Staff Choices

Posted by SherriT on 12/07/18
cover image
It is that time of year again! Time for binge watching the Hallmark Channel Christmas movie lineup. If you are like me and love the guilty pleasure of knowing there is a happy ending with a kiss under the mistletoe, than you will love Karen Schaler’s book, Christmas Camp.

Workaholic Haley Hansen's idea of a perfect Christmas is a trip to the Caribbean with her sunscreen in one hand and her laptop in the other. She is determined to focus on her career and make partner at the advertising agency where she works. In order to do this she needs to land the coveted Tyler Toys' account. The problem is Tyler Toys represent traditional Christmas values, so as research she goes to Christmas Camp to find her holiday spirit.

Upon arrival at the camp, Haley immerses herself in all things Christmas. Because she must have that certificate, Haley reluctantly participates. However, with the help of Jeff Jacoby, who is son of the camp owner, and the other guests, she slowly discovers the Christmas spirit. Jeff is your classic strong, male character, handsome and closed off. Haley and Jeff’s banter makes for a funny and cute story that was easy to follow and even easier to fall in love with.
 
This delightful story is light and entertaining and definitely puts you in the Christmas spirit!
 
Posted by bpardue on 12/06/18
cover image
Can is considered one of the core "krautrock" bands emerging from Germany in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Their contemporary influence can't be overstated--namechecking Can gives musicians instant hipster chic. One band, The Mooney Suzuki, went so far as to name itself after two of the group's legendary singers. All Gates Open is really two books in one. In the first, Rob Young pens a highly-detailed standard history of the group, tracing the four core members' origins in the classical, jazz and avant-garde music scenes of the 1960s, through the legendary periods with singers Malcom Mooney and Damo Suzuki brought into the fold, on to their expanded lineup of the late 1970s with ex-members of Traffic. Each album and tour is dissected and analyzed, all against the backdrop of the band members' personal relationships and business dealings. It's a dense read, but one that fans will enjoy. The "second book" is really an extensive set of interviews and essays, mostly centering around keyboardist/composer Irmin Schmidt, the group's one surviving founding member. I found this a bit less essential, but will still be valuable to in-depth fans.
 
Posted by Alisa S on 11/26/18
cover image
A sweet and serendipitous tale of love at first sight, One Day in December by Josie Silver is sure to please fans of contemporary romance novels. Laurie first spies Jack on the street from a fogged up window of a London doubledecker. While she is sure they had a meaningful connection in that split second, he seems lost to her forever once the bus pulls away. But fate brings them together in the most awkward of ways, and the novel follows their star-crossed relationship over ten years, as the rigors and realities of adulthood further complicate their lives.
 
This book is a light read that is perfect for the hectic holiday season. 
Posted by Lucy S on 11/16/18
cover image
What does it mean to be an exile? What weight does it carry? How much of your identity is wrapped around a place? Next Year in Havana is both the title of this book and a toast, a wish for the future, spoken by those who have left and hope to return.
 
Forced to flee in 1959, the Perez family came to the United States when the political tides shifted in Cuba. Told in two timelines. In the present day, the main character, Marisol, travels to Cuba to bring her grandmother’s ashes home. As she explores Havana and the surrounding countryside she uncovers a treasure trove of family history. Written with nostalgia, pride and hope intermingled with romance, high society life, rebellion, and secrecy. 
 

Author Chanel Cleeton grew up on family stories of her own family's departure from Cuba. This story provides an intriguing viewpoint of a country located only 90 miles away.

 
Posted by jlasky on 11/14/18
cover image
Joseph, a college student at UC Berkeley, receives a mysterious package from Cairo, the home of his birth father. Although he was raised in the states by his Jewish mother, he spent several summers in Cairo traversing a completely different culture and lifestyle with his Muslim relatives.

The package leads him on an adventure that peels back the rich history of his ancestors on both sides. Going back a thousand years, the Muslim men in his family kept watch over the sacred Ezra Scrolls in a small synagogue in Cairo, the same synagogue where his parents met. The story is helped along by two British sisters at the end of the 19th century, who travel to Egypt to rescue sacred texts.

In “The Last Watchman of Old CairoMichael David Lukas weaves a remarkable tale of various traditions, cultures and religions through the centuries. Vivid scenery, mysticism, love, devotion and richly developed characters make this a tale you will find hard to put down.
Posted by jonf on 11/08/18
cover image
The compelling story of the Apollo 8 mission told by Robert Kurson, the talented author of "Crashing Through" and "Shadow Divers". The author at a visit to the Museun of Science and Industry saw a small capsule from this mission and was moved to tell their story. In 1968 with America in turmoil, NASA sped up the launch of Apollo 8 to make sure Americans were the first to fly , orbit and return from the moon.
The mission was rushed and gave Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders only 4 months to prepare. It was a staggering challenge for a mission with little margin for error. Kurson does a great job telling not only the technological challenge, but the hardship for the astronauts and their families.
Rocket Men is a excellent, well written story of an overlooked mission, which was more dangerous  and impactful than the moon landing itself. A great book for fans of adventure and exploration, highly recommended.
Non-Fiction
Posted by Alisa S on 10/29/18
cover image
Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone is an epic story of a family that moves to remote Alaska in the mid 1970s. Ernt Allbright is a charismatic but violent Vietnam vet, suffering from PTSD and drinking far too much. He alternates between adoring and abusing his lovely wife Cora, she herself totally co-dependent and going along with anything he decides in order to keep an uneasy peace. Their young daughter Leni is  thus dragged about the West coast, from home to home, school to school, as they follow each hopeless scheme her father comes up with in order to eke out a living. When he discovers he has inherited a cabin and land in Alaska from a fellow POW who never made it home, it seems to be the solution to all of their problems.
Of course, if everything worked out that easily this book would have ended well before its 400+ pages.

Alaska (as much a character as any of the people in this story) reveals herself to be stunningly beautiful but unmerciful in her brutality. Human life can be wiped out in an instant there, as the Allbrights, who arrive woefully unprepared to live in this rugged environment, soon realize. A rag-tag community of fellow pioneers quickly come to their rescue, and new friendships as well as bitter rivalries are soon formed.

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" as the saying goes, and how each of the Allbright family respond to the mental and physical challenges of this harsh world makes up most of this novel. Hannah is not a particularly elegant writer, but she is an amazing storyteller. I loved following Leni's adventures and learning about life in Alaska (Hannah's own family spent much time up there, and her love and familiarity of the state is evident). Highly recommended.
Posted by Lucy S on 10/11/18
cover image
Small mercies, sacrifice, strong will and clever deception fuel a young woman’s determination to aid her small French community in surviving enemy occupation during WWII. The Baker’s Secret is written with a new perspective. Author Stephen P. Kiernan shows how one person can make a far-reaching impact amid desperate circumstances. Even though this is a work of fiction, I could not help but be humbled about the arduousness, deprivation and oppression that people endure during war.
Posted by SherriT on 10/05/18
cover image
I recently discovered with much excitement that 2018 is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

There is something so comforting about escaping into the heartwarming pages of this story and each time I reread it I am struck by a different character or line. I know I am not alone in imagining myself as Jo and drawing strength from this smart, courageous heroine as a young girl. Now, as a mother, I also find in Marmee inspiration to be the wise, loving parent I hope to be to my children. Readers witness the sisters growing up and figuring out what role each wants to play in the world, and, along the way, join them on countless unforgettable adventures. Whether you are taking up Little Women for the first time or the twelth, it is a wonderful time to celebrate this incredible story.

If you loved Little Women and are looking for something else to inspire you try a book on this list: https://www.ahml.info/user/lists/5085.
Posted by jonf on 09/29/18
cover image
The latest novel by Chicago author Marcus Sakey is a strange but original mix of police thriller, love story and the meaning of death. F.B.I. agents Will Brody and Claire McCoy are trying to stop a serial sniper who has killed 18 people, to complicate the matter, they are falling in love.  Will gets a phone tip which lures him to a church which is rigged and blows up killing all in the blast. Will awakens and is told by a stranger that he is dead and welcome to the afterlife.
 
The afterlife he is in is Chicago , same time but gray and lifeless. It is run by a group of the good people who band together to evade the eaters who kill to keep their strength. Soon Will is joine by Claire who is killed by the sniper.
 
Together Will, Claire and the group try to fight off the eaters and Will and Claire try to unravel the afterlife.
A truly original story, exciting and full of questions of our mortality.
Want recommendations on what to read next? Complete this Book Me form and we will provide a list of recommended books for you to try.
Browse our collection of eBooks and eAudiobooks and learn how to use them with your eReader, tablet, or computer.

Additional Resources

 
If your status is Confirmed Registration, your spot for the event is confirmed.

If registration for this event is full, you will be placed on a waiting list. Wait listed registrants are moved to the confirmed registration list (in the order of registration) when cancelations are received. You will receive an email notification if you are moved from the wait list to the confirmed registration list.

6.012 Patron-Generated Content

04/27/2011
The Library offers various venues in which patrons can contribute content that is accessible to the public.  These include, but are not limited to, blogs, reviews, forums, and social tagging on the Library’s website and catalog.  Any instance in which a patron posts written or recorded content to any of the Library’s venues that are accessible to the public is considered “patron-generated content” and is subject to this policy.
 
By contributing patron-generated content, patrons grant the Library an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual right and license to use, copy, modify, display, archive, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works based upon that content.
 
By submitting patron-generated content, patrons warrant they are the sole authors or that they have obtained all necessary permission associated with copyrights and trademarks to submit such content.
 
Patrons are liable for the opinions expressed and the accuracy of the information contained in the content they submit.  The Library assumes no responsibility for such content.
 
The Library reserves the right not to post submitted content or to remove patron-generated content for any reason, including but not limited to:
 
  • content that is profane, obscene, or pornographic;
 
  • content that is abusive, discriminatory or hateful on account of race, national origin, religion, age, gender, disability, or sexual orientation;
 
  • content that contains threats, personal attacks, or harassment;
 
  • content that contains solicitations or advertisements;
 
  • content that is invasive of another person’s privacy;
 
  • content that is unrelated to the discussion or venue in which it is posted;
 
  • content that is in violation of the Library’s Code of Conduct or any other Library policy