The library is closed today, but we’ll see you tomorrow when we open for normal operating hours.
Enjoy your fireworks and cookouts responsibly!
Enjoy 4th of July!
The library is closed today, but we’ll see you tomorrow when we open for normal operating hours.
What can we say about dads?
It is hard to sum it all up, so we’ll take the easy way out and let other people try.
—Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
—Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
―George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings
—Jane Austen, Emma
—Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities
—George Saunders, Tenth of December
—Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum
—Émile Gaboriau, File No. 113
― Victor Devlin
― Lydia Maria Francis Child
― Salman Rushdie, East, West
― Timothy Pina, Bullying Ben: How Benjamin Franklin Overcame Bullying
― Hope Jahren, Lab Girl
Even if moms didn’t love libraries – it’s true they do, just check out this (admittedly somewhat old) article from the Chicago Tribune that sites a Pew research survey that found “Moms love libraries. A lot.” – we would still be all about moms!
So, moms, you just keep doing what you’re doing and we’ll continue to be here to help out – whether you are looking for that certain picture book, helping to find that perfect source for their research paper or actually looking for something for you to read and enjoy!
For all of horror’s various niches and subgenres, ecological horror is one that feels more and more timely with each passing year. With bizarre and volatile weather events occurring at a distressing pace, wildfires decimating large swaths of land, and the ever-more alarming threat of rising sea levels, it’s not difficult to see why. It sometimes feels as if our changing climate has us on a rolling wave of ecological catastrophe, and the terrors once explored in the confines of the novel are now entirely too plausible. Writers have long swapped common supernatural threats like ghosts and deadly monsters for the uniquely human terror of ecological collapse and a hostile nature reclaiming the world around us. These are a few of our favorites.
Occultation, Laird Barron’s second collection of short stories (and winner of a 2010 Shirley Jackson Award), features a cadre of stories pitting men and women against a chaotic and deadly universe seemingly hellbent on their destruction. His story “-30-” was recently adapted into the film “They Remain” and follows two scientists investigating an unspeakable tragedy at an isolated former cult encampment. Needless to say, things don’t go as planned.
Holly Goddard Jones
In a dystopic near-future, the border of American civilization has receded behind an area known as the Salt Line, a ring of scorched earth meant to keep out hordes of deadly disease-carrying ticks. For most, life continues, if in a limited capacity. But there are those who venture outside to experience what’s left of nature, and one such group of thrill-seekers discovers that there are things more dangerous and deadly than the ticks lurking in the outer zone.
The first in Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy, Annihilation introduces readers to the bizarre, surreal, and horrifying landscape of Area X. It’s been cut off from both man and civilization for decades, and nature (or something more) has fully reclaimed it. When the most recent of several ill-fated expeditions returns, each member stricken with fatal cancer, a twelfth expedition is organized to finally map the now-alien terrain. What they find is beyond anything they could have imagined.
For Eric and Stacy and their friends Amy and Jeff, a Mexican vacation seemed like just what they needed. When they hit it off with another group of friendly tourists? All the better. Unfortunately, what begins as a day trip into the jungle quickly spirals into a hellish nightmare when the group stumbles onto an ancient and overgrown ruin. Something is lurking within the vines and undergrowth – something that doesn’t want them to leave.
This 1951 classic imagines a post-apocalyptic world where the majority of humanity loses their sight in a meteor shower. As the world descends into chaos, the same meteor shower seems to have also animated the triffids – a tall, venomous plant now capable of uprooting themselves and attacking the surviving humans. Though the premise is a little bizarre, Wyndham’s narrative skill turns the tale into a true classic of speculative fiction, one that feels far more plausible than it has any right to.
The Nature of Balance
With The Nature of Balance, Tim Lebbon imagines a world where one day the majority of the world’s population simply doesn’t wake up. For the survivors, the new world quickly evolves into a horrifying place in ways no one could have anticipated. Mankind is no longer the world’s dominant species – nature is reclaiming the earth and man is simply a cancer to be rooted out and removed.
Try to imagine what would happen if one day animals suddenly turned on humans en masse. Thanks to James Patterson, you don’t have to try that hard. In Zoo, biologist Jackson Oz has been largely ostracized from the professional community for his seemingly crackpot theory on the increasing prevalence of animal attacks on humans. When these attacks grow to a startling scale and level of coordination, entire cities are crippled and Oz races to discover a means to stem the tide.
When a reclusive plant biologist living on a remote island passes away, he leaves the island to his daughter Isabella and his close friend and fellow researcher Jules. When the pair arrive, they quickly discover that Isabella’s father made a monumental advancement – communication between plants and animals. When a fierce storm isolates them on the island, they find that this breakthrough has far darker and more sinister implications than anyone could have imagined.
Algernon Blackwood’s work served as something of precursor both modern horror and weird fiction. His darkly supernatural tales, intricately woven and deeply foreboding, were a major influence on H.P. Lovecraft and several others. Ancient Sorceries is one of Blackwood’s finest collections, with the novella “The Willows” standing as perhaps the author’s best. It centers on two friends and their canoe trip on a stretch of the Danube crowded by willows on both banks. Before long, the trip is beset by dread and tragedy as nature itself begins to turn on them.
Nearly three quarters of our planet is covered in water. If, for whatever reason, the ocean’s ecology ever turned on mankind, there would be virtually no place to hide, and that’s the basic premise of The Swarm. Whales begin coordinated attacks, sinking ships. Toxic crabs poison Long Island’s water supply. The North Sea Shelf suddenly collapses. Virtually all at once, the fragile ecosystem of the earth is thrown violently out of balance, and there may be no way to set it right.
And it has all my favorite foods.
While I had crushes often as a teen – actors, boy bands, cute boys in my class – my first true love was my middle school best friend, Robin. She showed up at the start of 5th grade with huge, round glasses and a white satin Members Only jacket with a rainbow parrot on the back, and I knew I’d found my ride or die. We were both smart, weird kids with too much imagination (and maybe too little supervision) and we each recognized our soul mate immediately. Now, when I read YA books with a strong female friendship at the center, something hums deep in my chest – a joyful glimpse of my long-lost childhood friend – and I hold that story – the never-forgotten fierceness of that bond – dearer to my heart.
Literarily, Robin and I fell somewhere between Anne and Diana from the Green Gables books and Elaine and Cordelia from Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye; only someone you love that much can make you that insane, after all. But when I polled some of my adulthood friends at OverDrive and asked what book included their representation of a female friendship, their responses filled my soul AND my TBR list!
For me, it all started with P.S. Longer Letter Later by Paula Danziger and Anna M. Martin. I believe I was 12 years old when I first checked it out from my library and it warmed my awkward little heart. Elizabeth and Tara* Starr were so different from one another and that’s what worked in their transcontinental friendship. They were experiencing the same prepubescent horrors I was: boys, changing bodies, their parents’ imperfections, and their own growing awareness that Life. Is. Hard. Despite all that angst and hardship, they always had each other. It’s so important to show young girls the importance of female friendships. I think there is a common trope in literature where it’s “girl against the world.” But, that’s not how life works. You can have your great love, your great challenge, your great whatever, but no girl is ever far from that one friend who’d drop everything to help them weather whatever storm may come. — Christina Samek, Outreach Specialist
I must mention Jane and Elizabeth Bennett’s relationship in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Despite having three younger sisters, Jane and Elizabeth are the closest of Bennett girls. I think it’s because their unique traits complement each other so well. Elizabeth is headstrong to the point of prejudice and Jane is fair-minded to the point of naivete. Where Jane reserves her feelings, Elizabeth states them plainly. These two could hate each other for their differences, but instead they appreciate them and wish nothing but happiness for one another. — Briana Johnson-Sims, Training Specialist
Willowdean and Ellen’s relationship in Julie Murphy’s Dumplin’ is the female friendship I love the most. These two know each other inside and out and are endlessly supportive of one another. I consider these two characters to be family, not friends. But, high school is a time where insecurities are at an all-time high. Jealously and uncertainties pop up daily and frustrations are taken out on those you are closest with. This storyline is extremely relatable for all kinds of relationships. Change is inevitable, but even through the ups and the downs, it ultimately always comes back to Willowdean and Ellen’s strong, loving, “on the same page,” friendship. — Lauren Bogatay, Collection Development Specialist
The first pair of besties that popped into my mind was Ali Bell and Kat Parker from Gena Showalter’s White Rabbit Chronicles. Kat is a supporting character to Ali’s main, but they have an amazingly strong bond. Kat is apologetically Kat – that’s the best way to describe her. She’s fun and exciting, living for the moment and always speaking her mind. Ali is stubborn, determined, and fiercely loyal. Kat befriends Ali immediately and over the course of the series, their friendship remains true and constant. While the series itself is without a doubt one of my favorites (a white-hot romance, amazing characters, gripping plots, and jaw-dropping twists), the friendship between Ali and Kat is one its shining aspects. — Andrea Sieracki, Launch Specialist
Want more GALentines favorites? Check out our entire list.
No, not you, Punxsutawney Phil. You’re too cute to be mad at. We’re booing the entirely predictable but still disappointing six more weeks of winter that you predicted when you saw your shadow this morning.
Oh well, at least you can still come to the library. And, just to get everyone through these next six weeks, we are offering FREE, unlimited library book check outs for anyone with an Illinois library card!