Category Archives: Book News

News for Readers of Romance

Many readers were shocked at Harlequin’s recent announcement that they will stop publishing several “categories” of romance.  For those who want to more information,  please check out this informative post from Novelist.  I think it is also helpful that they explain how to find certain types of romance using specific searches in the Novelist Plus database.

What is Novelist, you ask? The Library subscribes to this database to provide patrons with even more reading recommendations for both fiction and nonfiction, for all ages and including audiobooks!  It’s also handy for series information and book discussions. If you haven’t played with it lately, you just need to sign in with your library card and PIN (from home) or ask Reader Services staff to give you a demonstration the next time you’re in the library!novelist

April is National Poet”Tree” Month: Branch Out and Read Some

Image result for tree booksImage result for tree books

Not a poetry buff? No worries. The library has an expansive collection of anthologies and favorite authors represented to whet any appetite. Haiku or Sonnet? Limerick or Epic?  From Collins to Whitman, Shakespeare to Angelou, whatever your interests, please stop by Readers Services for some suggestions.

We currently have two displays honoring National Poetry Month: Readers Services is celebrating Poets Laureate featuring Illinois’ own Gwendolyn Brooks, while the Young Adult department’s Poet Justice is promoting books written in verse. Don’t miss these special collections! As always, items labeled as “Display” can be checked out.

Please feel free to stop in and “leaf” through some “poet-tree” in April Image result for leaf image




























Based on the Book

Gee, Golden Globes! OMG, Oscars! We’re glad we could be there for ya! This year’s blockbuster list of hit movies drew heavily on the printed page for inspiration. For anyone who missed these award-winning movies or wants to immerse themselves in the original source, here is a list of 2016 winners and nominees and the books upon which they were based:

The Revenant revenant

Based on the novel of the same name by Michael Punke,The Revenant won Best Picture/Drama, Best Actor/Drama (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Best Director (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu) at the 2016 Golden Globes, and has been nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director by the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences – aka, the Academy Awards.



RoomBased on the novel by the same name by Emma Donoghue, Room won Best Actress/Drama (Brie Larson) at the 2016 Golden Globes, where it was also nominated for Best Picture/Drama and Best Screenplay (written by the author.) It has been nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress (Brie Larson) and Best Director (Lenny Abrahamson) by the Academy Awards.


The Martian The Martian 

Andy Weir’s funny-scary-science-y tale of an astronaut abandoned on Mars won Best Picture and Best Actor (Matt Damon) at the Golden Globes. It has been nominated for an Academy Award in both categories, as well as a nomination for Ridley Scott as Best Director.


Steve JobsSteve Jobs

Walter Isaacson’s in-depth biography of the computer genius won Best Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin) and Best Supporting Actress (Kate Winslet) at the Golden Globes. It has been nominated for Best Actor (Michael Fassbender) and Best Supporting Actress (Kate Winslet) by the Academy Awards.


CarolThe Price of Salt

Based on the novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, Carol was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (Todd Haynes) and Best Actress for both Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara by the Golden Globes.  Cate Blanchett has received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress and Rooney Mara for Best Supporting Actress.


The Danish Girl Danish Girl

Based on the true story of Danish painter Einar Wegener and his California-born wife, David Ebershoff’s portrait of a marriage was nominated for Best Actor (Eddie Redmayne) and Best Actress (Alicia Vilander) by both the Golden Globes and Academy Awards.


The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday MachineBig Short

The film adaptation of Michael Lewis’s examination of the financial crisis of 2008 has garnered Golden Globe nominations for Best Screenplay (Adam McKay and Charles Randolph), Best Actor (Christian Bale and Steve Carrell) and Best Picture.  The Academy Awards also nominated it for Best Picture, as well as Best Director (Adam McKay) and Best Supporting Actor (Christian Bale.)



Based on the novel by Colm Toibin, the film adaptation received a Golden Globe and Academy Award Best Actress nomination for Saorise Ronan as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.


Read the Book – See the Opera?!

Bel_CantoWe recently received promotional materials from the Lyric Opera of Chicago about an upcoming opera based on the novel Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. The Lyric is offering a variety of discounts and incentives to area book clubs, as well as programs and a discussion guide (pdf).

I am one of the many who has read and loved this story of a celebrated soprano who gets caught up in an international crisis in South America. It would be fascinating to have a discussion of the book and then see an operatic version of it!

Although geared towards book clubs, individuals may also take advantage of discounted ticket purchases. Stop by the Reader Services Desk if you’d like a bookmark with information. The opera runs December 7 – January 17.

Remembering Author Jackie Collins

Bestselling author Jackie Collins died on Saturday, September 19 after a six-and-a-half-year battle with breast cancer. Even at age 77 and after being diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, Jackie Collins was not showing signs of slowing down – still making numerous appearances each year as well as writing books. Jackie Collins’ novels are most known for depicting the glitz, glamour, and scandals of the rich, famous, and infamous. Jackie Collins sold more than 500 million copies of her books in more than 40 countries and has had over 30 New York Times bestsellers to date.

The St. Charles Public Library Library owns many of Jackie Collins’ books. Please click here for a complete list.





Find below a sampling of articles that depict the life, death, and legendary status of Jackie Collins as well as her impact on fiction writing.

Author Jackie Collins Remembered For Impact on Steamy Fiction – NPR

Jackie Collins Remembered: Family, Friends and Fans Mourn the Beloved Author – TODAY

Jackie Collins’ Surprising Thoughts on Death and Belief in Reincarnation: ‘It’s a Very Peaceful Way of Living’ – People





Big Plans for Tiny Homes

Small House Clip ArtScaling back and living a simpler life remains a hot topic among readers. Tiny house living – residing in the smallest of homes – is another offshoot that some are taking to heart.

The Library has a growing collection of titles that are full of charming examples of, and stories about, taking on this adventure by challenging oneself to downsize, organize, and do more with less. Take a look at these inspiring reads and see if you aren’t also moved to “Go Small.”

Tiny: A Story About Living Small [DVD] ~ 640 TINCover image for

The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir by Dee Williams ~ 640 WIL

Portable Houses by Irene Rawlings by Les Walker ~ 643.2 RAW

Small Space Organizing: A Room-by-Room Guide to Maximizing Your Space by Kathryn Bechen ~ 648.8Cover image for BEC

Tiny Homes, Simple Shelter: Scaling Back in the 21st Century by Lloyd Kahn ~ 728.3 KAH

Tiny House Living: Ideas for Building and Living Well in Less Than 400 Square Feet by Ryan Mitchell ~ 728.37 MIT

Compact Houses: 50 Creative Floor Plans for Efficient, Cover image for Well-Designed Small Homes by Gerald Rowen ~ 728.37 ROW

A Little House of My Own: 47 Grand Designs 47 Tiny Houses ~ 728.37 WAL

Little House on a Small Planet: Simple Homes, Cozy Retreats, and Energy EfficCover image for ient Possibilities by Shay Salomon ~ 728.37047 SAL

Downsizing Your Home with Style: Living Well in a Smaller Space by Lauri Ward ~ 747 WAR


Magazines for Mystery Lovers

Standmag_Subscribe_IssuesA quick reminder that we carry several wonderful magazines filled with book reviews that avid mystery readers are certain to enjoy!

The Strand is a mystery-themed magazine with an illustrious history.  From 1891-1950 it was England’s most popular literary periodical…until low circulation closed it down. (Sound familiar?) Contributors included such literary giants as Dorothy L. Sayers, G.K. Chesterton, Leo Tolstoy, Agatha Christie, Rudyard Kipling, and H.G. Wells. However, the most prolific (and famous?) contributor was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In his autobiography, Doyle admits he created the serialized Holmes/Watson short stories to become established in The Strand.  The magazine was revived in 1998 as a quarterly publication and has been going strong ever since, finding a new audience of mystery lovers!

The other great magazine to check out is Mystery Scene. As stated on their website, “Established in 1985, Mystery Scene Magazine is the oldest, largest, and most authoritative guide to the crime fiction genre. Our lively, expert coverage ranges from past mystery masters to today’s top talents and tomorrow’s bright new stars. We report on novels, of course, but also films, TV shows, audio-books, kid’s mysteries, short stories, reference works, and much more.”

Both magazines can be found in the New Book area by Reader Services and can be checked out for a week at a time.

While You’re Waiting for Girl on the Train…

Many weeks as a bestseller has placed debut psychological thriller Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins on everyone’s “Must Read” list. While you’re waiting, or even if you’ve already devoured a copy and are yearning for more fast-paced and compelling psychological suspense, the Library has some suggested titles to tide you over.

Never Look Away – Linwood Barclay Cover image for

Little Black Lies – S.J. Bolton

Don’t Try to Find Me – Holly Brown

The 19th Wife – David Ebershoff

Hausfrau – Jill Alexander Essbaum Cover image for Hausfrau

Losing You – Nicci French

The Secret Place – Tana French

The Other Woman’s House – Sophie Hannah

The Silent Wife – A.S.A. Harrison Cover image for

Into the Darkest Corner – Elizabeth Haynes

Elizabeth is Missing – Emma Healey

The First Prophet – Kay Hooper

The Line Between Here and Gone – Andrea Kane

The Good Girl – Mary Kubica Cover image for

Defending Jacob – William Landay

Mystic River – Dennis Lehane

What the Dead Know – Laura Lippman

Dear Daughter – Elizabeth Little

Sister – Rosamund Lupton Cover image for

The Intruders – Michael Marshall

Reconstructing Amelia – Kimberly McCreight

Cover of Snow – Jenny Milchman

Jack of Spades – Joyce Carol Oates Cover image for

Where Serpents Lie – T. Jefferson Parker

The Expats – Chris Pavone

The Collector – Nora Roberts

Suspect – Michael Robotham Cover image for

Unbecoming – Rebecca Scherm

The Kind Worth Killing – Peter Swanson

Caribou Island – David Vann

The Little Stranger – Sarah Waters

Under the Lake – Stuart Woods

Looking for more? Check out our “If You Like… Gone Girl” link.


150-Year-Old Newspaper Articles of Mark Twain Discovered

Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) is one of the most celebrated authors of American literature, penning works such as Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Roughing It (1872), and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court   (1889). These classic novels have become standard repertoire for students in middle and high school.

Huckleberry    Tom Sawyer    Roughing It    Yankee

Recently, some of Mark Twain’s 150-year-old newspapers articles have been uncovered by scholars at the University of California (Berkley). In 1865 and 1866, Twain wrote for the Territorial Enterprise newspaper of Virginia City, Nevada, where he was paid $100 a month for his labor. At the Territorial Enterprise, Twain wrote a six-day-a-week, two thousand word column about life in San Francisco. These letters were written early in his career when he was 29.

An additional document suggests that Mark Twain had tackled the idea of suicide. At the time of the letter being written, Twain faced extreme debt, frustration at his lack of career advancement, and struggle to find his writing identity. Fortunately for the literary community, Mark Twain developed his talents and went on to become one of the fathers of American Literature.

For more information about these recently uncovered letters by Mark Twain, please view the articles below.

Letter by Mark Twain Suggests He Once Contemplated SuicideTime

Lost Mark Twain Stories Recovered by UC Berkeley ScholarsLos Angeles Times

Mark Twain’s Suicidal Thoughts Revealed in Rare 150-year-old LettersNational Post

Literary World Awaits the Release of Go Set a Watchman

On July 14, 55 years after Harper Lee published To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee will be releasing her much anticipated second book, Go Set a Watchman. While much speculation still exists as to why Harper Lee waited this long to release her second novel, one thing is clear: Go Set a Watchman will become one of the mega bestsellers of Summer 2015.

To Kill A Mockingbirdgo set a watchman

Though this might be Harper Lee’s second published book, Go Set a Watchman was actually written before To Kill a Mockingbird. The original editors from the 1950’s were more interested in Scout’s memories of her childhood and advised Lee to expand the novel on that idea.

Since its release date in 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird has sold more than 40 million copies. Over 1 million copies of To Kill a Mockingbird are still sold a year, in a total of 40 languages. Go Set a Watchman is already #1 on Amazons Best Sellers Rank and the publishing firm HarperCollins plans on releasing 2 million copies.

Harper Lee won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961. In 1999, To Kill a Mockingbird was voted “Best Novel of the Century” in a poll by Library Journal. In 2007, Harper Lee was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution to literature by President Bush. President Obama honored her with the National Medal of Arts in 2011.

For more information on Harper Lee and Go Set a Watchman, look no further. Here are some recent noteworthy news articles on the details surrounding the release of the Harper Lee’s second novel.

Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman Will Realign the Literary UniverseTime Magazine

Reese Witherspoon to Narrate Harper Lee’s Go Set a WatchmanTime Magazine

Alabama Officials Find Harper Lee in Control of Decision to Publish Second Novel – New York Times

Harper Lee to publish sequel to To Kill a MockingbirdThe Washington Post