Shelfish: The Blog of Answers

Getting Ready for This Summer's Hottest New Shows

AMC's PreacherIn the old days of television we had three networks and had to wait until the fall for new shows. In the summer... nothing but reruns. Today, we have hundreds of channels and all the hottest shows premiere in the summertime, many of them based on books available at Eisenhower. 
Julian Fellowes, the creator of Downton Abbey, is back with a new show on Amazon Prime adapted from the1858 book Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope, a writer of political and romantic novels during the Victorian Era.
Alex Haley's book Roots and the miniseries based on it were huge sensations in the late 1970's. The story of Kunta Kinte and the horrors of American slavery is ready for a re-telling on the History Channel.
AMC's Preacher stars Dominic Cooper as a man of the cloth who sets off across the country in search of God with his ex-girlfriend and their vampiric friend after being given supernatural powers by a mysterious entity. Sounds just about as crazy as the Garth Ennis graphic novels the show is based on.
Submission on Showtime will probably be a bit more risque than any other new show. Its story of a young woman inspired by erotic novels to experiment sexually is aimed directly at the Fifty Shades of Grey crowd. 
Already renewed for a second season before even premiering, Cinemax is counting on the popularity of The Walking Dead and its creator, Robert Kirkman, to propel his new show Outcast to similar success. In the source graphic novels, a young man struggles to understand why he's suffered from demonic possession his entire life.

2016 Edgar Award Winners

Edgar Award LogoThe Edgar Allan Poe Awards (popularly called the Edgars) are presented every spring by the Mystery Writers of America to honor the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, television, and film. Today we're going to provide links links to the library catalog of each winner so you can easily place holds. Lists of all the nominees are avaialble on the Edgar Awards website,

Best Novel
Best First Novel
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Best Paperback Original
Best Fact Crime
Best Critical/Biographical
The Golden Age of Murder by Martin Edwards
Best Short Story
"Obits" in Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King
Best Young Adult
A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
Best Juvenile
TV Episode
"Gently with the Women" from George Gently, Season Seven, Teleplay by Peter Flannery (find the entire series, too)
Mary Higgins Clark Award
Little Pretty Things by Lori Rader-Day
Each year since 2001, the Mystery Writers of America have given this special award to a novel written in the Mary Higgins Clark Tradition according to guidelines set forth by Clark herself.
  • The protagonist is a nice young woman whose life is suddenly invaded.
  • She’s self-made and independent, with primarily good family relationships.
  • She has an interesting job.
  • She is not looking for trouble–she is doing exactly what she should be doing and something cuts across her bow.
  • She solves her problem by her own courage and intelligence.
  • The story has no on-scene violence.
  • The story has no strong four-letter words or explicit sex scenes.

NFL Draft returns to Chicago

This weekend, the NFL returns to Chicago for its annual player draft. Brush up with some inside information on the inner-workings of the draft by stopping by the Answers Desk to check out our latest display of books and dvds, including The GM: The Inside Story of a Dream Job and the Nightmares that Go with It  by Tom Callahan and The Agent: My 40-year Career Making Deals and Changing the Game by Leigh Steinberg.

As of now, the "Monsters of the Midway" own the eleventh pick of the first round and nine picks overall. Brad Biggs, the Tribune's Bears beat writer, has the Bears selecting Georgia Outside Linebacker Leonard Floyd (his latest mock draft of the first round is available here), while predicts the Bears to select Florida Cornerback Vernon Hargreaves (full first round mock draft available here). Who do you want the Bears to select with the eleventh pick?

2016 Pulitzer Prize

Pulitzer AwardThe 2016 Pulitzer Prizes were announced today. Established in 1917 by provisions in the will of newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer,  prizes are awarded yearly in twenty-one categories. For our purposes, we'll skip the journalism awards and focus on the Letters and Drama categories.

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
A layered immigrant tale told in the wry, confessional voice of a "man of two minds" -- and two countries, Vietnam and the United States.

Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Stream now at Hoopla)
A landmark American musical about the gifted and self-destructive founding father whose story becomes both contemporary and irresistible.

Custer's Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America by T.J. Stiles
A rich and surprising new telling of the journey of the iconic American soldier whose death turns out not to have been the main point of his life.

Biography or Autobiography
Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan
A finely crafted memoir of a youthful obsession that has propelled the author through a distinguished writing career.

Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS by Joby Warrick
A deeply reported book of remarkable clarity showing how the flawed rationale for the Iraq War led to the explosive growth of the Islamic State.

National Recording Registry 2015

Metallica's Master of PuppetsToday, the Library of Congress announced its newest inductees into the National Recording Registry, a collection of "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" recordings chosen to be preserved in their best existing versions at the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Virginia. The Registry includes everything from wax cylinders, radio programs, and recorded speeches, to comedy and music albums from all imaginable genres.

This year, the 25 selection for the registry are just as fascinating as ever. The list includes two different versions of Mack the Knife, a dictaphone recording of Wilt Chamberlain breaking the NBA record by scoring 100 points in a single basketball game, Secretary of State George C. Marshall's "Marshall Plan Speech" detailing plans to resurrect Europe after the end of World War II, and two episodes of Destination Freedom, a 1940's radio program dedicated to presenting the accomplishments of black Americans.

A diverse collection of songs and albums were added to the Registry this year, too. The eclectic list includes, Alex North's soundtrack to A Streetcar Named Desire, John Coltrane's A Love Supreme, George Carlin's Class Clown, The Supreme's single Where Did Our Love Go?, Merle Haggard's single Mama Tried, Santana's Abraxas, Billy Joel's Piano Man, Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive, and perhaps most surprising of all, Master of Puppets by Metallica.

You can visit the Registry's website to listen to a montage of this year's inductees, or click the titles linked above to place a hold on the CDs available from the library.

Polish Easter Traditions

Easter LambEaster is on Sunday, March 27th this year and Eisenhower will be closed for the holiday.

To get into the Easter spirit, the next time you visit the library, stop in the lobby for a moment to take a look at the collection of traditional Polish Easter decorations in our display case. If you can't make it to the library before Easter, a set of photos of the display has been posted on our Facebook Page. The display came to us courtesy of Danuta Dobrzycki and the Dobrzycki family, Harwood Heights residents since 1976.

Daredevil Season Two

Daredevil Comic CoverDaredevil Season Two hits Neflix tomorrow! This season, Daredvil, AKA Matt Murdock, will be pitted against Frank Castle, the Punisher, a veteran who, after his family was murdered, decided to wear a skull on his chest and kill every bad guy he could find. If you're excited about the new episodes, we thought you might like more of Daredevil and The Punisher, so here's a few comics in which the two cross paths. Click on the titles to place a hold.

Daredevil Vol. 1 #183 & 184
Matt and Frank first met in 1982 in a two issue story written by Frank Miller. In it, the two team up to track down a drug dealer responsible for the death of a young girl. These two issues are collected in a volume that also includes the introduction of Electra, Daredevil's on-again, off-again girlfriend, another character that will appear in Season Two.

Welcome Back, Frank by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon
In this story arc, The Punisher forces Daredevil to make a decision that could destroy both of their lives. It has been suggested that this volume is being used as a major influence on the next season of Daredevil, so I won't give too much away.

The Devil in Cell Black D by Ed Brubaker, Michael Lark, and David Aja
Ed Brubaker took over writing on Daredevil right after the previous writer locked Matt Murdock behind bars just as a wave of violence is about to overtake the prison. Of course, Frank Castle doesn't want to miss out on the action and violence.

Kendrick Lamar, Untitled Unmastered

Kendrick Lamar Untitled UnmasteredAfter being nominated for (and winning) more Grammies than any other artist last year for his album To Pimp a Butterfly, rapper Kendrick Lamar surprised the music world this week by releasing, with no promotion, a followup collection of demo recordings and song sketches. The new release, Untitled Unmastered, feels like an extension of last year's hit album. All eight songs were seemingly written and recorded at the same time as To Pimp a Butterfly, so think of it as a B-sides collection that follows the same set of themes, religion, racial stereotyping, hometown pride, and the current U.S. political environment.

Untitled Unmastered  isn't as cohesive at To Pimp a Butterfly; it's not for everyone, but it's a revealing recording, especially for Kendrick fans looking for a more complete understanding of an idiosyncratic artist with little to prove but a lot to say.

Stream or download Untitled Unmastered now.

What to Read after Seeing Deadpool

Preacher Graphic Novel CoverJust two weeks after opening in theaters, Deadpool has made more at the box office than any of Fox's previous X-Men related movies, earning a place at the pinnacle of pop culture for one of mainstream comic book history's weirdest, most violent, and funniest characters. Fans of the movie are probably already enjoying the Deadpool graphic novels and looking for something similar to read next.
Widely considered one of the best Batman stories (and the definitive Joker story) Alan Moore's tone is much darker than previous Batman comics. The Joker breaks out of Arkham Asylum and immediately kidnaps Commissioner Gordon and his daughter Barbara, subjecting them to torture and ridicule in an effort to make them a crazy as he is. The Killing Joke is almost entirely the Joker's story, revealing the depth of his depravity and presenting his insanity as a mirror of Batman's.
Ben Edlund's absurdist, independent comic book take on the superhero genre, stars a legally insane escaped mental patient sworn to protect "The City." He is well-intentioned, good-natured, high-spirited, frequently very, very stupid. The Tick is surrounded by a cast of equally absurd heroes and villains, many of them parodies of popular comic book character types. The short-lived comic book was adapted into an animated series as well as a great live action sitcom.
Intended as an over-the-top indictment of Marvel's ultra violent Wolverine and Punisher, the alien mercenary and bounty hunter Lobo enjoys nothing more than mindless violence and intoxication. He is arrogant and self-centered, focusing almost solely on his own pleasure. After killing every single resident of his home planet for fun, Lobo thinks he is the last Czarnian until he learns that one other person from Czarnia still lives, his fourth grade teacher Miss Tribb.
After merging with a demon, Preacher Jesse Custer becomes disillusioned with the beliefs that had defined his life. Now possessing the power to make people do whatever he says, Jesse begins a violent journey across the country with his gun-toting girlfriend and the hard drinking Irish vampire trying to find and punish the God who had forsaken him. Not only is Garth Ennis' Preacher sure to please Deadpool fans, it's also set to become a new Walking Dead-esque TV series on AMC.

Hamilton Original Broadway Cast Recording

Hamilton Original Boradway Cast Recording Cd CoverOne of the biggest breakout cultural successes in recent memory is also one of the most unlikely. Lin-Manuel Miranda's smash hit Hamilton mixes rap and hip hop with theatre geek enthusiasm to tell the true story of America's first treasury secretary in a musical so popular that it is currently sold out until at least September. As if winning a Grammy and receiving the McArthur "Genius Grant" wasn't enough, Hamilton was just awarded the Kennedy Prize for Drama, whose jury said "Technically so proficient, historically so sound, artistically so groundbreaking, Hamilton is both inspired by and celebrates the evolving history of the United States, of hip-hop, and of the musical theater."

Click here to place a hold on the Hamilton CD or instantly stream/download it on your phone, tablet, or computer at