Check It Out

Asked at the Desk: Mean Girls and Frenemies Fiction

Picture of Fiction/AV/Teen deskWe adore when readers ask for themed suggestions, and this question from last week sent us on a fun scavenger hunt:

Do you know of any books with ‘mean girls’-type characters written for adults? I’m in the mood for something fun and snarky, but I like darker stories, too.

Absolutely! As we started collecting titles, we realized they come in different flavors and settings. Whether you are looking for characters living the high life, time-tested classics, dishy gossip, or chilling tales, there’s a frenemy story just for you…

Coworker Drama

Devil Wears Prada book coverThe Devil Wears Prada
Lauren Weisberger

Thrillingly Tense

Dare Me book coverDare Me
Megan Abbott

Reconstructing Amelia book coverReconstructing Amelia
Kimberly McCreight


Domestic Divas

Big Little Lies book coverBig Little Lies
Liane Moriarty

Momzillas book coverMomzillas
Jill Kargman

Keep Your Friends Close…

Friends and Foes book coverFriends & Foes
R. Billingsley and V. Murray

Crazy Rich Asians book coverCrazy Rich Asians
Kevin Kwan

Classic Manipulations

Crucible book coverThe Crucible
Arthur Miller

Emma book coverEmma
Jane Austen


Confronting Childhood

Sharp Objects book coverSharp Objects
Gillian Flynn

Cats Eye book coverCat’s Eye
Margaret Atwood


You too can ask at the desk! Stop by Fiction/AV/Teen Services on the second floor to say hello, or ask online to visit our virtual desk. We’re ready and eager to answer your bookish questions.

Movies and TV: Life, Animated

Life Animated DVD coverAs fans of books, television, and movies, we believe in the power of story. Narratives can show us we’re not alone. They can introduce us to experiences and ideas that we would not otherwise know. In the Oscar-nominated documentary Life, Animated, we learn that amazingly story can give voice to a speechless boy and be a source of strength for a young man striking out on his own.

When Owen Suskind was a toddler, he lost the ability to communicate. A rare joy for him was watching and re-watching Disney movies, and one day he responded to his dad with a line of dialogue from a favorite character. Elated, his parents found ways to interact with their son using Disney personalities and stories. Life, Animated features a loving family, an exceptional young man, and a triumphant journey worthy of the stories Owen adores.

Staff Pick: Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley

Picture of LarryTed’s twelve-year-old dachshund, Lily, has been a source of strength for him after his long-term relationship ended in bitterness and loneliness. Now Lily has a tumor shaped like an octopus growing on her head. Ted’s personal struggle caring for his dearest companion as the disease overtakes Lily is a self-realization experience which plays out in real life and in his vivid dreams. Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley is serious and funny, emotional and insightful, and authentic in its depiction of the human experience.

What Has Mount Prospect Been Resolving and Reading?

Winter Reading image

One feature of this year’s Adult Winter Reading is that you decide your own reading resolutions. Whether your goals are modest or ambitious, we’ll cheer you on! It’s not too late to participate in Winter Reading. You still have a few days to share what you’ve been striving to achieve, enter to win some neat prizes, and share your experiences on the community pillar.

Take a look at what your neighbors have been sharing.

Mount Prospect readers have resolved to…

picture of reading resolutions for winter reading

1. Get back into actively reading.

2. Read: A Brontë sister book, a Mormon studies books, a January 2017 or February 2017 book of the month club book, a non-Brontë work of classic literature, and some thing that has been sitting on my Goodreads reading list for over a year.

3. I will finally read a Western.

4. Read five different genre/styles of books for the Winter Reading Program.

Some books read so far have been…

picture of books read for winter reading
  1. Nicotine by Nell Zink
    Zink’s books are for those who find sameness and predictability maddening and who despise boring characters. Zink creates situations that are messy and uncomfortable, but the ick factor is worth pushing through to see what kinds of ideals will pop into her character’s head next. -Carol

Presence by Amy Cuddy
I love the idea of fake it until you become it!

I read Men Explains Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit spontaneously. I saw a copy of the modest paperback and that brightly sarcastic title called to me. When I wasn’t laughing at her sharp humor, I was crying in fury… and now I recommend it to everyone.

Flight by Sherman Alexie
A young troubled boy, an orphan, finds his way when her goes into a time warp. He discovers what is important and who really loves him. Sometimes very brutal!

Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
Anne was the BEST Brontë!

Now it’s your turn!
Share your reading resolutions on the MPPL Facebook page, on Twitter, or in person at the Fiction/AV/Teen Services Desk.

Book Discussion Questions: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

Boys in the Boat book coverTitle: The Boys in the Boat
Author:  Daniel James Brown
Page Count: 404 pages
Genre:  Nonfiction, Sports
Tone:  Impassioned, Inspiring

Out of the depths of the Depression comes an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times – the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant.


These book discussion questions are highly detailed and will ruin plot points if you have not read the book.

The Library is happy to share these original questions for your use. If reproducing, please credit with the following statement:  2017 Mount Prospect Public Library. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.

1. What made you want to read this book? Would you have felt compelled to read it outside of book club?

2. Do you think that reading this during the Olympics would make a difference to you?

3. What are the differences, if any, as to how the Olympics were regarded in the 1930s to how they are regarded now?

4. What are your thoughts on Avery Brundage and his role on the Olympic committee?

5. Bobby Moch was Jewish. Knowing what he knew about Germany, are you surprised he went? Would you have gone? Why did his father not tell him sooner?

6. Should there have been a boycott against the Olympics?

7. Leni Riefenstiahl is probably the most famous female director ever; what did you think of her?

8. Let’s talk about Joe’s family life. What are your thoughts? Specifically Thula and Harry ?

9. Which relationship do you believe was ultimately the most pivotal for Joe?

10. Ulbrickson kept putting different boys in different boats, what do you think made these boys fit together?

11. What do you think was the turning point for Joe to become a unit with the rest of the boys in the boat?

12. Why do you think the boys were so unbeatable?

13. How much of a pivotal character was Pocock? Could they have won without him?

14. What did you think of George Pocock’s issues with the California coach Ky Ebright?

15. What did you think about the journey over to Germany on the cruise ship? Did anything interest you?

16. What did you think about the way the Germans handled the race?


Lit Lovers’ Reading Group Guide
West Maui Book Club discussion questions
Seattle Times Q&A
(Video) Daniel James Brown on The Boys in the Boat
“Nazi Olympics Berlin 1936” article by United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The Rowing Team That Stunned the World



The Three-Year Swim Club
by Julie Checkoway

Salt Sweat Tears
by Adam Rackley

Nazi GamesNazi Games
by David Clay Large

Staff Pick: Southeastern by Jason Isbell

Picture of EvanOn Southeastern, singer/songwriter Jason Isbell has crafted soulful, catchy songs with lyrics of dust-coated poetry about finding warmth in love when the world offers none, “Cover Me Up”, watching a friend die, “Elephant”, and a rollicking barn-burner about barely surviving an addiction,“Super 8”. It’s an album that proves the famous quote about how a great country song is only “three chords and the truth.”

Staff Resolution Feature: Taking Inspiration from TV Readers

Winter Reading image

One feature of this year’s Adult Winter Reading is that you decide your own reading resolutions. Whether your goals are modest or ambitious, we’ll cheer you on! To help inspire and spark ideas, we’ll be sharing resolutions here every week, so keep checking back to see what other resolute readers are striving to achieve!

Parisian Novels by Van Gogh


Who: Rebeca from Collection Management

What is your reading resolution?

About ten years ago I started a list of books that are featured on television shows that I watch. This year I am going to read at least 5 books off that list.

Why did you choose this?

I rarely read outside of two genres.  I believe this will help me read a variety of different books.

What are you thinking of reading to complete your resolution?

The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring by Alexander Rose
The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg

Island of Dr Moreau book cover Washingtons Spies book cover Invisible Man book coverFrom the Mixed Up Files book cover






Now it’s your turn!
Share your reading resolutions on the MPPL Facebook page, on Twitter, or in person at the Fiction/AV/Teen Services Desk.

Fiction: Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

Alledgedly book coverBy the time Mary B. Addison is sixteen she has been in jail for six years accused of killing a baby when she was nine, has been the main topic of multiple books, and is now living in a group home on her way of being reintroduced to some semblance of freedom.

However, everything may not be what it seems.

Tied to a past that only Mary knows the truth to, her efforts to look toward her future are mangled with stumbling blocks every which way.  Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson is a surprising bucket of cold water as Mary and the reader must grapple with all of the possible what ifs and should haves that come from a young girl growing up in an unstable home and the justice system.

Staff Resolution Feature: Science Fiction by Diverse Authors, Current Events, and More!

Winter Reading image

One feature of this year’s Adult Winter Reading is that you decide your own reading resolutions. Whether your goals are modest or ambitious, we’ll cheer you on! To help inspire and spark ideas, we’ll be sharing resolutions here every week, so keep checking back to see what other resolute readers are striving to achieve!

Who: Allison from South Branch

What are some of your reading resolutions?
I decided that for 2017 I was going to give myself a reading theme: Science Fiction by Diverse Authors!

2- Why did you choose that?
I used to read science fiction quite avidly, and when Library Journal published a mini-article on Diverse Authors within the SF/Fantasy genre, my interest was piqued! At the end of last year I read The Three-Body Problem by Ken Liu, and wanted to keep going in that vein…. Here’s the thing…I got a little distracted since deciding on that theme, so here are my one-off resolutions from the last few weeks….

Something with feminism! Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
Something in Spanish! Afrodita by Isabel Allende
Something about gender! None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
Something about current events! Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

3- Have you completed a resolution yet? How did it go?
I am finally reading Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor, which totally falls under my original reading resolution, and am enjoying it so far! It’s set in Nigeria, and I love how carefully she builds suspense, piece by piece!

Now it’s your turn!
Share your reading resolutions on the MPPL Facebook page, on Twitter, or in person at the Fiction/AV/Teen Services Desk.