Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library

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How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

For Margaret Jacobsen, the future looks very bright. She’s just about to start her dream job, she’s very much in love with Chip, and it looks like planning a wedding is in her near future. And then, in one terrifying moment, everything is changed forever. Now, in the hospital, Margaret has to confront the her new reality. But, she also has to deal with Chip, who’s looking for forgiveness and feeling very sorry – for himself. Kit, Margaret’s estranged sister shows up after a long absence, and throws the family dynamic into a loop – again. And then there’s Ian, Margaret’s physical therapist, whose gruffness and refusal to take things easy on Margaret make things even more difficult.

If you liked Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, you’ll love this one! Heartbreaking at times, but with a bit of humor, and a whole lot of heart. If you’re looking for a book club title that’s not too heavy, and will leave you with a smile on your face, this one would be a good choice.



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The Great American Read

THE AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION (ALA) AND PBS announced the list of 50 public libraries selected to receive programming grants for “The Great American Read,” an eight-part television series and multi-platform initiative that celebrates the joy of reading and the books we love. Plainfield Public Library was one of the selected libraries!

Hosted by television personality and journalist Meredith Vieira, “The Great American Read” will engage audiences with a list of 100 diverse books, encouraging audiences to read the books, vote from the list of 100, and share their personal connections to the titles.

The series premiered at 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 22, on PBS stations with a two-hour launch, kicking off a summer of reading and voting and will introduce viewers to the full list of America’s 100 favorite novels selected through a demographically representative national survey conducted by YouGov. The series will also feature interviews with celebrities, authors, superfans and everyday Americans discussing the way particular books have influenced them and their significance in American popular culture.

After a multi-platform initiative throughout the summer, which will include live public events, social media components and national reading clubs, the series will resume in the fall with several themed episodes, including an exciting finale, culminating in the first-ever national vote to choose “America’s Best-Loved Novel.”

THE LIBRARY’S programming for “The Great American Read” will kick off at 10:30 AM on May 30, with a visit from the WTTW Lab Guys. Join us for a fun-filled interactive live show that allows children to explore the BIG IDEA: Wonder, Watch and Learn! A Meet and Greet with Curious George follows the event. Caregivers will get an opportunity to learn about The Great American Read. It’s a journey across the country to uncover the nation’s 100 most-loved novels. Register here.

Programs will be offered throughout the summer and fall. More details to come soon.

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All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson

With college graduation around the corner, Harry Ackerson is called home to Kennewick, Maine after learning of his father’s unexpected death.  Bill’s body was found on a walking path, a path he took every day on his way home from work. At first Alice, Harry’s stepmom, believes that Bill had fell and hit his head, but the police are treating it as a suspicious death.

Harry was already in high school by the time his father married Alice, so he doesn’t really know her, and she is the only family he has left now. He feels a responsibility to take care of Alice and to help out at his father’s, who specialized in rare books, store. Shortly before the funeral and then later at the funeral he sees a suspicious woman that no one seems to know. He wonders what this woman’s connection to his father was and what she wants now.

The story alternates between present day and Alice’s disturbing past, as we learn she isn’t the perfect wife she is initially painted to be. As the investigation continues, Harry also learns how little he actually knew about his father and what lies he had kept.

A strong contender for thriller lovers – although nothing shocking, there are plenty of twists to keep the pages turning. Recommend!

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Sarah Winchester’s (Helen Mirren) house has been under construction for years. Night and day construction crews are building and rebuilding parts of the house. She is 51% stockholder for the Winchester company and the board wants her deemed unfit. Enter Dr. Eric Price (Jason Clarke). He is to stay at the house with her and evaluate her condition. But he has his own demons and soon starts to see ghosts around the house. Are they real or has he gone crazy?

This was just okay for me. It was kind of boring. This is based on a true story and I would have liked to see more of the crazy house.  Rated PG-13

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Starr Carter lives in Garden Heights, or what she calls “the hood,” but her parents send her to a private school called Williamson where she is one of only a few black kids.  She has to constantly straddle the line of her two worlds, who most definitely don’t understand each other.

Leaving a party with her long-time friend in Garden Heights, they are pulled over by the police. Khalil, the driver, doesn’t understand why he is being pulled over and doesn’t follow the police orders to put his hands up. While checking in on Starr on the passenger’s side and reaching for his hairbrush, the office fires shots that kill Khalil, and Starr is the only witness.

Now Starr has to testify in front of a grand jury, and this is when her two worlds begin to collide. Her Williamson friends don’t understand why she is upset and think that Khalil was a drug dealer who potentially got what he deserved.  At home, the community is furious, and they want justice for Khalil since they think the shooting was most definitely a race realted.

Told from Starr’s perspective, her voice is authentic and realistic and the book hits home on a very timely and hot issue that is plaguing our country today. You will fall in love with Starr and her family and will want nothing more for righteousness to prevail. I cannot recommend this book enough to everyone…it’s a thought-provoking story about the injustice in our country that still face African Americans to this day.

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The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

It’s 1988, and Frank’s music shop sits down a dead-end street in a section of town that’s seen much better days. Bursting at the seams and brightly lit, the shop caters to a select clientele – music lovers in search of vinyl records. As CDs begin to take over the market, Frank remains adamant – he absolutely will not stock CDs. While business isn’t as brisk as it could be, the shop does have its regulars. Frank has a gift – the ability to recommend the right music for a person, whatever they’re mood or situation. Along with his neighbors – fellow shop owners on the block, Frank remains optimistic that business will turn around, despite evidence to the contrary. One ordinary day, Ilse visits the shop, and Frank immediately falls for her. But Ilse isn’t doesn’t seem to be as smitten, and her intentions aren’t clear – even to herself.

If you’re in the mood for just a sweet book, this one would be a great choice. I suppose you could call it a romantic comedy of sorts, that delves into the heart of loneliness, while also making a point about the importance of community. And music – don’t forget the music! I found Frank’s enthusiasm contagious, so I  listened to most if not all of the songs mentioned in the book, and not only rediscovered old favorites, but found some new ones as well. A heart warming love story, full of quirky characters, and a community that you won’t soon forget.

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How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

Tom Hazard may look like an ordinary 40 something year-old man, but appearances can be deceiving. Due to a rare condition, Tom doesn’t age as quickly as most people, so he’s actually over 400 years old. For most of those years, Tom has done his best to hide his condition – moving often, and keeping his relationships with others at a distance. But now, Tom just wants to lead a normal life, so he moves to London and becomes a high school history teacher. Things become complicated though, when memories of his earlier life there and the present collide, and his budding romance with the French teacher is jeopardized.

It’s a pretty rare book that covers all the bases – fantasy, history, romance, suspense, philosophy – much less that does it well. But How to Stop Time does that, and then some. Through Tom’s character, Haig examines both the past and the present, while offering up poignant observations and shedding light on some of life’s bigger questions. The book never gets too heavy though, instead offering a healthy dose of adventure, romance, and most of all heart. Adding this one to the favorites pile! Soon to be a movie with Benedict Cumberbatch.