Mount Prospect, you’ve been reading, and we’ve been talking! Every week we have been extending an open invitation for readers to gather and share the books keeping them company in these odd times. We’ve chatted romance, dark fantasy, nonfiction, mysteries, feel-good, horror, and elegant prose. Check out the titles brought by our attendees, and please consider joining us for this week’s conversation: Let’s Talk Books!
Do you long for books that might quiet your mind, excite the eye, or take on real life? Available with little or no wait, this week’s staff ebook suggestions spotlight thoughtful, personal stories of different moods, and each can be checked out from the Library’s digital services. Now’s a great time to try something new!
Elinor Lipman writes engaging and optimistic novels that are light but also thought-provoking. In The View from Penthouse B, a unique set of roommates navigate New York City as they work through unexpected personal transitions. ~Nancy
There is poetry to this prose, and I wouldn’t have expected to say that about an odd-couple pairing set in the realities of the Old West. This story is rich in local color, laconic yet tough characters, and slice-of-life dialogue. Even only a few pages in, I couldn’t escape echoes of classic American authors such as Ambrose Bierce and Bret Harte. ~Cathleen
Littered with 90s pop-culture references and puns, live vicariously through comedian Mamrie Hart’s over-the-top absurd adventures as she creates a fun time out of almost any situation. Includes a built in drinking game! ~Jenny
Filled with B-horror movie and pulp monster iconography, the diary of ten-year-old Karen Reyes records her investigation into the murder of her upstairs neighbor Anka Silverberg, a Holocaust survivor (from NoveList) ~Chelsea
August returns home to Brooklyn for her father’s funeral and explores powerful memories of growing up in the 1970s; this gorgeously written book explores family dynamics, adolescent friendship, joy, and regret. ~Nancy
An intimate look at one family’s journey from war-torn Vietnam to new lives in America. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family (from publisher’s description) ~Chelsea
Setting boundaries with others is a struggle for many, and people of faith have a tendency to believe saying yes no matter what is an act of service. This longtime bestseller challenges readers to acknowledge self-destructive patterns and identify healthier choices. ~Cathleen
One of the booming arenas of publishing, YA Lit is relatable, well-paced, and offers all the feels. Many stories tackle issues squarely, but in a hopeful way, which makes them an appealing reading choice no matter if your teen years are far behind you. Choose from these hand-picked favorites available on OverDrive or Hoopla, and don’t miss previous staff recommendations for what to read, watch, or listen from home. Looking for something to match a specific mood or interest? Send a request for customized suggestions, and our expert advisory staff will be happy to make your match.
Don’t Get Caught by Kurt Dinan
A motley group of uncool kids are set up by a secret society known as the Chaos Club, so they band together and instigate a prank war. With short chapters, high energy, and the mix of shadowy conspiracy with underdog tale, this is a winner for a variety of teen and adult readers. ~Cathleen
Reading the pages of Gabi’s journal is a gut-punch. On the cusp of adulthood, navigating body shaming, racism, and finding her own voice along with the joys that come from learning how to celebrate yourself and what you love in life, Gabi is a character you’ll want to keep rooting for. ~Jenny
I love books that oscillate between different characters so I get multiple points of view. Let Me Hear a Rhyme highlights three high school students as they work to honor their murdered friend by making him a rap celebrity. Fast paced, full of secrets, and heavy with friendship.. ~Al
I usually give wide berth to stories about boxing, but this tale of a bullied cartoonist in Nazi-era Berlin taking lessons from German national hero Max Schmeling completely won me over. A crowd-pleasing underdog story against backdrop of art, history, and family. ~Cathleen
Sadie attempts to get over her epic heartbreak over her best friend in this satisfying, humorous, uplifting read that is great for fans of Sarah Dessen! The overall hopeful tone of the book paired with Sadie’s dogged attempt to move on makes this book one of my personal favorites. ~Jenny
Looking for a book that’ll keep you turning the pages until the very end? After the Fire is it! Not for the feint of heart, this twisty, turny, thriller escape plot will keep you engaged the entire time. ~Al
Endearing Jesobel presents as a young woman who knows who she is and what she has to offer, and it’s only when faced with a new crush that her self-assurance begins to erode. British teens, sassy dialogue, and friends who love enough to call each other on their stuff — this is a recipe for an entertaining read. ~Cathleen
Want great listens to immerse you in new stories? TrySYNC, a free summer audiobook program that gives away two themed titles each week for downloading. These are top-quality productions featuring standout performances, and though the design is to encourage literacy and listening in teens across the country, adults and families find ready entertainment, too!
Are you longing for story but finding it difficult to sink into a full-length book? You might find what you are looking for in comics and graphic novels! Drama, action, history, humor, fantasy, memoir, and romance are all on offer in a medium that combines art and language to deliver absorbing tales. Today our readers’ advisory staff spotlight their favorite selections available to you through the Library’s digital services, so you can sample without delay. Don’t forget to visit previous staff recommendations for what to read, watch, or listen to from home, and you are enthusiastically invited to request customized suggestions for titles in OverDrive or Hoopla might be a perfect match for your current mood.
New Kid by Jerry Craft
This tender-hearted graphic novel will touch anyone who has had to start over somewhere. 7th grader Jordan is forced to go to a new private school instead of art school like he so desires. During his first year at the school, he has to figure out ways to fit in, combat prejudice, and continue with art. This is a poignant, piercing story with amazing artistry, totally able to be binged in one sitting. ~Al N. (also recommended by Kelda and Cathleen)
Sagaby Brian K. Vaughn, illustrated by Fiona Staples
A series to get hooked on and there are plenty of volumes to keep you going. Get lost in the chase to hunt down these outlaws: a couple of star-crossed lovers (and baby makes three). Many adventures and thrills across various worlds in this literal sweeping saga. ~Chelsea
A vivid narrative of abuse, survival, and resilience, this is one woman’s story of her experience with and survival of the Canadian residential schools that First Nations children were forced to attend. ~Allison L.
Unrelenting optimism, faith in the goodness of others, healthy body positivity, and a cheerful sense of duty. This series is more than a bit silly, but that’s part of its charm – and all the more welcome in days such as these. ~Cathleen
The succinct writing and illustrations puts a spotlight on Kaye’s vulnerability in sharing her transition in this illustrated memoir. Her focused chronicles of such a personal experience offer a chance to relate and/or bear witness to another person’s trials and happy moments during a pivotal period. ~Jenny
As one of the characters testifies, this is a story “about life…but death has a big part in it,” but don’t let that keep you away. It is fantastical, heart-wrenching, and surprisingly uplifting, and the ethereal, meditative nature needs to be experienced to be truly appreciated. ~Cathleen
Man-Eaters by Chelsea Cain, illustrated by Kate Niemczyk
One of my favorite satirical comics, Man-Eaters turns young women into cats, cats that men greatly fear. If you like satire and content that at the same time doesn’t take itself too seriously while also revealing more serious lessons about society, give this a try! ~Al N. (also recommended by Chelsea)
There are times when we read for escapism, but there is equal interest in reading to help make sense of the unexpected in life, of what doesn’t turn out as we believe it might when we are children. This is one of those stories. ~Cathleen