Check It Out Category: Lists

Audiobooks for Your Summer Road Trip

“Nothing behind me, everything in front of me, as is ever so, on the road.” – Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Heading out on the open road this summer? The Library has audiobooks that are sure to keep you engaged while the miles fly by.

Someday Someday Maybe book cover

For a light read, try Someday, Someday, Maybe by Gilmore Girls star Lauren Graham. This is a sweet tale of a young woman trying to keep up her spirits and her bank account while seeking success as an actress in New York City. 8 hrs, 30 minutes (about the time it’d take to get from Mount Prospect to Toronto, Canada)

 

 

 

 

Astrophysics for people in a hurry book cover

 

If it’s an exercise for your grey matter that you want, pop in Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Dr. Tyson gives a crash course in the nature of time, the cosmos and our place in the universe with his trademark wit and accessibility. 3 hrs 30 minutes (enough time to get you to the Wisconsin Dells or Saugatuck, Michigan)

 

 

 

Ready Player One cover

 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is the perpetual sci-fi dystopian adventure bestseller. If you haven’t read it, or even if you have, you’re in for a treat with the audio, read by none other than Wil Wheaton. This is the story of Wade Watts, who escapes the dreary reality of life in 2044 by playing in the virtual reality utopian world of OASIS. By solving puzzles and unlocking clues Wade might be able to find the lucrative treasure hidden within, but he could risk his own life to do so. 15 hrs, 41 minutes (long enough for a drive to New York City or Tallahassee, Florida)

 

 

On the Road book cover

 

And of course, there’s the classic Beat Generation road trip tale, Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. Chronicling the cross country road trip of Sal Paradise and various friends as they drive toward vague destinations and explore debauchery and philosophical musing in 1950’s-era America. (At 11 hours, it would get you almost to Atlanta, Georgia.)

 

 

 

For more great titles to match your tastes, stop by the second floor Fiction/AV/Teen Services desk to get suggestions. Road-tripping with your family? We currently have  a display on family-friendly titles located by the audiobook collection you can take a peek at!

Music: Songs That Make Us Think of High School

Do you ever hear a song and it transports you to a different time and place from your past? With high school graduations in the air, a few staff members of the Library took time to reflect on songs that reminded of them of high school, whether it be a song they listened to nonstop or one that summed up their experience. It was hard to narrow it down to just one song!

Green R.E.M. album cover

Andrea
Song: Stand by R.E.M.

Pretty in Pink soundtrack album coverCathleen
Song: If You Leave by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

Mellon Colli and the Infinite Sadness album coverDonna C.
Song: “Tonight, Tonight” by Smashing Pumpkins

screeching weasel weaselmania album coverEvan
Song: “Hey, Suburbia” by Screeching Weasel

 

Violent Femmes album coverHeather
Song: “Blister in the Sun” by The Violent Femmes

Jimmy Eat World Bleed American album coverJenny
Song: “Hear You Me” by Jimmy Eat World

Crosby Stills and Nash Carry On album coverJoyce
Song: “Teach Your Children” by Crosby, Stills and Nash

Kelda
Song:”Tainted Love” by Soft Cell

inxs Kick album coverNancy
Song: “New Sensation” by INXS

The Best of Don McLean album coverRosemary
Song: “American Pie” by Don McLean

 

Now it’s your turn! Whether you just graduated or graduated decades ago, share what songs make you think of your time at high school by tweeting at us at @MPPLib or by commenting on our Facebook wall.

Asked at the Desk: Classic American Novels

Picture of Fiction/AV/Teen desk

When we receive the same question twice in one week, we take note! Here’s what two of your neighbors recently asked:

I haven’t read more than one or two of the classic American novels. Now I’m ready, but I don’t know which are most important. Also, do you have them as audiobooks?

We understand this can be overwhelming. Not only are there differing opinions about the most essential, there are different definitions of classic! Here we’ll suggest American classics in three categories to help you find your gateway.

Shorter American Classics

If delving into classic literature is new for you, try one that is not only short in length but also accessible in story and writing:

Great Gatsby book coverThe Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Fahrenheit 451 book coverFahrenheit 451
Ray Bradbury
John Steinbeck

 

American Classics by Authors of Color

Too many lists of classics limit the rosters to those authored by white men. Make the choice to invest in other perspectives.

Invisible Man book coverInvisible Man
Ralph Ellison
Their Eyes Were Watching God book coverTheir Eyes Were Watching God
Zora Neale Hurston
W.E.B. Du Bois

 

Most Cited American Classics

If your goal is to be familiar with books likely to be referenced in conversation or in other writing, here are three to know:

J.D. Salinger

 

Audiobooks are a great way to experience the classics! Let a talented voice actor bring great writing to life for you. Click for a sampling of American classics on audio. Lists of British classics and World classics are also available.

Interested in more suggestions? Stop by Fiction/AV/Teen Services on the second floor to ask at the desk yourself, or ask online to visit our virtual desk.

Getting Down with The Get Down

Get Down poster image“You hear that? That is life. And destiny. That is the get down.”

Part two of Netflix series The Get Down recently dropped, and though it isn’t yet available through the Library, we know some of you are already primed to lose yourselves in the music, the style, the art, and the drama of the Bronx in the late 1970s.

The fascinating world of early hip hop is one born of frustrations, passions, and even activism. To experience more of this electric era, try one of these:

Hip Hop Family Tree vol 1 cover

Hip Hop Family Tree 1: 1970s – 1981 by Ed Piskor

The early days of hip hop have become the stuff of myth, so what better way to document this epic true story than in an explosively entertaining, encyclopedic history presented in graphic format? Piskor’s exuberant cartooning takes you from the parks and rec rooms of the South Bronx to the night clubs, recording studios, and radio stations where the scene started to boom. The Hip Hop Family Tree is an exciting and essential cultural chronicle for hip hop fans, pop-culture addicts, and anyone who wants to know how it went down back in the day.

Wild Style DVD cover

Wild Style, directed, produced, and written by Charlie Ahearn

A perfect point of contrast to a series that recreates the emergence of hip hop is one that was created during the era in question! Wild Style is a 1983 docudrama that celebrates the colorful lives of teens who live in the South Bronx (sound familiar?). There they are seen break dancing, creating graffiti art, and listening to raucous rap. One focus is on the figure of Zoro, who likes to spray-paint subway cars, another reference point from The Get Down in the character of Dizzee, played by Jaden Smith.

Adventures of Grandmaster Flash book cover

The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash: My Life, My Beats by Grandmaster Flash with David Ritz

In the 1970s Grandmaster Flash pioneered the art of break-beat DJing–the process of remixing and thereby creating a new piece of music by playing vinyl records and turntables as musical instruments. In this powerful memoir, Flash recounts how music from the streets, much like rock ‘n’ roll a generation before, became the sound of an era, as well as his own rise to stardom, descent into addiction, and ultimate redemption.

Get Down soundtrack cover

The Get Down: Original Soundtrack from the Netflix Original Series

Whether you’ve seen the series and can’t let it go or you want to experience it vicariously, the series soundtrack will satisfy your yen. Featuring both original songs and era classics, the line up includes artists such as Miguel, Christina Aguilera, Michael Kiwanuka, Janelle Monae, and Donna Summer, as well as the talented cast. Consider this your hot summer soundtrack!

List: Your Novel is Too Long. It’s Also Great.

Today in the Tournament of Books (You are following, right? If not, let us remind you why you should) the post-judgment debate included advice to authors that no matter what it’s about, “Your novel is too long,” but after further consideration concluded, “Write it anyway.” This made us brainstorm lengthy-but-great books of our experience, and these are a sampling of those that must be mentioned:

Nix book coverThe Nix by Nathan Hill

2016. 625 pages.

Astonished to see the mother who abandoned him in childhood throwing rocks at a presidential candidate, a bored college professor struggles to reconcile the radical media depictions of his mother with his small-town memories and decides to draw her out by penning a tell-all biography.

 

 

1Q84 book cover1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

2011. 925 pages.

An ode to George Orwell’s 1984 told in alternating male and female voices relates the stories of Aomame, an assassin for a secret organization who discovers that she has been transported to an alternate reality, and Tengo, a mathematics lecturer and novice writer.

 

 

11_22_63 book cover11/22/63 by Stephen King

2011. 849 pages.

Receiving a horrific essay from a GED student with a traumatic past, high-school English teacher Jake Epping is enlisted by a friend to travel back in time to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy, a mission for which he must befriend troubled loner Lee Harvey Oswald.

 

 

the Goldfinch audiobook coverThe Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

2013. 771 pages. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by a friend’s family and struggles to make sense of his new life. In the years that follow, he becomes entranced by one of the few things that reminds him of his mother; a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the art underworld.

 

Seveneves book coverSeveneves by Neal Stephenson

2015. 867 pages.

A catastrophic event renders the Earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity in outer space. Five thousand years later, their progeny, seven distinct races now three billion strong, embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown, to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth.

 

Luminaries book coverThe Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

2013. 834 pages. Winner of the Man Booker Prize.

In 1866, a weary Englishman lands in a remote gold-mining frontier town on the coast of New Zealand to make his fortune and forever leave behind his family’s shame. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men who have met in secret to investigate what links three crimes that occurred on a single day, events in which each man finds himself implicated in some way.