Book of the Month| February | Spring 2018

This month’s recommended read is Louise Erdrich’s Future Home of the Living God.

future

Ian Stade of LibraryReads provides a summary: “From the author of the National Book award-winning novel The Round House comes an exploration into the possibility of evolution reversing and is told from the perspective of a pregnant woman who is writing a journal to her unborn child. Along the way we meet her adoptive parents, her birth mother, and she reports on society unraveling and detaining pregnant women. Erdrich provides compelling characters and a strong storyline about a near future in this piece of innovative dystopian fiction.”

Or, as the New York Times puts it, ‘What if evolution stopped, and then start running backward?”

Click here to read an interview of Louise Erdrich by Margot Atwood, author of A Handmaid’s Tale. If you like this title, we definitely suggest reading (or re-reading) this modern dystopian classic.

Other readalike authors to try: P.D. James, Sherman Alexie, Isabel Allende, Ian McEwan, Megan Hunter

If you like Future Home of the Living God, you may also like the following three books available for checkout:

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed

The Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solmon

Click here to download our flyer with a list of readalike books and authors.

Happy Reading!

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President Obama’s Reading Lists

Getty Images

As we come closer to the end of President Obama’s term, I thought it would interesting to take a look through his reading lists  over the years. So if you want to read the books that the President did check out one or more of them from the Prairie State College Library.

Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates
E185.615 .C6335 2015
Link to Ebook

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?


The Sixth Extinction
Elizabeth Kolbert
QE721.2.E97 K65 2014

Provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind’s most lasting legacy, compelling us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.

All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr
Fic DOE

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.


Washington: A Life
Ron Chernow
E312 .C495 2011

Celebrated biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation and the first president of the United States. With a breadth and depth matched by no other one volume biography of George Washington, this crisply paced narrative carries the reader through his adventurous early years, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, and his magnificent performance as America’s first president. In this groundbreaking work, based on massive research, Chernow shatters forever the stereotype of George Washington as a stolid, unemotional figure and brings to vivid life a dashing, passionate man of fiery opinions and many moods.


Continue reading “President Obama’s Reading Lists”

Mountain Man Hugh Glass: The History of the Revenant

The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge by Michael Punke
Book / Ebook

revenant
noun rev·e·nant \ˈre-və-ˌnän, -nənt\

: one that returns after death or a long absence
-Miriam Webster

The Revenant, staring Leo DiCaprio and directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, tells the story of a frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820s who must fight for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team. It is based on the book The Revenant by Michael Punke, which itself is based on the story of an actual man named Hugh Glass.

There is very little about Hugh Glass that actually known outside of the fact that he was one of the “mountain men” who, during the turn of the 19th century were drawn out west in pursuit of the lucrative business of fur-trapping. Now, when Europeans came over from the new world, they found themselves awash in animals which they could use for fur trade (mainly beavers). From the boom in resources was developed a new trade of people named “mountain men”. The mountain man was a rare bred (there was usually only about 200-300 total) of person who braved the wild, hostile Native Americans, and the elements for months at a time before they returned to civilization. They even had their own system of medicine, called “frontier medicine, to deal with any injuries that may occur. Sure enough, though, by the 1800s they had hunted the beaver population in the Eastern portion of the country to near extinction. But luckily the United States had just invested in the Louisiana Purchase, which opened up St. Louis to the Rocky Mountains to these trappers. Hugh Glass was one of the men who ventured west to seek his fortune.

The Story of the Revenant (do not continue reading if you want to avoid spoilers …. of American History)

Continue reading “Mountain Man Hugh Glass: The History of the Revenant”

Harper Lee, 1926-2016

Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird and its sequel Go Set a Watchman, died today at the age of 89.

A native of Monroeville, Alabama, Lee was 34 when To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960. The success of the novel, and its immediate connection to the current political and cultural climates, led quickly to the production of a film adaptation starring Gregory Peck. The movie was released in 1962, and received 3 Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Peck and Best Screenplay Adaptation. The book was also the recipient of a number of awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961.

In 1964, Lee declined to give any more interviews, citing her exhaustion with answering the same questions again and again. She also wrote no more novels. When it was announced that a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird would be published in 2015, questions were raised about its authenticity, and Lee’s actual intentions.

Harper Lee was one of the 20th century’s most renowned and celebrated authors. To read her novels, watch the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird, or learn more about her, check out one of the items below.

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2015 Award Winners and Finalists

medalsStop by the Library this month to check out our display filled with current and previous winners of book awards or continue reading to see this years winners and finalists.

Pulitzer Prize:

Honoring excellence in journalism and the arts since 1917.

National Book Award:

Celebrating the best of American literature and enhancing the cultural value of great writing in America.

Nobel Prize for Literature:

Awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words of the will of Alfred Nobel, produced “in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction.”

Man Booker Prize:

The Man Booker Prize promotes the finest in fiction by rewarding the very best book of the year. The prize is the world’s most important literary award and has the power to transform the fortunes of authors and publishers.

National Book Critics Circle Award:

The National Book Critics Circle honors outstanding writing and fosters a national conversation about reading, criticism and literature.

Caldecott and Newbery Medal:

The Caldecott Medal annually recognizes the preceding year’s “most distinguished American picture book for children” and the Newbery Medal is awarded to “the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children”.