Archives: Check It Out

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.

Staff Pick: Gulp by Mary Roach

Cover of GulpLarry from Fiction/AV/Teen Services suggests Gulp by Mary Roach

Ever wonder how your body digests the food you eat? Or why when you smell food you can also taste it? Or what really goes on in your stomach and gut? Then this book is for you. In Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, author Mary Roach explains the entire process of eating and digesting in great detail. Sounds gross? It’s not at all. The author’s witty writing style along with the use of layman’s language in a smooth flowing (no pun intended) narrative makes the book both a fun and fascinating read. Did you know we produce two types of saliva? And what exactly are gastric juices? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? This book will answer these questions and more.

Looking for more books featuring stories of the human body? Try…

Cover of StiffStiff
by Mary Roach
This humorous yet engrossing book tells the story of our bodies when we are no longer with them.

Cover of Fantastic VoyageFantastic Voyage
by Isaac Asimov
An elite team of medical and scientific professionals are miniaturized to enter the bloodstream of a top government scientist afflicted with a stroke. Their mission is to perform an emergency surgical procedure to save the man’s life.












Cover of FeedFeed
by M.T. Anderson
Computers are now small chips implanted in the human brain and controlled by your thoughts. While there are benefits to always being connected to the network there’s also a price to pay.

Cover of I Sing the Body Electric and Other Short StoriesI Sing the Body Electric
by Ray Bradbury
The title story features a made-to-order android, created to care for the children of a widowed man. It’s the story of a family and a machine with all the attributes of a human being except for one: it is perfect.

Cover of Altered CarbonAltered Carbon
by Richard Morgan
Death is nearly obsolete as human consciousness can be downloaded into a new body. Former UN envoy Takeshi Kovacs is “resleeved” into a body for the specific purpose of proving that the body’s death was not suicide but murder.

Movies and TV: We Are Together

Cover of We Are TogetherThe children of the Agape Choir don’t have obvious reason to sing. They live in a struggling South African orphanage in packed quarters and with few resources. Most are there after losing parents to AIDS, and some are separated from older siblings because it simply isn’t possible to keep the family together.  You might think that the overall tone would be one of despair, but these young ones regularly lift their voices in song, which in turn raises their spirits — and ours. We Are Together is an inspiring documentary filmed over three years about the plight and promise of these remarkable singers.

Browse our collection of International Documentaries to discover other global films of real-life stories. 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 The Heretics DaughterThe Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent is historically interesting. The interweaving of the historical aspects of the Salem Witch Trials was great!

Cover of American WifeI liked Tara Kyle’s perspective of her husband, the American Sniper in American Wife.

Cover of The Gospel of LokiMy readalike for The Gospel of Loki is Loki. It’s hard to get bored of this god.











Cover of Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’EasterWhistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’Easter by Lisa Patton is a fun book about a Memphis belle and her three Southern women friends she grew up with.

Cover of The EscapeMy theme song for The Escape by David Baldacci is “You Deserve a Break Today,” because the lead’s brother escapes from federal incarceration to clear his name.

Cover of Magnificent MagnesiumMagnificent Magnesium by Dennis Goodman and Morely M. Robbins is very informative. It details how magnesium affects each part of your body.












Cover of FeedMy readalike for Feed by M.T. Anderson is The Giver because both are set in the future and discuss mind manipulation.

Cover of House of Small ShadowsMy theme song for House of Small Shadows by Adam Nevill is “Go Ask Alice” by Jefferson Airplane. The main character thinks she is going crazy, but there is also something supernatural going on.

Cover of Church of MarvelsChurch of Marvels by Leslie Parry is original. The story is a mystery with love, loss, and retribution set in the “church of marvels” or 19th century sideshow. Unusual and original- I liked it!












Cover of The Meursault InvestigationMy readalike for The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud is The Stranger. It follows the Arab killed in The Stranger and tells the story from his family’s perspective.

Cover of Dream a Little Dream
My theme song Dream a Little Dream by Kirsten Grier is “Sweet Dreams” by the Eurythmics because of the lyrics about searching in your dreams for fulfillment and adventure.

Cover of Eyes Wide Open
My theme song for Eyes Wide Open by Paul Fleischman is “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell. It’s all about appreciating the environment and weighing the cost of convenience.












Cover of After I’m GoneMy theme song for After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman is “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding. “…somehow nothing is going to change…everything still remains the same...this loneliness will not leave me alone…”

Cover of Waking Up in CharlestonMy theme song for Waking Up in Charleston is “You’ll Never Walk Alone” because everyone in this small town helped each other through sadness and happiness.

Cover of Death at Le FeniceDeath at La Fenice by Donna Leon is great for those who like “who dunit” with several suspects.

Fiction: My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry book coverEvery seven-year-old deserves a superhero. This is true even (or especially) if your superhero is your crazy granny. Elsa’s granny is the one who teaches her about the Land-of-Almost-Awake to help her forget about her parents’ divorce and the bullies at school and her nightmares. Granny was many things: doctor, prankster, savior, free spirit, fighter of evil, and Elsa’s only friend, so when she is gone, Elsa is lost. Granny, who anticipated this, designed a treasure hunt asking Elsa to hand-deliver apology letters to everyone Granny hurt or let down, and so their joint adventures continue. Heartwarming and a bit wacky, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman is a fairy-tale-like story that inspires hope in the real world.

Book Discussion Questions: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Cover of Water for ElephantsTitle: Water for Elephants
Author: Sara Gruen
Page Count: 350 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction
Tone: Nostalgic, Romantic, Bittersweet

A novel of star-crossed lovers, set in the circus world circa 1932. When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, grifters, and misfits, a second-rate circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in town after endless town. A veterinary student who almost earned his degree, Jacob is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It is there that he meets Marlena, the beautiful young star of the equestrian act, who is married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. He also meets Rosie, an elephant who seems untrainable until he discovers a way to reach her.

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

1. What is the appeal of this novel?

2. What part do the animals play in this novel?

3. Describe Rosie and her personality traits. What is Rosie’s role in the novel? Do you think elephants can really think and act the way that she did?

4. How does Jacob’s life in the nursing home compare to the animals at the circus?

5. Why does Jacob prefer Rosemary to the other nursing home staff?

6. Did you like how the author switched back and forth between the nursing home and the circus story? Did this enhance or detract from the story?

7. Who was your favorite character? Why?

8. Who was your least favorite character? Why?

9. Upon reading the prologue, who did you think murdered August? Was the prologue an effective way to begin the story? How did that opening scene, involving chaos, make you feel about the rest of the story?

10. Describe the difference between how Jacob and August felt about Marlena. What was it about August that attracted Marlena to him. What was it about Jacob?

11. What did you learn about circuses from reading this novel? (reality and illusion) Do you like circuses? Has this novel changed the way you look at them?

12. How do the practices of the circus relate to the modern business world?

13. Would you have liked more detail on what became of Jacob, Marlena and their children? It didn’t sound like Jacob was extremely close to his children. Is that the impression you got? If so, were you surprised by that?

14. In the words of one review, Water for Elephants “explores…the pathetic grandeur of the Depression-era circus.” Do you agree? How does the “pathetic grandeur” describe the world that Gruen creates in her novel?

15. Why did Jacob get so upset at the nursing home patient, McGuinty, said he carried water for the elephants?

Other Resources:

Readers’ Guide
Lit Lovers Discussion Questions
Party Ideas for a Water for Elephants discussion
Writer’s Digest Interview with Sara Gruen

If you like Water for Elephants, you might like…

Cover of Little HeathensCover of Seabiscuit Cover of The Adventures of Miles and Isabel






Little Heathens by Mildred Armstrong Kalish
Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
The Adventures of Miles and Isabel by Tom Gilling

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

Movies and TV: Vincere

Cover of VincereA story of desire, madness, and war, Vincere is a passionate tale centering on fascist Italian dictator Benito Mussolini during the 20th century and Ida Dalser, his mistress. As Mussolini rises in power, scenes of the flurry of war and a nation uprising mark the passage of time causing a sense of growing urgency which is contrasted against the creeping sense of dread for Dalser’s fate. The dark lighting and panicked exchanges between the characters set against a sweeping, grand soundtrack allow the watcher to sink into a world of tarnished grandeur in this 2009 film.

Explore more countries throughout time by watching a Historical Fiction Movie. Don’t forget: Watching a World Language DVD is a bonus step for the 2015 Adult Summer Reading Program. Sign up to participate and try something new!