Blog Posts by jonf

Posted by jonf on 11/08/18
cover image
The compelling story of the Apollo 8 mission told by Robert Kurson, the talented author of "Crashing Through" and "Shadow Divers". The author at a visit to the Museun of Science and Industry saw a small capsule from this mission and was moved to tell their story. In 1968 with America in turmoil, NASA sped up the launch of Apollo 8 to make sure Americans were the first to fly , orbit and return from the moon.
The mission was rushed and gave Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders only 4 months to prepare. It was a staggering challenge for a mission with little margin for error. Kurson does a great job telling not only the technological challenge, but the hardship for the astronauts and their families.
Rocket Men is a excellent, well written story of an overlooked mission, which was more dangerous  and impactful than the moon landing itself. A great book for fans of adventure and exploration, highly recommended.
Non-Fiction
Posted by jonf on 09/29/18
cover image
The latest novel by Chicago author Marcus Sakey is a strange but original mix of police thriller, love story and the meaning of death. F.B.I. agents Will Brody and Claire McCoy are trying to stop a serial sniper who has killed 18 people, to complicate the matter, they are falling in love.  Will gets a phone tip which lures him to a church which is rigged and blows up killing all in the blast. Will awakens and is told by a stranger that he is dead and welcome to the afterlife.
 
The afterlife he is in is Chicago , same time but gray and lifeless. It is run by a group of the good people who band together to evade the eaters who kill to keep their strength. Soon Will is joine by Claire who is killed by the sniper.
 
Together Will, Claire and the group try to fight off the eaters and Will and Claire try to unravel the afterlife.
A truly original story, exciting and full of questions of our mortality.
Posted by jonf on 07/19/18
cover image
In modern day Russia, led by Putin, state intelligence officer Dominika struggles to survive in the bureaucracy of the new Russian Federation. Drafted against her will to become a "Sparrow", a trained seductress in the service, Dominika is ordered to operate against Nate Nash, a new CIA officer who handles the most sensetive penetration of Russian intelligence.
 
The two young officers, trained in their respective spy schools, collide in the charged art of tradecraft, deception and a forbidden spiral of mutual attraction that threatens their careers and an American asset in Moscow. Seeking revenge against  her masters, Dominika begins a double life, recruited by the CIA to find a traitor in Washington and return to Moscow as a new generation agent for Putin. Dominika and Nate's love affair and spy game lead to a deadly conclusion in this timely spy thriller.
 
This is Jason Matthews first book in the "Red Sparrow" trilogy. Matthews had a 30 year career in the CIA and the book is proof of his past experience. Great read for lovers of the spy genre.
Spy Suspence
Posted by jonf on 05/01/18
cover image
The new John Wells thriller by Alex Berenson is a timely look at Russia's attempt to influence U.S politics. A large explosion at the American Airlines arena in Dallas kills 398 people. President Vinny Duto calls in Wells to investigate. The Islamic State has taken credit, but Wells finds aspects that suggest a larger plot. Later, after a famous evangelical minister and the Cardinal of Chicago are killed by a sniper, Wells finds evidence leading to Moscow.
The Kremlin is behind the terror attacks and is trying to help the rise of a radical right-wing senator from Tennessee. Wells and his marine partner Coyle, track a trail of money to South America which leads back to Dallas. This is the 12th in the series and is another intelligent and fast paced tale.
 
Posted by jonf on 03/13/18
cover image
 Scott Kelly's account of his life as an astronaut and his ultimate adventure, his one year in space on the International Space Station is an exciting and educational story of life in space. Kelly recounts his time in zero gravity spent with two Russian cosmonauts and an array of European astronauts. He tells of the hardship of zero gravity on the human body and the stress of living in confined quarters for long periods of time.
Kelly also explains the trials of being isolated from family and friends. He was  on a different mission when his twin brother's wife Gabby Giffords was shot and he felt helpless. There was also fascinating research done on him and his identical twin Mark. This book is filled with adventure, hardship and human resilience, and how much humans can endure.
Kelly took an amazing path to becoming an astronaut. After being a less than stellar high school student, his life changed when he read the book The Right Stuff. From then on his dream was to become a test pilot and astronaut. This is a tale of dreams come true.
Non-Fiction
Posted by jonf on 02/03/18
cover image

Walter Mosley's newest Easy Rawlins mystery set in 1968 Los Angeles is another fun, well-written tale with the charm and skills of the mellow private eye. Easy is asked by his best friend the dangerous killer Ray "mouse" Alexander to do a favor for his mysterious friend Charcoal Joe. A friend of Joe's son is accused of murdering two men, but he know's it's a frame and Easy is on the case.

Easy with the help of his pal Fearless Jones set off to find the true killer, the job takes Easy and Fearless from Watts to Beverly Hills to fix the set up and gain Charcoal Joe's trust. This is another great ride with Easy, great characters, colorful locales and good story,

Mystery
Posted by jonf on 12/07/17
cover image
 Mary Doria Russell follows up on her novel Doc, telling the story of when Wyatt, Morgan and Virgil first move to Tombstone in 1881. The well researched historical novel is told through the voice of Josie Marcus. Josie was the daughter of immigrants from Russia who lived in Brooklyn and San Francisco where Josie followed her dream of becoming an actress and on a tour ended up in Tombstone where after an affair with Sheriff John Behan she fell in love with Wyatt Earp.
 
The book explains how America in 1881 was a deeply divided nation, with an unpopular president, partisan media and a dangerous border with Mexico. The town was also divided by the "Cowboys" who ran rough over the town with the Earps providing the so-called law. The faction led by the Earp, though no angels were the balance against the lawless cowboys lead by the Clanton family, Curly Bill Brocious and Johnny Ringo which culminated with the at the Gunfight the O.K. Corral
 
A very well written American epic brought to life with the authors fleshing out of legendary characters and the lifelong love affair of Wyatt and Josie.
Posted by jonf on 10/19/17
cover image
The second book in Colin Cotterill's mystery series featuring Dr. Siri Paiboun. Siri is the chief coroner of 1970's communist run Laos. Siri and his assistants the spinster Dtui and the challenged Gueng start with the strange bicycle death of two men in the streets of Vientiane. The progress on the crime is slowed by the killings of two woman who appeared to be mauled by a large animal.
 
Dr. Siri is then sent to the old Royal capitol of Luang Prabang to investigate the charred body's of two men in a helicopter crash. Dr. Siri summon's the help of his spirit world as he is connected to the spirit world by a dead shaman, Yeh Ming.
The mystery is filled with the powerful connection the Laotian people have to the unseen and presence of spirits in all living things.
 
This book is filled with strange and colorful characters and the exotic and mystical world of Laos. The dialogue is crisp and filled with humour, Siri is memorable and charming, well written and a fun series.
 
Mystery
Posted by jonf on 08/27/17
cover image
Nelson DeMille's new novel set to be released on (9/19) is a good and timely thriller featuring a new character, Daniel "Mac" MacCormack. Mac is a former Afghan vet who now runs a charter fishing boat out of Key West when he is approached by Carlos a Cuban expat who gives him an offer he can't refuse.
Mac and his crusty Vietnam vet friend Jack have a meeting with Carlos, the mysterious Eduardo and the beautiful Sara offer Mac to have him use his boat to go to Cuba to retrieve 60 million dollars hidden by Sara's grandfather. It sounds too good to be true and there is something that tell's him he isn't being told the full story.
Mac and Sara fly to Cuba and Jack captain's the boat as they head to island and meet with some dangerous and unreliable characters, and Mac fears come true.
A fun and exciting new story with his signature humor and great new protaganist set in exotic Havana and Key West, the Cuban Affair is a winner.
Suspense
Posted by jonf on 06/22/17
cover image
Nick Mason is back with a real mission impossible, locate three men in WITSEC, the program for high value informants that has never been compromised. Nick is ordered to find them to help free his boss Darius Cole, if not Cole's former assassin will be sent to kill Nick.
 
This thriller starts in Chicago and leads Nick to New York and and other locales. This is the second in the Nick Mason series and picks up where The Second Life of Nick Mason left off, so best to read that first.
 
Steve Hamilton has created a fast paced series with a great lead character. This book is filled with really bad, bad guys and the risk Nick causes to his family. Looking forward to more Nick Mason books.
Want recommendations on what to read next? Complete this Book Me form and we will provide a list of recommended books for you to try.
 
If your status is Confirmed Registration, your spot for the event is confirmed.

If registration for this event is full, you will be placed on a waiting list. Wait listed registrants are moved to the confirmed registration list (in the order of registration) when cancelations are received. You will receive an email notification if you are moved from the wait list to the confirmed registration list.

6.012 Patron-Generated Content

04/27/2011
The Library offers various venues in which patrons can contribute content that is accessible to the public.  These include, but are not limited to, blogs, reviews, forums, and social tagging on the Library’s website and catalog.  Any instance in which a patron posts written or recorded content to any of the Library’s venues that are accessible to the public is considered “patron-generated content” and is subject to this policy.
 
By contributing patron-generated content, patrons grant the Library an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual right and license to use, copy, modify, display, archive, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works based upon that content.
 
By submitting patron-generated content, patrons warrant they are the sole authors or that they have obtained all necessary permission associated with copyrights and trademarks to submit such content.
 
Patrons are liable for the opinions expressed and the accuracy of the information contained in the content they submit.  The Library assumes no responsibility for such content.
 
The Library reserves the right not to post submitted content or to remove patron-generated content for any reason, including but not limited to:
 
  • content that is profane, obscene, or pornographic;
 
  • content that is abusive, discriminatory or hateful on account of race, national origin, religion, age, gender, disability, or sexual orientation;
 
  • content that contains threats, personal attacks, or harassment;
 
  • content that contains solicitations or advertisements;
 
  • content that is invasive of another person’s privacy;
 
  • content that is unrelated to the discussion or venue in which it is posted;
 
  • content that is in violation of the Library’s Code of Conduct or any other Library policy