?

7. Why is The Great Sadness so frequently mentioned and always italicized?

8. Did the family’s different reactions to the tragedy ring true? (e.g., Josh, Kate, Mack)

9. How did you respond to the use of the narrator “Willie”? What did this add to the story?

10. How was Nan characterized? Should she have been more integral to the story?

11. Does the idea of God as a character in the book, or God’s first-person voice, bother you? Does it work within the context of The Shack’s story?

12. Why is God portrayed a woman? What reasons does God give Mack?

13. How is Young’s description of God different from your concept of God? What parts of his description did you like and what parts didn’t you like? Compare Mack’s assumptions of how God might appear to your own.

  1. 14. Are people changing their view of God because of this book?
  2. 15. Why do you think Mack’s encounter with God took place at the shack?

16. Why did God let Missy die? Do you think The Shack answers convincingly the central question of why, if there is a God, bad things happen to good people? Were you satisfied with God’s answers to Mack about suffering?

17. Why do you think Missy was buried in the garden?

18. What does The Shack say about forgiveness – toward the self or toward those who have wronged you?

19. What were your thoughts about Mack’s reconciliation with his father? In what ways to our relationships with our parents define us? Color our relationship with God? With others?

  1. 20. What is the literary merit of this book?

21. What do we know of the author? What does he reveal about himself in the story and in his reasons for writing?

22. How does the author portray church (or The Church)? Do you agree?

  1. 23. Which part of the book spoke to you the most and why?

24. What part of the book created the most questions for you?


Lit Lovers’ Discussion Questions
Video of Young talking on CBN (Christian Bible Network)
USA Today Article on controversy surrounding The Shack
Q&A with WM Paul Young
Richards Academy’s Discussion Guide


Dinner With a Perfect Stranger Book Cover Paper Angels Book Cover The Reason Book Cover
Dinner With a Perfect Stranger by David Gregory
Paper Angels by Billy Coffey
The Reason by William Sirls

Staff Pick: One Day in the Life of the English Language by Frank Cioffi

Jo of Research Services suggests One Day in the Life of the English Language by Frank Cioffi

One Day in the Life of the English Language Book CoverDo you know whether the question mark goes inside or outside the quotation marks? No matter. Everyone can find something to learn and even enjoy in the book One Day in the Life of the English Language: A Microcosmic Usage Handbook by English professor Frank Cioffi.

Rather than make up sentences to demonstrate correct usage as is done in many grammar handbooks, Cioffi examines the English language as it is actually used, using more recently published examples to ensure that the sentences were composed by a professional writer and checked by at least one editor. I especially enjoyed the 50-word microglossary which reminded me of just how much formal grammar I have forgotten.

For more books on English language fun, try….

Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma QueenBetween You and Me Book cover by Mary Norris

Who knew grammar could be so much fun? Check out this hilarious “grammar memoir” and find out why a question mark is like a lazy person.



Woe is IWoe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English by Patricia T. O’Conner

New York Times Book Review editor O’Conner guides you through grammatical pitfalls with wit and insight. There’s a companion edition for kids, too!



Word Nerd book coverWord Nerd: Dispatches from the Games, Grammar, and Geek Undergrounds by John D. Williams, Jr.

If word games are your thing, this book is for you! Get the inside story on the greatest SCRABBLE plays and players of all times as well as insight into other games like anagrams and palindromes. Author Williams served as the executive director and official spokesman for the National SCRABBLE association.


If I Was You book coverIf I Was You…: And Alot More Grammar Mistakes You Might Be Making by Lauren Sussman

This book includes sample sentences highlighting the grammatical error followed by a straightforward explanation of why it’s wrong and the correct usage.



Kiss My Asterick book cover

Kiss My Asterisk: A Feisty Guide to Punctuation and Grammar by Jenny Baranick

English professor Baranick takes on the most common punctuation and grammatical errors in a laugh-out-loud way.

Science Fiction Romance

Science fiction is more than just intergalactic battles and alien apocalypses! Take time to explore some of the more romantic sides filled with love affairs with aliens and hard to resist attractions. Want more suggestions on what to read? Ask a Readers’ Advisor!

Touched by an Alien Book Cover

Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch

Men in Black meets romance, Kitty stumbles into an interstellar affair when a man suddenly morphs into a monster outside of the courtyard and begins a killing spree. Her choice to fight leads her down a path she never would have expected!



The Down Home Zombie Blues Book CoverThe Down Home Zombie Blues by Linnea Sinclair

A space commander and her new prisoner/partner from Earth team up to try to save the planet from a biomechanical organism attack. She risks it all in this mission, including this man she is beginning to have feelings for whether she likes it or not.



The Stone Gods Book CoverThe Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson

Humans have worn out their planet and are looking to resettle onto Planet Blue. Equally a wide sweeping look at humanity and a narrow focus on Billie, a human who skips throughout time and in the process falls in love with a Robo-Sapien.



Enemy Within Book CoverEnemy Within  by Marcella Burnard

Captain Ari Rose is imprisoned by pirates, with pirate leader Cullin setting his sights on her because of her suspicious time spent in alien prison. The chemistry between them is strong, however, and they might not be able to resist their attraction.



Don’t forget:  for each science fiction book read during November, adults are eligible to enter a drawing for a gift card to AMC Theatres or to Barnes & Noble. Read more about Try Sci-Fi!