Library Lines– September 23, 2013

Library Lines
September 23, 2013
Michelle Barr

Home ownership is the cornerstone of the American Dream and the last couple years have been fantastic in the property market. The Chatham Area Public Library District has equity built up in real estate resources because we know that being savvy is as equally important as the pre-approval letter when it comes to attaining that prime piece of property.

According to, January is the best time to make an offer on a house, which means that we are entering the browsing season. But before you set up that list of showings with an agent, why not read Tips & Traps When Buying a Home by Robert Irwin? Our librarians appraised it as a must see. Or perhaps How to Buy Foreclosed Real Estate for a Fraction of its Value by Theodore J. Dallow is a more suitable medium if you need to stretch your earnest money. If you’re not a first-time homebuyer, but a potential Donald Trump instead ready to capitalize on the market, then the Beginner’s Guide to Real Estate Investing by Gary Eldred is a sound investment of your time. Of course, many people sell their current properties as down deposits and the Selling Your Home Strategies DVD and Homeseller’s Checklist by Robert Irwin are fantastic resources for the motivated seller.

This Is Where We Live: A Novel by Janelle Brown and On the Street Where You Live by Mary Higgins Clark are fiction reads for when you’re lounging in your luxury living space.  Three Bedrooms, One Corpse by Charlaine Harris and House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus are available at the Library if you are frantic in your fixer-upper. If you are suffering from square footage shortage and have nowhere to read a novel in peace, then perhaps DVDs will be accommodating. The Chatham Area Public Library District has Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, The Fall of the House of Usher, Little House on the Prairie and The Haunted Mansion all on DVD.

The Chatham Area Public Library District houses knowledge and entertainment so won’t you be our guest and come make yourself at home.

Library Lines – August 22, 2013

Library Lines
August 19, 2013
Heather Burgess

The end of September is sort of a transitional time of year. It doesn’t quite feel like summer, nor does it exactly seem to be fall yet. For those in-between times when you’re just not quite sure what you should be doing with yourself, settling down with a good mystery is always a suitable selection, and there are plenty to choose from at the Chatham Area Public Library.

Many authors of your favorite mystery series have come out with new additions to them this year. If you’re a fan of Jeffery Deaver’s investigator and forensics expert, Lincoln Rhyme, then you won’t want to miss his latest, The Kill Room, in which Lincoln investigates the assassination of an American citizen by the United States government. Or check out Speaking from Among the Bones, the latest Flavia de Luce novel by Alan Bradley. This time around Flavia, everyone’s favorite eleven-year-old amateur sleuth and chemist, is plunged into another local mystery when an old tomb in her village is opened to reveal shocking contents.

If you like lighter mystery fair, there are always lots of fun and humorous titles with a bit of intrigue built in. Take for example Laura Childs’s Sweet Tea Revenge, in which a bridesmaid must investigate a murder at her best friend’s wedding. In Parnell Hall’s Arsenic and Old Puzzles, the Puzzle Lady finds herself up against a copycat killer—one who is mimicking the murders in the Cary Grant film Arsenic and Old Lace. Joanna Fluke is well-known for her cozy mysteries, and her latest—Red Velvet Cupcake Murder—is no different. In it, baker Hannah Swensen must defend herself when one of her cupcakes was thought to be the vessel by which poison was delivered to one of her rivals, and she must do it before the real killer repeats the act.

Historical mysteries are another fun genre, and there are plenty of new ones here, too, if that’s your preference. A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate by Susanna Calkins looks to be the start of an exciting new series about a seventeenth century English chambermaid. Someone close to her comes under suspicion for a murder, and when it looks like no one else will defend him, she sets out to find the murderer herself. Against the backdrop of the French and Indian War, Scottish immigrant to America Duncan McCallum sets out to help his Native American friend reunite with members of his tribe, but a series of impediments—including the murder of a soldier–obstruct them in their achievement of this goal in Eliot Pattison’s novel Original Death.

If you’re feeling stuck in this in-between time, don’t let it get you down. We’ll be fully in fall mode before very long, and until then, you can pass the time and tide yourself over with a good mystery from the Chatham Area Public Library.

Library Lines– July 18, 2013

Library Lines–  July 18, 2013
Michelle Barr

Let’s do a round of word associating. I say July and you say “…..”
If outdoors, camping, picnics, swimming, boating, cookouts, or all things earthy were the first words that sprouted, then you are amongst the multitude. Summer seems to be the most common season to remind us of our earthen roots, so the Chatham Area Public Library District has compiled a list of ecological reads for lounging by the pool or sunbathing in the hammock.walden-23mfj4r

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer and Walden by Henry David Thoreau are interesting reads about real-life naturalists who felt the call to be one with Nature, no matter what the cost. These are biographies chronicling their journeys after they decided to leave it all behind for the tranquility that comes from getting back to basic living in Nature as extreme survivalists. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard and Silent Spring by Rachel Carson can follow as reverent, descriptive works of the interaction between Man and Earth and the power of both.

1594861064Inspired by those selections to run around barefoot and swing by rope into lakes? Then Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution- and How It Can Renew America by Thomas Friedman and Greenpeace: How A Group of Journalists, Ecologists, and Visionaries Changed the World by Rex Weyler will light a chemical-free, bio-fueled fire under you to join in the fight to preserve natural land.  Both titles highlight the struggles and victories of the Green Movement and how even seemingly small details can have such a large chain reaction. After these Nonfiction titles, everything from Farmer’s Markets to fireflies will seem different.

If you’re more of a mover and a shaker then a researcher, the Library has il_fullxfull.123090326Green Goes With Everything: Simple Steps to a Healthier Life and a Cleaner Planet by Sloan Barnett and Sewing Green: 25 Projects Made with Repurposed and Organic Materials, Plus Tips and Resources for Earth-Friendly Stitching by Betz White to make big changes in small ways so summertime can still be the relaxing vacation season.

200px-Brian's_WinterA large majority of people already have ways of participating in the environmental movement but do not enjoy their clothes stuck to their bodies with perspiration while listening to the soothing sounds of the bug zapper. The Library has a list for that scenario also.  Serena: A Novel by Ron Rash, Brian’s Winter by Gary Paulsen, Into The Forest by Jean Hegland, Monster by Frank Peretti, Winter Study by Nevada Barr, and Life of Pi by Yann Martel are all exciting fiction reads that command respect for Nature and yet entertain those of us inside with our lemonade.

Of course, the depth of earth’s beauty is best when seen with your own eyes, mHYMtBaSFAUiWgFG9jl_qGQso check out Planet Earth, Castaway, Robinson Crusoe, and In Search of A Golden Sky on DVD to engage with the beauty but stave off these dog days of summer.

Library Lines– June 6, 2013

Library Lines–June 6, 2013
Michelle Barr

We’ve witnessed this month that Illinois weather is whacky but that hasn’t stopped the debut of spring attire, and the Chatham Area Public Library District has an ensemble of books about style for the classic sophisticate or fashionista to read while unpacking that wardrobe.NothingtoWear

Do you have a closet full of clothes, and yet nothing to wear? Or have plenty of separate pieces but none that go together? Nothing to Wear? : A 5-step Cure for the Common Closet by Jesse Garza and Before You Put that On: 365 Daily Style Tips for Her by Lloyd Boston are excellent choices for re-envisioning what you already own. Revamping your style is empowering and if those books inspired you then the Library suggests Harper’s Bazaar Great Style : The Best Ways To Update Your Look by Jenny Levin  and Fashion Accessories : the Complete 20th Century Sourcebook by John Peacock.

9780375402456How to Have Style by Isaac Mizrahi and What Should I Wear? Dressing for Occasions by Kim Johnson Gross are recommendations for anyone just starting to define her own fashion sense.

Both time and budget restrictions can keep us from ransacking the department store racks, but Slave-To-Fashion-by-Rebecca-Campbellwe can still enjoy the style craze with fiction titles like  Slave to Fashion: a Novel by Rebecca Campbell, Spring Collection by Judith Krantz, and Shoe Done It by Grace Carroll.  But if you hate the cultural mania surrounding all things fashion, then The Devil Wears Prada and The September Issue DVDs will match your tastes the way shoes match handbags!

Come into the Chatham Area Public Library District today because knowledge is the new black and the Library is on the best-dressed list!

Library Lines – May 23, 2013

Library Lines
May 23, 2013
Heather Burgess

May is a month characterized by severe weather. It’s when tornadoes are most common, and thunderstorms are prevalent as well. People often talk about the weather when they have nothing else to say, but if you’re hearing about it from the right person, it can be a fascinating topic. While the storms are raging outside, perhaps you would like to hole up indoors with a good book from the Chatham Area Public Library.

Movies like Twister and TV shows like Storm Chasers have brought the practice of tornado chasing to the attention of millions. While we don’t recommend taking up the practice yourself, if you’d like to become a stay-at-home chaser, then maybe you’d like to read Mark Svenvold’s Big Weather: Chasing Tornadoes in the Heart of America. Exciting footage of the activities of storm chasers can be found in the video Tornado Chasers, produced by the Discovery Channel. If you’re more interested in the facts and science behind how tornadoes work, then Michael Allaby’s Tornadoes, from the Dangerous Weather book series, might be worth checking out.

Tornadoes provide a dramatic backdrop for many fictional titles as well. In Megan’s Hero by Sharon Gillenwater, the aftermath of a tornado sets a couple on the path of an uncertain romance, and in The Riesling Retribution a tornado in wine country unearths a mystery as deadly as the storm itself. Author Sharon Sala has even created a series of novels that explore how a community and its residents are affected when a tornado tears through a Louisiana bayou town. The story begins in Blown Away and continues in Torn Apart and Swept Aside.

If you’re an armchair meteorologist, however, and interested in more than just tornadoes, we have plenty of books on weather in general to keep you interested and informed. Weather: A Visual Guide by Bruce Buckley, Edward J. Hopkins, and Richard Whitaker, The National Audubon Society’s First Field Guide: Weather by Jonathan D.W. Kahl, and A Pocket Guide to Weather are basic guides to weather types, climates, forecasting and more, all beautifully illustrated with numerous color photos. More detailed coverage can be found in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Weather by Dr. Mel Goldstein and The Weather Companion: An Album of Meteorological History, Science, Legend and Folklore by Gary Lockhart.

So remember this May when the rain and storms are keeping you inside, the Chatham Area Public Library offers a variety of books, movies, music, and more that can help occupy your time. And maybe if you read some of these, when talk turns to the weather you can demonstrate that it’s not such a boring subject after all.

Library Lines – April 18, 2013

Library Lines
April 18, 2013
Heather Burgess

The coming of spring and summer bring a variety of sounds: rain falling, birds singing, insects chirping. But another type of sound that seems to permeate our lives along with the warmer weather is music. To saturate yourself in this particular world of sound, visit the Chatham Area Public Library to check out some books and movies that feature your favorite musicians.

Our shelves are packed with biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs of rock and pop musicians. If this genre interests you, among our many recently-published titles, you might want to check out: Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir, The John Lennon Letters, 1940-1980, Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page by Brad Tolinski, My Cross to Bear by Gregg Allman, The Soundtrack of my Life by Clive Davis, Who I Am: A Memoir by Pete Townsend, David Bowie: Starman by Paul Trynka, Does the Noise in my Head Bother You? A Rock ‘n’ Roll Memoir by Steven Tyler, or Jagger: Rebel, Rock Star, Rambler, Rogue by Marc Spitz.

In our DVD collection, three documentaries might capture the imagination of the music lover in you. One is Sound City, in which Dave Grohl of Nirvana and the Foo Fighers, buys an analog recording system and uses it to record a new album. By exploring the history of the classic equipment, the story of rock ‘n’ roll’s history is also told. Another is Young @ Heart, a charming true story about a group of senior citizens preparing their choir concert of rock music, including songs by James Brown and Coldplay. Finally, look for Searching for Sugar Man, an intriguing documentary about Sixto Rodriguez, who recorded one album in Detroit in the 1970s. While the album was considered a failure here, a bootleg copy took off in South Africa and made Rodriguez a star there.

Of course the library also owns a variety of concert DVDs by musicians in various genres. You might want to see George Jones: Golden Hits, Joni Mitchell: Shadows and Light, James Taylor Live at the Beacon Theatre, Eric Clapton Unplugged, Il Divo Live at the Greek Theatre, Jamie Cullum Live at Blenheim Palace, or Paul McCartney: The Space within US. With the recent success of the movie Les Misérables, perhaps you might want to watch the 25th anniversary concert DVD, Les Misérables: The Musical Event of a Lifetime. Another fun concert DVD is The TAMI Show, a 1964 gig for the Teenage Awards Music International, featuring performances by The Beach Boys, Chuck Berry, James Brown, The Supremes, The Rolling Stones, and many other legendary musicians and bands.

The milieu of rock ‘n’ roll is also a popular fictional setting. Take real-life rocker Pete Wentz’s novel, Gray, which takes you inside the head of a touring rock musician who may or may not regret the successes he’s had in life. Popular author Nick Hornby’s novel Juliet, Naked tells the story of a reclusive rock star and a lonely woman who make a connection via the internet. Thomas Cobb’s Crazy Heart may sound familiar to you because of the film version with Jeff Bridges that was released in 2010, but it was a novel first, telling the story of an aging musician with a troubled life who meets a woman who might be able to sort him out.

In young adult fiction, look for Catherine by April Lindner. This retelling of Wuthering Heights casts Brontë’s Heathcliff and Cathy as a modern day rock musician and groupie. Lindner has also taken on another Brontë sister’s novel (Charlotte’s Jane Eyre) in Jane, in which a young nanny falls for her brooding rock star employer with a troubled past. Revolution is another young adult fiction title, this one by Jennifer Donnelly, which intertwines the story of a modern day teenager and aspiring musician in Paris who discovers a French Revolution era diary in the guitar of a French composer about whom she is writing a research paper. And in another historical story, The Musician’s Daughter by Susanne Emily Dunlop features a fifteen-year-old girl in eighteenth-century Vienna, investigating the death of her musician father.

All of this doesn’t even address our collection of music CDs, which includes hundreds of discs in dozens of genres, all available to check out for two weeks. If your ears are longing for some sounds or your brain is yearning for a good musical tale, be sure to drop by the Chatham Area Public Library for all your musical needs for this spring and summer.

Library Lines– April 8, 2013

Library Lines—April 8, 2013
Michelle Barr

Tax season is notorious for financial attentiveness and The Chatham Area Public Library District can be your personal Treasury Department.

Beginning a new year by paying in even more taxes certainly creates opportunities for new Imagecost-saving techniques, so the Library recommends Save Big: Cut Your Top 5 Costs and Save Thousands by Elisabeth Leamy and 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget by Wise Bread.  Perhaps, though, some even more creative accounting is necessary.   The New Frugality: How to Consume Less, Save More, and Live Better by Chris Farrell and The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches: A Practical (and Fun) Guide To Enjoying Life More By Spending Less by Jeff Yeager will definitely stretch your adjusted gross income!

ImageStart Late, Finish Rich: A No-Fail Plan for Achieving Financial Freedom at Any Age by David Bach is a great choice for those who have paid in the past but are receiving refunds now. The Big Secret for the Small Investor: A New Route to Long-Term Investment Success by Joel Greenblatt and Buy High, Sell Higher: Why Buy-and-Hold is Dead and Other Investing Lessons from CNBC’s “The Liquidator” by Joe Terranova are also great tools for getting started on your portfolio.

Is three months of tax talk starting to levy your interest?9999107  The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin, Too Damn Rich by Judith Gould, and Half-Price Homicide by Elaine Viets are perfect credits when you’re feeling overdrawn. The Library 680120.1020.Aalso has How to Marry a Millionaire, the First Wives Club, and Annie on DVD for staying within the frame of duty but getting some much needed mental respite.

Knowledge is a nontaxable income so come join us at the Chatham Area Public Library District!

Library Lines – January 31, 2013

Library Lines
January 31, 2013
Heather Burgess

This week marked a very important literary anniversary: on January 28th, Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice turned 200 years old. As any bibliophile will know, turning out Austen-themed books and movies has become something of a cottage industry in recent years. If you’re a lover of Austen, celebrate this important week by coming in to the Chatham Area Public Library, where you’ll find all the Austenalia you could ever wish for.

Of course the library has copies of Austen’s six novels, should you want to reacquaint yourself with the originals. You will find your old friends Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and Sense and Sensibility on our shelves, as well as audiobook versions of most of them, too [Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility]. Pride and Prejudice has even been adapted into a graphic novel by Nancy Butler (writer) and Hugo Petrus (illustrator). And we would be remiss to overlook Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, in which Seth Grahame-Smith takes Austen’s novel, retaining 85% of the original text, and inserts a humorous story of zombie-slaying into the plot.

In addition to the original books and audiobooks, there are movie and mini-series versions of all six novels, too, and we own at least one cinematic version of each [Pride and Prejudice, another P&P, a 3rd P&P, Emma, another Emma, Mansfield Park, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility], but did you know that Austen’s novels have inspired many Bollywood movies as well? We’ve got two: Bride and Prejudice, which was obviously based on Pride and Prejudice, and Kandukondain Kandukondain (“I Have Found It”), which was inspired by Sense and Sensibility. Another movie that was based on an Austen novel is the 1995 flick Clueless, in which Alicia Silverstone plays a teenage matchmaker modeled on Austen’s meddlesome heroine Emma Woodhouse from Emma.

If you’re interested in learning more about Jane Austen herself, or the time and place in which she wrote her novels, the library owns many nonfiction books on these subjects. If it’s Austen’s life that intrigues you, then two recent biographies may be worth taking a look at: A Walk with Jane Austen by Lori Smith, and Becoming Jane Austen by Jon Spence. If your curiosity is piqued by the culture and history of Austen’s era, then you might want to look at G.E. Mitton’s Jane Austen and Her Times, 1775-1817 or Daniel Pool’s What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew. Another interesting recent nonfiction work is Rachel M. Brownstein’s Why Jane Austen?, which includes some biographical information about Austen but also details how perceptions of her novels have changed over the years and asks in particular what it is about Austen’s novels that have made them such a pervasive force in pop culture in recent times.

Many contemporary novels take Austen’s characters and speculate on what happened to them after (or before) the action of the original books. Examples of this include Death Comes to Pemberley, a murder mystery by P.D. James, The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet by Colleen McCullough, and Eliza’s Daughter by Joan Aiken. Jane Austen herself appears as a character in many others, including The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James, I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend by Cora Harrison, and The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig. Still others take on Austen’s themes or settings to tell their own stories, like Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale, Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal, and Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg.

As you can see, the influence of Jane Austen’s legacy reaches far beyond what you might expect from a writer who produced only six novels in her lifetime. But if you’ve been touched by Jane-o-mania, never fear. There is plenty more material that has been inspired by this literary giant that can be found at the Chatham Area Public Library.

Library Lines– January 7, 2013

Library Lines– January 7, 2013
January 7, 2013
Michelle Barr

Ah, New Year’s Eve has just passed; we raised our glasses, kissed our loves, and sang the famous lines:

“Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot
And auld lang syne?”

The NYE song reminds us that life is all about relationships and if your resolution this year is to focus on deepening your relationships, or starting brand new ones, then the Chatham Area Public Library District is the perfect accomplice.

Living in a world where social media is quickly becoming our defining “interaction” with “friends,” the craft of personal relationships has become rusty.  How to Start a Conversation and Make Friends by Don Gabor is the Library’s recommendation for starting a traditional face-to-face connection.

Perhaps striking up conversations is your strong suit though and you have man529577_w185y acquaintances that you feel would make excellent pals. The Art of Friendship: 70 Simple Rules for Making Meaningful Connections by Roger Horchow and I’ll Bring the Chocolate: Satisfying a Woman’s Craving for Friendship and Faith by Karen Porter should be your trusty companions on the journey to build upon that rapport.

51NK7WAEHCL._SL500_AA300_Girlfriends:  Invisible Bonds, Enduring Ties by Carmen Berry, A Treasury of Miracles for Friends by Karen Kingsbury, and Hugs for Friends: Stories, Sayings, and Scriptures to Encourage and Inspire by LeAnn Weiss are perfect for ladies who meet up for coffee, camaraderie, and conversation on a regular basis.

If you’ve both already heard enough chatter thelmaby the time your evening fellowship rolls around, then maybe just enjoying down time watching a movie together in silence is ideal. The Library has a great DVD selection including Thelma & Louise, The First Wives Club, Reign Over Me, Steel Magnolias, and
Fried Green Tomatoes for those occasions.

Adult relationships can get complex when our lives get too busy, too different, or worse: too far away. The Library knows that literature can always be a tie that binds and has soyadayadame friendship focused fiction such as Friends Like Us: A Novel by Lauren Fox, The Yada Yada Prayer Group by Neta Jackson, and The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan that you can read simultaneously and then share your thoughts together. Why not try a couple feisty stories like Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik and Pen Pals by Olivia Goldsmith to really get those discussions engaged?

The Chatham Area Public Library District can be your cohort in your relational endeavors with its numerous resources for all stages of friendships.


Library Lines– December 17, 2012

Library Lines
December 17, 2012
Michelle Barr

Good Tidings to you this Yuletide from The Chatham Area Public Library District! Our holly, jolly librarians are humming carols, hanging wreaths, and checking the holiday collection list twice.Image

We know there’ll be parties for hosting so picking up the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Book: the Definitive Guide to Getting Your Ugly On by Brian Miller and The Frugal Gourmet Celebrates Christmas by Jeff Smith should be at the top of your planning checklist.

Christmas Crafts & Cooking: Over 200 Step-by-Step Ornaments, Decorating Ideas, Gift Wraps and Traditional Recipes for Fabulous Celebrations by Pamela Westland is the Library’s suggestion for those who prefer recreating the North Pole workshop every year. And if the house is already covered in tinsel, bows, and hot glue, then why not try the extra crafts from A Greener Christmas by Sheherazade Goldsmith to avoid the endless checkout lines and overwhelming crowds?

The true spirit of Christmas is not about presents and parties, but a genuine opportunity for “Goodwill towards Men!” For some, this is not the most wonderful time of the year and if you feel 4462505a special softening in your heart around this sacred holiday, then the Chatham Area Public Library District recommends The Handbook to Building a Better World: How to Turn Your Good Intentions Into Actions That Make A Difference by Stephanie Land
and One Simple Act: Discovering the Power of Generosity by Debbie Macomber. Veteran philanthropists seeking new ways of demonstrating the spirit of altruism can check out Doing Good Together: 101 Easy, Meaningful Service Projects for Families, Schools, and Communities by Jenny Friedman.

a-treasury-christmas-miracles-true-stories-gods-presence-karen-kingsbury-hardcover-cover-artNothing warms us more than partaking in the generosity of the season, but snuggling into a comfy chair with spiced tea and Angels Watching Over Me by Lurlene McDaniel, Christmas Stories for the Heart by Alice Gray, or Two Women of Galilee by Mary Rourke is a close second. Or perhaps your family tradition is reading touching stories like A Treasury of Christmas Miracles: True Stories of God’s Presence Today by Karen Kingsbury or Certain Poor Shepherds: A Christmas Tale by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas aloud to the children each night before bed.

But, then again, those cookies won’t bake themselves. For those who have only a little time in 140between projects, the Chatham Area Public Library has DVDs such as Christmas Child, Deck the Halls, Miracle on 34th St and A Christmas Story. Sneaking off to wrap presents alone can be quite a problem with curious little mice stirring about so don’t forget that A Charlie Brown Christmas is a fun diversion!

Whatever your activities or traditions, the Chatham Area Public Library District has the resources to help make this a season full of wonderment and cheer!