Shelfish: The Blog of Answers

Polish Easter Traditions

Easter LambEaster is on Sunday, March 27th this year and Eisenhower will be closed for the holiday.

To get into the Easter spirit, the next time you visit the library, stop in the lobby for a moment to take a look at the collection of traditional Polish Easter decorations in our display case. If you can't make it to the library before Easter, a set of photos of the display has been posted on our Facebook Page. The display came to us courtesy of Danuta Dobrzycki and the Dobrzycki family, Harwood Heights residents since 1976.

Daredevil Season Two

Daredevil Comic CoverDaredevil Season Two hits Neflix tomorrow! This season, Daredvil, AKA Matt Murdock, will be pitted against Frank Castle, the Punisher, a veteran who, after his family was murdered, decided to wear a skull on his chest and kill every bad guy he could find. If you're excited about the new episodes, we thought you might like more of Daredevil and The Punisher, so here's a few comics in which the two cross paths. Click on the titles to place a hold.

Daredevil Vol. 1 #183 & 184
Matt and Frank first met in 1982 in a two issue story written by Frank Miller. In it, the two team up to track down a drug dealer responsible for the death of a young girl. These two issues are collected in a volume that also includes the introduction of Electra, Daredevil's on-again, off-again girlfriend, another character that will appear in Season Two.

Welcome Back, Frank by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon
In this story arc, The Punisher forces Daredevil to make a decision that could destroy both of their lives. It has been suggested that this volume is being used as a major influence on the next season of Daredevil, so I won't give too much away.

The Devil in Cell Black D by Ed Brubaker, Michael Lark, and David Aja
Ed Brubaker took over writing on Daredevil right after the previous writer locked Matt Murdock behind bars just as a wave of violence is about to overtake the prison. Of course, Frank Castle doesn't want to miss out on the action and violence.

Kendrick Lamar, Untitled Unmastered

Kendrick Lamar Untitled UnmasteredAfter being nominated for (and winning) more Grammies than any other artist last year for his album To Pimp a Butterfly, rapper Kendrick Lamar surprised the music world this week by releasing, with no promotion, a followup collection of demo recordings and song sketches. The new release, Untitled Unmastered, feels like an extension of last year's hit album. All eight songs were seemingly written and recorded at the same time as To Pimp a Butterfly, so think of it as a B-sides collection that follows the same set of themes, religion, racial stereotyping, hometown pride, and the current U.S. political environment.

Untitled Unmastered  isn't as cohesive at To Pimp a Butterfly; it's not for everyone, but it's a revealing recording, especially for Kendrick fans looking for a more complete understanding of an idiosyncratic artist with little to prove but a lot to say.

Stream or download Untitled Unmastered now.

What to Read after Seeing Deadpool

Preacher Graphic Novel CoverJust two weeks after opening in theaters, Deadpool has made more at the box office than any of Fox's previous X-Men related movies, earning a place at the pinnacle of pop culture for one of mainstream comic book history's weirdest, most violent, and funniest characters. Fans of the movie are probably already enjoying the Deadpool graphic novels and looking for something similar to read next.
Widely considered one of the best Batman stories (and the definitive Joker story) Alan Moore's tone is much darker than previous Batman comics. The Joker breaks out of Arkham Asylum and immediately kidnaps Commissioner Gordon and his daughter Barbara, subjecting them to torture and ridicule in an effort to make them a crazy as he is. The Killing Joke is almost entirely the Joker's story, revealing the depth of his depravity and presenting his insanity as a mirror of Batman's.
Ben Edlund's absurdist, independent comic book take on the superhero genre, stars a legally insane escaped mental patient sworn to protect "The City." He is well-intentioned, good-natured, high-spirited, frequently very, very stupid. The Tick is surrounded by a cast of equally absurd heroes and villains, many of them parodies of popular comic book character types. The short-lived comic book was adapted into an animated series as well as a great live action sitcom.
Intended as an over-the-top indictment of Marvel's ultra violent Wolverine and Punisher, the alien mercenary and bounty hunter Lobo enjoys nothing more than mindless violence and intoxication. He is arrogant and self-centered, focusing almost solely on his own pleasure. After killing every single resident of his home planet for fun, Lobo thinks he is the last Czarnian until he learns that one other person from Czarnia still lives, his fourth grade teacher Miss Tribb.
After merging with a demon, Preacher Jesse Custer becomes disillusioned with the beliefs that had defined his life. Now possessing the power to make people do whatever he says, Jesse begins a violent journey across the country with his gun-toting girlfriend and the hard drinking Irish vampire trying to find and punish the God who had forsaken him. Not only is Garth Ennis' Preacher sure to please Deadpool fans, it's also set to become a new Walking Dead-esque TV series on AMC.

Hamilton Original Broadway Cast Recording

Hamilton Original Boradway Cast Recording Cd CoverOne of the biggest breakout cultural successes in recent memory is also one of the most unlikely. Lin-Manuel Miranda's smash hit Hamilton mixes rap and hip hop with theatre geek enthusiasm to tell the true story of America's first treasury secretary in a musical so popular that it is currently sold out until at least September. As if winning a Grammy and receiving the McArthur "Genius Grant" wasn't enough, Hamilton was just awarded the Kennedy Prize for Drama, whose jury said "Technically so proficient, historically so sound, artistically so groundbreaking, Hamilton is both inspired by and celebrates the evolving history of the United States, of hip-hop, and of the musical theater."

Click here to place a hold on the Hamilton CD or instantly stream/download it on your phone, tablet, or computer at

What Ever Happened to Washington's Birthday?

Many of us remember celebrating Abraham Lincoln's birth on February 12th and then, shortly after, George Washington's on February 22nd. How and why did those two holidays disappear and President's Day take their place? It's a convoluted story that started in the late 1960s when Illinois Senator Robert McClory proposed moving a bunch of federal holidays around to give American workers more three-day weekends. His plan was met with a lot of resistance from those states with specific attachments to the holidays. For instance, Virginia, where Washington was born would have preferred to continue celebrating its favorite holiday. Eventually, with support from the labor unions, McClory convinced lawmakers to pass the Uniform Monday Holiday Act which moved Washington's Birthday to the third Monday of February. Over time, thanks in part to retail marketers who capitalised on the three-day weekend by advertising "President's Day" sales, the public stopped thinking of the holiday as Washington's Birthday even though that is still the official, federal designation. has a great article on the transition from two holidays to one.

Chicago Restaurant Week

the Parthenon CookbookRestaurant Week is here. Celebrate with cookbooks from Chicago restaurants and chefs.
Alinea by Grant Achatz
The debut cookbook from the restaurant Gourmet Magazine named the best in the country.
The Berghoff Café Cookbook by Carlyn Berghoff
Serving traditional German cuisine & steins of beer in an old-world setting since 1898.
Chicago's premier vegetarian restaurant featuring creative vegetarian & vegan takes on comfort food.
Frontera by Rick Bayless
A must-have for anyone who has eaten at Rick's restaurants or just can't resist the undeniable pleasure of a margarita and its perfect complements.
Girl in the Kitchen by Stephanie Izard
The first and only woman to win Top Chef presents 100 recipes from her restaurant, The Girl and the Goat, along with creative meal pairings and cooking 
The Parthenon Cookbook by Camille Stagg
A collection of recipes from old favorites to unique house specialties and a tribute to the oldest restaurant in Chicago's Greektown.
When Restaurant Week is over, remember February is Food Month at Eisenower. We've programmed a series of delicious, food-related movies, classes, and other events, including a visit from the best selling author, James Beard Award winning food blogger, podcaster, and Seattle restaurateur Molly Wizenberg. Read more at

Academy Awards

Today, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their nominations for the 88th Annual Academy Awards. As usual, we're holding our annual Oscar predictions contest.

Look for Academy Awards Contest entry forms in the library or download one HERE.

Entries with the most correct answers will be eligible to win movie themed prizes. In the event of a tie, prizes will be awarded by means of a random drawing. One entry per person please. Entries will be accepted at the library Answers Desk until Sunday, February 28th or at that evening's After Hours Awards Party where we'll be celebrating Hollywood’s most glamorous night of the year by watching the broadcast live at Eisenhower. There will be a trivia contest during the show, as well as prizes and snacks. Register online or by calling 708-867-2299.

Although we will be viewing the awards ceremony, this event is not sponsored by or affiliated with The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Wandering Through the Stacks

Browsing shelves in the library provides a serendipitous pleasure that browsing the Amazon Marketplace never will. When you're on Amazon everything is an algorithm, you're seeing everything you're supposed to see. When you wander through the stacks in a library you run into all kinds of different topics. Maybe you've never really been interested in space, but you might pluck Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History off the shelf. Or A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. How could you not pick that up? Because I work in the library this is something I get to do most days. I see all kinds of interesting things throughout the course of my day.  Sometimes library patrons will recommend their favorite books, sometimes it'll be a brand new book just shipped to the library, and other times it'll be something we find when we weed. Weeding is a part of collection development that librarians have to do to keep our collections fresh and relevant.

While weeding the labor section I came across an unassuming book with no dust jacket or cover art called Roll the Union On: A Pictorial History of the Southern Tenant Farmer's Union as told by it's co-founder, H.L. Mitchell. The book is a short history of one of America's major labor movements (one I'd never heard of). H.L. Mitchell and his colleagues fought a long and bitter battle through the 1930s and 1940s for sharecroppers and farmers's rights. The work the STFU did served as a launching point for the civil rights movement of the 1960s. The book includes songs, poems, and pictures of the labor movement. It's just one example of hundreds that we come across at Eisenhower every year when we review our collections. Every time I wander into the stacks I think 'What am I going to become interested in today?'

Bill Gates' Reading List

Bill Gates is back with his annual list of recommended books. Gates lists a few of his favorites from the year with short synopses and links to much longer, personal, and thoughtful reviews. Every year, the list is a fascinating glimpse into the thought process and reading life of one of America's most prominent business people and philanthropists.

All of Gates' favorite books are available to borrow from our library system.

The Road to Character by David Brooks
Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe
Being Nixon: A Man Divided by Evan Thomas
Sustainable Materials With Both Eyes Open, by Julian M. Allwood & Jonathan M. Cullen
Eradication: Ridding the World of Diseases Forever? by Nancy Leys Stepan
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck
The Vital Question by Nick Lane.