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The Unseen World by Liz Moore

Kelly Timmerman

La Crosse County Library -  Hazel Brown Leicht Memorial Library, West Salem

May 19, 2017

In 1980s Boston, nothing means more to bright, observant twelve-year-old Ada Sibelius than her father David, a brilliant and eccentric computer scientist. One summer evening, in the middle of hosting their yearly dinner party, something unimaginable happens: in the middle of quizzing a new batch of graduate students on his favorite riddle, David forgets. For the first time in her life, Ada sees her father struggle to remember.

So begins The Unseen World, by Liz Moore. As director of his own lab, David has spent his life developing a language-processing system called Elixir, teaching it to communicate and react to complex human interactions. It is David’s greatest passion, and so his daughter Ada has thus spent an unorthodox childhood at the lab, learning and puzzling alongside his co-workers, leading a life socially and culturally isolated from her peers. Although intelligent beyond her years, young Ada tries to convince herself that David’s downward spiral is simply a byproduct of stress incurred at the lab.

Eventually Ada must come to grips with the fact that there is something seriously, medically wrong with her father. David has early-onset Alzheimer’s and can no longer act as her guardian, much less answer physics equations he could once solve easily in his sleep. In a matter of months Ada’s world is turned upside down, as she and David are separated for the first time – David to a long-term memory care unit and Ada to the boisterous and loving home of Liston, David’s most trusted colleague, and Ada’s “favorite person in the world” aside from her father.

With Liston and her three sons, Ada experiences television, cold cereal, the pressures of private school, and the awkwardness of adolescence. More important, however, is her discovery that David Sibelius is not her father’s real name, and that the little else she knows about him may not be true, either. As Ada digs into her father’s past, it becomes clear that he has gone to great lengths to hide his history from both her and others for many years. While David’s mind continues to deteriorate, Ada discovers that he has prepared to assist her in her investigation with two clues: a single encoded floppy disc and Elixir, his beloved, almost life-like computer program.

The Unseen World is not a mystery in the traditional, edge-of-your-seat kind of way. It unfolds more slowly, exploring the unbreakable, often complex bonds that exist between a parent and child, and what happens when that bond is tested. It is about intangibility of identity – when it matters and when it does not – and how the unknown or “unseen” can affect our lives at the most unexpected times.


Chevy Stevens's twisty page turners

Judy Taylor

La Crosse County Library - Holmen Area Library

May 5, 2017

If you are looking for a new favorite author, and enjoy twisting thrillers you need to check out one from Chevy Stevens. They’re filled with suspense! Six years ago I told you about this author and I am still a huge fan. Let me just repeat part of the article I wrote back in March of 2011: (I know, crazy to still have it in my file much less be able to find it right?!)
3-25-11 Still Missing by Chevy Stevens was one of the most gripping books I’ve read in a long time. It is actually the author’s first novel! It was so hard to put down and come to work or do anything else for that matter. It’s a story of this realtor, Annie O’Sullivan who gets abducted from her open house by her last visitor as she’s about to leave. Her kidnapper has her for more than a year and each chapter in the book is a session with her psychiatrist after she finally escapes. Interwoven is a second narrative telling of her nightmare existence during and after the kidnapping. What she survives is brutal and just unbelievable. She is telling her story of what happened to her as she is dealing with her present day issues with her therapist. The whole book just grabs you from the start all the way through to the end. Even then, you can’t believe why all this has happened to her in the shocking conclusion.

So…if you have not had the chance to read her debut novel, here’s your second chance. You will not be disappointed! Chevy Steven’s most recent novel just came out this past March and that is why I’m telling you about her again. If you’re a fan of thrillers like The Girl Before or Behind Closed Doors, you’ll know what I’m talking about. If not, I’m just throwing a couple more titles out there for those of you who relish those nerve-wracking reads. You might want to start one of these early into your weekend, because you’ll be up all night trying to finish it! So if you become a fan of Chevy Stevens like I am, remember she will Never Let You Go.


Stories from many generationsany generations

Jana Wuensch
La Crosse County Library – Holmen Area Library

April 28, 2017

This past weekend we had the pleasure of celebrating my Grandmother’s 78th birthday, with four generations together at once. This was a great time for me to reflect on how our “elders” hold so much valuable information and together we are constantly learning. It made me think about some of the great literature that crosses these generations and many of them were brought to life on the big screen in the last few years to share these stories with new generations.

Although it is an older story that proceeds our living generations The Revenant, written by Michael Punke tells the story of Hugh Glass, an expert trapper and frontiersman in the 1820’s. After narrowly surviving an attack by a grizzly bear, Glass is robbed and abandoned by the two men in his company who were charged with watching over him. Left defenseless with life-threatening injuries, Glass channels his need for revenge into a will to live. It’s amazing what people can do to survive. The story was brought to life on the big screen in 2015 starring Leonardo Dicaprio and Tom Hardy proving some stories are timeless.

Stories from the living generations include The Imitation Game written by Jim Ottaviani, and released as a movie in 2014. It is an intense and haunting portrayal of a brilliant, complicated man, Alan Turing, who was an English mathematician and scientist. His code breaking efforts led to the cracking of the German Enigma during World War II and his work saved countless lives and accelerated the Allied defeat of the Nazis. 

Set in Virginia, during the 1960s also comes a story about a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as "human computers" who used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space supporting the United States in a race against Russia. Hidden Figures: the American dream and the untold story of the Black women mathematicians who helped win the space race, written by Margot Lee Shetterly, makes clear from the start that it is about a trio, not a lone heroine. This story is available as a book, audio book, and DVD from La Crosse County Library.

My grandma is a very avid reader and has a huge love for her library. My whole family is grateful for the services that any library can provide.  The thirst for knowledge is always there and there are so many great stories that happened in these lifetimes that we are just discovering. There are so many great stories out there for all generations giving us a firm foundation to guide us for the future. These stories that have recently been brought to life on the big screen also help show how wonderful these original stories were in print!










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