Welcome to the Freeport Memorial Library blog. We hope to use this blog to offer in-depth information about library services that we do not have room to explore in our bi-monthly newsletter. We look forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Readers' Advisory

Lion in the Living Room: How House Cats Tamed Us and Took Over the World
by Abigail Tucker (2016)

The intriguing history of how house cats found their way onto our hearths and into our hearts.In her debut, Smithsonian correspondent Tucker takes readers back into prehistory to examine the qualities of such killer cats as saber-tooth tigers and their ilk. Today, big cats are rapidly vanishing, but domesticated cats are thriving. By some estimates, in the United States alone, the tally of pet cats is approaching 100 million. Tucker, a devoted cat lover and owner, brings dozens of points of view about cats through her interviews with archaeologists, veterinarians, biologists, animal ecologists, and research scientists; her time spent observing cat fanciers at pet shows; and her encounters with wildlife refuge managers, animal rights activists, and cat breeders. Cat lovers may be dismayed to learn some of the negatives the author reveals—e.g., the link between cats and serious mental and physical conditions, the threat they pose to birds and other endangered animal populations—and cat owners may be alarmed to read of the vicious behavior of some ordinary house cats. Tucker relates one incident in which cat owners barricaded themselves inside their bedroom and called 911 to be rescued from their fierce little pet. The author also reports the work of hybrid breeders, who are producing some very strange-looking animals. Illustrations would have enhanced this lively and informative book, but readers curious to know what the rare Lykoi, also known as the werewolf cat, looks like can find ample photographs online. As many readers already know, cat videos have taken over the internet, and Tucker explores this phenomenon, visiting such current stars as Lil Bub. Read this entertaining book and you will be convinced that house cats are "the most transformative invaders the world has ever seen"—except for humans, of course. (Kirkus).

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Readers' Advisory

Heaven's Ditch: God, Gold and Murder on the Erie Canal
By Jack Kelly (2016)

The technological marvel of its age, the Erie Canal grew out of a sudden fit of inspiration. Proponents didn't just dream; they built a 360-mile waterway entirely by hand and largely through wilderness. As excitement crackled down its length, the canal became the scene of the most striking outburst of imagination in American history. Zealots invented new religions and new modes of living. The Erie Canal made New York the financial capital of America and brought the modern world crashing into the frontier. Men and women saw God face to face, gained and lost fortunes, and reveled in a period of intense spiritual creativity.

Heaven's Ditch illuminates the spiritual and political upheavals along this "psychic highway" from its opening in 1825 through 1844. "Wage slave" Sam Patch became America's first celebrity daredevil. William Miller envisioned the apocalypse. Farm boy Joseph Smith gave birth to Mormonism, a new and distinctly American religion. Along the way, the reader encounters America's very first "crime of the century," a treasure hunt, searing acts of violence, a visionary cross-dresser, and a panoply of fanatics, mystics, and hoaxers.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he thought he was destined to live.

Click here to listen to an interview with Sherman Alexie.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Readers' Advisory

Farewell Elie Wiesel

Elie Wiesel was born in Sighet, Transylvania, on September 30, 1928. The third of four children and the only son, Wiesel was educated in sacred Jewish texts. When he was 15, Wiesel was taken off with his family to the concentration camps at Birkenau and Auschwitz, where he remained until January 1945 when, along with thousands of other Jewish prisoners, he was moved to Buchenwald in a forced death march. Buchenwald was liberated on April 11, 1945, by the United States army, but neither Wiesel's parents nor his younger sister survived. After the war Wiesel went to France where he completed secondary school, studied at the Sorbonne, and began working as a journalist for an Israeli newspaper. In 1956 he moved to New York to cover the United Nations and became a U.S. citizen in 1963. He was the Andrew Mellon Professor of Humanities at Boston University in the mid-1980s.
Wiesel's writings bear witness to his year-long ordeal and to the Jewish tragedy. In 1956 Wiesel's first book, a Yiddish memoir titled And the World Was Silent, was published in Argentina. Two years later a much abbreviated version of the work was published in France as La Nuit. After the 1960 English language publication of Night, Wiesel wrote more than 40 books: novels, collections of short stories and essays, plays, and a cantata. His works established him as the most widely known and admired Holocaust writer. Wiesel received many honors including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.
(Source: Encyclopedia of World Biography, December 12, 1998).

Click for books by and about Elie Wiesel.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Readers' Advisory

The Cracked Spine
Paige Shelton (2016)

In need of a good adventure, Delaney Nichols takes the leap and moves to Edinburgh, Scotland to start a job at The Cracked Spine. She doesn't know much about what she's gotten herself into, other than that the work sounds exciting, and that her new boss, Edwin MacAlister, has given her the opportunity of a lifetime. Edwin has promised that she'll be working with "a desk that has seen the likes of kings and queens, paupers and princes," and Delaney can't wait to get started.

When she arrives, she meets her new Scottish family; also working at the Cracked Spine are Rosie, perpetually wrapped in scarves, and who always has tiny dog Hector in tow; Hamlet, a nineteen-year-old thespian with a colored past and bright future; and Edwin, who is just as enigmatic and mysterious as Delaney expected. An unexpected bonus is Tom the bartender from across the street, with his piercing eyes, and a rolling brogue -- and it doesn't hurt that he looks awfully good in a kilt.

But before she can settle into her new life, a precious artifact -- a previously undiscovered First Folio of Shakespeare's plays -- goes missing, and Edwin's sister is murdered, seemingly in connection to the missing folio. Delaney decides to do some sleuthing of her own, to find out just what the real story is behind the priceless folio, and how it's connected to the tragic death, all without getting harmed herself.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Readers' Advisory

by Matt Ruff (2012)

A thriller unusual in its concept, combining politics with an alternate reality. No attacks occur on Sept. 11. The real tragedy happens on Nov. 9, 2001, when terrorists from the Christian States of America (CSA) attack the twin towers in Baghdad. The world is turned upside down and inside out, with the United Arab States (UAS) being the world's dominant power and America a fragmented collection of countries that include the Republic of Texas. The UAS invades and conquers the CSA, but captured prisoners bring rumors that everything the Arabs see is a mirage, that the true superpower is America. Some even claim that "God loves America, not Arabia." Real-life characters show up aplenty but are cast in unexpected lights. Timothy McVeigh and Osama bin Laden, for example, are warriors for the good guys, but at least Saddam Hussein is still a thug. Readers have someone to root for in conventional thrillers, but that is lacking here. Much detail mirrors the West we know, an approach that starts out looking clever but quickly becomes too cute—Gaddafi claiming to have invented the Internet; a Six Flags Hanging Gardens theme park; and a series of self-help books including Christianity for the Ignorant. Germany is a Jewish state, while Palestine belongs to the Arabs. The UAS is a largely tolerant place, where one character even says, "Hey, it's a free country." Another shrugs off the revelation that someone is gay, as if no one cares in the UAS. A few characters, including the heroine named Amal, risk their lives to determine the truth—is their whole world an illusion? (Kirkus)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Readers' Advisory

Alexander Hamilton
by Ron Chernow (2014)

Alexander Hamilton was arguably the most important figure in American history who never attained the presidency, but he had a far more lasting impact than many who did. An illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, Hamilton rose with stunning speed to become George Washington's aide-de-camp, a battlefield hero, a member of the Constitutional Convention, the leading author of The Federalist Papers, and head of the Federalist party. As the first treasury secretary, he forged America's tax and budget systems, customs service, coast guard, and central bank. Chernow offers the whole sweep of Hamilton's turbulent life: his exotic, brutal upbringing; his brilliant military, legal, and financial exploits; his titanic feuds with Jefferson, Madison, Adams, and Monroe; his shocking illicit romances; his enlightened abolitionism; and his famous death in a duel with Aaron Burr in July 1804.