NPR Eye Opening Reads

NPR is a great resource for finding a new book. They have just released a list of some eye opening reads. These are books that you might have missed when they were released, but were highly regarded by book critics.

You can find many more book titles at and click on Book Concierge. Titles listed are ones that have been particularly popular and come highly recommended from NPR staff members and book critics from 2017. But you can go back as far as 2008 and see older recommendations too! You can find recommended books for all ages through this website.

A Face Like Glass – Frances Hardinge
In the underground city of Caverna, the world’s most skilled craftsmen toil in the darkness to create delicacies beyond compare. Wines that can remove memories, cheeses that can make you hallucinate and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer, even as they slit your throat.

Autumn – Karl Ove Knausgaard
The first entry in a planned four-part autobiographical series presents sensory letters written to the author’s unborn daughter that describe his childhood and daily life with his wife and older children in rural Sweden.

The Book of Dust (Vol. 1) “La Belle Sauvage” – Philip Pullman
Malcolm Polstead is the kind of boy who notices everything but is not much noticed himself. And so perhaps it was inevitable that he would become a spy….

The Dark Dark – Samantha Hunt
The first collection of stories from a widely acclaimed novelist writing in the realm of the literary fantastical. They urge an understanding of youth and mortality, ghosts, ghost towns, doubling and loss, with the hope that we can know one another more deeply or at least stand side by side to observe the mystery of the world.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
Meet Eleanor Oliphant: an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes the only way to survive is to open her heart. Combined with her unusual appearance, Eleanor has become a creature of habit and a bit of a loner.

The Blood of Emmett Till – Timothy B. Tyson
The event that launched the civil rights movement, the 1955 lynching of young Emmett Till, now re-examined by an award-winning author with access to never-before-heard accounts from those involved as well as recently recovered court transcripts from the trial.

An Unkindness of Ghosts – Rivers Solomon
Odd-mannered, obsessive, withdrawn, Aster has little to offer folks in the way of rebuttal when they call her ogre and freak. She’s used to the names. Now she only wishes there was more truth to them.

Anything is Possible – Elizabeth Strout
This novel explores the whole range of human emotion through the intimate dramas of people struggling to understand themselves and others. Here are two sisters: One trades self-respect for a wealthy husband while the other finds in the pages of a book a kindred spirit who changes her life.

Autumn – Ali Smith
Smith’s newest book, Autumn, is the first installment in a quartet. Seasonal and separate, yet interconnected and cyclical (as are the seasons), explores what time is, how we experience it, and the recurring markers in the shapes our lives take and in our ways with narrative.



Best Books of 2017

Literary website, Book Riot, has released a list of some of the best books of 2017. All of the following titles can be found at the library.

For a complete list, visit

All Grown Up – Jane Attenberg
Hiding the truth about her unhappiness and struggles with anxiety from everyone, Andrea Bern joins her loved ones in a reevaluation of family strength.

An Extraordinary Union – Alyssa Cole
As the Civil War rages between the states, a courageous pair of spies plunge fearlessly into a maelstrom of ignorance, deceit, and danger, combining their unique skills to alter the course of history and break the chains of the past.

Bluebird, Bluebird – Attica Locke
When it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules–a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger, knows all too well. Deeply ambivalent about growing up black in the lone star state, he was the first in his family to get as far away from Texas as he could. Until duty called him home.

Exit West – Mohsin Hamid
In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet–sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, thrust into premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue – Mackenzi Lee
Henry “Monty” Montague was bred to be a gentleman. His passions for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men, have earned the disapproval of his father. His quest for pleasures and vices have led to one last hedonistic hurrah as Monty, his best friend and crush Percy, and Monty’s sister Felicity begin a Grand Tour of Europe.

Pachinko – Min Jin Lee
This story follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all.

My Favorite Thing is Monsters – Emil Ferris
Set against the tumultuous political backdrop of late 1960s Chicago, and narrated by 10-year-old Karen Reyes, Monsters is told through a fictional graphic diary employing the iconography of B-movie horror imagery and pulp monster magazines.

Lincoln in the Bardo – George Saunders
On February 22, 1862, two days after his death, Willie Lincoln was laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery. That very night, Abraham Lincoln arrives at the cemetery under cover of darkness and visits the crypt, alone, to spend time with his son’s body.

The Wanderers – Meg Howrey
Station Eleven meets The Martian in this brilliantly inventive novel about three astronauts training for the first-ever mission to Mars, an experience that will push the boundary between real and unreal, test their relationships, and leave each of them changed forever.

The Fact of a Body – Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working to help defend men accused of murder, she thinks her position is clear. She is staunchly anti-death penalty, but the moment convicted murderer Ricky Langley’s face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes, she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die.

Sing, Unburied, Sing – Jesmyn Ward
A searing and profound Southern odyssey through Mississippi’s past and present.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid
Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself.


Recommended eBooks/eAudiobooks

Many people this time of year are coming into the library seeking a good book while they travel during the holidays. Here are some top picks for audiobooks/eBooks/eAudiobooks to listen to while you’re on the road!

If you have a digital device and you need help with it, our friendly staff is always ready to walk you through set-up, so you can enjoy downloadable content by your favorite authors!

American Gods – Neil Gaiman (eAudiobook & eBook)
A master of inventive fiction pens the story of an ex-con who is offered a job as a bodyguard for Mr. Wednesday, a trickster and a rogue. Shadow soon learns that his role in the man’s schemes are far more dangerous and dark than he could have ever imagined.

Human Acts – Han Kang (eBook)
Follows the aftermath of a young boy’s shocking death during a violent student uprising as told from the perspectives of the event’s victims and their loved ones.

Sour Heart – Jenny Zhang (eBook)
Centered on a community of immigrants who have traded their endangered lives as artists in China and Taiwan for the constant struggle of life at the poverty line in 1990s New York City.

Sandry’s Book (Circle of Magic series) – Tamora Pierce (eAudiobook)
When four strange, and strangely talented, youngsters are brought to Winding Circle by master mage Niko they find themselves drawn together in a “Circle of magic” a circle that binds them despite their differences.

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo (eBook & Audiobook)
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction–if they don’t kill each other first

A Brief History of Seven Killings – Marlon James (eBook)
On December 3, 1976, just before the Jamaican general election and two days before Bob Marley was to play the Smile Jamaica Concert, gunmen stormed his house, machine guns blazing. The attack nearly killed the Reggae superstar, his wife, and his manager, and injured several others. Marley would go on to perform at the free concert on December 5, but he left the country the next day, not to return for two years.

Sleeping Giants – Sylvain Neuvel (eBook & eAudiobook)
17 years ago: A girl in South Dakota falls through the earth, then wakes up dozens of feet below ground on the palm of what seems to be a giant metal hand. Today: She is a top-level physicist leading a team of people to understand exactly what that hand is, where it came from, and what it means for humanity.

The Golden Compass – Phillip Pullman (eBook & eAudiobook)
When Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon decide to spy on a presentation her uncle, the commanding Lord Asriel, is making to the elders of Jordan College they have no idea that they will become witnesses to an attempted murder, and even less that they are taking the first steps in a journey that will lead them into danger and adventure unlike anything Lyra’s unfettered imagination has conjured up.

The Regional Office is Under Attack! – Manuel Gonzales (eBook)
In a world beset by amassing forces of darkness, one organization-the Regional Office-and its coterie of super-powered female assassins protects the globe from annihilation. At its helm, the mysterious Oyemi and her oracles seek out new recruits and root out evil plots. Then a prophecy suggests that someone from inside might bring about its downfall. And now, the Regional Office is under attack.

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O – Neal Stephenson & Nicole Galliand (eBook)
Boston, present day. A young man from a shadowy government agency shows up at an Ivy League university and offers an eminent professor a lot of money to study a trove of recently discovered old documents. The only condition: the professor must sign an NDA that would preclude him from publishing his findings, should they be significant.


Local Favorites: Dec. 7th

The following titles are current best-sellers at the Lake Forest Book Store. Perhaps you’re looking for a new favorite book, or something for a upcoming book discussion, or just something to curl up with on a cold, winter night. You can find all of these books at the library.

Nine Women, One Dress – Jane L. Rosen
A charming, hilarious, irresistible romp of a novel that brings together nine unrelated women, each touched by the same little black dress that weaves through their lives, bringing a little magic with it.

Clementine – Sonia Purnell
A portrait of Winston Churchill’s extraordinary wife and her lesser-known role in World War II discusses her relationship with political mentor Eleanor Roosevelt, her role in safeguarding Churchill’s health throughout key historical events and her controversial family priorities.

Leonardo da Vinci – Walter Issacson
The author of the acclaimed bestsellers Steve Jobs, Einstein, and Benjamin Franklin brings Leonardo da Vinci to life in this exciting new biography. Based on thousands of pages from Leonardo’s astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work, Walter Isaacson weaves a narrative that connects his art to his science.

Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng
In Shaker Heights, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Make Your Bed – William H. McRaven
On May 17, 2014, Admiral McRaven addressed the graduating class of the University of Texas at Austin on their Commencement day. He shared the ten principles he learned during Navy Seal training that helped him overcome challenges not only in his training and long Naval career, but also throughout his life and he explained how anyone can use these basic lessons to change themselves-and the world-for the better

Manhattan Beach – Jennifer Egan
Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to the house of Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war.

Pachinko – Min Jin Lee
Follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all.

Red & Lulu – Matt Tavares
When two cardinals who share a nest in a large evergreen are separated, a Christmas miracle brings them back together.

To Capture What We Cannot Keep – Beatrice Colin
Set against the construction of the Eiffel Tower, this novel charts the relationship between a young widow and an engineer who, despite constraints of class and wealth, fall in love.

We Were the Lucky Ones – Georgia Hunter
An extraordinary, propulsive novel based on the true story of a family of Polish Jews who scatter at the start of World War II, determined to survive and to reunite.




1. Now that you Montion It – Kristan Higgins 

2. Death at NuremburgW. E. B. Griffin

3. Insidious IntentVal McDermid

4. The Girl in the TowerKatherine Arden

5. The BoyTami Hoag

The Demon Crown – James Rollins

7. The WantedRobert Crais

8. Enchantress of NumbersJennifer Chiaverini

9. Year OneNora Roberts


1.Diet for the Mind – Martha Morris 

2. The Doomsday Machine Daniel Ellsberg

3. Even the Stiffest People Can Do the SplitsEiko

4. Following FifiJohn Crocker and Jane Goodall

5. How Not to Die CookbookMichael Greger

6. Improv NationSam Wasson

7. The Last Man Who Knew EverythingDavid Schwartz

8. The Only Girl in the WorldMaude Julien

9. Peony – David Michener


1. Dogman 4 – Dave Pilkey

2. Bad Guys and the Intergalactic GasAaron Blabey

3. The GetawayJeff Kinney



Fargo: Season Three

Game of Thrones: Season Seven

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Home Again


The Mountain Between Us


Victoria and Abdul


Ella at Zardi’s by Ella Fitzgerald

From a Room: Volume Two by Chris Stapleton

On Air by the Rolling Stones

Songs of Experience by U2

The Story So Far by Pink

What Makes You Country by Luke Bryant

February Book Club

Join Carol and other book lovers for an insightful and open-ended discussion! All book club titles are available for checkout at the circulation desk. Our February Book Club will meet on Tuesday February 27th at 2:30pm in the Spruth Room. We’ll be discussing Mary Coin by Marisa Silver.
Mary Coin (Feb)
Summary – In 1936, a young mother resting by the side of the road in central California is spontaneously photographed by a woman documenting migrant laborers in search of work. Few personal details are exchanged and neither woman has any way of knowing that they have produced one of the most iconic images of the Great Depression. In luminous prose, Silver creates an extraordinary tale from a brief event in history and its repercussions throughout the decades that follow—a reminder that a great photograph captures the essence of a moment yet only scratches the surface of a life.

Read-Alikes – Here are some other books, if you liked Mary Coin: The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline, and Euphoria by Lily King.


January Book Club

Join Carol and other book lovers for an insightful and open-ended discussion! All book club titles are available for checkout at the circulation desk. Our January Book Club will meet on Tuesday January 23rd at 2:30pm in the Spruth Room. We’ll be discussing Red Notice by Bill Browder.

Red Notice (Jan)

Summary – This is a story about an accidental activist. Bill Browder started out his adult life as the Wall Street maverick whose instincts led him to Russia just after the breakup of the Soviet Union, where he made his fortune.

Read-Alikes – Here are some other titles that might appeal to you, if you liked Red Notice: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, Grant by Ron Chernow, Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan, Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann.