Friday, December 28, 2012

Start Your Resolution at Des Plaines Public Library

One last holiday stands between us and the end of the holiday season (not to mention year). As per usual, as we plan our parties and festivities for New Year's Eve we simultaneously plan to change our lives the very next day. New Year's resolutions though dubious are commonplace. Just check out this current list of the most common resolutions this year.


While I can't promise you will stick to your resolution(s), the library is here to help with tons of information to keep you on track! Here are some popular resolutions and links to items (books, ebooks, DVDs, audiobooks) we have to help give you a kick start. Just place a hold on the items in the catalog or give us a call and we can place the hold for you.

Losing Weight

Managing Personal Finances

Managing Stress 

Manage Time Effectively 

Developing Healthy Eating Habits

Landing the Job

Green Living

Start Volunteering  

In addition to these guides, the Reader Services department will have a display of inspiring fictional characters to help keep you on track!  Do you have a resolution this year or fictional character who inspires you?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Film Rx: Movies to Watch When You're Sick

It seems like everyone around me is sick right now. It's probably only a third of the people I work, play, and live with, but either way, that's a lot of folks lately who are stuck in bed, huddled under blankets, littering the floor with wadded tissues, and hoping to take their minds off their ills. If that sounds like you, send a friend over to the library to pick up your film Rx.

Movies have healing properties. They affect our moods. The right one can make us feel better. And recovery is often as much a psychological process as it is physical one. So any film that is familiar enough to fall asleep to and not too much of a thinker or a downer is just what the doctor ordered.

A friend of mine said he couldn't name a specific title because he'd want to use his sick time to catch up on all the movies he hasn't seen yet. That's a valid point. But as for me, when I'm sick, I can't focus and I don't want to multitask. I want my old favorites around me: my mug, my robe, my recliner, and my movies.

Most of the picks below will probably peg me as a child of the eighties, but it's really the genres that are important -- prescribing the right remedy to match what you're going through and what you need.

Classic call-in flicks:

Princess Bride
Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Sick over the holidays:

Elf or Home Alone
Love Actually or It's a Wonderful Life

Too sick to follow a plot:

Top Hat or Viva Las Vegas
Overboard or Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

It hurts when I laugh:

History of the World, Part 1 or A Night at the Opera
Caddyshack or Wayne's World

I want my mommy:

Tangled or Finding Nemo
Mary Poppins or The NeverEnding Story

Long term care:

All 3 Lord of the Rings or all 3 original Star Wars
All 3 Back to the Futures or all 3 Godfathers

On the mend:

Star Trek: Wrath of Khan or Top Gun
The Thin Man or O Brother Where Art Thou

Which movies do you want to watch when you're home sick?

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Very Literary Film Season

Sometimes there seem to be months on end with nothing I am interested in seeing being in theatres. Then, as if the clouds suddenly burst after a long drought, there is a flood of movies I’ve been dying to see. Not surprisingly, this often happens right around Christmas. And this year, it seems like almost all of those movies are based on some of my favorite books. 

While every year Hollywood releases a slew of movies based on popular books, it strikes me this season that there are more movies based not only on popular novels like the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child, but on deeply important and classic works like Les Misérables and Anna Karenina. Moviemakers also seem to be trying to use these classic stories to experiment with new film formats (as Peter Jackson has done by shooting The Hobbit in a higher frame rate and in real 3D, using a two-camera technique), different ways of recording singing in order to allow the actors to, well, act more in their songs (as in the upcoming Les Misérables) and unique, metaphoric settings (as Joe Wright has done with his new adaptation of Anna Karenina, emphasizing the theme of “all the world’s a stage”). Whether or not this makes for a better movie is up in the air, but it certainly is interesting to see how these techniques are used.

So far, I’ve checked off Anna Karenina and The Hobbit from my list of must-see literary movies this season. Still left to go is Life of Pi and Les Misérables. What’s on your list?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Best Books of the 2012

One thing I love about this time of year is this is when all the "Best of" lists and award winners come out. I usually come out with my own best books of the year list. And as I was thinking about it I realized I didn't really have any. The best books I read this year were actually from last year. The Sisters Brothers, Caleb's Crossing, The Lost Memory of Skin, 11/22/63 and Steve Jobs were my top five reads this year and all were from the previous years. The new books I did read were more of the popular fiction variety. I don't think this was any worse of a year for literature. It was more that I was really trying to catch up on all the great books I've missed. Time stops for no man, so I now have more catching up to do.

The one list that I await the most is the New York Times list of 100 Notable Books. It came out on November 27th. In most years I count how many I have already read when in comes out usually there are five or ten. This year I have read none yet but I have now placed holds on many of the titles.

So when it comes time for new years resolutions, I would like read one book from 2012 and one book from 2013 each month.

What were some of the best books you have read this year? And which end of year lists do you most look forward to?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Murder at the Hospital OR Unconventional Sleuths

This holiday season, someone on my gift list will receive the latest Lenny Moss mystery, even though he doesn't read many mysteries. Am I one of those annoying gift givers who buys the recipient not what he wants but what I like? I hope not, although I'll cop to buying the occasional book for my niece when she wasn't a big reader. (Reading is too important and fun to miss out on. And I always got her something else, too!)

So why am I purchasing No Place to Be Sick, by Timothy Sheard, for a family member who only occasionally reads mysteries?  Why did I give this family member, who is interested in all things union and labor history and who will henceforth be referred to as Union Man, his first Lenny Moss mystery a few holidays back, which he loved and requested more of?

The answer lies in the story's hero and subject matter. The hero & crime solver, Lenny Moss, is a custodian, and, of greater interest to Union Man, a union representative. So the books, like every good mystery, aren't just about who killed whom. They weave labor issues, such as harassment of workers, into the stories. For example, in the first book, This Won't Hurt a Bit, a laundry worker at a large university hospital is accused of murdering a doctor. Lenny and his co-workers at the hospital, however, believe the man is innocent, and together they undertake their own investigation into the murder.

The heroes of mysteries these days are no longer just private eyes and police detectives. They are janitors and cleaning women, reporters, herbalists, teachers, librarians and more. Whatever your interests, you can likely find a mystery set in your milieu, and there are even books to help you find your mystery match, such as Make Mine a Mystery: A Readers' Guide to Mystery and Detective Fiction. The book, which you can view at the Readers' Services desk on the third floor, contains a subject index that goes from Aborigine-Australia to Zoo. Some subjects included are:

HMOs (for those who have ever been frustrated with an HMO)
Shipboard (for those who can't afford to take a cruise)
Railroads (love this one!)
Theater (for those who have ever wanted to kill a director or theater diva)

Another helpful book is What Mystery Do I Read Next, which includes both time period and  major character indexes (activist, aged person, animal trainer, etc). Want personalized suggestions? Ask the helpful staff at the 3rd floor Readers' Services desk.

What's your favorite mystery or series featuring an amateur or unconventional sleuth? Do you have a favorite setting or locale? Do books make good gifts?