Faculty Favorite: Mr. Mergl


Mr. Mergl’s got a perfectly succinct reason for his choice of  The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy as his Faculty Favorite: “The characters just came alive for me,” says Mr. Mergl.

This family saga was made into a major motion picture in 1991 and starred Nick Nolte and Barbra Streisand. The story deals with the difficult topic of the psychological effects of abuse in childhood and adolescence, but it manages to entertain with lighter-side comic humor. Want to learn more? Read the synopsis below, or stop by the library to check out your copy today!


Synopsis from Goodreads.com:

PAT CONROY has created a huge, brash thunderstorm of a novel, stinging with honesty and resounding with drama. Spanning forty years, this is the story of turbulent Tom Wingo, his gifted and troubled twin sister Savannah, and their struggle to triumph over the dark and tragic legacy of the extraordinary family into which they were born.

Filled with the vanishing beauty of the South Carolina low country as well as the dusty glitter of New York City, The Prince of Tides is PAT CONROY at his very best.

And a big thanks to Mr. Mergl, for his contribution to our blog!

Faculty Favorite: Mr. Del Fava

img_3168If you’re a baseball lover, this book is a must-read. It’s also one of Mr. Del Fava’s favorite reads! What’s the book?  The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach.

This book is a “great story that combines the passion of baseball with the struggles of life’s curve balls,” says Mr. Del Fava.

Another reader asks: “What else is this book about ‘besides’ Baseball? Life–friendships–all types of relationships –(male bonding at its best & at its worse) –love–power– appreciation for classic literature–wisdom –ethics–challenges–courage–fear–forgiveness–honor–leadership.”

Interested? Read the synopsis below and please, stop by the library to check out your copy today!

screenshot-2016-12-02-at-10-13-03-amSynopsis from Goodreads.com:

At Westish College, a small school on the shore of Lake Michigan, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the fates of five people are upended.

Henry’s fight against self-doubt threatens to ruin his future. College president Guert Affenlight, a longtime bachelor, has fallen unexpectedly and helplessly in love. Owen Dunne, Henry’s gay roommate and teammate, becomes caught up in a dangerous affair. Mike Schwartz, the Harpooners’ team captain and Henry’s best friend, realizes he has guided Henry’s career at the expense of his own. And Pella Affenlight, Guert’s daughter, returns to Westish after escaping an ill-fated marriage, determined to start a new life.

As the season counts down to its climactic final game, these five are forced to confront their deepest hopes, anxieties, and secrets. In the process they forge new bonds, and help one another find their true paths. Written with boundless intelligence and filled with the tenderness of youth, The Art of Fielding is an expansive, warmhearted novel about ambition and its limits, about family and friendship and love, and about commitment—to oneself and to others.

And thank you, Mr. Del Fava, for your second contribution to our blog this year!

Lake Forest Students Inspire with their own TEDx Talks

All day Friday in the library, Lake Forest students got the opportunity to get up on a TEDx Talk stage to share experiences, stories and passions to inspire a captivated audience. The independently organized event was organized by the talented Educational Technologists, Mrs. Grigg, Mr. Holmer and Mr. Juliano.
Students, staff and families were treated to speeches and performances with subjects ranging from the importance of raising chickens -complete with real chicks to pet!- to stories of coping with personal challenges, to the connections between tap dance, math and music. Guest speakers from the community shared their research and experience with talks about inter-generational differences and how to end global poverty. Live bands and singer-songwriters also graced the stage to entertain and share original songs.
A testament to the talent and hard work of both staff and students here at Lake Forest, the TEDx Talks were an inspiration to  all involved.

Author Shane Burcaw visits LFHS!

We had an AMAZING time listening to @shaneburcaw today! Thank you again so much for coming to LFHS! #libraries #librariesofinstagram #lamn #authors #authorvisit

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Emmy award winning author of Laughing at my Nightmare Shane Burcaw came to share his experiences with Lake Forest students. His message of remaining positive in the face of challenges resonated as he shared his experiences living with spinal muscular atrophy. His disease is gradually taking away his strength, his voice and his ability to breathe. In spite of his daily challenges, he showed through humorous anecdotes from his life how he changed his outlook by laughing and remaining positive. From a young age he has not allowed his circumstances to stop him… like the time he tried to use his wheelchair and a very long rope to lift his brother pulley-style to a basketball hoop to make a slam dunk.

Mr. Burcaw also shared research about how choice can positively affect one’s emotions. Examples from his experiences illustrated the ways intentional activities- behavioral, cognitive and goal-oriented- can reframe one’s outlook. A mortifyingly embarrassing middle-school moment transforms into a lesson about asking for help: “Asking for help doesn’t make you any less of a person. It helps you reach your fullest potential.” Coming from Mr. Burcaw with his own extraordinary story of overcoming difficulty, with humor, our Lake Forest students got the real deal. His message and presence left the audience inspired, uplifted, reflective: “Despite all challenges I face, my life is … beautiful.”

Faculty Favorite: Ms. Gregory



If you’re a mystery lover, like Ms. Gregory, here’s a thriller (and her Faculty Favorite) to put at the top of your reading list: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.


“I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s my favorite book but it’s one I’ve read recently that I enjoyed!” says Ms. Gregory.  “I love suspense books and films and things that make you think. This was a page turner and I was dying to know what happened. It is also by the same author as Gone Girl so if you enjoyed that book I would recommend this one! It kept me guessing the whole time and I was really surprised how everything ended up being resolved.”

Want to read more from this Chicago-based writer? Stop by the library to check out our copy today. And here’s the synopsis from Goodreads.com…

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice” of Kinnakee, Kansas. She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.

Here’s to Ms. Gregory for sharing this with us! Thank you!

Faculty Favorite: Mr. Holmer


Mr. Holmer’s favorite read happens to be one of the most highly circulated books here at LFHS Library. It’s also a classic story of teenage angst and has a cult-like following. Quotes from this book abound on the internet. What book is it?  The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

“I can relate with the main character, Charlie, being an outcast in middle and high school,” says Mr. Holmer. “It isn’t just beautifully written though, it also explores many issues teens struggle with. The Perks of Being A Wallflower changed my life; a truly life-changing literary experience.”

Want to know more? Read our synopsis below from Goodreads.com. And be sure to stop by the library to check out our copy!

Charlie is a freshman.

And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

Thank you Mr. Holmer, for your excellent contribution to our blog!

Faculty Favorite: Mr. Juliano


Mr. Juliano’s favorite read is Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winner The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. What makes it so special? “I’m not sure what to say about this book, which is weird because it’s my favorite,” says Mr. Juliano. “It’s simply so many things – it explores World War 2, the birth of the comic book industry, magic… and that really only scratches the surface. It’s funny, tragic, suspenseful and heartfelt. Bottom line: you will want to spend time with these characters and embark on their journeys together. But don’t take it from me: Kavalier and Clay won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It also might be a movie one day, but I’m not holding my breath,” he adds.


Synopsis from Goodreads.com:

Joe Kavalier, a young Jewish artist who has also been trained in the art of Houdini-esque escape, has just smuggled himself out of Nazi-invaded Prague and landed in New York City. His Brooklyn cousin Sammy Clay is looking for a partner to create heroes, stories, and art for the latest novelty to hit America – the comic book. Drawing on their own fears and dreams, Kavalier and Clay create the Escapist, the Monitor, and Luna Moth, inspired by the beautiful Rosa Saks, who will become linked by powerful ties to both men. With exhilarating style and grace, Michael Chabon tells an unforgettable story about American romance and possibility.

Want to read this best-seller? Stop by the library to check out our copy today. And thanks, Mr. Juliano, for your contribution to our blog!

New to the library…

IMG_0469 (1) (1)

Welcome to Ms. Turek!

Ms. Turek is happy to be a part of the Lake Forest team!
Her background is in library science, as well as French and ballet, both of which she has had the opportunity to study abroad for five years, and later teach. She returned to Chicago to complete an MA in literature from the University of Chicago. Her favorite books are Anna Karenina and War and Peace by Tolstoy and Dr. Zhivago by Pasternak. She enjoys hiking and spending time with family. She looks forward to getting to know and working with the students at Lake Forest High School.



Faculty Favorite: Ms. Kyrias


Notice a theme in two of Ms. Kyrias’s favorite books, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell? You’re right! Both contain the word ‘gone,” which, simply defined, means “no longer present; departed.” These titles are pure marketing genius: they’re plain, yet powerful and capture the essence of each book in as few words as possible. The reader knows what’s at stake without even opening the book. To say that both books (especially Gone With the Wind) have been publishing and motion-picture blockbusters would be an understatement. Could it be that some of their success stems from their simple, seductive titles?

Ms. Kyrias has her own reasons for choosing Gone Girls as her Faculty Favorite: “I love this book because it is very suspenseful and well-written. The ending is also very surprising!”



On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

And then there’s Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, an all time literary classic and Ms. Kyrias’s other pick for her Faculty Favorite. This book has over 1 million ratings on Goodreads.com and tops many Top-100-Books-to-Read-Before-You-Die lists. Most of us have seen the movie and loved it, but believe it or not, the book is even better!


“This is one of my favorite books,” says Ms. Kyrias. “I love American history, and this book chronicles the Civil War in the South. The characters are very relatable, and the story very compelling.”


Gone with the Wind is a novel written by Margaret Mitchell, first published in 1936. The story is set in Clayton County, Georgia, and Atlanta during the American Civil War and Reconstruction era. It depicts the struggles of young Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner, who must use every means at her disposal to claw her way out of the poverty she finds herself in after Sherman’s March to the Sea. A historical novel, the story is a Bildungsroman or coming-of-age story, with the title taken from a poem written by Ernest Dowson.

Gone with the Wind was popular with American readers from the onset and was the top American fiction bestseller in the year it was published and in 1937. As of 2014, a Harris poll found it to be the second favorite book of American readers, just behind the Bible. More than 30 million copies have been printed worldwide.