We're lucky that weather warning systems have come a long way since the legendary Blizzard of '78; we'll all have plenty of time before our next big snow to stock up on essentials like milk for the kids, road salt for the driveway and marshmallows for the hot chocolate.
Add to that list a good book. We asked local librarians to recommend some of their current favorites to keep readers engaged while the snow falls around us.
(Don't forget that many local libraries also lend books for tablets and e-readers through their websites — which are accessible any time of day, regardless of the weather.)
Faithful Place, by Tana French
Recommended by the staff at the Glenview Public Library, this tale of a detective who returns to his old neighborhood in Ireland and gets tangled up in old relationships (including his first love) is especially good as an audiobook. "The narrator, Tim Gerard Reynolds, beautifully captures the accent and spirit of the characters," said Head of Reader Services, Linda Burns.
The Family Fang, by Kevin Wilson
Your family might be quirky, but they've got nothing on the Fangs, a family of performance artists who create chaos and document it. The two adult children think they've escaped through their careers as an actress and an author, but they're wrong. "What happens is truly funny and suspenseful," said Northbrook Public Library librarian Lori Siegel.
The Financial Lives of Poets, by Jess Walter
A newspaper reporter quits his day job to gamble on his dream: a website devoted to financial journalism in the form of verse. When his big idea — and his finances — falls into ruin, Matt resorts to desperate measures to stay afloat. "Witty and sharp, Walter’s novel is a funny, but cautionary tale for the times," said Siegel, who also recommended this book.
The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel, by Anthony Horowitz
Melissa Stoeger, Readers Services librarian at the Deerfield Public Library, recommended this new novel, which has been authorized by the estate of Holmes' creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. "Horowitz delivers an intriguing mystery and remains true to Holmes' voice and personality. Fans of Sherlock Holmes will be pleased," Stoeger said.
The mystery isn’t just for fans of Doyle, however. "Readers who enjoy historical mysteries will appreciate the details of the gritty London underworld," Stoeger added. The audiobook incorporates British accents, too, making this novel a great one to share with teens who like mystery.
Stoeger also recommended this author's screen writing; Foyle's War was a six-season series on British television, is now available on DVD and rumored to be returning to television in 2012. Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle is a quiet, honest, perceptive man who must solve the crimes that continue despite the fact that the country is in the midst of World War II. His driver adds a touch of humor to the plots. "This is a wonderful show for fans of British mysteries and WWII-era settings, with great characters and typical British charm," Stoeger said.
The Magician's Elephant, by Kate DiCamillo
Recommended by the staff at the Highland Park Public Library for children 9-12, this book follows an orphan's search for his sister, which involves a fortuneteller, a beggar and his dog, an elephant and a magician, among many other unlikely characters. DiCamillo is a Newberry Medalist.
Real Happiness, by Sharon Salzberg
Also recommended by the staff of the Glenview Public Library, this nonfiction pick offers a 28-day program to reduce stress, lower your blood pressure, and relieve chronic pain through meditation. It begins with the basics of posture and breathing, moves on to the finer points of establishing a daily meditation practice, and concludes with larger issues of compassion and mindfulness.
A Season of Gifts, by Richard Peck
Another pick from the staff at the Highland Park Public Library, this tale of new neighbors is set in downstate Illinois in 1958. Some readers may recognize the eccentric old lady next door (Grandma Dowdel) from Peck's other books, and the Highland Park librarians say this is great for family read-aloud.
Toys Go Out: Being the Adventures of A Knowledgeable Stingray, A Toughy Little Buffalo, and Someone Called Plastic, by Emily Jenkins
Keren Joshi, of the Wilmette Public Library, recommends this adventure story that follows three toys while their “Little Girl” isn't around. Like Peck's novel above, Joshi said this one is a good read-aloud tale for the entire family.