A Downton Abbey Movie

If you haven’t checked out the amazing television series that is Downton Abbey, then you are seriously missing out! Luckily, the Aurora Public Library District owns all six seasons of the popular PBS drama that are just waiting for you to check them out! You have plenty of time to catch up with the series before the release of the full-length Downton Abbey movie next September!

(In case you couldn’t tell, I’m a huge fan.)

Downton Abbey follows the aristocratic Crawley family from 1912 to 1926, as well as the lives of their domestic servants in Yorkshire, England. The series opens with the sinking of the Titanic and with it, the heir who was to inherit the estate, as Lord Grantham only has three daughters. The scramble to find the next heir to the estate is on, and on the way viewers are taken through monumental historic events in British and world history, like World War I, the Spanish influenza epidemic, the Irish War of Independence, and various scandals and elections. The personal lives of the Crawley family and their servants are also swirled into the mix, investing you so deeply in the characters’ lives, you’ll forget they aren’t real people at all.

If you like historical and period pieces, as well as drama and Dame Maggie Smith, I urge you to check this series out as quickly as you can. Then you can track me down anywhere in the library and I will gladly discuss the series with you at length. We can wait in agony together for the movie to be released on September 13, 2019. (Which, by the way, will also include the majority of the original cast and will also be written by Julian Fellowes!)

In the meantime, check out these titles to hold you over:

Downton Abbey: A Celebration by Jessica Fellowes

The Chronicles of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes

The World of Downton Abbey by  Jessica Fellowes

Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey by Emma Rowley

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by Fiona Carnarvon

The Husband Hunters: American Heiresses Who Married into the British Aristocracy by Anne De Courcy

The Manners of Downton Abbey

PBS Secrets of Highclere Castle

Happy Watching! And Reading!

Jodi Picoult: Standalone and Controversy Queen

Jodi Picoult’s first novel — Songs of a Humpback Whale — was published in 1992, after she graduated from Princeton University with a degree in creative writing in 1987. She has been steadily releasing new fiction ever since, taking on more controversial and current events topics with each new release. Her newest novel, A Spark of Light, takes on the hot button issues of gun control and women’s reproductive rights. In total, Picoult has authored 25 novels so far that have been translated into thirty-four languages in thirty-five countries, as well as five Wonder Woman comic book issues for DC Comics, short stories, and a Broadway musical. Five of her novels have even been made into movies.

I have read about half of her novels so far and am always eager to see what she will come out with next. Currently, I’m reading her newest, A Spark of Light, which drew me in from the very first scene.

The majority of Picoult’s books deal with heavy topics, like school shootings, racism, suicide, and the Holocaust. The characters in her stories are never strictly black or white, but are filled with gray areas and ambiguities that make you question what you thought you believed in as well. She also never comes down one way or the other on issues, either, and leaves many endings open-ended, allowing the reader to decide for himself or herself what he or she wants to believe. Sometimes after reading one of her novels, one doesn’t know what to believe anymore, or what side of an issue one should be on. Novels that make me think are my favorite kinds of novels.

Picoult is also known for her dramatic courtroom scenes, where lawyers will believably attempt to argue for or against characters and issues, but who come with their own baggage as well. It is also guaranteed that there will be a twist right at the end of every novel that the reader will not see coming, no matter how closely they are following along. I always hate when I can figure out the ending before the author gives it to me, so I usually read the last few pages of the book once I get into it to see if I’m right. With Picoult, I am always confused by the last few pages and never see the twist coming even though I know it’s going to happen.

But one of the best things about Picoult’s books as that they are all — with the exception of her young adult duology she co-wrote with her daughter — standalones. Her books are perfect for when you need to take a break between series, or are waiting for the next installment to come out, or even if you’re just looking for quick reads. There are some recurring characters spread across some of her standalones, but you don’t have to have read any of her other novels that these characters are featured in. But be careful; most of the time the characters’ actions and what they’re not saying speak louder than what they are saying, so sometimes you have to do some reading between the lines.

Try these out:

Handle With Care

The Pact

Nineteen Minutes

The Storyteller

Plain Truth

Leaving Time

Second Glance

My Sister’s Keeper

Salem Falls

Or any of her other novels! Then come find me and we’ll discuss at length.

Happy Reading!

Oversized Nonfiction

At the Aurora branch, there is a special section upstairs for various oversized nonfiction books that many might have overlooked. These books have to be shelved separately from books over similar topics because they don’t fit on our regular shelves, so you’ll find a wide variety of topics included in this small section that encompass the nonfiction library as a whole. These books are so large that you’ll feel like a miniature person holding a giant-sized book from some kind of fairy tale!

The catch: you won’t be able to search the oversized nonfiction shelf from the catalog but instead will have to make an old-fashioned trip to the physical shelf to peruse.

But it’s so easy to lose yourself in the stack because these books are filled with large, glossy pages of photographs and information on all topics, ranging from animals and bugs to history and biographies. Something is bound to peak your interest!

Are you interested in panoramic views and photography? What about songbooks that are big enough that you won’t have to squint while you’re playing or singing? How about books on travel with full color-spreads that let you see every detail of the places you aspire to go? Do you like history and are interested in viewing photographs events like World War II and the September 11 terrorist attacks? What about ancient history? Do you like flipping through ancient timelines and seeing photographs of ancient relics? We have books over these subjects and more in the oversized nonfiction section!

Maybe you enjoy working with your hands and crafting? You’ll find titles about jewelry-making, art, sculpture, decor, style, design, paper-making, and how to make rugs and wall hangings. What about movies and movie trivia? Or sports like baseball, curling, the Olympics, and NASCAR? There’s bound to be something for you!

The next time you visit the Aurora branch, head on upstairs and make your way to the west wing, where we keep the magazines and community center. As you turn right when you come up the stairs, you’ll find the Oversized Nonfiction section to your right, right behind the last magazine shelves. Or just stop by the desk for directions!

Happy Reading!

Stuck Between the Pages Hiatus

Stuck Between the Pages, the young adult book discussion group, will take a brief hiatus during December and January. The group will resume discussion on Tuesday, February 12 at 6 p.m. at the Aurora Public Library. If you are interested in joining in 2019 or are continuing with the club, you can pick up your book sometime after the first of the year. Discussion books are kept at the upper level desk at the Aurora Public Library.

If you’re in high school and are looking for an awesome group who loves to read and discuss books, characters, themes, and more, then Stuck Between the Pages is the perfect group for you. We would love to add new members and perspectives to the group! If you are interested, stop by the upper level desk to sign up and pick up your discussion book. Or ask one of the staff members for more information. We meet on the second Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. at the Aurora Public Library, unless otherwise specified. Be sure to provide an email address or phone number so we can notify you of any changes and remind you of upcoming discussions.

The next discussion will take place on Tuesday, November 13 at 6 p.m. in the teen area of the Aurora Public Library. We will be discussing the book The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes. If you would like to join the group, stop by the upper level desk to register and pick up your book today. We’d love to have you!

Happy Reading!

Kingdom of Ash

Sarah J. Maas’s final book in the Throne of Glass series is set to be released on October 23, 2018. If you’ve read any of my other blogs, you know that I am just a little obsessed with this series, and now it will be all coming to an end! While I am excited to see what happens to my favorite characters, I am also sad to see them go. Luckily, I can jump back into their stories any time I want when I reread the series.

Sarah J. Maas has been developing this series since she was sixteen years old. She had originally posted a version of the first novel — originally titled Queen of Glass — on the website FictionPress.com before the publishing company, Bloomsbury, picked it up. Maas had a gigantic online following which brought her writing to Bloomsbury’s attention. Throne of Glass was published on August 7, 2012 and was inspired in part by Disney’s Cinderella. Anticipating the release of the first novel, Bloomsbury also released eBook editions of the four prequel novels, which you can download from the Indiana Digital Download Center.

Throne of Glass follows Celaena Sardothien, Adarlan’s deadliest assassin, as she is plucked from her enslavement by the Crown Prince of Adarlan himself, Dorian Havilliard. Dorian summons her to the castle to fight as his champion in his father’s competition to become the King’s Champion, or the king’s own personal assassin. She must compete with twenty-three other champions from all kinds of backgrounds to win. Meanwhile, something dark and evil is stalking the palace and champions are turning up dead. It’s up to Celaena to discover what’s killing the competitors before she winds up dead herself.

The first book in this series is just the beginning; it becomes clear throughout the rest of the series that something even more sinister is taking place, and Celaena’s journey to win her freedom is simply the catalyst. You’ll find witches, giant spiders, wyverns, magic, royalty, secret identities, and love peppering this action-packed series that will keep you guessing until the very last page of each installment. I honestly don’t know how the series is going to end, which stresses me out a little.

You still have a little bit of time to read or reread the six books already in the series before the seventh, Kingdom of Ash, is released on October 23, 2018. The Aurora Public Library District does own several physical copies of some of the books, but the entire seriesincluding the prequels — is available to download from the Indiana Digital Download Center. You can also request the books through Interlibrary Loan by filling in the form online, calling, or stopping by one of the desks. You might want to put your name on the list for the seventh book, too, to reserve your spot as quickly as you can! Call the library or stop by one of the desks today!

Happy Reading!

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

The wait is almost over! The second installment in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series will be released into theaters on November 16!

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will be the second movie in a reported five-part series and the tenth in the Wizarding World universe. Fans have been anticipating this release since Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them came out in November 2016– I know I can hardly wait!

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is based on the textbook of the same name written by Newt Scamander, which is one of the book requirements for first year Hogwarts students, as shown in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. The movie begins in 1926, when magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in New York City from England en route to Arizona. After several mishaps, Newt becomes mixed up with a No-Maj/Muggle, Jacob Kowalski, demoted Auror Tina Goldstein, her Legilimens (a form of magical telepathy) sister, Queenie, and the Magical Congress of the United States of America. Strange events have been happening across the city, and while searching for several escaped magical creatures Newt had with him in his suitcase, he is arrested and accused of working for the dark wizard, Gellert Grindelwald, who is second only to Voldemort.

Without giving away what happens next, the ending of the movie is clearly left open-ended and begging for a sequel. This next installment promises to bring back the characters of Newt, Tina, Queenie, Jacob, Credence, and Grindelwald, as well as new characters, like Albus Dumbledore, Leta Lestrange, Theseus Scamander, Nagini, and more. Plus, the screenplay was also written by J.K. Rowling! Check out the trailers here.

To prepare you for this momentous release, check out Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them to remind you of what happened in the last movie. You can always check out any of the Harry Potter films or books to hold you over until November 16. I’ll try to see if I can squeeze in a trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in either Orlando or Hollywood; I’m not picky!

Happy Reading! And Watching!

Accio, November 16!

Mary Poppins Returns

There is a lot of hype surrounding the new Disney movie Mary Poppins Returns, which is to be released December 19, 2018, and the Aurora Public Library District is here to help you jump on the bandwagon! Keep a lookout for an Author Biographies blog featuring P.L. Travers, the creator of Mary Poppins and all of her adventures. In the meantime, check out Saving Mr. Banks to hold you over.

The first book in the Mary Poppins universe, Mary Poppins, was released in 1934, with subsequent adventures periodically released all the way up to 1988. We have several of these titles available both digitally and physically to check out.

Mary Poppins Returns is actually intended to be a sequel to the popular 1964 film Mary Poppins, starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. And while the film is similar to the books created by Travers, it has become its own entity entirely. In other words, you don’t have to read the books in order to watch and understand the film, which is definitely still one of my favorites. The sequel promises to deliver all of the magical realism elements present in the original, as well as new musical numbers. I have high hopes that this new movie will be able to bridge the gap between generations; maybe it will even become as iconic as the childhood staple that is the original!

Starring Emily Blunt as the titular Mary Poppins, and including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Angela Lansbury, Colin Firth, and Meryl Streep, Mary Poppins Returns has been anticipated since its announcement in September 2015. Dan Van Dyke is also going to make an appearance in the new film, so we can only hope that the Queen of Genovia herself (Julie Andrews) will follow suit!

Watch the trailer here.

Can you tell I’m more than a little excited? It’s bound to be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

National I Love Yarn Day

There is a day to celebrate everything, and October 13 is National I Love Yarn Day! What could this day possibly have to do with the library?

If you love to craft, chances are you’ve checked out a how-to or DIY crafting book from us at one time or another. We have plenty of yarn crafting titles available for you to check out from the Library’s physical or digital collections for all levels:

A Beginner’s Book of Knitting and Crocheting by Xenia Ley Parker

Sewing with Yarn: An Introduction to Sewing by Hand by Barbara Carmer Schwartz

One Skein Wonders: 101 Yarn Shop Favorites

Yarn Crafts by Linda Hetzer

The Knitter’s Book of Yarn: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Using, and Enjoying Yarn by Clara Parkes

Let’s Knot: A Macramé Book by Donna M. Lightbody

Sock Yarn: One Skein Wonders by Judith Durant

The Knitters’ Book of Socks by Clara Parkes

Knitting for Dummies by Pam Allen

Mastering Color Knitting by Melissa Leapman

Brave New Knits by Julie Turjoman

The Knitter’s Book of Wool by Clara Parkes

60 Crocheted Snowflakes by Barbara Christopher

Vampire Knits by Genevieve Miller

Christmas Ornaments to Crochet by Barbara Christopher

Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitter’s Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmerman

Luxury Yarn: One Skein Wonders by Judith Durant

And so much more! We also have magazines filled with patterns, designs, and project inspiration that you can check out, too! Discover a new hobby or rekindle an old one this October 13. Someone could always knit me a scarf or a blanket or something; I’m not picky!

Happy Reading!

Nonfiction 618.2: When You’re Expecting

There’s something in the water at the Aurora Public Library District! A few employees here are pregnant or are closely related to someone who is expecting! While we all know the Internet is an amazing and vast source of information, you might not always know how credible the articles and websites are that you’re browsing. This is where the Library comes in! If you find yourself expecting in the near future, or feel like you need to research before you make a decision to conceive, stop in and browse our collection!

To start, head over to the nonfiction section at either the Aurora or Dillsboro branches and find the call number 618.2 (You’ll find numbers on the spines of books shelved in nonfiction, which lets us know where they fit in the Dewey Decimal System.). In this section, you’ll find all sorts of books providing information about pregnancy, birth, multiples, eating right, exercising, and more, including the popular What To Expect When You’re Expecting series. You’ll also find books for the expectant father!

Generally books of similar subjects are shelved near to each other, so if you browse that area for awhile, you’ll be sure to find what you’re looking for. But if you don’t see the specific title you want, let one of the staff members know so we can help you, whether it’s by searching the shelves with you, putting in an Interlibrary Loan request, or putting in a Collection Request to obtain the title ourselves. Remember, we are here to help you!

If you’re already experiencing the fatigue and morning sickness that come with pregnancy, be sure to browse OverDrive for digital copies of these books and more all from the comfort of your home. All you’ll need is your library card and pin number handy to log in, and if you aren’t sure what your pin number is, just give one of our branches a call to reset it. It’s all about what’s convenient for you!

We also have several books on nursery decoration to help you with that decision, as well as the Big One: Naming the Baby. These books are shelved in different locations, so be sure to stop by the desk for assistance.

This is a joyous time for most expecting parents, but it can also be one of the most stressful times. Let the Aurora Public Library District ease that stress for you a little!

Congratulations and Happy Reading!

Spook-tacular Titles for Halloween

It’s getting spookier and spookier as Halloween draws closer, from classic scary movies and ghost hunting shows clogging up the TV, to orange-and-black-packaged candy going on sale, to the decorations and costume ideas beginning to crowd your social media feeds. What better way is there to get you in the mood for Halloween than to check out some books about real-life haunted houses and ghost stories?

Check out these spook-tacular titles:

Haunted Indiana by Mark Marimen

Ghost Hunter’s Guide to Haunted Ohio by Chris Woodyard

Eerie Haunted Places by Molly Kolpin

Haunted Hotels Around the World by Megan Cooley Peterson

Grave’s End: A True Ghost Story by Elaine Mercado

Timeless Towns and Haunted Places by J.R. Humphreys

Hoosier Folk Legends by Ronald L. Baker

Haunts: Five Hair-Raising Tales by Angela Shelf Medearis

Haunting Urban Legends by Megan Cooley Peterson

Seeking Spirits by Jason Hawes

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Ghosts and Hauntings by Tom Ogden 

Monster Hunters: On the Trail with Ghost Hunters, Bigfooters, Ufologists, and Other Paranormal Investigators by Tea Krulos

When Ghosts Speak: Understanding the World of Earthbound Spirits by Mary Ann Winkowski

Don’t forget to check out OverDrive for even more creepy titles. And if you’d rather watch a scary movie, the Aurora Public Library District has got you covered there, too! Still can’t get enough? Ask for recommendations for horror fiction. There are several staff members on hand who would love to point you in the right direction!

Happy Reading!