Claire

About Claire

Slices of yellow Kraft cheese give me the creeps, though I am partial to the neon cheese that movie nachos come with. I am a vegan wannabe, but will forgo my ideals for a humanely raised moo-moo burger. Sports of all kinds catch my fancy, but I bleed Red for Liverpool FC.

The Other Americans by Laila Lalami

Book– One critic described The Other Americans and National Book Award Finalist work as, “the next great American classic.”

Nora, a jazz composer, returns to her small desert town of Mojave, California following the news that her father Driss was killed. She informs Detective Coleman she doesn’t believe his death was an accident. An undocumented witness’s reluctance to come forward causes complications. Maryam, Nora’s mother, still pines for another life, while her sister struggles to keep up the facade of the successful daughter, living the “good” life. Nora’s encounters with former school mates, one a former Iraq War veteran, lead to unexpected consequences.     

Written by Laila Lalami in first-person perspectives The Other Americans is a timely, brilliant novel of fiction and mystery, giving depth and voice to characters as diverse as the people of this country. I am kicking myself for not having read this sooner. You will, too.

Celebrating LGBTQIA+

eBooks and eAudiobooks–June is a nationwide celebration of the authors and writings that reflect the lives and experiences of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, pansexual, genderqueer, queer, intersex, agender, and asexual community. We have a diverse array of titles from these authors to choose from!

Released earlier this March, The Amber Garden is the last installment in the The Alchemist’s Council trilogy. Adults, now is a great time to lose yourself in these books featuring an ancient manuscript, bees, secrets, a Rebel Branch and the anti-heroine, Jaden navigating the complex world of otherworldly dimensions and of course, fighting evil.

Cover image for Like a Love Story

Young adults will be swept in Abdi Nazemian’s Like A Love Story. It’s 1989 and Reza is living in the queer community of NYC. The story of his friendships leaves us feeling hopeful, amid the hate and discrimination of the times.

 

Cover image for The Best at It

The Best At It by Maulik Pancholy features 12-year-old Rahul trying to fit in and doing so takes courage. This eAudiobook will touch, and inspire, you; make you laugh and have you rooting for Rahul all the way!

 

Check out these titles and much more with your Warrenville Public Library Card, available on Hoopla and Overdrive!

Celebrating Asian and Pacific Heritage Month

eBooks— May is Asian and Pacific Heritage Month and to celebrate, I have goodies!

Cover image for Oceanic

In these strange and uncertain times, there is no shortage emotions of what we feel from one day to the next. Reconnecting with life outside of our self and our devices to the natural world is now a driving need. Oceanic by Aimee Nezhukumatathil  is a collection of free and formal poems that appeal to our different moods especially, as we vigorously seek to fulfill a desire for connectedness. She uses simple, but alluring imagery, observing life’s details.

TheseCover image for Go Home! times have also set off waves of of anti-Asian xenophobia, discrimination and violence amid cities and communities where generations of Americans have long held jobs, businesses and homes. Go Home! is a anthology featuring fiction, memoir and poetry from a diverse group of Asian writers who explore what home is and what it means in the 21st century. This dynamic work meaningfully and poignantly reflects how we identify ourselves in the world and at home.

Oceanic and Go Home are available on Hoopla.

I Am A Filipino and This Is How We Cook by Nicole Ponseca

Cover image for I Am a FilipinoBook – I would have picked up I Am A Filipino and This Is How We Cook-even if I wasn’t Filipina, because beautiful cookbooks are a weakness of mine. But because I am Filipina, I was Asian-duty honor-bound to check it out, especially since I cannot claim to have cooked a Filipino dish that would pass as edible. I blame my father, who just so happens is an amazing cook. He dominated the kitchen. Growing up, when I attempted “cooking,” Helicopter Dad With The Ever-so-critical Eye surfaced when I was at the stove like a slow-moving, creepy shadow. Asian men are not known for their communication skills and even less so for their patience.The cooking gods must have felt for me, because lo, here is a book for me and those who love to cook and/or eat Asian food!

Most of the recipes are simple! The cookbook includes the traditional Filipino dish Pansit (similar to Chinese Lo Mein), lumpia (spring rolls) and adobo dishes that the kitchen-challenged like myself, can make!

I Am A Filipino and This Is How We Cook is available for check out in print and on Hoopla in eBook format.

Quiet Space and a Fireplace

Need a digital detox, breather or place to enjoy blissful silence? You’ll love the Quiet Room nestled behind our Adult Services Desk near our magazine section. Here we have cozy reading chairs and desks for studying and working (if you must!). Come for a short retreat to read, meditate or write in your journal. Or, stay for a long while to ponder the marvels of the universe. Complementing the space is our beautiful dual-sided fireplace, which we operate during the colder months. Keep Calm and Quiet On!

Speaking of Summer by Kalisha Buckhanon

Book – Speaking of Summer is the character driven story by Kalisha Buckhanon told from Cover image for Speaking of SummerAutumn Spencer’s perspective of her missing twin sister, Summer. Autumn embarks on a lonely, determined, and obsessive journey to discover the truth of what happened. We learn of the sisters’ upbringing in small town Illinois and their eventual journey to New York and the unsettling reality of what happens and doesn’t happen, to missing women.

When news of a serial killer who once lived in her Harlem neighborhood surfaces, Autumn delves deeper into whether Summer was one of his victims, or if she fled, wanting to leave love and loss behind her forever. Broken up into four seasons, Speaking of Summer goes by quickly if you are not paying attention. Who survives and how, are a few of the questions revealed in this intriguing tale. Despite minor and easily forgettable literary lapses, Buckhanon writes a beautiful, compelling and poignant story.

Tired of Winter? Check out Speaking of Summer on Hoopla.

 

 

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Okinyan Braithwaite

Cover image for My sister, the serial killer : a novelBook – Author Oyinkan Braithwaite’s short and dark comedy features two sisters, Ayoola and Korede. The former can’t help but kill off boyfriends with her father’s 8-inch blade, while the latter helps clean up crime scenes and dispose of the bodies. Korede, the troubled narrator, is the head nurse at St. Peter’s Hospital, the elder and keeper of her younger, dispassionate and talented sister. Life in Lagos, Nigeria is especially difficult for women, and less so for men like the sisters’ father, who may or may not have been killed by Ayoola’s hand.

Braithwaite’s prose is unlike those of conventional whodunnits, and therefore may not appeal to mystery lovers and likely challenge those looking to lose one’s self in a book. My Sister, the Serial Killer is driven by vivid portraits of strong, female characters and brilliant storytelling. This is Braithwaite’s first novel, which readers can easily imagine crafted into a feature film.

Death and Other Holidays by Marci Vogel

Cover image for Death and other holidaysBook- This small book does not do much to answer the heavy handed “why’s” of death or delve into the existential. Death is not a tall, dark hooded figure carrying a sickle. There is not grand act of closure, nor will you be find a Steven Spielberg ending. And, those are all good things, as far as this novella is concerned.

Our protagonist of Death and Other Holidays is twenty-something April. She narrates her experiences, particularly two losses over the course of a year, month by month and splits her story into seasons. The chapters are tiny, nevertheless Vogel moves April’s story forward seamlessly, similarly in language that moves effortlessly. We experience those poignant moments in which she describes how her best friend Libby moves forward in her life, and despite her acute grief – the difference between what makes for passing the time and what may be a true encounter of love.

April’s story is not bogged down by the superfluous, but described in candid moments, such as the ones we miss. If you are a fast-paced reader, this is not be the book for you. This is one you take in to navigate the sad, the joy, and the hope.

Killing Eve (2018)

Image result for killing eveTV Series – The show’s slow simmer doesn’t take long to come to a flambé. The BBC’s Killing Eve stars Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy) as Eve, the MI-5 Security Officer who longs for the thrill of the spy life. Eve gets more than she bargained for when the charismatic, charming, psychotic/sociopath Villanelle, played by British actress Jodi Comer (Doctor Foster), goes about her merry way across Europe savoring the killings she is assigned to…and not. The two become obsessed in a catch-me-if-you-can game, admiring the other’s intellect, wit, life and identity.

The screenplay is written by Fleabag‘s clever Phoebe Waller-Bridge, whose compelling characters we can’t turn away from. She does not rush to get through the story, which is well-paced, but I dare you not to binge this series. To boot, the action rounds out the show, so there is no lull or dull moment to be had. Top all of that with fantastic acting from both female leads and you will wish there were more shows like this.

Season 2, commissioned before the first season ended is due out later this year. Check out Season 1 located in our New Adult TV Series on DVD!

Sweet Home Cafe Cookbook by Albert G. Lukas and Jessica B. Harris

Cover image for Sweet Home Cafe cookbook : a celebration of African American cookingBook – Not all cookbooks are created equal. The Sweet Home Cafe Cookbook is published by the Smithsonian Institution, so you will be educated as you cook. Cooking and becoming smarter go hand-in-hand! Most of the recipes are accompanied by a beautiful color photo and are elegant enough for the seasoned chef, but are also reader-friendly: easy to follow, concise, and do not scare off cooking newbies.

Recipes from the cafe fall under three categories: classic, regional, and modern. And in each corner of the page, we are unobtrusively informed of what area or region, such as the Agricultural South, the food originated from. Black and white photographic images of subjects ranging from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee at a restaurant in Georgia, to a full-service vendor standing in front of his sign serving Po-Boy fruit and the ‘Best’ shoe shine in New Orleans, or an owner and a patron in his barbecue joint in Harlem, enriches readers and/or would-be cooks of the Black Diaspora.

One of my favorite characteristics of this cookbook is how recipes call for a “pinch” of this or that. My favorite recipes? Fried Green Tomatoes, Grilled Snapper with Creole sauce, and Son-of-A-Gun Stew. For the health-conscious, try recipes for: Baby Kale Salad; Collard, Tomato & Cashew Stew; or Pan-Roasted Rainbow Trout. Bakers can’t go wrong with Bourbon Pecan Pie or Fried Apple Hand Pies. What long days (or weeks) or hot summer afternoons (or nights), couldn’t be cured by a Hibiscus & Ginger Sweet Tea, or a Sparkling Watermelon & Lemon Verbena drink?