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5 Books to Read for the End of Summer

With summer starting to wind down, your next book may either set the tone for your next season of reading or be your last summer book. Here are a few suggested titles to fill that spot for you!

With video appearances by…

The Miracle on Monhegan Island by Elizabeth Kelly

Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Originals by Adam Grant

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

If none of these are striking a chord email us at and we’ll work on getting together more suggestions for you!




New Audio Spotlight: Charcoal Joe by Walter Mosley

Charcoal Joe audiobook coverSometimes we’re looking to be dropped into a rich, moody world that doesn’t bear much resemblance to our everyday. A favorite escape is to the dark streets of mid-century Los Angeles, in the company of legendary detective Easy Rawlins. In Charcoal Joe, Rawlins is asked to aid a promising Stanford student charged with the race-related murder of a white man in the late 1960s. Author Walter Mosley, winner of the 2016 Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America, once again creates a door to history with gritty settings, lifelike characters, and velvet words.

Narrator Michael Boatman knows that the language of a Mosley story is its power, and he emphasizes the swagger and silk of the characters’ dialogue. Descriptions are spun with a cadence that makes them reality, and hard-boiled tension is equally earned. It’s a smooth performance, and one Easy himself would approve.


RITA Award Spotlight: Historical Romance and Inspirational Romance

Romance displays

As Romance Awareness Month draws to a close, the Library is celebrating with dual displays. Here you may find the recently announced honorees of the 2016 RITA Awards, which celebrate excellence in the romance genre. Often the most exciting races are those for historical romances and inspirational romances, and you can see several favorites below.

Historical Romance: Long

Tiffany Girl book coverTiffany Girl
WINNER:  Deeanne Gist

Earls Just Want to Have Fun book coverEarls Just Want to Have Fun
Finalist: Shana Galen


Bella and the Beast book coverBella and the Beast
Finalist: Olivia Drake
If the Viscount Falls book coverIf the Viscount Falls
Finalist: Sabrina Jeffries
Finalist: Grace Burrows


Historical Romance: Short

Say Yes to the Marquess book coverSay Yes to the Marquess
Finalist: Tessa Dare
Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy book coverThe Secrets of Richard Kenworthy
Finalist: Julia Quinn
Finalist: Elizabeth Hoyt


Inspirational Romance

A Noble Masquerade
WINNER: Kristi Ann Hunter
Mountain Midwife book coverThe Mountain Midwife
Finalist: Laurie Alice Eakes
Finalist: Becky Wade


Book Discussion Questions: Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth

Call the Midwife book coverTitle: Call the Midwife (also called The Midwife)
Author:  Jennifer Worth
Page Count: 340 pages
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Tone: Reflective, Warm

Reflects on the experiences of Jennifer Worth as a midwife in London’s postwar East End, including the nuns from whom she learned her craft and the interesting and challenging births she aided during her career.


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:  2016 Mount Prospect Public Library. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.

1. Do you believe this book is adequately described as a career/work memoir or is it more than that?

2. What else did you learn about beyond midwifery in post-WW II England?  (What did you learn that you weren’t expecting to?)  Was the book what you expected?

3. Beyond childbirth and midwifery, what are the dominant themes in the book?

4. One of the challenges of writing a memoir is deciding what to include and what to leave out.  Do you imagine Jennifer Worth had any difficulty making these decisions when writing her memoir?  (Note: She continued and wrote two additional books; The Midwife is considered first in a trilogy.)

5. According to an article on Slate (11-1-2012), the character of Chummy was created by Worth (Worth’s daughters insist she was real) – she was not based on an actual person she knew in that time.  How do you feel about the existence of fictional elements in a non-fiction book?  Does it affect your enjoyment of the book?

6. Worth’s ability to connect with people is somewhat restrained – she mentions several times holding back and resisting getting too drawn into someone’s personal situation.  What do you think of her preference to keep a distance?  Do you think this was a professional stance, or more of a reflection of her personality?

7. How do you think this distance/reserve affected her ability to write a book such as this?  Is it a strength or a weakness?

8. Can you recall which anecdotes or deliveries affected her despite her efforts to not be emotional?

9. Which mother/baby moments or deliveries did you find most memorable?  Did they all contribute equally to the book? Were there any stories that should have been left out?

10. What about the men in the book?  Who stands out in your mind?  Are there any generalizations that could be made about how men are portrayed?

11. Which nuns at Nonnatus House did you find most interesting?

12. What was her purpose in writing her memoirs?  Who do you think Worth’s intended audience was?

13. If you are a parent or not, would this affect your enjoyment or appreciation of the book?  What about if you like history or not?

14. Have you seen the BBC series based on this book (and other two books)?  How does it compare to the book?

15. Would you say there are differences between the book and the TV show?  If so, how are they different?  Does one enrich the other?

16. What do you think about the level of detail in some of the deliveries?  Was it necessary?  Does it give you a richer understanding of this line of work?

17. Thinking about the subject matter and the time period / setting, would you say this was an easy or difficult book to read?

18. The book’s subtitle is “a memoir of birth, joy, and hard times.” Was there a balance between challenging stories and more joyous circumstances?  Would you say the book had an overall tone / mood to it, or is it hard to say?

19. How has life changed for women since the time period captured in this book?  Have prenatal care and obstetrics changed?

20. What things do you think have stayed the same?  Despite the specific setting and time period, is there a timeless appeal to this book?

21. Are you interested in reading her two additional books?  Is one enough?  If you haven’t watched the series yet, do you think you will?

22. How would you describe her writing style?  Do you feel aware of the fact that she wasn’t a professional writer?

23. Is there anything that we can learn from her work as a midwife?  If so, what is it and why is it important?

Want help with your book discussion group? Check out tips, advice, and all the ways the Library can help support your group!


Reading group guide from the publisher
Discussion questions and responses from blog, Project Motherhood
PBS music playlist for Call the Midwife
Video interview with Jennifer Worth on her life
Radio Times article: Jennifer Worth’s daughter on their mother


All Creatures Big and Small book cover Balm in Gilead book cover My Name is Mary Sutter book cover







All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
Balm in Gilead by Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot
My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira

Staff Pick: Boy & the World

Cathleen_2014Delight your eyes with a work of wonder! Nearly wordless and enhanced with music, Oscar nominee Boy & the World is a warm, uplifting exploration of childlike discovery. This Brazilian fable dazzles with inventive hand-drawn animation, juxtaposing the realities of life’s hardships with the adventure of youth. Exhilarating and unforgettable.

We’ve Got You Covered: Books and Flat Ladies

What can you tell by a cover? Not everything, of course, but it can offer a peek into tone, topic, and audience. If you are ready for stories that are accessible, contemporary, lively, and straightforward, try one of these bright “flat art” covers, designed to entertain. Sunglasses, though common, are optional.

Window Opens book coverA Window Opens
Elizabeth Egan
Enchanted August book cover
Enchanted August
Brenda Bowen


Cover of Crazy Rich AsiansCrazy Rich Asians
Kevin Kwan


Finding Audrey book coverFinding Audrey
Sophie Kinsella
Royal We book coverThe Royal We
Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
I Take You book cover
I Take You
Eliza Kennedy


Like Stranger Things? Try My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

My Best Friend's Exorcism book coverIf you’re looking for campy horror with just enough spook to keep you on your toes but humor to break the tension, make Grady Hendrix’s My Best Friend’s Exorcism your next read. Set in small town America during the 1980s, Abby and Gretchen have been long-time best friends. Now they are in high school and Gretchen is suddenly acting strangely mean. Is it just growing up, or is she possibly possessed by a demon? Abby is on a mission to find out.

Like the hit Netflix original Stranger Things, the novel has strong elements of loyal friendship, an abundance of 1980s pop culture, and a slow build up resulting in an action packed final scene

Asked at the Desk: Who Writes Like Liane Moriarty?

Picture of Fiction/AV/Teen deskAn increasingly popular question at the Fiction/AV/Teen Services desk this summer:

Liane Moriarty is a favorite, but I’ve read everything I can find by her.
Do you know any similar authors I could try while I’m waiting for her newest?

We know that as much as you love some authors, they can’t write fast enough to keep up with you! Offering “readalikes” is one of our core services, and here is a sampling of books we’ve suggested to Moriarty fans to great success.

The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

At a festive barbecue in a Melbourne suburb, a man slaps the child of another couple, triggering a court case and a variety of confrontations within the lives of the families and friends present.

Why this? Multiple perspectives relate a typical neighborhood experience in which something has gone horribly wrong. Sound familiar?

Year We Turned Forty
The Year We Turned Forty by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

Three best friends discover the chance to return to the year they turned forty — the year that altered each of their lives — and also get the opportunity to change their future.

Why this? Though lighter in tone than Moriarty’s stories, the exploration of both the road not taken and how our choices define us will resonate with fans of “what if” narratives.

Us by David NichollsUs book cover

What is it that holds marriages and families together? What happens, and what do we learn about ourselves, when everything threatens to fall apart? Those questions provide the frame for a mild-mannered man who isn’t willing to give up on a life that includes his wife and son.

Why this? It’s not only female authors who balance flawed characters, complex relationships, and those times in which we weigh whether our lives are what we thought they’d be.

PreschooledPreschooled book cover by Anna Lefler

In a darkly humorous story, three characters struggle to find some peace of mind among wealthy parents in a bizarre competition involving their kids. Even while commenting on the over-privilege that allows worry over the trivial, each character is presented with a degree of sympathy and humanity that parents will recognize.

Why this? One of Moriarty’s sharpest themes is skewering middle and aspiring upper class society, especially when it comes to parenting, and this matches both target and tone.

Belong to MeBelong to Me book cover by Marisa de los Santos

Everyone has secrets. While Cornelia gains unexpected insight into her troubled marriage, Piper finds her carefully controlled life unraveling in the wake of a friend’s crisis, and Lake tells a complex series of lies to gain her son’s entry into a school for gifted students.

Why this? This is a thoughtful, layered look at different women struggling to accept the roles in which they find themselves and to navigate family relationships under stress.

More Like Her by Liza PalmerMore Like Her book cover

When Emma Dunham, the woman they believe is the height of female perfection, is murdered by her husband, Francis, Lisa and Jill discover that things aren’t always what they seem, which forces them to come to terms with the secrets of their own lives.

Why this? Secrets, lies, and consequences are favorite themes for Moriarty, as is the idea that what we think we know of others’ lives is often far from the reality.


If you’ve gulped down this list and want still more, or if you have another bookish question, ask online or stop by the Fiction/AV/Teen desk on the second floor. We’d be excited to connect you with something to fit your mood!