Lesser Known Dr. Seuss Books

March 2nd is National Read Across America Day in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday! What better way to celebrate Dr. Seuss than by curling up with one of his many books. Here’s a list of some of his lesser-known stories that you can check out right here at APLD!

 

And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street

In this delightful tale, young Marco allows his imagination to run riot as he travels home from school one day, to the extent that a horse and cart is soon transformedinto a chaotic carnival of colourful creatures.

The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins

What a lot of hats Bartholomew has in this imaginative and clever tale! Find out what happens when the king asks him to remove them…one by one.

The King’s Stilts

When the King’s stilts are stolen and hidden, and he can no longer enjoy his play hour, the whole kingdom is threatened with destruction until a page boy bravely saves the day.

McElligot’s Pool

This entertaining tale tells of a puddle full of promise, where Marco’s beautiful, imaginary fish come to life. Who knows what fantastic creatures might swim in McElligot’s Pool!

Thidwick: The Big-Hearted Moose

Poor Thidwick’s generosity proves the adage that no good deed goes unpunished, and soon everyone, from a tiny Bingle Bug to a huge bear, is taking advantage of our antlered hero.

Scrambled Eggs Super!

When it comes to scrambling eggs, Peter T. Hooper needs something super special for his super-dee-dooper dish! And only the most interesting and exciting eggs from around the world will do…

On Beyond Zebra

Packed with all the essential ingredients that have made Dr. Seuss so well-loved over the last 50 years – riotous rhyme, bizarre creatures, zany artwork, off-the-wall humour – On Beyond Zebra is vintage Seuss at its very best.


 

Novels About Art or Artists

The books shown here provide an interesting twist on historical fiction by focusing on the creation of a well-known painting or on the life of an actual artist.

Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland The Passion of Artemisia by Susan Vreeland Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland

Susan Vreeland is one of the best-known authors for this type of fiction. Her web page explains her love for art and contains her personal “Pledge to Art.

The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant   A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline   The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen

Let your mind be immersed in another time and place while you learn about the inspiration behind these great masterpieces and artists.

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier   The Painter from Shanghai by Jennifer Cody Epstein   Girl Reading by Katie Ward

If you have another favorite art-inspired novel, let us know!

Espionage Thrillers

There’s just nothing like a great spy novel to get your heart racing and the pages turning! Of course, the espionage genre is filled with unforgettable classics by authors like John Le Carre, Graham Greene, Frederick Forsyth and Robert Ludlum.  However, the authors writing spy novels today can hold their own with even the best of these well-known novelists. Check out these titles, all written in the last ten years. There’s a lot of variety in the settings, including World War I, World War II, the Cold War, and post 9/11. I hope you will find at least one new author to love.

The Cairo Affair by Olen Steinhauer  Mission to Paris by Alan Furst  The Moroccan Girl by Charles Cummings

Moscow Sting by Ales Dryden  The Night Agent by Matthew Quirk  An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris

Palace of Treason by Jason Matthews  Red Star Falling by Brian Freemantle  Dragonfly by Leila Meacham

The Shanghai Factor by Charles McCarry  Too Bad to Die by Francine Mathews  The Ways of the World by Robert Goddard

Young Philby by Robert Littell  Leaving Berlin by Joseph Kanon  The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Let us know which spy is your favorite!

“Most spies were amateurs: frustrated revolutionaries of the left or right, people who wanted the imaginary glamour of espionage, greedy men or lovesick women or blackmail victims. The few professionals were very dangerous indeed; they were not merciful men.”
Ken Follett, Eye of the Needle

Stuck Between the Pages Final Meeting

The YA Book Discussion Group: Stuck Between the Pages will have it’s final meeting on November 12, 2019 at 6pm. We will be discussing the book: Pay it Forward by: Catherine Ryan Hyde and its movie adaptation that we will be watching on November 5, 2019 at 5:30pm. While we have been happy to see young adults enjoying the book club, we do not have enough interest to continue the book discussion group for next year.

About the Book:

The story of how a boy who believed in the goodness of human nature set out to change the world.

Pay It Forward is a wondrous and moving novel about Trevor McKinney, a twelve-year-old boy in a small California town who accepts the challenge that his teacher gives his class, a chance to earn extra credit by coming up with a plan to change the world for the better — and to put that plan into action.

The idea that Trevor comes up with is so simple and so naïve that when others learn of it they are dismissive. Even Trevor himself begins to doubt when his “pay it forward” plan seems to founder on a combination of bad luck and the worst of human nature.

In the end, Pay It Forward is the story of seemingly ordinary people made extraordinary by the simple faith of a child. In the tradition of the successful and inspirational television show Touched by an Angel, and the phenomenally successful novel and film Forrest GumpPay It Forward is a work of charm, wit, and remarkable inspiration, a story of hope for today and for many tomorrows to come.

 

 

Teen Movie Night: Pay it Forward

The Aurora Public Library District and the YA Book Discussion Group: Stuck Between the Pages will be presenting a movie presentation of Pay it Forward (PG13), the movie adaptation of the SBTP November book selection. The movie presentation will take place on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 at 5:30pm. There will be refreshments served. You don’t have to be part of the book discussion group to come see this movie!

Seventh grader Trevor (Haley Joel Osment) has every reason to believe that life is harsh and painful. His parents are alcoholics and his father is either absent or abusive. He walks into school every day through a metal detector. Outside his classroom window is an endless expanse of desert. And his mom works two jobs in a city filled with despair, Las Vegas. But then his teacher Eugene (Kevin Spacey) encourages his students to “backflip” the world into something better. He doesn’t expect much — maybe a clean-up of some graffiti. But Trevor decides to do three important favors for people who need them. Then, instead of allowing them to pay it back, he will ask each of them to “pay it forward,” doing three favors for other people, and asking them to do the same. One of Trevor’s favors is to bring his mother Arlene and Eugene together, though it turns out that it’s not just to make them happier. Arlene and Eugene put all of their effort into making sure they don’t get hurt again until they learn that it’s risking hurt that makes us alive.

The movie is PG-13.

Biographical Fiction

Biographical fiction, a novel based on the life of a real person, is nothing new. After all, some of us can remember reading great biographical fiction in the 1960s or 1970s (The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone, for example,  and Burr and Lincoln by Gore Vidal). You are probably familiar with all the novels about British royalty written by Philippa Gregory. However, this genre has been growing by leaps and bounds in the last few years. Here’s a short survey of some of the authors and titles you can find in our collection at the Aurora Public Library District.

Robert Louis Stevenson and Frank Lloyd Wright are the subjects of novels by Nancy Horan, who grew up surrounded by Frank Lloyd Wright houses in Oak Park, Illinois.

Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan      Loving Frank by Nancy Horan

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain became a book group favorite and allowed readers to experience the Jazz Age in Paris while getting to know Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley. Circling the Sun, McLain’s next book took us to Kenya with Beryl Markham, a friend of Denys Finch Hatton and Baroness Karen Blixen. You’ll want to rewatch Out of Africa after reading this book!

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain     Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

Melanie Benjamin has written novels about Anne Morrow Lindbergh and Truman Capote.

The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin     The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin

We have biographical fiction about Madame Tussaud, Henry David Thoreau, Zelda Fitzgerald, and the wife of C.S. Lewis. But, don’t stop with people you’ve already heard of; part of the fun of this type of book is discovering someone you know nothing about.

Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran      Woods Burner by John Pipkin

Z: a novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler      Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

Tracy Chevalier introduced readers to the life of Mary Anning (of “She sells sea-shells” fame) in Remarkable Creatures. What do you know about the first Native-American to graduate from Harvard or about Einstein’s wife who was also a physicist, or about Annie Clemenc?

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier     Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks

The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict     The women of the Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell

Let these novels take you into a different time and place and into the footsteps of a historical person. If you’ve read other great biographical fiction, share it here with other readers!

Roald Dahl: #1 Storyteller

Roald Dahl was a spy, a pilot, a chocolate historian and an inventor!

He was also a beloved author of many original and entertaining children’s books.

Roald Dahl was born in Wales on September 13, 1916 to Harald Dahl and Sofie Hesselberg. His parents named him after the first man to reach the South Pole, Roald Amundsen.

His mother sent him to several boarding schools in which many bizarre events happened and later were written in his autobiography, Boy. At one of his boarding schools, the pupils were invited to test chocolate bars which helped inspire Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 

His lust to travel took him from Canada to East Africa until the start of World War II where he enlisted into the Royal Air Force at 23 years old. After receiving severe injuries in the Western Desert, and after recovering from those injuries in Alexandria, he returned to the fight by taking part in the Battle of Athens. Afterwards, he became a spy for MI6.

In 1961, he wrote James and the Giant Peach, which was quickly followed by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He also wrote several screenplays and adult novels. In 1970, a year before the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was released, he published Fantastic Mr. Fox

In the early 80s, he published The Twits, The BFG, and The WitchesMatilda was published in 1988 and Esio Trot in 1990.

Many of his works have been adapted as films and will forever entertain children and adults for generations to come!

To help us celebrate Roald Dahl, stop by the library on Roald Dahl Day (September 13) and check out some his works and adaptations!

 

Helen Hoang: The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test

 

A couple weeks ago, I sat down and read the summary for The Kiss Quotient. written by Helen Hoang. I was curious and interested, because I’d never read a romance novel where one of the main characters was diagnosed with a disorder. So I thought, let’s take a chance; I bought the book, and started reading it.

I was not let down!

I loved the book! I loved the main character Stella, and I loved her love interest Michael! I enjoyed reading about a character who was on the spectrum and how, even with being on the spectrum, she gets her guy! I completely understood all the hype about this book.

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan.

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic.

I really loved the characters and everything about Stella. I loved how Helen didn’t shove Stella’s ‘disorder’ in our face, but let us learn slowly that she had Asperger’s. I enjoyed reading about Stella’s life and understanding more about Asperger’s Syndrome and how it affects Stella’s everyday life. It was amazing to read a different type of romance instead of our normal everyday “run of the mill” romance. I was especially happy to read more about Asian culture! She incorporated the perfect amount of education and entertainment to even out the playing field.

Helen Hoang’s journey with this book is just as beautiful as the story.  She wanted to write a gender-swapped Pretty Woman, but couldn’t figure out why a successful, beautiful woman would hire an escort. So when her daughter’s preschool teacher informed her that she thought her daughter was on the spectrum, Helen started doing research. So she thought, “That’s an interesting reason to hire an escort.”

From there, she started researching autism solely for her book and ran into the difference between men and women on the spectrum; women have learned to mask their autism and to copy peers. While she was reading, she started to think about the things she does. “I tap my teeth, but I tap them because no one can see. Because if you move your fingers or you move your body or you rock in your chair, then people will see, and that’s no good, it has to be secret … and that put me on this journey where I started to explore, could I be on the spectrum?.” 

While Helen learned more about her new character Stella, she learned more about herself, and then the diagnosis came, and her first novel was born.

Helen has released book two in The Kiss Quotient Series,  The Bride Testand was inspired by a website that stated autistic people were heartless and that they couldn’t experience injustice. So her new character Khai was born. She wanted to display that just because autistic people don’t operate on the same wavelength as everyone else and don’t show their emotions as much as others, doesn’t mean they don’t have those emotions. She was also inspired by her own mother’s story of being a Vietnamese refugee. Helen decided to base her heroine, Esme Tran, on her mother’s story and the inner strength she needed to create a new life for herself.

Book three in the series is expected to be published next year!

This is definitely a book that will stay with you for awhile and make you come back and think about it months after finishing! She’s officially been tagged as one of my new favorite authors!

I want to believe that I can be a main character, I can be a leading character in my life, that I can have a happily ever after, that I can find true love, and I can get married, and conquer, and be happy.

-Helen Hoang on why she has characters on the spectrum

Set on the Subcontinent

The Indian subcontinent has an appealing allure with sites of incredible natural beauty, a myriad of cultures, and a complex history. Even if you can’t manage an actual trip to India, reading books set in India can give you a small taste of the complexity of Indian society. In no particular order, here’s a sample of books to get you started on your adventure.

The Toss of a Lemon by Padma Viswanathan

 

Padma Viswanathan brings to life the story of one member of a Brahmin household from 1896 through 1960 in The Toss of a Lemon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey The Satapur Moonstone by Sujata Massey Sujata Massey has a new mystery series set in 1920s Bombay and based loosely on that city’s first female lawyer. The series begins with The Widows of Malabar Hill and continues with The Satapur Moonstone.

 

 

 

 

Also set in the 1920s, but in Calcutta rather than Bombay, Abir Mukherjee’s Sam Wyndham series features a Scottish detective with an Indian partner. These books provide an interesting contrast between the members of the British ruling class and the Indians who fill many of the government positions.

A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee  A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee  Smoke and Ashes by Abir Mukherjee

Arundhati Roy’s books have been critically acclaimed, including a Booker Prize for The God of Small Things.

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy    The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

Any of these works of literature will transport you to a new world full of family drama, cultural nuances, and unfamiliar landscapes.

The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar The Weight of Heaven by Thrity Umrigar The Way Things Were by Aatish Taseer

A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth The Romantics by Pankaj Mishra Last Man in Tower by Aravind Adiga

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry All the Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha Roy Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya

You’ll be intrigued by the locations you’ll visit in these books, so you may want to check out our travel guide to India to learn more. You can also get more information through Global Road Warrior, an online resource available through the library webpage. Just sign in with your library card number!

 

Eloisa James: The Wildes of Lindow Castle

Who is Eloisa James?

Eloisa James is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a mother and a wife. When Eloisa isn’t writing novels, she is a Shakespeare professor.

What does Eloisa James write?

Eloisa James writes historical romances. Occasionally, you can find some Shakespearean themes within her stories.

Why is she different than other historical romance authors?

Eloisa James uses her own experiences as a mother in her stories. From a miscarriage to her own daughter’s problems as an infant, she connects each of her stories to herself in some unique way.

What’s The Wildes of Lindow Castle?

The Wildes of Lindow Castle is a series Eloisa James has began in 2017. The series follows the large family of the Duke of Lindow and is set in a castle. Think of Modern Family with a little of Downton Abbey mixed in. The stories are all set in the Georgian time period; yes, that means big wigs and poofy skirts! This also marks the beginning of the celebrity culture due to the printing press.

Where can I read them?

Print books by Eloisa James can be found in the Large Print collection or the Adult Fiction area under “J” for James. There are even more choices in our digital library.