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Friday, August 19, 2016

Mike's Picks #7

PJ Harvey - The Hope Six Demolition Project
 On her new album, The Hope Six Demolition Project, PJ Harvey continues where she left off on 2011's acclaimed Let England Shake.  While that album focused on the history of war within her homeland, this new record takes her outside of her usual comfort zone (if her usual zone could be called comfortable), giving stark glimpses of a world torn apart by violence and poverty.  It's an interesting shift in focus for an artist who has spent the better part of the last two decades making some of the most personal records in rock, but it is a welcome one.

Like it's predecessor, Demolition is a collaboration between Harvey and war photographer Seamus Murphy.  The pair spent time in Kosovo, Washington D.C. and Afghanistan doing interviews and getting a sense of the devastation.  The introspective lyrics found on previous records like Rid of Me and White Chalk are replaced with something more akin to journalism.  The best example of this is with the opening track "The Community of Hope," a damning portrayal of gentrification gone wrong in Washington D.C.'s Ward 7.  The word "hope" may as well be replaced with "false promises" as the song ends with the chant of "They're gonna put a Walmart here."  It got her in some hot water with some D.C. politicians, who were unhappy with her less than positive portrayal of the nation's capital.  Like a true investigative journalist, she has gotten on the bad side of the people in power.

But what about the music?  Much of the press on the album was about it's lyrical content, but it goes nowhere without quality songs, and there are plenty to be found here.  She continues the direction she started with Let England Shake, mixing elements of rock, jazz, blues and gospel, but with more focus on heavier, almost Morphine style back beats and droning, middle eastern horn parts.  She isn't reinventing the wheel here, just tightening some screws.  Because of this, Demolition feels like a companion piece of Shake, more concise and raw, yet with a wider spectrum topically.

After years of hearing PJ Harvey pull her heart out in her music, it's a bit startling to see her turn her focus so outward on her last few albums.  What's refreshing about it is that she never goes full Green Day, making fashionable political statements wrapped in pompous rock opera grandeur.  She's merely speaking from the viewpoint of a bystander.  This album isn't here to place blame or point fingers, but it does put a mirror in the face of the world, and it's not pretty.

Key Lyrics:
A tableau of the missing
Tied to the government building
8,000 sun-bleached photographs
Faded with the roses
(From "The Wheel")

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

What are you reading?

Did you just read a great book that you can't wait to share?

Write a #Random Review!
We may publish it in the blog; people may respond; it might start a conversation.

All you have to do is fill out our online form or email a short review (at least 5 thoughtful sentences - without giving away the ending!) to news@roselle.lib.il.us.

It's quick! It's easy! It's fun!
What are you reading?

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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Random Reviews: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Book Title: Dark Matter

Author: Blake Crouch

Reviewed By: Lynn D.

So, you've come to a point in your life where you need to make a decision that will affect your future... go to college or get a job? - buy a house and settle down or move around? - have a child or pursue a career? With each decision, you move forward in a different direction. Do you ever wonder what your life would be like if you had chosen the other option - taken the other path?

Jason Dessen has a great life; he loves his wife Daniela and Charlie, his teenage son. He's happy. But there was a time when he was a promising atomic physicist destined for greatness. His wife was a talented artist about to make a name for herself. They decided to get married and have a child. What if they had made a different decision? What if Jason, the award-winning physicist and Daniela, the moderately famous artist, were out there, living their lives…

This book defies classification. It is an adventure story, a thriller, a science fiction tale, and ultimately, a love story. Trust me, you will not be able to put it down!

Why I picked it up: I read his Wayward Pines trilogy and loved it. When I heard he was coming out with something new, I had to read it.

Why I finished it: I could not put it down! Great suspense, great pacing, fascinating characters. I had to find out what happened in the end.

Who would you recommend it to:: Anyone who had read Wayward Pines. Anyone who likes suspense or science fiction (and let's throw philosophy in there, too.)

Find Dark Matter in our catalog.

Did you just read a great book that you can't wait to share? Write a #Random Review! We may publish it in the blog; people may respond; it might start a conversation.
All you have to do is fill out our online form or email a short review (at least 5 thoughtful sentences - without giving away the ending!) to news@roselle.lib.il.us.

What are you reading?

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Summer Reading Book Review: Message in a Bottle

Book Title: Message in a Bottle

Author: Nicholas Sparks

Reviewed By: Chelsea B.

In his novel Message in a Bottle, Nicholas Sparks chronicles Theresa Osborne's life-defining journey to find the man responsible for the mysteriously tragic love letter sealed in a bottle she happened upon one morning while running along the coast. After submitting the letter for publication in her column, Theresa soon discovers others across the country have made similar findings - so similar, in fact the letters all appear to be from the same forlorn love-lost author. Setting out to find who could possibly be the face behind such poetic beauty, Theresa soon finds and falls - quickly - in love with Garrett Blake, love letter author and diver extraordinaire. Sparks' plot takes readers along for the ride that is Garrett's and Theresa's journey to finding true love and trust in one another while being able to let go of a burdensome past. However, the lovers' commitment to one another comes too late as Garrett is lost at sea trying to make peace with his past in order to move forward with Theresa.

In typical Sparks fashion, this adventuresome romance lures readers in with the fairy-tale-like plot and passion between two people obviously victim to "love at first sight." While the author accomplishes his goal of keeping his readers turning the pages into wee hours of the night (and coming back for more, as I believe my review last year was also on a different Nicholas Sparks novel), I cannot help but feel a bit disappointed upon completion of each of his novels at the cliché and predictable endings that have become so common - almost trademark - of his writing. While thoroughly enjoying the book, I also find myself asking "why did I not choose another novel to spend my time with, knowing each of his stories follows and ends much the same as the last?"

The conclusion I have come to concerning Message in a Bottle is that the novel is a great escapist, beach read for someone looking to get lost in a book without having to put forth too much mental or spiritual digging; in essence, what you see is what you get. However, if what you crave is something more complex that will sit with you for a while, I would not recommend the fairy-tales of Nicholas Sparks.

Find Message in a Bottle in our catalog.

Summer Reading program participants! There's still time to submit a review of one of the books you read this summer. Your review will get you an entry into a special prize drawing in addition to the drawings that all program finishers are entered in. More prizes! Yay!
All you have to do is fill out our online form or email a short review (at least 5 thoughtful sentences - without giving away the ending!) to news@roselle.lib.il.us.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Summer Reading Book Review: After You

Book Title: After You

Author: Jojo Moyes

Reviewed By: Lynn R.

This book is the continuation of the story in the book Me After You, which is currently a movie out in theaters now. Spoiler alert: if you haven't read the first book, stop reading this now. This book has the same characters plus a few new ones, the best part. Louisa is trying to figure out her life after all the tragedies in the first book. She meets new people and reconnects with her family. There are some twists and turns to make it interesting.

Why I Picked it Up: I read the first book and liked the characters. It is available on CDs but don't listen to it with the kids around! Her love life does pick up a bit! It also has a graphic scene of the danger of alcohol and drugs and cell phone pictures.

Why I Finished It: I wanted to know what would happen with the characters. It had more light heartedness than the first book.

I’d Give this Book To: Although it is a continuation of the characters, this book can be read without reading the first book. It's a story about moving on with some light hearted laughs plus a serious side. Plus it's available in book, audio, and electronic form!

Find Me Before You and After you in our catalog.

Summer Reading program participants! There's still time to submit a review of one of the books you read this summer. Your review will get you an entry into a special prize drawing in addition to the drawings that all program finishers are entered in. More prizes! Yay!
All you have to do is fill out our online form or email a short review (at least 5 thoughtful sentences - without giving away the ending!) to news@roselle.lib.il.us.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Summer Reading Book Review: Don't You Cry

Book Title: Don't You Cry

Author: Mary Kubica

Reviewed By: Lynn R.

This book has two people telling the story. Quinn's roommate disappears from their apartment. After snooping through her things, she doesn't know if the roommate is in danger or if the roommate is the dangerous one. Alex is a high schooler who meets a new woman in his Michigan town. The voice he writes in seems too descriptive for a high schooler. It is very mysterious with a lot of plot twists.

Why I Picked it Up: I read this author previously and liked her style.

Why I Finished It: To find out the mystery behind the disappearance of the roommate. Also, to find the meaning of the title. (Which I never figured out.)

I’d Give this Book To: Teen and above.

Find Don't You Cry in our catalog.

Summer Reading program participants! There's still time to submit a review of one of the books you read this summer. Your review will get you an entry into a special prize drawing in addition to the drawings that all program finishers are entered in. More prizes! Yay! 
All you have to do is fill out our online form or email a short review (at least 5 thoughtful sentences - without giving away the ending!) to news@roselle.lib.il.us.

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Thank you to Sister Cities of Roselle, IL and Bochnia, Poland

The Library would like to thank the Sister Cities of Roselle, IL and Bochnia, Poland for their recent donation of Polish-language items in memory of Krystyna Wojcik, a longtime resident of Roselle.
We are grateful for their donation.
Donated titles include:
  • W krainie peri : ludowe bajki turkmeńskie by Anonymous
  • Królewna Śnieżka by Maria Krüger
  • Tomek na wojennej ścieżce by Alfred Szklarski
  • Tomek w Gran Chaco by Alfred Szklarski
  • Pani wyrocznia by Margaret Atwood
  • Tylko dla orłów by Alistair MacLean
  • Bezcenny by Zygmunt Miłoszewski
  • Święte grzechy by Nora Roberts
  • Dopuszczalne straty by Irwin Shaw
  • Pan Tadeusz (DVD)
Check the Library catalog to see if these items are on the shelf for checkout.
See the entire Polish Language collection.

Individuals, groups, and organizations may donate items at the Library during regular business hours. See our donation guidelines here.

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