Fun New and Upcoming Books

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!  Odd, interesting, and generally very very new books on the Evanston Public Library shelves!  Reserve them today and be the first on your block to be in the know!

Crochet Taxidermy: 30 Quirky Animal Projects, from Mouse to Moose by Taylor Hart


You know you’re curious. Aside from answering the question, “Why would you mount an octopus head anyway?” this quirky crafting guide is definitely made for a very specific kind of patron: The kind with a sense of humor.


“I thought I had seen most of the interesting bits of the world. Atlas Obscura showed me that I was wrong. A joy to read and to reread.” – Neil Gaiman.  Based on the website of the same name that aimed to crowdsource descriptions of intriguing, off-the-beaten-path places all over the world, sites include Kiev’s death masks, Singapore’s Thieves Market, Villisca Ax Murder House in Iowa, and a boiling lake in Dominica (a three-hour hike from the nearest road).

Juniper: The Girl Who Was Born Too Soon by Kelley and Thomas French


I first heard this story on Pop Culture Happy Hour, and if you haven’t listened to this episode of the podcast I highly recommend that you do so.  It’s called 23 Weeks 6 Days, which is considered the edge at which a preemie is considered viable.  Which is to say, you can’t be born any earlier.  Juniper was born right on the edge and this book follows her parents’ struggle to do the right thing, whatever that thing could be.  Harrowing and gripping and ultimately fascinating.

Accidence Will Happen: A Reformed Pedant’s Guide to English Language and Style by Oliver Kamm


I just stare at that cover, knowing in my heart of hearts that librarians and booksellers everywhere will be unable to search for it by name unless they just happen to know how to (mis)spell it.  This book is all about the valid misuses of common words and phrases.  We all have some.  For example, I like to say “suffice it to say” rather than “suffice to say”.  No idea why.  Maybe this book will explain it.

The Tao of Bill Murray: Real-life Stories of Joy, Enlightenment, and Party Crashing by Gavin Edwards


What’s that you say?  You said you wanted MORE Bill Murray books in the library?  Well why didn’t you say so before?

Ugly Christmas Sweater Party: Christmas Crafts, Recipes, Activities by Brandy Shay


One year my dad declared that the only thing he truly wanted for Christmas was an ugly Christmas sweater. We’re talking gaudy city, baby. For whatever reason, the ugly Christmas sweater has sort of become an underground movement. But how do you know that your sweater is ugly enough? This book can help! Get ideas for creating your own and celebrate the season in style. Eye-blindingly horrific style, but style nonetheless.

Crafting With Feminism: 25 Girl-Powered Projects to Smash the Patriarchy by Bonnie Burton


Clearly I’m all about the crafts today.  And no, I’m not telling you what all the crafts in here are.  You’re just gonna have to find ’em all yourself.


Stranger Things: Booklist Readalikes

It’s creepy and it’s kooky, mysterious and spooky.  It’s altogether ooky, it’s a Stranger Things inspired . . .


If you’re anything like me then you’ve binged on Stranger Things, the 8-part Netflix series that pays homage to roughly 500 different 80s films, books, and tropes.  But once the viewing’s over you may find yourself craving more more more.  Let us help!  Here then is a booklist to feed that demi-gorgon sized-hunger for books of a Stranger Things-like ilk.  All of these books are available through the Evanston Public Library.

It by Stephen King


Like the new cover?  There will be an even newer one in January when the new film comes out (no Tim Curry anymore, sorry).  Like Stranger Things, this book has a group of scrappy kids battling it out against an unnameable evil.  So who would win in a fight?  The monster or Pennywise?

Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon


A child goes missing.  Another child searches for her.  Creepy stuff abounds.

Dean Koontz: A New Collection by Dean Koontz


From everything I’ve heard, Watchers by Dean Koontz is the book to read if you’re a Stranger Things fan.  The plot reads, “Two creatures, the end result of experiments in genetic engineering and enhanced intelligence, escape from a government laboratory and bring either doom or a touching new kind of love to those they encounter.”  We don’t have it by itself, but we do have it in this lovely three book collection.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline


An alternate reality where there are lots of 1980s references?  Don’t mind if I do!  And with a movie on the horizon, expect this one to prove pou

The Talisman by Stephen King


Little surprise that there’s a lot of Stephen King on this list.  The man basically inspired the series in the first place.  This book of his isn’t quite as well know but it’s up there.  In it a boy must flip between one plane of existence and another, avoiding the baddies along the way.

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix


This one’s got it all!  A nice 1988 setting.  Creepy woods.  And teenagers who do battle with a great evil.  Though, to be honest, the title says it all.

The Good House by Tananarive Due


Part of the reason Stranger Things works as well as it does is that it’s able to weave together so many different horror elements seamlessly.  There’s even a bit of the old haunted house to it.  Though, if you want a truly haunted house, this one should be right up your alley.

The Girl With all the Gifts by M.R. Carey


A story about a girl with powers (in this case “gifts”) she doesn’t understand?  Don’t mind if I do!

Want even more?  Then check out these additional titles (also available in our collection):

Edu-ma-cation: School’s Back In!

Now how the heck did that happen? One minute we’re breathing a sigh of relief after that abysmally long, cold spring and the next minute summer’s almost over and we’re shipping the children back to school.  Ah well.  Whether we like it or not, it’s almost schooltime again.  Let us then celebrate with a look at some of the newest titles that tell us the good, the bad, and the ugly about our current school system today.


“This grounded, sensible book offers a ray of light in a dim and frantic world–with the message that before we can teach our youngest children, we must better understand them. In The Importance of Being Little, Christakis explores what it’s like to be a young child in America today, in a world designed by and for adults. With school-testing mandates run amok, playfulness squeezed, and young children increasingly pathologized for old-fashioned behaviors like daydreaming and clumsiness, it’s easy to miss the essential importance of being a young child. She provides meaningful solutions through a forensic analysis of today’s whole system of early learning, from pedagogy and science to policy and politics.”


“In a fit of idealism, Ed Boland left a twenty-year career as a non-profit executive to teach in a tough New York City public high school. But his hopes quickly collided headlong with the appalling reality of his students’ lives and a hobbled education system unable to help them. This is no urban fairy tale of at-risk kids saved by a Hollywood hero, but a searing indictment of reform-minded schools that claim to be progressive but still fail to help their students.”

My Dearest Donations

Evanston readers are remarkable individuals.  They have superior taste in books.  And I know this not just because of what they check out, but because of what they donate to the library.

The other day I was on my Evanston Mamas Facebook group and someone mentioned that they had a bunch of lovely children’s books looking for a home.  Inevitably when someone says something like this, people will fall over themselves to tell them to, “Donate them to the library!”  At which point I have to step in like a big old meanie and say, “Yes . . . . if they’re not gross!”  You see, people get very emotionally attached to their book donations.  Imagine you’ve decided to clean house and there on your shelf is a travel book you purchased once for your honeymoon.  You have no intention of ever returning to Maui again in your lifetime (why didn’t anyone warn you about the mosquitoes?) but you remember the trip fondly.  The book is a physical reminder of the start of your marriage.  You know you have to get rid of it, but the recycling bin?  Too cruel.  So even though the book is from 2003 and lists about 49 different restaurants no longer in existence on Maui, you donate it to the library.  You feel good about this.  Like you’ve done some kind of a public service.  Trouble is, what are we supposed to do with it?  Add it to the collection?  Sell it in the booksale?  Friend, that’s just not going to happen.  And so we do what you should have in the first place.

This sort of situation happens every single day.  The sheer number of yellowed, disgusting, out of date, ripped up, bent, broken books donated every single day in countless Whole Foods grocery bags is awe-inspiring.

But this is not a blog post of complaint.  No, it is a blog post of celebration!  Because while 90% of what we receive is a bit on the schlocky side, 10% is precisely what I need to improve the EPL collection.

Take a gander at this picture:


See these books?  Each one of these is a pristine donation.  A book in the kind of condition that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to cover in wrapping paper and give to a friend.  And these titles?  We’re adding every single one of these to our collection.  Here then is a list of Best Kinds of Books to Donate to the Evanston Public Library:

Mystery Novels (1970-2005) – The other day one of my shelvers asked if we could weed out the mystery novels in our collection that aren’t read all that often.  I ran a list and came up with . . . . twenty books. The fact of the matter is that Evanston mystery readers are voracious.  They read everything.  Problem is, they’re very keen on older out-of-print titles.  That means that if a book gets gross, I can’t just reorder it for my collection.  In the picture above you’ll see that someone donated Total Recall by Sara Paretsky.  Friends, in its lifetime that book had gone out 67 times and was decaying on the shelf.  Now I have a pristine version that looks good, reads beautifully, and will extend its life for a good number of years.  Thanks, helpful mystery reader!

Really Popular, Really New Books – These books appear frequently but in random places.  I might be digging through the donation dumpster, panning for gold, and find a week-old edition of Before the Fall by Noah Hawley.  Or I might see a bag of donations at the circulation desk, give them the eye, and discover the new Harry Potter and the Cursed Child sitting at the bottom of a bag.  When this happens I have these books speedily processed as either Most Wanted copies or placed directly in the system to fill our countless holds.  They are marvelous and I cannot thank the patrons that donate them enough.  Thank you, public!

Anything by Malcolm Gladwell – I’m really not kidding about that.

Classic Novels – You might think we have enough beautiful editions of Catcher in the Rye on our shelves, but you’d be wrong.  Classic novels, while gratifyingly in print, are inevitably worn through and through.  New hardcover editions of these books are always welcome.

Popular Authors’ Earliest Works – I love a new Ian Rankin, but if you can hand me an OLD Ian Rankin you’ll win a friend for life.  Particularly if it’s in hardcover with a pristine dust jacket.  Them’s gold, I tells ya!  Gold!

New Travel Books – Almost never happens.  If 10% of the donations are perfect for our collection 0.0001% of those are travel books published in the last 3 years.  Yet travel books are probably our MOST checked out section in a lot of ways.  So to you I say, if ever you have a new travel book and nostalgia doesn’t compel you to keep it, please consider donating it to the library.  Your fellow Evanstonians will thank you.

And for those of you that have donated any of the above books in the past, I thank you, and you, and also you.  Your library is grateful.

Suggested by Evanston Readers

Evanston is a city of readers.  I learned that fact pretty soon after starting the job.  Some cities have libraries with decent, unexciting attendance.  Evanston Public Library, by contrast, is a hopping joint.  I can take a popular book, put it on the first floor, and watch it disappear almost instantaneously (for example, I put out a copy of the new Harry Potter and the Cursed Child yesterday, turned around for one second, turned back and *poof!!*).

Along with being good readers, Evanston residents are good suggesters (not technically a word – I know).  They discover books I’ve never seen or heard about and pass them along to me.  Some of these suggestions I take to heart.  Others I have to pass on.  Here then are some recent suggestions received of titles that will be hitting our shelves very soon:

TorontoFirst up, travel.  Since I moved the travel section to the other end of the second floor our books have been flying off of the shelves at an almost alarming rate.  With that in mind I received this note from a fellow librarian: “An adult patron was looking for travel books on Niagara Falls.  I did a search but not much came up.  There was a Fodor’s Toronto but it was checked out.  There may not be much out there, but I thought I would mention it.”  As a result, I’ve just put in an order for loads of Niagara Falls and Toronto books.  Look for these on the shelves soon.

And speaking of travel, Evanston readers know no bounds when it comes to traversing the globe.  One reader asked specifically for The Pilgrim Road to Trondheim. Oslo to Nidaros Cathedral by Alison Raju.  Though walking from Trondheim to Oslo may never have occurred to you before, it’s not as if there isn’t a book for it out there somewhere.

FrugalPoetThe next one came from a local author. Her name is Cynthia Gallaher and her latest nonfiction reference/memoir is “Frugal Poets’ Guide to Life: How to Live a Poetic Life, Even If You Aren’t a Poet.”  In one section on Chicago’s long-running cultural poetry organizations, she is sure to cite the Rhino Poetry Forum & Peer Exchange that has taken place months at Evanston Library for years, as well as Rhino’s reading series at the local Brothers K coffeehouse.  You will also find that the book contains a special section on the history of the Chicago poetry scene, including the birth of the poetry slam. With a blurb from the great Sandra Cisneros, this one was a slam dunk (forgive the pun).

Next up, something for the conspiracy minded amongst us by Nick Schou and David Talbot.  Called Spooked:How the CIA Manipulates the Media and Hoodwinks Hollywood, the book discusses “how the CIA created a special public affairs unit to influence the production of Hollywood films and TV shows, vets articles on controversial topics like the drone assassination program, and grants friendly reporters background briefings on classified material, while simultaneously prosecuting ex-officers who spill the beans on damaging information.”  On shelves soon.

KingdomManSometimes authors are well known to a specific core group of readers but unknown to libraries.  Such was the case with Tony Evans. A local reader was surprised that we didn’t have more of his books, particularly Kingdom Man.  I selected some more of his books (which fall under the designation of religious self-help) and added them.

Books about food and nutrition are difficult to keep up with sometimes.  Often I rely on the bestsellers, just to figure out what’s working out there.  More than one reader, however, pointed me towards Kellyann Petrucci’s Dr. Kellyanne’s Bone Broth Diet: Lose Up to 15 Pounds, 4 Inches — And Your Wrinkles! — In Just 21 Days.  Haven’t heard of the bone broth diet before?  It’s probably the one I get the most requests for these days.  The more you know.

CreateAnd finally, computer books are so tricky to understand, buy, and weed.  How do I know that I’m keeping the most up-to-date and useful titles on my shelves?  I’ve had a lot of help recently from a local expert, so when you peruse our computer titles you’ll find only the most recent, useful material.  That doesn’t mean I don’t still need some help, though!  Hat tip to the reader who suggested I buy Create Your Own Website the Easy Way by Alannah Moore.  It’s new. It’s useful.  And websites aren’t going away anytime soon, so if you’re curious just check it out today.

Can’t find what you’re looking for at EPL?  Fill out our handy patron request form and I’ll get right back to you.

Happy reading!


Comics! The Winners of the 2016 Eisner Awards

A fan of comics? New to them altogether? Want to see what won the top honors this year? Then look no further than the Evanston Public Library collection. And the winners are . . .

Volume 1, Presto! by Paul Tobin


 Winner: Dustin Nguyen, Best Painter/Multimedia Artist
Volume One, Tin Stars
by Jeff Lemire

 Winner: Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 8)
Little Robot
by Ben Hatke

 Winner: Bill Griffith, Best Writer/Artist
Invisible Ink
My Mother’s Secret Love Affair With A Famous Cartoonist : A Graphic Memoir
by Bill Griffith

 Winner: Best Reality-Based Work
Book Two
by John Lewis

Winner: Best Graphic Album – Reprint

by Noelle Stevenson

 Winner: Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Asia
Showa, 1953-1989
by Shigeru Mizuki

 Winner: Best Humor Publication
Step Aside, Pops
by Kate Beaton

 Winner: Best Publication for Teens (ages 13 – 19)
SuperMutant Magic Academy
by Jillian Tamaki

 Winner: Derf Backderf, Best Lettering
A Graphic Novel
by Derf

Winner: Best Adaptation from Another Medium  
Two Brothers
by Fábio Moon