Shelfish: The Blog of Answers

Molly Wizenberg

On February 21st, 2016 author, podcaster, and blogger Molly Wizenberg visited the Eisenhower Public Library to discuss her New York Times Best Selling books, Delancey and A Homemade Life. She also touched on her podcast, Spilled Milk and her James Beard Award winning food blog, Orangette. An audio recording of the entire conversation is available to stream or download.
On October 2nd, our next visiting author will be mystery writer Sharon Fiffer. Registration for that conversation is open now.

The Hike by Drew Magary

The Hike Book CoverChecking into hotels late at night always feels strange. But Ben, who travels for business is used to short stays after long drives. Get in a few hours sleep, go to a meeting in the morning, and get back on the road as soon as possible. Maybe go for a walk if you have some time. Hope that things don't get too weird.
Ben's unlucky on this trip though. He finds a path behind his hotel and sets off for quick hike. Soon he meets up with a pair of killers wearing dog masks. Then a woman gives him a bag of magic beans. Then he has to fight a giant grasshopper. Then he meets a talking crab, a giantess, some skinless zombies, a winged demon, some kind of Spanish conquistador, and a bunch of dreamy hallucinations from his past. Surely everything will be alright as long as Ben stays on the path.
Like the vintage role playing games that partially inspired it The Hike is a puzzle. Every step Ben takes along the path offers clues for him to use and for the reader to put together. I'm still not sure if I really figured it all out. I suspect the book is a parable about wasting time. Don't spend hours playing video games when you could spend them with your loved ones. That's my take anyway. Maybe you'll come away with a different interpretation. Just remember, things are going to get weird.

Yoga at Hoopla

Fall is the perfect time to get your yoga practice in top form. This month, visit to stream or download all your favorite Gaiam yoga videos on your computer or mobile device. Just starting out? Try Yoga for Beginners. Or maybe Advanced Yoga is more your speed. No matter your experience level, there's a great video for you on Hoopla. Even if you're a kid!

Then, visit the Hoopla Facebook page to get entered into a drawing for a yoga workout prize package. Maybe you'll win a bamboo yoga mat and a cork yoga brick to help keep you going all winter long. Entry ends September 30th.

President Obama's Summer Reading List

Today, President Obama released his summer reading list. Read these books and, before you know it, you'll be the president. If I had to guess, I'd say you've probably read at least two of them already. You're almost halfway there.

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, Seveneves by Neal Stephenson.

And in case you missed it, here's what made the cut last year:

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow.

While you're working on your presidential reading assignment why not listen to the music on President Obama's summer playlists?

Obsessed with Stranger Things?

If you're anything like the rest of the world, you've probably been binge watching Stranger Things on Netflix. Set in the mid-1980s, Stranger Things tells the story of a boy whose mysterious disappearance sets off a chain of events that tear away the wholesome veneer of small-town America. While searching for answers to his disappearance, the boy's friends, his family, and the town's sheriff unveil dark government agencies and supernatural forces at work.
The show wears its 1970s and 80s influences on its sleeve, paying homage to the work of Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter, Richard Donner, and other 80s luminaries throughout its eight episodes. If you've burned through the series or just want to get an idea of what all the fuss is about, here's a list of movies available to borrow at Eisenhower that are directly referenced by the show or that work with similar sci-fi and horror themes. 
If you'd love to watch Stranger Things but don't subscribe to Netflix, place a hold on one of our Roku Media Players which provide access to our Netflix account.

Book to Movie Adaptations

The Girl on the Train Movie PosterTheaters in 2016 have been filled with movie adaptations of popuar books. The Fifth Wave, Me Before You, The BFG, and of course, The Jungle Book (I mean, come on, it has "book" right in the title). Although time flies, the year's not over yet and there are a lot more movies based on books to come. Here are some of the higher profile ones. You should have just enough time to borrow and read them so you can feel superior when you tell all your friends how the movie wasn't as good as the book.

The Light Between Oceans (September 2nd)
After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day's journey from the coast. To this isolated island, Tom brings his young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby's cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. Click here to place a hold.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (September 30th)
A family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow, impossible though it seems, they may still be alive. Click here to place a hold
The Girl on the Train (October 7th)
Rachel takes the same train every morning, flashing past stretches of cozy homes. A station stop allows her to watch a couple breakfasting on their deck. She's starting to feel like she knows them. Their life, as she sees it, is perfect. And then she sees something shocking. It's only a minute until the train moves on, but it's enough. Now everything's changed. Click here to place a hold.
Inferno (October 14th)
Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon awakens in a hospital in the middle of the night. Suffering from a head wound, he recalls nothing of the last thirty-six hours, including how he got there. Langdon quickly realizes that he is in possession of a series of codes created by a brilliant scientist, a genius whose obsession with the end of the world is matched only by his passion for one of the most influential masterpieces ever written, Dante's epic poem The Inferno. Click here to place a hold.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (November 18th)
Straight from the library at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a book of magical creatures that no Harry Potter fan should be without! A copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them resides in almost every wizarding household in the country. Now Muggles too have the chance to discover where the Quintaped lives, what the Puffskein eats, and why it is best not to leave milk out for a Knarl. Click here to place a hold.
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (November 11th)
The surviving members of the heroic Bravo Squad have been sent on media-intensive "Victory Tour" stopping at Texas Stadium, football mecca of the Dallas Cowboys, their fans, promoters, and cheerleaders. A razor-sharp satire set in Texas during America's war in Iraq, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk explores the gaping national disconnect between the war at home and the war abroad. Click here to place a hold.

Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Textbok Amy Krouse RosenthalHalfway through Textbook, Amy Krouse Rosenthal reflects on her unique mid-life crisis. She didn't have an affair or buy a fancy new car or any of those cliches. She merely found herself becoming more emotional, moved to tears by the everyday things her kids did or by the small kindnesses of strangers.

Known mainly for her children's books, including Little Oink, Uni the Unicorn, and Spoon (a favorite at Muddy Buddies my wife's storytime/ceramics class for kids), Amy Krouse Rosenthal has also had some success writing books for adults. Her newest, Textbook, is tough to describe. Amy is obsessed with coincidence and serendipity, with finding transcendence in the mundane. Part memoir, part poetry, part conceptual art, part interactive project, the book collects Amy's thoughtful remembrances, observations, drawings, and photos into sections organized like a school textbook with subject headings Art, Music, Math, Science, History, etc. Occasionally, the smartphone-using-reader is prompted to send a text message to Amy and receive one in return. The responses either augment the book with sound recordings and videos or ask you to participate in the book. Submit a story of your own. Suggest a tattoo. Make a self portrait. Assist in the search for a long-lost copy of Hemmingway's A Moveable Feast. Reader submissions are being archived online at

While my cynical side wants to call Textbook too cute or too clever, I'd be lying if I didn't say there were stories in the book that made me tear up, thinking about all the goodness in the world. Maybe Amy and I are sharing a mid-life crisis.

Click here to place a hold on Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

Sharon Fiffer and the Great Brewster Chair

The Great Brewster ChairIn 1969, woodworker Armand Lamontagne made a replica of the famous Brewster Chairs, a pair of chairs once owned by pilgrim William Brewster, who arrived in America on the Mayflower in 1620. Annoyed by the self-importance of museum curators, Lamontagne made the copy to prove that they were capable of being fooled. He gave his chair away and waited patiently for it to appear on the antiquities market. Six years later, the fake was purchased by the Henry Ford Museum and Lamontagne came clean. Today, the museum displays the chair for educational purposes.

This story is at the center of the culmination of The Wrong Stuff, the third in a series of mystery novels by author Sharon Fiffer. In her "Killer Stuff Mysteries", Fiffer writes about Jane Wheel, a one-time ad executive who now makes her living as a "picker", searching Chicago-area flea markets, rummage sales, and auctions in search of antiques that might be sold for a profit. More often than not, she keeps her finds, worried that no one else will respect the history of these objects; the love their previous owners might have had for them; or the stories they tell about times now passed. Jane also happens to be really good at finding dead bodies and bringing their killers to justice.

On October 2nd, Sharon Fiffer will visit us at the Eisenhower Library to discuss her books, her life, and her own love for antiques. You can find all the details and register for the event by visiting our calendar, or calling 708-867-2299.

I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive by Steve Earle

I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive Book CoverOn January 1st, 1953, after years of alcohol and drug abuse, county singer Hank Williams died in the backseat of a Cadillac heading to a gig in West Virginia. Earlier that day, a doctor had given him two shots of vitamin B12 laced with morphine.

Steve Earle's novel, I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive, picks up the story ten years later with Doc Ebersole, a fictional composite of the doctors and hangers-on who encouraged Williams' destructive drug habit. Doc has settled into the worst part of San Antonio, supporting his heroin habit by doctoring gun shot wounds and performing abortions for the prostitutes of the South Presa Strip, all the while being haunted by the ghost of his old friend, Hank Williams. He's in a downward spiral and isn't too worried about what will happen when he hits the bottom.

But when Graciela, an innocent young Mexican immigrant obsessed with Jackie Kennedy and the part-Catholic-part-pre-Columbian religion of her grandfather, appears in search of Doc's services, miraculous things begin to happen. South Presa starts to change and Doc's chances of redemption seem better than ever.

A county singer and one-time addict himself, Steve Earle is ideally suited to tell this difficult story. His depictions of heroin withdrawal symptoms and the things an addict will do to avoid them are harrowing and disturbing. But despite its focus on darkness and mortality, I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive is ultimately a story of atonement, absolution, and self-forgiveness.

Find I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive in the library catalog.

Steve Earle's companion album of the same title is available to download or stream at

Zeroes by Chuck Wendig

Zeroes Book CoverWe all need a little help once in a while. If you or I need some assistance we might call a friend or a family member. If a secret government organization needs help, they arrest a bunch of low-level techno-criminals and force them to become hackers-for-the-man. 

Our heroes (self-named, the Zeroes) are a do-gooder social engineer, better at working people than computers; a streetwise credit card thief who'd rather his mother not know about his profession; an online troll who just wants to make you feel bad about yourself; an ethical hacktivist with ties to the Syrian resistance; and a hippie-era hacker/gun-nut prepared for the inevitable apocalypse. Together they're tasked with infiltrating corporate computer systems and finding connections to the mysterious TYPHON, a project so secret even their government handlers don't know what it really is. 

By the time the Zeroes work out what's happening with Typhon, they're on the run, bullets are flying, and the plot has taken a hard left turn into Terminator territory.

Can the Zeroes, evade capture, make a plan, and stop arguing long enough to save humanity as we know it?

Click here to place a hold on Zeroes now.