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Local Author Showcase: Julia Rath

October 8, 2014 – 5:50 pm |

Local Author Showcase spotlights Skokie-area writers and their work. This month, meet Julia Rath, a Niles East and University of Chicago graduate and author of Conquering Your Own Sleep Apnea the All-Natural Way. She’ll talk about her experience with sleep apnea at the library next Tuesday night.
Where are you living now?
As I write this, I am transitioning between Skokie and Des Plaines. What I like …

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Staff Reviews: Ancillary Justice by Leckie, Ann

October 28, 2014 – 6:05 pm |

This book has picked up awards left and right. It is space opera revenge plot set in a setting with a unique cultural twist and with a very interesting protagonist.

The main culture of the setting, Imperial Radch, has no social distinction between gender. It makes a certain amount of sense, because the civilization has AI and the ability for AI to control/inhabit/hivemind empty bodies of both genders called “ancillaries” There are still other civilizations that have genders, and much of this book takes place in one.

The main character, Breq, is all that remains of a starship. The ship itself and all the other ancillaries were destroyed. She is on a quest of revenge. As a Radch she has no native word to differentiate gender. She thinks in entirely female pronouns and has difficulty telling the sexes apart. As our POV character that means it is extremely hard to tell the sex of any of the character because all the pronouns in the book are feminine.

If you like space opera and like things that twist your brain, this is the book for you.

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Staff Reviews: Lies of Locke Lamora, The by Lynch, Scott

October 28, 2014 – 5:53 pm |

I think I love this book so much because it is set in the world of fantasy, but it is about con artists, friendship, and revenge. The main characters are not heroes on the start of their journey; they are group of con artists out to fleece the nobility of their undeserved fortunes. Things get complicated when a war in the criminal underworld spills over into their plot. The story takes place in a city state reminiscent of renaissance Venice, built around strange indestructible glass towers left behind by an ancient civilization. There is a semi-magical science called “alchemy” which seems to be limited to creating transgenic plants and animals, wondrous drugs and substances equivalent to what we are capable of making in modern day. All this is the background, the story is not about magic, or lost powers returning, it is about quick witted lies and ruining everything your enemy is working towards.

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Staff Review: The World Before Her

October 24, 2014 – 9:59 am |

This riveting documentary explores two contrasting phenomena of girls’/women’s lives in India. The Miss India Pageant title is sought after by hundreds of young women eager to break out of the traditional mold of housewife/mother and earn a high salary otherwise elusive to females. Though beauty pageants are popular in India and some of the families of these contestants are supportive, the exposure of bodies and parading before audiences is seen by many other Indians as vulgar. The women themselves often have conflicting feelings about the degree to which they’re compromising their own beliefs vs. the desire for western culture’s greater freedoms. One particularly poignant, dehumanizing scene shows the contestants draped in cloth covering the upper half of their bodies so that their legs, alone, can be judged. Skin is painfully bleached and Botox injections are administered.
The film alternates between scenes of the competition with scenes of a radical camp for training young girls to be Hindu nationalists with the Durga Vahini. The Durga Vahini is the women’s wing of Vishva Hindu Parishad, a militant, fascist organization that has instigated violent attacks against religious minorities in India. The girls are shown chanting slogans of violent resistance to anyone who threatens “Mother India,” learning to handle weapons, and being brainwashed to turn against non-Hindus. Prachi Trivedi, one of the camp leaders, is tough and macho, but in her home her father dismisses her desire to continue as a camp leader and insists she will marry and carry on Hindu traditions. And therein lies the rub: though these girls are being encouraged to be strong for their religion, there is no transfer of this strength to them as individuals with the right to pursue their own individuality. Ultimately, from a western point of view, one can’t help but see that neither path depicted in the film leads to a better life for women in India.
Winner of the World Documentary Competition Award, 2012 Tribeca Film Festival as well as other awards. Nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Coverage of a Current News Story in 2014.

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Staff Reviews: Song for Issy Bradley, A by Bray, Carys

October 22, 2014 – 4:35 pm |

The British family of Mormon Bishop Ian Bradley mourns the sudden loss of 5-year-old Issy from meningitis. Wife Claire, immobilized by grief, takes to Issy’s bed and removes herself completely from the family; their teenage son Alma becomes increasingly cynical toward his father’s religious convictions, while sister Zipporah takes on all the responsibilities of the household, and little Jacob, taking his father’s words to heart, is sure he can resurrect Issy and fix it all. He has been taught, after all, that Heavenly Father responds to the prayers of everyone, even small children, so why not him? And, besides, in a practice run, he brought Issy’s goldfish back to life! (The fish was surreptitiously replaced by Dad so the children wouldn’t be upset by another loss.) Meanwhile, Ian remains mostly steadfast in his faith – and is appalled and embarrassed by his wife’s inability to grieve appropriately and move on as is demanded by someone of faith. He’s also overwhelmed at his increased parental responsibilities and the pressure of keeping Claire’s condition a secret from his congregation. A sometimes sad, but more often humorously sweet novel that provides interesting insight into the Mormon faith, but also addresses more universal themes of religious belief in general and of family dynamics. Recommended for all readers, this would be an interesting selection for book discussion groups looking for lighter fare.

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Adobe Digital Editions 4 and eBook Privacy

October 10, 2014 – 11:44 am |

Earlier this week, news emerged that Adobe tracks the unencrypted reading history of those accessing eBooks using Adobe Digital Editions 4 (ADE4) on desktop or laptop computers. Library vendors such as OverDrive use Adobe’s software to enforce digital rights management, the rules set by book publishers that dictate how libraries can lend eBooks. The software also collects data to support useful features, such as allowing you to …

Local Author Showcase: Julia Rath

October 8, 2014 – 5:50 pm |
photo

Local Author Showcase spotlights Skokie-area writers and their work. This month, meet Julia Rath, a Niles East and University of Chicago graduate and author of Conquering Your Own Sleep Apnea the All-Natural Way. She’ll talk about her experience with sleep apnea at the library next Tuesday night.
Where are you living now?
As I write this, I am transitioning between Skokie and Des Plaines. What I like …

Under the Cover Review: Deviant

October 8, 2014 – 9:33 am |
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Deviant by Helen FitzGerald Reviewed by Nicole M Niles North High School, 12th Grade If I had to describe this book in one word, all I can say is “wow”. Deviant made me think in a different light compare to other book that I have read. Since chapter one, I felt that I was in [...]

Under the Cover Review: The Island at the End of the World

October 8, 2014 – 9:32 am |
book

The Island at the End of the World by Austin Aslan Reviewed by Alma D Niles North High School, 10th Grade The book, “The Island at the End of the World” by Austin Aslan continues the new hot trend of dystopian fiction. We follow the story of a girl named Leilain who is just a [...]

Under the Cover Review: The Island at the End of the World

October 8, 2014 – 9:32 am |
book

The Island at the End of the World by Austin Aslan Reviewed by Alma D Niles North High School, 10th Grade The book, “The Island at the End of the World” by Austin Aslan continues the new hot trend of dystopian fiction. We follow the story of a girl named Leilain who is just a [...]

Staff Reviews: Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Munaweera, Nayomi

October 6, 2014 – 1:14 pm |

An evocative story of two Sri Lankan families, one Tamil and one Sihala, and the effects of civil war upon them. Sinhala sisters Yasodhara and Lanka and their parents emigrate to the U.S. when conflict escalates and their upstairs neighbors/tenants (including Yasodhara’s best friend and “Tamil brother” Shiva) flee; Tamil teenager Saraswathi, after being brutalized by government soldiers and rejected by her family as “spoiled,”, joins the Tamil tigers and herself becomes a ruthless rebel, slaughtering innocent women and children, eventually volunteering to be a suicide bomber in the service of the Leader. After she graduates from college, Lanka, an artist, returns to the island to teach children who are wounded and parentless. Here she meets up again with Shiva, now an English-educated doctor doing humanitarian work, and convinces her sister, whose marriage is failing, to come and stay with them. What ensues is the tragic and predictable collision of these two families. (Lanka is on the bus that Saraswathi blows up while carrying out her mission.) Munaweera graphically portrays the atrocities perpetrated by both sides and paints a convincing portrait of the making of a terrorist from an innocent teenager; she also manages in this fairly short novel to convey the immigrant experience of Sri Lankans in the U.S. and, what most distinguishes her book fro others of its ilk, by beginning her story a generation earlier, she is able to vivdly depict the natural beauty of the island the the rich culture of its people before war encroaches (while never ignoring the classism and prejudices that lie at its roots). This contrast between an idyllic island paradise and the carnage that destroys it is simply unforgettable. This reader will long remember the descriptions of the girls’ father swimming in the sea as a boy surrounded by fish (and his comparison later of blinking Christmas lights to color-changing octopi) as well as the horrific callousness of Saraswathi’s first kill. Highly recommended for its richly developed female characters, political objectivity, descriptive prose, and captivating imagery.

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