Love Is in the Air on Sweetest Day!

Books—Sweetest Day is coming up. What better way to spend the day than catching up on stories of star-crossed lovers!

An adventure in fake-dating gone viral is the premise of Take a Hint, Dani Brown. In The Bride Test, Khai’s autism prompts his mom to go to Vietnam and find him a wife. Neurosurgeon Dr. Trisha Raje’s family inserts themselves into her would-be love life in Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors.

The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics is replete with a tale of old lovers and sabotage. A tumultuous love affair is brewing in The Girl He Used To Know, where we find Annika, an English major at the U of I, who eventually moves to Chicago to live as a librarian.

In the titular The Overdue Life of Amy Byler, Amy confronts gut-wrenching choices. Things heat up in Red, White & Royal Blue amid a transcontinental secret affair! A small town’s renaissance faire is the setting of Well Met, where Emily and Simon wonder if they will find one another interesting after ditching the costumes and cosplay.

Help yourself to these great finds on Hoopla! A romantic comedy with a sci-fi twist? Check out The A.I. Who Loved Me. Fans of Shall We Dance will be charmed with Finding Your Feet. Find out if a secret relationship is more dangerous than a derby track in Roller Girl. Hoopla and OverDrive downloads are free with your WPLD library card.

Come in to browse for your next romance read during Grab & Go hours or place a hold for pick up in the library or through Curbside Pickup service. Need a suggestion? Stop by, call or email the Adult Services Desk. 630/393-1171 x121 adultservices@warrenvillecom.

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Book– The Dutch House is the latest novel by Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto and Commonwealth. The Dutch House follows siblings Danny and Maeve Conroy as they navigate a complicated childhood that includes a mysterious, absent mother, a distant but loving father, and a stereotypical evil stepmother straight out of a fairytale. At the center is the “Dutch House,” a beautiful, extravagant, old home where the siblings grew up. The house and the events that transpire reverberate with, and profoundly shape, the siblings’ adulthood.

This is my first Ann Patchett novel. I admire her confidence, which expresses itself in the controlled and well-structured narrative. The Dutch House is not action-packed, but builds its strength on the insights of family, memory, loss and the power of a place. Recommended for fans of contemporary and domestic fiction, The Dutch House is available for digital download, in Large and regular print, and audiobook, narrated by Tom Hanks!

The Conscious Closet by Elizabeth L. Cline

Cover image for The conscious closet : the revolutionary guide to looking good while doing goodBook-  Forget what you knew about clothes. Elizabeth L. Cline’s The Conscious Closet: The Revolutionary Guide to Looking Good While Doing Good is an important read for the socially, environmentally and economically-conscious and those aspiring to be. Moved to change my retail-consumption ways, I sought out this book thinking it would help me revamp my wardrobe. I grossly underestimated the author’s breadth of knowledge. My clothes were made in China (these days Bangladesh, Thailand or Vietnam). This didn’t mean much, so I cared even less, because they were cheap and came from that online warehouse or Target. Fabric? Unless it was wool or cashmere, meh. Microplastics in clothing and laundry? What’s to think about? Lots, it turns out.

I realize how embarrassingly uninformed I was about my clothing and the people in faraway places making them, least of all how my ignorance that perpetuated a cycle of wasted (literal watts of) energy, money, and environmental pollution. Cline’s extensive research and statistical data on the garment industry, labor practices and carbon emissions do not overwhelm, or obscure the book’s readability. Quite the contrary, they bolster her credibility.

We are not lectured to, or made feel bad out our previous wayward ways. Cline equips readers with information, such as fashion-conscious companies who source materials ethically and uphold the Support Living Wages pledge. This book will change your perspective on practices you thought were simply ordinary, such as doing your laundry.

Hoopla Audiobooks

HooplaAudiobook-I started listening to audiobooks on Hoopla since I became a member of the Warrenville Public Library District in 2014. Since we are all at home staying safe during the Covid-19 pandemic, I am listening to my favorite genre romance almost daily. It is easy enough to use headphones when my husband needs quiet for business calls, but materials on Hoopla can also be streamed thru Amazon devices, such as the Firestick or Echo. I found myself watching far too much when the quarantine began and now, I listen in while coloring, painting, woodworking, on walks, relaxing on the deck, or cooking dinner. Hoopla is a great way to get entertainment hands-free; not be stuck to the couch for days on end, and makes it easy to search for your special interest. There is something for everyone. I stick to romances, which is what makes this gal tick.

I recently listened to the Cascadia Wolves, and the Diablo Lake, series by Lauren Dane. Both of the adult-content series include:  magic, werewolves, witches, big cats, alpha men, and romance. If you have little people, consider using headphones while listening.

That Boy by Jillian Dodd is family-friendly, happy, fun romance series of a girl and her neighbor growing up together. The stories reminded me of when I first met my husband.

Materials on Hoopla are available with your Warrenville Public Library Card 24/7!

The Dog (2013)

Movie – In 1972 John Wojtowicz held up a branch of the Chase Manhattan bank in Brooklyn in order, he said, to get money to pay for his wife Eddie’s sex change operation. Through the course of the day he argued with the police, ordered a pizza and tipped several thousand dollars for it, drew so much attention that local news switched from Richard Nixon’s reelection campaign to cover the story, and eventually got what he wanted – almost $250,000 and Eddie on a plane to Denmark. Unfortunately you’d have to pay actual money to stream Dog Day Afternoon, the Oscar-winning Al Pacino movie about this iconic moment in gay history, but you can watch The Dog, the documentary about the real John Wojtowicz, on Hoopla.

As documentaries do, The Dog takes this unconventional but ultimately optimistic Robin Hood love story and complicates it. John only rarely refers to Liz Eden (neé Eddie) as “she,” which is increasingly uncomfortable the better we get to know her, and Liz describes how John threatened to kill her when she left him. John himself admits to being a controlling, alpha-male chauvinist. And yet you can see how he had a string of wives, legal and common-law, male and female. He’s charismatic and compelling, even at his most pathetic: out of prison, living with his mother, his only source of income posing for photos wearing a shirt that reads “I Robbed This Bank.” He adores his mother and dotes on his disabled younger brother. You don’t want to like the guy, but you almost can’t help it.

This is a great documentary about a fascinating person – not a good person by any means, but a fascinating one – who somehow managed to upstage the entire New York City gay community in being flashy and outrageous.

[Content warnings for frank and explicit discussions of sexuality, period-typical slurs and transphobia, and plenty of working-class-Brooklyn-typical foul language]

Parasite (2019)

Cover image for Kisaengch'ung = ParasiteFilm- By now you’ve heard of Parasite, the South Korean film that won four statuettes at the 2020 Academy Awards, in addition to numerous other accolades throughout the 2019-2020 awards season. In addition to Bong Joon-ho won winning the Oscar for Best Director, Parasite became the first film in a foreign language to snag the Oscar for Best Picture. Parasite focuses on two families whose financial situations are extreme opposites. The Kim family are all  unemployed and live in a semi-basement, scraping by, making their living folding pizza boxes for a local restaurant. The wealthy Park family, live in a beautiful home and can afford hired help, such as a housemaid, chauffeur and private tutors for their children. By a stroke of good luck, an educated friend of Ki-woo (son in the Kim family) recommends him an English tutor job for the Park’s teenage daughter, Da-hye. From there, through deception and intricate planning, each member of the Kim family gains employment within the Park family, while keeping their familial ties a secret. Everything goes smoothly…for a while, at least. To say more would spoil a film full of twists and startling revelations.

Parasite is successful, nail-biting work of suspense and a reflection on the gulf between the “haves” and “have-nots,” a theme that feels as relevant here in the United States, as it does in South Korea. There are moments of humor and discomfort throughout the film which will no doubt speak to audiences all over the world. As Bong Joon-ho said at the Golden Globes: “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” Parasite is definitely one of those films.

Missing A Wedding This Summer?

DVDs and eVideos – The pandemic upended many happy couples’ would-be nuptials this summer. If you are staying indoors to beat the heat, check out one of our wedding movies guaranteed to make you laugh and cry. While dramatizations will never replace the experience of witnessing friends and loved ones exchange vows at a wedding, or commitment, ceremony they do provide much-needed escape and entertainment from the stresses of every day life, especially during these times.

Rivalry and romance between college friends set the tone for The Best Man Holiday; Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) are forced to reconcile with life’s realities after getting married in Love Is Strange; adventures of love abound Chicago-style in My Big Fat Greek Wedding and My Best Friend’s Wedding; love goes international to Greece in Mama Mia and Ireland in Leap Year; it’s all about the fun in Bride Wars and Bridesmaids; things heat up in Miami for Robin Williams and Nathan Lane in The Bird Cage, and life gets apocalyptic for Kristen Dunst in Melancholia.

An Italian-style reunion stirs up trouble in Kiss The Bride. One of the partners of a Manhattan is forced into a marriage of convenience in The Wedding Banquet, directed by Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain, Life of Pi, Gemini Man). Both films are available on Hoolpla.

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.

The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali

The Stationery ShopBook-The Stationery Shop is a story of love that blossoms in 1953 Tehran. Roya and Bahman both 17, meet at Mr. Fakhri’s stationery shop, which has much more than paper and writing instruments. The owner stocks foreign language titles and books of poetry & is a refuge from the political unrest in the area. A coup to unseat the newly elected prime minister and give power back to the Shah of Iran causes tension and violence. Bahman is passionate about fighting for democracy and Roya’s father shares a similar political ideology. After meeting in the shop weekly, the couple fall in love and become engaged, despite the fierce displeasure of Bahman’s mother. Soon afterwards, Bahman and his family disappear. Heartbroken, Roya enlists the help of Mr. Fakhri who agrees to exchange letters between the two lovers, though he cannot reveal Bahman’s location. Through their correspondence, the couple decide to elope and meet in Sepah Square. Roya waits, but Bahman never arrives. Further communication reveals that Bahman has agreed to an arranged marriage with another. Having lost the love of her life and through the encouragement of her father, Roya and her sister Zari seize the opportunity for a university education in the United States. Fast forward to Roya at age 77, who is settled in America with an American husband. By chance, she discovers that Bahman is living in a retirement home nearby and decides to confront him. Misunderstandings and secrets are revealed, as the couple attempt to piece together their past.

This is a wonderful, historical story that moves at a leisurely pace. The novel depicts Iranian life in the 1950s, is rich with culture, and is punctuated with references to the comforts of Persian food.

The Stationary Shop is available in print and audiobook for checkout.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Cover image for The Kiss QuotientBook–Looking for an unexpected steamy romance? Look no further than The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang.

Stella’s experience with numbers led her to financial success. In the dating scene, however, she could use a little help. Stella has Asperger’s, which makes her feel slightly awkward when it comes to French kissing, romance and sex. She acknowledges the need to gain skills in that area and decides that sexy escort, Michael Phan is the best way to get started. Stella hires Michael to teach her how to kiss, along with a checklist of other sexual activities to prepare her for the dating world. She is determined to learn all there is to know, no strings attached, so her best option is a professional who knows exactly what he’s doing.

Stella’s request is very different than most of Michael’s clients, but he takes the job. Both are surprised to discover the partnership that develops between tutor and student. Funny, steamy and everything in between, this is a cute romance I read in one sitting and loved from start to finish.

The Kiss Quotient is available for digital download in eBook or eAudiobook through Hoopla Digital and Overdrive eMediaLibrary.