Return to the Wizarding World!


Have you heard? Audiences are returning to J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World with the release of the new movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on November 18th! With an original screenplay written by Rowling herself, the film follows magizoologist Newt Scamander, author of the famed textbook “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” used by Harry and his friends at Hogwarts. But before Newt wrote his book, he was just a lost wizard, kicked out of Hogwarts and wandering the streets of New York City with a suitcase full of magical creatures. A suitcase that opens…and lets the beasts loose on New York! The film looks to be a more “grown-up” version of the magical world we know, rife with political struggles between witches and Muggles in the days of prohibition.

We are so excited to return to the magic, and at Fountaindale, we are celebrating! On November 12th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Fountaindale will be converting to 1920s Wizarding NYC! Join us for some flapper-themed magical fun, including a photo booth, wizard treats, real-life beasts, scavenger hunts, and more! Here’s the full schedule:

All Day

  • Fantastic Beasts 1920s Street Photo Area
  • Origami and coloring sheets

10:00 a.m.– Noon

  • Fantastic Beasts Animal Experience—Meet amazing creatures of all shapes and sizes!

10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.

  • Make Your Own Wand Craft
    • Create magical wand creations with washi tape!
  • MACUSA Wand Registration
  • Creature Maze
  • Wizard Emporium
  • Find the Fantastic Beasts Creature Scavenger Hunt Challenge

11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.

  • Experimental Creatures Lab—Bristle Bots

1:00–2:00 p.m.

  • Center Stage Players present Your Favorite Scenes from Harry Potter

2:00–4:00 p.m.

  • Studio 300’s Have You Seen This Wizard Poster Shoot
    • Come in for an interactive photo inspired by the wizarding world!
  • Make Your Own Wand Craft
  • MACUSA Wand Registration
  • Creature Maze
  • Wizard Emporium
  • Find the Fantastic Beasts Creature Scavenger Hunt Challenge

…and Brooks Café has a special wizard menu of Butterbeer, Pick-Me-Up Potions, Chocolate Frogs, and more!

The Friends of Fountaindale Book Cellar will be open 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

This is an all-ages, no-registration event – so stop by to discover the magic!

Here are some photos of what we’ve been working on to get prepared:


The POP Cult-ure CLASH is coming soon!

pop_logoFans of the most famous, influential and revered pop phenomena team up and compete in a fun and exciting trivia contest to see which group can claim the title of “Greatest Pop Culture Fan Club.”

Teams will be grouped in a bracket-tiered system and answer trivia questions about their favorite pop culture sub-genre.

***Individuals may also register, and will be assigned to teams of like interest.***

For example, “Star Wars” fans will answer questions about “Star Wars”, while “Star Trek” fans do the same about “Star Trek”.

The team with the most correct answers advances to the next round. Each member of the last team standing will win a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card!

Are you a real Fan? Here’s your chance to prove it! Register your team by 5 p.m. Sunday, February 1, 2015.

The POP Cult-ure CLASH will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at the Joliet Barnes and Noble (across from Louis Joliet Mall.)

Who will win?

Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings?



Star Trek or Star Wars?

star trek            star wars

  Sherlock Holmes or Dr. Who?



Game of Thrones or Dungeons and Dragons?



DC or Marvel?




Which group will be crowned “Greatest Pop Culture Fan Club?”




All are welcome to participate! To sign up, visit us at

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Was Forced to Read

I’m back with another Top Ten Tuesday!  Every Tuesday, The Broke and the Bookish blog posts a new Top Ten list and invites its users to participate.  This week’s Top Ten is “Top Ten Books I Was Forced To Read,” either by teachers, friends, other bloggers, reviews, etc.  These are titles that were either required reading for school or that were recommended to me by family, friends, etc. that I ended up really enjoying.

[When possible, I included book descriptions from NoveList , an excellent resource for finding new books to read.]

14141.  The Works of William Shakespeare

I didn’t always love the Bard.  There was a time in my life (early adolescence) when I was largely indifferent to Shakespeare, although I do remember several long, painful nights of struggling through Julius Caesar (a No Fear edition, mind you, with a “plain English” translation placed alongside the Shakespearean/Early Modern English) that might have cultivated just a little animosity.  It wasn’t until my sophomore or junior year ofhigh school, when reading Hamlet and Macbeth, that I began to appreciate and admire Shakespeare’s genius in earnest.  I have since taken undergraduate and graduate college-level courses, where I have studied and read more of his works, and even read him now and then in my leisure time (without the side-by-side “plain English” translation, thank you).

5638592.  Sideway’s Stories from Wayside School Louis Sachar

If memory serves me correct–which, let’s face it, hardly ever does–everyone was required to read this outrageous, silly book sometime in grade school.  This is one of those novels that made me fall in love with reading at an early age.

Novelist Book Description: “Humorous episodes from the classroom on the thirtieth floor of Wayside School, which was accidentally built sideways with one classroom on each story.”

3422093.  Looking for Alaska — John Green

My foray into John Green’s masterfully written young adult novels began when I was in library school.  Looking for Alaska is nothing short of brilliant, and served me as a gateway to his other works and his hilarious and informative video blog channel on YouTube, VlogBrothers, which he records with his brother, Hank.  If you are a fan of John Green, you should definitely check out his video blog.

Novelist Book Description: “Sixteen-year-old Miles’ first year at Culver Creek Preparatory School in Alabama includes good friends and great pranks, but is defined by the search for answers about life and death after a fatal car crash.”

4.  Love in the Time of Cholera — Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I was first introduced to Garcia Marquez’s fabulous writing in a college post-colonial literature course where the class read Love in the Time of Cholera. While not everyone liked it and some took issue with the exaggerated promiscuity of the male protagonist, Florentino Ariza, I absolutely loved the book.  I have since read a great number of his novels (One Hundred Years of Solitude perhaps being my favorite), novellas, and short stories.

Novelist Book Description: “Fermina Daza and Florentino Ariza consummate their passion at the beginning of the 20th century after having waited over 50 years.”

7747335. Frankenstein — Mary Shelley

I was very skeptical about this book when my high school English teacher distributed it to the class, my only point of reference being Boris Karloff’s classic representation of the monster as a flat-headed, imbecilic, lumbering green colossus with an anger management problem.  If I had to read pages upon pages about some zombiefied version of the Jolly Green Giant with a taste for violence instead of canned asparagus spears and frozen broccoli with cheese sauce, I was not going to be happy.  To my utter amazement, I found that the iconic depiction of Frankenstein’s monster–the slow, green, moron with bolts in his neck–is nothing like the one of Shelley’s vision: an agile, highly intelligent abomination whose acts of violence are meticulously calculated and planned.

Novelist Book Description: “A monster assembled by a scientist from parts of dead bodies develops a mind of his own as he learns to loathe himself and hate his creator.”

136426. The Wizard of Earthsea  — Ursula K. Le Guin

I honestly can’t remember when I first read this book.  Several years ago, one of my wife’s good friends (who happens to be a big fan of fantasy and science fiction) recommended that I check out Le Guin’s Earthsea Cycle.  Soon after beginning A Wizard of Earthsea, I started getting a strong feeling that I may have read it many, many years ago for a grade school book report.  As it became more and more likely that this was indeed that book, I couldn’t have been happier to rediscover this beloved series.

Novelist Book Description: “During a spell recalling the dead, the boy Sparrowhawk, a sorcerer’s apprentice, unwittingly unleashes evil on the land. He grows to manhood while attempting to subdue the evil he unleashed on the world.”

3267707.  Les Liasons Dangereuses — Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

Laclos’s Les Liasons Dangereuses came to me highly recommended by one of my bosses, a former English teacher with whom I happen to share many similar reading interests.  And while I normally don’t enjoy epistolary novels – Bram Stoker’s Dracula immediately comes to mind as one I particularly don’t like all that well – Le Liasons Dangereuses is a surprisingly gripping read filled with enough libertinism, treacherous seduction, cunning, and revenge to rival the hedonism and scheming of Gossip Girl‘s Chuck Bass and Blair Waldorf.

Novelist Book Description: “The Vicomte de Valmont and his former lover, the beautiful Marquise de Merteuil, enter into a personal competition to seduce and betray the innocent in pre-Revolutionary France.”

3788.  The Phantom Tollbooth — Norton Juster

The Phantom Tollbooth is one of my all-time favorite children’s novels, and one that I was forced to read a long, long time ago when I was in grade school.  I liked the book so much that I had my parents rent the 1970 movie version staring Butch Patrick (aka Eddie Munster) as Milo, which I also enjoyed a great deal.  My father, on the other hand, hated it.  Oh well, we can’t all like the same things now, can we?  Anyway, Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth, like Louis Sachar’s Sideways Stories from Wayside School and Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends, was one of those formative books from my childhood that made me into a lifelong reader.

NoveList Book Description: “A bored young boy, Milo, drives his small electric car through a toy tollbooth and finds himself in the Land Beyond. A journey through a land where Milo learns the importance of words and numbers provides a cure for his boredom.”

52979.  The Picture of Dorian Gray — Oscar Wilde

When I was in middle school, my mother – who was very much the reader in the family – suggested that I read Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray for a book report assignment.  I knew nothing about the book and even less about Wilde, but I followed her advice nonetheless if only to appease her.  I distinctly remember struggling through this book, so much so that my mother had me watch Albert Lewin’s 1945 movie adaptation to aid my comprehension.  I also vividly remember how shocked I was by the film, particularly by one of the movie’s last shots where Ivan Albright’s portrait of Dorian Gray is revealed in all its colorful, horrific, and gory detail, a ghastly image that has been indelibly burned into my brain.  (If you haven’t seen the movie and you are a fan of old, classic horror films, I highly suggest you watch it sometime).  Now normally I frown upon watching a movie as a substitute for reading a book, but in this instance the movie drove me back into the book’s text with renewed enthusiasm.  The Picture of Dorian Gray is novel I will never forget.

NoveList Book Description: “An exquisitely beautiful young man in Victorian England retains his youthful and innocent appearance over the years while his portrait reflects both his age and evil soul as he pursues a life of decadence and corruption.”

310.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone — J. K. Rowling

“What?” you may rightly be asking yourself, “is Harry Potter doing on this list?”  The reason why is, well…  OK, I have a confession to make: I was not an immediate convert into Harry Potter fandom when The Sorcerer’s Stone first debuted in 1997.  I am somewhat ashamed to admit that back in those days I was highly skeptical of anything that was hugely and widely popular.  I read The Sorcerer’s Stone eventually sometime in high school and enjoyed it well enough, but didn’t see what all the fuss was about.  It wasn’t until much later when my then girlfriend/soon-to-be wife, an avid and fervent Harry Potter fan, encouraged me to keep reading though the series.  And thank goodness she did!  By the time I became a full-fledged member of the Harry Potter phenomenon, there was only one more book in the series left to be released.  In July 2007, I became something I never thought I would become: One of those people who dresses up as Harry Potter to attend a midnight release of The Deathly Hallows.

NoveList Book Description: “Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”

– Zach

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Most Memorable Secondary Characters

Every Tuesday, The Broke and the Bookish blog posts a new Top Ten list and invites its users to participate.  This week’s Top Ten is “Top Ten Most Memorable Secondary Characters.”

1.  Sancho Panza, from Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s Don Quixote

Sancho Panza is much more than just your ordinary, run-of-the-mill secondary character.  He is Don Quixote’s literary foil, his sidekick, his best friend, and is the means through which readers enter into the wonderfully mad mind of Don Quixote.  Notable Quote: What giants?

2.  Dr. John H. Watson, from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories

There wouldn’t be Sherlock Holmes without Dr. Watson, who like Sancho Panza, is the vehicle through which readers come to know the ingenious Holmes.  Notable Quote: You remind me of Edgar Allan Poe’s Dupin.  I had no idea that such individuals did exist out of stories.

3.  Samwise Gamgee, from J. R. R. Tokien’s The Lord of the Rings series

Frodo and Sam’s friendship is unforgettable, with Sam’s loyalty and compassion being something truly remarkable.  Notable Quote: Come, Mr. Frodo! … I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you.

4.  The Scarecrow, from L. Frank Baum’s Oz series

Among all of Dorothy’s companions, the Scarecrow is perhaps my favorite.  He goes from being a brainless, living sack of straw to the wisest person in all of Oz.  Notable Quote: I am convinced that the only people worthy of consideration in this world are the unusual ones.  For the common folks are like the leaves of a tree, and live and die unnoticed.

randall_flagg__fiend_caste_by_dark_benefactor-d3bsyjp5.  Randall Flagg, from Stephen King’s universe

Randall Flagg is the mysterious and violent antagonist that appears throughout King’s oeuvre and goes by many names (The Man in Black, The Walkin’ Dude, Walter Padick, and Walter o’Dim, to name a few).  His presence in King’s books suggests a larger, interconnected fictional universe.  Notable Quote: We make great magic together, you and I.  You kill me no more than you kill yourself.  Mother-may-I?  Yes-you-may.

6.  Timothy “Tiny Tim” Cratchit, from Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens was an undeniable master at creating some of Western literature’s most memorable and endearing characters, including Samuel Weller, the Artful Dodger, Nancy, Fagin, Jacob Marley, Fezziwig, Uriah Heep, Madame Defarge, Mrs. Joe Gargery, Abel Magwitch, Miss Havisham, and Estella, to name a few.  I chose Tiny Tim not only as a symbol for all of these characters but also because he is one of Dickens’s most beloved and well-known creations.  Notable quote:  “God bless us, Every One!”

7.  The Hatter, from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Everyone has a favorite character from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but it seems that nearly everyone loves (or at least remembers) the Hatter and his crazy tea party.  Notable Quote: Why is a raven like a writing-desk?

8.  Hedwig, from J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series

Rowling’s Harry Potter series offers a lot of excellent secondary characters: Tonks, Neville Longbottom, Dobby, Luna Lovegood, and Dumbledore (not to mention Ron Weasley or Hermione Granger).  Hedwig, Harry’s faithful snowy owl, has been a constant companion to him, until that heartbreaking moment in Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows.  Notable Quote: none, owls don’t talk!

9.  Robin Goodfellow / Puck , from William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

I love so many of William Shakespeare’s characters, that I really can’t pick just one.  Robin Goodfellow, a.k.a Puck, is the mischievous prankster faerie largely responsible for the topsy-turvy comedy that ensues in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and is but one of the Shakespeare’s many memorable characters.  Notable Quote: Give me your hands, if we be friends, / And Robin shall restore amends.

10.  The Librarian, from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series is filled to the brim with unusual and interesting characters, so many in fact that I would be hard-pressed to pick a favorite.  But given that this is a library blog, it would be remiss of me to not include the Librarian of Discworld’s premier school of wizardry, the Unseen University. While the Librarian was not always an orangutan (his transformation being a result of some particularly nasty magic), he has greatly benefited from his new form and refuses to ever change back.  Notable Quote: Ook.

– Zach

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Best/Worst Movie Adaptations

Every Tuesday, The Broke and the Bookish blog posts a new Top Ten list and invites its users to participate.  This week’s Top Ten is “Top Ten Best/Worst Movie Adaptations.”  I decided to split my list in half by Best and Worst.  Please note that this post in way reflects the views, opinions, etc. of Fountaindale Public Library.


1.  No Country for Old Men

Joel and Ethan Coen have taken the violence and bleakness that permeates Cormac McCarthy’s crime novel and perfectly translated it into an unforgettable film.

2.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Who better to  adapt and direct The Perks of Being a Wallflower than the author himself?  A surprisingly powerful and moving film.

3.  Harry Potter series

There appears to be a kind of symbiotic relationship between the Harry Potter books and their movie counterparts, where one format adds something significant to the other, and has the potential of dramatically increasing the reader’s/viewer’s overall experience.  For instance, readers of the Harry Potter books will have more knowledge and back-story to appreciate better what the films are trying to portray, and moviegoers have the visuals of Hogwarts in the back of their minds to help transport them into the fictional world described in the books.

4.  Hugo

I always thought that Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret was begging to be made into a movie.  Thankfully, Martin Scorsese got his hands on this and turned it into a film masterpiece.


5.  Sin City

Robert Rodriguez – with a little help from Quentin Tarantino and Frank Miller, himself – faithfully reproduced the high-contrast aesthetics and the hard-boiled mentality of the graphic novel.  Further, in many cases, it is possible to compare individual frames of the movie to panels in the graphic novel and notice how closely Rodriguez followed the source material.



1.  How the Grinch Stole Christmas  The Cat in the Hat

Mentioning two titles at once may be cheating, but Ron Howard’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Bo Welch’s The Cat in the Hat are  guilty of taking beloved Dr. Seuss classics and turning them into obnoxious, asinine films.  Watching these have made me want nothing to do with Dr. Seuss ever again.

World War Z poster.jpg

2.  World War Z

Max Brooks’s World War Z is a marvelous and riveting horror novel with deep sociopolitical commentary and a format inspired by Studs Terkel’s The Good War: An Oral History of World War Two.   I was horrified to find that Marc Forster adapted this wonderful book into a silly action/horror movie starring Brad Pitt.

3.  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I realize this may not be popular to say, but I honestly cannot think of a recent movie I’ve been more disappointed with than Peter Jackson’s first installment of The Hobbit trilogy.  I am a fan of both Tolkien’s books and Jackson’s films (including Dead Alive and The Lord of the Rings trilogy) so I naturally assumed that I would like The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  Nearly three hours in length, the film is tedious, uneventful, and self-indulgent.  It’s also painfully clear that Jackson’s decision to turn a 330-page children’s book into a trilogy of three-hour films is a blatant cash grab.  Stick with the 90-minute animated version from 1977 instead.  (Note: Despite everything I’ve said, I should admit that I will more than likely see the rest of Jackson’s Hobbit movies when they come to theaters.)


4.  Alex Cross

Fans of James Patterson’s most famous character, Alex Cross, may want to stay clear of Rob Cohen’s film, as it manages to bungle up many well-known Alex Cross facts.

5.  The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Alan Moore has never liked movie adaptations of his work (e.g., V for Vendetta, Watchmen, From Hell, etc.), and while many of his fans may disagree with him on this point, nearly all agree that Stephen Norrington’s adaptation of The League of Extraordinary Gentleman is rubbish.  The film bears little resemblance to its source material, even going so far as to add Tom Sawyer into an otherwise all-British “superhero” group of fictional literary characters.

– Zach

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books When You Need Something Light & Fun

This week’s Top Ten on The Broke and the Bookish blog is “Top Ten Books When You Need Something Light & Fun.”  Everyone has their own idea of what qualifies for light and fun reading, as reading preferences and habits can differ greatly from person to person.  For me, light and fun books are typically lighter in tone and easier to read than what I usually subject myself to, have high entertainment value, and are oftentimes humorous.

1.  Discworld series by Terry Prachett

Pratchett’s long-running comic fantasy series (currently at 39 books) is an excellent blend of magic, wit, and satire that provides nearly endless entertainment and hilarity.

2.  Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich

I’m brand new to this series, but I’m happy to report that Evanovich’s lingerie-buyer-turned-bounty-hunter protagonist and her high-spirited grandmother have stolen my heart.

3.  Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto by Chuck Klosterman

This assortment of essays reflecting on some of the highlights of popular culture (such as MTV’s The Real World, the Lakers-Celtics rivalry in the 1980s, Pamela Anderson, The Sims computer game, and Saved by the Bell) is as hilarious as it is educational.

4.  Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary by David Sedaris

Sedaris’s offbeat and twisted sense of humor is not for everyone, but for those that like that kind of thing, look no farther than Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: a small collection of fable-like short stories featuring anthropomorphic animals doing some truly despicable, non-Aesop-like things to one another.

5.  You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News: Shocking but Utterly True Facts by

This book is actually a selection of articles that have appeared on, a popular humor website that I find myself visiting far too often in my free time.

6.  Scott Pilgrim series by Bryan Lee O’Malley

A fast, fun series chock-full of video game references that can be read in a single sitting.

7.  The Complete Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

The beauty of this collection is that I can open it anywhere and find something that will make me smile.

8.  Camp Half-Blood series by Rick Riordan

Riordan’s popular fantasy series of middle school and teenage Greco-Roman demigods is equivalent to seeing a really good action movie that’s not afraid to be funny.

9.  Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

I should qualify this entry to just the first three books, as the series gets noticeably darker and more serious with the fourth book.

10.  Marcovaldo, or The Seasons in the City by Italo Calvino

Arguably the least light book of the list in terms of reading difficulty, Calvino’s short story collection about the misadventures of the quixotic Marcovaldo and his family has made me laugh time and time again.

– Zach