The Next Chapter
Posted March 27, 2012
We have greatly enjoyed sharing our reading, viewing and listening suggestions with you for the last four years, but we're wrapping up the Beyond Words blog with this final post as we look to the latest in social media to continue to serve you most effectively.
For more reading, viewing and listening suggestions, be sure to check out our Books, Movie and More page, where we feature recommended titles, bestseller lists, and many more resources to help you continue to discover the best of what your library has to offer.
Mad Men Returns
Posted March 22, 2012
It’s been a long wait for fans, but Mad Men is returning to television this Sunday evening. It’s been 17 months since we’ve been inside the offices of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and inside the mind of the elusive Don Draper. It will be interesting to see where the show goes this season with so many potential storylines, and we’re hearing that the season premiere will be a stunner. Get back into the Mad Men mindset with these books:
Mad Men Unbuttoned: A Romp Through 1960's America by Natash Vargas-Cooper
Mad Men: The Illustrated World by Dyna Moe
The Fashion File: Advice, Tips and Inspiration from the Costume Designer of Mad Men by Janie Bryant
Mad Women: The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the '60s and Beyond by Jane Maas
Sterling's Gold: Wit and Widsom on an Ad Man by John Jeremiah Sullivan
The Unoffical Mad Men Cookbook: Inside the Kitchens, Bars, and Restaurants of Mad Men by Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin
Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? : Timeless Lessons on Love, Power and Style by Pamela Keogh
Atomic Cocktails: Mixed Drinks for Modern Times by Karen Brooks
The King of Madison Avenue: David Ogilvy and the Making of Modern Advertising by Kenneth Roman
From Those Wonderful Folks That Gave You Pearl Harbor: Front-Line Dispatches From The Advertising War by Jerry Della Femina
How Does Your Garden Grow?
Posted March 20, 2012
Do you feel like you've suddenly landed smack-dab in the middle of summer? Are you scrambling to get your yard or garden into shape? Or maybe you've been inspired to dip your toe into the urban farm craze. We've got some great books to help you get started no matter your level of experience. Get to it! After all, today is the first day of spring.
The Nonstop Garden: A Step-by-Step Guide to Smart Plant Choices and Four-Season Landscapes by Stephanie Cohen & Jennifer Benner
The Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosch
50 High-Impact, Low-Care Garden Plants by Tracy DiSabato-Aust
The Well-Designed Mixed Garden: Building Beds and Borders with Trees, Shrubs, Perennials, Annuals, and Bulbs by Tracy DiSabato-Aust
Decoding Garden Advice: The Science behind the 100 Most Common Recommendations by Jeff Gillman
Low Maintenance Garden by Jenny Hendy
The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener by Niki Jabbour
The Vegetable Gardener's Bible by Edward C. Smith
The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-less, Grow-More Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden by Ivette Soler
Your farm in the City: An Urban Dweller's Guide to Growing Food and Raising Livestock by Lisa Taylor
Down about the end of Downton Abbey?
Posted March 13, 2012
Sadly, Season 2 of Downton Abbey has ended, and fans have awhile to wait before tuning back in to find out what happens to their favorite British aristocrats and their household staff. Luckily, there is a wealth of nonfiction and fiction that will sate your Downton Abbey appetite. There are several Downton Abbey read-alike lists online that can guide you, and here are some of the titles we recommend picking up while waiting for the series return to television:
In the realm of nonfiction, Julian Fellows, the creator of the show, recommends To Marry an English Lord by Gail MacColl, stating that "It is a marvelous and entertaining study of the American girls who came over to England, mostly between 1890 and 1914, to marry into the British aristocracy." So, if you're curious about what Cora's life may have been like, this one may be for you.
If you are up for a challenge, The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy by David Cannadine, nearly 900 pages long, might be your cup of tea. Library Journal notes that the author "offers a detailed study of the decline of the ‘British landed establishment' from 1880 to the present, due to political, economic, and social changes." We know things are changing at Downton; this might give serious readers a peek of what is in store for the Crawley family.
In its review of Bright Young People by D.J. Taylor, Booklist noted that "In 1920s London, privileged and moneyed young people fell in with one another to create a social scene that thrived on sensation and notoriety to an extent that might rival today's cult of celebrity." Will any of the Crawley ladies become one of those misbehaved young Bohemian aristocrats of the Roaring Twenties? You'll have to wait and see, but in the meantime dive into legendary parties and sumptuous scandal of D.J. Taylor's social history.
For those more interested in the happenings "downstairs," we recommend Rose: My Life in Service to Lady Astor by Rosina Harrison. Harrison became the personal maid of Nancy Astor, who married into the British Aristocracy in 1928, and the memoir, full of interesting details about daily life in service, should certainly give readers a glimpse into what life might have been like for Miss O'Brien.
And there are plenty of fictional Downton Abbey read-alikes for those who prefer novels to nonfiction. Set in England between the wars, The House at Riverton by Kate Morton "recounts the crumbling of a prominent British family as seen through the eyes of one of its servants." Family secrets and scandal will keep readers turning the pages of this one.
The deliberately-paced Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro is a classic for the literary set and was also adapted for film. The narrator, Stevens, is a butler who has spent the majority of his life in service of Lord Darlington and now serves the estate's new American owner. Reserved and rigid, Stevens' dedication to professionalism has stifled his emotional life. In ways he resembles Mr. Carson but with less warmth. Publishers Weekly states that the novel is "both a compelling psychological study and a portrait of a vanished social order."
E.M. Forster's Howards End will also appeal to Downtown fans. Set at the start of the twentieth century, it portrays a social order in flux, as well as a cross-section of British society and the intertwined lives of the Schlegel, Wilcox and Bast families. We also recommend the film version.
Allison Pearson, author of I Think I Love You, recommends The American Heiress for those suffering from Downton Abbey withdrawal symptoms. It's the story of "Cora Cash, an American heiress in the 1890s who bags an English duke… a deliciously evocative first novel that lingers in the mind." Sounds very similar to another Cora we know.
Sara Paretsky Day
Posted March 8, 2012
Next week we will be celebrating award-winning crime writer Sara Paretsky. This year marks the 30th anniversary of her long-running V. I. Warshawski series. Set in Chicago, Warshawski's hometown, the series debuted in 1982 with Indemnity Only. The hard working PI has appeared in 16 books including Paretsky's latest, Breakdown.
Paretsky herself grew up in Chicago and has close ties to the city, and in fact, still resides on the South Side. She is also an ardent supporter of women crime writers. She has served as editor for collections featuring the best in crime fiction written by women, including Sisters On the Case: Celebrating Twenty Years of Sisters in Crime. As if her fiction writing didn't keep her busy enough, Sara also penned a memoir, Writing in an Age of Silence, which was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist.
Please join us for what is sure to be a memorable evening as Sara discusses her work with Chicago Tribune's Rick Kogan. There will also be a reading of Sara's work by Steppenwolf ensemble members, John Mahoney and Amy Morton.
One Book, One Chicago
Posted March 1, 2012
Earlier this week the latest selection for the spring One Book, One Chicago program was announced. We hope you'll join us and your fellow Chicagoans in reading Gold Boy, Emerald Girl by Yiyun Li. This collection of short stories set in modern China has been praised for its insight into Chinese culture as well as for its lyrical writing.
In 2010 Li was awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant. That same year Li was also named one of the New Yorker's 20 under 40, a list which highlights, "…20 young writers who capture the inventiveness and the vitality of contemporary American fiction." Those are some mighty fine accolades and well deserved, we might add.
You can find the resource guide for Gold Boy, Emerald Girl online. Please take a look to see all of the wonderful programs we have lined up, including but not limited to: film screenings, music, staged readings and a conversation with the author. It's going to be an exciting spring!
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