Month: May 2012

Check It Out Blog

That New Hobby You’ve Been Looking For

Adventures in Bookbinding coverBookbinding – it sounds intimidating and academic, not crafty. Notebooks and diaries are bought at stores, not made at home…right? Wrong! Adventures in Bookbinding, by Jeannine Stein, is a step-by-step guide to handcrafting mixed-media books. This is a highly-illustrated beginner’s guide that covers the basics like folding paper, the anatomy of a book, and binding stitches. There are easy-to-follow instructions on how to create all manner of journals and art books with bejeweled, felted, canvas, quilted, and clay covers. If you’ve already done knitting, embroidery, crochet, model-making, and beading and want a new hobby, try bookbinding! Don’t forget, once you’re done with Stein’s designs, the Library has more how-to’s on handcrafting books.

A Moving Memoir

Life Itself audiobook coverIn most autobiographies, the writer understandably positions himself as the star of his own life story. Not Roger Ebert. In Life Itself: A Memoir, he is content to be the chronicler, the one who simply bears witness as events unfold. Whether he is waxing nostalgic for Steak ‘n Shake, telling of an afternoon with John Wayne, or sharing his battle with alcoholism, Ebert invites us to experience the milestones along with him. From his days in the newsroom with Mike Royko and Studs Terkel to his poignant friendship with Gene Siskel, he showcases the gifts of others. Though cancer has since robbed Ebert of the ability to speak, narrator Edward Herrmann lends him a powerful yet sensitive voice in one of the best recordings of 2011.

A Second Chance at Love

One day, years after the death of her perfect husband, Natalie is surprised to find that Markus, her clumsy coworker, may be her second chance at love. Delicacy by David Foenkinos is a charming, short novel that explores “…the idea that what is most important in a love story is good timing.”

If you read Delicacy (or saw the movie) and want to talk about it, check back with the Library in the fall for a featured Sister Cities book discussion.

LISTS: Hobby Mysteries

Pipsqueak book coverSteve Martin said, “When your hobbies get in the way of your work – that’s OK – but when your hobbies get in the way of themselves…well…” Glassblowing, crosswords, basket making, stitching, taxidermy, scrapbooking, soapmaking – whatever your hobby, make sure you save part of the day for it…or for reading about it!

Click here to see a list of the Library’s hobby mysteries.

Sunburns, Broken Arches, and Insanity on the Mother Road

C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race book coverC.C. Pyle called himself a promoter. Others called him a con man. In 1928, when endurance tests – like flagpole sitting and all-day dances – were the rage, C.C. Pyle held a cross country race. One hundred ninety-nine people paid Pyle an entry fee to run from Los Angeles to New York City for the chance to win $25,000. It was a 3,423 mile race. Contestants ran 30 – 50 miles a day in an era before supportive or flexible shoes. They suffered from malnutrition, sunburns, nervous breakdowns, hit and runs, fallen arches, ripped muscles, and even a blizzard in Amarillo. C.C. Pyle’s Amazing Foot Race, by Geoff Williams, chronicles the drastically underfinanced race and Pyle’s attempts to stay a step ahead of his debt collectors.

New Stars in the Nebula

Among Others book coverThe Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America announced the winners of the 2012 Nebula Awards this weekend.  Expand your universe with one of these stellar honorees:

Best Novel: Among Others by Jo Walton

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy: The Freedom Maze by Delia Sherman.  [Bonus: read an original interview with author Delia Sherman and MPPL!]

Best Novella: The Man Who Bridged the Mist by Kij Johnson (Asimov’s Science Fiction, October/November 2011 – available to read online)

Best Short Story: “The Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March/April 2011 – available to read online)

The Magic of Love

The Heart Gem book coverWhat if you could know the fate of a prospective relationship before it even began? The Heart Gem, an enchanted stone which reveals the essence of a couple’s future match, may hold great promise or aching despair, and it is Bremen Tyler’s task to restore it to its rightful place. A dramatic encounter with the unconventional Hallie Pinefoy divides his attention, but now he has even more of a personal investment in retrieving his ancestral treasure. Author Isabella Macotte, who makes her home in Mount Prospect, introduces her debut series with The Heart Gem, a romance both sweet and sensual. The course of true love never did run smooth, but this is one pair who will take their chances.

The Downfall of Anne Boleyn

When Hilary Mantel was asked, “Are you happy?” she said, “From time to time, yes…it depends almost entirely on the last sentence I wrote. If it was a good one, I am happy.” Best known as the English novelist who won the Man Booker Prize for Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel has written a plethora of excellent sentences.

Bring Up the Bodies is Mantel’s latest novel. If you are interested in Tudor history, and the trial of Anne Boleyn in particular, you are sure to enjoy it.