Check out our new library displays!
Come and see our new displays at Cook Park and Aspen Drive. You never know what you might find!
Interested in baseball? Even if you're not, you'll probably find a good book or movie on the Batter Up! display in the Cook Park Fiction Room.
Also in the Fiction Room, you'll find The Story Continues. This highlights collections of short stories and also books in series.
Looking for a DVD for Mother's Day? Take a peek at our Movies to Watch with Mom display in the Cook Park Adult DVD area. Or for a different Mother's Day twist, Aspen Drive has a book display called Mother Dear or Mommie Dearest? From sweet to creepy, you'll find something that interests you.
The library has lots of "how-to" books. From cooking to playing poker, we've got it covered! Check out a few on the Cook Park non-fiction display, Learn from the Pros.
May is Latino Books Month, so Latino authors are highlighted at Aspen Drive. Find an old favorite or discover a new writer, and get a taste of a different culture.
Last but not least, there are two displays on the Lower Level at Cook Park. All in the Family showcases many of our Book Club selections. Or find a page-turning mystery on the Get Caught Reading display!
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Music Picks- 4 Albums Currently in High Rotation on Nate's iPod
Looking for some new music? Give these albums at your library a try!
Drive (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
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White Rabbits- Milk Famous
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Gotye- Making Mirrors
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Bill Ryder-Jones- If...
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Authors Coming to Your Library
Some amazing authors are coming to Cook and Vernon Hills Libraries in the coming weeks, and we hope you can join us for one or more of them. If you are interested in registering for any of these events, you can click on the Register link, call the library, or ask us at the reference desk to sign you up.
“Mrs. Kennedy and Me: An Intimate Memoir’’, 7 p.m. Monday, April 23, Libertyville Civic Center
In “Mrs. Kennedy and Me,’’ Clint Hill gives a firsthand account of the four years he spent as First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy’s Secret Service Agent. He was by Mrs. Kennedy’s side for some of the happiest moments as well as the darkest. He was there for the birth of John Jr., and was the agent who courageously ran onto the back of the presidential limousine in the midst of the assassination of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Books will be available for purchase and signing at the event, courtesy of Lake Forest Book Store. Register
Lauren Fox, author of “Friends Like Us’’, 7 p.m. Monday, April 30, Cook Library
Join us as we welcome author Lauren Fox to Cook Library! She'll read from her latest novel, "Friends Like Us" which People Magazine has called "a strikingly wise exploration of the bonds people forge and break." Books will be available for purchase and signing at the event, courtesy of Lake Forest Book Store. Register
Aunt Dimity Mystery Author Nancy Atherton, 1 p.m. Friday, May 11, Cook Library
Meet Nancy Atherton, author of the popular cozy mystery series featuring Lori Shepherd and her ghostly Aunt Dimity. Books, including her latest, “Aunt Dimity and the Village Witch.’’ will be available for purchase and signing at the event, courtesy of Lake Forest Book Store. Register
Book Goodie Bag Giveaway With Author Deborah Michel! 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 15, Cook Library Register
Meet author Deborah Michel, a seasoned magazine editor and freelance writer who has written her first novel, “Prosper in Love’’. Her publisher, Penguin Publishing, is donating several book bags filled with books, which will be given out randomly to patrons attending the evening. In “Prosper in Love,’’ Jamie and Lynn Prosper are one of those magical couples who seem to find in each other all they need. Neither questions the safety of their rock-solid marriage. But when F.X. Donahue, an old college friend of Lynn’s turns up at one of her work-related cocktail parties, tiny chinks in the marriage’s previously unassailable armor start to open. Books will be available for sale courtesy of Lake Forest Book Store.
Lunch with Ann Packer, Noon Wednesday, May 16, Aspen Library
Have lunch with award-winning writer Ann Packer, author of several novels, including "The Dive from Clausen's Pier.” An optional box lunch from Cafe Pyrenees will be provided for $8.00, which must be paid in advance and in person at either Cook Park or Aspen Drive Library. Lunches may be ordered through May 9th. Books for sale and signing will be provided by Lake Forest Book Store. Register
“Nothing Daunted’’ author Dorothy Wickenden, 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 29, Cook Library
Dorothy Woodruff was the grandmother of New Yorker executive editor Dorothy Wickenden. Nearly one hundred years later, Wickenden found the buoyant, detailed, colorful letters her grandmother wrote to her family. Through them, she has chronicled their trials in the classroom, the cowboys and pioneering women they met, and the violent kidnapping of a close friend. Books for sale and signing will be provided by Lake Forest Book Store. RegisterAdd a comment
The Top-Rated Films of 2011
I admit that my “movies to see’’ list is rather long this year. I guess a lot of my free time has been spent with my nose in a book (or my iPad), but I do love a great movie. I also hate wasting time watching bad films, so to narrow my focus, I decided to compile the best lists of various movie critics.
I cast a wide net to get a greater range of tastes, but my Excel spreadsheet has revealed a consensus of the best films of 2011. Some of these movies are in theaters, or just coming out. Others are no longer on the big screen, and I’ve indicated if the library owns them so you can place holds.
The following movies were compiled from the lists by Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, Michael Wilhelmson of the Chicago Tribune, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, Time, MTV, Hollywood Reporter, AV Club, Timeout New York, Moviefone and Rotten Tomatoes. I’ve used the marvelous Internet Movie Database (IMDb) website for the descriptions.
Nine out of eleven sources listed three movies in their best lists:
- “The Artist” is a black-and-white silent movie which has just come into the theaters.
IMDb summary: Hollywood, 1927: As silent movie star George Valentin wonders if the arrival of talking pictures will cause him to fade into oblivion, he sparks with Peppy Miller, a young dancer set for a big break.
- “Hugo’’ is based on the phenomenal children’s book, “The Invention of Hugo Cabret: A Novel of Words and Pictures ’’ by Brian Selznick. The movie, directed by Martin Scorsese and is still available in some theaters in 3D.
IMDb summary: Set in 1930s Paris, an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station is wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton.
- “Tree of Life”, starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, was released in May and is available at the library.
IMDb summary: The story centers around a family with three boys in the 1950s. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence.
Movies that were listed in eight out of eleven lists:
- “The Descendants’’, starring George Clooney, still is in theaters.
IMDb summary: A land baron tries to re-connect with his two daughters after his wife suffers a boating accident.
- “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2’’, the finale of the fabulous Harry Potter movie franchise, is available at the library. OK, I admit I am a Potter junkie, and not only have watched this several times, but own the entire series in Blue Ray.
IMDb summary: Harry, Ron and Hermione search for Voldemort's remaining Horcruxes in their effort to destroy the Dark Lord.
- “Moneyball’’, another Brad Pitt movie, which will be released Jan. 10 on DVD/Blue Ray, and is available at the library.
IMDb summary: The story of Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane's successful attempt to put together a baseball club on a budget by employing computer-generated analysis to draft his players.
- “The Separation’’, an Iranian film that is being released Dec. 30 in theaters.
IMDb summary: A married couple are faced with a difficult decision, to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimers.
- “Drive’’, starring hottie Ryan Gosling, will come out on DVD/Blue Ray on Jan. 31. You can put it on hold at the library.
IMDb summary: A Hollywood stunt performer who moonlights as a wheelman discovers that a contract has been put on him after a heist gone wrong.
- “Bridesmaids’’, a hilarious, sometimes raunchy comedy, is at the library.
IMDb summary: Competition between the maid of honor and a bridesmaid, over who is the bride's best friend, threatens to upend the life of an out-of-work pastry chef.
- “Midnight in Paris’’, where Owen Wilson channels Woody Allen’s spirit, is at the library.
IMDb summary: A romantic comedy about a family traveling to the French capital for business. The party includes a young engaged couple forced to confront the illusion that a life different from their own is better.
- “Margaret’’, starring True Blood star Anna Paquin, is no longer in theaters, and I couldn't find a DVD release date.
IMDb summary: A young woman witnesses a bus accident, and is caught up in the aftermath, where the question of whether or not it was intentional affects many people's lives.
- “Margin Call’’, a German thriller, is on order at the library.
IMDb summary: A thriller that revolves around the key people at a investment bank over a 24-hour period during the early stages of the financial crisis.
- “Martha Mercy May Marlene’’, starring Elizabeth Olsen (the younger sister of the Olsen twins), is still in some theaters.
IMDb description: Haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, a damaged woman struggles to re-assimilate with her family after fleeing an abusive cult.
- “Pina’’ is a German film that was released in theaters in December.
IMDb summary: A tribute to choreographer Pina Bausch.
- “Attack the Block’’, starring two of my favorite actors, Kevin Spacey and Stanley Tucci, is available at the library.
IMDb summary: A teen gang in South London defend their block from an alien invasion.
- “50-50’’, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, will be available soon at the library.
IMDb summary: Inspired by a true story, a comedy centered on a 27-year-old guy who learns of his cancer diagnosis, and his subsequent struggle to beat the disease.
- “Beginners’’, starring Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plumber, can be found at the library.
IMDb summary: A young man is rocked by two announcements from his elderly father: that he has terminal cancer, and that he has a young male lover.
- “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’’, the David Fincher American version of Stieg Larsson’s Swedish thriller, is in theaters now. The library does have the Swedish version of the film, and of course, the book.
IMDb summary: Journalist Mikael Blomkvist is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing for forty years by Lisbeth Salander, a young computer hacker.
- “Melancholia’’, starring Kirstin Dunst, will be released on DVD in March 2012.
IMDb summary: Two sisters find their already strained relationship challenged as a mysterious new planet threatens to collide with the Earth.
- “Muppets’’, with Amy Adams and Jason Segal, is still in theaters.
IMDb summary: With the help of three fans, The Muppets must reunite to save their old theater from a greedy oil tycoon.
- “Shi’’ (or “Poetry’’) is a South Korean film available at the library.
IMDb summary: A sixty-something woman, faced with the discovery of a heinous family crime and in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, finds strength and purpose when she enrolls in a poetry class.
- “Rango’’, the animated comedy starring Johnny Depp, is available at the library.
IMDb summary: Rango is an ordinary chameleon who accidentally winds up in the town of Dirt, a lawless outpost in the Wild West in desperate need of a new sheriff.
- “Shame’’ is still in some theaters.
IMDb summary: In New York City, Brandon's carefully cultivated private life -- which allows him to indulge his sexual addiction -- is disrupted when his sister Cissy arrives unannounced for an indefinite stay.
- “Take Shelter’’ will be released Feb. 14 on DVD and is on order at the library.
IMDb summary: Plagued by a series of apocalyptic visions, a young husband and father questions whether to shelter his family from a coming storm, or from himself.
- “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy’’, based on the classic spy thriller by John LeCarre, stars Colin Firth and Gary Oldman. It is in theaters now.
IMDb summary: In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6's echelons.
- “War Horse’’, a Steven Spielberg film, is in theaters.
IMDb summary: Young Albert enlists to service in WWI after his beloved horse, Joey, is sold to the cavalry. Albert's hopeful journey takes him out of England and across Europe as the war rages on.
- “Young Adult’’, with Charlize Theron, is in theaters.
IMDb summary: Soon after her divorce, a fiction writer returns to her home in small-town Minnesota, looking to rekindle a romance with her ex-boyfriend, who is now married with kids.
- Coriolanus”, with Ralph Fienes and Gerard Butler, is at the library.
IMDb summary: A banished hero of Rome allies with a sworn enemy to take his revenge on the city.
- “The Help”, based on the blockbuster novel by Kathryn Stockett, is available at the library.
IMDb summary: An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960's decides to write a book detailing the African-American maid's point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
- “Incendies”, a Norwegian film, is available at the library.
IMDb summary: Twins journey to the Middle East to discover their family history, and fulfill their mother's last wishes.
- “Le Quattro Volte’’, an Italian film, is available at the library.
IMDb summary: An old shepherd lives his last days in a quiet medieval village perched high on the hills of Calabria, at the southernmost tip of Italy. He herds goats under skies that most villagers have deserted long ago. He is sick, and believes to find his medicine in the dust he collects on the church floor, which he drinks in his water every day.
- “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’’, the latest Tom Cruise offering, is still in theaters.
IMDb summary: The IMF is shut down when it's implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, causing Ethan Hunt and his new team to go rogue to clear their organization's name.
- “My Joy’’, is a German film.
IMDb summary: The story about a few days in the life of truck driver Georgi seems to be a never-ending nightmare, a spiral of violence and abuses of power. A man goes to work and on his way he is sucked into the everyday madness of his country, losing his health and memory in the process. A dark parable about the situation in deep Ukraine today.
- “Rise of the Planet of the Apes’’, starring James Franco, is at the library.
IMDb summary: During experiments to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease, a genetically-enhanced chimpanzee uses its greater intelligence to lead other apes to freedom.
- “Super 8’’, created by J.J. Abrams "Fringe'', is available at the library.
IMDb summary: During the summer of 1979, a group of friends witness a train crash and investigate subsequent unexplained events in their small town.
- “Tuesday, After Christmas’’, is a Romanian film available at the library.
IMDb summary: Paul Hanganu loves two women. Adriana his wife and the mother of their daughter, the woman with whom he's shared the thrills of the past ten years, and Raluca the woman who has made him redefine himself. He has to leave one of them before Christmas.
- “X-Men: First Class’’, is available at the library.
IMDb summary: In 1962, the United States government enlists the help of Mutants with superhuman abilities to stop a malicious dictator who is determined to start world war III.
- “Win Win’’, with Paul Giamati and Amy Ryan, is available at the library.
IMDb summary: A struggling lawyer and volunteer wrestling coach's chicanery comes back to haunt him when the teenage grandson of the client he's double-crossed comes into his life.
- “We Need to Talk About Kevin” will be released in theaters in January, and some critics consider this a 2012 film and therefore will consider it for next year's lists.
IMDb summary: The mother of a teenage boy who went on a high-school killing spree tries to deal with her grief - and feelings of responsibility for her child's actions.
Best Non-Fiction of 2011
Now it’s time for the best non-fiction books of the year! (Please see my previous post for best fiction.) I compiled the 2011 best lists from the New York Times, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Book Page, Amazon and Barnes & Noble to see which titles are mentioned the most.
Several titles stand out as among the top-reviewed non-fiction of the year, according to these lists. Only one book made all seven compilations -- Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton, who tells with honesty and humor how she evolved as a chef.
The only book mentioned six times is In The Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson, who relates the story of how a mild-mannered professor from Chicago became the United States’ first ambassador to Germany during Hitler’s reign. Larson’s previous book, Devil and the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, is still popular among patrons and our book clubs.
One book that made five lists is Blue Nights by Joan Didion, which is described by critics and haunting and moving. Didion shares her thoughts about illness, losing a child and growing old. Her previous book, The Year of Magical Thinking, also examines grief, including what it’s like to lose a spouse.
For history lovers, Pulitzer Prize winner Robert K. Massie is back with Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman, which was listed four times. Massie is known for his biographical narratives, including Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs.
Twelve books made the cut three times:
- 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created by Charles C. Mann
- 1861: Civil War Awakening by Adam Goodheart
- Bossypants by Tina Fey
- Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of an American President by Candace Millard
- The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood by James Gleick
- Lost In Shangri-La: A True Story Of Survival, Adventure, And The Most Incredible Rescue Mission Of World War II by Mitchell Zuckoff
- Malcolm X: A Life Of Reinvention by Manning Marable
- Midnight Rising: John Brown And Raid That Sparked The Civil War by Tony Horwitz
- Rin Tin Tin: The Life And The Legend by Susan Orlean
- The Swerve: How The World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt
- Thinking, Fast And Slow by Daniel Kahneman
- A World On Fire: Britain's Crucial Role In The American Civil War by Amanda Foreman
Twenty-four titles were picked two times:
- Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty by Andrew Bolton
- Assassins Of The Turquoise Palace by Roya Hakakian
- Beginning Of Infinity: Explanations That Transform The World by David Deutsch
- Believing Is Seeing: Observations On The Mysteries Of Photography by Errol Morris
- Better Angels Of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker
- Charles Dickens: A Life by Claire Tomalin
- Cocktail Hour Under The Tree Of Forgetfulness by Alexandra Fuller
- Ecstasy Of Influence: Non-fictions, Etc. by Jonathan Lethem
- Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi And His Struggle With India by Joseph Lelyveld
- Greater Journey: Americans In Paris, 1830-1900 by David Mccullough
- Inferno: The World At War, 1939-1945 by Max Hastings
- Inside Scientology: The Story Of America's Most Secretive Religion by Janet Reitman
- Life Itself: A Memoir by Roger Ebert
- Love And Capital: Karl and Jennie Marx And The Birth Of A Revolution by Mary Gabriel
- The Memory Palace: A Memoir by Mira Bartok
- The Origins Of Political Order: From Prehuman Times To The French Revolution by Francis Fukuyama
- Pulphead: Essays by John Jeremiah Sullivan
- The Rise And Fall Of Ancient Egypt by Toby Wilkinson
- Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
- Those Guys Have All The Fun: Inside The World Of ESPN by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales
- To A Mountain In Tibet by Colin Thubron
- To End All Wars: A Story Of Loyalty And Rebellion, 1914-1918 by Adam Hochschild
- Townie: A Memoir by Andre Dubus III
- A Train In Winter: An Extraordinary Story Of Women, Friendship, And Resistance In Occupied France by Caroline Moorehead
- What It Is Like To Go To War by Karl Marlantes
If you want to see these best of 2011 lists, I posted links on our Readers’ Services page, which you can can find by clicking here. I also compiled a list of the Fiction and Reference Staffs' favorite books of 2011, which you can find by clicking here, or picking up a booklet at the Reference Desk. I hope this list gives you great reading and gift ideas. Do you have a non-fiction book that you think should have made the list? Let me know!