Read It, Then Watch It! | Book-to-Streaming Adaptations

Did you know that some of the most popular recent streaming titles are adaptations based on books? We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite book-to-streaming adaptations, and we’ll leave you to answer… Which was better: the book or the movie/series?

All of the books featured here we have in our collection! To see if a book is available to check out or place on hold, click the image or the “Find it!” button under each book. A subscription may be required to watch the movie or TV titles below.

In the backwoods of Ohio, Willard Russell’s wife is at death’s door, no matter how much he drinks, prays, or sacrifices animals at his “prayer log.” Meanwhile, his son Arvin is growing up, form a kid bullied at school into a man who knows when to take action. Around them swirl a nefarious cast of characters–a demented team of serial killers, a spider-eating preacher, and a corrupt local sheriff–all braided into a riveting narrative of the grittiest American grain.

Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular, well-adjusted, star of the school football team, while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. When Connell stops by Marianne’s house, a strange connection grows between the two teenagers, one they are determined to conceal. A year later, they’re both studying in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while shy Connell hangs at the sidelines. Throughout the years, they circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically drawn back together. And as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Their case seems ironclad. But Maitland has an alibi, and it turns out that his story has incontrovertible evidence of its own. How can two opposing stories be true? What happens to a family when an accusation of this magnitude is delivered? When must reason be abandoned in order to explain the inexplicable? Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face?

The critically acclaimed cult novelist makes visceral the terrors of life in Jim Crow America and its lingering effects in this brilliant and wondrous work of the imagination that melds historical fiction, pulp noir, and Lovecraftian horror and fantasy. Chicago, 1954. When his father goes missing, 22-year-old Army veteran Atticus Turner embarks on a road trip to New England to find him, accompanied by his Uncle George, publisher of The Safe Negro Travel Guide, and his childhood friend Letitia. On their journey to the manor of Mr. Braithwhite, heir to the estate that owned one of Atticus’s ancestors, they encounter both mundane terrors of white America and malevolent spirits. A chimerical blend of magic, power, hope, and freedom that stretches across time, touching diverse members of two black families, Lovecraft Country is a devastating kaleidoscopic portrait of racism, the terrifying specter that continues to haunt us today.

For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area. Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called ‘the Golden State Killer.’ Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

In an extraordinary feat of narrative invention, Philip Roth imagines an alternate history where Franklin D. Roosevelt loses the 1940 presidential election to heroic aviator and rabid isolationist Charles A. Lindbergh. Shortly thereafter, Lindbergh negotiates a cordial “understanding” with Adolf Hitler, while the new government embarks on a program of folksy anti-Semitism. For one boy growing up in Newark, Lindbergh’s election is the first in a series of ruptures that threaten to destroy his small, safe corner of America-and with it, his mother, his father, and his older brother.

In an inexplicable worldwide event, forty-seven extraordinary children were spontaneously born by women who had previously shown no signs of pregnancy. Millionaire inventor Reginald Hargreeves adopted seven of the children; when asked why, his only explanation was, ‘To save the world.’ These seven children form The Umbrella Academy, a dysfunctional family of superheroes with bizarre powers. Their first adventure at the age of ten pits them against an erratic and deadly Eiffel Tower, piloted by the fearsome zombie-robot Gustave Eiffel. Nearly a decade later, the team disbands, but when Hargreeves unexpectedly dies, these disgruntled siblings reunite just in time to save the world once again.

With one week until the end of all crime in the United States, can the last heist in American history be pulled off? In the not-too-distant future as a final response to terrorism and crime, the US government plans in secret to broadcast a signal making it impossible for anyone to knowingly commit unlawful acts.

*A subscription may be required to watch this title on the streaming service.

Gothic Works for Fans of “Rebecca”

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”

Netflix’s new film adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s gothic novel Rebecca is now streaming (and in select theaters)! Whether you are a fan of the new reimagining, loved the original 1940 Alfred Hitchcock film of the same name, or preferred the book the best, look no further for more gothic suspense!

Here you’ll find 5 classic gothic novels as well as 5 contemporary gothic works that are perfect for fans of Rebecca.

  • All of the titles featured below we have in our collection or within the SWAN consortium. To see if an item is available to check out or place on hold, click the cover image.

Gothic Classics

Contemporary Gothics

New Contemporary Romance for 2020

Contemporary romance is broadly described as the time period for romance set after World War II, and is sometimes referred to as “modern romance” — whisking readers from small-town settings to bustling cities, and featuring a variety of delightful storylines. Below are our picks for the best new contemporary romance reads of 2020, hand-picked by our Adult Services Department staff.

  • All of the titles featured here we have in our collection. To see if an item is available to check out or place on hold, click the cover image or button to the right of the description.

Love Her or Lose Her

by Tessa Bailey

Rosie and Dominic Vega are the perfect couple: high school sweethearts, best friends, madly in love. Well, they used to be anyway. Now Rosie’s lucky to get a caveman grunt from the ex-soldier every time she walks in the door. Dom is faithful and a great provider, but the man she fell in love with ten years ago is nowhere to be found. When her girlfriends encourage Rosie to demand more out of life and pursue her dream of opening a restaurant, she decides to demand more out of love, too. Three words: marriage boot camp. 

The Happy Ever After Playlist

by Abby Jimenez

Sloan Monroe can’t catch a break. Two years after losing her fiance, her life consists of cemetery visits, unorthodox art projects, and drinking sessions with her best friend, Kristen. So when a dog dashes in front of her car and gets her a ticket for obstructing traffic, Sloan is at her wits’ end. But after meeting the ridiculously attractive and charming owner of the trouble-making retriever, she begins to think that maybe her luck has finally started to turn around… When Jason Larsen — a.k.a. Jaxon Waters, rock n’ roll’s newest prodigy — turns on his phone after a two-week hiking trip in Australia, he’s shocked to find out that his beloved dog Tucker escaped his babysitter and is being held hostage by a beautiful woman. As Jason and Sloan begin to fall for each other, past traumas and rising tensions prove that their seemingly perfect match may just go to the dogs.

Girl Gone Viral

by Alisha Rai

In Alisha Rai’s second novel in her Modern Love series, a live-tweet event goes viral for a camera-shy ex-model, shoving her into the spotlight—and into the arms of the bodyguard she’d been pining for.

The Honey-Don’t List

by Christina Lauren

From the New York Times bestselling author behind the “joyful, warm, touching” The Unhoneymooners comes a delightfully charming love story about what happens when two assistants tasked with keeping a rocky relationship from explosion start to feel sparks of their own.

Marriage on Madison Avenue

by Lauren Layne

Can guys and girls ever be just friends? According to Audrey Tate and Clarke West, absolutely. After all, they’ve been best friends since childhood without a single romantic entanglement. Clarke is the charming playboy Audrey can always count on, and he knows that the ever-loyal Audrey will never not play along with his strategy for dodging his matchmaking mother-announcing he’s already engaged…to Audrey. But what starts out as a playful game between two best friends turns into something infinitely more complicated, as just-for-show kisses begin to stir up forbidden feelings. As the faux wedding date looms closer, Audrey and Clarke realize that they can never go back to the way things were, but deep down, do they really want to?

The Worst Best Man

by Mia Sosa

A wedding planner left at the altar? Yeah, the irony isn’t lost on Carolina Santos, either. But despite that embarrassing blip from her past, Lina’s offered an opportunity that could change her life. There’s just one hitch… she has to collaborate with the best (make that worst) man from her own failed nuptials. Marketing expert Max Hartley is determined to make his mark with a coveted hotel client looking to expand its brand. Then he learns he’ll be working with his brother’s whip-smart, stunning–absolutely off-limits–ex-fiancée. And she loathes him. If they can nail their presentation without killing each other, they’ll both come out ahead. Except Max has been public enemy number one ever since he encouraged his brother to jilt the bride, and Lina’s ready to dish out a little payback of her own. Soon Lina and Max discover animosity may not be the only emotion creating sparks between them. Still, this star-crossed couple can never be more than temporary playmates because Lina isn’t interested in falling in love and Max refuses to play runner-up to his brother ever again.

Been There, Married That

by Gigi Levangie Grazer

In a world where therapist look like the Real Housewives of Equinox, where friends dispense Xanax like Pez, and where a woman’s status is directly linked to the how few carbs she eats…can one Hollywood wife take back her life?

The Worst Best Man

by Mia Sosa

Perfect for fans of Me Before You and One Day—a striking, powerful, and moving love story following an ambitious lawyer who experiences an astonishing vision that could change her life forever.

Want more recommendations?

 

You can check out all of our online booklists (for kids and for adults), or reach out to us! Our staff is ready and willing to make reading, listening, or viewing recommendations to you! Email us at reference@benlib.org or contact us via our online form!

Oktoberfest 2020: German cooking at home

Don your lederhosen and dirndls! Strike up the accordions and clarinets and DIY your own Oktoberfest celebration this fall with good German food and gemütlichkeit! Prosit!

  • All of the titles featured here we have in our collection. Hover over each book to read a brief description. To see if an item is available to check out or place on hold, click the cover image.

A glossary of Oktoberfest terms

  • Dirndls | A traditional feminine dress which originated in German-speaking areas of the Alps. Developed during the 18th century, based on the traditional clothing of Alpine peasants, dirndls today are generally considered the traditional dress for women and girls in the Alps. Dirndls often have particular designs associated with different regions.
  • Gemütlichkeit | This word doesn’t have a direct English translation. It is a heady mix of coziness, cheerfulness, friendliness, and social acceptance. This feeling encompasses the atmosphere of a successful Oktoberfest.
  • Lederhosen | Short or knee-length leather breeches that are worn as traditional garments in some regions of German-speaking countries. The longer ones are generally called Bundhosen or Kniebundhosen. Once common workwear across Central Europe, these clothes—or Tracht—are particularly associated with Bavaria and the Tyrol region.
  • München | The German name for Munich. The city is the capital of Bavaria and the third largest city in Germany behind Berlin and Hamburg.
  • Bayern | Known as “Bavaria” to English speakers, Bayern is the largest of the 16 German Bundesländer (states) with its capital in Munich (München).
  • Lebkuchen | A honey-sweetened German cake or molded cookie that has become part of Germany’s Christmas traditions and regional fairs. It is similar to gingerbread. The lebkuchenherzen — the more specific name for heart-shaped lebkuchen — are popular at Oktoberfest.
  • Prosit/Prost | At Oktoberfest it is polite have a toast before drinking. Your neighbor at the table will often say “Prost” or “Prosit” (meaning “cheers”) or “Zum Wohl” (meaning “to your wellbeing”) while clinking glasses with everyone in reach.

More about Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest: Definition, History, Facts — Britannica | Oktoberfest is an annual festival in Munich, Germany, held over a two-week period and ending on the first Sunday in October. The festival originated on October 12, 1810, in celebration of the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria, who later became King Louis I, to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. Read more…

10 Oktoberfest Traditions: Frommer’s |  Believe it or not, there’s much more to Oktoberfest than beer. From chicken dances and sing-alongs to giant pretzels and gingerbread necklaces, these traditions at Munich’s favorite fall festival go beyond the brew—though there’s plenty of that, too. Read more…

Favorite Oktoberfest Recipes: Taste of Home | Looking for more Oktoberfest food recipes? Celebrate with these German recipes, including sauerbraten and spaetzle, that will fill out your Oktoberfest menu. Read more…

Zoom Help


Are you or your child having difficulty understanding how to login and use Zoom during remote learning or for other virtual programs? The library is here to help. You can call or come in to schedule a one-on-one appointment, and a staff member will sit down and walk through Zoom and answer any questions. We can also provide appointments in Spanish. Call us today at (630) 766-4642.

Usted o su hijo/a a tenido problemas para entrar a las juntas virtuales por Zoom durante estos tiempos de aprendizaje en casa o otros programas virtuales? Pues la biblioteca está aquí para ayudar. Puedes llamar o apuntarte para una cita personal con un empleado de la biblioteca donde tomaran el tiempo de enseñarte cómo usar Zoom y responder a cualquier pregunta que tenas. Tendremos citas en español. Llámenos hoy al (630) 766-4642

Parish’s Staff Picks!

Hey hey… You know Parish from the Youth Services Department! He’s put together a list of some of his favorite books — picture books for little ones, fiction reads for kids and teens, and graphic novels!

  • All of the books featured here are books that we have in our collection. To see if an item is available to check out or place on hold, click the cover image or button to the right of the description.

Parish's Picture Book Picks

by Ged Adamson

Meet Douglas, a dog with a big problem: he needs eyeglasses but doesn’t know it, and his bad eyesight tends to land him in some pretty hairy situations.  

From Parish: This is one of my favorite picture books. It follows Douglas, a dog, who doesn’t know that he needs glasses! It takes his friend to convince him that he needs them when Douglas confused her for a fire hydrant. This story is full of laughs and beautiful illustration.

by Naseem Hrab

Ira and Malcolm are best friends: they always make each other laugh, always eat lunch together, and always play together. But one day, a disagreement about whether to play tag or hide-and-seek sees the suddenly über-popular Malcolm run off with a crowd of tag-loving  kids―and Ira all alone.  

From Parish: I LOVE THIS BOOK! It’s a great book for teaching kids that it’s normal to be in our feelings when we have a disagreement with our friends or family, but we shouldn’t let that bring us down. Expressing ourselves and sharing a good fart joke makes everything better! 

by Oliver Jeffers

What is a boy to do when a lost penguin shows up at his door? Find out where it comes from, of course, and return it. But the journey to the South Pole is long and difficult in the boy’s rowboat. To pass the time, the boy tells the penguin stories. Finally, they arrive. Yet instead of being happy, both are sad.  That’s when the boy realizes: The penguin hadn’t been lost, it had merely been lonely.  

From Parish: Oliver Jeffers is one of my favorite picture book authors! The adventure that the boy embarks on to return the penguin is adorable, but also a challenging adventure. Once you read the book, check out the short movie which shares the same name. 

Parish's Fiction Book Picks — Y and YA

by John August

When Arlo Finch moves to Pine Mountain, Colorado, he has no idea what’s in store for him in this  tiny town full of mystery and magic. When he joins the Rangers, Pine Mountain’s version of the  Boy Scouts, it leads him into adventures he never thought possible. Wilderness and magical pow ers collide throughout the beautiful, dense forest surrounding his new home, and as Arlo begins to  learn the way of the Rangers, he also discovers courage, strength, and a destiny he never knew he  possessed.  

From Parish: This is a book I highly recommend. I love the fantasy genre, so I was instantly hooked on the Arlo Finch series. If you love Percy Jackson, you’ll love this! It is filled with magic, mystical creatures, and mystery.

by Michael Dante DiMartino

In twelve-year-old Giacomo’s Renaissance-inspired world, art is powerful, dangerous, and outlawed. Every artist possesses a Genius, a birdlike creature that is the living embodiment of an artist’s creative spirit. Those caught with one face severe punishment, so when Giacomo discovers he has a Genius, he knows he’s in big trouble.

by Adam Silvera

On September 5, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure — to live a lifetime in a single day.

From Parish: This is a must read if you, like me, are wondering if they really do die at the end! Honestly, this book is one of my favorites; it reminds us all that we don’t know how much of our lives are guaranteed — why not take chances!

Parish's Picks: Youth Graphic Novels

by Joe Todd-Stanton

Imagine a vault so cavernous that it could contain all the world’s greatest treasures and relics, from mummified remains of ancient monarchs to glistening swords brandished by legendary warriors. Who could be in charge of such a vault and how did he come into possession of such a unique collection? Who is Professor Brownstone?  

From Parish: Joe Todd-Stanton is another one of my favorite authors! I love his storytelling, but also his beautiful illustrations. Arthur and the Golden Rope is the first book in its series that explores the life of Arthur and, the life of each Brownstone. 

by Emily Tetri

Tiger has a monster living under her bed. Every night, Tiger and Monster play games until it’s time for lights out. Of course, Monster would never try to scare Tiger — that’s not what best friends do. But Monster needs to scare someone … it’s a monster, after all. So while Tiger sleeps, Monster scares all of her nightmares away. But waiting in the darkness is a nightmare so big and mean that Monster can’t fight it alone. Only teamwork and a lot of bravery can chase this nightmare away.  

From Parish: This is a fast read, but an adorable graphic novel about a tiger and her monster friend who needs to fight the nightmare that’s scaring them both!

by Julie Kim

Searching for their missing grandmother, two Korean children follow tracks into a fantastic world filled with beings from folklore who speak in Korean. Includes translations and information about the folkloric characters.  

From Parish: I like this book because at the end you can see the translations of the words that were said in Korean!

Parish's Picks: Young Adult Graphic Novels

by Ichigo Takano

Taiyou is a high-school musician with dreams of stardom, but when his bandmates quit in order to focus on school, it feels like Taiyou’s dreams are slipping away. In an act of desperation, Taiyou strong-arms his sullen classmate Hikari into forming a band with him. The two boys are total opposites, but together they might just be able to create something amazing. 

From Parish: When I first read this book, I wanted something that wasn’t the normal fantasy that I normally read. After reading it, it became one of my favorite slice of life Graphic Novels with hint of drama. Now I’m not going to lie… I love drama!

by Kousuke Oono

He was the fiercest member of the yakuza, a man who left countless underworld legends in his wake. They called him ‘the Immortal Dragon’. But one day he walked away from it all to walk another path — the path of the househusband!  

From Parish: I love this laugh-out-loud comedy! It follow the life of an ex-yakuza, mob member, who marries the love of his life and becomes a househusband! I definitely recommend its one of my favorites and full of laughs!

by Ryan Andrews

Ben and his friends are determined to find out where the paper lanterns of the annual Autumn Equinox Festival go, so they follow the river as far as they can until the only followers left are Ben and Nathaniel. 

From Parish: MUST READ! This is one of my favorite graphic novels that I read last year! Beautiful visuals, great storytelling, and a talking bear! I highly recommend this book to anyone! 

by Hideyuki Furuhashi

Koichi Haimawari couldn’t make the cut to be an official hero, so he uses his modest powers to do good deeds in his spare time. Teamed with two other unlikely and unofficial vigilantes, he’s about to find out that being a hero takes more than just courage… 

From Parish: A spin off of the popular “My Hero Academia”. Full of action and tons of superheroes with awesome quirks! It’s one of my favorites to read when the main series is checked out! 

If You Liked… “Normal People”

Did you love Normal People by Sally Rooney? Now an nominated Hulu original series, Normal People is a stunning novel about the transformative power of relationships. Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a story that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship. If you’re looking for more reads like this one, check out this list of read-alikes.

A Little Life

by Hanya Yanagihara

A Little Life follows four college classmates—broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition—as they move to New York in search of fame and fortune. While their relationships, which are tinged by addiction, success, and pride, deepen over the decades, the men are held together by their devotion to the brilliant, enigmatic Jude, a man scarred by an unspeakable childhood trauma. A hymn to brotherly bonds and a masterful depiction of love in the twenty-first century, Hanya Yanagihara’s stunning novel is about the families we are born into, and those that we make for ourselves.

One Day

by David Nicholls

Over twenty years, snapshots of an unlikely relationship are revealed on the same day — July 15th — of each year. Dex Mayhew and Em Morley face squabbles and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. And as the true meaning of this one crucial day is revealed, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself. 

Trust Exercise

by Susan Choi

In 1982 in a southern city, David and Sarah, two freshmen at a highly competitive performing arts high school, thrive alongside their school peers in a rarified bubble, ambitiously devoting themselves to their studies–to music, to movement, to Shakespeare and, particularly, to classes taught by the magnetic acting teacher Mr. Kingsley. It is here in these halls that David and Sarah fall innocently and powerfully into first love. And also where, as this class of students rises through the ranks of high school, the outside world of family life and economic status, of academic pressure and the future, does not affect them–until it does–in a sudden spiral of events that brings a startling close to the first part of this novel.

Call Me By Your Name

by Andre Aciman

The story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ house, a cliff-side mansion on the Italian Riviera. Unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, at first each feigns indifference to the other. But during the warm, languorous summer weeks that follow, unrelenting buried currents of obsession and fear, fascination and desire, intensify their passion as they test the charged ground between them. What grows from the depths of their spirits is a romance of scarcely six weeks duration and an experience that marks them for a lifetime. For what the two discover on the Riviera and on a sultry evening in Rome is the one thing both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy.

Ordinary People

by Diana Evans

In a crooked house in South London, Melissa feels increasingly that she’s defined solely by motherhood, while Michael mourns the former thrill of their romance. In the suburbs, Stephanie’s aspirations for bliss on the commuter belt, coupled with her white middle-class upbringing, compound Damian’s itch for a bigger life catalyzed by the death of his activist father. Longtime friends from the years when passion seemed permanent, the couples have stayed in touch, gathering for births and anniversaries, bonding over discussions of politics, race, and art. But as bonds fray, the lines once clearly marked by wedding bands aren’t so simply defined. Ordinary People is a moving examination of identity and parenthood, sex and grief, and the fragile architecture of love.

Fates and Furies

by Lauren Groff

Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years.

With stunning revelations and multiple threads, and in prose that is vibrantly alive and original, Groff delivers a deeply satisfying novel about love, art, creativity, and power that is unlike anything that has come before it. Profound, surprising, propulsive, and emotionally riveting, it stirs both the mind and the heart.

The Marriage Plot

by Jeffrey Eugenides

It’s the early 1980s. In American colleges, the wised-up kids are inhaling Derrida and listening to Talking Heads. But Madeleine Hanna, dutiful English major, is writing her senior thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot, purveyors of the marriage plot that lies at the heart of the greatest English novels. As Madeleine studies the age-old motivations of the human heart, real life, in the form of two very different guys, intervenes—the charismatic and intense Leonard Bankhead, and her old friend the mystically inclined Mitchell Grammaticus. As all three of them face life in the real world they will have to reevaluate everything they have learned. 

An American Marriage

by Tayari Jones

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

The Interestings

by Meg Wolitzer

The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge.

The Idiot

by Elif Batuman

With superlative emotional and intellectual sensitivity, mordant wit, and pitch-perfect style, Batuman dramatizes the uncertainty of life on the cusp of adulthood. Her prose is a rare and inimitable combination of tenderness and wisdom; its logic as natural and inscrutable as that of memory itself. The Idiot is a heroic yet self-effacing reckoning with the terror and joy of becoming a person in a world that is as intoxicating as it is disquieting. Batuman’s fiction is unguarded against both life’s affronts and its beauty–and has at its command the complete range of thinking and feeling which they entail.

Want more recommendations?

 

You can check out all of our online booklists (for kids and for adults), or reach out to us! Our staff is ready and willing to make reading, listening, or viewing recommendations to you! Email us at reference@benlib.org or contact us via our online form!

Kat’s Staff Picks!

You might know Kat from Polish Storytime in the Youth Services Department, or at the Circulation Desk! We’ve put together a list of some of her favorite youth and adult books — juvenile picture books, DVDs, non-fiction, and more!

  • All of the books featured here are books that we have in our collection. To see if an item is available to check out or place on hold, click the cover image or button to the right of the description.

Kat's Picks: Juvenile Picture Books

Chester

by Melanie Watt

Melanie Watt begins to share a story when Chester, an arrogant cat, interrupts her to make it all about him! Who gets the last word?

Here Comes the Tooth Fairy Cat

by Deborah Underwood

When Cat loses a tooth, the Tooth Fairy delivers a wholly unwanted sidekick: a mouse. 

Brick: Who Found Herself in Architecture

by Joshua David Stein

A young brick goes on a journey to find her place in the world by visiting ten celebrated brick structures around the globe. Brick’s observations begin at home and then extend globally as she travels to a diverse list of brick structures all while pondering where she will end up.

Press Here

by Herve Tullet

Press the yellow dot on the cover of this interactive children’s book, follow the instructions within, and embark upon a magical journey. Each page of this surprising touch book instructs the reader to push the button, shake it up, tilt the book, and who knows what will happen next!

Orange Pear Apple Bear

by Emily Gravett

This book has spare text and sweet illustrations but contains only five words: apple, pear, orange, bear–and there. Emily Gravett creates clever variations on this theme by rearranging the words. Simple and compelling, children will enjoy reading this book over and over again as they learn many different concepts.

This is Not My Hat

by Jon Klassen

When a tiny fish shoots into view wearing a round blue topper (which happens to fit him perfectly), trouble could be following close behind. So it’s a good thing that enormous fish won’t wake up. And even if he does, it’s not like he’ll ever know what happened…

Abominable (DVD)

When teenage Yi encounters a young Yeti on the roof of her apartment building in Shanghai, she and her mischievous friends, Jin and Peng, name him “Everest” and embark on an epic quest to reunite the magical creature with his family at the highest point on Earth.

Kat's Picks: Adult Books & DVDs

The Handmaid's Tale (DVD)

Not for the faint of heart, this show is based on Margaret Atwood’s award-winning, best-selling novel. Offred, among hundreds of other women, is a maid who was taken away from her family by a new reigning country that has a very different idea about how men and women must live their lives.

Swimming in the Dark

by Tomasz Jedrowski

A love story between two young men, one more invested in the relationship than the other, and why they drifted apart in the tumultuous politics of 1980s Poland. Ludwik, the student narrator, comes out at a time when gays had no role models to follow.

Subtle Acts of Exclusion: How to Understand, Identify, and Stop Microaggressions

by Tiffany Jana

Our workplaces and society are growing more diverse, but are we supporting inclusive cultures? While overt racism, sexism, ableism, and other forms of discrimination are relatively easy to spot, we cannot neglect the subtler everyday actions that normalize exclusion.

Real Men Knit

by K.M. Jackson

When their foster mother suddenly dies, four brothers struggle to keep the doors of her beloved Harlem knitting shop open. He and his brothers have different plans on what to do with Strong Knits. Jesse wants to keep the store open, but his brothers want to tie off loose ends and close shop…

Unorthodox: the Scandalous Rejection of my Hasidic Roots

by Deborah Feldman

Traces the author’s upbringing in the Satmar Hasidic community in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn, New York, describing the strict rules that governed her life, her arranged marriage at the age of seventeen, and the birth of her son, which led to her plan to leave and forge her own path in life.

The Authenticity Project

by Clare Pooley

Everybody lies about their lives. What would happen if you shared the truth?” This is the question that Julian Jessop, an eccentric, seventy-nine-year-old artist, poses within a pale green exercise book that he labels The Authenticity Project, before leaving it behind in Monica’s Café. When Monica discovers Julian’s abandoned notebook, not only does she add her own story to the book, she is determined to find a way to help Julian feel less lonely.

You Deserve Each Other

by Sarah Hogle

For fans of The Hating Game, a debut lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy about two unhappily engaged people each trying to force the other to end the relationship–and falling back in love in the process.

Escape/Renew/Refresh in the Great Outdoors!

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” ― John Muir

As the end of summer nears, take advantage of good weather, scenic parks, and the great outdoors — right here in Illinois!

  • All of the titles featured here we have in our collection. To see if an item is available to check out or place on hold, click the cover image.

DuPage & Kane County Forest Preserves

DuPage County Forest Preserves | Each year more than 4 million visitors enjoy the Forest Preserve District’s nearly 26,000 acres, 145 miles of trails and 60 forest preserves. That’s why we work hard to ensure these areas continue to offer great ways for you to “Take 5” to improve your mood, reduce stress and lead a healthier life! See the visitors guide for more information.

State Parks and Outdoor Recreation |  Appreciate the geographical diversity of Illinois by enjoying the recreational opportunities offered at Illinois’ state parks, fish and wildlife areas, and conservation areas, on our lakes and rivers, and in our forests. Whether you enjoy hiking, camping, wildlife watching, fishing, hunting or boating, Illinois has an ideal destination for you to explore, or to visit and just relax.

Forest Preserve District of Kane County | Since 1925, the Forest Preserve District has worked to preserve and restore Kane County’s natural areas, improve wildlife habitat, and enhance the quality of life for all Kane County residents. We invite you to visit the forest preserves and enjoy a quiet walk, embark on a camping weekend, picnic with friends and family, learn about nature, bird watch, fish, golf, ride, volunteer, or simply experience the wonder of our more than 20,000 of acres of woodlands, wetlands and prairies.

Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2020 (so far):

Dystopian futures, galaxies far, far away, mysterious magic, and the supernatural! Below are our picks for the best new science fiction and fantasy reads of 2020 (so far!), hand-picked by our Adult Services Department staff.

  • All of the titles featured here we have in our collection. To see if an item is available to check out or place on hold, click the cover image or button to the right of the description.

The City We Became

by N.K. Jemisin

Three-time Hugo Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author N.K. Jemisin crafts her most incredible novel yet, a story of culture, identity, magic, and myths in contemporary New York City.

Riot Baby

by Tochi Onyebuchi

Rooted in foundational loss and the hope that can live in anger, Riot Baby is both a global dystopian narrative and an intimate family story with quietly devastating things to say about love, fury, and the black American experience. Ella and Kev are brother and sister, both gifted with extraordinary power. Their childhoods are defined and destroyed by structural racism and brutality. Their futures might alter the world. When Kev is incarcerated for the crime of being a young black man in America, Ella–through visits both mundane and supernatural–tries to show him the way to a revolution that could burn it all down.

The Resisters

by Gish Jen

The time: Some thirty-five years hence. The place: AutoAmerica–governed by “Aunt Nettie,” an iBurrito of AI algorithms and the internet, in a land half under water. The people: Divided into the angelfair “Netted,” whose fate it is to have jobs and live on high ground, and the mostly coppertoned “Surplus,” whose jobs have been stripped and whose sole duty now is to consumeThe story: A Surplus family–he was once a professor, she is still a lawyer–has a girl child, Gwen, who’s born with a golden arm. When AutoAmerica and ChinRussia decide to revive the Olympics, suddenly Gwen, who’s been playing in the Resisters League her parents have organized, is in great demand. An amazing story of a world that looks only too possible, and a family struggling to maintain its humanity in circumstances that daily threaten their every value as well as their very existence.

The Hidden Girl and Other Stories

by Ken Liu

From award-winning author Ken Liu comes his much anticipated second volume of short stories. Ken Liu is one of the most lauded short story writers of our time. This collection includes a selection of his science fiction and fantasy stories from the last five years-sixteen of his best-plus a new novelette.

Chosen Ones

by Veronica Roth

Fifteen years ago, five ordinary teenagers were singled out by a prophecy to take down an impossibly powerful entity wreaking havoc across North America. He was known as the Dark One, and his weapon of choice–catastrophic events known as Drains–leveled cities and claimed thousands of lives. Chosen Ones, as the teens were known, gave everything they had to defeat him. On the tenth anniversary of the Dark One’s defeat, something unthinkable happens: one of the Chosen Ones dies. When the others gather for the funeral, they discover the Dark One’s ultimate goal was much bigger than they, the government, or even prophecy could have foretold–bigger than the world itself.

Harrow the Ninth

by Tamsyn Muir

After rocking the cosmos with her deathly debut, Tamsyn Muir continues the story of the penumbral Ninth House in Harrow the Ninth, a mind-twisting puzzle box of mystery, murder, magic, and mayhem. Nothing is as it seems in the halls of the Emperor, and the fate of the galaxy rests on one woman’s shoulders.

The Seep

by Chana Porter

When an alien entity invades Earth, anything imaginable is possible—literally. A utopian future without capitalism or social barriers might seem like the perfect reality, but when Trina’s wife Deeba decides to be reborn as a baby to experience an even better life, Trina is left alone and heartbroken. What does it mean to be unhappy in a seemingly perfect world, and is it possible to save those who have already decided the alien Seep is the answer to everything?

The Vanished Birds

by Simon Jimenez

Nia Imani is a woman out of place and outside of time. Decades of travel through the stars are condensed into mere months for her, though the years continue to march steadily onward for everyone she has ever known. Her friends and lovers have aged past her, and all she has left is work. Alone and adrift, she lives for only the next paycheck, until the day she meets a mysterious boy, fallen from the sky. The scarred child does not speak, his only form of communication the beautiful and haunting music he plays from an old wooden flute. And over years of starlit travel, these two outsiders discover in one another the things they lacked. But Nia is not the only one who wants the boy. The past hungers for him, and when it catches up, it threatens to tear this makeshift family apart.

Want more recommendations?

 

You can check out all of our online booklists (for kids and for adults), or reach out to us! Our staff is ready and willing to make reading, listening, or viewing recommendations to you! Email us at reference@benlib.org or contact us via our online form!