Summer Bites

The warm weather has finally arrived in Chicago.  Baseball, barbecue, beaches, and bugs are part of the hot weather season.

Unfortunately, the downside of this season is the insects and the dangerous diseases they transmit.  The New York Times recently reported that “the number of people who get diseases transmitted by mosquito, tick and flea bites has more than tripled in the United States in recent years.”

The CDC site on this summertime hazard has additional information on how people in the Midwest can protect themselves from these treacherous bites.

Fast Food History

Most of us have eaten at McDonald’s. Do you know how the company started? Two brothers in California developed a system in the 1950s to serve just a few quality items quickly at their hamburger stand. They were the McDonald brothers and, at the time, they were pretty satisfied with their company and product. But a shake machine salesman from Illinois saw a big future in the business.

The Founder is a movie from 2017 that tells how Ray Kroc got into business with the brothers. At first, he had the job of setting up McDonald’s franchises around the country. After a few years, he took over the company. He then called himself the founder of the company. You can decide if you agree. Check out the DVD and see the performances by Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, and John Carroll Lynch.

Instapoet Queen Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur is one of the most popular poets in the world.  Do you know her? She is a (very) famous, (very) successful and (very) accessible poet who got her start by posting her spare poetry to her Instagram account (follow her rupikaur_). She has had 2 books published one of which – Milk and Honey – was a NYT #1 Bestseller.   The Sun and Her Flowers, which was just released last year, is also available for check out.

Read more about her in this Rolling Stone article and this from NPR.

Here are links to works in our catalog from a couple of the other poets mentioned in the Rolling Stone article:

Keep celebrating Poetry Month!


Tracy K. Smith, Official Poet of the United States

Start your Poetry Month celebrations by getting to know Tracy K. Smith!

She is the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry.  Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden appointed her to the position in June of last year.  The Library of Congress has a wonderful web guide all about her.

In 2012, Smith won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for the out of this world Life on Mars. 

If you are already familiar with her poetry and would like to know more about her life, check out Ordinary Light: A Memoir, which we also have in  e-book.

Finally, if you’re nosy reader like I am you’ll get a lot of joy out of  Tracy K. Smith: By the Book.

Enjoy this American treasure!

Rating Biographies of the Presidents

There are many, many presidential biographies. Now someone is reading many of them for you, rating them, and providing reviews on his blog. Stephen Floyd is an investment banker and an “avid fan of American history.” He has merged his love of American history and great biographies to focus on finding the best biographies of each president. In 2012, he started with George Washington and is now working on biographies of Richard Nixon. See his blog for the list of biographies and his reviews.


On the heels of a record setting wildfire season in California, forecasters are predicting a record setting season this year in Oregon.  The state is already facing drought conditions, and their wildfire season is expected to begin around June 1st.  Currently at Crater Lake National Park in southern Oregon, there are 99 inches of snow.  While that may sound like a lot, they average around 43 FEET a year!

We have several newer materials in the library about wildfires.  Firestorm: How Wildfires Will Shape Our Future by Edward Struzik and Megafire: The Race to Extinguish a Deadly Epidemic of Flame by Michael Kodas are two of them.  Megafire is also available as an eb00k if you rather read it on a device.

As always, if you have an questions, please Ask a Librarian for help.

What is the federal budget? How much does the government collect in income taxes?

Have you ever wondered what the federal budget looks like? One of the services of the MVCC Library is a list called RESEARCH GUIDES on the Library website. Click here to go to it.

Federal Documents Basic Collection and Governmental Information Research Guide are two Research Guides that can get you started. Look for the links on the lists to the federal budget.

Now for the money that the federal government receives. Go to the Internet and type in U.S. Department of the Treasury.  Once on this website, check out the menu at the top of the page that says DATA.

Click on Receipts and Outlays.

Getting back to taxes, type in federal income tax revenue by year into a search engine and several websites will give you information on income tax revenue.

Ian McEwan’s Nutshell

The Ides of March have come and gone, and while this may call to mind the drama of Julius Caesar, for this librarian the date just reminded me of Shakespeare or, to be more accurate, Ian McEwan’s 2016  retelling of another Shakespeare play. Nutshell is the story of pregnant Trudy and her lover Claude’s plot to murder Trudy’s husband, John. Sound familiar? It’s the story of Hamlet, this time set in modern London and told from the perspective of Trudy’s unborn baby. The story is a suspenseful, psychological, even disturbing read, with a great deal of dark humor infused throughout the short book. From the initially perplexing opening line of “So here I am, upside down in a woman,” through all of the unavoidable, uncomfortable and horrifying situations the narrating, verbal fetus, Hamlet, finds himself in, McEwan’s spare, clever version of the story is pretty unforgettable. Visit the Moraine Valley Library to check out this book (or one of the many versions of the original Shakespeare play it’s based upon). You can find it in our After Class collection in the library lounge.