NEW: Mae by Gene Ha


In 2015 the Library backed local comic writer and artist Gene Ha’s new graphic novel, Mae, on Kickstarter. Gene is an established comic creator, and a four-time Eisner Award winner. He’s known for his work with Alan Moore on Top 10, as well as Marvel and DC titles such as the X-Men, Green Lantern, JLA, and Action Comics. He currently lives in Berwyn with his wife Lisa, and their rescue dog. This is our first addition of a crowdfunded title, and we will continue to seek out local crowdfunding projects that will appeal to the Western Springs community. The book is currently in our collection, available to be checked out!

“Abbie, what are the axes for?”


Mae hasn’t seen her sister Abbie in eight years when she gets a call to bail her out of jail. Abbie is dressed in strange clothes, and carrying two axes. She claims she found a door to another world, and has been there ever since. But she didn’t leave that world under the best of circumstances, and now some of the inhabitants have followed her to our world in order to find her.

Author Gene Ha wanted to create Mae as an independent project in order to tell a unique, original story that he was passionate about: an adventure tale with two strong female leads, made for a wide audience of young adults and older readers, without any gritty violence or sex.

The result is an exciting and beautiful story full of drama and action. As we meet and learn more about Mae and Abbie, the pace builds quickly. By the end of this first volume you’ll be eager to see what happens next. The illustrations are gorgeous, three-dimensional images with soft shadows and rich colors.

If you’d like to read Mae, you can request it through our catalog, email or call us, or stop by and ask for it! If it’s checked out, you can place a hold on it and we will contact you when it comes back. Be sure to visit the rest of our graphic novel collection for more great stories to read!

Posted in Adventure, Book Review, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Graphic Novel | Leave a comment

Elephant Company by Vicki Constantine Croke

Elephant CompanyThe full title of this book is Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II. That’s quite a mouthful, and this is quite a book. James Howard Williams, aka Elephant Bill, found a job with the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation in 1920 when he was 23, fresh from serving in the First World War and looking for adventure. His experience with the British Army in the Middle East helped prepare him for the ruggedness of jungle life, and his love of animals soon won him a position as the main person in charge of the elephants employed to haul the teak logs that were the mainstay of the business.

Over the next few decades, Williams won the trust of the elephants and the high regard of the humans through his kindness and respect for the integrity of the animals and their handlers. He acquired enough veterinary skills to doctor the many wounds and illnesses of the elephants, and with the help of one of the handlers, he changed the way young elephants were trained, to be more humane as well as cost effective. When World War II began and Burma was under attack by the Japanese because of its strategic location, Williams led a caravan of his elephants and some refugees over steep mountains, to take them to safety in India. It was a harrowing trip and his crowning achievement.

This book was fascinating on several levels. I know much more about elephants than I ever did before – their intelligence, sense of smell, social skills, sounds, and determination are greater than I ever suspected. I learned about Burma, the teak logging industry, jungle life, and British colonialism. I learned about human-animal connections. There was even a little romance, as Williams met and married his wife and soul mate.

Members of the Book Discussion Group thought this was a wonderful book. They felt the writing was very good and never bogged down, and there was so much to learn. They gave it 4+ stars.

Reviewed by Nancy

Date of discussion: October 7, 2015              Rating: 4 stars

Posted in Adventure, Biography, Book Review, History, Library Discussion Group, Nature, Non-Fiction | Tagged | Leave a comment

Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles by Don Felder

HeavenHellA great inside view to one of my (and America’s) favorite bands. It is interesting to know some of the “dirt” that happened during Don’s stay with the band. But, now that I know it, I wish I didn’t. It changes my view of the members and not in a good way.

Review by Greg Schissler

Posted in Book Review, Music, Non-Fiction | Tagged | Leave a comment

Finders Keepers by Stephen King

FindersKeepersI liked the story in this book as well as I liked Mr. Mercedes. My only disappointment is that Hodges, Holly & Jerome don’t appear until half way into the story. They were such an integral part of Mr. Mercedes & I enjoyed getting to know them as a team. It’s like King just threw them into the novel & they don’t really play as an important role to this story as they did in Mr. Mercedes. This is a great story & the ending will keep you thinking long after you finish the last page. Mr. King is quickly becoming my favorite author.

Review by Anonymous

Posted in Book Review, Fiction, Suspense | Tagged | Leave a comment

Girl Underwater by Claire Kells

GirlUnderwaterThis is the author’s first book. Claire Kells weaves a very good story about a college student who survives a plane crash. You were right there with the main character, Avery Delacorte, as she experiences the crash. You identify with the fears and nightmares that plague her afterward. This is a very believable tale. You register every emotion with Avery as she claws her way back to a normal life. This is a good read.

Review by Anonymous

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The Art of Migration by Peggy Macnamara

ArtMigrationAn interesting book that defies simple classifications, left me happy, but wanting more.  It’s appealing because it focuses on Chicago area wildlife, and has the authority of Field Museum experts behind it.  A primary feature is that it is filled with beautiful watercolor paintings.  However, detailed facts may be more accessible in a standard bird guide book.  Check it out and be more aware of the wonders of nature around you that are often overlooked.

Review by Kathleen Schissler

Posted in Art/Illustration, Book Review, Non-Fiction | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

RacingRainThe narrator of this novel is a family dog. Not being a ‘dog person’, this aspect limited the initial appeal of the story for me.  Another important theme is business of drag racing, also of minimal appeal to me.  Regardless, overall, I enjoyed this easy read.  It really is a family drama.

Review by Anonymous

Posted in Book Review, Families, Fiction | Tagged | Leave a comment