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Monday, August 14, 2017

#Random Review: The Rescue

Book Title: The Rescue

Author: Nicholas Sparks

Reviewed By: Chelsea B.

Action speaks louder than words: a book review of The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks.
While fans and familiarized readers of Nicholas Sparks have come to readily understand the plot and storyline of many of his novels (as they follow a pretty systematic romance scheme), I thoroughly enjoyed the refreshing tone of Sparks' novel The Rescue. While this novel also followed Sparks' predictability (a blossoming romance between two individuals simultaneously experiencing a great challenge that will either lead to heartbreak or endearment in the final pages), great emphasis was placed on the value of actions by those we love - and who love us back - in respect to proving that great love. Often, Sparks' novels are sprinkled with beautiful quotes and declarations of love, while the hero of The Rescue, Taylor, demonstrates his love for Denise through his selflessness and trust.

The novel is not lacking in the poetic terminology so characteristic of Sparks' novels; however, the author places greater emphasis on describing the thought processes and feelings behind the actions taking place - in a way that I have not encountered with his other novels. For Sparks to be able to tap into this kind of inherency by way of words and description, his true talent as a writer shines through in a different, refreshing avenue of thought.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and would definitely recommend it to a friend. The Rescue, in my opinion, is one of Sparks' better novels and leaves readers feeling very in touch with its main characters - in a way that is not often felt in his other romance-laden pieces.

Find the print and eBook editions of The Rescue 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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Monday, August 7, 2017

#Random Review: I Was A Child

Book Title: I Was A Child

Author: Bruce Eric Kaplan

Reviewed By: Lynn R.

I Was a Child is a memoir of Bruce Eric Kaplan, a cartoonist for the New Yorker and a television writer. The author randomly recalls memories from his childhood during the 60s and 70s. It was interesting that he became a television writer since he clearly had a keen interest in this from a young age. He even purchased the TV Guide with his own money and kept them like reference material. Be warned that there are also some sad parts, too.

Why you picked it up: I picked this book up because the title made me do a double take. I first thought is said, "When I Was a Child". When I realized that the title is "I Was a Child", I thought that was humorous so I flipped through it and saw the cartoon drawings. I was looking for something fun so I brought it home.

Why you finished it: The book was a very quick read. Although many of the references were from places in New York, it made me recall happy memories from my own childhood. It left me wishing for a book from someone that was a child in the Chicagoland area.

Who you would recommend it to: I would recommend this book for adults born in the 1960s. Many of the references were from New York but it still has universal appeal. Although it has cartoon drawings, some of the material is not suitable for children.

Find I Was A Child 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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Monday, July 31, 2017

Summer Reading Book Review: Best Stories of O. Henry

Book Title: Best Stories of O. Henry

Author: O. Henry (William Porter)

Reviewed By: Thomas P.

Probably most Americans of a certain age recall reading some O. Henry stories when they were in grade school or high school. Certainly, "The Gift of the Magi" and "The Ransom of Red Chief" were popular selections among that level of reading and their poignancy and humor still remain today. I remember reading them in my freshman or sophomore year of high school, some 50 years ago. So picking up a volume of O. Henry stories was an easy thing to do. Sure enough, the stories had a familiar feel to them. Other than the two named stories, I didn't remember any of the other tales in this volume. There are 38 in all, ranging from the two excellent examples given above to some that have long since faded from America's collective memory. Still, reading them evoked an America on the verge of greatness, its cities expanding at an amazing rate, with people flocking into those cities and bearing their own stories of love, ambition, hope, and despair. O. Henry was there to chronicle them. This he did with a precision that still draws authors to read his works 11 decades after his death.

Mr. Henry, who in real life bore the moniker William Porter, had a sharp eye for pathos and was excellent at drawing it out, evocative of other authors from the time during which he wrote. His unique characteristic was the utilization of a twist at the end of his stories, bringing an unexpected turn of events into laser-like focus, usually with only a couple of sentences at the denouement. Mr. Porter's own life ended tragically after repeated bouts of alcoholism, resulting in his too-early death at age 48. He likely would have loved to have used his own life as a template for one of his own tales. In any event, from the date of O. Henry's death, his format of brief, punchy stories delivered with wit, pathos, tears, and joy has been frequently (if not incessantly) used by other authors, but with seldom-matched success.

If you have never availed yourself of O. Henry stories, here is an excellent book with which to begin. Like most good authors, Mr. Henry tosses off brilliant insights with singular force. As an example, I almost didn't read the two short stories mentioned in my first paragraph. After all, even though it was 50 years ago, I still remembered the context of both short stories I had read in high school. By great good fortune, I did reread both. How grateful I am that I did, for had I bypassed them, i would have never recalled this nugget nestled in the first few lines of "The Gift of the Magi". Writing about Della, the female half of the couple contemplating Christmas gifts for each other, O. Henry has this to say about life, as contemplated from the distaff side, "Life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating." If Mr. Henry's view seems somewhat stilted from our position more than a century after he wrote those lines for people of an entirely difference society, one must reflect that the line still resonates with some people as being an effective summary of the life's skein of events and our response to them.

When O. Henry was writing, America was still more rural than urban. However, cities (especially New York) were growing at an astounding rate. O. Henry bridges the divide. Although he is most frequently described as a story-teller cut from the urban mold, more than a third of these stories focus on rural America. O. Henry's stories range from the still wild American West to back-hills Tennessee to cow-town Alabama and Arkansas to the big city. When he writes of the city, it is almost exclusively of turn-of-the-twentieth-century New York. And Mr. Henry captures the boisterousness like few have ever done.

With so many stories, it is inevitable that some will fall flat. Others may strike me as particularly insightful whereas you might view them as a "take it or leave it" sort of view. Still, I found several worthy of some contemplation after reading. In no particular order, here are some of the better stories I found in the volume: "The Gift of the Magi", The Ransom of Red Chief", The Cop and the Anthem", "The Love-Philtre of Ikey Schoenstein", "A Retrieved Reformation", "Two Thanksgiving Day Gentlemen", and "The Last Leaf". Besides Mr. Henry's two most popular stories, I would especially call your attention to "The Cop and the Anthem" and "The Last Leaf". So as not to spoil your reading by inadvertently giving away the endings, I will refrain from commenting on the stories themselves, but I think you will find all of the ones I have mentioned to be worthy of your time.

When reading stories from a different time and society, it is inevitable that some characteristics of a bygone period are reflected in story dialogue and action we would either today find not acceptable or would explain away as products of a previous age. There is no difference here. The otherwise fine offering of "The Duplicity of Hargraves" is tinged with a racial overtone that would never pass muster with a contemporary editor (this despite the fact that O. Henry's protagonist uses a disguise for the very nicest of reasons). Similarly, "A Harlem Tragedy", which is meant to be dark comedy, sees its humor fall flat due to the nature of the actions taken in the story. Really, it is hard to see how this was considered funny even at the time, much less now. These two stories, however, are aberrations. They fall outside of the normally insightful views that O. Henry produced. Do not let them destroy the loving, witty, bizarre and unusual comments that are scattered throughout the other 36 stories.

Perhaps you will find other stories that touch you whereas I did not find them so appealing. That is the glory of O. Henry. His stories affect each of us differently, yet they are so frequently still fresh and poignant. I hope you have the opportunity to read this volume.

Find Best Stories of O. Henry in our catalog.

Summer Reading programs are over for this year, but you can still submit reviews of books you want to share. 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 and we will publish your review here in the Books, Music & More blog.

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Summer Reading Book Review: A Man Called Ove

Book Title: A Man Called Ove

Author: Fredrik Backman

Reviewed By: Eileen K.

A great book to remind us of how we touch and impact others' lives. Ove is a man who has faced many challenges and adversities, and after losing his wife (the most important person in his life) he decides life isn't worth living any more. His many attempts to end his life, however, are interrupted by others in need of him, and who he would least expect to form a relationship with. In time, these people touch his heart and form a bond, and in the end, he again finds meaning for his life.

Find A Man Called Ove in our catalog, available in print and large print, eBook, eAudiobook, book on CD, and the movie on DVD.

Summer Reading program participants! there is 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 for all program finishers. 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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Friday, July 21, 2017

20s and 30s book discussion group meets next Thursday

Join fellow 20 & 30-somethings once a month for good food, good fun, and a great discussion on the books you want to read! At the July meeting, we'll discuss The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay.

As always we'll meet at a local restaurant. Come join us on Thursday, July 27, 6:30 pm - ???

For more info (and the name of the local restaurant) contact Matt Wieck, mwieck@roselle.lib.il.us or call 630.529.1641 ext.*211.

Whether or not you can attend our next meeting (especially if you cannot attend), join our Goodreads Group and share your comments in the online discussion.

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Summer Reading Book Review: Jane Eyre

Book Title: Jane Eyre

Author: Charlotte Brontèˆ

Reviewed By: Laura K.

This book is not just for people still in school. The language and thoughts expressed in this book are amazingly clear and concise. Bronte will express thoughts most people have had clearly, but be able to describe them more clearly than most people can in words. The book contains, romance, terror, and independent decision making. If the book seems intimidating, try the book on CDs (granted there are 15 disks, but at one/day during a commute, you could finish this book in just over two weeks).

Why you picked it up: Part of summer reading program and my kids' homeschool reading list.

Why you finished it: Both husband and I enjoyed it and I wanted my kids to hear the descriptive language.

Who you would recommend it to: Those not having to read it in school and/or those in school, but getting a leg up to enjoy the book,rather than just to analyze it.

Find Jane Eyre in our catalog.

Summer Reading program participants! 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 for all program finishers. 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 13, 2017

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. If you are participating in a Summer Reading program, your review will get you an entry in a special prize drawing. Yay! More prizes!

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?
(See what other patrons and staff are reading)

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