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.

 

Gena Showalter

 

In today’s literary world, so many authors are venturing out and doing different genres and doing both young adult and adult books. Authors from Nick Hornby (About a Boy and Slam) to Meg Cabot (Princess Diaries and Overbite) to Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy and Georgina Kincaid). More and more authors are venturing out of their comfort zones and tackling a new category, whether they originally wrote young adult and are now writing adult or vice versa.

Gena Showalter first came known to the literary world with a contemporary romance duology called Imperia. She eventually went on to write a widely known and loved series called Lords of the Underworld. This popular series has 15 books, 3 novellas, one spin off series, and two upcoming publications!

She is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with over thirty books in paranormal and contemporary romances. She also has 4 finished YA series and just released the first in a new YA series called The Forest of Good and Evil

Her first foray into the YA world was with her series, IntertwinedThis series follows sixteen year old, Aden Stone, who has four human souls within him. All four souls have a unique power such as time travel, raising the dead, possessing another human, or telling the future. Her second YA series, The White Rabbit Chronicles, a unique retelling of Alice in Wonderland, has taken her readers to a whole new world and created a loyal fan-base from the YA community. My personal favorite of her books is her YA series, Everlife, is a unique story like one you’ve never read before about what happens after your First Death!

 

Stoker: The Name Lives On

Bram Stoker was an Irish writer known for Dracula, the classic 19th century horror novel. He was born in 1847 in Ireland.

His longtime role was acting as an assistant to the actor Sir Henry Irving in the 1870s. During that time he began his second and his most known career as a writer. He published his first novel, The Primrose Path, in 1875. Three years later, he published Dracula. Stoker died before the fictional vampire became popular through films and literary adaptations.

Dracula is the famous Gothic classic that is made from journal entries, letters, and telegrams written by the main characters. Many people theorize that Dracula is based on the Vlad III, also known as Vlad the Impaler. They theorize that Stoker picked the name Dracula after reading a book about Vlad that was revealed to him in translation from Romanian.

Stoker’s Dracula was the reason why vampires became so popular in films and novels alike. The story was received well when it was first published, but it grew to its immense popularity by the many adaptations that it inspired. Nosferatu was the first film to be based on Dracula in 1922, but actually plagiarized the story.

Because of Dracula, vampires have spread across the world and starred in modernized adaptations like Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga. Others have chosen to stick closer to Bram Stoker’s idea for vampires like Stephen King does in Salem’s Lot.

Dacre Stoker is the great grand nephew of Bram Stoker and has chosen to rework the idea of Dracula that his uncle had for the character by co-writing Dracula the Un-Dead as well as co-editing The Lost Journal of Bram Stoker: the Dublin Years. He currently manages the Bram Stoker Estate with his wife.

Because of all the controversy and the way adaptations were changing vampires, Dacre Stoker, decided to reawaken the story of Dracula with J.D. Barker. Dracul was inspired by notes left behind by Bram Stoker. It doesn’t only reveal Dracula’s origins but Bram Stoker’s as well!

 

We currently have both Dracula and Dracul on our shelves. Any other books by the author we could get through inter-library loan in Indiana.

Information taken from:

“Dracul By J.D. Barker, Dacre Stoker | Penguinrandomhouse.Com: Books”. Penguinrandomhouse.Com, 2019, https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/570086/dracul-by-jd-barker-and-dacre-stoker/.

“Dracula | Summary, Characters, & Facts”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 2019, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Dracula-novel#googDisableSync.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aliens: Escape From Earth

The Science Tellers will be presenting a show to the public at the Aurora City Park Pavilion on Wednesday July 24, 2019 at 1:00 pm.

Science Teller

The Science Tellers offer an interactive science & storytelling program.  They will be presenting the program

Aliens: Escape From Earth.

Show Description:

During a midnight meteor shower, something mysterious falls from the sky toward Earth — but it’s not a shooting star. Two kids venture out to investigate and soon find themselves mixed up with a family of visitors from another planet! Trapped by a crazy space scientist, the two kids must risk everything to rescue the aliens and help them… Escape from Earth! Throughout the intergalactic story, volunteers from the audience will get to discover the unbelievable world of science through experiments and demonstrations with chemical reactions, polymers, pressure, inertia, energy, explosions and so much more! Don’t miss this action-packed and educational alien adventure. It’s totally out of this world!

During this show Children will see chemical reactions, learn about Boyle’s law, how to make a rocket fly using ordinary household items, how to transfer energy and much more.  

This is a free event and there is no registration required.  

For more information about Science Tellers please visit their website.

Stuck Between the Pages Summer Selections

 

It’s about to be…SUMMER! Who doesn’t like summer? The birds are chirping, the lawns are mowed, the sun is out! It’s a perfect time to sit outside and read, especially with school being out! Don’t have any summer vacation plans? No worries! Check out a book from the library and go on a vacation into the pages of a book!

Stuck Between the Pages is the teen book discussion for our young adult patrons in our community. We meet every second Tuesday of the month at Aurora Public Library at 6pm. For the summer we’ll be reading  The Hate U Give written by Angie Thomas and Deadline written by Chris Crutcher.

 

Our June Selection is The Hate U Give written by Angie Thomas.

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

On Thursday, June 20, at 6 pm, we will be premiering the adaptation of The Hate U Give. Snacks will be provided.

 

Our July Selection is Deadline written by Chris Crutcher.

Ben Wolf has big things planned for his senior year. Had big things planned? Now what he has is some very bad news and only one year left to make his mark on the world.

How can a pint-sized, smart-ass seventeen-year-old do anything significant in the nowheresville of Trout, Idaho?

First, Ben makes sure that no one else knows what is going on—not his superstar quarterback brother, Cody, not his parents, not his coach, no one. Next, he decides to become the best 127-pound football player Trout High has ever seen; to give his close-minded civics teacher a daily migraine, and to help the local drunk clean up his act.

And then there’s Dallas Suzuki. Amazingly perfect, fascinating Dallas Suzuki, who may or may not give Ben the time of day. Really, she’s first on the list.

Living with a secret isn’t easy, though, and Ben’s resolve begins to crumble . . . especially when he realizes that he isn’t the only person in Trout with secrets.

 

Our June meeting will be on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, at 6 pm. Our July meeting will be on Tuesday, July 9, 2019, at 6 pm. Snacks and drinks are provided.

Register for your spot today!

We hope to see you there!

 

Rainy Day Reads

April showers brought the May flowers, but it’s been pretty rainy still. With the weather as fickle as it’s been, I don’t want to leave my driveway. With OverDrive, it’s possible to lounge around my house all day without ever running out of things to read, watch, or listen to.

Here are some just-added items from the Indiana Digital Download Center:

Compulsion by Martina Boone

The Dysasters by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Captive Heart by Glynnis Campbell

Rage Becomes Her by Soraya Chemaly

Boy Erased by Garrard Conley

The Spy and the Traitor by Ben Macintyre

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

Come Find Me by Megan Miranda

A Sucky Love Story by Brittani Louise Taylor

The Year We Left Home by Jean Thompson

Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan

The Silent Invader by Thomas Wood

Place these upcoming releases on hold to read in your blanket fort!

Dead Man’s Mistress by David Housewright

Two Weeks by Karen Kingsbury

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

Murder in the City of Liberty by Rachel McMillan

The Peacock Emporium by Jojo Moyes

Tightrope by Amanda Quick

The Five by Hallie Rubenhold

Neon Prey by John Sandford

Emily Eternal by M.G. Wheaton

So many books, so little time! Do you have a go-to rainy day read? My favorite might have to be Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë if only for the opening paragraphs:

“There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. We had been wandering, indeed, in the leafless shrubbery an hour in the morning; but since dinner (Mrs. Reed, when there was no company, dined early) the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so sombre, and a rain so penetrating, that further out-door exercise was now out of the question.

I was glad of it: I never liked long walks, especially on chilly afternoons: dreadful to me was the coming home in the raw twilight, with nipped fingers and toes, and a heart saddened by the chidings of Bessie, the nurse, and humbled by the consciousness of my physical inferiority to Eliza, John, and Georgiana Reed.”

Happy Reading!

Netflix and Read: You

If you’ve been paying attention to the Netflix world these past few months, you might have heard of a little show called You starring Penn Badgley, Elizabeth Lail, and Shay Mitchell. What you might not have realized (because I didn’t until after the fact) is that it is based off of the novel You by Caroline Kepnes. The novel is available to check out as a digital copy or as a physical copy; follow the link to reserve your spot!

What appears to be a chance meeting for Guinevere Beck in Brooklyn has actually been carefully orchestrated by East Village bookstore owner Joe Goldberg, who had Googled the name on her credit card when she visited his shop. Beck’s social media profiles are all public and tells Joe everything he needs to know without doing much besides scrolling through her posts. Joe begins obsessively taking over Beck’s life by choreographing event after event to make Beck fall into his waiting arms over and over again, and wedging himself so deeply into her life that he becomes her boyfriend. There is no limit to what Joe will do to remove any obstacle standing in his and Beck’s way, even if it means murder.

Reminiscent of Humbert Humbert of Lolita, You will have you darkly rooting for Joe while also being kind of terrified by how easy it is to stalk people (or be stalked!) in today’s world, where lots of your information is readily available with a simple Google search. The Netflix show is equally creepy, if not more so because Joe’s actions are placed directly in front of your eyeballs.

Psychological thriller fans (and anyone who uses social media) will love being creeped out by this duology by Caroline Kepnes. Be sure to look for the second book, Hidden Bodies, which continues Joe’s story.

Happy Reading (and Watching)!