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Volume 26, No. 12
In a world plagued by disasters, Station Eleven, the award-winning book by Emily St. John Mandel, seemed an obvious choice for the 2018 Peoria Reads! One City, One Book read. Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel’s fourth novel, won the Arthur C. Clarke Award, was a finalist for the National Book Award and PEN/Faulkner Award, was an Amazon Best Book of the Month, and was named one of the best books of the year by more than a dozen publications. It’s been translated into 27 languages. “Equal parts page-turner and poem” (Entertainment Weekly), the novel is set 20 years after a devastating flu pandemic destroys civilization as we know it. A woman moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians until they encounter a violent prophet who threatens the tiny band’s existence. “Possibly the most captivating and thought-provoking post-apocalyptic novel you will ever read” (The Independent London). “It’s hard to imagine a novel more perfectly suited, in both form and content, to this literary moment” (The New Yorker). “I kept putting the book down, looking around me, and thinking, ‘Everything is a miracle’” (National Public Radio). The author herself said, “I wanted to write a love letter to the world we find ourselves in.”
Peoria Reads! is entering it’s 16th year of asking Peorians to read and discuss the same great book. Peoria Reads is a joint project of Common Place and Peoria Public Library. A wide variety of book discussions and other activities are being planned to help readers explore and understand the themes found in Station Eleven. While funds are not available this year to provide free copies of the book, many copies may be borrowed from Peoria Public Library as books, e-books and audio books. With more time to relax and read over the winter, read the book now and be ready for the citywide discussion. A copy of Station Eleven makes a wonderful gift for yourself or the readers in your life, as well! Watch for more information at www.peoriareads.org
Winter is a great time to delve into reading and this January and February all ages can complete reading challenges to earn prizes and be entered into the library-wide grand prize drawing for a Kindle Fire HD. Watch for information and challenge sheets. You will choose 12 challenges to complete and when you finish, just turn in your log sheet.
The real reward is finding "hidden treasures" to read, but you will also get to grab a prize from our treasure box, be entered into the branch competition to win a $10 gift card and be entered to win the Kindle Fire HD. Information will be available at each location.
Music in the McKenzie has been bringing free Sunday afternoon concerts to Peoria Public Library North Branch for six years and is announcing the schedule for year seven, 2018! The concerts are held from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. in the McKenzie Room. They are family friendly and often have attendees dancing in the aisles. Artist CDs are usually available and purchasing them helps support The Friends of Peoria Public Library, who provide much financial support for Children’s Programs.
The concert season starts on Sunday, January 21 with Sally Barris. Sally Barris is an A-list Nashville songwriter who has had songs covered by such top-level artists as Kathy Mattea, Martina McBride, and Lee Ann Womack. Her song “Let The Wind Chase You”, recorded by Trisha Yearwood and Keith Urban, received a Grammy nomination for vocal collaboration in 2009. While her writing credits impress, fans and peers are most captivated by her bright spirit and expressive mountain soprano.
On Sunday, February 25 hear Flatland Harmony Experiment, a “high octane” four piece string band from Indy. Flatland Harmony Experiment dances with a single large diaphragm condenser microphone to share their music with audiences. Stylistically, their original music flows from tunes that echo the founding roots of bluegrass to progressive gypsy and all places in between. Conscious lyrics, a thread of harmony, and instrumental virtuosity permeates the music of the Flatland Harmony Experiment.
Local favorites Goodnight Gracie perform on Sunday, March 11, with their well-loved variety of genres including covers and originals. On April 22 enjoy some American roots and Celtic soul music as Switchback takes the stage for the afternoon.
Join the P-Town Bluegrass Allstars on May 20. This collection of musicians from a variety of musical backgrounds is always a treat as they join their talents.
Sunday, June 10 Mike Cheesman steps out of the English pub, The Fox Pub and Café, where he regularly performs, and comes to the McKenzie Room. A transplant from England, Mike has a passion for history and storytelling, and his songs encompass genres including pop, folk, and country.
The Sally Weisenburg Band performs on Sunday, July 15. The Sally Weisenburg Band play mainly clubs, festivals and private events regionally in the Midwest. Known for blues and R&B interpretations, they can also play anything from standards and Motown to instrumental surf music.
Sunday, August 26 brings the Nathan Taylor Band playing country folk blended with heartland jazz and delta blues.
Enjoy some toe-tapping tunes, sweet waltzes and Americana music with Blackest Crow on Sunday, September 23 and on October 21 Chicago native Edward David Anderson performs his blend of blues, rock, folk and bluegrass.
On Sunday, November 11, hear Still Shine, a group of like-minded, seasoned musicians blending acoustic roots and progressive bluegrass. By mixing mandolin, harmonica, banjo, acoustic guitar, upright bass, and tight harmonies they quickly gained a following around Central Illinois and the Midwest.
The December concert has not been booked as of this writing, but watch for more and it will be announced soon. Be sure to join us for these free concerts in 2018!
By Amber Lowery
One of the most intimidating parts of researching a family tree is when you’ve traced your family back to “the old country”…and you do not speak the language. Throw in the fact that sometimes our ancestors came from places where borders and languages change causing records to be a confusing headache.
One of the lesser known waves of immigrants to Central Illinois was that of the Hungarians. In the early 1900s, the railroads and steam ship lines sent recruiters to the Austrian-Hungarian empire to recruit workers. A flood of Hungarians came and settled in the Bloomington-Normal region of Illinois, creating a small enclave. Just 200 years earlier the Hapsburgs recruited ethnic Germans to settle in Austria-Hungary, repopulating areas that had been reclaimed from the Turks. This group from the 1700s is known as the Donauschwaben. Today, in Bloomington-Normal there is active group known as the American Hungarian Family Society that is nearly 100 years old and was created by those immigrants.
If you live in Central Illinois, you may well find your “German” ancestors spent several hundred years on the Great Hungarian Plain. There are resources available to you and here are a few:
By Robin Helenthal
Year One is the first book in the Chronicles of The One Trilogy by Nora Roberts. It starts on New Year’s Eve. The first signs of sickness and the people’s fears begin to spread. The government collapses and the electrical grid fails. As the power of science and technology begin to withdraw, magick begins to gain power. Some of it is good, but the evil lurks around corners and appears even in the ones that you love and trust. Survivors that are immune to the sickness begin to head west. Among the travelers are Lana and Max, Chuck a tech genius, Arlys a journalist who is using her pen and paper to record the truth and Fred, her optimistic young coworker; Rachel, a doctor and Jonah, a paramedic who are trying to keep a young mother and her three infants alive. In this world of survivors, every stranger met could be a savage or a rescuer. None of those traveling west know why or where they are heading but what is ahead will shape their lives and the lives of all those they meet. The end has come. The beginning comes next.
Now That You Mention It is the latest novel by Kristin Higgins. For Nora Stuart, life has been one step forward and two steps back. She wants to become a Boston medical specialist and receives a Tufts scholarship that will help make this a reality when she is hit by a car and wakes up to hear her boyfriend hitting on another doctor while she is laying in the emergency room possibly dying (or so she thinks). When she gets out of the hospital, she moves back home to Maine to try and put her life back together. So with a difficult mother, a wild-child sister who is in jail and a remote niece who wants to get off the island as much as Nora had fifteen years earlier, she has her work cut out for her to bring the family back together and patch up their relationships. This is her chance to begin again.
Enchantress of Numbers: A Novel of Ada Lovelace by Jennifer Chiaverini, is a fictional account of the captivating life of Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace and the daughter of Lord Byron. When Ada was child, her mother who was a mathematician did not want her child to be like her father so she banished fairy tales and fantasy from the nursery and gave her daughter a thorough education in math and science. Then Ada meets the inventor, Charles Babbage and helps him realize his vision of an Analytical Engine. She falls in love, discovers what caused her parents’ separation then learns how to step out of her parents’ shadows. Ada discovers how to achieve and help support the new technology that would shape the future of computing and embrace the passion that she has for learning and dreaming.
The Biography and Non-Fiction Book Club will meet on Sunday, January 14 at 3:00 p.m. at North Branch to discuss Kosovo: What Everyone Needs to Know by Tim Judah. On February 17, 2008, Kosovo declared its independence, becoming the seventh state to emerge from the break-up of the former Yugoslavia. A tiny country of just two million people, 90% of whom are ethnic Albanians, Kosovo is central - geographically, historically, and politically - to the future of the Western Balkans and, in turn, its potential future within the European Union. But the fate of both Kosovo, condemned by Serbian leaders as a “fake state” and the region as a whole, remains uncertain. For anyone wishing to understand the history and possible future of Kosovo at this pivotal moment in its history, this book offers a wealth of insight and information in an accessible format.
The Book ‘Em Mystery Book Club will meet on Sunday, January 21 at 2:00 p.m. at Lakeview Branch to discuss The Sentry by Robert Crais. Dru Rayne and her uncle fled to L.A. after Hurricane Katrina. Now, five years later, they face a different danger. When Joe Pike witnesses Dru's uncle beaten by a protection gang, he offers his help, but neither of them want it and neither do the federal agents mysteriously watching them. As the level of violence escalates and Pike himself becomes a target, he and Elvis Cole learn that Dru and her uncle are not who they seem and that everything he thought he knew about them has been a lie.
The Sci-Fi Fantasy Book Club will meet on Monday, December 11 at Lakeview Branch at 6:30 p.m. Watch for listing in the January Passages or call 497-2701 for the title of this month’s book.
The YA Book Club for Adults will meet on Tuesday, January 16 at 6:30 p.m. at Lakeview Branch to discuss The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas. Are you in your 20s or 30s and enjoy reading Young Adult books? Join this fun group to discuss the best in YA literature. As a bonus, there are always snacks! 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.
The Read on Book Club will meet at Lincoln Branch on Tuesday, January 23 to discuss We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories by Gabrielle Union. Union launched her career with roles in iconic '90s movies. When she revealed her own trauma as a victim of sexual assault, she urged compassion for victims of sexual violence. In this moving collection of essays Union tells astonishingly personal and true stories about power, color, gender, feminism, and fame. She discusses her experiences with bullying, beauty standards, and competition between women in Hollywood; growing up in white California suburbia, and coping with the divorce of her parents. Throughout, she reminds us of the importance of confidence, self-awareness, and the power of sharing truth, laughter, and support. For more information please call (309) 497-2601.
The Sherlock Holmes Story Society will meet at North Branch at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 25 at North Branch to discuss to discuss “ The Adventure of Silver Blaze.” The great race horse Silver Blaze has disappeared and his trainer, John Straker, has been murdered. Holmes and Watson arrive at King’s Pyland, Dartmoor to investigate and while Inspector Gregory has marked Fitzroy Simpson as the suspect, Holmes feels that this conclusion is incorrect. Animals are going lame, Simpson’s cravat is being used to incriminate him but Holmes and Watson are on the case and about to solve it.
Friends of Clonmel Intercontinental Readers will meet at 1:00 p.m. on March 6 at Main Library on LL1 to hold a Skype discussion with the group in Clonmel, Ireland about Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger. Ordinary Grace is a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.
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