Universal Class: For homeschooling, hobbies and certifications

 

Universal Class is an online database with thousands of hours of courses on a wide variety of topics available for free to Warrenville Public Library members. It is more relevant than ever in this time of distance learning, which is undoubtedly stressful for students and parents alike.

Universal Class has over forty courses on schooling from home, covering topics from everyday vocabulary to Algebra to American History. These courses can be a useful supplement for students, but also for parents who have taken on added responsibility in their children’s educations. There are courses on stress management, confidence building and improving concentration, all of which address the other difficult components of learning from home.

If you have a little extra time at home these days, you might want to peruse Universal Class offerings if you are looking to start a new hobby or if you need certification for employment or education purposes.

Universal Class offers extensive courses in painting, calligraphy, knitting, baking, writing poetry and cake decorating, just to name a few. The courses are self-paced, so there’s no rush if you are trying to fit them in while working from home, Netflix bingeing or reading that latest page-turner. The courses also offer the option of video-only lessons or working towards a certificate in a particular discipline. The lessons move from those for beginners to more advanced content as you go along. In short, there is likely at least one course that will spark your interest and help you make the most of the increased time spent at home.

With their library card number and PIN, WPLD cardholders can explore Universal Class through the Online Learning menu option under the Research tab at warrenville.com.

If you have questions about using an online database, please stop by, call or email the Adult Services Desk: 630/393-1171 x121 or adultservices@warrenville.com.

NextReads Free Subscription Service for All Reading Interests

NextReads is a free electronic newsletter subscription service that sends reading recommendations directly to your email inbox based on your personal reading preferences.
 
Newsletters for various genres are released monthly, and include the latest releases in over twenty categories including Mystery, Biography and Memoir, Historical Fiction, Kid’s Books, Tween Reads and various nonfiction topics like health and gardening. Each issue breaks down new publications using brief summaries of “What it is,” “What happens,” “Who it’s for” and “What reviewers say.” NextReads is a quick, direct, spoiler-free way for readers to stay appraised of the most noteworthy new titles in their favorite genres.
 
The best part—titles in the newsletters conveniently link to our catalog so you can check availability and place a hold! To view a list of genres and their descriptions, and to subscribe to receive free monthly information on new publications, visit: eNewsletters for Readers.
If you have any questions about our NextReads subscription service, please call or email Adult Services at 630/393-1171 x121 or adultservices@warrenville.com.

 

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Book– The Dutch House is the latest novel by Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto and Commonwealth. The Dutch House follows siblings Danny and Maeve Conroy as they navigate a complicated childhood that includes a mysterious, absent mother, a distant but loving father, and a stereotypical evil stepmother straight out of a fairytale. At the center is the “Dutch House,” a beautiful, extravagant, old home where the siblings grew up. The house and the events that transpire reverberate with, and profoundly shape, the siblings’ adulthood.

This is my first Ann Patchett novel. I admire her confidence, which expresses itself in the controlled and well-structured narrative. The Dutch House is not action-packed, but builds its strength on the insights of family, memory, loss and the power of a place. Recommended for fans of contemporary and domestic fiction, The Dutch House is available for digital download, in Large and regular print, and audiobook, narrated by Tom Hanks!

Parasite (2019)

Cover image for Kisaengch'ung = ParasiteFilm- By now you’ve heard of Parasite, the South Korean film that won four statuettes at the 2020 Academy Awards, in addition to numerous other accolades throughout the 2019-2020 awards season. In addition to Bong Joon-ho won winning the Oscar for Best Director, Parasite became the first film in a foreign language to snag the Oscar for Best Picture. Parasite focuses on two families whose financial situations are extreme opposites. The Kim family are all  unemployed and live in a semi-basement, scraping by, making their living folding pizza boxes for a local restaurant. The wealthy Park family, live in a beautiful home and can afford hired help, such as a housemaid, chauffeur and private tutors for their children. By a stroke of good luck, an educated friend of Ki-woo (son in the Kim family) recommends him an English tutor job for the Park’s teenage daughter, Da-hye. From there, through deception and intricate planning, each member of the Kim family gains employment within the Park family, while keeping their familial ties a secret. Everything goes smoothly…for a while, at least. To say more would spoil a film full of twists and startling revelations.

Parasite is successful, nail-biting work of suspense and a reflection on the gulf between the “haves” and “have-nots,” a theme that feels as relevant here in the United States, as it does in South Korea. There are moments of humor and discomfort throughout the film which will no doubt speak to audiences all over the world. As Bong Joon-ho said at the Golden Globes: “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” Parasite is definitely one of those films.

Books on App

Thanks to Goodreads, our Books on App monthly book discussion is the next best thing to meeting at the local tap house to share thoughts on the pick of the month.

Goodreads is a free social media site that allows readers to connect with each other and share book recommendations, ratings and reviews. Each month we will select a book to read and post discussion questions related to the book on Goodreads.

The discussions are open until the end of each month, so you can read the book and contribute to the discussion on your own time. Books are available digitally through Hoopla or OverDrive/Libby with your WPLD library card. Non-members can participate but will need to secure the book through other sources.

All you need to participate in the conversation is a Goodreads account. Once you have created a Goodreads account, search for “WPLD Books on App” or simply follow this link to join: WPLD Books on App. 

Our book for July is Coraline by Neil Gaiman. Get more information about Books on App in our Events Calendar. Find Coraline in our catalog.

Make Books on App a part of your summer reading adventure—in July and August you can add these titles to your reading logs and participate in our Read for a Cause summer reading event.

August’s Books on App selection is Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt.

We hope to see you in Goodreads!

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

Cover image for Last True Poets of the Sea, TheBook- Sixteen year old Violet is spending the summer in Lyric, Maine the town founded by her ancestors, following her brother’s suicide attempt and struggles with her unstable, hard-partying lifestyle. While staying with her uncle and working at the local aquarium, Violet meets Orion and is attracted to his intelligence and devotion to marine life. Through Orion, Violet befriends other local teens, including Liv, whose fascination with Lyric’s history is the basis for another powerful and complex relationship. While navigating her new friendships and complicated past, Violet also embarks on a mission to find the sunken Lyric, a legendary shipwreck of which Violet’s great-great-great grandmother was the sole survivor.

The Last True Poets of the Sea is a re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, but also a coming-of-age romance and adventure story that examines identity, family dynamics and mental illness. The complex exploration of important issues makes this a young adult novel that many adults of all ages will appreciate.

The Last True Poets of the Sea is available now on eAudiobook for instant download on Hoopla.

 

Staying Productive While Working Remotely

Online Learning Database—Available 24/7.

As we continue to make our way together through the phases of the Restore Illinois Plan, you may still need some help dealing with the challenges of working from home and maintaining a work/life balance. Lynda.com from LinkedIn is a free resource available to WPLD members that provides access to articles, videos and courses to help improve professional skills while working from home.

For many companies and employees, working from home is a relatively new experience. Lynda.com has courses that directly address creating a productive work space and communicating effectively with co-workers from a distance. A good introduction to this topic is “Tips for Working Remotely”, presented by Todd Dewett, who discusses productivity at home and the common challenges faced by those still somewhat new to working remotely.

To find out more about why Lynda.com is a go-to resource when it comes to developing business skills in several industries, search its extensive list of courses and video tutorials available for free to WPLD members at: Lynda.com.

If you have questions about Lynda.com or any of our online databases, please email adultservices@warrenville.com.

 

The Mirror & The Light by Hilary Mantel

Cover image for THE MIRROR & THE LIGHTBook- The Mirror & the Light is Hilary Mantel’s latest and long awaited conclusion to her Thomas Cromwell trilogy, which began with Wolf Hall and followed up by Bring Up the Bodies. The trilogy covers the historical events of King Henry VIII: his obsession with producing a male heir, break with Catholicism, and eventual marriages to six different women–three of whom meet tragic ends (two by beheading and the other dying following childbirth). Modern readers may not be familiar with Thomas Cromwell, who for about eight years served as Henry’s most trusted advisor. Often portrayed negatively in works such as A Man for All Seasons by George Bernard Shaw, Mantel’s books cast Cromwell more sympathetically and tell the story from his point of view. Spoiler alert! The Mirror & the Light opens with the events following the beheading of Anne Boylen and Cromwell’s dealings with an increasingly desperate and unstable King, while seeking his successive brides.

The close study of Cromwell’s character and state craft at the court of Henry VIII make The Mirror & the Light, as well as the other two books, great. The trilogy might well be described as a sixteenth-century The West Wing. Given how gripping that show is, that tells you all you need to know about Mantel’s impeccable prose. Though The Mirror & the Light is at times dense and slow moving, the quality of her writing and sense of foreboding kept me reading. I especially admired how the King’s inevitable displeasure with Cromwell and the Court’s plotting against him are slowly revealed, then culminate in a highly memorable, ending scene. The Wolf Hall trilogy will appeal to fans of historical fiction and those who enjoy stories of political machinations and betrayal.

The Wolf Hall trilogy is available on Overdrive for digital download on eBook and eAudiobook formats.

Columbus (2017)

Cover image for ColumbusMovieColumbus film centers around Jin (John Cho) who is stranded in Columbus, Indiana after his father, an scholar of architecture has fallen into a coma. Jin’s relationship with his father means that he knows a lot about architecture, but is at best ambivalent about the unique structures that populate Columbus. Casey (Halley Lu Richardson) is a young woman who works at the local library, who on the other hand, is fascinated by her hometown’s architecture and its place in history. Though their world experiences differ, the two meet by chance, and what develops is a relationship built on mutual dissatisfaction.

Director Kogonada utilizes the town’s architecture in each frame, letting the various buildings and structures inform his shots. The screenplay has a lot to say about architecture, and the way he balances these more informative aspects of the script with the emotionally resonant moments is masterful. Columbus is a character study of the town, as much as it is of Jin and Casey.

I was moved not only by what I saw on screen, but also by what was withheld from me as a viewer by the script and the editing. This is a film about two fragile people that never becomes maudlin or melodramatic and maintains its balance from beginning to end.

True Grit by Charles Portis

Book – Many will be familiar with the classic western True Grit thanks to the well-known film adaptations, the first in 1969 starring John Wayne and the second in  2010 directed by the Cohen Brothers. While Charles Portis’s novel is straightforward and at times predictable, what makes True Grit so good is the dialogue and the characters, especially the narrator, thirteen-year old Mattie Ross. Mattie’s pluck and perseverance make her one of the most memorable protagonists I’ve encountered in a while. True Grit’s other lead Rooster Cogburn, is a crotchety and perpetually drunk US marshal hired by Mattie to find her father’s killer. Although Rooster and Mattie are disparate personalities in nearly every way, they both have that rarest of traits: true grit. The relationship between the two is the foundation on which Portis builds a novel that is an effective character study, as well as a tension filled adventure.

The audiobook is narrated by Donna Tartt, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Secret History and The Goldfinch. I sought out the audiobook mainly due to a curiosity about how one of my favorite authors would fare as a narrator. Tartt gives each character a distinct voice, although her best and most convincing depiction is Mattie. I recommend True Grit not only for fans of westerns, but for anyone interested in an exciting story populated by dynamic, engaging characters.