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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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.


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Roman J. Isreal, Esq.

Roman (Denzel Washington) is a lawyer who is driven by his core belief in doing the right thing and his idealism. Socially awkward and a savant, for the past 36 years he’s been a partner at a two man law firm, with his much more flamboyant partner taking on court duty, allowing Roman to stay at the office to do the research and paperwork. It’s a perfect partnership, until Roman’s partner has a heart attack, and the firm must be sold. Now lost and without a job, Roman is recruited by George (Colin Farrell), who’s a senior partner in a large and very successful law firm. As he tries to find his place at the new firm, Roman finds himself in circumstances that force him to go against his ideals, and in the process, breaking him.

It’s hard not to like Roman in this movie, and Washington does a great job of bringing him to life. As complete opposites, Washington and Farrell’s characters play very well off of each other. The movie can be a little slow paced at times, but still well worth watching. Rated R.

Watch the trailer here!


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Barbed Wire Heart by Tess Sharpe

Duke McKenna is North County’s biggest criminal – meth, guns, murder, you name it, he’s involved. His daughter Harley has been working for Duke since she was 16, but her training to be his successor has been a lifelong process, and now Harley has a reputation as deadly as her father’s. A turf war with rival family the Springfields is brewing. The Springfields were responsible for the death of Harley’s mother, and now they’ve targeted Harley.There’s only one way to end the cycle of violence and protect the ones that she loves – take out both operations.

If you liked Breaking Bad or Sons of Anarchy, you’ll love this book! Harley is loyal to a fault, resourceful, and hard as nails, and you’ll find yourself rooting for her time and again as she makes the most difficult decision in her young life – freedom or family?


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The Florida Project

Just outside the wonder and excitement of the Magic Kingdom, Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) and her mom Halley (Bria Vinaite) live in a motel that not only caters to the tourists, but also a growing number of the area’s poor. While it’s not the motel’s policy to allow long term residency, Bobby (Willem Dafoe), the motel’s manager has found a way to work around it, knowing that most of this population will have nowhere else to go. Over the course of the summer, we follow Monee and her friends as they play, pull pranks, and generally run wild at the motel.

Offering insight into a portion of society that often goes unnoticed, the acting in this award winning film is top notch. It’s really the kids though, who stand out, especially Brooklynn. It’s amazing how, even in the grim circumstances many families find themselves in, one thing is for certain – kids will be kids. Rated R.

Watch the trailer here!