Book Clubs

Stranger than Fiction (10/04/2022): Initiated: Memoir of a Witch

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes meets Women Who Run With The Wolves in this “gorgeously written, fierce, political, personal, and deeply inspiring” (Michelle Tea) memoir about finding meaning, beauty, and power through a life in witchcraft.

An initiation signals a beginning: a door opens and you step through. Traditional Wiccan initiates are usually brought into the craft through a ceremony with a High Priestess. But even though Amanda Yates Garcia’s mother, a practicing witch herself, initiated her into the earth-centered practice of witchcraft when she was 13 years old, Amanda’s real life as a witch only began when she underwent a series of spontaneous initiations of her own.

Descending into the underworlds of poverty, sex work, and misogyny, Initiated describes Amanda’s journey to return to her body, harness her power, and create the magical world she longed for through witchcraft. Hailed by crows, seduced by magicians, and haunted by ancestors broken beneath the wheels of patriarchy, Amanda’s quest for self-discovery and empowerment is a deep exploration of a modern witch’s trials – healing ancient wounds, chafing against cultural expectations, creating intimacy – all while on a mission to re-enchant the world. Peppered with mythology, tales of the goddesses and magical women throughout history, Initiated stands squarely at the intersection of witchcraft and feminism. With generosity and heart, this book speaks to the question: is it possible to live a life of beauty and integrity in a world that feels like it’s dying?

Declaring oneself a witch and practicing magic has everything to do with claiming authority and power for oneself, of taking back our planet in the name of Love. Initiated is both memoir and manifesto calling the magical people of the world to take up their wands: stand up, be brave, describe the world they want, then create it like a witch. […]

Book Clubs

Stranger than Fiction (09/06/2022): I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: one woman’s obsessive search for the Golden State Killer

For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called “the Golden State Killer.” Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Utterly original and compelling, it has been hailed as a modern true crime classic—one which fulfilled Michelle’s dream: helping unmask the Golden State Killer. […]

Book Clubs

Stranger than Fiction (08/02/2022): The Nocturnal Brain : Nightmares, Neuroscience, and the Secret World of Sleep

A renowned neurologist shares the true stories of people unable to get a good night’s rest in The Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience, and the Secret World of Sleep, a fascinating exploration of the symptoms and syndromes behind sleep disorders.

For Dr. Guy Leschziner’s patients, there is no rest for the weary in mind and body. Insomnia, narcolepsy, night terrors, apnea, and sleepwalking are just a sampling of conditions afflicting sufferers who cannot sleep-and their experiences in trying are the stuff of nightmares. Demoniac hallucinations frighten people into paralysis. Restless legs rock both the sleepless and their sleeping partners with unpredictable and uncontrollable kicking. Out-of-sync circadian rhythms confuse the natural body clock’s days and nights.

Then there are the extreme cases. A woman in a state of deep sleep who gets dressed, unlocks her car, and drives for several miles before returning to bed. The man who has spent decades cleaning out kitchens while “sleep-eating.” The teenager prone to the serious, yet unfortunately nicknamed Sleeping Beauty Syndrome stuck in a cycle of excessive unconsciousness, binge eating, and uncharacteristic displays of aggression and hypersexuality while awake.

With compassionate stories of his patients and their conditions, Dr. Leschziner illustrates the neuroscience behind our sleeping minds, revealing the many biological and psychological factors necessary in getting the rest that will not only maintain our physical and mental health, but improve our cognitive abilities and overall happiness. […]

Summer Reading Staff Picks
Book Lists

Summer Reading Staff Picks

Looking for a great summer read? Ask an AAPLD staff member! We love books—reading them, talking about them, and recommending them!  Since summer is prime reading season, members of the Adult Services staff would like to share some of our favorite recent reads, and audiobook listens. If you haven’t signed up for 2022 Summer Reading yet, learn more here, or […]

Book Clubs

Stranger than Fiction (07/05/2022): A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived

In our unique genomes, every one of us carries the story of our species—births, deaths, disease, war, famine, migration, and a lot of sex. But those stories have always been locked away—until now. Who are our ancestors? Where did they come from? Geneticists have suddenly become historians, and the hard evidence in our DNA has blown the lid off what we thought we knew. Acclaimed science writer Adam Rutherford explains exactly how genomics is completely rewriting the human story—from 100,000 years ago to the present. […]

Book Clubs

Stranger than Fiction (06/07/2022): Bag Man: The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-Up, and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Crook in the White House

Is it possible for a sitting vice president to direct a vast criminal enterprise within the halls of the White House? To have one of the most brazen corruption scandals in American history play out while nobody’s paying attention? And for that scandal to be all but forgotten decades later?

The year was 1973, and Spiro T. Agnew, the former governor of Maryland, was Richard Nixon’s second-in-command. Long on firebrand rhetoric and short on political experience, Agnew had carried out a bribery and extortion ring in office for years, when—at the height of Watergate—three young federal prosecutors discovered his crimes and launched a mission to take him down before it was too late, before Nixon’s impending downfall elevated Agnew to the presidency. The self-described “counterpuncher” vice president did everything he could to bury their investigation: dismissing it as a “witch hunt,” riling up his partisan base, making the press the enemy, and, with a crumbling circle of loyalists, scheming to obstruct justice in order to survive.

In this blockbuster account, Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz detail the investigation that exposed Agnew’s crimes, the attempts at a cover-up—which involved future president George H. W. Bush—and the backroom bargain that forced Agnew’s resignation but also spared him years in federal prison. Based on the award-winning hit podcast, Bag Man expands and deepens the story of Spiro Agnew’s scandal and its lasting influence on our politics, our media, and our understanding of what it takes to confront a criminal in the White House. […]

Celebrate National Library Week with The Big Library Read!
Reading Challenge

Celebrate National Library Week with The Big Library Read!

It’s National Library Week, and what better way to feel the library love than by joining an international celebration of reading? The Big Library Read is the world’s largest digital book club, with over 20,000 libraries participating, including Algonquin Area Public Library District. Taking part is easy. Between April 4 -18, use the Libby digital library app to download the […]

Book Clubs

Stranger than Fiction (05/03/2022): Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir

When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father and a morbidly eccentric childhood. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humor in the strange shame-spiral that is her life, and we are all the better for it.

In the irreverent Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson’s long-suffering husband and sweet daughter help her uncover the surprising discovery that the most terribly human moments—the ones we want to pretend never happened—are the very same moments that make us the people we are today. For every intellectual misfit who thought they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud, this is a poignant and hysterical look at the dark, disturbing, yet wonderful moments of our lives. […]

A Month to Make Her-Story!
Book Lists

A Month to Make Her-Story!

A powerful and revered First Lady. The first Latina U.S. Supreme Court justice. A ground-breaking comedian. These are just a few of the fascinating women you can discover this month at Algonquin Area Public Library. March is Women’s History Month, and a great opportunity to learn about the contributions women have made to our nation, and to history. Whether its […]

Book Clubs

Stranger than Fiction (04/05/2022): Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law

What’s to be done about a jaywalking moose? A bear caught breaking and entering? A murderous tree? Three hundred years ago, animals that broke the law would be assigned legal representation and put on trial. These days, as New York Times best-selling author Mary Roach discovers, the answers are best found not in jurisprudence but in science: the curious science of human-wildlife conflict, a discipline at the crossroads of human behavior and wildlife biology.

Roach tags along with animal-attack forensics investigators, human-elephant conflict specialists, bear managers, and “danger tree” faller blasters. Intrepid as ever, she travels from leopard-terrorized hamlets in the Indian Himalaya to St. Peter’s Square in the early hours before the pope arrives for Easter Mass, when vandal gulls swoop in to destroy the elaborate floral display. She taste-tests rat bait, learns how to install a vulture effigy, and gets mugged by a macaque.

Combining little-known forensic science and conservation genetics with a motley cast of laser scarecrows, langur impersonators, and trespassing squirrels, Roach reveals as much about humanity as about nature’s lawbreakers. When it comes to “problem” wildlife, she finds, humans are more often the problem—and the solution. Fascinating, witty, and humane, Fuzz offers hope for compassionate coexistence in our ever-expanding human habitat. […]