Book Clubs

Spinecrackers (01/06/2023): The School for Good Mothers

Frida Liu is struggling. She doesn’t have a career worthy of her Chinese immigrant parents’ sacrifices. She can’t persuade her husband, Gust, to give up his wellness-obsessed younger mistress. Only with Harriet, their cherubic daughter, does Frida finally attain the perfection expected of her. Harriet may be all she has, but she is just enough.

Until Frida has a very bad day.

The state has its eye on mothers like Frida. The ones who check their phones, letting their children get injured on the playground; who let their children walk home alone. Because of one moment of poor judgement, a host of government officials will now determine if Frida is a candidate for a Big Brother-like institution that measures the success or failure of a mother’s devotion.

Faced with the possibility of losing Harriet, Frida must prove that a bad mother can be redeemed. That she can learn to be good.

An “intense” (Oprah Daily), “captivating” (Today) page-turner that is also a transgressive novel of ideas about the perils of “perfect” upper-middle class parenting; the violence enacted upon women by both the state and, at times, one another; the systems that separate families; and the boundlessness of love, The School for Good Mothers introduces, in Frida, an everywoman for the ages. Using dark wit to explore the pains and joys of the deepest ties that bind us, Chan has written a modern literary classic. […]

Book Clubs

Oh, the Horror! (12/27/2022): The Ruins

Eerie, terrifying, and unputdownable, The Ruins is Scott Smith’s first novel since his acclaimed debut. The Ruins follows two American couples enjoying a pleasant, lazy beach holiday together in Mexico. On an impulse, they go off with newfound friends in search of one of their group — the young German, who, in pursuit of a girl, has headed for the remote Mayan ruins, site of a fabled archeological dig. This is what happens from the moment the searchers — moving into the wild interior — begin to suspect that there is an insidious, horrific “other” among them… […]

Library Reads

Discover December’s Library Reads

Every month, librarians and library staff throughout the country select their top ten favorite new releases. Library Reads celebrate both established authors and exciting newcomers writing in a variety of genres. We’ll highlight a few notable Library Reads picks for the month, which you can check out from AAPLD. Find the complete list of December’s Library Reads here.   The […]

Book Clubs

Happily Ever After (12/19/2022): Royal Holiday

Vivian Forest has been out of the country a grand total of one time, so when she gets the chance to tag along on her daughter Maddie’s work trip to England to style a royal family member, she can’t refuse. She’s excited to spend the holidays taking in the magnificent British sights, but what she doesn’t expect is to become instantly attracted to a certain private secretary, his charming accent, and unyielding formality.

Malcolm Hudson has worked for the Queen for years and has never given a personal, private tour—until now. He is intrigued by Vivian the moment he meets her and finds himself making excuses just to spend time with her. When flirtatious banter turns into a kiss under the mistletoe, things snowball into a full-on fling.

Despite a ticking timer on their holiday romance, they are completely fine with ending their short, steamy affair come New Year’s Day…or are they? […]

Book Clubs

Library Reads (12/15/2022): If: The Untold Story of Kipling’s American Years

A unique exploration of the life and work of Rudyard Kipling in Gilded Age America, from a celebrated scholar of American literature

At the turn of the twentieth century, Rudyard Kipling towered over not just English literature but the entire literary world. At the height of his fame in 1907, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, becoming its youngest winner. His influence on major figures—including Freud and William James—was pervasive and profound. But in recent decades Kipling’s reputation has suffered a strange eclipse. Though his body of work still looms large, and his monumental poem “If—” is quoted and referenced by politicians, athletes, and ordinary readers alike, his unabashed imperialist views have come under increased scrutiny. In If, scholar Christopher Benfey brings this fascinating and complex writer to life and, for the first time, gives full attention to Kipling’s intense engagement with the United States—a rarely discussed but critical piece of evidence in our understanding of this man and his enduring legacy.

Benfey traces the writer’s deep involvement with America over one crucial decade, from 1889 to 1899, when he lived for four years in Brattleboro, Vermont, and sought deliberately to turn himself into a specifically American writer. It was his most prodigious and creative period, as well as his happiest, during which he wrote The Jungle Book and Captains Courageous. Had a family dispute not forced his departure, Kipling almost certainly would have stayed. Leaving was the hardest thing he ever had to do, Kipling said. “There are only two places in the world where I want to live,” he lamented, “Bombay and Brattleboro. And I can’t live in either.”

In this fresh examination of Kipling, Benfey hangs a provocative “what if” over Kipling’s American years and maps the imprint Kipling left on his adopted country as well as the imprint the country left on him. If proves there is relevance and magnificence to be found in Kipling’s work. […]

Book Clubs

Enjoying the Classics (12/21/2022): America is in the Heart

Bulosan’s semi-autobiographical novel, “America is in the Heart,” begins with the narrator’s rural childhood in the Philippines and the struggles of land-poor peasant families affected by US imperialism after the Spanish American War of the late 1890s. Carlos’s experiences with other Filipino migrant laborers, who endured intense racial abuse in the fields, orchards, towns, cities and canneries of California and the Pacific Northwest in the 1930s, reexamine the ideals of the American dream. […]

Book Clubs

The Nail Biters (12/20/2022): The Line Between

In this frighteningly believable thriller from bestselling author Tosca Lee, an extinct disease re-emerges from the melting Alaskan permafrost to cause madness in its victims. For recent apocalyptic cult escapee Wynter Roth, it’s the end she’d always been told was coming.

When Wynter Roth is turned out of New Earth, a self-contained doomsday cult on the American prairie, she emerges into a world poised on the brink of madness as a mysterious outbreak of rapid early onset dementia spreads across the nation.

As Wynter struggles to start over in a world she’s been taught to regard as evil, she finds herself face-to-face with the apocalypse she’s feared all her life-until the night her sister shows up at her doorstep with a set of medical samples. That night, Wynter learns there’s something far more sinister at play and that these samples are key to understanding the disease.

Now, as the power grid fails and the nation descends into chaos, Wynter must find a way to get the samples to a lab in Colorado. Uncertain who to trust, she takes up with former military man Chase Miller, who has his own reasons for wanting to get close to the samples in her possession, and to Wynter herself.

Filled with action, conspiracy, romance, and questions of whom-and what-to believe, The Line Between is a high-octane story of survival and love in a world on the brink of madness. […]

Book Clubs

Forever Young (12/13/2022): The Girls I’ve Been

Nora O’Malley’s been a lot of girls. As the daughter of a con-artist who targets criminal men, she grew up as her mother’s protégé. But when her mom fell for the mark instead of conning him, Nora pulled the ultimate con: escape.

For five years Nora’s been playing at normal. But she needs to dust off the skills she ditched because she has three problems:

#1: Her ex walked in on her with her girlfriend. Even though they’re all friends, Wes didn’t know about her and Iris.
#2: The morning after Wes finds them kissing, they all have to meet to deposit the fundraiser money they raised at the bank. It’s a nightmare that goes from awkward to deadly, because:
#3: Right after they enter the bank, two guys start robbing it.

The bank robbers may be trouble, but Nora’s something else entirely. They have no idea who they’re really holding hostage . . . […]

Spinecrackers

Spinecrackers (12/02/2022): The Story of Arthur Truluv

For the past six months, Arthur Moses’s days have looked the same: He tends to his rose garden and to Gordon, his cat, then rides the bus to the cemetery to visit his beloved late wife for lunch. The last thing Arthur would imagine is for one unlikely encounter to utterly transform his life.

Eighteen-year-old Maddy Harris is an introspective girl who visits the cemetery to escape the other kids at school. One afternoon she joins Arthur—a gesture that begins a surprising friendship between two lonely souls. Moved by Arthur’s kindness and devotion, Maddy gives him the nickname “Truluv.” As Arthur’s neighbor Lucille moves into their orbit, the unlikely trio band together and, through heartache and hardships, help one another rediscover their own potential to start anew.

Wonderfully written and full of profound observations about life, The Story of Arthur Truluv is a beautiful and moving novel of compassion in the face of loss, of the small acts that turn friends into family, and of the possibilities to achieve happiness at any age. […]

Digital Resources

Celebrate Native American Heritage Month

November marks National Native American Heritage Month– a time when we recognize the rich cultural heritage, traditions, and contributions of North America’s Indigenous people. Algonquin Area Public Library invites everyone to take part in these fun and informative activities, that run throughout the month. This challenge runs November 1 – 30 and includes both reading and activities that explore the […]