What would President Obama read?

obamaThe other day, the President spoke with the press about what he’s planning to read on his summer vacation this year. Here’s this list! Click through on the links to get to our catalog listings.

  1. All That Is – James Salter
  2. All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
  3. The Sixth Extinction – Elizabeth Kolbert
  4. The Lowland – by Jhumpa Lahiri
  5. Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates
  6. Washington: A Life – Ron Chernow


Grab bag of compelling stories – Christine’s August Suggestions

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman

spirit catches you coverThe Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down explores the clash between a small county hospital in California and a refugee family from Laos over the care of Lia Lee, a Hmong child diagnosed with severe epilepsy. Lia’s parents and her doctors both wanted what was best for Lia, but the lack of understanding between them led to tragedy. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest, and the Salon Book Award, Anne Fadiman’s compassionate account of this cultural impasse is literary journalism at its finest.

To read a sample from the ebook click here.

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

reliable wife coverRural Wisconsin, 1909. Ralph Truitt, a successful businessman, stands on a train platform waiting for the woman who answered his newspaper ad for “a reliable wife.” But when Catherine Land steps off the train, she’s not the “simple, honest woman” Ralph is expecting. Both complex and devious, haunted by a terrible past and motivated by greed, her plan is simple: win this man’s devotion, then slowly poison him, and leave Wisconsin a wealthy widow. What she hasn’t counted on is that Ralph, a passionate man with his own dark secrets, has plans of his own.

To read a sample from the ebook, click here.

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

undomestic coverWorkaholic attorney Samantha Sweeting has just made a mistake so huge, it’ll wreck any chance of a partnership. In meltdown, she leaves her London office, gets on a train, and ends up in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she’s mistaken for an interviewee and is offered a job as housekeeper. Her employers have no idea she’s a lawyer, and Samantha has no idea how to work the oven–or sew on a button, bake a potato, or get the ironing board to open. How she takes a deep breath and begins to cope–and finds love–is a story as delicious as the bread she learns to bake.

To read a sample of the ebook, click here.

Mary Ann’s July Suggestion

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

all the light coverMary Ann says:

“Our book club chose this best seller, and I can see why — it inspired lots of discussion and prompted stories of family histories. The young characters, settings, and events are different from most World War II books. It’s creative in its juxtaposition of point of view and time, but very easy to follow. There are heartbreaking moments and uplifting ones. The book won the Pulitzer, the Carnegie Medal for Fiction, and lots of fans.”

to read a sample from the ebook, click here

Christine’s July Suggestions

The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan – by Jenny Nordberg

kabul coverIn Afghanistan, a culture ruled almost entirely by men, the birth of a son is cause for celebration and the arrival of a daughter is often mourned as misfortune. A bacha posh (literally translated as “dressed up like a boy”) is a third kind of child – a girl temporarily raised as a boy and presented as such to the outside world. Jenny Nordberg, the reporter who broke the story of this phenomenon for The New York Times, constructs a powerful and moving account of those secretly living on the other side of a deeply segregated society where women have almost no rights and little freedom.

read a sample from the ebook by clicking here

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

crazy rich coverCrazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.

New Yorker Rachel Chu envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry, but her boyfriend Nick has failed to give her a few key details: that his childhood home looks like a palace; that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.

read a sample from the ebook by clicking here

But are audiobooks REAL books?

audiobooksThese days, many people are discovering the joys of audiobooks. Where once we were limited by the location of a CD player (or cassette deck…), our handheld devices now allow us to listen to books wherever we go.

But even so, there’s a certain… what’s the best way to put this?… snobbery about audiobooks. You know the sort of thing: “That’s not real reading,” etc, and so on.

But we at River Forest Public Library are here to tell you: However you consume your books — that’s reading! Everyone enjoys stories a little differently, everyone learns a little bit differently, everyone has different demands on their time. However you consume the written word is the best way for you to read. Indeed, it could be argued that when reading books for which particular dialects are important, or details are particularly dense, listening allows a more intimate, immersive experience that taking the words in through your eyes.

And we’re not the only ones who think so! If you’d like to hear from other folks about the value of audiobooks, here are a few links:

If you think you’d like to give audiobooks a whirl but don’t know where to start, the bestseller lists at Audible.com are a handy jumping off point — to see the latest, click here. River Forest Public Library offers audiobooks in traditional CD form, via hoopla, and through Media on Demand.

Dana’s July Suggestion

Ambition and Desire: The Dangerous Life of Josephine Bonaparte by Kate Williams

ambition coverTheir love was legendary, their ambition flagrant and unashamed. Napoleon Bonaparte and his wife, Josephine, came to power during one of the most turbulent periods in the history of France. The story of the Corsican soldier’s incredible rise has been well documented. Now, in this spellbinding, luminous account, Kate Williams draws back the curtain on the woman who beguiled him: her humble origins, her exorbitant appetites, and the tragic turn of events that led to her undoing.

read a sample from the ebook by clicking here

Related Reads:

Napolean: A Life – by Andrew Roberts

England’s Mistress: The Infamous Life of Emma Hamilton – also by Kate Williams

Isabella: The Warrior Queen by Kirsten Downey

Victoria’s July Suggestions

Undertow by Michael Buckley

undertow coverFirst, we feared them. Then we fought them. Now they might be our only hope.

Sixteen-year-old Lyric Walker’s life is forever changed when she witnesses the arrival of 30,000 Alpha, a five-nation race of ocean-dwelling warriors, on her beach in Coney Island. The world’s initial wonder and awe over the Alpha quickly turns ugly and paranoid and violent, and Lyric’s small town transforms into a military zone with humans on one side and Alpha on the other.

read a sample of the ebook by clicking here


Far From You by Tess Sharpe

far from you coverAfter Sophie Winters survives a brutal attack in which her best friend, Mina, is murdered, she sets out to find the killer. At the same time she must prove she is free of her past Oxy addiction and in no way to blame for Mina’s death.

“This beautifully realized debut delves into the emotions of a girl recovering from drug addiction and grief, all wrapped up in a solid mystery.” – Kirkus Reviews (starred review)