Check It Out!

MPPL's staff blog about books, movies, music and the talent behind them.

Books with Flowers on the Cover

With the snow and cold gardening has had to take a pause. If you’re missing the site of colorful flowers, while at the same time want to be absorbed in an engrossing novel, try one of these books to brighten your nightstand!

julie and romeo book coverJulie and Romeo
by Jeanne Ray
A deliciously funny and wickedly sexy novel of love found (finally!) and love threatened (inevitably) by the families who claim to love us best.
The Truth About Forever book coverThe Truth About Forever
by Sarah Dessen
The summer following her father’s death, Macy plans to work at the library and wait for her brainy boyfriend to return from camp. Sometimes unexpected good things can happen, helping Macy to break out of her shell.
Peony in Love book coverPeony in Love
by Lisa See
In seventeenth-century China, three women become emotionally involved with The Peony Pavilion, a famed opera rumored to cause lovesickness and even death.


Before I Go book coverBefore I Go
by Colleen Oakley
Confronting the final months of her life when her breast cancer aggressively returns, 27-year-old Daisy endeavors to find her beloved husband another wife, an effort that forces her to make difficult choices.
Enchanted Islands Book CoverEnchanted Islands
by Allison Amend
Inspired by the midcentury memoirs of Frances Conway, an independent American woman’s path takes her far from her native Minnesota when she and her husband, an undercover intelligence officer, are sent to the Galápagos Islands at the brink of World War II.
She Walks in Beauty book coverShe Walks in Beauty
by Caroline Kennedy
Inspired by her own reflections on more than fifty years of life as a young girl, a woman, a wife, and a mother, Kennedy compiles poetry to ponder the many joys and challenges of being a woman.


Summaries have been provided by the publishers.

Jenny’s Pick: Happiness for Humans by P.Z. Reizin

Jen works at a software development company helping an artificial intelligence invention named Aiden sound more human. Aiden is more sentient than he has let on and has released himself into the Internet. After Jen suffers through a bad break-up Aiden sees her sorrow and decides to find her the man of her dreams. P.Z. Reizin’s debut sci-fi romantic comedy Happiness for Humans had me equally charmed by Aiden’s attempts at making romance happen and horrified by his existence!

Books: Take Me Out to the Ballgame

The 2018 home opener for the Chicago Cubs didn’t go as expected. Too much snow on the field April 9 caused a one-day game postponement. Just a few miles south, the Chicago White Sox home opener didn’t go as hoped. Having a bit less snow to content with, they went ahead with their game on the very same day, but lost. Inclement weather, scandals, and rivalries may come and go, but America’s national pastime is here to stay.

If you just can’t get enough baseball, there are plenty of books to keep you in a baseball state of mind. Check out this selection of nonfiction and fiction classics.

Sox Fan? Try:
Sox and the City by Richard Roeper

In this account of what it was like to grow up a White Sox fan in a Cubs nation, Roeper covers the recent history of the organization, from the heartbreak of 1967 and the South-Side Hit Men to the disco demolition and the magical 2005 season when they became world champions. Encapsulating what it means to be a baseball fan, root for the same sorry team no matter what, and find vindication, this history of the White Sox is flavored with trivia; anecdotes about players, owners, and broadcasters; plus Roeper’s own humorous and personal reminiscences.



Cubs Fan? Try:
Try Not to Suck by Bill Chastain

With his irreverent personality, laid-back approach, and penchant for the unexpected, Joe Maddon is a singular presence among Major League Baseball managers. In Try Not to Suck, ESPN’s Jesse Rogers and’s Bill Chastain fully explore Maddon’s life and career, delving behind the scenes and dissecting that mystique which makes Maddon so popular with players and analysts alike. Packed with insight, anecdotes, and little-known facts, this is the definitive account of the curse-breaker and trailblazer at the helm of the Cubs’ new era.


Just love a good baseball book? Then you might like:

The Great American Novel by Philip Roth

Gil Gamesh, the only pitcher who ever literally tried to kill the umpire. The ex-con first baseman, John Baal, “The Babe Ruth of the Big House,” who never hit a home run sober. If you’ve never heard of them—or of the Ruppert Mundys, the only homeless big-league ball team in American history—it’s because of the Communist plot, and the capitalist scandal, that expunged the entire Patriot League from baseball memory.


The Art of Fielding by Chard Harbach

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.


The Natural by Bernard Malamud

The Natural, Bernard Malamud’s first novel, published in 1952, is also the first—and some would say still the best—novel ever written about baseball. In it Malamud, usually appreciated for his unerring portrayals of postwar Jewish life, took on very different material—the story of a superbly gifted “natural” at play in the fields of the old daylight baseball era—and invested it with the hardscrabble poetry, at once grand and altogether believable, that runs through all his best work. Four decades later, Alfred Kazin’s comment still holds true: “Malamud has done something which—now that he has done it!—looks as if we have been waiting for it all our lives. He has really raised the whole passion and craziness and fanaticism of baseball as a popular spectacle to its ordained place in mythology.”

Evan’s Pick: Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too by Jomny Sun

Picture of EvanThe graphic novel Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too by Jomny Sun is about a visiting “aliebn” who makes new friends and discovers whimsical profundities about finding joy and connection in an uncaring world, like “look. life is bad. evryones sad. we’re all gona die. but i alredy bought this inflatable boumcy castle so r u gona take ur shoes off or wat.” The misspellings and simple line drawings create the feeling of a children’s story, but the exploration of deeper themes rings true for readers of all ages.