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

Together We Read

The Aurora Public Library District joins nearly 16,000 libraries and thousands of readers across the country in offering the first Together We Read: US digital book club selection. From February 19–March 4, Aurora Public Library District patrons can enjoy and discuss award-winning author Pat Simmons’ new Lean on Me romance e-book for free with no waitlists or holds. Readers can access the e-book with a valid library card by visiting https://iddc.overdrive.com/iddc-aurora/content or by downloading the Libby app, and then can participate in a discussion with other readers online.

Lean on Me tells the story of Tabitha Knicely, a woman overwhelmed with sorrow and exhaustion caring for her beloved great-aunt, whose dementia is getting worse. When her neighbor Marcus Whittington accuses Tabitha of elder neglect, he doesn’t realize how his threats to have Aunt Tweet taken away add to Tabitha’s pain. Then Marcus gets to know the exuberant elderly lady and sees up close how hard Tabitha is fighting to keep everything together. Tabitha finds herself leaning on Marcus more, and he’s becoming more than happy to share her burdens.

The Together We Read: US digital book club connects readers in America through public libraries with the same e-book at the same time. This two-week program only requires an Aurora Public Library District card  and PIN to get started.

The Struggle for Civil Rights

The fight for Civil Rights in America is a continuing struggle, but it’s often difficult to know how to discuss these issues with our children. Here are some resources from the Aurora Public Library District that can help you on that path. Click on each picture to see the full description of the book in our online catalog. Some of my choices are for young children and others are more appropriate for older students, but reading the descriptions or clicking on the “Reviews” link for that book will often show you a recommended age level.

The quotations on this blog post are all from the book Powerful Words: More than 200 Years of Extraordinary Writing by African-Americans.

Heart and Soul by Kadir Nelson

 

 

“… however variable we may be in society or religion, however diversified in situation or colour, we are all of the same family…”        Benjamin Banneker in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, 1791

 

 

 

 

 

Yours for Justice, Ida B. Wells by Philip Dray

 

 

 

” The student of American sociology will find the year 1894 marked by a pronounced awakening of the public conscience to a system of anarchy and outlawry which has grown during a series of ten years to be so common, that scenes of unusual brutality failed to have any visible effect upon the humane sentiments of the people of our land.”

Ida B. Wells in A Red Record, 1895

 

 

 

Remember by Toni Morrison  A Sweet Smell of Roses by Angela Johnson

“…the Fourteenth Amendment prevents states from according differential treatment to American children on the basis of their color or race.”   – Thurgood Marshall in Brown vs. Board of Education, 1953

Rosa by Nikki Giovanni   Back of the Bus by Aaron Reynolds

“I was determined to achieve the total freedom that our history lessons taught us we were entitled to, no matter what the sacrifice.”    – Rosa Parks in Rosa Parks: My Story

Don't Hold Me Back by Winfred Rembert   Spies of Mississippi by Rick Bowers

“My right and privilege to stand here before you has been won – won in my lifetime – by the blood and the sweat of the innocent.”    – Jesse Jackson, 1988

When Thunder Comes by J. Patrick Lewis Martin & Mahalia by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney

“Now, more than ever before, America is challenged to bring her noble dream into reality, and those who are working to implement the American dream are the true saviors of democracy.”   – Martin Luther King, 1961

What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? by Chris Barton

 

 

 

“We are attempting to fulfill our national purpose, to create and sustain a society in which all of us are equal.”   – Barbara Jordan, 1976

 

 

 

Most Beautiful Book Cover

In February, the Aurora Public Library District will be hosting our first ever Beautiful Book Cover contest. We’ve all had that experience of seeing an absolutely gorgeous book for the first time! Now’s your chance to vote on your favorite. Yes, this is extremely subjective, and the contestants were selected by a possibly biased staff member, but let’s all celebrate the creativity and artistic ability of cover designers.

Here’s how the contest works. Beginning on February 1st, displays will be up at all three Library buildings. You can only vote once! Just take a ballot and record your 1st and 2nd choices for Most Beautiful cover. There will also be a space to write in a choice for “Most Inviting” (like “Miss Congeniality”). “Most Inviting” is for the cover that makes you most likely to read the book. Write-in candidates are allowed. Voting will also be allowed through the Library Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/eAPLD.org/

You can vote through Saturday, February 22nd and the winners will be announced on February 25th. Everyone who participates will also get a chance to enter a drawing to win a bit of library swag!

The City of Light

Are you ready for some adventure? Just sit back and get comfortable, because these books will whisk you away to the City of Light! Of course, the library has many books set in Paris. This is just a small selection to get you started; you can choose the one that seems the most interesting to you.

A Garden in Paris by Stephanie Grace Whitson  The House I Loved by Tatiana De Rosnay  The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

The Good Thief's Guide to Paris by Chris Ewan  The Bones of Paris by Laurie R. King The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

Paris was the Place by Susan Conley  The Paris Key by Juliet Blackwell  The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan

While you’re in the library, pick up one of our Paris-themed DVDs to set the stage.

Gigi DVD An American in Paris DVD Hugo DVD Midnight in Paris DVD

To learn more about the sights and neighborhoods of Paris, check out our newest Fodor’s guide or the non-fiction book Five Nights in Paris by John Baxter.

Fodor's Paris 2020  Five Nights in Paris by John Baxter

“He who contemplates the depths of Paris is seized with vertigo.
Nothing is more fantastic. Nothing is more tragic.
Nothing is more sublime.”
Victor Hugo

Nic Bishop Animal Books

If you are an animal lover, you need to take a look at these astounding books by biologist and wildlife photographer Nic Bishop! These library books are shelved in the juvenile non-fiction area, but are truly great for all ages; you’re guaranteed to learn something new. Nic Bishop’s web page is also fascinating, with information about his travels, his books, and techniques he uses to set up his photographs.

Snakes by Nic Bishop Marsupials by Nic Bishop Spiders by Nic Bishop

Butterflies and Moths by Nic Bishop Lizards by Nic Bishop Big Cats by Nic Bishop

In addition to this series of book written and illustrated by Bishop, his photographs have also been used to illustrate many of the books in the Scientists in the Field series. His work has taken him to some of the most remote regions of the world, and Bishop describes each photographic subject as a whole new adventure requiring new knowledge, new techniques, and lots and lots of patience.

Chasing Cheetahs by Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop Kakapo Rescue by Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop

National Hot Tea Month

Well, I’m inspired to drink a cup of tea now that I know January is National Hot Tea Month!

Turn on the kettle, drop in the tea leaves and settle into one of Laura Childs’ cozy Tea Shop mysteries. The long-running series began with Death by Darjeeling and Gunpowder Green and continues through Broken Bone China, published in 2019.

Death by Darjeeling by Laura Childs Gunpowder Green by Laura Childs Broken Bone China by Laura Childs

You’ll also want to check out The Charms of Tea: Reminiscences and Recipes by Victoria magazine. The book includes information about serving tea, suggested menus and recipes, and charming tea passages from literary classics like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Don’t forget that the library also has copies of Tea Time magazine to turn to for inspiration!

The Charms of Tea: Reminiscences and Recipes   

For All the Tea in China by Sarah Rose

 

 

 

Don’t worry if you’re more of a non-fiction reader! You can learn about how the English managed to smuggle tea out of China in For All the Tea in China by Sarah Rose.

 

 

 

 

 

Make sure you include your children and grandchildren in a tea party this month, and share one of these children’s books with them.

Cloud Tea Monkeys by Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham

 

 

 

 

Cloud Tea Monkeys by Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham is a short chapter book with the delightful feel of a legend or fable.

 

 

 

 

Of course, there are also tea-themed books for the very youngest readers.

Tea Rex by Molly Idle

Fancy Nancy Tea Parties by Jane O'Connor

“Yes, that’s it!” said the Hatter with a sigh. “It’s always tea time.”

             – Lewis Carroll

Manga Mania

While manga and comic books occasionally get categorized together, they aren’t the same. Manga are comics or graphic novels created in Japan that conform to a style the Japanese developed in the late 19th century. They are read right to left instead of left to right. While comic books have their own loyal fan-base, so do manga. More popular with young adults than adults, manga can cover a host of genres such as romance, action, drama, fantasy, and so much more.

Stop by and check out the manga in our teen ‘graphic novel’ area and browse through the display of manga we have up!

Want to read one that we don’t have? You have two options: if the manga is older than 6 months, you can inter-library loan it (borrow it from another library in Indiana for free) or if the title is newer than 6 months you can ask to place it as a collection request (a database of titles that we consider to buy for patrons).

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.