Check It Out Category: Literary

Winter Reading Ideas: Staff Favorites of 2020

FAVT Staff Favorites 2020 header


We would not dream of celebrating the start of a new year without first cheering the reads that proved exciting company during the last. Choose one of these 2020 staff favorites to kick off your own Winter Reading season, and let us know if you agree! Most are available in both physical and digital collections. Contact us for help with access or to request a title hand-picked just for you.

 Top Favorite!

House in the Cerulean Sea book cover

Liz, Al, Denise, and Kelda recommend
The House in the Cerulean Sea
TJ Klune

Vanished Birds book cover

Al recommends
Vanished Birds 
Simon Jimenez

Witch Hat Atelier book cover

Abby recommends
Witch Hat Atelier series
Kamome Shirahama

Dont Go Without Me book cover

John recommends
Don’t Go Without Me
Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

From Scratch book cover

Jenny recommends
From Scratch
Tembi Locke

Frankly in Love book cover

Andrea recommends
Frankly in Love
David Yoon

When All Is Said book cover

Laura recommends
When All Is Said
Anne Griffin

Foul Is Fair book cover

Cathleen recommends
Foul Is Fair
Hannah Capin

Anxious People book cover

Denise recommends
Anxious People
Fredrik Backman
narrated by Marin Ireland

Sellout book cover

Chelsea recommends
The Sellout
Paul Beatty

Nothing to See Here book cover

Nancy recommends
Nothing to See Here
Kevin Wilson
narrated by Marin Ireland

House in the Cerulean Sea book cover

Andrea recommends
Stamped
Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
narrated by Jason Reynolds

Ninth House book cover

Liz recommends
Ninth House
Leigh Bardugo

Leave the World Behind book cover

Kelda recommends
Leave the World Behind
Rumaan Alam
narrated by Marin Ireland

Slaughter House-Five book cover

John recommends
Slaughterhouse-Five
Ryan North
illustrated by Albert Monteys
story by Kurt Vonnegut

Charming as a Verb book cover

Jenny recommends
Charming as a Verb
Ben Philippe

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month September 15 through October 15

“Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes and celebrates the contributions Americans tracing their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South American and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean have made to American society and culture” – United States Census Bureau

Whether you are in the mood for quiet and thoughtful, tense and unnerving, heartfelt and sweet, or sincere and compelling, exciting reads by Hispanic American authors are yours for the taking. The contributions from writers of Hispanic descent are monumental, and one of the ways we are honoring Hispanic Heritage Month is to share suggestions that celebrate the authentic experience in great storytelling.

Check out a fresh list of rich reads for Hispanic Heritage Month 2020 or browse a sample below. For information on national events and much more, visit the Library of Congress website.

Mexican Gothic book cover

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia  

A reimagining of the classic gothic suspense novel follows the experiences of a courageous socialite in 1950s Mexico who is drawn into the treacherous secrets of an isolated mansion.

Gothic Fiction; Horror

You Had Me at Hola book cover

You Had Me At Hola by Alexis Daria

Rendered the subject of tabloid gossip by a messy public breakup, soap star Jasmine takes a part in a new bilingual comedy at the side of a telenovela costar who would revitalize his career.

Romantic Comedy

A Long Petal of the Sea book cover

A Long Petal Of The Sea by Isabel Allende  

Sponsored by the poet Pablo Neruda to flee the violence of the Spanish Civil War, a pregnant widow and an army doctor unite in an arranged marriage, only to be swept up by the early days of World War II.

Historical Fiction

Once I Was You book cover

Once I Was You by Maria Hinojosa

Maria Hinojosa is an award-winning journalist who has collaborated with the most respected networks and is known for bringing humanity to her reporting. In this beautifully-rendered memoir, she relates the history of US immigration policy that has brought us to where we are today, as she shares her deeply personal story. Once I Was You is an urgent call to fellow Americans to open their eyes to the immigration crisis and understand that it affects us all. 

Memoir; Global Affairs

Afterlife book cover

Afterlife by Julia Alvarez

Reeling from her beloved husband’s sudden death in the wake of her retirement, an immigrant writer is further derailed by the reappearance of her unstable sister and an entreaty for help by a pregnant undocumented teen.

Domestic Fiction

Everything Inside: Stories book cover

Everything Inside: Stories by Edwidge Danticat

A single-volume collection of short stories by the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author is set in such locales as Miami, Port-au-Prince and the Caribbean and poignantly explores the forces that unite and divide.

Authentic Short Stories

Cantoras book cover

Cantoras by Carolina De Robertis

Enduring the rampant violence against women and the LGBTQ community in the decades of the Uruguayan dictatorship, five women heartbreakingly unite as lovers, friends and family.

Historical Fiction

Summer Reading: K. Turn Back Time, Read A Classic – From Any Decade!

read a classic from any decade - a summer reading challenge category

“Read a Classic – Of Any Decade” is one of the reading challenge categories for the Adult Summer Reading Challenge: The Spectacular Reading Race! Here is a sampling of some classics first published in different eras:

kindred book cover

Kindred by Octavia Butler (1979)

Dana, a Black woman, finds herself repeatedly transported to the antebellum South, where she must make sure that Rufus, the plantation owner’s son, survives to father Dana’s ancestor.

slaughterhouse-five book cover

Slaughterhouse Five, or The Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death by Kurt Vonnegut (1969)

Billy Pilgrim, a chaplain’s assistant during the Second World War, returns home only to be kidnapped by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore, who teach him that time is an eternal present.

Ceremony book cover

Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko (1977)

On a New Mexico reservation, one Navajo family–including Tayo, a World War II veteran deeply scarred by his experiences as a Japanese POW and by the rejection of his own people–struggles to survive in a world no longer theirs in the years just before and after World War II.

Wuthering Heights book cover

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (1847)

Heathcliff, an orphan, is raised by Mr Earnshaw as one of his own children. Hindley despises him but wild Cathy becomes his constant companion, and he falls deeply in love with her. When she will not marry him, Heathcliff’s terrible vengeance ruins them all – but still his and Cathy’s love will not die…

The Joy Luck Club book cover

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (1989)

After being drawn together by the shadows of their past, four women start meeting every week in San Francisco to engage in hobbies they all enjoy. After one of the four members dies, her daughter takes her place to fulfill her mother’s dying wish. After the revelation of a secret, the women are forced to think back to their pasts and remember the sometimes painful events of their lives.

In Cold Blood book cover

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (1965)

Presents Capote’s masterful account of the senseless 1959 murders of four members of a farm family in Holcomb, Kansas, and the search for the killers, Richard Eugene Hickock and Perry Edward Smith.

1984 book cover

1984 by George Orwell (1949)

Orwell’s classic novel of one man’s nightmare odyssey through a world ruled by warring states and a power structure that controls not only information but individual thought and memory.

Be sure to add all the titles you’ve read between June 1st through August 31st for Summer Reading on Beanstack!

What Mount Prospect Is Reading

What You've Been Reading image

Mount Prospect, you’ve been reading, and we’ve been talking! Every week we have been extending an open invitation for readers to gather and share the books keeping them company in these odd times. We’ve chatted romance, dark fantasy, nonfiction, mysteries, feel-good, horror, and elegant prose. Check out the titles brought by our attendees, and please consider joining us for this week’s conversation: Let’s Talk Books!

Stay Sweet book cover

Stay Sweet
Siobhan Vivian

Age of Witches book cover

The Age of Witches
Louisa Morgan

Mockingbirds book cover

The Mockingbirds
Daisy Whitney

Dutch House book cover

The Dutch House
Ann Patchett

Tenant book cover

The Tenant
Katrine Engberg

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Headliners
Lucy Parker

Wow, No Thank You book cover

Wow, No Thank You
Samantha Irby

Beautiful Ones book cover

The Beautiful Ones
Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Writers and Lovers book cover

Writers & Lovers
Lily King

Monster of Elendhaven book cover

The Monster of Elendhaven
Jennifer Giesbrecht

Foul Is Fair book cover

Foul Is Fair
Hannah Capin

Honey-Don't List book cover

The Honey-Don’t List
Christina Lauren

Year of the Witching book cover

The Year of the Witching
Alexis Henderson

Mornings with Rosemary book cover

Mornings with Rosemary
(also published as The Lido)
Libby Page

Vanishing Half book cover

The Vanishing Half
Brit Bennett

All Adults Here book cover

All Adults Here
Emma Straub

New for Book Clubs: Pachinko, The Great Alone, and The Death of Mrs. Westaway

Books that transport to a thrilling environment are excellent sparks for discussion, and below are three recent additions to the Book Discussion collection, each crafted with an immersive sense of place. These are hand-picked reads ideal for personal enrichment or for group conversation. Check out earlier announcements, and watch for even more additions each week!

Pachinko book coverPachinko by Min Jin Lee

sweeping, emotional, family saga
for fans of Isabel Allende, Pearl S. Buck, and Khaled Hosseini

In early 1900s Korea, prized daughter Sunja finds herself pregnant and alone, bringing shame on her family until a young tubercular minister offers to marry her and move with her to Japan, in the saga of one family bound together as their faith and identity are called into question.

National Book Award Finalist
New York Times Best Book of the Year
ALA Notable Book

Great Alone book coverThe Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

descriptive, engaging, character-driven
for fans of Barbara Kingsolver, Jodi Picoult, and Anita Shreve

When her volatile, former POW father impulsively moves the family to mid-1970s Alaska to live off the land, young Leni and her mother are forced to confront the dangers of their lack of preparedness in the wake of a dangerous winter season.

Goodreads Choice Award Winner Best Historical Fiction
LibraryReads Favorite
New York Times Bestseller

The Death of Mrs. Westaway book coverThe Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

atmospheric, suspenseful, nonlinear
for fans of Paula Hawkins, Diane Setterfield, and Daphne Du Maurier

When Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance, she recognizes that the letter was sent to the wrong person–but also that she might successfully claim the money. It is only when she attends the funeral that she realizes there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.

New York Times Bestseller
LibraryReads Favorite
Goodreads Choice Finalist Best Mystery and Thriller