Book Club, RA Programs, Read-a-Likes, reader's advisory

After Dinner Mints

Just Desserts Discussion Group talks about
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

This month’s fiction book is Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger. Mr. Krueger is an American author and crime writer. He is also the author of the Cork O’Connor series of thirteen books. All of his novels are set in Minnesota. William knew that he wanted to be a writer back in the third grade. He wakes up every morning at 5:30 and goes to a nearby cafe’. At the cafe’, he drinks coffee in “his” booth while writing long-hand in wire bound notebooks.

Our story takes place in 1961 in the small town of New Bremen, Minnesota. Our narrator, thirteen year old Frank Drum tells us the story of how in one summer the town experiences an accidental death, a natural death, a suicide, and a murder. This one summer is engraved in Frank’s mind because four deaths in one summer is unheard of for this small town. The young girl that was murdered is Frank’s eighteen year old sister, Ariel, who was heading to college in the fall.

We follow the murder investigation through Frank’s eyes. Frank also has a younger brother, eleven year old, Jake, who has stuttered his whole life. These two young boys are brothers and very best friends.

They adore their sister and want someone brought to justice for her death.

It is also a story about grief. How grief can change an entire family and even an entire town for that matter! For many families, the death of a child tears them apart forever. Why do bad things happen to good people? How could this happen and who is to blame?

We meet many of the townspeople and the author gives us a few “red herrings” as we discover a murderer. William Kent Krueger is a great writer! Ordinary Grace is his first stand-alone novel.

I would also like to thank the Just Desserts book club for a great discussion and 100% attendance by the whole group! I am so thankful for each and every one of you! See you in January for Jodi Picoult’s Small Great Things!

Ordinary Grace

 

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RA Programs, reader's advisory, Slideshows

Book Lover’s Day 2017 Wrap Up

September 21st was Book Lover’s Day 2017!  This is our annual program to share books that we as a department have loved over the past year, give away raffles of popular books, and have a pleasant luncheon while enjoying fiction.

We had a full house this year; every seat was filled!

If you were unable to join us, or want a refresher on what books were spoken about, below you will find the slide show from Book Lover’s Day 2017 as well as an alphabetical book list by author of the titles presented.  Click on any of the titles in the book list to see them in our catalog.

Please feel free to ask questions or reserve a book via the comments!

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All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders (Speculative Fiction)

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero (Nostalgic Adventure)

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan (Romance Fiction)

Dying on the Vine by Marla Cooper (Mystery)

The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney (Psychological Suspense)

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (Mythological Non-Fiction)

The Dry by Jane Harper (Mystery)

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (Literary Fiction)

The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson (Domestic Fiction)

What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan (Suspense/ Thriller)

The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore (Historical Fiction)

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn (Historical Fiction

The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond (Suspense/Thriller)

Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran (Domestic Fiction)

The Reporter Who Knew Too Much by Mark Shaw (Biography/True Crime)

Displays, RA Programs

Let’s Plan a “Wise Guys” Weekend!

Discover the many ways you can benefit from the Rolling Meadows Library collection with our Let’s Plan a Weekend displays at the Welcome Desk!

We are having small, themed raffles in conjunction with these displays that patrons can enter to win!   Each display also includes bookmarks to take home on how to create your own unique, themed experiences with library materials, which are also on display.  Raffle winners do need to have a Rolling Meadows library card, but everyone can check out the materials or take home a bookmark!

The display which has just ended was “Let’s Plan a 007 Weekend!”  Patrons entered to win a James Bond themed mega pack of prizes, which included Bond movies, spy gear, and more.  This pack continued in our Summer Reading Program theme of “Get a Clue…at the Library!”
Our winners for this prize pack was Linda L., out of a total out 164 entries!

Our current display is also linked to our annual Summer Reading Program! “Let’s Plan a ‘Wise Guys’ Weekend!” has two different packs of prizes to win, one themed around the HBO show The Sopranos, and one themed more generally around the mystery and fascination surrounding the mob.

Questions?  Call the library @ 847.259.6050 or stop by the Welcome Desk!

7-10 Wise Guys

Displays, RA Programs

Let’s Plan a 007 Weekend!

Discover the many ways you can benefit from the Rolling Meadows Library collection with our Let’s Plan a Weekend displays at the Welcome Desk!

We are having small, themed raffles in conjunction with these displays that patrons can enter to win!   Each display also includes bookmarks to take home on how to create your own unique, themed experiences with library materials, which are also on display.  Raffle winners do need to have a Rolling Meadows library card, but everyone can check out the materials or take home a bookmark!

The display which has just ended was “Let’s Plan a Murder Mystery Weekend!”  Patrons entered to win one of two different mystery-related prize packs.  All the materials in the packs were related to our Summer Reading Program theme of “Get a Clue…at the Library!” with books, music and movies.
Our winners for these prize packs were Russell J. and Erin B., out of a total out 142 entries!

Our current display is also linked to our annual Summer Reading Program! “Let’s Plan a 007 Weekend!” has a James Bond themed mega pack of prizes, including Bond movies, spy gear, and more!

Questions?  Call the library @ 847.259.6050 or stop by the Welcome Desk!

6-26 James Bond

RA Programs

Summer Reading has Begun!

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Our annual Summer Reading Program began on Monday, June 12th.  Come on in and sign up for our mystery themed extravaganza!

For Adults, each book read gives you an entry to win prize packs, candy, small themed gifts, and other neat prizes!  There are also quizzes that can be filled out for a chance to win end-of-summer gift cards to local restaurants and online stores.  When you sign up, you’ll receive a goody bag with the quizzes, a booklist, and other small favors to get you started.  In the goody bag is also a card for this blog!  Become a blog subscriber via email and be entered to win a special “Inspector Mallard” prize pack!

For Teens, each book read, movie watched, or CD listened to counts toward your chances to win the prizes listed above!  You also have a quiz in your goody bag that can be filled out for a chance to win end-of-summer gift cards to places like Gamestop, iTunes, and local restaurants.

While construction is still going on, please stop by the Reader’s Advisory desk in the East Wing to sign up and receive your goody bag and free first prize entry slip!

Any Questions?  Please call the library @ 847.259.6050 and ask for Reader’s Advisory, or comment on any of our blog posts!

Displays, RA Programs

Let’s Plan a Murder Mystery Weekend!

Discover the many ways you can benefit from the Rolling Meadows Library collection with our Let’s Plan a Weekend displays at the Welcome Desk!

We are having small, themed raffles in conjunction with these displays that patrons can enter to win!   Each display also includes bookmarks to take home on how to create your own unique, themed experiences with library materials, which are also on display.  Raffle winners do need to have a Rolling Meadows library card, but everyone can check out the materials or take home a bookmark!

The display which has just ended was “Let’s Plan a Beach Party Weekend!”  Patrons entered to win a prize pack of books, movies, music, and other materials for beginning of summer festivities! Our winner for this prize pack was Glenda D., out of a total of 77 entries.

Our current display is linked to the beginning of our annual Summer Reading Program! “Let’s Plan a Murder Mystery Weekend!” has two different mystery-related prize packs that can be won.  All the materials in the packs are related to our Summer Reading Program theme of “Get a Clue…at the Library!”

Questions?  Call the library @ 847.259.6050 or stop by the Welcome Desk!

6-12 Murder Mystery

RA Programs, Teen Scene

Block That Bully!

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On Wednesday, March 29th, our Teen department will be hosting Internet safety experts from the University of Chicago for an event that will give both teens and parents the tools to keep teenagers safe online.

You can register by signing up at the Welcome Desk, calling the library at (847) 259-6050, or registering online.  Walk-ins are welcome for this intriguing and essential program!

Book Club, RA Programs

The After Party – Morning Book Break – Feb. 2017

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Morning Book Break Discussion on Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Rating: Secret Daughter received ratings between 3.5 and 5.0 with an average rating of 4.06.

Review: Most members were delighted to read a book for club that they really enjoyed. The last three books for club, while interesting, informative, and producing lively discussion, did not generate as much favor as Secret Daughter. Members enjoyed an excellent, easy read. Many members have established life-long learning as a core value, so they felt they benefited from the historical and cultural perspective the novel offered.

Discussion Highlights:

  • Members like Gowda’s style of writing. They liked her use of descriptive language and felt they were transported to both the slums of Mumbai and the lavish, elite neighborhoods of Mumbai. Gowda uses effective sensory language.
  • Most members felt the dual-narration was easy to follow, a few members stated this is definitely not their prefer style of storytelling.
  • Members enjoyed learning about Indian culture.
  • One member listened to the audiobook and highly recommends it, she loved the accents.
  • Several members simply could not put the book down and they read the book in one day. One member stated, “I enjoyed every page.”
  • Members thought Asha, Somer, Kavita and the other women in the novel were fully-fleshed out characters. The members thought the male characters needed further development, particularly Vijay.
  • The members gave their opinions on the main underlying theme the author tried to address: “How much of our life is destined for us—by our gender, our economic class, or the culture we’re born into? How much is within our power to change?” (p.2 paperback edition—The Story Behind The Book—A+ Author Insights, Extras, & More…)
  • Dialogue also included conversations about many weighty topics:
    • Adoption
    • Infertility
    • Motherhood/Women’s roles
    • Gender inequality in other countries/Female infanticide
    • Identity/Belonging Issues
    • Nature/Nurture Debate
    • Migration/Immigration/Assimilation
    • Cultural differences between US and India
    • Relaxation techniques/Yoga/Meditation

Resources:

Read-a-Likes:

Further explore the Mumbai slums
by reading the narrative nonfiction,
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope
in a Mumbai Undercity
by Katherine Boo.
The Pulitzer Prize winning author,
after three-years of research and investigation,
tells a moving story of triumph and tragedy.

Book Club, RA Programs

The After Party – Books and Bagels – Feb. 2017

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Books and Bagels Discussion on Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg

Rating: Did You Ever Have A Family received ratings between 2.5 and 5.0 with an average rating of 3.73.

Review: We appreciated another excellent discussion with most members either praising the novel or disliking the novel.  One member noted that this is the case for many authors and genres at the library—people definitely enjoy different novels.  She further noted that the discussion is always exciting when there is disagreement. Also, she complimented the array of selections presented to the book club.

Did You Ever Have A Family is Bill Clegg’s debut fiction novel. Members had not previously read either of his memoirs. All members were moved by minor character Cissy’s role in the lives of several main characters.  Cissy states, “Rough as life can be, I know in my bones we are supposed to stick around and play our part…..Someone down the line might need to know you got through it. Or maybe someone you won’t see coming will need you…And it might be you never know the part you played, what it meant to someone to watch you make your way each day.” p. 289 (paperback)

Discussion Highlights:

  • The members who gave the novel high marks cited the following reasons:
    • Fabulous writing, excellent techniques, and complex structuring
    • Author’s exploration of different points of view in the novel, the use of closed third person narration for the three main characters and the selection of first person narration for the minor characters— members enjoyed the multiple narrator aspect
    • Found the minor characters fascinating and thought this was a testament to the often overlooked people who offer solace and kindness everyday
    • Liked that the novel was character-driven
    • Satisfaction in discovering how characters were connected
    • Members appreciated piecing all the characters together. One member stated it was like putting a puzzle together.
    • Lots of characters, probably an homage to being human and our interconnection with others as we travel through this world
    • Rich, complex, multi-layered, mesmerizing
    • Members were reminded of another novel previously selected for book club: The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan. These books had a very similar format, structure, and character development.  Interestingly, the same members who liked Did You Ever Have A Family enjoyed The Spinning Heart, likewise, those that disliked Did You Ever Have A Family disliked The Spinning Heart.
  • The members who gave the novel low marks cited the following reasons:
    • Too many characters (at least 42) for a shorter book (219 pages)
    • Clegg frequently uses pronouns and descriptions instead of using first and/or last names which makes tracking the characters even more difficult
    • Members had difficulty in keeping track of all the characters and often felt lost
    • Due to the amount of characters, members felt that when they put the book down, they could no longer pick-up where they left off
    • Again, due to the number of characters, members who read the book weeks before had a difficult time remembering all the characters
    • One member politely said: I really enjoyed the discussion, but the novel wasn’t my style, way too many characters that are not clearly delineated.
    • Members were not invested in any of the characters

Resources:

From 14:51-21:07, Bill Clegg discusses his interesting hometown and its effect on his novel.

From 29:53-35:58, Bill Clegg reveals how he started his novel with this sentence,“She will go.”  p. 7 (paperback).  Additionally, Bill Clegg talks about his love for the “accidental pairing of people in life.”  This concept is definitely explored in his novel.

Check-Out Bill Clegg’s Memoirs!


Read-A-Likes:

did-you-ever-have-a-family

Book Club, RA Programs

After Dinner Mints: The Dish on Just Desserts – January 2017

after-dinner-mints

Just Desserts Discussion Group talks about
Give & Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success
by Adam Grant

Our author Adam Grant is the youngest tenured professor at the Wharton School of Business. He is also one of Business Week’s favorite professors and one of Fortune’s 40 under 40. Adam Grant is the best-selling author of Give and Take and his newest book; Originals- How Non-Conformists Move the World. He has a PhD in organizational psychology.

Our book this month deals with success in business and in life.  Most of us think success is about hard work, perseverance and luck. That equation overlooks the impact of our interactions with others. People are either: givers, takers or matchers. Matchers achieve the most success in life, followed by givers with takers in last place.

Adam Grant’s “code of honor”- the traits that inspire trust and not competition in the work place are: show up, work hard, be kind, and always take the high road.

This book shares personal stories, but also many success stories. As a group, we learned about the creation of Craigslist and Freecycle. The author strongly believes in paying favors forward.

80% of all Americans now work in service industries.  We need to be able to work independently and interdependently!

If you are interested in this topic, check out the book and the author’s website www.giveandtake.com.  On the website, there is a free quiz available to find out your Giver Quotient. There are also videos to watch of Adam Grant giving several speeches on the topic. He is a wonderful public speaker!

We had a great discussion and we expect to see more great things from Adam Grant in the future!

give-and-take