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.

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.

 

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!

The Mirror & The Light by Hilary Mantel

Cover image for THE MIRROR & THE LIGHTBook- The Mirror & the Light is Hilary Mantel’s latest and long awaited conclusion to her Thomas Cromwell trilogy, which began with Wolf Hall and followed up by Bring Up the Bodies. The trilogy covers the historical events of King Henry VIII: his obsession with producing a male heir, break with Catholicism, and eventual marriages to six different women–three of whom meet tragic ends (two by beheading and the other dying following childbirth). Modern readers may not be familiar with Thomas Cromwell, who for about eight years served as Henry’s most trusted advisor. Often portrayed negatively in works such as A Man for All Seasons by George Bernard Shaw, Mantel’s books cast Cromwell more sympathetically and tell the story from his point of view. Spoiler alert! The Mirror & the Light opens with the events following the beheading of Anne Boylen and Cromwell’s dealings with an increasingly desperate and unstable King, while seeking his successive brides.

The close study of Cromwell’s character and state craft at the court of Henry VIII make The Mirror & the Light, as well as the other two books, great. The trilogy might well be described as a sixteenth-century The West Wing. Given how gripping that show is, that tells you all you need to know about Mantel’s impeccable prose. Though The Mirror & the Light is at times dense and slow moving, the quality of her writing and sense of foreboding kept me reading. I especially admired how the King’s inevitable displeasure with Cromwell and the Court’s plotting against him are slowly revealed, then culminate in a highly memorable, ending scene. The Wolf Hall trilogy will appeal to fans of historical fiction and those who enjoy stories of political machinations and betrayal.

The Wolf Hall trilogy is available on Overdrive for digital download on eBook and eAudiobook formats.

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.

Strange Weather by Joe Hill

Book – Full disclosure, I suffer from attention deficit disorder so I’m always on the lookout for books that I’m actually able to finish from start to finish. I had little issue with this collection of short novellas.Cover image for Strange Weather

In Strange Weather, Hill presents a collection of four odd stories of varied length that entertain and disturb. In “Snapshot,” a young boy faces his nightmares, the menace of dementia, the challenge that is the tattooed Phoenician, and a thug armed with a Polaroid camera. “Loaded,” is an extremely relevant story with the capacity to emotionally tear you apart. “Aloft,” moves us into more supernatural territory, as Aubrey Griffin’s finds himself landing on a weird cloud in the sky. “Rain,” is a dystopian, post-apocalyptic imagining with a terrifying and killer rain that penetrates skin. Hill’s collection will please readers who are looking for a sampling of introspective horror.

If you’re looking for even more creepy books by Joe Hill check out Heart-Shaped Box and NOS4A2. Hill’s titles are available in print, audiobook, eAudiobook, eBook on Hoopla and Overdrive.

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Book – Looking for a great psychological thriller? The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen should satisfy that need. Vanessa is the jilted, ex-wife of Richard. When they first met she was swept off her feet by this handsome, wealthy, successful and attentive man. To her, their relationship was worth giving up her career and New York City lifestyle, to move to the suburbs with the prospect of a future family. The fairy tale soon unravels after numerous, failed fertility treatments. Richard eventually leaves Vanessa for his assistant Nellie, who in many ways is a younger version of Vanessa. Vanessa becomes obsessed with her former husband’s young, naïve fiancé and tries to sabotage the upcoming nuptials. Is Vanessa, who is swimming through an alcoholic haze, just bitter and vengeful, or is something else at play? Meanwhile, Richard is protective and loving towards his future wife, but Nellie is beginning to have doubts.

Each character’s story is narrated from their perspective. What is real, what is not? The twists and turns cause misdirection, forcing you to keep guessing their ulterior motives- who, of course, all have their secrets.

The Audiobook of The Wife Between Us is also available on Hoopla and Overdrive for Kindle and other electronic devices.