Aurora Public Library Blog

Welcome to Aurora Public Library’s Blog. A place where our library staff share their thoughts, insider knowledge and overall love of all things book and community.

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Picture Books to Celebrate Black History Month Title Photo
Post by Laura R.

Parents, librarians, and educators know it’s important for kids to see themselves and their lives reflected in the stories they read. In honor of Black History Month this February, I’ve gathered a list of eight of my favorite picture books featuring African-American protagonists.

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"Leo Loves Baby Time" by Anna McQuinn, illustrated by Ruth Hearson

This story is one of several excellent picture books by author-illustrator duo Anna McQuinn and Ruth Hearson, all featuring African-American main characters. Also check out Leo Can Swim and Lola Loves Stories. In Leo Loves Baby Time, Leo and his mom head to baby storytime at their local library where they sing songs, play with scarves, and have playtime. A great book for your baby or toddler, it has just the right amount of text and bright illustrations of babies for little ones to marvel at. I especially love this book because I lead Baby Storytime every week at my branch—it tells the story of storytime!

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"Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship" by Irene Latham & Charles Waters, illustrated by Sean Qualls & Selina Alko

I adore this brand new picture book, a series of conversational poems told from the alternating voices of two children, one black, one white. Charles and Irene are paired together for a poetry project in their fifth grade class, and neither are thrilled by the match. As the poems progress, the two write about going to church and having dinner with family, but they also deal with racial differences and the difficulties of talking about them. Eventually, their experiences start to bring them together. Reading this deeply heartwarming book with your child is great way to spark important conversations about race.

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"Chocolate Me!" by Taye Digg, illustrated by Shane W. Evans

Chocolate Me! is a celebration of blackness and a story of self-affirmation for young readers. This easy-to-follow picture book has repeating text and big, bright illustrations. We follow a little boy as he wishes he could be more like his white neighborhood friends, with different hair and a narrower nose. But after a sweet pep talk from his loving mother, all of that changes.

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"Alfie" by Thyra Heder

In this adorable picture book about the relationship between a girl and her pet, we first hear the story from the perspective of seven-year-old Nia, then from the perspective of her turtle, Alfie. After Nia receives Alfie as a birthday gift, she introduces him to all her stuffed animals and decorates his terrarium. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to notice. Then one day, Alfie disappears. Will the pair be reunited? Read the story to find out; you’ll be sure to fall in love with both narrators!

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"28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World" by Charles R. Smith, Jr., illustrated by Shane W. Evans

A new and different take on black history, this non-fiction picture book dedicates a page each to twenty-eight important moments in African American culture. Many of the dates feature well-known figures, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., as well ones not so well-known, like Matthew Henson, arctic explorer. Descriptions of the events are written in verse and include a short paragraph of factual information for curious readers.

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"My Good Morning" by Kim Crockett Corson & Jelena Brezovec

I enjoy My Good Morning because, like so many children who read picture books, our main character is mixed race. But that’s not the focus of the story. We follow a little girl as she gets ready for a day at kindergarten, brushing her teeth, getting dressed, and having breakfast—with a few mistakes along the way. Finally, it’s time to say goodbye to Dad, but she won’t cry! With fun rhyming text and expressive illustrations, parents and kids alike will relate to this character’s daily routine.

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"Princess Truly in My Magical Sparkling Curls" by Kelly Greenawalt, illustrated by Amariah Rauscher

Just like Chocolate Me!, this story is one of self-affirmation, but with a female protagonist. The second and newest of the Princess Truly series, the story focuses on Truly’s beautiful “fluffy, puffy” hair. Simple rhyming text details Truly’s confidence in herself as she explores outer space and the deep sea. My Magical Sparkling Curls is a great read to show girls it’s okay to believe in themselves and to see themselves as beautiful.

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"Last Stop on Market Street" by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson

Last Stop on Market Street received the Newbery Medal, a Caldecott Honor, and a Coretta Scott King Award Honor in 2016, and in my book, it totally deserves all of them. The pictures are perfect: vibrant and simple in Christian Robinson’s signature fashion. The story follows CJ as he makes his way from church to a mystery location with his nana. CJ grumbles about making the trek across town, but Nana has some wisdom to share about the beauty of their neighborhood. When the pair finally get where they’re going (I won’t say where) CJ’s glad they came, and you will be too!

These are only a few of the great picture books available today. Stop in to your Aurora Public Library for many more recommendations and happenings!

Posted by zsmith@auroragov.org  On Feb 15, 2018 at 2:52 PM
  

Take the book love quiz
Post by Elizabeth B. 

Valentine's day is either a day you love or one you dread, but no matter your feelings, we always have our books. Whether you need a conversation starter for a first date or simply need to know which book is your true love, we have the quiz for you. Click on the link below to take the quiz and share your results in the comments! 

Click here to take our quiz and find your book love!

Posted by zsmith@auroragov.org  On Feb 10, 2018 at 8:02 AM
  

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Introduction to February Releases
Post by Kristin S.

After what seemed like a long January, February is here and Punxsutawney Phil has declared six more weeks of winter, so we might as well settle in with a brand new book or DVD! Follow the links for each format to find any of these new releases or best sellers at your neighborhood Aurora Public Library. 

Recent New York Times Bestsellers:

New Fiction

The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn

Borrow: [Print] [eAudiobook]

A recluse who drinks heavily and takes prescription drugs may have witnessed a crime across from her Harlem townhouse.

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks

Borrow: [Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

The connections linking a hedge fund manager, his ex-wife and his fiancée are explored from several points of view.

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Borrow: [Print] [Audiobook] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

A 13-year-old boy comes of age in Mississippi while his black mother takes him and his toddler sister to pick up their white father, who is getting released from the state penitentiary.

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

Borrow: [Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

Four adolescents learn the dates of their deaths from a psychic and their lives go on different courses.

Blood Fury by J. R. Ward

Borrow: [Print]

The third book in the Black Dagger Legacy series.

Robicheaux by James Lee Burke

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

A bereaved detective confronts his past and works to clear his name when he becomes a suspect during an investigation into the murder of the man who killed his wife.

Unbound by Stuart Woods

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

The 44th book in the Stone Barrington series.

The Wanted by Robert Crais

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [eBook]

A single mother hires Elvis Cole to investigate her teenage son who is on the run after a deadly crime spree.

Operator Down by Brad Taylor

Borrow: [Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

Pike Logan's team uncovers a plot to bring down a country in Africa when they track an American arms dealer.

Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [eBook]

A Seattle gallery owner and a private investigator, both of whom spent time in a cult during childhood, team up when an artist takes her own life.

Twisted by Helen Hardt

Borrow: [Print]

The eighth book in the Steel Brothers Saga series.

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Borrow: [Print] [eBook]

A pregnant American college student and a French spy join together on a mission in London in 1947.

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

The lawyer Charlotte Quinn is challenged when violence returns to her hometown of Pikesville.

New Nonfiction

Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff

Borrow: [Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

A journalist offers an inside account of the first year of the Trump White House.

When by Daniel H. Pink

Borrow: [Print]

Research from several fields reveals the ideal time to make small decisions and big life changes.

Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan

Borrow: [Print] [eBook]

A dozen essays based on short phrases that have defined some of the memoir writer's close relationships.

Women & Power by Mary Beard

Borrow: [Print] [eBook]

A look at the roots of misogyny and its manifestations today.

Single State of Mind by Andi Dorfman

Borrow: [Print] [eBook]

Real-life tales of dating and other mishaps by the former assistant district attorney from Georgia and star of "The Bachelorette."

Thanks, Obama by David Litt

Borrow: [Print] [eBook]

A comic memoir from a young presidential speechwriter who served in the Obama White House.

Home Sweet Murder by James Patterson

Borrow: [Print]

A true-crime story involving a lawyer, his wife and a man claiming to be a Securities and Exchange Commission agent.

Murder, Interrupted by James Patterson

Borrow: [Print]

The real-life story of the fight between two men after one botches the murder of the other's wife.

 DVD New Releases (Dec-Jan):

Wonder

Borrow: [DVD]

A boy with a facial deformity, who enters a middle school after being homeschooled for his whole life, struggles to fit in and get accepted by his classmates.

Blade of the Immortal

Borrow: [DVD]

Samurai Manji has taken a lot of lives, both innocent and guilty, and now lives life in feudal Japan as a criminal. After being cursed with immortality until he kills enough evil men, Manji meets a young girl who enlists him to be her body-guard. Swearing loyalty, protection and vengeance against the group of sword fighters who slaughtered her family, the unlikely duo set on a remarkable quest to make right against those who did them wrong.

The Florida Project

Borrow: [DVD]

The Florida Project tells the story of a precocious six year-old and her ragtag group of friends whose summer break is filled with childhood wonder, possibility and a sense of adventure while the adults around them struggle with hard times.

Professor Marston & the Wonder Women

Borrow: [DVD]

Details the unconventional life of Dr. William Marston, the Harvard psychologist and inventor who helped invent the modern lie detector test and created Wonder Woman in 1941. Marston was in a polyamorous relationship with his wife Elizabeth, a psychologist and inventor in her own right, and Olive Byrne, a former student who became an academic.

The Last Flag Flying

Borrow: [DVD]

A Vietnam veteran visits two of his fellow Marines to ask them with help in bringing the body of his son, a fallen soldier in Iraq, to Arlington. As they learn the truth about his death, they bond over the sore memories of their own troubled pasts. 

Only the Brave

Borrow: [DVD]

Based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a team of local firefighters train together to become one of the most elite firefighting teams in the nation and are tested when an historic wildfire threatens their town.

Geostorm

Borrow: [DVD]

Something's wrong with the satellites that control climate and prevent devastating natural disasters. It's a race to uncover the threat before a worldwide geostorm engulfs the planet.

Jigsaw

Borrow: [DVD]

When several people die in ways that resemble those of the Jigsaw Killer, detectives struggle with the possibility that he has come back from the dead to continue his killing spree.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Borrow: [DVD]

Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman star in this heart-stopping thriller about a surgeon whose family is terrorized by a depraved teenager determined to take revenge on the doctor for a fatal past mistake.

Goodbye Christopher Robin

Borrow: [DVD]

Get a rare glimpse into the relationship between author A.A. Milne, creator of the beloved Winnie-the-Pooh stories, and his son, in this moving story about success and family.

Suburbicon

Borrow: [DVD]

Suburbicon is the perfect place to raise a family, and in 1959, Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon) is doing just that. But the tranquil surface masks a disturbing reality, as Gardner must navigate the town's dark underbelly of betrayal, deceit and violence.

Thank You for Your Service

Borrow: [DVD]

Soldiers returning from Iraq struggle to integrate back into family and civilian life while living with the memory of war that threatens to destroy them long after.

My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea

Borrow: [DVD]

From cartoonist Dash Shaw comes an audacious, critically acclaimed comedy debut that blends disaster movies, teen dramas and blockbuster clichés into a dazzling tale about how high school shapes who we become, even in the most unusual of circumstance.

Chasing the Dragon

Borrow: [DVD]

Donnie Yen stars as infamous real-life drug kingpin Crippled Ho, who came to Hong Kong an illegal immigrant in 1963 and ruthlessly carved an empire from the chaotic underworld of drug dealers and corrupt police that ruled the city under notorious detective Lee Rock (Andy Lau).

Earth: One Amazing Day

Borrow: [DVD]

Narrated by Robert Redford Earth: One Amazing Day is an astonishing journey into the awesome power of the natural world.

Blade Runner 2049

Borrow: [DVD]

When a young blade runner discovers a shocking secret, he sets out to find former blade runner, Rick Deckard, who disappeared thirty years ago.

 

Happy Death Day

Borrow: [DVD]

A college student relives the day of her murder with both its unexceptional details and terrifying end until she discovers her killer's identity.

The Snowman

Borrow: [DVD]

When an elite crime squad's lead detective investigates the disappearance of a victim on the first snow of winter, he fears an elusive serial killer may be active again. With the help of a brilliant recruit, the cop must connect decades-old cold cases to the brutal new one if he hopes to outwit this unthinkable evil before the next snowfall.

I, Daniel Blake

Borrow: [DVD]

When a carpenter has a heart attack and goes on state welfare, he is joined by a single mother who is in a similar situation.

Loving Vincent

Borrow: [DVD]

The life and controversial death of Vincent Van Gogh told by his paintings and by the characters that inhabit them. The intrigue unfolds through dramatic reconstructions of the events leading up to his death.

All I See is You

Borrow: [DVD]

When a blind woman suddenly regains her eyesight, she and her husband discover disturbing details about each other.

9/11

Borrow: [DVD]

When five people find themselves trapped in an elevator after a plane hits the World Trade Center, they work together to try to survive.

Beyond Skyline

Borrow: [DVD]

When the population of Los Angeles is sucked off the face of the earth, Detective Mark Corley (Frank Grillo) storms his way onto an alien ship to rescue his estranged son. After the ship crashes in Southeast Asia, Mark must forge an alliance with a band of survivors to discover the key to saving his son and taking back the planet once and for all.

My Little Pony: The Movie

Borrow: [DVD]

A dark force threatens Ponyville, and the Mane six embark on an unforgettable journey beyond Equestria where they meet new friends and exciting challenges on a quest to use the magic of friendship to save their home.

We hope you enjoy our newest and most popular selections! Stop on in to your Aurora Public Library for more great recommendations or materials.

Sources: The New York Times, Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon, Goodreads, EarlyWord, Novelist

Posted by zsmith@auroragov.org  On Feb 05, 2018 at 10:52 AM
  

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Title image for page There is a genre for that? Medical non-fiction

 Post by Tessy W.

A sudden throbbing at your temples. Shivering until your bones seemed to jolt and creak beneath your skin, even as your fever spikes. The sweating starts. Sweating first through clothes and then blankets. And within a day, sometimes even hours,1 death.

The English sweating sickness killed between 30 to 50 percent2 of all who contracted it at the turn of the 16th century.  Appearing and retreating in five epidemics2, it sent the English upper class into hysterics as it struck not only the poor, but also ravaged the young, healthy, and more importantly, the rich.1

What caused the virulent ailment? Where did it go? The sweating sickness is an epidemiological mystery that leaves even modern experts guessing.

That's why my reading list is littered with medical non-fiction. From gripping tales of disease running rampart, to in-depth histories detailing medical breakthroughs, the world of medicine is as fascinating as it is terrifying.

Death rates from infectious diseases in the United States have plummeted from around 800 deaths per 100,000 people in 1900 to just 46 deaths per 100,000 people in 2014.Thus transforming the specter of violent and imminent death by disease into vague plans to schedule that annual physical, at least for patricular areas of the world like the United States.

The Hot Zone book cover

However, the phantom of disease still has the power to inspire prickles of nervous fear, and in some cases, outright panic. During the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the four cases4 that were diagnosed in the United States sent the country into a frenzy, making it impossible to turn around without catching another Ebola news headline.

In fact, "The Hot Zone" by Richard Preston was one of the first books of the genre I ever read. A classic New York Times bestseller,Preston plotted the emergence of the Ebola virus from the jungles of Central Africa and described the virus' hyperbolic lethality in gruesome detail. More is known about the terrifying virus since the book's publication date, but the air of terror around the then mysterious virus is near tangible in this fast-paced, scientific thriller and it is still well worth the read.

The Great Influenza book cover

Furthermore, if you're the sort to grumble about your annual flu shot, you might want to give "The Great Influenza" by John Barry a glance. Barry narrates the vicious onset and devastation of the 1918 flu pandemic in plentiful detail. Not only does he track the ravaging virus, but Barry, in exploring the question of why the virus was so monstrous, scrutinizes the history around the Spanish flu. From the setting of World War I to the emerging adeptness of the American medical community, the book chronicles one of the deadliest pandemics in human history with amazing scope and detail. Blinking up from its pages, you might be a little less reluctant next October when your doctor asks you whether you would like a flu shot.

Presently, the average American doesn't have to worry about a sweeping epidemic of Ebola or the flu. Instead, our illnesses come quietly, creeping forward through our bones, blood and flesh with ruthless intent. The leading cause of death in the United States is heart disease, but right on its heels, menacing on the edge of sight, is cancer.5The Emperor of All Maladies book cover

Dubbed "The Emperor of All Maladies" by Siddhartha Mukherjee in his book thus titled, cancer is disease at its worse. “Indeed, cancer’s emergence in the world is the product of a double negative: it becomes common only when all other killers themselves have been killed," according to Murkherjee.6 His sweeping epic of humanity's fight against cancer is an interweaving of narrative and lucid prose.  Explaining the devastation of how our own bodies can turn against us and the successive ways we have attempted to battle against cancer, he illuminates an illness that up until modern times, we'd been afraid to even speak of.

With a dramatic cast of characters, the genre of medical nonfiction can narrate like your standard novel, with the heroes garbed in white lab coats or hazmat suits. Until recently, we'd appeared to be marching past the climax in our perpetual struggle between sickness and health into a neat, healthful resolution. But perhaps disease is a timeless villain after all.

According to the World Health Organization, "antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today".7 Illnesses previously controlled by antibiotics such as bacterial pneumonia and tuberculosis, are now contributing to an estimated 23,000 deaths per year in the United States8; a surging tide of lethality caused by the misuse of one of humanity's greatest epiphanies.

Antibiotics are overused and inapplicably applied. Instead of prescribing antibiotics for legitimate bacterial infections, they are prescribed for illnesses such the flu, which are caused by viruses not bacteria, or given as a health supplement to livestock instead of strictly to sick animals. This confluence of misuse has driven the evolution of bacterial strains that are resistant to most of the antibiotics we have, and the discovery of new antibiotics is a slow process due to poor investment and regulations.9

The Coming Plague book cover

Unfortunately, antibiotic resistance is only one of many looming threats of the medical variety. If you're in the market for a doomsday directory, you might want to give "The Coming Plague" by Laurie Garrett a thorough read. Published in 1994, it has since proven its predictive power; the Ebola outbreak a few years ago being one of its many dire portents that has since become reality. In addition to foreshadowing 21st century health crises, Garrett also takes the time to detail the emergence and history behind many of the modern world's more villainous diseases such as HIV/AIDS. A hefty book packed with a decade of research, each chapter is crafted to keep you up at night.

Ultimately, the genre of medical nonfiction recounts an enduring battle of wits against humanity's greatest nemeses - and who can resist a plot like that? 

Interested in more medical nonfiction?

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Demon Under the Microscope: From Battlefield Hospitals to Nazi Labs, One Doctor's Heroic Search for the World's First Miracle Drug by Thomas Hager

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks

The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic - and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson

References

  1. The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. Sweating sickness. Encyclopædia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/science/sweating-sickness. Published July 5, 2017. Accessed December 12, 2017.

  2. Heyman P, Simons L, Cochez C. Were the English Sweating Sickness and the Picardy Sweat Caused by Hantaviruses? Viruses. 2014;6(1):151-171. doi:10.3390/v6010151.

  3. Rettner, R. (2017). 100 Years of Infectious Disease Deaths in US: Study Shows What's Changed. [online] Live Science. Available at: https://www.livescience.com/56968-infectious-disease-deaths-united-states-100-years.html [Accessed 12 Dec. 2017].

  4. World Health Organization. (2017). Ebola virus disease. [online] Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/ [Accessed 12 Dec. 2017].

  5. Cdc.gov. (2017). Leading Causes of Death. [online] Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm [Accessed 12 Dec. 2017].

  6. Mukherjee, S. (2012). Emperor of all maladies. Thorndike Press.

  7. World Health Organization. (2017). Antibiotic resistance. [online] Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/antibiotic-resistance/en/ [Accessed 12 Dec. 2017].

  8. Antibiotic / Antimicrobial Resistance. About Antimicrobial Resistance. https://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/about.html. Published September 19, 2017. Accessed December 13, 2017.

  9. Ventola CL. The Antibiotic Resistance Crisis: Part 1: Causes and Threats. Pharmacy and Therapeutics. 2015;40(4):277-283.

Posted by zsmith@auroragov.org  On Feb 02, 2018 at 12:17 PM
  

Steve Erickson

Post by Chris G. 

For me, 2017 will go down as the year I discovered Steve Erickson.

 I have this habit where when I come across an author I really like, I'll read a ton (if not all) of their work in a very short span of time. Last year it was Jesse Ball. The year before that it was Murakami. Before that it was Lorrie Moore, and George Saunders, and Zadie Smith, and David Foster Wallace. In college it was Vonnegut, and in high school it was Salinger. This year it was Erickson.

ZerovilleSeveral of the Erickson novels that I've read can rightfully be labeled as masterpieces. My favorite among these is “Zeroville”. “Zeroville” is a book written for cinephiles and puts Erickson's encyclopedic knowledge of the film industry on full display. It is filled with references that reward students of cinematic history and serves as a discovery tool for aspirational movie buffs. It is hilarious and heartbreaking and mind-blowing. If you're going to read one Steve Erickson book in your lifetime, you should absolutely make it this one.

But I want to talk about a different book, Erickson's latest, released on Valentine's Day of 2017, called “Shadowbahn”. “Shadowbahn” is the sixth Erickson book I read this year. That's how good “Zeroville” is.

“Shadowbahn” is actually a sequel to 2012's “These Dreams of You”. I realize that, before even really getting into the meat of this, that I've given you quite a bit of homework, but as a general rule you don't read the sequel first, and “These Dreams of You” isShadowbahn another of Erickson's so-called masterpieces. Describing the plot of an Erickson novel is a futile task. They are all experimental works of postmodern fiction, where you have to experience them for yourself to even begin to get a feel for what's going on in them. But I'll give it a shot.

“These Dreams of You” tells the story of the Nordhoc family – writer and pirate radio DJ Zan, his wife and photographer Viv, and their 13 year-old son Parker and their 4 year-old daughter Zema, who they adopted from Ethiopia when she was 2. It follows the Nordhocs from Los Angeles to London to Berlin to Addis Ababa and back, throughout which a woman named Molly mysteriously appears and entwines herself in their lives. There are elements of realism, like the election of America's first black president at the onset of a recession or Molly's involvement with vaguely described politicians and musicians in the late 60s, but they are interwoven with postmodern concepts, like Zan's novel-within-a-novel or that Zema seems to have her own radio frequency.

Steve Erickson Something has happened to the Nordhoc family between “These Dreams of You” and “Shadowbahn”. In “Shadowbahn”, Parker and Zema, now 23 and 15, are driving across the country from Los Angeles to Michigan to visit Viv. They're listening to playlists made by their late father Zan. Erickson offers no explanation as to why Viv relocated or how Zan died. They are just facts of life.

In the midst of their trip, Parker and Zema hear that the twin towers have reappeared in the Badlands of South Dakota, so naturally they make a detour to go check it out. When they get there, music seems to cease to exist from everywhere except their car. Zan's playlists become the sole soundtrack to the world. It begins to make sense (sort of) when you realize that Parker and Zema are listening to the twin playlists Zan made the day after 9/11. Also, the songs aren't coming from the car's stereo but from Zema's radio frequency, or as Erickson puts it, "the receiver of her body and the stereo of her eyes."

“Shadowbahn” is a sister piece to “Zeroville” in that it also showcases Erickson's wealth of cultural knowledge, this time zeroing in (so to speak) on music. While “Zeroville” progresses something like a movie mixtape, “Shadowbahn” embeds a book soundtrack. Throughout the novel, one of Zan's playlists, called Day 0 Millenniux (9/12/01): Almanac in Song, or an Autobiographical Soundtrack, is cryptically described.

With these two books, Erickson has done something different. He's used words to suggest multimedia experiences, and left it to the reader to see that they are realized.

---

Citation:

Erickson, S. (2017). Shadowbahn. New York: Blue Rider Press.

Posted by behrhart@auroragov.org  On Jan 31, 2018 at 1:13 PM
  

Harry Potter Book Night

Post by: Julie Stephens

Grab some Floo Powder, get your broom ready or head to Platform 9 ¾. On Feb. 3 the Tallyn’s Reach Library will be presenting their fourth annual Harry Potter Book Night. This event is open to muggles and wizards of all ages. The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. and ends at 8:30 p.m. Dress robes are encouraged, but certainly not required.

Harry Potter is a cultural phenomenon that began with the world’s most perfect sentence, “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” Since then the books have been translated into 68 languages and have sold more than 400 million copies worldwide. The Harry Potter brand is worth well over 15 billion, yes BILLION, dollars. There are currently nine films with the tenth coming out in November 2018 and a theme park in Florida, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Not to mention the countless fan websites and fan fiction. Harry Potter is no longer seen as just a children’s book series, but rather much more than that.

Harry Potter has always been more than a fandom or collection of stories to those who love it. People have thanked J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter for helping them battle depression or helping them heal after a devastating loss. Harry Potter and its message of love and friendship has found a way to mend broken hearts. J.K. Rowling herself suffered from depression after the loss of her mother. She found herself a single mother scraping to get by while writing Harry Potter whenever she had time. The Dementors in the series, creatures that will make you see your worst memories and if given the chance will suck out your soul, are based on Rowling’s battle with depression. Harry saved her just as he saved the wizarding world and so many of us. Albus Dumbledore’s famous quote “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light,” has become more than just words.

As fans, we immerse ourselves into this magical world. Knowing what Hogwarts House you belong to has become a way for an entire generation to define themselves. I am an extremely proud Hufflepuff and you will never convince me there is a better house. We know what animal is our patronus (mine is a badger). Not to mention our favorite magical subject (History of Magic), magical creature (Niffler), Quidditch position (spectator), favorite character (Luna Lovegood) plus a million other things. We must all remember that the wand chooses the wizard. The wand that chose me was ebony wood, phoenix feather core and 10 ¾" in length -that's surprisingly "swishy." If all of this sounds crazy to you just remember it all started with The Boy Who Lived. For us, it’s real. Always!

This year's amazing event is hosted by the Tallyn’s Reach Teen Advisory Group (TAG) with the help of the Mission Viejo TAG and library staff. These teens choose what activities will take place at the event and oversee all details down to what food is served in the Great Hall. They help to run every activity the night of the event in costume. The TAG group and others have been hard at work for months to ensure the night is full of magic for everyone. 

As the TAG adviser for the Tallyn’s Reach Branch I cannot fully express how proud I am of all of our teens. Each and every year they put in hours of their own time to make the event perfect. I have the pleasure of working with the best TAG group in the world. It’s not every day that you meet a teenager who would rather spend time giving back to their community at their local library than hang out at the mall. The Tallyn’s Reach Teen Advisory Group is made up of an exceptionally wonderful group of teens, and I am honored to work with them. 

If you want to know what to expect this year, the following is an abbreviated preview. We will be hosting many similar activities from previous years, including shopping in Diagon Alley, being sorted into your Hogwarts House, attending classes, dining in the Great Hall, competing for the House Cup plus new surprises. The class list this year includes Astronomy, Care of Magical Creatures, Charms, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Divination, Flying Lessons, History of Magic, and Potions. This will be the first year that the event will take place throughout the entire library and be completely after hours. We have some magical additions that we can’t wait to share with everyone!

Please join us for an evening filled with magic (both literally and emotionally)!

Sources:

Posted by zsmith@auroragov.org  On Jan 24, 2018 at 11:31 AM
  

Winter Learning Program

Post by Brittni E. 

It wasn’t until I climbed my first 14er that I truly felt like a real Coloradoan.

Don’t let guide books fool you-or your very fit friend, hiking a 14er is hard. Granted, I am not in peak physical shape but I do enjoy hiking. A 14er always felt like the peak physical challenge-something that I knew I had to do for myself but something that I didn’t think I could physically do. One Saturday in August though I did. I climbed and climbed and jumped over a creek to reach the top. When we got to the top, it was snowing-cold and blustering wind that made my breath all the more hard to catch. While we stood at the top I started to cry. I couldn’t believe I had done it and just when I was about to turn around and head down those rocks at the very top of Mt. Bierstadt, a rainbow appeared. It went across the whole sky and its colors seemed to be the most vibrant sight I had ever seen.

Rainbow

As we made our descent down, I thought of how much I had discovered about myself since moving to Colorado from Pennsylvania. I was no longer a girl, taking a chance on a new life in Colorado with nothing more than a car load of things, a cat and my boyfriend in tow. I was a strong and confident woman, who climbed mountains and discovered the root of my happiness was out in the mountains of Colorado. Since climbing my first 14er, traveling and adventuring throughout Colorado and the American West has fueled the root of my happiness. And all it took to find, was a very hard climb up a mountain.

As you start your 2018, I hope that you find time to discover your roots. Your roots of cultural heritage, your roots that fuel a new adventure, or even the root of your happiness. At Aurora Public Library, our 2018 Winter Learning Program aims to help you discover your roots via reading, fun and engaging activities and of course prizes. If you ever find yourself on top of a mountain when a rainbow appears-I hope you snap a picture and share it with me but most importantly, I hope you discover your roots. Sign up today here:

Posted by behrhart@auroragov.org  On Jan 22, 2018 at 10:16 AM
  

MLK, Jr., Master of the Sentence
Post by Steven K.

This month we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and for good reason. Dr. King was the greatest champion of the Civil Rights Movement and is one of the most influential Americans to have ever lived. He was an activist and a leader, a husband and a father, a role model and a martyr. Others have written extensively about his life and legacy, far more gracefully than any blog post could accomplish. (We have many of these works in our collection. Check out the call number 323.092 in the stacks, for starters.) So rather than gild the lily, I want to give you a glimpse into an often overlooked aspect of Dr. King’s identity, a secret hiding in plain sight.

Undeniably, Dr. King was a master of the sentence.

Master of the sentence. There’s a headline that won’t stop the presses. It’s not even surprising, considering his reputation as one of history’s great orators. But in an age where words are carelessly dashed off in 280-character Tweets and mangled in website comments sections, it’s worth taking the time to appreciate the skill of a true wordsmith.

I also want to make this clear: I’m not the prophet here. I’m more like the prophet’s third cousin’s baker’s apprentice who’s just heard the good news. The real prophet, the source of my secondhand revelation, is the legendary English professor Stanley Fish. But gospel is gospel, and as such needs to be shared.

In his delightful book How to Write a Sentence (2011), Fish devotes several pages of analysis to one of Dr. King’s great sentences from “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” (1963). Rightfully so, Fish declares the sentence to be “a tremendous rhetorical achievement, a sentence for the ages” (p. 55).

Behold:

"Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, “Wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, brutalize and even kill your black brothers and sisters with impunity; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her little eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see the depressing clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing a bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son asking in agonizing pathos: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “n-----,” your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness”; then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.”

Now that’s powerful. It’s a behemoth of a sentence, weighing in at a whopping 314 words. It’s the kind of sentence that your high school English teacher warned you not to write, lest you dissolve into an incoherent mess or pull a muscle. And yet, Dr. King pulls it off flawlessly, leaving his audience captivated, dazed, ashamed, righteously indignant, awed.

So, how did he do it? What makes it a “sentence for the ages?”

Fundamentally, this sentence has a body and a soul and the source of its power rests in the harmony between the two.

Its body is its grammatical structure. Technically speaking, Dr. King’s sentence is an extended chain of incomplete dependent “when” clauses linked by semicolons, which is finally completed with a short independent clause. It’s a sentence of tremendous, unbalanced tension. For over 300 words the reader is left waiting for completion—an unnaturally long time to wait, given the typical sentence length we’re used to. In a sense, it’s almost like Dr. King is slowly pulling back the bowstring of a vast longbow, with each clause his words growing increasingly tauter in our minds; yet, just when our reading muscles are ready to snap, he gently slips his fingers from the string and we’re struck—not with a heavy iron bolt, obliterating us. But with a feather. A breath, merely 11 words long.

As compelling as its structure is on its own, Dr. King’s sentence is nothing but artifice without its soul. If its body is its structure, then its soul is its content, its message. Dr. King’s message was vital to the eventual success of the Civil Rights Movement and this sentence potently captures its spirit.

In terms of content, his “sentence for the ages” was a response to critics of his campaign of civil disobedience, critics who saw his tactics as excessive, rabble-rousing, and impatient. These critics who told him to wait—identified as his “fellow clergymen” in his letter’s salutation—are the specific target of Dr. King’s tour de force response. And as we’ve already seen, he lays waste to their objections.

Once again, Stanley Fish perhaps says it best, writing that Dr. King’s response to his fellow clergymen “is at once withheld and given” (54). In writing his lengthy sentence front-stacked with dependent clauses, Dr. King flips the standard argumentative structure on its head. Instead of making his claim first, he leads with his reasons. And those reasons are weighty, myriad, and beyond reproach.

Each reason—each “when” clause—is itself justification enough to take action rather than wait. Dr. King starts with how blacks have been assaulted and murdered by both lynch mobs and the justice system alike, “at will” and “at whim” and “with impunity,” without punishment. It’s the ultimate affront to human morality and he could have left it at that, case closed. But still he persists, piling up grievance upon grievance, pulling that bowstring tighter and tighter. The shackles of poverty, his images recalling the monstrous conditions on the slave ships endured by their ancestors; the daily psychological abuses heaped upon children as young as five and six, polluting their minds with “clouds of inferiority”; verbal abuse ranging from ugly dehumanizing racial slurs to simply being denied polite titles like “Mrs.” and “Sir,” which cuts all the same, even if not as deeply; and all of these transgressions culminating in the impending erasure of black personhood. “Nobodiness,” as he put it.

On top of it all, Dr. King cleverly manipulates narrative perspective in all the horrific imagery, daring his audience to see themselves in the shoes of black Americans: “when you,” “when your,” “when you...” He wants his readers to confront those atrocities as if they had happened to them, rather than something that happened to others. It’s a shocking exercise in empathy, a head-first dive into the frigid waters of discrimination. By the end of the dependent clause chain, when the truly empathetic reader feels as if the tension is unbearable; when even the coolest, calmest and most collected observer would howl in rage and demand swift justice, even violence; then Dr. King gives us the feather: “then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.” Not, “then you will understand why we demand vengeance.” He ends not with a blow, but with an invitation for us to understand.

That pivot in tone—from brutal and pain-ridden to gentle, even humble—is a breathtaking display of linguistic skill. Some might even be tempted to characterize it as ironic, but of a constructive sort instead of a cynical one. We should expect the rage of Achilles, but instead receive the calm resolve of Christ, the patience of the Buddha, the wisdom of Socrates. It’s almost a sacred text unto itself. As such, that final clause is the perfect distillation of Dr. King’s nonviolent movement, as good a maxim for the Civil Rights Movement as any.

One massive sentence, its body and soul in perfect harmony, a monument crafted from words rather than stone. This month, let’s remember Martin Luther King Jr. for all that he accomplished and for all that he continues to inspire. Let us remember him as a liberator of people and a master of the sentence. There’s plenty more work of his for you to discover, so get to reading!

References
Stanley Fish. (2017, December 12). Retrieved December 15, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Fish
Fish, Stanley. (2011). How to Write a Sentence. New York, NY: Harper Collins.
King, M. L., Jr. (1963). Letter from a Birmingham jail. Retrieved December 15, 2017, from https://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html


Posted by zsmith@auroragov.org  On Jan 10, 2018 at 4:06 PM
  
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Post by Sara V

From the Page to the Screen:
An Adaptation Wish List

Movie Adaption Wish List

It seems nearly every popular title receives an adaptation of some sort - whether a movie, a streaming service series, or some other format. Each time one of my beloved stories goes from the page to the screen, I always watch with excitement and anticipation, hoping the book is given due justice. Often the adaptation is great in its own right, even if it does not follow the book exactly. Sometimes the adaptation is just awful. But, every now and then, the adaptation does a phenomenal job of bringing to life the characters you’ve grown to love.

The book is usually better, but here are some adaptations that I would like to see.

The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection Series

 This dystopian fairytale brings together royalty, romance and rebellion in what can best be described as The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor. Strong-willed America Singer is selected to compete for the heart of Prince Maxon in a competition that is televised across Illea (formerly the United States). Though begrudgingly, she agrees to compete so that her family may receive the financial benefits, though her heart belongs to her first love Aspen. Amid dates, beautiful gowns, broadcasts and drama with the other girls, the rebellion against the crown is growing and attacks on the palace are increasing. The Selection is the first in the popular series by Cass that spans five books and two generations.

            There has been a lot of chatter about The Selection series being brought to the big screen as a feature film, but it seems like it has been just that - chatter. In June 2016, it was announced that the film had a director - Me Before You's Thea Sharrock - but not much else has been said regarding the status of the project. Given the Bachelor-esque nature of the story and the details behind each character, I think the series could be adapted into a wonderful series or mini-series, even better than a movie. This is a fun and exciting book series, and I look forward to its eventual adaptation in whatever form it takes.

 

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

Moon Over Manifest

            Newbery Award-winning Moon Over Manifest follows young Abilene Tucker as she explores her home for the summer of 1936 - Manifest, Kansas. While her father is away at a railroad job, Abilene stays with Pastor Shady Howard, an old friend of her father’s from his time in Manifest. When Abilene takes the fateful Road to Perdition, she meets the diviner Miss Sadie, who adds more mystery to the history of Manifest as she shares stories of the past which align with mementos Abilene found at Shady’s house. This encourages Abilene’s hunt for the spy “The Rattler” and her search for the role her father played in Manifest’s history. The story shifts from “modern” day 1936 to 1918 as Miss Sadie shares the stories of former Manifest residents, bringing to life history and modern-day until their momentous intertwining.

One of the best parts of this book is that the reader can vividly see the story as it unfolds - and it was an exciting one. Timehopping from 1936 to 1918 and back again, I could see this easily being an engaging television series. Its historical timeline filled with mystery and adventure would make for a fun movie as well. However, a standalone film may not hold up as well with the constant flashbacks. Either way, this is a great book that could be a great adaptation.

 

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie

            A Young Adult book that has both received accolades and faced criticism since its publication, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian tells the story of Arnold Spirit, Jr., better known as Junior, as he moves from his high school on the Spokane Reservation to an all-white high school in Reardan, Washington. Junior, a budding cartoonist, faces bullying at his new school, near abandonment by his friends on the reservation, the struggles of his family’s poverty and alcoholism, and the tragic deaths of loved ones. Despite these many struggles, Junior holds onto the love of his family and his new friends as well as onto the hope that his future is brighter than what he used to think was his destiny. While it does not sound like an overwhelmingly uplifting story, I can assure those who have not the book that it is absolutely amazing. Drawing from his own experiences growing up on the SpokaneReservation, Alexie writes with such a poignantly true voice and shares the experiences of so many.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is another book that has been rumored to be hitting the big screen too and it looks like looks like those rumors may be true. A high-profile production team, including Hugh Jackman, has been assembled for the Fox 2000 production with Alexie serving as executive producer and adapting the book into a screenplay. According to a USC study in 2015, less than 1 percent of the top 800 movies since 2007 featured Native American characters. With Sherman promising a “culturally authentic” film, an adaptation of  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian would provide a wonderful opportunity for representation and diversity.  Alexie’s involvement in the adaptation assures me that the film will live up to the book completely and I look forward to seeing it when it hits theaters.

What book would you love to see
adapted into a movie or TV series?

Posted by behrhart@auroragov.org  On Jan 04, 2018 at 11:03 AM
  

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Post by Kristin S. 

January New Releases and Bestsellers!

The cold has set in and our resolutions have begun! Those annual goals will undoubtedly include additions to your reading list which is where this post comes in to play. Check out the selections in fiction, non-fiction, DVDs and recommendations below!

Recent New York Times Bestsellers:

New Fiction

The People vs Alex Cross by James Patterson

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

Charged with gunning down followers of his nemesis Gary Soneji in cold blood, Alex Cross is wrongly portrayed as a trigger-happy corrupt cop while he struggles to prove to a skeptical jury and dwindling supporters that his actions were in self defense.

The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [eBook]

Former F.B.I. agent and wanted fugitive Jane Hawk tracks down a group that is brainwashing people into committing suicide.

Year One by Nora Roberts

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [eBook]

When a pandemic strikes and the world spins into chaos, several travelers head west to find a new life.

Tom Clancy Power and Empire by Marc Cameron

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

President Jack Ryan seeks to identify the hidden forces escalating the tensions between China and the United States.

Past Perfect by Danielle Stelle

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [Audiobook] [eBook]

A Manhattan family moves into a mansion in San Francisco and encounters the ghosts of its original inhabitants.

Darker by E L James

Borrow: [eBook]

Christian Grey's tormented and difficult pursuit of Anastasia Steele is told from his perspective.


New Nonfiction

Let Trump Be Trump by Corey R Lewandowski

Borrow: [Print] [eBook]

A former campaign manager for Donald Trump's successful 2016 presidential run offers an insider's look at the ups and downs on the campaign trail.

Gold Dust Woman by Steven Davis

Borrow: [Print] [eBook]

An in-depth portrait of the classic-rock artist Stevie Nicks covers her role in the stardom of Fleetwood Mac, the affairs that inspired her greatest songs, her struggles with addiction, and her successful solo career.

The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

Borrow: [Print] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

From stand-up comedian, actress, and breakout star of Girls Trip, Tiffany Haddish, comes The Last Black Unicorn, a sidesplitting, hysterical, edgy, and unflinching collection of (extremely) personal essays, as fearless as the author herself.

Natural Disaster by Ginger Zee

Borrow: [Print

The ABC News meteorologist discusses her career, relationships and struggles with depression.


DVD New Releases (Dec. - Jan.)

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Borrow: [DVD]

In this action-filled installment of the Kingsman series, two top-secret spy organizations - one from the UK and one in the US - join forces to defeat a ruthless common enemy.

Home Again

Borrow: [DVD]

Recently separated from her husband, Alice (Reese Witherspoon) finds an unlikely new family and a budding new romance when three young filmmakers move into her guest house. A story of love, friendship, the families we create, Home Again is a modern romantic comedy with one very big life lesson: starting over is not for beginners!

All Saints

Borrow: [DVD]

Based on the true story of salesman-turned-pastor Michael Spurlock, who with a group of Southeast Asian refugees risked everything to save their church and their lives.

The Unknown Girl

Borrow: [DVD]

After a mysterious young woman dies on her doorstep, a guilt-ridden doctor embarks on an obsessive quest to learn the truth about what happened.

Once Upon a Time at Christmas

Borrow: [DVD]

When a serial-killer couple dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus terrorizes a small town, a teen girl and a young cop must solve the pattern behind the seemingly random homicides.

Despicable Me 3

Borrow: [DVD]

Gru, Lucy, their adorable daughters, and the Minions are back in the comedy blockbuster where one former super-villain will rediscover just how good it feels to be bad.

American Assassin

Borrow: [DVD]

American Assassin follows CIA black ops recruit Mitch Rapp and Cold War veteran Stan Hurley as the pair is enlisted to stop a mysterious operative intent on starting a World War.

Better Watch Out

Borrow: [DVD]

On a quiet suburban street, a babysitter must defend a twelve-year-old boy from intruders, only to discover it's far from a normal home invasion.

The Osiris Child

Borrow: [DVD]

When a dangerous outbreak threatens to destroy everyone living on a newly colonized planet, Lt. Kane Sommerville goes against orders and leaves his station to rescue his young daughter before it's too late.

The Women's Balcony

Borrow: [DVD]

An accident during a bar mitzvah celebration leads to a gender rift in a devout Orthodox community in Jerusalem, in this rousing, good-hearted tale about women speaking truth to patriarchal power.

 

Crown Heights

Borrow: [DVD]

In 1980, a young man named Marvin Grant was gunned down in Flatbush Brooklyn. Clarence Lewis, a fifteen-year-old with a penchant for lying, told the police he saw what happened and was pressured to identify a suspect. This set into motion a series of events that led to the arrest of Colin Warner, an innocent teenager who lived in nearby Crown Heights.

Dunkirk

Borrow: [DVD]

Trapped on the beach with their backs to the sea, British and Allied troops are surrounded by enemy forces facing a fierce battle in World War II.

Stronger

Borrow: [DVD]

Based on real life events, tells the story of a 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing survivor.

Mayhem

Borrow: [DVD]

Just after being fired, Derek's office is put into quarantine for a virus that causes people to act out their wildest impulses. As chaos erupts, he makes his way to the top-floor executives to settle the score once and for all.

It

Borrow: [DVD]

When children in town begin to disappear, a group of young kids is faced with their biggest fears as they square off against evil clown, Pennywise. Based on the Stephen King novel.

Brawl in Cell Block 99

Borrow: [DVD]

When Bradley (Vince Vaughn) is sent to prison, he is forced to commit acts of violence that turn the place into a savage battleground.


Want to settle in for some cozy reading during the cold weather? 

Check out these recommendations:

Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
Series: Miss Marple, book #1
Total books in series: 12

Borrow: [Book]

The Murder at the Vicarage is Agatha Christie's first mystery to feature the beloved investigator Miss Marple—as a dead body in a clergyman's study proves to the indomitable sleuth that no place, holy or otherwise, is a sanctuary from homicide.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke
Series: Hannah Swenson, book #1
Total books in series: 22

Borrow: [Audiobook] [eBook]

Take one amateur sleuth. Mix in some eccentric Minnesota locals. Add a generous dollop of crackling suspense, and you've got the recipe for this delicious new mystery series featuring Hannah Swensen, the red-haired, cookie-baking heroine whose gingersnaps are almost as tart as her mouth and whose penchant for solving crime is definitely stirring things up.

The Quilter's Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini
Series: Elm Creek Quilts, book #1
Total books in series: 20

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [Audiobook]

Sarah, struggling to find a job and a sense of place in her new town, finds herself learning how to quilt from a cantankerous old woman who also teaches her about the deep love that can exist between friends.

Still Life by Louise Penny
Series: Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, book #1
Total books in series: 13

Borrow: [Print] [Audiobook] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montreal.

Death of a Gossip by M. C. Beaton
Series: Hamish Macbeth, book #1
Total books in series: 33

Borrow: [eBook]

When society widow and gossip columnist Lady Jane Winters joined the fishing class, she wasted no time in ruffling the feathers-or was it the fins?-of those around her. Among the victims of her sharp tongue and unladylike manner was Lochdubh Constable Hamish Macbeth. Yet not even Hamish thought someone would permanently silence Lady Jane's shrills-until her strangled body is fished out of the river. 

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Series: No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, book #1
Total books in series: 18

Borrow: [Print] [Audiobook] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

Mma "Precious" Ramotswe sets up a detective agency in Botswana on the edge of the Kalahari Desert, making her the only female detective in the country. At first, cases are hard to come by. But eventually, troubled people come to Precious with a variety of concerns.

Catering to Nobody by Diane Mott Davidson
Series: A Goldy Bear Culinary Mystery, book #1
Total books in series: 17

Borrow: [Print] [Audiobook] [eAudiobook]

Goldy Bear, recently divorced, has made a home for herself and her young son in scenic Aspen Valley, Colorado. There, calls for Goldilock's Catering have been steady enough to pay the bills. But when a mourner is felled by rat poison during a funeral buffet Goldy is serving, the police quickly close her business. Now it's up to Goldy to find the rat who has tainted her food and her reputation.

The Cat Who Could Read Backwards by Lilian Jackson Braun
Series: The Cat Who, book #1
Total books in series: 29

Borrow: [Print] [Audiobook] [eBook]

Journalist Jim Qwilleran and his feline companion Koko begin their investigative career when Jim finds murder and mischief while covering the art beat for the Daily Fluxion.

The Hunt for Sonya Dufrette by R. T. Raichev
Series: Country House Crime Mysteries, book #1
Total books in series: 9

Borrow: [Print]

At a house party on the day of the royal wedding in 1981, a little girl named Sonya Dufrette wanders off and is never seen again. Twenty years on, divorcee and librarian Antonia Darcy sets out to solve the mystery.

 

 

At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon
Series: The Mitford Years, book #1
Total books in series: 14

Borrow: [Print] [Audiobook] [eBook]

It's easy to feel at home in Mitford. In these high, green hills, the air is pure, the village is charming, and the people are generally lovable. Yet, Father Tim, the bachelor rector, wants something more. Enter a dog the size of a sofa who moves in and won't go away. Add an attractive neighbor who begins wearing a path through the hedge. Now, stir in a lovable but unloved boy, a mystifying jewel theft, and a secret that's sixty years old. Suddenly, Father Tim gets more than he bargained for. And readers get a rich comedy about ordinary people and their ordinary lives.

 

 

The Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber
Series: Rose Harbor, book #1
Total books in series: 5

Borrow: [Normal Print] [Large Print] [Audiobook] [eBook] [eAudiobook]

Set in the Pacific Northwest, in the picturesque small town of Cedar Cove, these heartwarming gentle reads feature the cozy Rose Harbor Inn, its young, widowed proprietor, Jo Marie Rose, and a large cast of lovable secondary characters. The beautiful setting and the wise, understanding protagonist make second chances possible for all of her troubled guests.


Happy New Year! Enjoy these books and movies to start 2018 off right!

Sources: The New York Times, Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon, Goodreads, EarlyWord, Novelist

Posted by zsmith@auroragov.org  On Jan 03, 2018 at 10:34 AM
  
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