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.

Do-It-Yourself Storytimes

Do your kids miss listening to books, learning new rhymes, and singing and dancing at Library storytimes? Our Do-It-Yourself Storytimes are the perfect way for parents to help their young children dream themselves into another place in the universe, go on adventures and learn a few new things about the world all from the comfort of home.

  Our DIY Storytimes include themed reading and listening resources from Hoopla, OverDrive, Tumblebooks and other online sites so that the fun and learning can go on, even while our building is closed. The best part for parents? You can share these stories with your kids at a time that’s convenient to you and at your own pace. You can also pick and choose what elements to include based on your child’s interests and comprehension levels.

Here is a list of DIY Storytimes with links to their resources:

Miss Diana’s Toddler Time
Snuggle Up
Rabbits
Art
Dragons
Poetry
Earth Care
Jungle Fun Storytime and Rhyme Time
Under the Sea Storytime and Rhyme Time

More DIY Storytimes are listed under Programs On Demand at warrenville.com. 

If you have any questions, please contact our Youth Services Desk at 630/393-1171 x124 or youthservices@warrenville.com. 

Books on App

Thanks to Goodreads, our Books on App monthly book discussion is the next best thing to meeting at the local tap house to share thoughts on the pick of the month.

Goodreads is a free social media site that allows readers to connect with each other and share book recommendations, ratings and reviews. Each month we will select a book to read and post discussion questions related to the book on Goodreads.

The discussions are open until the end of each month, so you can read the book and contribute to the discussion on your own time. Books are available digitally through Hoopla or OverDrive/Libby with your WPLD library card. Non-members can participate but will need to secure the book through other sources.

All you need to participate in the conversation is a Goodreads account. Once you have created a Goodreads account, search for “WPLD Books on App” or simply follow this link to join: WPLD Books on App. 

Our book for July is Coraline by Neil Gaiman. Get more information about Books on App in our Events Calendar. Find Coraline in our catalog.

Make Books on App a part of your summer reading adventure—in July and August you can add these titles to your reading logs and participate in our Read for a Cause summer reading event.

August’s Books on App selection is Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt.

We hope to see you in Goodreads!

Rick Riordan Presents

Books – Calling all Percy Jackson fans! Are you ready to try a new mythological adventure? Rick Riordan has an imprint of books labeled “Rick Riordan Presents” highlighting great middle grade books based on culture and mythology from around the world.

Aru Shah and the End of Time

Hindu Mythology- Aru makes a dangerous mistake trying to impress her classmates and releases an ancient evil into the world. Aru journeys to find the legendary Pandava brothers; the only ones who can stop it!

The Storm Runner

Mayan Mythology- Zane has always been drawn to hiking the local dormant volcano, despite the challenges he faces having only one good leg. Little does he know, the volcano is actually an entrance to another world, where he has much more power than he realizes.

Dragon Pearl

Korean Mythology- Min wants nothing more than to join the space forces and explore worlds, but she must hide her inherited fox magic. Her brother mysteriously disappears, bringing her face to face with ghosts, pirates and magic.

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe

Cuban Mythology- How did a chicken get into Yasmany’s locker?! Travel through time and space with Sal and Gabi, as they try to avoid breaking the universe!

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

African Mythology- After Tristan accidentally punches a hole into the Midpass, he joins African American gods in a dangerous battle and barters with the trickster, Anansi.

Race to the Sun

Navajo Mythology- When Nizhoni’s dad sends her a message that says “Run!”, she must connect with her Navajo heritage on a rescue mission, against the ancient monsters after completing dangerous trials based in nature.

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears

Based on the Mexican legend of La Llorona- available in August 2020!

The Green Mile (1999)

DVD – The Green Mile is outstanding. Released in 1999 some would say it’s an oldie, but it’s definitely a goodie. Based on the book of the same name by Stephen King, the movie is full of varying emotions.

The lives of the guards on Death Row are the starting point of the movie. As time passes, they Cover image for The green mileacquire a new inmate- a tall, stocky man who is charged with the rape and murder of two young girls, appears to be uneducated, yet seems to have a mysterious and special gift. With this he is able to help others, including the guards. What happens during his time on the Green Mile and will he be exonerated before his execution?

Lead actor Tom Hanks is perfectly suited for his role as a Prison Guard. His body and facial expressions, aided by the script will have you crying until your eyes are too puffy to watch anymore. This movie has made me wonder about the reality of life on death row and whether there is a correlation to what inmates and guards do (or don’t), on a daily basis. The Green Mile can be summarized in these words: emotional and thought-provoking.

The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake

Cover image for Last True Poets of the Sea, TheBook- Sixteen year old Violet is spending the summer in Lyric, Maine the town founded by her ancestors, following her brother’s suicide attempt and struggles with her unstable, hard-partying lifestyle. While staying with her uncle and working at the local aquarium, Violet meets Orion and is attracted to his intelligence and devotion to marine life. Through Orion, Violet befriends other local teens, including Liv, whose fascination with Lyric’s history is the basis for another powerful and complex relationship. While navigating her new friendships and complicated past, Violet also embarks on a mission to find the sunken Lyric, a legendary shipwreck of which Violet’s great-great-great grandmother was the sole survivor.

The Last True Poets of the Sea is a re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, but also a coming-of-age romance and adventure story that examines identity, family dynamics and mental illness. The complex exploration of important issues makes this a young adult novel that many adults of all ages will appreciate.

The Last True Poets of the Sea is available now on eAudiobook for instant download on Hoopla.

 

Pride Viewing

Movies – June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month, and to celebrate, here are some excellent documentaries you can watch to learn a little more about the community.

We Were Here – The AIDS crisis was the last great pandemic in the US, before the current crisis, but the stigma and prejudice associated with HIV left the full impact invisible to many people. This award-winning documentary interviews five individuals who played meaningful roles during the epidemic in San Francisco, including a political activist, a nurse, and a flower seller who supplied flowers to the overwhelming number of funerals.

(A)sexual – This documentary offers a personal look at asexuality, one of the lesser-known and most misunderstood orientations. What’s it like to be attracted to no one at all, when so much of society revolves around who you’re attracted to? What does sexual orientation really entail, anyway? If you’ve never encountered asexuality before, this can be an enlightening look at a concept you thought you already understood.

Before Stonewall/After Stonewall – These documentaries chronicle the history of the gay rights movement both before and after the seminal turning point, the Stonewall Riots in June of 1969. Made in 1984 and 1999 respectively, they’re now also historical documents in their own right, shedding light on just how far we’ve come in the last half a century.

All of these films can be streamed from Hoopla.

 

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!