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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Do, Re, Mi: A Glance at Our Sheet Music Collection

Do you enjoy singing and strumming to the guitar? Are you wanting to practice your piano skills? Edwardsville Public Library offers a varied collection of sheet music, from Classical to Broadway. Featured below are some of the music you may be interested in checking out. There are much more, so be sure to stop by to browse our collection or visit our online catalog!



787.74 THO Hammered Dulcimer by Linda G. Thomas
If you are just beginning to play the hammered dulcimer, then this may be the book for you. It provides some playing tips, tuning charts, and notation symbols. It also comes with a CD with the songs and a lesson for each song. We also have music for the Appalachian dulcimer and music for those who want to try a hand at fingerpicking. 


Native American Flute

788.3 CRA Flute Magic: An Introduction to the Native American Flute by Tim R. Crawford
Yes, we have music for this unique instrument! Not only does it provide tunes and exercises to play, it also gives the history and culture behind the Native American Flute.





787.89 BAR The Baroque Ukulele arranged and & performed by Tony Mizen
This book features a good selection of arrangements from famous pieces, such as Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and Bach’s Air on a G String. It also comes with a CD of arranger Tony Mizen performing the music. For those who play tenor ukulele and prefer jazz, check out our Jazz Chord Solos for Tenor Ukulele (787.89 HEI).




787.9 MAN 15 Solos for Harp: Music from Ireland, England, and Scotland, Vol. 2 by Monika Mandelartz
“All In a Garden Green” and “Greensleeves” are some of the songs arranged for the Celtic Harp. Not a harpist? You can still enjoy the beautiful Celtic Music by playing it on the piano or another applicable instrument of your choice. 




787.87 ROC Rockabilly Guitar Bible
Rockabilly Guitar Bible features 31 songs from famous artists, such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Ricky Nelson.








785.2 EAS Easier Piano Classics edited by Margaret Otwell and Richard Walters
Try your hand at sonatinas, mazurkas, and more with Easier Piano Classics. If you like this one and want to keep on playing, we offer a number of other classical piano music for different levels. 


781.587 COM Complete Collection of Piano Solos for Weddings: 44 Favorites for Ceremonies and Receptions Arranged for the early advanced level, this wedding collection is full of love songs, hymns, and classical music. The songs are categorized by processional and recessional, reception, service, and prelude. More wedding music is available for piano as well as for organ, voice, and guitar.




786.2 WOR World’s Greatest Pop Sheet Music
There is a mix of classic and modern pop songs to enjoy in World’s Greatest Pop Sheet Music. Journey, Michael Jackson, Carrie Underwood, and Lifehouse are just some of the many artists whose songs you can play and sing. 







786.2 BES The Best of Sacred Music, Vol. 1 and The Best of Sacred Music, Vol. 2
These two volumes offer a wide selection of spirituals and traditional hymns that can be sung, played, or both! 


786.2154 MYF My First Broadway Songbook: A Treasury of Favorite Songs to Play
Broadway songs are fun to listen to and sing and play! My First Broadway Songbook is full of favorites, including songs from Annie, Les Miserables, and The Sound of Music for easy piano. The lyrics are also provided. For advanced pianists, The Best Broadway Piano Solos Ever (786.2 BES) contains 70 popular songs but without the lyrics.



Honorable Mentions

786.2 DIS Disney Duets and 782.4 BES The Best Children’s Songs Ever: Easy Piano (a personal childhood favorite!) 
J 786.2 MYF My First Book of American Folk Music: 25 Favorite Pieces in Easy Piano Arrangements by Bergerac

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Kiss Quotient Review

Stella Lane is used to being able to use math, and her job as an econometrician, as a way to predict what consumers will buy, and she's very good at her job, plus, she loves it. What she has so far been unable to use math for is her dating life. To help with that, Stella hires professional escort Michael Phan to teach her about intimacy. When it becomes clear that it's more than intimacy Stella needs help with, she wants Michael to stick around and be her fake boyfriend and help her with her socialization skills. 

Michael, who started escorting to help pay for his mother's medical bills, typically doesn't book a client twice. He's had some bad experiences in the past where one client became a bit too obsessed with him. He's ready to turn Stella down, but there's something intriguing about her that Michael wants more of, plus he most certainly could use the money.

As Michael and Stella embark on this charade, they find out they enjoy being with each other, but their own insecurities could keep them from finally saying those three little words.

I thought that The Kiss Quotient was a wonderfully unique romance. For me, Stella was the standout character. I loved the way Helen Hoang tackled Stella's autism; the way it is portrayed. It is acknowledged, but still not defining who Stella is as a person. Her anxiety in certain situations just jumped off the page. I could feel it while I was reading the words. But I could also feel the moments when Stella would start to feel comfortable and I loved how we see Michael accepting the things that make her anxious and helping get her to the point of calm. Where a touch, or too much noise doesn't upset her.

I've read other books where one, or more, of the main characters are dealing with some kind of mental, emotional, physical, etc. barrier, but I felt like Helen Hoang has done the best job of making it more understandably accessible, at least in Stella's case. I understand everyone's situation is different and unique.

Because I felt Stella was such a force to be reckoned with, I felt like Michael was a bit overshadowed. As mentioned, he began escorting in order to help pay his mother's medical bills. Not only that, but he's had to put his hopes and dreams on hold, not necessarily forced to, but he felt compelled to do so, in large part to show that he is the furthest thing from his father who cheated on and left Michael's mother high and dry. He hasn't complained, and he's not angry, but at the start of The Kiss Quotient you can see he's beginning to get tired. Tired of having to take different women out every week, and tired of being made to "perform", to deliver a wonderful evening for paying customer(s).

When I say Michael feels overshadowed, I don't want to convey that his conflicts aren't valid or aren't apparent, because they are. But I felt like his insecurities with being lumped in with his father and his father's actions was kind of tacked on. I wanted Michael's situation to feel as unique as Stella's, but feeling like you don't fit in with someone because of where you, or they, come from, is a common issue in many romances I've read.

I did appreciate the fact that both Michael's family background, and Stella's autism are things that people have judged them on in the past, and therefore they are issues that they don't want to be defined by. In that regard, working through how others perceive you, are things that both Michael and Stella are unknowingly dealing with together.

If you're looking for a fresh, unique, sweet romance you can look no further than The Kiss Quotient. I absolutely enjoyed reading this book by debut author Helen Hoang, and I can't wait to read the next book. I hope she continues to write these lovely characters that stand out from the crowd.

Posted by patron and guest blogger, Amy M.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Our Favorite Books this Year...So Far!

Candice - What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons

My favorite book so far is Zinzi Clemmons's debut novel "What We Lose". The novel tells the story of Thandi, a young woman struggling to deal with the aftermath of her mother’s death, through a series of haunting, beautifully written vignettes. Raised in Pennsylvania, Thandi views the world of her mother’s childhood in Johannesburg as both impossibly distant and ever present. She is an outsider wherever she goes, caught between being black and white, American and not. She tries to connect these dislocated pieces of her life, and as her mother succumbs to cancer, Thandi searches for an anchor—someone, or something, to love.



Cary - Finely Tuned: How To Thrive As A Highly Sensitive Person or Empath by Barrie Davenport

For those of us who are sensitive to our environment, or live with someone who is, this book is extremely valuable. About 20% of the population make up this large minority -- those humans who have to live in a majority world of outgoing, more active people who thrive in groups and energetic activity. For adults who have adjusted, this book confirms our so-called "quirks" but reminds us that our feelings and intuitive observations provide very positive antidotes in society's varied arenas. For young people who struggle to fit in to the cookie-cutter activities of school and "norms" of our high-octane society, this book will provide immediate relief that they are not alone and that their innate nature is a blessing (albeit in disguise by majority standards). I believe this book can really benefit those of us who may struggle to find our own way in this whirlwind world. 

 Amanda - The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

I'm actually still reading it. I'm trying to savor this one as I've been enjoying it so much. Very atmospheric Russian landscape with many nods to Russian folklore. Just a great, engaging story.


Megan J. - Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

As a long-time John Green fan, I felt like this story was a bit of a departure from his previous works, but in the best way possible. The book still stars a group of smart and funny teenagers that we all wish we'd been a part of in high school, but his achingly honest portrayal of OCD adds a new depth to the story. Green does not shy away from showing the worst parts of mental illness, and one particular scene near the end was actually difficult for me to get through. But his trademark humor and hopefulness keep the story from becoming too bleak, and the extra layers of honesty add a new flavor to the "exestential teenager" brand that fans have come to love.

Kelcey - To All the Boys I've Loved Before Trilogy by Jenny Han

My favorite thing I've read this year is actually a trilogy. "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" trilogy by Jenny Han. This series had been sitting on my TBR shelf for several years. I had heard really great things about it but was typically in the mood to read fantasy novels instead of contemporary novels. School had just let out for winter break and I was looking for something light and fun to read. I picked these up and flew threw them in just a few days. The character development and writing style is great and kept me wanting more. I was also excited to find out that its going to be a Netflix moving coming out this August! I'm definitely looking forward to that.



Jake -  Contact by Carl Sagan 

I'm in the process of reading it right now and it is a fascinating read. It comments on so much. Humanity, morality, religion, politics, but it never talks down to anyone on any of these subjects. It provides an insightful and hopeful message about humanity and what we could achieve if we all worked together. The story of humanity's potential is uplifting to anyone who believes in the hope of the human spirit.


Jason -  All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries Volume 1) by Martha Wells 

This is about a combat Android who loves binge-watching TV shows and has anxiety about dealing with the Humans she is supposed to protect. I really enjoyed the concept of an Android who calls herself Murderbot but gets nervous talking to people. Highly recommend it.


Sally - I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh 

If you are looking for a moody mystery that takes place in England and Wales, this is the book for you. The characters are memorable and the author does a wonderful job of capturing the eccentricities of a small, Welsh community. A woman is haunted by witnessing a hit and run accident and tries to rebuild her life in Wales. The investigation of the crime takes disturbing twists and turns up until the end. I really enjoyed this book.


Tirzah - Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

Set in 1940s South Africa, this book follows the journey of pastor Stephen Kumalo as he sets out to find his wayward son in Johannesburg where Kumalo witnesses the destructive effects of what would eventually lead to apartheid. Alan Paton’s writing style is simple yet expressive so that I truly empathized with the characters and their situations. The story has heavy themes, but the element that makes me like the story so well is that many of the characters rise above life’s deep wrongs and crushed dreams by choosing to look to God for strength and hope. It was a story that stayed with me for some time after I read it.


Dawn -  Smoke Gets In Your Eyes and Other Lessons From the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty 

I liked what this author had to say about having a positive relationship with death and not being so afraid of it.

Joyce - The Library: A Catalogue of Wonders by Stuart Kells

This is a fascinating look not only at libraries throughout history but at the people who developed them. The interaction of physical materials, the buildings that house them, the methods used to retrieve a desired work and how the librarians and patrons use the materials has constantly changed over time. I don't wonder if there will be libraries in the future; I do wonder what they will be like.


Katherine - A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
I loved this book because it has everything in it that I look for in a novel. It is a very moving story, the characters are so well-developed that I feel like I really know them, and it's extremely well written. I highly recommend this one.

 Mary - Liar's Candle by August Thomas

It's a spy thriller type novel, a first book for this author, and is reminiscent of John LeCarre books. It takes place in Turkey, mostly in Ankaara, and the main character is a 21 year old female intern at the American Embassy who we soon find out "knows too much." I found it fascinating for the characters, the scenery, and the speed with which it all took place. It was definitely a book that kept my interest! 

Lisa - The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (audiobook) 

It was recommended by a co-worker and although the subject matter is heartbreaking, I found it to be beautifully written. I felt like I was in the head of the main character during the downward spiral and recovery. I also felt like maggie Gyllenhaal gave perfect voice to the novel.