Thursday, September 30, 2010

Recommended read: A Vintage Affair

A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff
Find it in the catalog!

Phoebe Swift opens her own vintage clothing shop, Village Vintage, in London after years working at Sotheby's auction house. She loves vintage clothes not only because of their unique designs but because of the stories she imagines behind each piece. Throughout the book we learn the stories of the people buying the clothes at Village Vintage in addition to the people selling items to Phoebe that she will sell at the shop. One person who contacts Phoebe about selling her wardrobe, Mrs. Bell, is an elderly woman. Phoebe develops a friendship with Mrs. Bell and learns the heart-breaking history behind a blue woolen child's coat that Mrs. Bell refuses to part with. The story goes back to Mrs. Bell's childhood in Avignon, France, during World War II, when she made a mistake that affected her best friend, Monique, for which she will never forgive herself.

The characters in this book are realistic and memorable. From the beginning, you root for Phoebe to do well with her shop. A Vintage Affair deals not only with her day-to-day dealings at the shop but also how her grief over the recent death of her best friend Emma affects Phoebe's life and her relationships. Phoebe moves on from her ex-fiance Guy and begins to date Miles, who is widowed with a spoiled teenage daughter. She becomes friends with another man, Dan, who writes a piece about the opening of the shop and helps bring in business. Plus, Phoebe's mother is having problems getting over her husband's affair with a younger woman which subsequently resulted in marriage and a new baby. As a consequence of being left for a younger woman, Phoebe's mother is obsessed with researching procedures and treatments she may use to appear younger.

I picked up this book because I was intrigued by the plot of a woman owning her own vintage fashion shop. I was quite transfixed by Wolff's descriptions of the dresses and other items for sale in Phoebe's shop, even though I do not know a great deal about fashion and designers. I found it interesting to learn about vintage clothes. But as I read I found the story to be so much more. Phoebe's relationship with Mrs. Bell is a wonderful part of the story, and I found myself caring as much about Mrs. Bell's past as I did about Phoebe's business and her life. By the end of the book, you'll be crying as Phoebe works towards finding what happened to Monique.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Page through some magazines...

Haven't checked out our collection of magazines yet, well this is the time. We have over 250 magazines which includes our Children's Dept. collection. We have something for everyone. Magazines on cooking, business, travel, men's and women's issues, woodworking, finance and health.

One favorite is Real Simple. It has everything and anything to do with organization, cooking, re-using items, crafts, articles and suggestions on family and cutting back on stress which we all seem to have nowadays!

Looks like People magazine isn't the only one with an annual list. Check out Time magazines top 100 of the world's most influential people in the April 2010 issue.

Check out the Teen area for magazines like Seventeen and Thrasher.

We also carry the the newspapers for this area which includes: Dundee Herald, Elgin Courier, Northwest Herald, Chicago Tribune, Sun-Times, Wall Street Journal and Barrons.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Recommended craft book: Collage Playground

Collage Playground: A Fresh Approach to Creating Mixed-Media Art
by Kimberly Santiago
NEW 702.812 SAN
Find it in the catalog!

In this book Kimberly Santiago shares many creative ideas that she uses in her collage projects, which look like mini works of art. I found the book useful in triggering my imagination for how I could apply Santiago's techniques to other projects I enjoy working on, such as homemade cards and envelopes. While Santiago provides directions for making specific collage projects, I focused on the Collage Elements chapter, which demonstrates how to make collage sheets, altered book pages, weaving, and transparency art. When learning about the different collage elements I thought about how I can reuse materials I already own, like old book and magazine pages.

I immediately tried out the weaving technique:

I tore out some book pages, shaded one page with different colors of crayons, and used an exacto knife to cut the weaving slits into the other book page. Since I was using an old history book with yellowed and delicate pages, I had to start over a few times when cutting the weaving slits, since they keep ripping. I'm going to make pages like this for my next batch of homemade cards.

Check out Collage Playground and you will become inspired to create, create, create!

A bit of magic anyone

Looking for something new and fun to read? I just discovered a series by Madelyn Alt. It is A Bewitching Mystery series, a paranormal chick-lit mystery series. The first in the series is The Trouble with Magic. The book is set in a small town, Stony Mill Indiana, where everyone knows everyone. The story is about Maggie O'Neill, a small-town girl, stuck in a dead-end job until she starts working at Enchantments, an Antique shop with mystical secrets. Soon after she starts working there she discovers her new boss Felicity is a witch. On top of that Felicity becomes the suspect in the murder of her sister. Maggie must enlist Felicity's wiccan friends for help. It's then she discovers she has magic powers of her own. If you are looking for murder with some magic thrown in give Madelyn Alt's books a try.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Icing on the Cupcake by Jennifer Ross

Find it in the catalog!

Ansley is engaged to her college boyfriend, Parish, and is about to graduate and embark on a life she's always dreamed of having. But when Parish breaks off their engagement after witnessing Ansley's cruel treatment of a sorority sister, a depressed Ansley writes to a grandma she's never met, Vivian, who lives in New York City. Vivian left her husband Asher and daughter, Hattie, when Hattie was 5 years old, and married businessman Charlie, who has now passed away. Against the wishes of her mother, Ansley moves from Dallas to New York, where Vivian tells her to move on (Ansley still feels Parish will take her back). In order to continue living with her grandmother, Ansley must find a job within 8 weeks, which Ansley isn't prepared for. She feels out of place in the city-- instead of wearing dark colors she wears heels and bright outfits, and she smiles and looks people in the eye, while they avoid her. An especially funny scene is when, after a long night of marathon cupcake baking, she takes her baked goods to Central Park to get people's opinions. The passerbys ignore her and are suspicious about why she is giving away food for free. A bright spot is her friendship with Dot, who gives Ansley tips about fitting in in NYC and also helps out when Ansley decides to combine her business degree with her passion for baking cupcakes to open her own cupcake shop. By undertaking the opening of her own business, Ansley commits herself to hard work and in the process changes into a kinder person who doesn't need a man in her life to be happy.

This is a fun book to read for anyone who enjoys baking. Ansley arranges ingredients on the kitchen counter and formulates recipes to help calm herself down, and it's intriguing to read her thought-processes for formulating new recipes that reflect her feelings. The end of each chapter includes a cupcake recipe with delicious-sounding names. Seeing Red and Tasting Chocolate, or Shot Through the Heart with Cream Cheese Frosting; Taste of Summer the Way it Used to Be--Peachy with Praline Topping; and Bittersweet Paris with Orange Frosting are just a few examples. Many of the recipes are referred to in the plot and once you read the cupcake's description you will be tempted to try out the recipes for yourself. Plus, you may learn new baking tips, such as using a baking stone, the benefits of potato starch, and the proper way to beat butter to make frosting.

Because I enjoyed the baking aspects of the book I allowed certain annoying plot points, like the return of a jealous sorority sister and the rushed mother-daughter reunion ending, to slide. Overall, The Icing on the Cupcake is an entertaining read with lots of mouth-watering cupcake recipes.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Now Playing at the Library: The Big Lebowski, Tuesday Night

Do you enjoy bowling? White Russians? Nihilists?  All of the above?  Come join us to watch the Coen Brothers' cult classic Tuesday night (September 14) at 6:30 PM, which features all of those things and so much more!  Did I mention there will be free pizza?  The movie will also be the first meeting of a new group we started at the library for twenty and thirty-somethings called Young and Restless (YAR, for short).  Please, check out the shiny, new Facebook page for YAR.

For fans of the Big Lebowski or other Coen Bros' films, check out The Dude Abides: The Gospel According to the Coen Brothers by Catherine Falsani (Find it in the catalog!).  The book frames the Coens' films in a religious context; Dudeists may be surprised to learn that the Dude is in fact a lamed-vavnik*.

Event Info:
When: Tuesday, Sept. 14 at 6:30 PM
Where: Dundee Township Public Library District, Meeting Room
What: Watch the Big Lebowski and eat pizza. 
Cost: Free  

* Lamed-vavnik= In Judaism, one of the 36 righteous ones.  If even one is killed, the world will end.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Banned Book Week - Read at Your Own Risk

Celebrate the Freedom to Read during Banned Book Week September 25 - October 2, 2010. Banned Books Week's goal is "to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society." This was said by the First Amendment and library activist Judith Krug in 1982 when she began the first Banned Book Week.

Banned Book Week is sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA), the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), American Society of Journalists and Authors, Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

I was familiar with some of the books on the list but some I have to say amazed me. For example, Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, The God of Small Things, Fahrenheit 451, American Heritage Dictionary and 1984. Children's books did not escape the list, Harry Potter books, James and the Giant Peach, The Golden Compass, Forever by Judy Blume, Bridge to Terabithia, and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to name a few.

Come to the library during Banned Book Week and check out our display.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Recommended read: Medium Raw

Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain
NEW 641.5 BOU
Find it in the catalog!

In this book Anthony Bourdain writes on various food-related topics such as the basic cooking skills everyone should have, organic food, chemically treated hamburger meat ("I believe I should be able to treat my hamburger like food, not like infectious #@!%# medical waste."), the non-threatening personas preferred by Food Network, and Top Chef. He shares his opinions on people working in the industry today, whether they be chefs or food writers. Bourdain also talks about his life post-Kitchen Confidential, including becoming a father and the changes he's made to deal with the responsibilities of having a daughter and being a husband. He hilariously describes his methods for suggesting to his daughter that Ronald McDonald is one to be feared: "Kids don't give a @#$ about calorie count--or factory farming, or the impact that America's insatiable desire for cheap ground meat may have on the environment or our society's health....But cooties they understand."

In the chapter "I Lost on Top Chef" Bourdain writes about cheftestant Erik Hopfinger, who appeared on the Chicago season. As a fan of this show, it was interesting to read about the selection process of this chef and Bourdain's experience of being on the judging panel. In "Heroes and Villians" Bourdain doesn't hold back in letting you know who he thinks are the good guys in the food industry (he reserves an entire chapter to why he isn't a fan of food writer Alan Richman).

My favorite chapter is the one Bourdain devotes to his observations from a day spent watching Justo Thomas, a 47-year-old Dominican American who has worked in New York City for 20 years and is responsible for cutting all the fish for the well-reviewed seafood restaurant Le Bernardin. Bourdain is fascinated by the way Justo approaches the different types of fish and how quick and efficient his movements are; other Le Bernardin chefs walking by Justo's station are obviously proud of what Justo can do (three people are needed to fill in for Justo when he is gone). Later in the chapter Bourdain describes the experience of treating Justo to a meal at Le Bernardin, which is the first time Justo has ever eaten at the restaurant.

You'll want to pick this book up if you are a fan of either Anthony Bourdain or just plain old entertaining food writing. Bourdain's descriptions of food are intricately detailed (see chapter titled "Lust"). Bourdain's show on the Travel Channel, No Reservations, is celebrating its 100th episode with a marathon starting tomorrow at 8 AM. The special "100 is Not Enough" airs Monday at 8 PM before the airing of  the 100th episode at 9 PM.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What was I thinking?

Anyone who knows me knows I ABSOLUTELY LOVE NCIS!! So, when I wrote about the best show on TV being Mad Men I must have been having a senior moment. Don't get me wrong, it is a very good show, but my favorite is NCIS. The main character is Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs played by Mark Harmon. He is a tough, determined and deep down caring person who everyone respects even when he does the "head slap" when the rest of the team get out of line. The rest of the cast include Michael Weatherly, David McCullum, Pauley Perrette, Cote de Pablo, Sean Murray and Rocky Carroll.
Just start watching and you will get hooked.
Season 8 begins on September 21st at 7p.m. on ABC. I know I will be watching!


I don't get it but I like it.....

"From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it."

Groucho Marx (1895-1977)