Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month! This is the celebration and recognition of the contributions and influence of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States.

The month of May was officially designated as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month by the U.S. Congress in 1992. Learn more at asianpacificheritage.gov.

Scroll through the titles below to explore a booklist compiled by our staff that honors AAPI characters, authors, history, and culture! There’s something for all age groups — picture books, graphic novels, fiction, and non-fiction.

Fiction | Adult

Non-Fiction | Adult

Picture Books | Kids

Graphic Novels | Youth and Teens

Fiction | Teens

Fiction | Youth

You can find all of the titles above available in either our collection via the online catalog, or through our digital resources, OverDrive and Axis360.

Celebrating Shakespeare’s Birthday!

Happy 457th birthday to Mr. William Shakespeare! William Shakespeare was the son of John Shakespeare, an alderman and a successful glover (glove-maker), and Mary Arden, the daughter of an affluent landowning family. He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, where he was baptized on 26 April 1564. His date of birth is unknown, but is traditionally observed on 23 April, Saint George’s Day. This date, which can be traced to a mistake made by an 18th-century scholar, has proved appealing to biographers because Shakespeare died on the same date in 1616.

Here we’ve gathered up some the Bard of Avon’s most famous works!

  • 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.

Contemporary Chicago Authors

Severance

by Ling Ma

Candace Chen, a millennial drone self-sequestered in a Manhattan office tower, is devoted to routine. With the recent passing of her Chinese immigrant parents, she’s had her fill of uncertainty. She’s content just to carry on: She goes to work, troubleshoots the teen-targeted Gemstone Bible, watches movies in a Greenpoint basement with her boyfriend.

So Candace barely notices when a plague of biblical proportions sweeps New York. Then Shen Fever spreads. Families flee. Companies cease operations. The subways screech to a halt. Her bosses enlist her as part of a dwindling skeleton crew with a big end-date payoff. Soon entirely alone, still unfevered, she photographs the eerie, abandoned city as the anonymous blogger NY Ghost.

The Lost Book of Adana Moreau

by Michael Zapata

In 1929 in New Orleans, a Dominican immigrant named Adana Moreau writes a science fiction novel. The novel earns rave reviews, and Adana begins a sequel. Then she falls gravely ill. Just before she dies, she destroys the only copy of the manuscript. Decades later in Chicago, Saul Drower is cleaning out his dead grandfather’s home when he discovers a mysterious manuscript written by none other than Adana Moreau. With the help of his friend Javier, Saul tracks down an address for Adana’s son in New Orleans, but as Hurricane Katrina strikes they must head to the storm-ravaged city for answers. What results is a brilliantly layered masterpiece—an ode to home, storytelling and the possibility of parallel worlds.

Northwood

by Maryse Meijer

Part fairy tale, part horror story, Northwood is a genre–breaking novella told in short, brilliant, beautifully strange passages. The narrator, a young woman, has fled to the forest to pursue her artwork in isolation. While there, she falls in love with a married man she meets at a country dance. The man is violent, their affair even more so. As she struggles to free herself, she questions the difference between desire and obsession—and the brutal nature of intimacy. Packaged with a cover and end papers by famed English artist Rufus Newell and inventive, white–on–black text treatments by award–winning designer Jonathan Yamakami, Northwood is a work of art as well as a literary marvel.

Stateway’s Garden

by Jasmon Drain

Before being torn down in 2007, the Stateway Gardens public housing projects on Chicago’s South Side were ridden with deprivation and crime. But for some, like Tracy, the shy, intelligent young boy at the center of this enthralling collection of linked stories, they are simply home. Set in the mid-1980s and taking readers up to the point of the destruction of the infamous Cabrini-Green housing projects—a set of buildings similar in design to Stateway Gardens to the south—this collection gives an intimate look at the hopes, dreams, failures, and fortunes of a group of people growing up with the deck always stacked against them. Through Jasmon Drain’s sensitive and often playful prose, we see another side of what we have come to know as “the projects.”

Remembrance

by Rita Woods

Remembrance…It’s a rumor, a whisper passed in the fields and veiled behind sheets of laundry. A hidden stop on the underground road to freedom, a safe haven protected by more than secrecy…if you can make it there. Ohio, present day. An elderly woman who is more than she seems warns against rising racism as a young woman grapples with her life. Haiti, 1791, on the brink of revolution. When the slave Abigail is forced from her children to take her mistress to safety, she discovers New Orleans has its own powers. 1857 New Orleansa city of unrest: Following tragedy, house girl Margot is sold just before her 18th birthday and her promised freedom. Desperate, she escapes and chases a whisper…. Remembrance.

Borrowed Time

by Tracy Clark

Sitting in cold cars for hours, serving lowlifes with summonses… being a P.I. means riding out a lot of slow patches. But sometimes the most familiar paths can lead straight to danger—like at Cass’s go-to diner, where new delivery guy Jung Byson wants to enlist her expertise. Jung’s friend, Tim Ayers, scion of a wealthy Chicago family, has been found dead, floating in Lake Michigan near his luxury boat. And Jung is convinced there’s a murderer on the loose…

The Children’s Blizzard

by Melanie Benjamin

The morning of January 12, 1888, was unusually mild, following a punishing cold spell. It was warm enough for the homesteaders of the Dakota Territory to venture out again, and for their children to return to school without their heavy coats—leaving them unprepared when disaster struck. At the hour when most prairie schools were letting out for the day, a terrifying, fast-moving blizzard blew in without warning. Schoolteachers as young as sixteen were suddenly faced with life and death decisions: Keep the children inside, to risk freezing to death when fuel ran out, or send them home, praying they wouldn’t get lost in the storm?

At its heart, this is a story of courage, of children forced to grow up too soon, tied to the land because of their parents’ choices. It is a story of love taking root in the hard prairie ground, and of families being torn asunder by a ferocious storm that is little remembered today—because so many of its victims were immigrants to this country.

The Lucky One

by Lori Rader-Day

As a child, Alice was stolen from her backyard in a tiny Indiana community, but against the odds, her policeman father tracked her down within twenty-four hours and rescued her from harm. In the aftermath of the crime, her family decided to move to Chicago and close the door on that horrible day.

Yet Alice hasn’t forgotten. She devotes her spare time volunteering for a website called The Doe Pages scrolling through pages upon pages of unidentified people, searching for clues that could help reunite families with their missing loved ones. When a face appears on Alice’s screen that she recognizes, she’s stunned to realize it’s the same man who kidnapped her decades ago. The post is deleted as quickly as it appeared, leaving Alice with more questions than answers.

Embarking on a search for the truth, she enlists the help of friends from The Doe Pages to connect the dots and find her kidnapper before he hurts someone else. Then Alice crosses paths with Merrily Cruz, another woman who’s been hunting for answers of her own. Together, they begin to unravel a dark, painful web of lies that will change what they thought they knew—and could cost them everything.

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!

If You Liked… “Bridgerton”

Bridgerton may be over (for now), but your obsession with gossipy period dramas is just getting started…

Can’t stop thinking about Bridgerton, that jaw-dropping finale, and now you’re wanting to dive into a book that will capture even a little bit of that Bridgerton magic? Look no further! We’ve collected 8 titles in the same vein as Bridgerton that will (hopefully!) tide you over until it’s time to return to our beloved London ton.

All of the titles featured here in this booklist 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 Duke and I

by Julia Quinn

In the ballrooms and drawing rooms of Regency London, rules abound. A proper duke should be imperious and aloof. A young, marriageable lady should be amiable…but not too amiable. Daphne Bridgerton has always failed at the latter. She has formed friendships with the most eligible young men in London. Everyone likes Daphne for her kindness and wit. But no one truly desires her. She is simply too deuced honest for that, too unwilling to play the romantic games that captivate gentlemen. Amiability is not a characteristic shared by Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings. Yet an encounter with his best friend’s sister offers another option. If Daphne agrees to a fake courtship, Simon can deter the mamas who parade their daughters before him. Daphne, meanwhile, will see her prospects and her reputation soar. The plan works like a charm–at first. But amid the glittering, gossipy, cut-throat world of London’s elite, there is only one certainty: Love ignores every rule…

Mad and Bad: Real Heroines of the Regency

by Bea Koch

There are hundreds of fascinating women who don’t fit history books limited perception of what was historically accurate for early 19th century England. Women like Dido Elizabeth Belle, whose mother was a slave but was raised by her white father’s family in England, Caroline Herschel, who acted as her brother’s assistant as he hunted the heavens for comets, and ended up discovering eight on her own, Anne Lister, who lived on her own terms with her common-law wife at Shibden Hall, and Judith Montefiore, a Jewish woman who wrote the first English language Kosher cookbook. Look beyond popular perception of the Regency into the even more vibrant, diverse, and fascinating historical truth.

A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby

by Vanessa Riley

When headstrong West Indian heiress Patience Jordan questioned her English husband’s mysterious suicide, she lost everything: her newborn son, Lionel, her fortune—and her freedom. Falsely imprisoned, she risks her life to be near her child—until The Widow’s Grace gets her hired as her own son’s nanny. But working for his unsuspecting new guardian, Busick Strathmore, Duke of Repington, has perils of its own. Especially when Patience discovers his military strictness belies an ex-rake of unswerving honor—and unexpected passion…

Wicked and the Wallflower

by Sarah MacLean

When Wicked Comes Calling . . . When a mysterious stranger finds his way into her bedchamber and offers his help in landing a husband, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees to his suspicious terms—on one condition. She’s seen enough of the world to believe in passion, and won’t accept a marriage without it.
 
The Wallflower Makes a Dangerous Bargain . . . Bastard son of a duke and king of London’s dark streets, Devil has spent a lifetime wielding power and seizing opportunity, and the spinster wallflower is everything he needs to exact a revenge years in the making. All he must do is turn the plain little mouse into an irresistible temptress, set his trap, and destroy his enemy.

Bringing Down the Duke

by Evie Dunmore

England, 1879. Annabelle Archer, the brilliant but destitute daughter of a country vicar, has earned herself a place among the first cohort of female students at the renowned University of Oxford. In return for her scholarship, she must support the rising women’s suffrage movement. Her charge: recruit men of influence to champion their cause. Her target: Sebastian Devereux, the cold and calculating Duke of Montgomery who steers Britain’s politics at the Queen’s command. Her challenge: not to give in to the powerful attraction she can’t deny for the man who opposes everything she stands for.

A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem

by Manda Collins

England, 1865: Newspaper columnist Lady Katherine Bascomb finds herself the subject of speculation when her latest article leads to an arrest in the murders plaguing London. The English believe women ought not to write about such vulgar things as crime, and a particularly attractive detective inspector is incensed that she’s interfered with his investigation. To escape her sudden notoriety, Katherine heads to the country-only to witness a murder upon her arrival.

Detective Inspector Andrew Eversham is appalled when Lady Katherine entangles herself in one of his cases-again. Her sensationalist reporting already nearly got him kicked off the police force, and he’ll be damned if he permits her to meddle a second time. Yet, her questions are awfully insightful, and he can’t deny his attraction to both her beauty and brains. As the clues point to a dangerous criminal, the two soon realize their best option is working together. But with their focus on the killer lurking in the shadows, neither is prepared for the other risk the case poses-to their hearts.

The Wallflower Wager

by Tessa Dare

Wealthy and ruthless, Gabriel Duke clawed his way from the lowliest slums to the pinnacle of high society–and now he wants to get even.  Loyal and passionate, Lady Penelope Campion never met a lost or wounded creature she wouldn’t take into her home and her heart.

When her imposing—and attractive—new neighbor demands she clear out the rescued animals, Penny sets him a challenge. She will part with her precious charges, if he can find them loving homes.

Done, Gabriel says. How hard can it be to find homes for a few kittens? And a two-legged dog. And a foul-mouthed parrot. And a goat, an otter, a hedgehog… Easier said than done. Soon he’s covered in cat hair, knee-deep in adorable, and bewitched by a shyly pretty spinster who defies his every attempt to resist. Now she’s set her mind and heart on saving him.

Lady Derring Takes a Lover

by Julie Anne Long

Delilah Swanpoole, Countess of Derring, learns the hard way that her husband, “Dear Dull Derring,” is a lot more interesting—and perfidious—dead than alive. It’s a devil of an inheritance, but in the grand ruins of the one building Derring left her, are the seeds of her liberation. And she vows never again to place herself at the mercy of a man.

But battle-hardened Captain Tristan Hardy is nothing if not merciless. When the charismatic naval hero tracks a notorious smuggler to a London boarding house known as the Rogue’s Palace, seducing the beautiful, blue-blooded proprietress to get his man seems like a small sacrifice.

They both believe love is a myth. But a desire beyond reason threatens to destroy the armor around their hearts. Now a shattering decision looms: Will Tristan betray his own code of honor…or choose a love that might be the truest thing he’s ever known?

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!

Happy National Craft Month!

Started in 1994, National Craft Month was designed to help people rediscover their creativity and learn about the wonderful world of crafting and all of its many benefits. 

With a broad range of crafts to choose from, National Craft Month inspires all kinds of mediums. From paper and wood to fabrics, paint and metal craft, the month is dedicated to creativity and inspiration.  Whatever motivates you, take your craft from idea to reality this month.

All of the titles featured here in this booklist 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.

Hoop-La!: 100 things to do with embroidery hoops

by Kirsty Neale

There are endless practical and decorative uses for the humble embroidery hoop: from pretty wall art and hanging mobiles to functional pin boards, key racks, mirrors and storage. Kirsty Neale explores the numerous different ways to decorate your hoops with a range of techniques including applique, embroidery, crochet, papercraft, painting, stamping, cross stitch and patchwork.

Crepe Paper Flowers: The Beginner's Guide to Making and Arranging Beautiful Blooms

by Lia Griffith

Crepe paper is the best material for creating paper flowers, especially for beginners. It’s forgiving and malleable–easy to cut, bend, curl, and shape into peony petals, daffodil trumpets, chrysanthemum blooms, and more. With 30 projects and an introduction to both crafting paper flowers and working with crepe paper, this book is full of inspiration and expert advice for beginners. If you have a Cricut Maker, you can download the templates to your machine so you can enjoy your own homemade bouquets in no time.

Parachute Cord Craft: Quick & Simple Instructions for 22 Cool Projects

by Samantha Grenier

Learn to weave and braid versatile parachute cord in an array of fashion colors to create attractive, useful accessories! 22 clever projects and step-by-step instructions for making fashionable bracelets and necklaces, belts, lanyards, dog collars, key fobs, and more. Discover the knots you need to know, get practical advice on tools and materials, learn the right way to melt and fuse the cut ends of your cord, and experiment with jewelry findings.

Duct Tape: 101 Adventurous Ideas for Art, Jewelry, Flowers, Wallets and More

by Forest Walker Davis

Sturdy and resistant, and with a myriad of interesting colors and patterns, duct tape is fast becoming a perfect crafting, home and DIY material. The book introduces this simple but versatile material and offers 101 creative projects to make.

DIY Crafts & Projects for Your Instant Pot: Lip Balm, Tie-Dye, Candles, and Dozens of Other Amazing Ideas

by David Murphy

What can you do with your Instant Pot? A lot more than dinner! Here are 50 projects anyone can make–handmade soap, infused liqueurs, tie-dye, and much more!

Paint Lab: 52 Exercises inspired by Artists, Materials, Time, Place, and Method

by Deborah Forman

Designed to inform and inspire new artists and rekindle passion for painting in experienced artists, this book offers a range of exercises broken down by theme and reinforces a fun and fearless approach to creating art.

Washi Tape: 101+ Ideas for Paper Crafts, Book Arts, Fashion, Decorating, Entertaining

by Courtney Cerruti

If you have never heard of washi tape, get ready to enter a bright new world of paper crafts! Originating in Japan, washi paper is stronger than wood-pulp paper making it perfect for use in projects like origami and scrapbooking. It’s safe to use almost anywhere and great fun for children!

Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts

by Martha Stewart

A comprehensive visual reference, this book covers everything a home sewer craves: the basics of sewing by hand or machine, along with appliqué, embroidery, quilting, dyeing, and printing craft techniques, and step-by-step instructions for more than 150 projects.

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!

Award-Winning 21st Century Irish Fiction

All of the titles featured here in this booklist 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.

Hamnet

by Maggie O’Farrell

A thrilling departure: a short, piercing, deeply moving novel about the death of Shakespeare’s 11 year old son Hamnet–a name interchangeable with Hamlet in 15th century Britain–and the years leading up to the production of his great play. England, 1580. A young Latin tutor–penniless, bullied by a violent father–falls in love with an extraordinary, eccentric young woman–a wild creature who walks her family’s estate with a falcon on her shoulder and is known throughout the countryside for her unusual gifts as a healer. Agnes understands plants and potions better than she does people, but once she settles with her husband on Henley Street in Stratford she becomes a fiercely protective mother and a steadfast, centrifugal force in the life of her young husband, whose gifts as a writer are just beginning to awaken when his beloved young son succumbs to bubonic plague.

Normal People

by Sally Rooney

Connell and Marianne grew up in the same small town, but the similarities end there. At school, Connell is popular and well liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation—awkward but electrifying—something life changing begins.

A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly 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.

Room

by Emma Donoghue

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Milkman

by Anna Burns

In an unnamed city, middle sister stands out for the wrong reasons. She reads while walking, for one. And she has been taking French night classes downtown. So when a local paramilitary known as the milkman begins pursuing her, she suddenly becomes “interesting,” the last thing she ever wanted to be. Despite middle sister’s attempts to avoid him―and to keep her mother from finding out about her maybe-boyfriend―rumors spread and the threat of violence lingers. Milkman is a story of the way inaction can have enormous repercussions, in a time when the wrong flag, wrong religion, or even a sunset can be subversive. Told with ferocious energy and sly, wicked humor, Milkman establishes Anna Burns as one of the most consequential voices of our day.

Days Without End

by Sebastian Barry

Thomas McNulty, aged barely seventeen and having fled the Great Famine in Ireland, signs up for the U.S. Army in the 1850s. With his brother in arms, John Cole, Thomas goes on to fight in the Indian Wars—against the Sioux and the Yurok—and, ultimately, the Civil War. Orphans of terrible hardships themselves, the men find these days to be vivid and alive, despite the horrors they see and are complicit in.

Moving from the plains of Wyoming to Tennessee, Sebastian Barry’s latest work is a masterpiece of atmosphere and language. An intensely poignant story of two men and the makeshift family they create with a young Sioux girl, Winona, Days Without End is a fresh and haunting portrait of the most fateful years in American history and is a novel never to be forgotten.

A Ladder to the Sky

by John Boyne

Maurice Swift is handsome, charming, and hungry for fame. The one thing he doesn’t have is talent—but he’s not about to let a detail like that stand in his way. After all, a would-be writer can find stories anywhere. They don’t need to be his own.
 
Working as a waiter in a West Berlin hotel in 1988, Maurice engineers the perfect opportunity: a chance encounter with celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann. He quickly ingratiates himself with the powerful – but desperately lonely – older man, teasing out of Erich a terrible, long-held secret about his activities during the war. Perfect material for Maurice’s first novel.

Once Maurice has had a taste of literary fame, he knows he can stop at nothing in pursuit of that high. Moving from the Amalfi Coast, where he matches wits with Gore Vidal, to Manhattan and London, Maurice hones his talent for deceit and manipulation, preying on the talented and vulnerable in his cold-blooded climb to the top. But the higher he climbs, the further he has to fall…

Eggshells

by Caitriona Lally

An unemployed orphan living in the house of her recently deceased great aunt in North Dublin, Vivian boldly goes through life doing things in her own peculiar way, whether that be eating blue food, cultivating ‘her smell’, wishing people happy Christmas in April, or putting an ad up for a friend called Penelope to check why it doesn’t rhyme with antelope. But behind her heroic charm and undeniable logic, something isn’t right. With each attempt to connect with a stranger or her estranged sister doomed to misunderstanding, someone should ask: is Vivian OK?

A poignant and delightful story of belonging that plays with the myth of the Changeling and takes us by the hand through Dublin. A poetic call for us all to accept each other and find the Vivian within.

From a Low and Quiet Sea

by Donal Ryan

For Farouk, family is all. He has protected his wife and daughter as best he can from the war and hatred that has torn Syria apart. If they stay, they will lose their freedom, will become lesser persons. If they flee, they will lose all they have known of home, for some intangible dream of refuge in some faraway land across the merciless sea.

Lampy is distracted; he has too much going on in his small town life in Ireland. He has the city girl for a bit of fun, but she’s not Chloe, and Chloe took his heart away when she left him. There’s the secret his mother will never tell him. His granddad’s little sniping jokes are getting on his wick. And on top of all that, he has a bus to drive; those old folks from the home can’t wait all day.

The game was always the lifeblood coursing through John’s veins: manipulating people for his enjoyment, or his enrichment, or his spite. But it was never enough. The ghost of his beloved brother, and the bitter disappointment of his father, have shadowed him all his life. But now that lifeblood is slowing down, and he’s not sure if God will listen to his pleas for forgiveness. Three men, searching for some version of home, their lives moving inexorably towards a reckoning that will draw them all together.

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!

What To Read After Watching “Hamilton”

Can’t get enough of the smash Broadway musical, “Hamilton”?  We’ve hand-selected some of our favorite “Hamilton” read-alikes — historical accounts, fiction reads, graphics novels, and more — for a variety of ages!

  • 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.

Hamilton: The Revolution

by Lin-Manuel Miranda

A backstage pass to the groundbreaking, hit musical Hamilton, winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Eleven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, including the award-winning libretto, behind-the-scenes photos and interviews, and exclusive footnotes from composer-lyricist-star Lin-Manuel Miranda

Audience: All 

Alex & Eliza: A Love Story

by Melissa De La Cruz

1777. Albany, New York. It’s one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Eliza Schuyler can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Alex is an orphan, and a bastard one at that; only his association with Washington puts him in such esteemed company. And he has arrived at the ball as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers. But when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.

Audience: Teen & up

Alexander Hamilton

by Ron Chernow

The book that inspired the musical! Chernow offers the whole sweep of Hamilton’s turbulent life: his exotic, brutal upbringing; his brilliant military, legal, and financial exploits; his titanic feuds with Jefferson, Madison, Adams, and Monroe; his shocking illicit romances; his enlightened abolitionism; and his famous death in a duel with Aaron Burr in July 1804.

Audience: Adult

Duel With The Devil

by Paul Collins

The true story of how Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr teamed up to take on America’s first sensational murder mystery.

Acclaimed historian Paul Collins’ remarkable true account of a stunning turn-of-the-19th century murder and the trial that ensued — a showdown in which iconic political rivals Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr joined forces to make sure justice was done.

Audience: Adult

Eliza Hamilton

by Tilar J. Mazzeo

A comprehensive and riveting biography of the extraordinary life and times of Eliza Hamilton, the wife of founding father Alexander Hamilton, and a powerful, unsung hero in America’s early days. Fans fell in love with Eliza Hamilton–Alexander Hamilton’s devoted wife–in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s phenomenal musical Hamilton. But they don’t know her full story.

Audience: Adult

Alexander Hamilton: The Graphic History of an American Founding Father

by Jonathan Hennessey

This complete graphic novel-style biography presents the life and legacy of one of the most influential figures in United States history. Alexander Hamilton was on hand for the Revolutionary War, the development of the Constitution, and the establishment of the Treasury and banking as we have come to know them today.

Audience: Teen & up

Gmorning, Gnight!

by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Good morning. Do NOT get stuck in the comments section of life today. Make, do, create the things. Let others tussle it out. Vamos! Before he inspired the world with Hamilton and was catapulted to international fame, Lin-Manuel Miranda was inspiring his Twitter followers with words of encouragement at the beginning and end of each day. He wrote these original sayings, aphorisms, and poetry for himself as much as for others. But as Miranda’s audience grew, these messages took on a life on their own. Now Miranda has gathered the best of his daily greetings into a beautiful collection.

Audience: Teen & up

I, Eliza Hamilton

by Susan Holloway Scott

In this beautifully written novel of historical fiction, bestselling author Susan Holloway Scott tells the story of Alexander Hamilton’s wife, Eliza–a fascinating strong-willed heroine in her own right and a key figure in one of the most gripping periods in American history.

Audience: Adult

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!

Happy Chinese (Lunar) New Year! | Non-Fiction Books

Happy Chinese New Year February 12th, 2021 / The Year of the Ox

Celebrate the bovine bash with an exploration of Chinese influence and rich culture in cuisine, art, history, philosophy, poetry and music through these suggestions—

  • 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.

Chinese Painting

by James Cahill

The history and development of Chinese painting from the Han Dynasty, 206 b.c. through the 18th century.

1434: the year a magnificent Chinese fleet sailed to Italy and ignited the Renaissance

by Gavin Menzies

The brilliance of the Renaissance laid the foundation of the modern world. Textbooks tell us that it came about as a result of a rediscovery of the ideas and ideals of classical Greece and Rome. But now bestselling historian Gavin Menzies makes the startling argument that in the year 1434, China—then the world’s most technologically advanced civilization—provided the spark that set the European Renaissance ablaze. From that date onward, Europeans embraced Chinese ideas, discoveries, and inventions, all of which form the basis of Western civilization today.

The Path: what Chinese philosophers can teach us about the good life

by Michael Puett

For the first time, an award-winning Harvard professor shares his wildly popular course on classical Chinese philosophy, showing you how ancient ideas—like the fallacy of the authentic self—can guide you on the path to a good life today.

Why is a course on ancient Chinese philosophers one of the most popular at Harvard? Because it challenges all our modern assumptions about what it takes to flourish.

The Columbia Book of Chinese Poetry: from early times to the thirteenth century

by Burton Watson

The Columbia Book of Chinese Poetry presents translations of more than 420 poems by 96 poets drawn from the great ages of Chinese poetry. It begins with selections from the Book of Odes, the oldest anthology of Chinese poetry compiled around the seventh century B.C., and covers the succeeding generations down to the end of the Sung dynasty in A.D. 1279.

The Chinese Takeout Cookbook: quick and easy dishes to prepare at home

by Diana Kuan

America’s love affair with Chinese food dates back more than a century. Today, such dishes as General Tso’s Chicken, Sweet and Sour Pork, and Egg Rolls are as common as hamburgers and spaghetti. Probably at this moment, a drawer in your kitchen is stuffed with Chinese takeout menus, soy sauce packets, and wooden chopsticks, right? But what if you didn’t have to eat your favorites out of a container? 

Breathing Spaces (CD)

by Jiang Xiao-Qing

Download and enjoy from Freegal Music:  This beautiful Chinese GuZheng (Koto) album performed with grace and sensitivity.

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!

Robert Burns: Who’s That Guy in the Garden?

  • That guy is none other than famous Scots patriot & poet, Robert Burns! (Lyricist of the traditional New Year’s ditty Auld Lang Syne.)
  • Robert Burns is recognized as a pre-Romantic poet for his sensitivity to nature, his high valuation of feeling and emotion, his spontaneity, his fierce stance for Scots freedom and against authority, his individualism, and his antiquarian interest in old songs and legends.
  • Read more about him: The Bard: Robert Burns, a Biography
  • Read a wonderful translation of his Scots vernacular works
  • Check out Alasdair Fraser on BCPL’s Freegal for some Scots fiddle tunes!

Best Gothic Fiction of 2020

Gothic novels and books have been around for more than 200 years, since the late 18th century, and a recent “gothic revival” has been taking place within the fiction genre for a couple years now. These modern gothic novels borrow heavily from traditional gothic tropes: spooky old castles, creeping wanderers and housekeepers, and even the madwoman in the attic.

Like what you hear? Below are some of the best gothic fiction 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.

The Sun Down Motel

by Simone St. James

Upstate New York, 1982. Viv Delaney wants to move to New York City, and to help pay for it she takes a job as the night clerk at the Sun Down Motel in Fell, New York. But something isnʼt right at the motel, something haunting and scary.

Upstate New York, 2017. Carly Kirk has never been able to let go of the story of her aunt Viv, who mysteriously disappeared from the Sun Down before she was born. She decides to move to Fell and visit the motel, where she quickly learns that nothing has changed since 1982. And she soon finds herself ensnared in the same mysteries that claimed her aunt.

Mexican Gothic

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.   
 
Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

The Deep

by Alma Katsu

Someone, or something, is haunting the ship. Between mysterious disappearances and sudden deaths, the guests of the Titanic have found themselves suspended in an eerie, unsettling twilight zone from the moment they set sail. Several of them, including maid Annie Hebley, guest Mark Fletcher, and millionaires Madeleine Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim, are convinced there’s something sinister–almost otherwordly–afoot. But before they can locate the source of the danger, as the world knows, disaster strikes.

Years later, Annie, having survived that fateful night, has attempted to put her life back together. Working as a nurse on the sixth voyage of the Titanic‘s sister ship, the Britannic, newly refitted as a hospital ship, she happens across an unconscious Mark, now a soldier fighting in World War I. At first, Annie is thrilled and relieved to learn that he too survived the sinking, but soon, Mark’s presence awakens deep-buried feelings and secrets, forcing her to reckon with the demons of her past–as they both discover that the terror may not yet be over.

Things in Jars

by Jess Kidd

Bridie Devine—flame-haired, pipe-smoking detective extraordinaire—is confronted with the most baffling puzzle yet: the kidnapping of Christabel Berwick, secret daughter of Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick, and a peculiar child whose reputed supernatural powers have captured the unwanted attention of collectors in this age of discovery.

Winding her way through the sooty streets of Victorian London, Bridie won’t rest until she finds the young girl, even if it means unearthing secrets about her past that she’d rather keep buried. Luckily, her search is aided by an enchanting cast of characters, including a seven-foot-tall housemaid; a melancholic, tattoo-covered ghost; and an avuncular apothecary. But secrets abound in this foggy underworld where nothing is quite what it seems.

Catherine House

by Elisabeth Thomas

Catherine House is a school of higher learning like no other. Hidden deep in the woods of rural Pennsylvania, this crucible of reformist liberal arts study with its experimental curriculum, wildly selective admissions policy, and formidable endowment, has produced some of the world’s best minds: prize-winning authors, artists, inventors, Supreme Court justices, presidents. For those lucky few selected, tuition, room, and board are free. But acceptance comes with a price. Students are required to give the House three years—summers included—completely removed from the outside world. Family, friends, television, music, even their clothing must be left behind. In return, the school promises a future of sublime power and prestige, and that its graduates can become anything or anyone they desire.

Plain Bad Heroines

by Emily M. Danforth

Our story begins in 1902, at the Brookhants School for Girls. Flo and Clara, two impressionable students, are obsessed with each other and with a daring young writer named Mary MacLane, the author of a scandalous bestselling memoir. To show their devotion to Mary, the girls establish their own private club and call it the Plain Bad Heroine Society. They meet in secret in a nearby apple orchard, the setting of their wildest happiness and, ultimately, of their macabre deaths. This is where their bodies are later discovered with a copy of Mary’s book splayed beside them, the victims of a swarm of stinging, angry yellow jackets. Less than five years later, the Brookhants School for Girls closes its doors forever—but not before three more people mysteriously die on the property, each in a most troubling way.

The Searcher

by Tana French

Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a bucolic Irish village would be the perfect escape. After twenty-five years in the Chicago police force and a bruising divorce, he just wants to build a new life in a pretty spot with a good pub where nothing much happens. But when a local kid whose brother has gone missing arm-twists him into investigating, Cal uncovers layers of darkness beneath his picturesque retreat, and starts to realize that even small towns shelter dangerous secrets.

The Hollow Ones

by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Odessa Hardwicke’s life is derailed when she’s forced to turn her gun on her partner, Walt Leppo, a decorated FBI agent who turns suddenly, inexplicably violent while apprehending a rampaging murderer. The shooting, justified by self-defense, shakes the young FBI agent to her core. Devastated, Odessa is placed on desk leave pending a full investigation. But what most troubles Odessa isn’t the tragedy itself — it’s the shadowy presence she thought she saw fleeing the deceased agent’s body after his death.

From the authors who brought you The Strain Trilogy comes a strange, terrifying, and darkly wondrous world of suspense, mystery, and literary horror. The Hollow Ones is a chilling, spell-binding tale, a hauntingly original new fable from Academy Award-winning director Guillermo del Toro and bestselling author Chuck Hogan featuring their most fascinating character yet.

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!