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!

What’s New in Horror?

Do you love horror? Spooky, scary, unsettling page-turners that you just can’t put down? Below are a handful of our picks for new horror reads, 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.

Malorie

by Josh Malerman

In the thrilling sequel to Bird Box, the inspiration for the record-breaking Netflix film that starred Sandra Bullock and “absolutely riveted” Stephen King, New York Times bestselling author Josh Malerman brings unseen horrors to life. The film adaptation of Malerman’s first novel, Bird Box, was watched by over forty-five million Netflix accounts in the first week, the best first seven days ever for a film on the platform. Countless more came to know the story through social media. The image of Sandra Bullock’s character, Malorie, blindfolded–as she’s led through a terrifying near-future apocalypse by the trained ears of her children–has become synonymous with a new generation of horror. Now from the mind of a true master of suspense comes the next chapter in the riveting tale. This time, Malorie is front and center, and she will confront the dangers of her world head-on. Twelve years after Malorie and her children rowed up the river to safety, a blindfold is still the only thing that stands between sanity and madness. There remains no explanation, no solution. But for the first time Malorie has allowed herself to hope: someone very dear to her, someone she believed dead, may be alive. Now she must choose: to live by the rules of survival that have served her so well, or to venture into the darkness and reach for home once more.

Survivor Song

by Paul Tremblay

In a matter of weeks, Massachusetts has been overrun by an insidious rabies-like virus that is spread by saliva. But unlike rabies, the disease has a terrifyingly short incubation period of an hour or less. Those infected quickly lose their minds and are driven to bite and infect as many others as they can before they inevitably succumb. Hospitals are inundated with the sick and dying, and hysteria has taken hold. To try to limit its spread, the commonwealth is under quarantine and curfew. But society is breaking down and the government’s emergency protocols are faltering. Dr. Ramola “Rams” Sherman, a soft-spoken pediatrician in her mid-thirties, receives a frantic phone call from Natalie, a friend who is eight months pregnant. Natalie’s husband has been killed–viciously attacked by an infected neighbor–and in a failed attempt to save him, Natalie, too, was bitten. Natalie’s only chance of survival is to get to a hospital as quickly as possible to receive a rabies vaccine. The clock is ticking for her and for her unborn child. Natalie’s fight for life becomes a desperate odyssey as she and Rams make their way through a hostile landscape filled with dangers beyond their worst nightmares–terrifying, strange, and sometimes deadly challenges that push them to the brink.

Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre

by Max Brooks

As the ash and chaos from Mount Rainier’s eruption swirled and finally settled, the story of the Greenloop massacre has passed unnoticed, unexamined, until now. But the journals of resident Kate Holland, recovered from the town’s bloody wreckage, capture a tale too harrowing and too earth-shattering in its implications, to be forgotten. Because if what Kate Holland saw in those days is real, then we must accept the impossible. We must accept that the creature known as Bigfoot walks among us, and that it is a beast of terrible strength and ferocity.

The Only Good Indians

by Stephen Graham Jones

Peter Straub’s Ghost Story meets Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies in this American Indian horror story of revenge on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Four American Indian men from the Blackfeet Nation, who were childhood friends, find themselves in a desperate struggle for their lives, against an entity that wants to exact revenge upon them for what they did during an elk hunt ten years earlier by killing them, their families, and friends.

Wonderland

by Zoje Stage

One mother’s love may be all that stands between her family, an enigmatic presence–and madness. After years of city life, Orla and Shaw Bennett are ready for the quiet of New York’s Adirondack mountains–or at least, they think they are. Settling into the perfect farmhouse with their two children, they are both charmed and unsettled by the expanse of their land, the privacy of their individual bedrooms, and the isolation of life a mile from any neighbor. But none of the Bennetts could expect what lies waiting in the woods, where secrets run dark and deep. When something begins to call to the family-from under the earth, beneath the trees, and within their minds-Orla realizes she might be the only one who can save them . . . if she can find out what this force wants before it’s too late.

The Deep

by Alma Katsu

From the acclaimed and award-winning author of The Hunger comes an eerie, psychological twist on one of the world’s most renowned tragedies, the sinking of the Titanic and the ill-fated sail of its sister ship, the Britannic. Brilliantly combining the supernatural with the height of historical disaster, The Deep is an exploration of love and destiny, desire and innocence, and, above all, a quest to understand how our choices can lead us inexorably toward our doom.

The Chill

by Scott Carson

Far upstate, in New York’s ancient forests, a drowned village lays beneath the dark, still waters of the Chilewaukee reservoir. Early in the 20th century, the town was destroyed for the greater good: bringing water to the millions living downstate. Or at least that’s what the politicians from Manhattan insisted at the time. The local families, settled there since America’s founding, were forced from their land, but they didn’t move far, and some didn’t move at all… Now, a century later, the repercussions of human arrogance are finally making themselves known. An inspector assigned to oversee the dam, dangerously neglected for decades, witnesses something inexplicable. It turns out that more than the village was left behind in the waters of the Chill when it was abandoned. The townspeople didn’t evacuate without a fight. A dark prophecy remained, too, and the time has come for it to be fulfilled. Those who remember must ask themselves: who will be next? For sacrifices must be made. And as the dark waters begin to inexorably rise, the demand for a fresh sacrifice emerges from the deep…

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!

2020 Hugo Awards: Best Novel Winner and Nominees

The Hugo Awards, first presented in 1953 and presented annually since 1955, are science fiction’s most prestigious award. The Hugo Awards are voted on by members of the World Science Fiction Convention (“Worldcon”), which is also responsible for administering them. Visit thehugoawards.org to read more.

Before the 2021 Hugo Awards are announced this spring, let’s revisit the 2020 Hugo Award winners and nominees below!

  • 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.

A Memory Called Empire (WINNER)

by Arkady Martine

During a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court, Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn’t an accident–or that Mahit might be next to die. Now Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan’s unceasing expansion–all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret–one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life–or rescue it from annihilation.

Middlegame

by Seanan McGuire

Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story. Meet Dodger, his twin. Numbers are her world, her obsession, her everything. All she understands, she does so through the power of math. Meet Reed, skilled in the alchemical arts like his progenitor before him. Reed created Dodger and her brother. He’s not their father. Not quite. But he has a plan: to raise the twins to the highest power, to ascend with them and claim their authority as his own.

Gideon the Ninth

by Tamsyn Muir

The Emperor needs necromancers. The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman. Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead nonsense. Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service. Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will be become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

The Light Brigade

by Kameron Hurley

‘The war has turned us into light. Transforming us into light is the fastest way to travel from one front to another, and there are many fronts, now. I always wanted to be a hero. I always wanted to be on the side of light. It’s funny how things work out.’ Soldiers in the war against Mars, The Light Brigade, live brief lives, but the veterans are starting to be affected by changes in their bodies and minds, slipping in and out of time, or are they simply going mad? From Hugo award-winning author of The Stars Are Legion is a novel about interplanetary warriors who are losing their humanity.

The City in the Middle of the Night

by Charlie Jane Anders

Sophie serves coffee at an underground cafe. She stays in the shadows and listens to the troubles of the parlor guests, but does not draw attention to herself for one simple reason: Sophie is supposed to be dead. When a nationalistic revolution forces Sophie from her safe haven, she must make a dangerous journey to a new city, one that revels in hedonism and chaos. After joining up with a band of smugglers, she finds herself on a long and treacherous path that will lead her far closer to the truth of her entire world—and to the dangers that lurk even in the light of day.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January

by Alix E. Harrow

In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut. In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place. Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own. Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow’s spellbinding debut–step inside and discover its magic.

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!

Staying Connected During the Holiday Season

In years past, the holidays were often filled with non-stop activity, concerts, shopping, school programs, parties, etc. This holiday season will be one the likes of which few of us have experienced before. 

Let us help you and your family reclaim the joy, fun, and focus of this holiday season in your bubble with ideas and resources to keep you connected this time of year.

Explore a new cookbook or cuisine

Holiday celebrations are filled with memories of the tastes, smells and textures of family food traditions. So, whether you go for traditional family recipes, cookie baking/decorating with the kids or decide on trying a totally new exotic menu, the Library has cookbooks with recipes waiting to be sampled. There is something sure to please everyone in the house.

Listen to some holiday tunes ...

For those long winter evenings, relax and reflect with sounds of the season. Select music CDs from our special holiday collection or borrow some of your old favorites through the Library catalog. You may also enjoy the Library’s Freegal music streaming and downloads — search for your favorite artists and albums, or stream Freegal’s curated holiday playlists.

... or make your own holiday concert!

Is there a pianist, guitar or ukulele player, or other musically-inclined member in the household? Check out holiday or popular sheet music books from the Library and enjoy their talent! Make your own concert! If you give them a venue, everyone can have a chance to shine!

Schedule a family movie night

Set up a themed movie marathon — from TV shows, to classics, or films in a series. Treat yourself to holiday favorites like The Christmas Story, Polar Express, A Christmas Carol, or The Nutcracker, with hot cocoa and cookies from your  very own “kitchen concession stand”. And don’t miss our brand new Binge Boxes!

Watch a craft or DIY video from the Library

Want to keep busy while staying safe at home? You can watch a variety of craft programs, DIYs, storytimes, and more on the Library’s Vimeo, Facebook, or Instagram!

We have videos for all ages! Enjoy the Library’s services  from the comfort of your home, and create something together. The best part is that our videos are available to stream anytime… day or night!

Need some time out of the house?

Take advantage of the Museum Adventure Pass program. You can use your Bensenville Community Public Library card to check out a pass to great Chicago area museums! There are a variety of area museums that participate in the program. For more details about the Museum Adventure Pass program and to see which passes are currently available, contact the Youth Services Department at (630) 766-4642.

Take time for yourself!

Be especially kind to yourself during the holidays. Make some time to relax and decompress with a good book and a warm beverage. Use one of our new services Novelist to help find read-a-likes for your favorite authors. Looking for more book recommendations? The Library has a collection of booklists for a range of interests and ages.

Above all stay connected! Call and chat with family, neighbors, friends, and especially those you know in nursing homes. Send cards, emails, and small care packages to those who are homebound or self-quarantining. Let them know they are remembered!

Wishing you and your family a happy and safe holiday season! From your friends at the Bensenville Community Public Library.

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!

Christmas Crime Novels

Love crime and also Christmastime? Check out this festive rundown of crime fiction set during the holiday season, 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.

  • Want more holiday reads? Contact the Adult Services Desk at (630) 766-4642 for recommendations.

A Christmas Revelation

by Anne Perry

Formerly a river urchin living on the banks of the Thames, nine-year-old Worm has never experienced a family Christmas. But thanks to a job at Hester Monk’s clinic in Portpool Lane, he’s found a makeshift family in kindly volunteer Miss Claudine Burroughs and curmudgeonly old bookkeeper Squeaky Robinson.

When Worm witnesses the abduction of a beautiful woman by a pair of ruffians just days before Christmas, he frantically turns to Squeaky for help. A one-time brothel owner, Squeaky knows the perils of interfering in nasty business, but he can’t bear to disappoint Worm—or leave the boy to attempt a rescue on his own. What neither of the would-be saviors expects, however, is that the damsel in distress already has her dilemma well in hand . . . and is taking steps to bring her captors to justice for crimes far worse than kidnapping. But the rogues, as cunning as they are deadly, are not to be underestimated. The aid of cynical old Squeaky and hopeful young Worm just might make the difference between a merry triumph over evil and a terrible yuletide tragedy.

The Mistletoe Murder

by P.D. James

The newly appointed Sgt. Dalgliesh is drawn into a case that is “pure Agatha Christie.” . . . A “pedantic, respectable, censorious” clerk’s secret taste for pornography is only the first reason he finds for not coming forward as a witness to a murder . . . A best-selling crime novelist describes the crime she herself was involved in fifty years earlier . . . Dalgliesh’s godfather implores him to reinvestigate a notorious murder that might ease the godfather’s mind about an inheritance, but which will reveal a truth that even the supremely upstanding Adam Dalgliesh will keep to himself. Each of these stories is as playful as it is ingeniously plotted, the author’s sly humor as evident as her hallmark narrative elegance and shrewd understanding of some of the most complex–not to say the most damning–aspects of human nature. A treat for P. D. James’s legions of fans and anyone who enjoys the pleasures of a masterfully wrought whodunit.

The Twelve Clues of Christmas

by Hazel Gaynor

Scotland, 1933. While her true love, Darcy O’Mara, is spending his feliz navidad tramping around South America and her mother is holed up in a tiny village called Tiddleton-under-Lovey with droll playwright Noel Coward, Georgie is quite literally stuck at Castle Rannoch thanks to a snowstorm.
 
It seems like a Christmas miracle when she manages to land a position as hostess to a posh holiday party in Tiddleton. The village should be like something out of A Christmas Carol, but as soon as she arrives things take a deadly turn when a neighborhood nuisance falls out of a tree. On her second day, another so-called accident results in a death—and there’s yet another on her third, making Georgie wonder if there’s something wicked happening in this winter wonderland… 

He Sees You When You're Sleeping

by Mary Higgins Clark

Sterling has been waiting outside heaven’s doors since he was hit in the head with a golf ball 46 years ago, but his self-centered attitudes on earth haven’t earned him entrance. On a special probationary pass back to the living, Sterling must find one person who needs his help and meet that need. Carol Higgins Clark has a beautiful, musical voice, perfectly suited to this holiday tale of love and redemption. Highlighted by appropriate music at appropriate moments, her performance might be that of an angel, so sweet is its rhythm and so delicate its layers of emotion and excitement. No matter that Mary Higgins Clark’s mobsters and their antics don’t carry their usual tension and believability; this parable needs only the ring of spiritual truth, which sounds loud and clear.

Plum Pudding Murder

by Joanne Fluke

The Cookie Jar’s busiest time of the year also happens to be the most wonderful time…for Christmas cookies, Hannah’s own special plum pudding—and romance! She also gets a kick out of “Lunatic Larry Jaeger’s Crazy Elf Christmas Tree Lot,” a kitschy carnival taking place
smack-dab in the middle of the village green. But then Hannah discovers the man himself dead as a doornail in his own office…
 
Now, with so many suspects to investigate and the twelve days of Christmas ticking away, Hannah’s running out of time to nab a murderous Scrooge who doesn’t want her to see the New Year…

How the Finch Stole Christmas!

by Donna Andrews

Meg’s husband has decided to escalate his one-man show of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol into a full-scale production with a large cast including their sons Jamie and Josh as Tiny Tim and young Scrooge and Meg helping as stage manager.

The show must go on, even if the famous―though slightly over-the-hill―actor who’s come to town to play the starring role of Scrooge has brought a sleigh-load of baggage and enemies with him. And why is Caerphilly suddenly overrun with a surplus of beautiful caged finches?

How the Finch Stole Christmas! is guaranteed to put the “ho ho hos” into the holidays of cozy lovers everywhere with its gut-bustingly funny mystery.

Festive in Death

by J.D. Robb

It’s Christmas, but Lieutenant Eve Dallas is in no mood to celebrate. While her charismatic husband Roarke plans a huge, glittering party, Eve has murder on her mind.

The victim – personal trainer Trey Ziegler – was trouble in life and is causing even more problems in death. Vain, unfaithful and vindictive, Trey had cultivated a lot of enemies. Which means Eve has a lot of potential suspects. And when she and Detective Peabody uncover Trey’s sinister secret, the case takes a deadly turn.

Christmas may be a festival of light, but Eve and Roarke will be forced once more down a very dark path in their hunt for the truth.

The Body in the Sleigh

by Katherine Hall Page

 Caterer and minister’s wife Faith Fairchild is back to solve her eighteenth deadly mystery in The Body in the Sleigh—the latest perfect puzzler in author Katherine Hall Page’s multiple Agatha Award-winning series. Set on Sanpere Island in Maine’s Penobscot Bay, this atmospheric holiday whodunit is chock-full of suspense, surprises, real heart, and small miracles. And, as always, the mystery comes with recipes for delectable holiday treats from Faith Fairchild’s kitchen.

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!