Materials We Have

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Red Rising follows Darrow, a Red who, like all Reds, mines various elements on Mars to help terraform the planet’s surface for themselves and all of the other colored classes, including the superior Gold class. Darrow’s world is eventually torn apart when he discovers that his life is a lie and he is recruited by a rebel group that vows to bring the Golds down from within. Now Darrow must pretend to be a Gold in order to achieve the rebellion’s goals. But first, Darrow must survive the command school’s test that all Gold children must face, and that includes surviving the other students.

Red Rising, on the surface, is an obvious futuristic, dystopian novel that looks heavily on issues of class and race. But let’s be honest. So many books have undertones of something that we really shouldn’t roll our eyes and think “here’s another one.” So, looking past that, Red Rising is a fantastic, sci-fi military thriller and Brown does a great job of genre-blending. At its core this is a science-fiction novel. However, the test that the Gold students perform in is set in a medieval-esque landscape. It was a really interesting step in a different direction.

Admittedly Darrow turns out to be quite a bit of a “Larry Stu” character; he is the strongest, smartest, and most cunning. It’s a little hard to believe since everyone else in the test has been raised to do the things he just does naturally.  Some might get very turned off by it, but I was never bothered by it. In fact, I thoroughly enjoy books that read like a video game or action movie where the main character just kicks butt. In essence, that’s what Red Rising kind of is. It reminded me a lot of the Ender’s Game movie (sorry, never read the book), and a little like the Hunger Games trilogy (though a bit better).

Are there better science-fiction-military-thrillers out there? Probably. Is Red Rising still a fun read and interesting story? Definitely. I highly recommend this to action fans that enjoy a lot of fighting in their books. You won’t be disappointed.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Imagine the most curmudgeonly person you could ever encounter, the biggest rule enforcer, the person who knows every last event that happens in their neighborhood - someone who keeps a notepad on them at all times just so that they can write down license plate numbers to report parking violations later. If you have never in your life come across such a person...well, you're about to meet Ove. Once you have gotten over the shock of his often rude behavior toward innocent tech store employees, or his resolve that anyone owning a car other than a Saab is either inferior or an idiot, you will likely begin to wonder just what caused this man to turn into such a Scrooge in the first place.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman explores the beautiful and tragic past, the determined present, and unwanted future of a man who has altogether given up on his life, a man who wants nothing more than to see the woman he loves again - his recently departed wife, Sonja. But when Ove decides to end his own life rather than deteriorate on his own, his neighborhood just can't seem to get the hint. A family moves in next door, a former friend is in need of his help or it's off to the nursing home for her husband, and a new and rather unexpected friendship awaits him.

This is not a story of a man finding himself (Ove knows exactly who he is, thank you very much), it is a story of a man finding a renewed purpose in life after his sole purpose has been taken from him. If sad stories are not your thing, I will say at once that this book is not for you. Backman's storytelling is almost guaranteed to make you cry (at least once, probably much more...), but witnessing the transformation of this obstinate man, and the profound impact one can have on others will leave you with your own sense of purpose and possibility. 

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

It's the week before Christmas, and Georgie McCool has just gotten the offer of a lifetime. As one half of a successful TV writing duo, Georgie and her writing partner have the opportunity to have their own show - one they have dreamt up for years. But what Georgie doesn't realize when she breaks the news to her husband that Christmas needs to be postponed is that her decision to stay in California may have been the last straw. When Neal leaves with their two children, bound for his parents' house in Nebraska, Georgie is left with a growing concern that her marriage has failed for good - a concern that continues to bloom when Neal refuses to answer his phone.

Taking refuge at her mom's house, Georgie decides to call Neal on the old landline phone in her room, but when Neal answers the call, she quickly realizes that this is not the present day Neal on the line. She is talking to Neal's 19-year-old self. As Christmas approaches, Georgie continues to return to the landline phone, and as she relives the highs and lows of her early days with Neal, she begins to wonder if she is meant to fix what has broken between them, or if Neal was meant to take a different path through life - one without her or their children.

Landline has all of the signature quirks that one would expect from Rowell's work. Known for her teen novels such as Fangirl and Eleanor & Park, Rowell takes an adult audience back to their college years, their first loves (and heartbreaks), and questions the seemingly insignificant decisions we make that might break us in the end. Set during the week of Christmas, this book is highly recommended as a distraction during holiday down time. 

End of Year Library Closures

ELPL will be closed on:

Wednesday, December 24
Thursday, December 25
Wednesday, December 31
Thursday, January 1

The library will be open regular hours on any dates not listed above.  Regular hours are:

Monday-Thursday, 10am-9pm
Friday and Saturday, 10am-6pm
Sunday, 1-5pm (Labor Day through Memorial Day only)

Top Ten Holiday Albums - Now Available on Hoopla

We have made our list and checked it twice. This season, Hoopla is offering up several top albums guaranteed to lift your spirits as you finish your last minute holiday preparations. The holiday music shelves may be looking bare at the library, but Hoopla allows you to check out an album at any time - no waiting, no holds, and no late fees. Check out our top picks for holiday music, available for streaming right now...           

1. Idina Menzel - Holiday Wishes

 

Newly released, Menzel's latest album features a variety of holiday classics, from Silent Night to Baby It's Cold Outside. The Tony Award-winning singer, known as the voice behind Let It Go in Disney's Frozen, lends her signature broadway voice to an album that is sure to create the warm atmosphere we are all after around the holidays. 

 

 

2. Louis Armstrong - What a Wonderful Christmas

 

For those of you craving a bit more swing, check out Armstrong's What a Wonderful Christmas. Top tracks include Armstrong originals such as  'Zat You, Santa Claus?' and 'Christmas Night in Harlem'  and Duke Ellington's jazzy version of 'Jingle Bells'. The perfect album for holiday parties!

 

 

 

3. Michael Buble - Christmas

 

For a contemporary album with a classic spin, try Michael Buble's Christmas. Buble lends his distinct crooning to holiday classics such as 'It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas' and 'Santa Claus is Coming To Town,' and teams up with other industry greats such as Shania Twain ('White Christmas' ) and The Puppini Sisters ('Jingle Bells'). 

 

 

4. White Christmas (40 Unforgettable Christmas Songs)

 

A compilation of classics by Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, and many others. This album features some of the finest holiday recordings out there, and is perfect for the classic holiday music fan. 

 

 

 

5. Josh Groban - Noel   

            

For an adult contemporary holiday, look no further than Josh Groban's Noel, featuring a blend of traditional ('Silent Night', 'Angels We Have Heard on High) and modern ('I'll Be Home For Christmas', 'Thankful'). Don't miss 'O Come All Ye Faithful' featuring Groban backed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. 

 

 

6. Christmas at Downton Abbey

 

Offering a collection of period carols and hymns, this compilation offers up a plethora of tradional Christmas melodies. Interspersed throughout are recordings of carols by Elizabeth McGovern (Lady Cora) and Julian Ovenden (Charles Blake), as well as a Christmas story track read by Jim Carter (Mr. Carson). Also included is an exclusive holiday version of the Downton Abbey suite. 

 

 

7. Charlie Brown Christmas

 

The remastered and expanded edition of A Charlie Brown Christmas will send you straight back to your childhood with classics such as 'Christmas Time is Here' and 'O Tannenbaum'. Lauded as one of the most popular holiday albums of all time, Vince Guaraldi's classic arrangements are a must listen. 

 

 

8. Ellen's The Only Holiday Album You'll Ever Need

 

A compilation of contemporary holiday hits, including Coldplay's Christmas Lights, Wham!'s Last Christmas, and a cover of Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree by She & Him. Classic artists such as The Ronettes and Jackson 5 also make an appearance on the album. 

 

 

 

9. Mad Men Christmas

 

For a 60's Christmas, look no further than the newly released Mad Men Christmas album, featuring classics by Dean Martin and Mel Torme and themes from the show's soundtrack. 

 

 

 

10. Christmas With The Andrews Sisters and Bing Crosby   

           

This album provides a snapshot of the 1940's, with covers of popular hits such as 'Twelve Days of Christmas' and 'Jingle Bells' and a spectacular recording of 'Christmas in Killarney'.  

 

 

New to Hoopla? Visit our Hoopla page to get started.

"At Your Library"

Here are all of the great things you can do at your library. What can you do for your library?

GIVE!

Find out more at elpl.org/donate

 

"At Your Library"
Performed by: Back row (L to R): Kristin Shelley, Jill Abood, Mary Mitchell, Amanda and Charlotte Stratton, Phyllis Thode
Front row (L to R): Jacob Bungard, Josh White Jr., Cliff Gracey, Karrie Korroch

Written by: Phyllis Thode

Filmed and Edited by: Ron Stratton

 

 

 

One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper

"Silver is forty-four years old, if you can believe it, out of shape, and depressed -- although he doesn't know if you call it depression when you have good reason to be; maybe then you're simply sad, or lonely, or just painfully aware, on a daily basis of all the things you can never get back."

Written by bestselling author, Jonathan Tropper (best known for his book, This is Where I Leave You), One Last Thing Before I Go is about a one hit wonder named Drew Silver - a drummer who suddenly finds himself in his mid-forties living out his solitary existence in an apartment complex that almost exclusively houses single, divorced men. Since his brush with fame several years ago, Silver has alienated those closest to him, and his once promising career has plummeted to wedding band status. 

Just a few weeks before his ex-wife, Denise, is set to re-marry, Silver receives an unexpected visit from his Princeton-bound daughter, Casey, who shares a secret that could throw a wrench in her promising future. Soon after, Silver himself discovers that his days are numbered, and his weakening heart may fail him for good at any moment.

Opting out of the recommended heart surgery, Silver decides instead to live out the rest of his days making up for the years he was absent from his own daughter's life, because although a surgery might save him, he isn't certain that he wants to be saved after all. As his family grows closer to him in the weeks to come, Silver begins to emerge from the depths of his depression, and see again the value to be had in life, realizing that when you don't have much time, you appreciate the little time you have.

While Silver mends the broken pieces of his life, carefully rebuilding his relationships, trying to make the right choices to make up for so many wrong ones, a much larger question looms through every page. Will he realize the value in his life and finally decide to have the surgery? Or will he ultimately decide that finishing things off on a high note is the best possible ending? Tropper's story of rebirth and second (or third, or fourth) chances will stick with you long after you finish the last page. 

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Welcome to the life of A.J. Fikry. The recently widowed owner of Island Books could be described as downright unpleasant, even on a good day. Having turned sour after the unexpected death of his wife, and even more so once his book store's profits began to dwindle, he is the sort that would scoff at the thought of reading a Grisham novel, preferring instead a reputable short story collection. When he meets his new Knightley Press publishing rep, Amelia Loman, who stops by the store one day to promote a sentimental autobiography, things do not go well. That is, until A.J. receives an entirely unexpected wake-up call, and he must fix himself in order to care for another. 

Arranged much like his prized short stories, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry touches on brief moments throughout A.J.'s life, some wonderfully uplifting, others bittersweet. Each chapter features familiar characters who are somehow tied to Island Books and its owner. Their stories intertwine with A.J's throughout, creating wholly unexpected moments, and adding the same richness to the story itself as they do to A.J's. 

Zevin, previously known for her work as a YA author, has proven her versatile writing abilities with this work. Beautifully written, cleverly compiled, and with more heart added than most, I can only hope that she continues on her path as a fiction writer. Written for book lovers and those with an interest in just what goes on behind the scenes at their neighborhood bookstore.

Blackfish

I'm old enough to remember when there was a SeaWorld in Ohio. When I was a teenager, we took a family weekend trip to SeaWorld and Cedar Point. That trip changed what I thought I wanted to do with my life. Seeing an orca up close - or as close as the railing and glass would let you get - was beyond amazing. There are really no words that describe how awesome it was to see. Initially, I had planned to go to college and focus on political science or pre-law. After that trip, I decided I was going to become a marine biologist and do my part to save the environments and lives of those beautiful sea creatures. Between then and now, life happened and different decisions were made. I am very happy to be a librarian, but whales will always hold a special place in my heart.

Cue Blackfish.

This is a documentary that was made for CNN documenting the life of the orca Tilikum, who has been implicated in three separate human deaths. It tells the story of how orcas were initially captured and the development of SeaWorld and other aquatic entertainment centers. The story is told through researchers, trainers, and lawyers. There is no official comment from SeaWorld in the documentary. There has come to be a lot of controversy surrounding this movie and the idea that the producer was pushing an agenda that was purely out to get SeaWorld.

Even with the controversy, this film provides an insider glimpse into how captive animals are treated and different reactions to working with one of the largest predators in the world.

For further research, you could also read Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the dark side of killer whales in captivity by David Kirby.

Banned Books Week 2014

For more than thirty years, Banned Books Week has drawn attention to the most challenged books in libraries, schools and institutions across the country. Many of the most recognizable classics in the world have graced the list for containing content deemed unsuitable for children and teens, excessive violence, offensive language, and more.  

This week, we celebrate our freedom to read by highlighting the latest list of most challenged books.

Here's a look at the top five...

1.Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey

When prankster fourth-graders, George and Harold, hypnotize their principal into thinking he is an underpants wearing superhero, things get out of hand as he escapes to the streets and starts fighting crime. Originally written for reluctant young readers, Captain Underpants is an award winning series that has had children (and their parents) in hysterics as they witness the adventures of Harold, George, and Principal Krupp (a.k.a. Captain Underpants) in their latest attempts to save the world. Pilkey's use of offensive potty humor and the inclusion of violent scenes have brought this series to the top of the most challenged list for the past two years running.

 

2.The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Originally published in 1970, The Bluest Eye is Morrison's first novel, following the life of Pecola Breedlove, a young African-American girl growing up in a primarily white community. Often mocked for her curly hair and brown eyes, Pecola yearns to fit in with the blonde hair, blue-eyed youth that surround her. Morrison, a Nobel laureate, presents a haunting story that is a lesson in self-hatred, racial identity, and our obsession with conformity. Offensive language, explicit content, and violent scenes are the primary reasons it has reached the second spot on the most challenged list this year.

 

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

Sherman Alexie's award winning book tells the story of Junior, a young Native American teen who attempts to break away from the reservation where he grew up, and enroll in a farming town high school to secure a better future. Based on the author's own past experiences, readers are brought on a journey of self discovery as Junior becomes alienated from his tribe and attempts to fit in to a new, more privileged community. This is the fourth consecutive year that The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian has made the most challenged books list. Racism, offensive language, and scenes containing drug, alcohol and tobacco use have been the primary reasons for challenging this title.

 

4. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

The first in E.L. James's Fifty Shades TrilogyFifty Shades of Grey  follows literature student, Anastasia Steele, as she embarks on an affair with successful entrepreneur, Christian Grey. First published in 2013, the Fifty Shades Trilogy has become an international bestseller and is set to hit the big screen in February 2015. It has also been removed from public library shelves and banned from entire cities due to its explicit content and language.

 

 

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The first book in the Hunger Games Trilogy is famed for its violent content. Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old living in futuristic Panem, volunteers to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a gladiator-like televised competition in which representatives from different districts fight to the death. The trilogy by Suzanne Collins has become an international bestseller since its debut in 2010, and the third installment of the film adaptation is due out later this year. The book has been banned from schools and libraries for containing content that is unsuitable for teens.

 

Interested in taking a chance on a banned book? For the banned book lovers among us, or for those who are just plain curious, check out our lists of Recent Banned Books and Most Challenged Classics

Honor Killing: How the Infamous "Massie Affair" Transformed Hawai'i

Sometimes truth is stranger that fiction. That may be what fascinates me about the books in the "364.1..." nonfiction section of our library. Reading about real-life criminal offenses and how the crimes were solved (or not) is intriguing to me, so when a friend recommended Honor Killing: How the Infamous "Massie Affair" Transformed Hawaii (2005) by David E. Stannard, a well-researched book about a 1931 sensational murder trial, I had to read it. The events that followed this trial broke the legacy of racism and white privilege in Hawaii. Clarence Darrow ends up on the wrong side in this case and it ends up being a career-ender for him. Your thoughts about Hawaii in the early part of the 20th century being a paradise of pineapples and palm trees will be transformed as you read about how native Hawaiians were treated as poorly as African Americans in the southern United States.

Pioneer Girl by Bich Minh Nguyen

I still remember my first encounter with the Little House series. During a weekly class visit to my elementary school library, I decided that it was time to read more grown up books, and sought out the thickest book I could find in their fiction section. I reached for a displayed copy of Farmer Boy, the third book in the famed Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Counting the number of pages (a whopping 372!), and frankly amused by the title, I checked it out. A few short months later, after my summer vacation had come and gone, I had read the entire series by Laura Ingalls Wilder...more than once. I studied those books, carefully paying attention to their descriptions on churning butter or how to make Johnny cakes, amazed that people lived this way once, creating everything from scratch, surviving through winters on one potato a day, walking miles just to go to school, or enduring the summer heat in layer upon layer of clothing, because that's just the way it was done. Her stories were of survival, as thrilling as any adventure book in my eyes, because unlike the latest Choose Your Own Adventure story (it was the early 90's, after all), they were based on actual experiences.

Many years later, as I was browsing a list of upcoming titles, I came upon a book with a very interesting cover. As my eyes caught hold of the girl wearing a pioneer-era dress, the prairie grasses, and those signature braids, the signs merged in my Little House-centric mind, sending signals that this book must have some tie to Laura Ingalls Wilder. Upon further investigation, I discovered that this book was written by someone with a similar obsession to my own, an obsession that is carried through to the main character of Pioneer Girl as she discovers a link in her family history to none other than the Wilders themselves. As Nguyen's main character, Lee, sets out on the research journey of a lifetime to track down further information on Rose Wilder Lane, the famous writer, reporter and daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and the source of the link in her family's history, the frustrations of genealogy lead her to dead ends, uncertain sources, and events that will ultimately change her life.

To say that I enjoyed this book would be a definite understatement. I practically inhaled the words on the page, greedily postponing my daily obligations to delve straight into this story, to uncover little known facts that, despite my experiences with the books and my further reading, I had yet to discover. Yes, some story arcs are fictional, but others are based on very real events. I will leave the privilege of determining which is which to you.

A highly enjoyable, light summer read for old and young alike. Recommended for anyone interested in family history or for those who share a fondness for all things Little House.

Science Kits Now Available!

Looking for a new way to explore the sciences this summer? Stop by the children's area to check out ELPL's new collection of science kits!

Geared toward children ages four to twelve, ELPL's science kits cover a broad range of topics including architecture, DNA, electricity, animation, and more. Each kit is equipped with the supplies and instructions needed to complete a variety of activities. Create your very own weather station at home, build a radio from scratch, defy gravity with magnetic levitation, catch and analyze insects in your back yard, or explore the constellations. For a full list of kits, click here to view our catalog.

Due to popular demand, science kits are limited to one kit per person for a checkout period of 14 days.

Have an idea for future science kits? If there is a topic or theme that you would like an opportunity to learn more about, let us know by filling out our Suggest a Purchase Form.

Endless Summer

As a teacher, the summer provides me the opportunity to enjoy some much needed catch-up time.  I am a list-maker, so I always have a list of projects that I am hoping to accomplish.  This summer I've added some fun ideas to the list - like watching all of the movies that I have not already seen on American Film Institute's list of 100 greatest movies.  This weekend I am taking home The Manchurian Candidate (original) and Goodfellas.

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