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!

The Perseid Meteor Shower | Stargazing Books, Apps, and Resources

It’s Meteor Month! Break out your comfiest lounge chair and head out to the backyard (or dark-sky site) and don’t miss the annual Perseid meteor shower!

  • The best viewing time for the Perseid viewing is August 11-12, 2020!

Did you know… The Perseids are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift–Tuttle. The meteors are called the Perseids because the point from which they appear to hail lies in the constellation Perseus.

To read more about it...

  • The Perseid meteor shower peaks early in the morning on Wednesday, August 12. Often the best meteor shower of the year, the Perseids produce rates of up to 100 meteors per hour.
  • The peak of the Perseid meteor shower occurs overnight from August 11 to 12. On August 12, the shower’s radiant — the point on the sky from which shower meteors appear to originate — will be high in the northeast around 2 A.M. local time. That will be the best time to watch for shower meteors, although you’ll likely catch meteors anytime between dusk on the 11th and dawn on the 12th.

Visit Astronomy.com for Perseid viewing info and some great photos of Comet NEOWISE!

Browse our favorite astronomy websites to consult for convenient nightly star charts and more:

Get the latest space exploration, innovation and astronomy news. Space.com celebrates humanity’s ongoing expansion across the final frontier.

NASA.gov brings you the latest news, images and videos from America’s space agency, pioneering the future in space exploration and scientific discovery.

Quality sky maps and star charts for skywatchers and educators. Download The Evening Sky Map free each month. Find constellations, planets, comets.

Prefer to go mobile? Download our favorite sky-viewing & "augmented reality" apps:

Star Walk 2 Free

Star Walk 2 is an exquisite stargazing app enabling you to explore the night sky through the screen of your device. Make an effortless journey through thousands of stars, planets and constellations. All you have to do is point your device to the sky!

DOWNLOAD:

Star Chart

Used by over 30 million people worldwide, Star Chart provides a magical star gazing experience like no other. You can now have a virtual planetarium in your pocket! Look through the eyes of your device to see a virtual window into the whole visible universe.

DOWNLOAD:

SkyView Lite

This beautiful, intuitive stargazing app uses your camera to precisely spot and identify celestial objects in sky, day or night. Find popular constellations while you scan across the sky, locate planets in our solar system, discover distant galaxies, and witness satellite fly-bys.

DOWNLOAD:

Want more astronomy? Check out these titles for adults & kids:

Keep looking up... Space is boundless!

If You Liked… “Where the Crawdads Sing”

Did you love Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens? This absorbing, atmospheric tale about a lonely girl’s coming-of-age in the marshes of North Carolina topped The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2019 and The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2020 for a combined 30 non-consecutive weeks. If you’re looking for more reads like this one, check out this list of read-alikes.

The Scent Keeper

by Erica Bauermeister

A moving and evocative coming-of-age novel about childhood stories, families lost and found, and how a fragrance conjures memories capable of shaping the course of our lives. The Scent Keeper explores the provocative beauty of scent, the way it can reveal hidden truths, lead us to the person we seek, and even help us find our way back home.

Let's No One Get Hurt

by Jon Pineda

Fifteen-year-old Pearl is squatting in an abandoned boathouse with her father, a disgraced college professor, and two other grown men, deep in the swamps of the American South. Despite the isolation, Pearl feels at home with her makeshift family: the three men care for Pearl and teach her what they know of the world … While Pearl is out scavenging in the woods, she meets Main Boy, who eventually reveals that his father has purchased the property on which Pearl and the others are squatting.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home

by Carol Rifka Brunt

1987. The only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus is her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June’s world is turned upside down. But Finn’s death brings a surprise acquaintance into June’s life … June realizes she’s not the only one who misses Finn, and that this unexpected friend just might be the one she needs the most.

The Great Alone

by Kristin Hannah

A desperate family seeks a new beginning in the near-isolated wilderness of Alaska only to find that their unpredictable environment is less threatening than the erratic behavior found in human nature.

Sycamore

by Bryn Chancellor

Out for a hike one scorching afternoon in Sycamore, Arizona, a newcomer to town stumbles across what appear to be human remains embedded in the wall of a dry desert ravine. As news of the discovery makes its way around town, Sycamore’s longtime residents fear the bones may belong to Jess Winters, the teenage girl who disappeared suddenly some eighteen years earlier, an unsolved mystery that has soaked into the porous rock of the town and haunted it ever since.

The Risen

by Ron Rash

While swimming in a secluded creek on a hot Sunday in 1969, sixteen-year-old Eugene and his older brother, Bill, meet Ligeia, a free-spirited redhead from Daytona Beach banished to their small North Carolina town. Ligeia entrances the brothers, especially Eugene, who is drawn to her raw sensuality and rebellious attitude. But when Ligeia vanishes as suddenly as she appeared, the growing rift between the two brothers becomes immutable. Decades later, the once-close brothers now lead completely different lives. When a shocking reminder of the past unexpectedly surfaces, Eugene is plunged back into that fateful summer and the girl he cannot forget.

The Barrowfields

by Phillip Lewis

Just before Henry Aster’s birth, his father—outsized literary ambition and pregnant wife in tow—reluctantly returns to the small Appalachian town in which he was raised. There, Henry grows up under the writing desk of this fiercely brilliant man. But when tragedy tips his father toward a fearsome unraveling, what was once a young son’s reverence is poisoned and Henry flees, not to return until years later when he, too, must go home again. 

My Absolute Darling

by Gabriel Tallent

Turtle Alveston is a survivor. At fourteen, she roams the woods along the northern California coast. The creeks, tide pools, and rocky islands are her haunts and her hiding grounds, and she is known to wander for miles. But while her physical world is expansive, her personal one is small and treacherous: Turtle has grown up isolated since the death of her mother, in the thrall of her tortured and charismatic father, Martin. Then Turtle meets Jacob, a high-school boy who tells jokes, lives in a big clean house, and looks at Turtle as if she is the sunrise. And for the first time, the larger world begins to come into focus: her life with Martin is neither safe nor sustainable. What follows is a harrowing story of bravery and redemption.

If the Creek Don't Rise

by Leah Weiss

In a North Carolina mountain town filled with moonshine and rotten husbands, Sadie Blue is only the latest girl to face a dead-end future at the mercy of a dangerous drunk. She’s been married to Roy Tupkin for fifteen days, and she knows now that she should have listened to the folks who said he was trouble. But when a stranger sweeps in and knocks the world off-kilter for everyone in town, Sadie begins to think there might be more to life than being Roy’s wife. As stark and magnificent as Appalachia itself, If the Creek Don’t Rise is a bold and beautifully layered debut about a dusty, desperate town finding the inner strength it needs to outrun its demons.

Miller's Valley

by Anna Quindlen

For generations the Millers have lived in Miller’s Valley, Pennsylvania. Mimi Miller tells about her life with intimacy and honesty. As Mimi eavesdrops on her parents and quietly observes the people around her, she discovers more and more about the toxicity of family secrets, the dangers of gossip, the flaws of marriage, the inequalities of friendship, and the risks of passion, loyalty, and love. Home, as Mimi begins to realize, can be “a place where it’s just as easy to feel lost as it is to feel content.” Miller’s Valley is a study of family, memory, loss, and, ultimately, discovery, of finding true identity and a new vision of home. As Mimi says, “No one ever leaves the town where they grew up, even if they go.”

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The Lineup: Baseball Biographies & Movies

The 2020 season of Major League Baseball is officially here! While this season is going to look a lot differently, we’re just happy to see baseball back in action. In celebration of the return of baseball, we’ve rounded up our favorite biographies and films to get you ready to cheer on your favorite team.

  • 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.

Baseball Books — Biographies

Films About Baseball

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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’s New: Thrillers for 2020

Do you love a gripping page-turner that you just can’t put down? Below are a handful of our picks for the best new thrillers 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 Missing American

by Kwei Quartey

After her dreams of becoming a police officer come crashing down, Emma starts working for a private detective agency in Accra. Anxious about her uncertain future and career in the city, she soon finds herself investigating the case of a missing American citizen in Ghana. In a plot that expands continents and the secrets of two countries, Emma must navigate a convoluted world of international scams, fetish priests, and the mysteries of the dead.

The Majesties

by Tiffany Tsao

Gwendolyn and Estella have always been as close as sisters can be. Growing up in a wealthy, eminent, and sometimes deceitful family, they’ve relied on each other for support and confidence. But now Gwendolyn is lying in a coma, the sole survivor of Estella’s poisoning of their whole clan. As Gwendolyn struggles to regain consciousness, she desperately retraces her memories, trying to uncover the moment that led to this shocking and brutal act. Was it their aunt’s mysterious death at sea? Estella’s unhappy marriage to a dangerously brutish man? Or were the shifting loyalties and unspoken resentments at the heart of their opulent world too much to bear? Can Gwendolyn, at last, confront the carefully buried mysteries in their family’s past and the truth about who she and her sister really are?

A Good Man

by Ani Katz

Paul Martin was a devoted family man who had all the trappings of an enviable life: a beautiful wife and daughter, a well-appointed home on Long Island’s north shore, a job at a prestigious Manhattan advertising firm. He was also a devoted son and brother, shielding the women in his orbit from the everyday horrors of the world. But what happens when Paul’s fragile ego is rocked? After committing an unspeakable act–that he can never undo–Paul grapples with his sense of self. Sometimes he casts himself as a victim and, at other times, a monster. All he ever did was try to be a good man, but he may actually be a very, very bad man.

The Holdout

by Graham Moore

Maya Seale believes that Bobby Nock is innocent, so she becomes determined to persuade her fellow jurors of it. Ten years after the trial and Maya’s successful campaign for his innocence, a documentary crew starts to look into what happened between the jurors behind closed doors. Maya, now a defense attorney, finds her life under scrutiny, as a body of one of her fellow jurors is found in her apartment.

The Rabbit Hunter

by Lars Kepler

Ten little rabbits, all dressed in white tried to get to heaven on the end of a kite. Kite string got broken, down they all fell, Instead of going to heaven, they all went to… It begins with a nursery rhyme. Nineteen minutes later you die. A masked stranger stands in the shadows. He watches his victim through the window. He will kill him slowly–make him pay. Soon the Rabbit Hunter has claimed another three victims. This predator will stop at nothing to reap his ultimate revenge. It’s up to Joona Linna and Saga Bauer to untangle one of the most complex cases of their career, and follow the killer’s trail of destruction back to one horrific night of violence.

Hi Five

by Joe Ide

Isaiah Quintabe, the genius PI who combines book smarts, street smarts, and enough blistering action to melt the pavement of East Long Beach, is back with a new adventure. Fresh off the beating he took at the hands of a gang of ex-Abu Ghraib thugs working as paramilitary contractors, IQ is determined to build a life for himself with his new girlfriend, Grace. For once, he wants to be normal–a normal guy, with a normal PI business, doing the best he can. But this is IQ, and trouble is never far behind him. Joined by his faithful band of fast-talking, sharp-tongued partners, Deronda and Dodson, the cases are wild, the mysteries twisty, and the driving fast.

The Janes

by Louisa Luna

On the outskirts of San Diego, the bodies of two young women are discovered. They have no names, no IDs, and no family looking for them. Fearing the possibility of a human trafficking ring, the police and FBI reach out to Alice Vega, a private investigator known for finding the missing, for help in finding out who the Janes were – and finding the others who are missing. Alice Vega is a powerful woman whose determination is matched only by her intellect, and, along with her partner Cap, she will stop at nothing to find the Janes before it is too late.

Deep State

by Chris Hauty

Recently elected President Richard Monroe–populist, controversial, and divisive–is at the center of an increasingly polarized Washington, DC. Never has the partisan drama been so tense or the paranoia so rampant. In the midst of contentious political turf wars, the White House chief of staff is found dead in his house. A tenacious intern discovers a single, ominous clue that suggests he died from something other than natural causes, and that a wide-ranging conspiracy is running beneath the surface of everyday events: powerful government figures are scheming to undermine the rule of law–and democracy itself. The unthinkable is happening. The Deep State is real. Who will die to keep its secrets and who will kill to uncover the truth?

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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!

Now Recommending: Great Eats & Cool Treats

Need some new recipe ideas and inspirations for your summertime cooking? Look no further! Whether you prefer to be behind the grill, or if you’d rather stay cool in the kitchen, we’ve got a variety of cookbooks in our collection — grilling, barbecuing, salads, sandwiches, and sweet treats — all perfect for summertime fun and good eating.

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!