Ready Player One

Ready PlayerReady Player One One by Ernest Cline is a fast paced action-adventure story set in a future dystopic America, complete with shanty-town-skyscrapers made from mobile homes and armored bus service between cities to guard against roving bands of highwaymen and thieves. Good stuff in and of itself to be sure.

But what really made this premier novel so much fun was the setting within the setting. Turns out that in Cline’s vision of the future, people are positively obsessed with ’80s pop culture and frequently retreat into an immersive computer simulation allowing them to escape the drudgery of living in a shanty-town-skyscraper while also indulging in movies by John Hughes, Atari video games, the music of Rush, and Cold War paranoia. Don’t you just miss those days?

There’s nothing terribly ground breaking in Ready Player One; I’m not disclosing classified information to say that the hero saves the day and gets the girl in the end. (Don’t be mad; you’d have figured out the ending after the first 50 pages anyway.) The journey though ’80s pop culture (which incidentally includes Journey) is a real treat and brought back – at least for this child of the ’80s – a flood of nostalgia. Ok, time to play some Pitfall!

Little Free Library Decorating Party

LFL Decorating PartyWe still have more Little Free Libraries to decorate before they go out into the community. Help us decorate two more libraries with old books, book covers, and mod podge. The library will provide all the necessary supplies, we just need your hands!

Join us Monday, September 9 from 6-7pm for a Little Free Library Decorating Party! No need to register, just head to the library.

In case you aren’t already familiar with LFLs (Little Free Libraries), check out this post.

Get a library card

Library cards are free to residents of Guilford Township, to students and teachers within the Plainfield Community School Corporation and St. Susanna Catholic School.
Residents outside of Guilford Township who would like a library card are required to purchase a Public Library Access Card, which entitles them to a library card from any public library in Indiana.  The fee for a PLAC is $50 annually.

To apply for a card (as a resident, non-resident or student/teacher) please bring in a current, government issued identification to the Information Desk. If you have recently moved to Guilford Township and have not updated the information on your ID, please also bring a utility bill, bank statement, lease agreement or some other document that will allow us to verify your residency.





Police Academy Tour – Aug. 24

For the second year in a row, the library is teaming up with the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy to offer an interactive tour of the Academy on Saturday August 24th from 11:30 – 1. Included in the tour is a Police K-9 unit demonstration, a self defense instruction, and – most thrilling of all – a high speed trip in a police cruiser around the Academy’s test track. Ever wanted to know what it feels like to chase after a fleeing felon? Now is your chance! To register for this event, call the library at 839-6602.

Jerome the Gnome


Gnome Gerome

This is Jerome, the library gnome. He has been hiding around the Children’s Room this summer as part of the ‘Dig Into Reading’ theme. Kids who find Jerome tell a library staffer, then get a prize from the treasure chest. A lot of kids have found Jerome, even though he moves around every day. Sometimes it’s a very tricky search. Some kids come into the Children’s Room and look for Jerome before they do everything else, so Jerome has agreed to keep up the game until the end of August. Come see if you can find him!

Mars on my mind

If you’ve never visited the campus of Butler University and enjoyed an evening at the Holcomb Observatory, you really should! It’s free (though they do suggest a donation) and fun, and on a clear night, the observatory’s telescope will be directed at Venus, IDL TIFF fileSaturn, Jupiter or Mars (and some non-planetary objects too). You’ll be surprised at the level of detail you can see with a (relatively) small telescope in the middle of a light-polluted city.

One of my favorite experiences at Holcomb was seeing the polar caps of Mars, which got me thinking about the place of this red planet in our imaginations. Lots of authors have used our closest planetary neighbor as a setting for some great fiction.

The movie may have bombed at the box office last summer but you’ll still want to read Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter series starting with The Princess of Mars. Of course after reading the source material, you should also see the movie (since you, like most of America, didn’t see it in theatres). The library has it on DVD.

A recent homage to Burroughs’ iconic series comes from fantasy writer S.M. Stirling’s The Lords of Creation. Set against the background of the Cold War, this series journeys to both Venus and Mars, playing up the Soviet-American rivalry with all kinds of nostalgia.

For a futuristic look at the Red Planet, I highly recommend Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy (the first in the series is called Red Mars.)

Ray Bradbury also speculated about Mars colonization with The Martian Chronicles.

Dan Simmons combines the mythology of the Trojan War in an epic set on the Red Planet in two books – Ilium and Olympos.

July App of the Month: Shazam

Shazam lets you identify, discover, and explore music that’s around you. Whether you’re listening to a song on the radio, in a restaurant, or on TV, Shazam can identify the title and artist of the song with one tap. The app also links to the song’s YouTube video, information about the artist, and your device’s online music store for easy download.

Apple users, download it here!  
Android users, download it here!

how it works…

When you’ve come across a song that you’d like to identify, open the Shazam app and tap the button in the middle of the screen.

Shazam will identify the title and artist.

To explore more about the artist, scroll to the bottom of the screen.

Here you can find links to the song’s YouTube video, iTunes or Amazon MP3 store, lyrics, and more.
Once you’ve identified a song on Shazam, that title, along with the other titles you’ve identified, are stored for later review. To access these saved songs, or tags, tap on My Tags.

Shazam also has a social component. After signing in to your Facebook account, you’re able to see what songs and artists your friends are tagging.

Exploration ideas…

The Shazam app can be fun to use alone or with your friends.

Try these ideas:

  • While traveling on a road trip in the car as a passenger, try scanning the radio stations in the area every once in a while. Shazam songs you’re unfamiliar with.
  • Head to a local music show or concert and try Shazamming a live performance to see if the band’s or artists’ songs appear.
  • Watching a commercial and trying to pinpoint that song in the background? Shazam it!
  • Link your Shazam account to Facebook and encourage your friends to as well. Check and see what songs everyone is Shazamming. Are there any similarities? Try listening to what your friends have tagged to discover new music.
  • Shazam an artist you’re familiar with, and then try to guess what will show up in the “Artist’s popular songs” section. Check to see if you’re right!

Organize your reading with LibraryThing

librarything example

An example of LibraryThing’s cover display – a fun way to look at your collection!

Ever browse the library’s shelves, find a book and wonder if you’ve already read the book? LibraryThing is a great service to organize your personal library, keep track of what you’ve read, review your favorite (or not so favorite books), find and offer suggested next reads, or connect with other like minded bibliophiles. You can share as much or as little as you like. I’ve found LibraryThing to be a great resource for information on read-a-likes, series, and favorite authors.

Jo’s Picks for July

The Last ChildJuly has some great new books coming out that readers will be looking forward to reading. New books by Alex Kava and Daniel Silva I highly recommend to readers. Silva’s is titled The English Girl and Kiva’s is Stranded. I am also picking The White Princess by Philippa Gregory for fans of English history. Other new books include The Highway by C.J. Box, Death Angel by Linda Fairstein and James Lee Burke’s The Light of the World. As the Readers Advisor readers are always recommending authors to me and I am always happy to pass on their suggestions. Recently one of our readers told me that he had been reading John Hart who writes mysteries. He said that The Last Child by Hart was one of the best mysteries he has ever read So I thought I would pass this along to those of you who are always looking for a new author to read. Hart’s other books are The King of Lies and Down River. While I can’t read everything readers recommend to me I am always happy to hear when they have discovered a new author. Nothing pleases me more than to hear from a reader who tells me that they have loved an author I have recommended to them. Enjoy the rest of summer with a good book!