Check It Out

Check It Out Blog

Summer Reading Category Spotlight: Read a Book that Colors True Events

reading colors your world

Looking for some interesting nonfiction reading for your summer reading category? Try a memoir or biography! Access a suggested list here, or read on for some of our favorites:

crying in h mart book cover

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Michelle, the Japanese Breakfast indie pop star presents a full-length account of her viral New Yorker essay to share poignant reflections on her experiences of growing up Korean-American, becoming a professional musician and caring for her terminally ill mother.

“It felt like the world had divided into two different types of people, those who had felt pain and those who had yet to.”
― Michelle Zauner, Crying in H Mart

more myself book cover

More Myself: A Journey by Alicia Keys

The 15-time Grammy Award-winning music artist traces her journey from self-censorship to full expression, describing her complicated
relationship with her father, the people-pleasing nature that
characterized her early career and her struggles with gender expectations.

“Growth requires movement. And often, the only way forward is through an exit door.” Alicia Keys, More Myself

memorial drive book cover

Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir by Natasha Trethewey

The former U.S. poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning author shares a chillingly personal memoir about the brutal murder of her mother at the hands of her former stepfather.

“I have always loved the feel of books, the way they give a literal weight to words and make of them a sacred object.”
― Natasha Trethewey, Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir

Sigh, Gone: A Misfit’s Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In book cover

Sigh, Gone: A Misfit’s Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In by Phuc Tran

In this coming-of-age memoir told through the themes of great books,  Tran navigates the push and pull of finding and accepting himself
despite the challenges of immigration, feelings of isolation, and teenage rebellion, all while attempting to meet the rigid expectations set by his immigrant parents.

“My father loved the library because it was a safe haven for him – no missed cultural cues, no bigoted insults from his coworkers, no glaring reminders of what was lost. All patrons of the library were pilgrims to the oracle all seeking the sake thing: knowledge. And in their pursuits of the same thing, they were all equals.”

― Phuc Tran, Sigh, Gone: A Misfit’s Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In

Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath book cover

Red Comet: The Short and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath by Heather Clark

A new biography of Sylvia Plath that focuses on her remarkable
literary and intellectual achievements, while restoring the woman
behind the long-held myths about her life and art.

“What other woman would dare to draw blood with a kiss?” ― Heather Clark, Red Comet

A Delayed Life: The True Story of the Librarian of Auschwitz by Dita Kraus

Dita Kraus grew up in Prague in an intellectual, middle-class Jewish family. She went to school, played with her friends, and never thought of herself as being different—until the advent of the Holocaust. Torn from her home, Dita was sent to Auschwitz with her family. Dita’s
powerful memoir sheds light on an incredible life—one that is delayed no longer.

“No longer do I wait till…till the war ends, till we are liberated, till I marry, till the child is born, till we have more money, till the school year ends, till peace comes…I need not delay anymore; I have caught up with my life.” ― Dita Kraus, A Delayed Life

Why MPPL Staff Love Talia Hibbert

Zoom Program: Meet the author Talia Hibbert, Saturday, July 17 at 11 a.m.

What is it about Talia Hibbert’s books that has won the hearts of our readers’ advisors? Peek over the shoulders of MPPL staff to learn six reasons why they are infatuated, and join us for a live virtual conversation on Saturday, July 17 to hear from the author herself. Can’t wait? Try a reading date with Get a Life, Chloe Brown, the first of the Brown Sisters trilogy, as ebook or e-audio on Hoopla.

Real and Relatable Characters

“I enjoy how real both her male and female characters are. They have many facets to them and they are normal people with things like tough pasts, mental health issues, and/or disabilities, and I find that so refreshing and relatable.”

What We Already Love but More

“I love that the sisters make reappearances throughout the whole trilogy and that there is overall a general kindness to these books even in the enemies-to-lovers trope. Speaking of tropes: Hibbert covers a bunch of them (fake dating, enemies to lovers, person teaching other person to LIVE), but because she has such superb character development and banter between characters it feels like fresh takes on the tropes.”

Ultramodern with Ease

“I liked that the writing was effortlessly contemporary. There are references to social media and other bits of modern life that don’t feel clunky like they sometimes do when an author is trying to seem ‘with it.’ It feels like the author could be writing about her own life — that’s how real the characters, places, and social media bits feel.”

Accessibility and Tone

“A way in for me was when I was trying to stretch my reading, and I was able to do so easily  thanks to the humor and not-often-talked-about issues. I’d probably recommend to a reader looking for a more contemporary/real-life (right now) romance with a bit of humor. I’d definitely mention the fun back and forth/quirkiness between the characters. So romantical!”

Inclusivity

“The book I read had two Black main characters, a bisexual lead, two non-Christian religions, and a mental health subplot, and still managed to be funny and fun to read.”

Delicious Audio Productions

“I love the snappy dialogue, and the audiobooks’ narrators are fabulous!! Yes, I’m swooning!”

Added note: Steamy Encounters 

Talia is renown for romance with lots of sizzle. Whether you are looking for more stories with equal heat or some that lean into slow-burn simmer instead, we can suggest just the right recipe!

New Fiction in July

New Fiction in July

Waves of new books have come in! Featured here is just a small selection. More titles may be found on the New Fiction in July list, or, if those don’t rock your reading boat, we offer personalized suggestions via this form, or feel free to give us a call at 847/590-4070!

razorblade tears book cover

Razorblade Tears by S.A. Crosby

When his son Isiah and Isiah’s white husband, Derek, are murdered, ex-con Ike Randolph bands together with Derek’s father, another ex-con, to rain down vengeance upon those who hurt their boys while confronting their own prejudices about each other and their own sons.

while we were dating book cover

While We Were Dating by Jasmine Guillory

Featuring Ben Stephens, Theo’s brother from The Wedding Party, this charming and hilarious new Romance finds Ben and a famous actress struggling to keep their working relationship strictly professional.


such a quiet place book cover

Such A Quiet Place by Megan Miranda

When the woman implicated in the murder of a couple in their formerly idyllic and close-knit neighborhood returns to Hollow’s Edge, suspicion spreads like a virus and it soon becomes apparent to Harper Nash that not everyone told the truth about the night of the murder.

BONUS: Register to attend Domestic Thriller Night! An Evening with Megan Miranda and Shari Lapena on August 12

china room book cover

China Room by Sunjeez Sahota

Mehar, a young bride in rural 1929 Punjab, is trying to discover the identity of her new husband. Married to three brothers in a single ceremony, she and her now-sisters spend their days hard at work in the family’s “china room,” sequestered from contact with the men – except when their domineering mother-in-law, Mai, summons them to a darkened chamber at night. As the early stirrings of the Indian independence movement rise around her, Mehar must weigh her own desires against the reality – and danger – of her situation.

a woman of intelligence book cover

A Woman of Intelligence by Karin Tanabe

A former translator at the United Nations who has become a bored 1950s housewife is asked to join the FBI as an informant after a man from her past has become a high-level Soviet spy.

the final girl support group book cover

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

A real-life “final girl”–the one girl always left standing at the end of a horror movie, Lynette Tarkington, who survived a massacre 22 years ago, along with five other final girls, works to overcome her past until someone becomes determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece.

Trending Summer Reads for Adults

reading colors your world

Summer Reading is ramping up and trending books have been spotted! Below are some of the titles trending so far. Anything read since June 1st counts towards Summer Reading, sign up or log into Beanstack to join this colorful reading journey.

You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey book cover

You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar

Now a writer and performer on Late Night with Seth Meyers and host of The Amber Ruffin Show, Amber Ruffin lives in New York, where she is no one’s First Black Friend and everyone is, as she puts it, “stark raving normal.” But Amber’s sister Lacey? She’s still living in their home state of Nebraska, and trust us, you’ll never believe what happened to Lacey. From racist donut shops to strangers putting their whole hand in her hair, from being mistaken for a prostitute to being mistaken for Harriet Tubman, Lacey is a lightning rod for hilariously ridiculous yet all-too-real anecdotes.

People we Meet on Vacation book cover

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

With one week to win back the best friend she might just be in love with, a travel writer plans the trip of a lifetime.

magic fish book cover

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen

Real life isn’t a fairytale. But Tien still enjoys reading his favorite stories with his parents from the books he borrows from the local library. It’s hard enough trying to communicate with your parents as a kid, but for Tien, he doesn’t even have the right words because his parents are struggling with their English. Is there a Vietnamese word for what he’s going through? Is there a way to tell them he’s gay?

the midnight library book cover

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. Nora finds herself faced with the possibility of changing her life, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life.

The Guest List book cover

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

An expertly planned celebrity wedding between a rising television star and an ambitious magazine publisher is thrown into turmoil by petty jealousies, a college drinking game, the bride’s ruined dress and an untimely murder.

Anxious People book cover

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Taken hostage by a failed bank robber while attending an open house, eight anxiety-prone strangers—including a redemption-seeking bank director, two couples who would fix their marriages and a plucky octogenarian—discover their unexpected common traits.

House in the Cerulean Sea book cover

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Linus Baker is a by-the-book case worker in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He’s tasked with determining whether six dangerous magical children are likely to bring about the end of the world. Arthur Parnassus is the master of the orphanage. He would do anything to keep the children safe, even if it means the world will burn. And his secrets will come to light. The House in the Cerulean Sea is an enchanting story about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place–and realizing that family is yours.

Becoming book cover

Becoming by Michelle Obama

An intimate memoir by the former First Lady chronicles the experiences that have shaped her remarkable life, from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago through her setbacks and achievements in the White House.

The Thursday Murder Club book cover

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

Meeting weekly in their retirement village’s Jigsaw Room to exchange theories about unsolved crimes, four savvy septuagenarians propose a daring but unorthodox plan to help a woman rookie cop solve her first big murder case.

Vanishing Half book cover

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Twin sisters, inseparable as children, ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.


the wife upstairs book cover

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

Supplementing her modest income by stealing small valuables from her gated-community clients, a broke dog-walker endeavors to win the heart of a wealthy bachelor before learning his late wife’s own rags-to-riches story.

On the Way to the Wedding book cover

On The Way To The Wedding by Julia Quinn

Gregory Bridgerton has fallen head over heels for gorgeous Hermione Watson, despite the fact she is in love with another, and joins forces with Hermione’s best friend, Lady Lucinda Abernathy, to stop the disastrous alliance, but love has its own way of turning everything upside down.

malibu rising book cover

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Four famous siblings throw an epic end-of-summer party that goes dangerously out of control as secrets and loves that shaped this family’s generations come to light, changing their lives forever.

Categories:

Are Helene Wecker Books for You?

If You Liked These, Try Helene Wecker book collage

If you’ve enjoyed one or more of these titles, Helene Wecker’s imaginative storytelling may be a great match for your reading moods. She blends folklore, adventure, historical fiction, romance, and fantasy with lush worldbuilding and contemporary style. Learn even more by listening firsthand to a virtual conversation Tuesday, June 22, at 7pm. It’s the perfect opportunity to be enchanted!

The Golem and the Jinni series is for you if you liked….

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Why? Irresistible tales of real life infused with magic told in rich, lyrical style

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon

Why? Expansive, character-driven stories incorporating both mastery of craft and golem lore

Circe by Madeline Miller

Why? Atmospheric historical fantasy drawing from mythology but translated to innovative frame

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Why? Fantastical epics with mystical soul mates that draw readers in to worlds beyond ours

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

Why? Supernatural characters navigate adventures while discovering their place in our world

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Why? Equal parts history and mind-bending fantasy presented in complex, rewarding style

The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman

Why? Full immersion in historical setting combined with thoughtful reimagining of Jewish folklore

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Why? Enchanted tales inspired by myth from parts of world other than Western Europe

Please join us for an inspiring book conversation:

Helene Wecker program

Stay tuned for more information on our Summer of Author Visits!