Kate Lapinski

My Depression – A Picture Book and a Film

Helpful, but definitely not a self-help book. Based on the author’s experience, but not a traditional memoir.  A picture book full of scribbles.   Elizabeth Swados’s My Depression: A Picture Book is hard to classify but even harder to forget.  The author makes a subject that many people find impossible to talk about accessible and maybe even… funny?   Just as entertaining and dynamic is a HBO documentary film based on the book My Depression: The Up and Down and Up of It. And just like the book, it’s a short time commitment: only a half hour!

Both titles are available for check out if you need something to help you feel a little less alone this month.

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Too Cool for the Nobel Prize?

Music’s mysterious cool guy: it’s a role that Bob Dylan has been filling for decades but he’s really taken it to the next level in the past couple of weeks.   There is a committee trying to reach him with news that almost every other artist would be delighted by… he won the Nobel Prize!!! Insert party here, right?  Well, not for him!  Read this article about how he won’t return the committee’s calls or get in touch with them.

Perhaps only Mr Dylan and his friends know why he’s playing coy, but let’s focus on what we do know: he won the Nobel Prize in Literature and he’s most famous for his songwriting. What do you think – is songwriting literature?  Even if he is one of the English-speaking world’s most poetic and truthful songwriters, should he be getting an award that usually goes to authors?   There is no right answer.. make up your own mind, it’s what Bob would want you to do! Learn about his body of work with the help of our collection:


Let the Work Speak for Itself

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The Life & Legacy of Muhammad Ali

Often known as simply “The Greatest,” Muhammad Ali passed away on Friday.  If the things that you’ve been reading and hearing about him have you curious to learn more, check out some of the illuminating titles in our collection.  You won’t regret it!

2015’s Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship between Muhammad Ali and Malcom X is a deep look at the complex relationship between the two men.

Muhammad Ali: Made in Miami is a DVD that follow the boxer’s career and looks at the forces that made him a very important cultural figure.

Can you imagine what it was like to stand in the ring, about to fight the man who floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee?  Hear from some of the men who did just that in Facing Ali: The Opposition Weighs In.

You know that a collection of essays titled The Best American Sports Writing of the Century is going to have coverage of the best American Sportsman of the century, right? The essays about Ali in this collection are must-reads.

Ali is a movie that covers 10 years of the champ’s life, from 1964 to 1974.


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An American Original: Walt Whitman

May 31, 1819 marked the arrival on this earth of a spectacular soul – a poet, a lover, a humanist, an American.   Walt Whitman may have been writing nearly a hundred years ago, but his life and his words are as truly radical now as they were then.

We have lots of Walt’s titles, poetry and verse, in our collection.   Find the list here.

Learn about his life in this DVD, which was an episode of American Experience on PBS.

Walt and his squad were “America’s First Bohemians.” Read all about them in Rebel Souls: Walt Whitman and America’s First Bohemians.

Finally, my favorite.  Hear Walt read one of his poems on the CD Poetry Speaks.




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The Best ________ Ever

There’s always plenty of  disagreement when something is named THE BEST.  Whether it’s a List of the Top Pizza places in Chicagoland by a local food writer or a list of The Best 50 Guitarists in Rock’n’Roll by a big music magazine, there’s bound to be disagreement.   And that disagreement can turn nasty when it’s a person being crowned the best in their field: who’s the best American president? what about the best actor of this generation? who’s the best rapper alive? The best pop star of the 2000s?  All those questions would be answered in many different ways. It’s hard to agree!

But there is one “Best of” title that pretty much everyone will agree on.   William Shakespeare is THE BEST playwright. Ever.   There maybe others who come close in certain ways but Shakespeare’s emotional relevancy and mastery of the English language are as real today as they were centuries ago in Elizabethan London.  That’s why we’re still studying his plays, performing them, turning them into movies, reimagining them for our modern era and writing books and articles about his life and times.

2016 marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death (he died at 52).  If you’ve noticed a glut of news and interest in his works this year, that’s probably why.  Chicago is holding events in over 100 places throughout the year to celebrate.  If you think Shakespeare plays are boring musty things that you were forced to study in English Class, then you’ve never considered an interactive Shakespeare videogame, or Improvised Shakespeare.  Still not convinced? In September, there’s Company Theatre Mumbai’s Piya Beharupiya (a Hindi translation of Twelfth Night). And if Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet doesn’t get you, nothing will.

Some highlights from our collection:




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Field Museum is FREE this Month!

The Field has free general admission for IL state residents every day in the month of February. The museum is open 9 AM to 5 PM every day.  Here’s the website if you want to check it out before your visit.

Everybody loves free things and when what you are getting is entry into one of the country’s very best museums, there is a lot to love. The Field is a true gem of Chicago, and curious people find wonder and inspiration there everyday.  One of my absolute favorite exhibitions to spend time in is Inside Ancient Egypt.  Who doesn’t want to go into a three-story recreation of an Ancient Egyptian tomb? The dioramas, the hieroglyphics, the MUMMIES!  I hope you’ll go visit sometime this month, and if you do and you’d like to immerse yourself even further into the study of Ancient Egypt, you know you’ll find plenty of great resources here in our collection, including these standouts:

Cleopatra:  A Life by Stacey Schiff I read this book last month and it is a phenomenal portrait of one of the history’s most famous women.  It’s well-researched and entertaining.

Learn more about the beliefs and stories of the ancient Egyptians by checking out The Egyptian Myths: A Guide to the Ancient Gods and Legends. 

If you were particularly interested in the art that you saw in the exhibit you definitely are going to want to take a look at this stunner of a book- Eternal Egypt: Masterworks of Ancient Art from the British Museum. 

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Give A Little (Or A Lot If You’re Mark Zuckerberg)

Tuesday, December 1st was #GivingTuesday, a nice idea that’s become a bit of a movement in recent years to combat the hardcore consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.   Besides all the support that worthy charities and community based organizations (hopefully) received, the world had even more heartening news when new parents Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan wrote a letter promising to give away the majority of their Facebook shares (currently worth 45 BILLION dollars) during their lifetimes.

Did you participate in #GivingTuesday? If so, did you do any research before you donated?  If you plan to make some contributions in the future you may want to use a resource like Charity Navigator or Guide Star to ensure that you know who your contribution is going to and that your dollars are going as far as you want them to be.

And of course, we also have a couple of good resources:

Lapham’s Quarterly – Philanthropy. Lapham’s Quarterly is a great publication that examines one concept per issue.

Philanthropy In America: A History gives a great overview of giving in our country, with a look at how much the concept grew in the twentieth century and an understanding of how much American public life relies on giving.

Finally, can you guess which country is the most charitable in the world according to the World Giving Index?

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Thanksgiving is Next Week – Plan Your Menu Now!

Now is the time for the Moraine community to give thanks for our abundance of library resources. Items in our collection can help you make the holiday a delicious one whether you’re hosting, contributing a dish or cooking for yourself.

The Nov/Dec issue of Cook’s Illustrated will give you EVERYTHING on turkey: buying, prepping, cooking, carving AND dealing with leftovers.  Also, light, loose and crispy sounds delicious right– find out how to make a rustic bread stuffing that’s exactly that.

Not to be outdone, Martha Stewart Living is full of ideas for the great American holiday: 2 tasty turkey recipes (apple-cider-glazed or herb-rubbed), 17 sides (including some you can make ahead!) and a dozen desserts (including vegan and gluten-free).   You’re not good at setting the mood?  This issue has you covered with easy and elegant table setting ideas too.

Did you gain a few pounds just reading about those recipes? Don’t worry, Cooking Light has a fantastic DOUBLE issue for Thanksgiving with a full holiday cookbook. There are pages and pages of everything you’ll need- sips and snacks, gravy, sides, rolls, desserts, even leftovers are accounted for.

Are you into big Thanksgiving meals, but meat is not your thing?   Vegetarian Times is a resource to be treasured: this month’s issue will give you plenty meatless tasty traditions.  You’ll also find some holiday favorites from some top American chefs for side dishes.

All of the above are shelved on the stands in front of the coffee shop.  Browse through them on your next break!


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Beat Stress & Find Balance this Semester

We’ve put the long lazy days of summer behind us.   Goodbye lazy sunlit afternoons, hello frantic nights in class or in front of a screen!  It’s easy as the work piles up and crowds out countless other commitments to feel out of balance and just not quite right.   Although many of us have accepted a certain amount of stress as part of adult life, it doesn’t have to get the best of you.  With a bit of effort and the right tools, you can manage the googly-eyed stress monster and keep your feelings of summer cool throughout the school year.

One of these three titles might be a great way to get started on a smooth and peaceful semester.  They all offer concrete exercises and give you step-by-step instructions:


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Reading to Learn About Ourselves: Books About Books

Dissecting great books that have endured and are beloved and familiar to many is a great way to look at what we, as a society, value and how we view ourselves.  We have two stellar new books in our After Class collection worth checking out that explore this issue.

Anyone who has ever heard Maureen Corrigan’s wise yet down-to-earth book reviews on Fresh Air on NPR will probably want to read what she has to say about everyone’s favorite high school lit class read, The Great Gatsby.  Her new book So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came To Be And Why It Endures  is a satisfying read for lovers of the novel. It’s engaging and intelligent but not overly academic (which means it’s a great pick for semester break). Corrigan looks at what makes the book so special- it’s not what many people think; and also reflects on why the books has come to be buried so thoroughly in American consciousness.

Azar Nafisi came to this country from Iran, and the inspiration for her newest book, The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books was a comment someone made to her about how Americans don’t care about literature as deeply as people in other countries.  Her response to this comment is this penetrating and enthusiastic look at works by three distinctly American novelists: Mark Twain, Sinclair Lewis and Carson McCullers. She urges us to take a deep look at the America presented by these writers and how those ideas are represented in American life today.  For those who were moved by Giovanni’s Room last school year, the epilogue centered on James Baldwin is particularly powerful.


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