Oh, the Horror! (01/26/2021): Lovecraft Country

Lovecraft Country (cover)

Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

Critically acclaimed cult novelist Matt Ruff makes visceral the terrors of life in Jim Crow America and its lingering effects in this brilliant and wondrous work of the imagination that melds historical fiction, pulp noir, and Lovecraftian horror and fantasy.Chicago, 1954. When his father, Montrose, goes missing, twenty-two-year-old army veteran Atticus Turner embarks on a road trip to New England to find him, accompanied by his uncle George-publisher of The Safe Negro Travel Guide-and his childhood friend, Letitia. On their journey to the manor of Mr. Braithwhite-heir to the estate that owned one of Atticus’ ancestors-they encounter both mundane terrors of white America and malevolent spirits that seem straight out of the weird tales George devours.At the manor, Atticus discovers his father in chains, held prisoner by a secret cabal named the Order of the Ancient Dawn-led by Samuel Braithwhite and his son Caleb-which has gathered to orchestrate a ritual that shockingly centers on Atticus. And his one hope of salvation may be the seed of his clan’s destruction.A chimerical blend of magic, power, hope, and freedom that stretches across time, touching diverse members of two black families, Lovecraft Country is a devastating kaleidoscopic portrait of racism-the terrifying specter that continues to haunt us today.

Next Meeting:
January 26th @ 7:00 PM at Virtual Library

Register for online meeting here



Time to Make Your Reading Resolutions!


Make 2021 your best reading year yet, with a fun reading challenge that continues all year long!

Reading Resolutions encourages you to read a book that fits a different theme each month. For each month you participate, you’ll be entered into a monthly prize drawing, and a grand prize drawing at year’s end.

These are the twelve monthly themes:

January – Famous and Infamous (read a biography)

February- And the winner is… (read an award winning book)

March- Twice Told Tales (read a book that’s been adapted into a movie, TV series, or another book)

April- Let’s Get Graphic (read a graphic novel)

May- Graduation Day (read a Young Adult book)

June- Summer Lovin’ (read a romance or a love story)

July- #OwnVoices (read a book by an author from a marginalized group about a character from the same group)

August- The Great Outdoors (read a book set primarily in nature, such as a western, or a beach book, or a non-fiction book about nature or climate)

September- Back to School (read a literary classic)

October- Spooky Reads (read a horror, paranormal or mystery novel, or non-fiction about eerie phenomena, or true crime)

November- When I Was Growing Up (read a book set in your childhood/teen decade)

December- Short and Sweet (read poetry, short stories, novellas, essays)

You can also request a bookmark listing the themes with your next drive through or curbside pick-up.

Get started by signing up in Beanstack. If you’re participating in Winter Reading or did 2020 Summer Reading, you will already have an account. If you’re not sure, or can’t log in, ask an Adult Services staff member for help.

Check out the FAQs to learn more about how Reading Resolutions works


Do I have to register to participate?

Yes, and you’ll receive your first prize drawing entry, just for signing up.

To participate, you will need to create an account in Beanstack.com.  If you’re participating in Winter Reading, or if you did 2020 Summer Reading, you already have one. Not sure? Ask an Adult Services staff member for help.

Once you’re signed into your Beanstack account, select the Reading Resolutions Reading Challenge banner.

This will take you to the 12 monthly themes (known in Beanstack as “activity badges”) for the challenge. When you’ve read a book with that month’s theme, click the corresponding activity badge to record your progress and be entered in the drawing.

You can also track your reading progress on paper and ask an Adult Services staff member for help recording your progress in Beanstack.

Can books I read for Reading Resolutions count toward Winter Reading?

Yes! But you’ll have to enter them under the Reading Resolutions Challenge’s activity badges AND log them as books read to count them for the Winter Reading Challenge

Can I read more than one book for each month’s theme?

While only one book can count toward your Reading Resolutions Challenge activity, if it’s a theme you love, you can always count additional books toward Winter Reading.

Do I have to read a book every month?

No. You can participate in the challenge every month or just once. Remember though, that every month you participate earns you another entry in the prize drawing. If you complete all twelve months, you receive a bonus Completion badge, for a total of 14 entries. Better odds!

What if I miss a month?

No problem! You can catch up. Badges activate on the first day of the month for that theme and will remain active through the end of the year.

Can I count a book I’ve already read?

As long as it’s a book you read in 2021. But you cannot click on the badge until it becomes active on the first day of the theme month, so no jumping ahead.

How about ebooks or audiobooks?

Of course!

What are the prizes?

Each month we’ll give away a $10 gift card, and at the end of the year, we’ll give away a $100 gift card and a $50 gift card for a local merchant. Monthly winners are still eligible for the year-end drawings.

How do I find books to fit the theme?

Each month, we’ll have a display set up in the Adult Services Department. We’ll feature book ideas on the Adult Services blog, and you can also find links to suggested titles in Beanstack. You can also read a book from your personal collection.

Happily Ever After (01/18/2021): Forbidden

Forbidden (cover)

Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins

USA Today bestselling author Beverly Jenkins returns with the first book in a breathtaking new series set in the Old West

Rhine Fontaine is building the successful life he’s always dreamed of—one that depends upon him passing for White. But for the first time in years, he wishes he could step out from behind the façade. The reason: Eddy Carmichael, the young woman he rescued in the desert. Outspoken, defiant, and beautiful, Eddy tempts Rhine in ways that could cost him everything . . . and the price seems worth paying.

Eddy owes her life to Rhine, but she won’t risk her heart for him. As soon as she’s saved enough money from her cooking, she’ll leave this Nevada town and move to California. No matter how handsome he is, no matter how fiery the heat between them, Rhine will never be hers. Giving in for just one night might quench this longing. Or it might ignite an affair as reckless and irresistible as it is forbidden . . .

Next Meeting:
January 18th @ 7:00 PM at Virtual Library

Register for online meeting here



Nite Readers (01/21/2021): All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See (cover)

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the stunningly beautiful instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.

Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).

Next Meeting:
January 21st @ 7:00 PM at Virtual Library

Register for online meeting here


Enjoying the Classics (01/20/2021): A Farewell to Arms

A Farewell to Arms (cover)

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

The definitive edition of the classic novel of love during wartime, featuring all of the alternate endings: “Fascinating…serves as an artifact of a bygone craft, with handwritten notes and long passages crossed out, giving readers a sense of an author’s process” (The New York Times).
Written when Ernest Hemingway was thirty years old and lauded as the best American novel to emerge from World War I, A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Set against the looming horrors of the battlefield—weary, demoralized men marching in the rain during the German attack on Caporetto; the profound struggle between loyalty and desertion—this gripping, semiautobiographical work captures the harsh realities of war and the pain of lovers caught in its inexorable sweep.
Ernest Hemingway famously said that he rewrote the ending to A Farewell to Arms thirty-nine times to get the words right. This edition collects all of the alternative endings together for the first time, along with early drafts of other essential passages, offering new insight into Hemingway’s craft and creative process and the evolution of one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century. Featuring Hemingway’s own 1948 introduction to an illustrated reissue of the novel, a personal foreword by the author’s son Patrick Hemingway, and a new introduction by the author’s grandson Seán Hemingway, this edition of A Farewell to Arms is truly a celebration.

Next Meeting:
January 20th @ 7:00 PM at Virtual Library

Register for online meeting here


Winter Reading Begins! (Plus, a few suggestions to get you started)

So far, snow hasn’t been falling, but books are definitely calling, as AAPLD opens its 2020-21 Winter Reading program.  The program officially kicked off on Monday, December 14, and runs through February 1.

Signing up is easy! If you created a Beanstack account for 2020 Summer Reading, just go to aapld.beanstack.org  or use the Beanstack app. Log-in and follow the prompts. If you don’t have an account, select the Registration button on the Beanstack sign-in page and create an account. You can also give the library a call and ask a staff member for help.

Once you’ve signed up, you’ll use Beanstack to track your progress. Just click the Log Reading and Activities button to log your reading or record an activity.  If you’d rather keep track on paper, you can print a log from Beanstack, ask for one at the Harnish Drive-through window, or with curbside pick-up at the Eastgate Branch. Track on paper, then call the library to have us record your results.

Adults will receive a packet of hot cocoa mix for reading their first book, a coupon for Scorched Earth Brewing or Churros y Chocolate for their second book, and a colorful AAPLD ceramic soup mug for their third book.  Each book, up to 15, also earns you an entry into the drawing for our Grand Prize Baskets: Book Lovers, Binge Basket, Coffee Lovers, Cozy Blanket, Culinary Basket and the Eastgate Basket.

When you’ve won a prize, give us a call to arrange to for pick up.

If you want more information, be sure to check out this post, and FAQs. If you’re ready to start your first Winter Reading book, check out these happy holiday reads, available digitally through Hoopla and Overdrive/Libby.

Items marked with an asterisk are also available in print and/or audio. Use our website to place a hold, or give us a call.


Mr. Dickens and his Carol by Samantha Silva*

Many Unpleasant Returns by Judith Alguire

Christmas in London by Anita Hughes*

Tidings of Comfort and Joy by Davis Bunn

Christmas on the Island by Jenny Colgan*

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens*

The Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter

A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas*

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie*

Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor*

The Night of Christmas Eve by Nikolai Gogol*

The Greatest Gift by Philip Van Doren Stern*


Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand*

Starry Night by Debbie Macomber*

Hiddensee: The Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker by Gregory Maguire*

Comfort and Joy by Kristin Hannah*

The Man Who Invented Christmas by Les Standiford*

One Day In December by Josie Silver*

Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory*

Amazing Peace by Maya Angelou*

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak*

Print only

The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman

Forever Young (01/11/2021): Yes No Maybe So

Yes No Maybe So (cover)

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed

A book about the power of love and resistance from New York Times bestselling authors Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed.


Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate—as long as he’s behind the scenes. When it comes to speaking to strangers (or, let’s face it, speaking at all to almost anyone) Jamie’s a choke artist. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.


Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is canceled, and now her parents are separating. Why her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing—with some awkward dude she hardly knows—is beyond her.


Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer—and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural crush of the century is another thing entirely.

Next Meeting:
January 11th @ 6:30 PM at Virtual Library

Register for online meeting here



Soon To Be Famous Illinois Manuscript Contest is now open!

Calling all local authors! If you have a finished work of Adult fiction that’s not yet published, consider entering it in the 2021 Soon To Be Famous Illinois Manuscript Contest!

Sponsored by The Illinois Author Project, a collaboration between the the Illinois Library Association, the Reaching Across Illinois Library System, and other contributors, the contest recognizes the best unpublished Adult Fiction written by an Illinois author.

Entries will be judged by Illinois librarians. The winner will receive editing from a professional line editor, who will help the author polish their manuscript, a professionally designed book cover, and self-publishing guidance from past winners of the Soon To Be Famous contest. In addition, the finished book will be automatically entered as a semi-finalist in the 2022 Soon To Be Famous Illinois Author Contest.

Manuscripts must meet formatting criteria, available on the contest website. Entries will be accepted through January 3, 2021, and are limited to one entry per author.

The Soon To Be Famous Illinois Manuscript contest is one of two contests offered by The Illinois Author Project. The Soon To Be Famous Illinois Author contest is for independently published authors residing in Illinois. That contest will open for entries in April, 2021.

The Illinois Author Project (IAP) is part of an ongoing, library-driven effort to support and promote Illinois authors, whether they are unpublished or self-published. Readers can access self-published fiction in many genres for free, open-ended check-outs, through the IAPs digital collection.


Spinecrackers (01/08/2021): The Body: A Guide for Occupants

The Body: A Guide for Occupants (cover)

The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson, bestselling author of A Short History of Nearly Everything, takes us on a head-to-toe tour of the marvel that is the human body. As addictive as it is comprehensive, this is Bryson at his very best, a must-read owner’s manual for everybody.
Bill Bryson once again proves himself to be an incomparable companion as he guides us through the human body—how it functions, its remarkable ability to heal itself, and (unfortunately) the ways it can fail. Full of extraordinary facts (your body made a million red blood cells since you started reading this) and irresistible Bryson-esque anecdotes, The Body will lead you to a deeper understanding of the miracle that is life in general and you in particular. As Bill Bryson writes, “We pass our existence within this wobble of flesh and yet take it almost entirely for granted.” The Body will cure that indifference with generous doses of wondrous, compulsively readable facts and information.

Next Meeting:
January 8th @ 10:00 AM at Virtual Library

Register for online meeting here


Book Clubbers (01/07/2021): The Last Collection

The Last Collection (cover)

The Last Collection by Jeanne Mackin

An American woman becomes entangled in the intense rivalry between iconic fashion designers Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli in this vivid novel from the acclaimed author of The Beautiful American.
Paris, 1938. Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli are fighting for recognition as the most successful and influential fashion designer in France, and their rivalry is already legendary. They oppose each other at every turn, in both their politics and their designs: Chanel’s are classic, elegant, and practical; Schiaparelli’s bold, experimental, and surreal.
When Lily Sutter, a recently widowed American teacher, travels to Paris to visit her brother, Charlie, he insists on buying her a couture dress for her birthday—a Chanel. Lily reluctantly agrees but wants a Schiaparelli, not a Chanel. Charlie’s beautiful and socially prominent girlfriend begins wearing Schiaparelli’s designs as well, and soon much of Paris is following in her footsteps.
Schiaparelli offers budding artist Lily a job at her store, and suddenly, Lily finds herself increasingly involved with Schiaparelli and Chanel’s personal war. Their fierce competition reaches new and dangerous heights as the Nazis and the looming threat of World War II bear down on Paris.

Next Meeting:
January 7th @ 7:00 PM at Virtual Library

Register for online meeting here