Check It Out Category: Staff Picks

Staff Pick: Roughneck by Jeff Lemire

50 Days of Summer Reading BannerThere are 43 more days until the end of Summer Reading! Every day during our countdown we will be featuring slices of library life, books, and topics designed to help you out as you work through 2017 Summer Reading at Mount Prospect. Read more about how you can join in on this celebration of reading and enter to win prizes!

Cathleen's Pick - RoughneckThe embattled, soulful Roughneck by Jeff Lemire is a winter noir story that is both gritty and beautiful. Expert brushwork teases out different flavors of night sky, and the landscapes reflect the characters’ shifting degrees of serenity, menace, bleakness, and volatility. A harsh tale of family dynamic and of recovery, and one that has lived under my skin for months.

Read this for Summer Reading!

For the DIY Designers…
This could count as a book with a small town setting or as a graphic novel.

For the Master Class Designers…
This could count as a sad book or as a book highlighted on the MPPL website.

Staff Pick- Andy Warhol was a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History’s Great Personalities by Claudia Kalb

Picture of LarryAndy Warhol was a Hoarder: Inside the Minds of History’s Great Personalities is an account of how the possible mental illness of high-profile historical figures may have affected their lives and had an impact on their fame and success. The lives of Andy Warhol, Princess Diana, Abraham Lincoln, Betty Ford and others are reviewed from a psychological perspective revealing how their maladies may have impacted their accomplishments. With the help of experts, biographers, and historical records, Claudia Kalb has written an intriguing narrative that mixes biography and psychology, providing a fascinating perspective on creativity and the human condition.

 

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.

Staff Pick- The Barn at the End of the World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd by Mary Rose O’Reilly

Carla from Admin suggests The Barn at the End of The World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd by Mary Rose O’Reilly

The Barn at the End of the World book coverThe Barn at the End of The World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd, by Mary Rose O’Reilly, is a rich narrative of the author’s midlife journey into sheep barns and spirituality.

In 98 short vignettes, O’Reilly lets us into her life. She gives us a look at raising sheep in Minnesota and a glimpse of monastery life at Plum Village in France. We are introduced to some of her teachers: a young barn worker who says “Never turn your back on a buck ram” and a spiritual director who shares “It’s nice to be calm, but the real purpose of meditation if to obtain wisdom”.

Quotes from poets find their way into the book.  We hear from Robert Frost, Mary Oliver, Walt Whitman and others. We learn that the author relishes the Augustinian phrase “the tranquility of order”. The Barn at the End of the World is highly recommended as an oasis for busy lives.

For more spiritual memoirs, try…

Traveling Mercies book coverTraveling Mercies
by Anne Lamott
Combining elements of spiritual study and memoir, Anne Lamott describes her odyssey of faith, drawing on her own sometimes troubled past to explore the many ways in which faith sustains and guides one’s daily life.

by Radhanath Swami
Following Richard Slavin from the suburbs of Chicago to the caves of the Himalayas as he transforms from young seeker to renowned spiritual guide, The Journey Home is a glimpse into the heart of mystic traditions.

 

The Sound of Gravel book coverThe Sound of Gravel
by Ruth Wariner

An account of the author’s coming-of-age in a polygamist Mormon Doomsday cult describes her childhood as one of her father’s more than 40 welfare-dependent children, the extreme religious beliefs that haunted her daily life and her escape in the aftermath of a devastating tragedy.
Seeking Englightment Hat by Hat book coverSeeking Enlightenment– Hat by Hat: A Skeptic’s Path to Religion
by Nevada Barr
Nevada Barr recounts her spiritual quest for meaning in her life, describing her experiences as an actor, writer, and adventure-seeker, and sharing her transition from atheism toward a sense of being part of something greater than herself.
Autobiography of a Yogi
by Paramahansa Yogananda
An autobiographical account of an early nineteenth-century yogi as he reaches self-realization, identification with his larger self, mankind, and union with his God.

 

Newer Books You Might Enjoy, Part Two

Does warmer weather make you thirsty for a new read? Whether looking to thrill your heart, excite your mind, lift your spirits, or escape to a different time or place, there’s a story for you — and we want to help you find it!  Below is a second set of hand-picked selections [part one is here] most likely to keep those pages turning during the hazy days of summer.

Picture of Jenny

Jenny says….

On the surface, recent releases Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig and The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman might not have a lot in common, however, both novels deftly balance talking about harder issues with light touches of humor and stunning grace.

Ginny Moon book cover

Meet Ginny Moon, a spunky, hilarious, and earnest 14-year-old girl who has everyone around her worried as she obsesses about the Baby Doll she left behind when she was saved from her birth mom five years ago. As Ginny shares her perspective as an adopted teenager with autism coming to terms with an abusive past, readers get to experience her joys and frustrations right along with her while she goes to extraordinary lengths to find her Baby Doll. Benjamin Ludwig will take you on a roller-coaster of emotion this summer with his debut Ginny Moon!

 

 

The Garden of Small Beginnings book cover

Filled with quirky characters, a chance of new love, and a strong family, The Garden of Small Beginnings is a ticket into a realistic slice of someone else’s life. It’s been almost five years since Lilli’s husband died and she was left to raise two young children with the help of her supportive sister. As Lilli and her family continue to work through their healing, a gardening class Lilli’s boss is making her sign up for holds an unexpected chance for a new beginning. For the reader looking for humor, heart, and healing, Abbi Waxman’s latest is a summer must.

 

 

Cathleen says….

He Said / She Said by Erin Kelly, expected in June, and New Boy by Tracy Chevalier, released last week, are two absorbing stories that turn dark motives into exciting storytelling.

He Said_She Said book cover

1999. In the afterglow of a total solar eclipse, Laura and her boyfriend Kit turn a corner to see what appears to be a violent assault. He said…it was consensual. She said…well, nothing out loud, but the look in her eyes tells Laura all she needs to know. The man is convicted because of Laura’s testimony, but sixteen years later it is Kit and Laura who live in hiding. With another eclipse expected, is this the time for harsh truths finally to be brought into the light? Find out in Erin Kelly’s debut He Said / She Said.

 

 

New Boy book cover

Transport the play Othello to an elementary school in 1970s Washington, D.C., and you have drama ripe for social commentary via sixth graders. In New Boy, a diplomat’s son is the first and only black student the school has ever enrolled. When he easily befriends popular girl Dee, it is too much for Ian, the class bully, who already feels threatened. The playground proves a ready-made setting for the jealousy and manipulation of Shakespeare’s classic, and you won’t want to miss how it ‘plays’ out.

Newer Books You Might Enjoy, Part One

Summer is on its way! To help you prepare for your reading-in-the-sunshine endeavors, we have dipped our toes in recent book releases, poured over top new release lists, and examined reviews just to land on stand-out titles that resonated with us that you would enjoy, too. We’ll be back next week for part two!

Cathleen says….

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, new this month, and Borne by Jeff VanderMeer, released in April, are two very different reads that make lasting impressions.

 

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine book coverWe love championing a debut, but I’ll be honest: this book pitch practically sells itself. A popular way to describe Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is as A Man Called Ove meets The Rosie Project, which right there tells you almost all you need to know. Eleanor is a prickly, solitary woman who (hilariously) speaks her mind and is just fine with avoiding all human interaction. When in a short time she meets a local musician, needs to call on her work’s IT guy, and helps an elderly gentleman who’s fallen, she finds herself being pulled into a world with other people. Take the time to get to know Eleanor. You’ll be very glad you did.

 

 

Borne book cover

“What did I just read?!?” This was my reaction to Jeff VanderMeer’s stupefying Southern Reach trilogy, so I thought I was prepared for his newest. Borne is something new altogether. We start with the discovery of a fist-sized purple blob caught in the fur of a gigantic flying bear our narrator is using to scavenge for biotech scraps, and it gets weirder from there. The plot may be impossible to summarize in a way that does it justice, but reviewers are comparing to Cormac McCarthy and Margaret Atwood. Smart, literate, and mind-blowing, it’s quite a ride.

 

 

 

Picture of Jenny

Jenny says….

Try What it Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah, released April 2017, and Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy, releasing in June 2017.

 

What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky book cover
I am obsessed with this story collection right now. Arimah covers a lot of ground as she plays with different genres and explores what it means to be a girl, family dynamics, and the relationships people have with the world around them. With sentences like “[the Mathematicians are] …calculating and subtracting emotions, drawing them from living bodies like poison from a wound,” this short story collection is something to be savored. My favorites ended up being “Light”, “Redemption”, “Wild”, and the title story. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you read them!

 

 

Do Not Become Alarmed book cover

The relaxing cruise trip cousins Liv and Nora have planned for their families takes a dark turn when their children go missing off of the coast of Central America leaving the parents to work out their feelings of guilt, fear and powerlessness. Best read under a hot sticky sun, Do Not Become Alarmed was something I finished in almost one sitting, as it begs you to keep turning the pages to figure out how everything can possibly end okay!

 

Staff Pick: The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

Book of Lost Things book coverIn The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly, twelve-year-old David’s life is in disarray with having to leave his home in London to flee World War II, a dead mother, and a new step-mother and brother. His only escape is his bedroom full of books. When his fantasies intrude and the menacing Crooked Man steals his brother, David must take a journey where his stories take on an all-too-dangerous – and adult – reality. Perfect for anyone looking to get lost in a fantasy world with surprisingly sharp teeth.

Staff Pick- Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

Picture of DonnaI suggest the 2017 Pulitzer winner for general nonfiction Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond. The author lived in the depressed areas of Milwaukee to gather his research for the book. It highlights several families that struggle to keep a roof over their heads. Some are locked in their situations while others can break the cycle. A  home is so very important for a person’s sense of well being.

Staff Pick: The Young Girls of Rochefort

Picture of JohnPossibly one of the most gorgeous motion pictures ever made (and a major inspiration for La La Land), Jacques Demy’s The Young Girls of Rochefort takes the conventional musical off the studio set and envigorates it with colorful sunlit location shooting. Vibrant, occasionally silly, and about as charming a film as you’re ever likely to see, this picture seems to capture the very essence of springtime.