South Branch Staff Picks Category: Fiction

Looking to get into the holiday spirit? Check out these book titles!

Whether you are looking for books to help make your holiday special or just hoping to curl up with a good holiday themed book, here are some titles to get you started.


Holiday Crafts by Gini Holland

 

 

 

 

 


Martha Stewart’s Handmade Holiday Crafts: 225 Inspired Projects for Year Round Celebrations

 

 

 

 

Creating Winter Crafts by Dana Meachen Rau

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Nights by Francis Ray, Shirley Hailstock, and Donna Hill

 

 

 

 

 

 


Burning Bright: Four Chanukah Love Stories by Megan Hart, Jennifer Gracen, Stacey Agdern, and KK Hendin

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hark! The Herald Angels Scream: An Anthology edited by Christopher Golden

Scare yourself silly for Halloween

Looking for something to get you in the Halloween mood? Scare up a few of these classics of horror from the Mount Prospect Public Library and get ready for some serious goosebumps. Read/watch  them if you dare!

The Stories of Edgar Allen Poe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ring by Kōji Suzuki

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Books to read if you are soon going to be on island time

The Beach House trilogy by Mary Alice Monroe

All these books are set on the shores of South Carolina and interweave stories of family, love, loss, environmental causes (sea turtles), and friendship. Each can be read on its own or as part of the trilogy. However, for those who enjoy reading books in order, Beach House Memories is actually the prequel to The Beach House. The characters are richly developed and the books well researched, bringing these books to life for readers and engaging them with the story.

Any of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series 

Janet Evanovich’s number series features bounty hunter Stephanie Plum and her always entertaining sidekick Lula, along with a regular cast of characters including her fearless Grandma Mazur, on again/off again boyfriend Joe and the mysterious and sexy Ranger. Her misadventures in tracking down missing criminals and the comic and ridiculous situations she finds herself mixed up in with each book will not win awards for great literature but they are always entertaining and a great quick read for the beach or any summer getaway.

Anything by David Sedaris, but especially….

David Sedaris’s beloved holiday collection, Holidays On Ice, is new again with six more pieces, including a never before published story. Along with such favorites as the diaries of a Macy’s elf and the annals of two very competitive families, are Sedaris’s tales of tardy trick-or-treaters (“Us and Them”); the difficulties of explaining the Easter Bunny to the French (“Jesus Shaves”); what to do when you’ve been locked out in a snowstorm (“Let It Snow”); the puzzling Christmas traditions of other nations (“Six to Eight Black Men”); what Halloween at the medical examiner’s looks like (“The Monster Mash”); and a barnyard secret Santa scheme gone awry (“Cow and Turkey”). Be sure you are up for funny looks from strangers if you read this in public because this collection will make you laugh out loud for sure!

 

 

Books written by parenting bloggers, and in particular:

The Unofficial Guide to Surviving Life with Boys: Hilarious & Heartwarming Stories About Raising Boys from the Boy Mom Squad edited by Tiffany O’Connor & Lyndee Brown is wonderful collection of vignettes will make all parents of boys nod their heads in agreement and for parents of both boys and girls it will make you laugh out loud at the exploits and experiences narrated by this talented group of humorous parenting bloggers. A funny and heartwarming book.

 

 

 

 

For something a little more weighty, yet still engrossing, try best-selling Spanish author Maria Dueñas’ first novel…

In The Time In Between, Sira Quiroga begins life as the daughter of a humble seamstress in Madrid, but bad luck, fate, and the  crooked path toward true love all lead her to a life of dizzying glamour, adventure, and high-stakes espionage. When she is abandoned by her lover in Morocco, she is forced to reinvent herself as a sophisticated dressmaker to the expatriate community during the Spanish civil war. Her work brings her into contact with powerful men, compelling women, and a man she believes to be a journalist and perhaps the love of her life. When the British government asks her to return to Madrid to spy for them, she reluctantly agrees, and in doing so becomes a heroine. The first-person perspective makes this long novel seem short, and the rich narrative includes many important figures and incidents from history.

They have THAT at the library? Cringeworthy book titles

  1. The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

Although the title of this book makes it hard to imagine that it could be taken seriously, in The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning , artist Margareta Magnusson, with Scandinavian humor and wisdom, instructs readers to embrace minimalism. The idea is to clear out unnecessary belongings from your home before others have to do it for you.

  1. Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer

If you thought this title was going to be about farming, you would be mistaken. In this quirky book for pre-teens, author Kelly Jones tackles a serious subject. Sophie Brown has had a series of setbacks and finds herself feeling like a lonely outsider in a new town. Told in letters to Sophie’s abuela, quizzes, a chicken-care correspondence course, to-do lists, and more, Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer is as much a story of grieving and finding your place as it is about poultry.

  1. I Heart My Little A*holes

If you have not read the Baby Sideburns blog on parenting, you are in for a treat. And if you are a faithful reader of Baby Sideburns, you are also in for a treat. A collection of super funny, tell-it-like-it-is blog posts/articles on parenting: the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in between.

  1. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

If you didn’t think you could put swear words in a book title, think again. This book is author Mark Manson’s antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up. Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better.

  1. Book

So, when a book starts out with this in the following paragraph–“So I’ll give it to you straight. This book doesn’t suck”–you know it’s going to be entertaining, especially when it’s from one of America’s funniest actors/comedians, Whoopi Goldberg.

  1. Unwanted Thoughts Syndrome

Seeing the title of this audio book leads you to wonder if there is a new disease out there nobody has ever heard of. In fact, this audiobook by comedian Maria Banford highlights her talents using different voices and personas to share humorous stories and observations on her life.

  1. Boogers Are My Beat

If you go looking for this book the kids’ section of the library, you’re in the wrong place. The author, Dave Barry, does have a number of best-selling children’s books that he co-authored, but this title is for adults and is a hilarious of collection of his nationally syndicated columns that appeared in newspapers throughout the US. We dare you to read it without laughing out loud!

Which Should I Get, the Book or the Movie?

One Shot vs. Jack Reacher

Both the book, One Shot, and the movie, Jack Reacher, are entertaining fast paced thrillers that will keep you glued to the page or the screen. But, for fans of the Lee Child series of Jack Reacher books, Tom Cruise does not make a very believable Jack Reacher, mainly because he’s way too short and not bulked up enough to fit the image fans of the book will have of this character. But he’s certainly cocky enough and if you haven’t read the books, you’ll enjoy his performance and will absolutely love Robert Duvall in the role of the gun shop owner, Martin Cash. Fans of the Jack Reacher books will most likely prefer the book over the movie, as I did, but the movie doesn’t disappoint so for a good escapist movie that’s sure to entertain, grab it next time you head over to the library.

Howl's Moving Castle book coverHowl’s Moving Castle

Rumors and secrets abound in the twisted, magical world of Sophie, the sassy, self-deprecating young hat-maker who leaves her quiet life behind to unravel the complicated web of curses that have turned her into an old woman, rather prematurely. As beloved as the 1986 original by Diana Wynne Jones may be, all ages will fall under the spell the unforgettable characters in Sophie’s journey in the 2004 adaptation by director Hayao Miyazaki in the lush and colorful signature style of Studio Ghibli.

Bridges of Madison County

One of my favorite books is The Bridges of Madison County. The book gave a much more in-depth view of the relationship between Francesca and Robert, but the movie did a very good job of telling story as well. Of course, I will never read the book again without adding Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood’s face to every page!!! Though for sure I wouldn’t mind if Robert Redford played the role of Robert.

 

Everything Everything

Being a hopeless romantic, I could not help but add much more of my own emotions to every sentence of the book which made it that much more heartfelt. Even though the movie hit all the important parts of the story line, watching these two young adults fall in love against the wishes of a parent who wants nothing more than to keep her child safe leaves a lot less to the imagination. Whichever journey you would like to embark on, book or movie, you won’t be dissatisfied.

The Longest Ride

 
Hold on to your hats, as this book takes you not only through one journey but two. Pay attention as we rarely notice when people come into our lives who may change our future. Like many other movies, this one follows the book fairly well, but one cannot help but to read between the lines and allow our imaginations to soar, which is something that cannot be done when we sit in front of a screen.
 

 
Wonder
 
I enjoyed the Wonder book over the movie because I felt the movie missed many important details from the book. The movie felt a bit incomplete to me because of this. The book brought out more emotions than the movie did.
 
 
 
 
The Fault in Our Stars
 
The movie was just beautiful from beginning to end. It is always nice to see a love story play out on the big screen. I fell in love with the characters and the ending still broke my heart in the same way that the book did.
 

 

 

Thin 

Documentarian Lauren Greenfield offers a harrowing look into the lives of eating disorder patients receiving inpatient treatment in her documentary and photobook both titled Thin. As insightful as the documentary is, the photobook offers further interviews with both teens and adult women suffering from addiction and disordered eating. While it is a grim subject to cover, Greenfield’s photos and interviews display the full spectrum of emotions and challenges women face regarding their bodies and life as a woman.