Fox Lake District Library · 
255 E. Grand Avenue
 · 
Fox Lake, IL 60020
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 · Director: Harry J. Bork

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by Kazuo Ishiguro

Book list In Ishiguro's first novel since 2006 (Never Let Me Go), the award-winning author reinvents himself once again. It is a fable-like story about an elderly couple, Axl and Beatrice, who reside in a village that is made up of underground warrens and is sometimes menaced by ogres. One day they get it into their heads to track down their son, who vanished years ago, although they cannot remember exactly why. In fact, their whole village seems to be struggling with memory loss, with residents forgetting from one day to the next key incidents and people from their pasts. Despite their advanced years and their many aches and pains, Axl and Beatrice set out on a perilous journey, encountering along the way a smooth-talking boatman, a wailing widow, and, most momentously, an ancient, garrulous knight and an intrepid warrior. Ishiguro's story is a deceptively simple one, for enfolded within its elemental structure are many profound truths, including its beautiful and memorable portrait of a long-term marriage and its subtle commentary on the eternity of war, all conveyed in the author's mesmerizing prose. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Two of Ishiguro's novels, The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, have more than a million copies in print and were adapted into acclaimed films; pent-up demand will fuel requests for his latest work.--Wilkinson, Joanne Copyright 2015 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Ishiguro's new novel is set in Arthurian England-not the mythic land of knights, castles, and pageants most of us are familiar with, but a primitive and rural country likely far closer to historical reality. This is a gray and superstitious place, rather than a battlefield alive with the color and movement of steeds and fluttering banners; it's sparsely inhabited and scarcely advanced. Candles are preciously hoarded, and simple folk cluster together for safety amid vast stretches of untamed and fear-inspiring wilderness. The grim-textured, circa-sixth-century landscape is also a country haunted by magic, where ogres loom in the dark and steal children, and dragons are hunted by faded warriors like Sir Gawain. But its magic remains in the background, an earthy fact of life rather than a dazzle of sparkling make believe. Here British peasants eke out a hardscrabble existence from caves dug into hillsides, while the recent Saxon invaders live in more-advanced villages of rudimentary huts. A strange fog hovers over the dreary countryside-where an uneasy peace has balanced on a knife edge since the end of the most recent wars-robbing the populace of its memories. Into this countryside our protagonists-an elderly, ailing British couple named Axl and Beatrice-embark on a pilgrimage to the village of their half-forgotten son. It's a sad, elegiac story, one that has a tone and texture suited to its subject matter: a dreamy journey, repetitive and searching as lost memory. Conversations are formal and stilted, but their carefully crafted formality lends an austere rigor to the proceedings-Axl and Beatrice are following a gentle old-people's quest, not a dashing young knight's. Although they do cover literal ground and encounter figures of myth and legend along the way, their real search is clearly interior, a painstaking effort to know themselves and each other by piecing together the vestiges of their past. Memory is inseparable from personhood, in Beatrice's view, and personhood must be known for love to be authentic. Though she and Axl seem devoted to each other ("Princess," he calls her insistently, though she's manifestly anything but), she believes that their devotion, in the absence of memory, may prove insufficient to keep them together when they die. Her guiding fear is that the couple will be separated in the afterlife-on the "island," as the world of the dead is represented here-if they can't show the Charon-like boatman tasked with rowing them over that they know each other, and love each other, well enough to be granted the rare privilege of crossing that last water together rather than alone. The gift of remembering, as it turns out, will come at a steep price, not for the two aging and kindhearted Britons but for their country. The Buried Giant is a slow, patient novel, decidedly unshowy but deliberate and precise-easy to read but difficult to forget. Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Imagine an existence without memory. Lacking context, would war become obsolete? Or family strife? This is the concept introduced in Ishiguro's latest, which appears ten years after his acclaimed Never Let Me Go. Set in first-century England, this parable revolves around Axl and Beatrice, an elderly couple tired of living in the dark. Fleeting memories haunt them but disappear with the morning mist. Did they once have a son? When did he leave? Why? They set out on a journey looking for answers but, as befitting a quest novel, obstacles abound. Axl and Beatrice are plagued by ogres and pixies, joined by a Saxon warrior and an errant knight from Arthur's court, and have their lifelong devotion to each other tested in disturbing ways. Though the book is wildly different in setting and style from the author's previous fiction, fans will recognize familiar themes, including the elusiveness of memory and the slow fading of love. Alas, Ishiguro's reliance on a tedious, repetitive back-and-forth conversation between the couple detracts from the story. VERDICT Ishiguro's career spans over 30 years, highlighted by Booker winner The Remains of the Day and Whitbread winner An Artist of the Floating World, yet this quasifantasy falls short as the medium to deliver the author's lofty message. [See Prepub Alert, 9/8/14.]-Sally Bissell, Lee Cty. Lib. Syst., Fort Myers, FL (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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by Nihad Sirees, trans. by Max Weiss

Publishers Weekly Syrian writer Sirees takes on, with piercing insight, the huge themes of freedom, individuality, integrity, and, yes, love, in this beautiful, funny, and life-affirming novel, his first to be translated into English. On the 20th anniversary of an unnamed despot's rule, in an unnamed Middle Eastern country, Fathi Sheen, a silenced writer, is caught in the frenzy of the crowd that "turns all those individuals into droplets in a raging human flood." He runs afoul of the security forces and his ID is confiscated; he arrives at his mother's house to learn that she is planning to marry a man high up in the regime; and on his way to see his girlfriend Lama, "a liberated woman who owns herself," he has a series of absurd encounters as he confronts the noise of the streets-the "roar"-and indulges in laughter and sex to resist the government that would have him "compose poetry that glorifies the leader and write heroic novels." Originally published in 2004, the novel indisputably connects to current events, but its value as art and political commentary is timeless. Sirees has written a 1984 for the 21st century. Agent: Jane Loudon. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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by Jane Hamilton

Library Journal This second novel by Hamilton (The Book of Ruth, LJ 11/1/88) is a stunning exploration of how one careless moment can cause irrevocable and devastating change. Alice Goodwin is caring for her best friend's children when two-year-old Lizzy Collins wanders to the pond on the Goodwin farm and drowns. The consequences of this tragedy reverberate through a small Wisconsin community, which never accepted Howard and Alice Goodwin. Theresa Collins, bereft at losing a child and a dear friend, draws on her Catholic religion and finds forgiveness. Alice, immobilized by guilt and grief and unable to function as a wife or mother to her own two daughters, is charged with abusing children in her part-time job as a school nurse. Lizzy's death is ever present-especially in the bond growing between Theresa and Howard while Alice is in jail-and the pain of it is echoed in Alice's primary young accuser and in Alice as a child, drawing her own map of the world after her mother died. Reminiscent of Rosellen Brown's Tender Mercies (1978), this compelling, multilayered fiction belongs in all collections.-Michele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P.L., Va.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Booksellers should send up three cheers of greeting for this haunting second novel by the author of The Book of Ruth , a beautifully developed and written story reminiscent of the work of Sue Miller and Jane Smiley. A piercing picture of domestic relationships under the pressure of calamitous circumstances, it poignantly addresses the capricious turns of fate and the unyielding grip of regret. Alice and Howard Goodwin and their two young daughters live on the last remaining dairy farm on the outskirts of Racine, Wisc. The farm is Howard's dream, realized with infusions of money from his disapproving mother; but Alice, who is disorganized, skittery and emotionally volatile, is constitutionally unsuited to be a farmer's wife. Her solace is her best friend Theresa, who also has two little girls for whom they alternate days of babysitting. One hot, dry June morning, in the middle of a soul-parching drought, Alice daydreams for a few, crucial minutes while the four girls play. She has rediscovered the map of the world that she made after her own mother died when she was eight; it was an attempt to imagine a place where she would always feel safe and secure. In that short time, one of Theresa's daughters drowns in the Goodwins' pond. As outsiders from the city, the Goodwins have never been accepted in their small community, which now closes forces against them. Still grieving and filled with remorse, Alice, a school nurse, is accused by an opportunistic mother of sexually molesting her son. She is arrested, and since Howard cannot raise bail, she remains in jail, where she suffers but also learns a great deal about human frailty and solidarity. Meanwhile, Howard and the girls undergo their own crucible of fire. Among Hamilton's gifts is a perfect ear for the interchanges of domestic life. The voices of Alice and Howard, who narrate the tale, have an elegiac, yet compelling tone as they look back on the events that swept them into a horrifying nightmare. In counterpoint to the shocks that transform their existence, the drudgery of the daily routine of farm life has rarely been conveyed with such fidelity. Fittingly, however, the death of their hopes as a family coincides with Howard's realization that the farmer's way of life is disappearing as well. The last third of the book, detailing Alice's incarceration among mainly black inmates, is astonishingly perceptive and credible, opening new dimensions in the narrative. One wants to read this powerful novel at one sitting, mesmerized by a story that has universal implications. BOMC and QPB selection. (June)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Hamilton's first novel, The Book of Ruth, was widely praised and won the 1989 PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award for best first novel. Her second centers on a few months in the lives of Alice and Howard Goodwin and their little girls, Emma and Claire. The Goodwins live on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, a few hundred acres surrounded by housing tracts. Because they are the only farm family left, and because they are somewhat eccentric and proud of their self-sufficiency, they are isolated from most of their neighbors. Their only friends are the Collins family. One day, Theresa Collins brings her daughters to stay at the farm while she goes to work. In the few minutes that Alice spends looking for a bathing suit, two-year-old Lizzie Collins runs to the pond and drowns. Alice blames herself for Lizzie's death, but that's not all. The mother of Robbie Mackessy, a little boy who is one of Alice's most frequent patients in her job as a part-time school nurse, accuses her of sexual child abuse, and Alice is arrested. The rest of the book traces Alice's time in jail, her family's efforts to cope while she is gone, and her trial. Hamilton has a great gift for characterization, and she can express the smallest nuances of behavior, from those of adults under extreme stress to those of very small children. Heartbreaking, harrowing, extremely well done. ~--Mary Ellen Quinn

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Book list The accidental drowning of a child in her care completely reroutes Emma Goodwin's placid existence. Hamilton is adept at showing how easily life can be tipped from the ordinary into the nightmarish and how decent people cope under extreme stress.

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

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by Gail Giles

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-After setting his seven-year-old neighbor in Alaska on fire, Kip McFarland spends four years in a facility for violent juvenile offenders. When he is released at the age of 14, he, his father, and his new stepmother move to Indiana, with new names. For a while, Wade enjoys a normal life. Eventually, however, despite the warnings of his therapist, he sabotages his happiness in a drunken fit of rage. After he reveals his identity, the town turns on him and his family. Now, a coastal Texas town is their final shot at starting over. The cozy community appears to be a perfect haven, but Wade feels compelled to reveal his past to Sam, the beautiful and mysterious neighbor who is winning his heart-and has a story of her own. Will she still accept him once she finds out he is a murderer? This quick read has a compelling story line, but the characters, especially the adults, are at times one-dimensional, with voices that are somewhat indistinguishable from one another. Reluctant readers will be drawn to the story's accessibility, and many teens will be pulled in by the larger questions the novel poses about innocence and acceptance. Despite its flaws, this book will be a hit with Giles's fans.-Lynn Rashid, Marriots Ridge High School, Marriotsville, MD Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Giles (What Happened to Cass McBride?) returns with another riveting nail-biter. Kip and his father live a spartan life in Alaska until nine-year-old Kip, in a jealous rage, sets a neighboring boy afire, killing him. Put in a psychiatric hospital for criminal juveniles, he is released four and a half years later and moves to Indiana with his father and new stepmother. Kip and his family assume new identities (Kip now goes by Wade). As Wade, who is by all accounts observant, articulate and intelligent, struggles with the sins of his past and finding his place in the outside world, he becomes a star swimmer at the school and even gets a girlfriend, who he nicknames "Absolutely Cutest." However, one drunken evening, Wade reveals his secret to his friends and soon after he and his family are forced to relocate once more, this time to Texas. There he finds a kindred spirit in his new neighbor Sam, a beautiful girl who considers herself to be "damaged goods" of a sort, as well. This story explores, with sympathy and compassion, the nature of guilt, atonement and forgiveness. As Giles delicately handles these delicate issues and questions ("Do you get to kill someone and say, `Oh, really sorry now,' and everything is fine?"), readers should be glued to Wade's story, hoping for his redemption. Ages 15-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Book list The most horrific moment comes at the beginning: distraught 10-year-old Kip kills another child by dousing him with gasoline and setting him afire. Traumatized, he's sent to a mental ward for serious juvenile offenders (the Loon Platoon), where he's encouraged to examine his feelings and memories. At 14, he reenters the world with a different identity, well aware that his fragile new self and the welfare of his family are built on a lie. Eventually, a girl with her own sad baggage walks into his life. Should he confess his past to her? A cheerleader stepmom and the convenience of finding a soulmate as troubled as he is are hard to swallow, but Kip's halting endeavors to start over are both credible and carefully nuanced. Cynical and smart, Kip is also filled with self-reproach, and despite his crime, he'll earn readers' respect as he struggles to find out who he is and forge a path toward who he will eventually become. Giles' fans won't find outright thrills, but they'll come away with a greater understanding of redemption and forgiveness.--Zvirin, Stephanie Copyright 2007 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

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