Where Do Evanston Readers Go When They Travel? The Answers May Surprise You

Two chairs on the tropical beachAbout a year ago I decided to make a little separate Travel section for Evanston Public Library’s books.  This allowed me to do two things:

  1. Figure out how many travel books we actually had on our shelves and
  2. Weed out all the egregiously ancient ones

So we picked them up and moved them to their own area on the East side of the second floor where they face the windows.  Why so far from the rest of the nonfiction?  Well, traditionally you never want to have books facing windows.  The constant sun bleaches spines faster than you can blink.  But if you have a travel book section then you don’t want older books.  You want what’s new and fresh and accurate.  Therefore they’re the perfect kinds of books to place in sunlight.  After a few years, they’ll be rotated out anyway.

One problem with moving the travel books was that now that we looked at them, we didn’t have a whole lot to show.  When they’d been integrated with the other books about countries it had been hard to assess how many we had in total.  By themselves they looked skimpy, and their numbers became even skimpier when patrons discovered the section.  We got complaints.  Something had to be done.

c700x420The solution was simply to buy whole heaping helpfuls of travel books.  Lots and lots of them from reliable sources (Fodors, Frommers, National Geographic, Insight, DK, etc.).  The trouble was that I didn’t have any reliable statistics to tell me which locations proved to be the most popular.  France is sort of a given, and in terms of cities NYC is right up there.  But Evanston isn’t like other communities.  Its residents have their own particular tastes and preferences.

Now that it’s been about a year since the move (and the new purchases) I’ve been able to run a report on the most popular individual titles in the Travel section.  From this I’ve been able to determine what goes out and what doesn’t, which will inform my selections in the future.  For example, Moscow?  Not all that popular. Go figure.

So where are Evanstonians going?  Here are the Top 20 most popular destinations as determined by the number of times individual books at EPL have gone out:

Most Checked Out Travel Books

1. Discover Barcelona
2. Frommer’s Costa Rica
3. Frommer’s Hawaii
4. Frommer’s Italy
5. Rick Steves’ London
6. Fodor’s Kaua’i
7. Pocket rough guide. Prague
8. Vienna pocket guide
9. Rick Steves’ Rome
10. The Brooklyn experience : the ultimate guide to neighborhoods & noshes, culture & the cutting edge / Ellen Freudenheim ; [foreword by Steve Hindy]
11. Only in Paris : a guide to unique locations, hidden corners and unusual objects / Duncan J. D. Smith ; photographs by Duncan J. D. Smith
12. Moon Southwest road trip
13. Rick Steves’ London
14. Rick Steves pocket Prague
15. Frommer’s easyguide to Paris
16. Eyewitness Prague
17. Lonely Planet Southwest USA
18. Fodor’s complete guide to the national parks of the West
19. The national parks coast to coast : the 100 best hikes / Ted Alvarez
20. Rick Steves’ Paris

As you can see, a couple locations come up multiple times.  No surprise that Paris specifically is up there, and Hawaii’s a given, but I was a little surprised to see Prague appear no fewer than three times!  Evanstonians also like their hiking and trails, particularly in the national parks.

A quick note about these stats: There’s no way to determine how many of these circulations are by armchair travelers vs. actual travelers.  We’ve noticed that a lot of people just like to check out travel books to dream about where they’d like to go, not where they will go.  Even so, it doesn’t cost anything to dream.  Stop by and check out some books on your favorite location next time you’re here.  I guarantee it’ll be up-to-date.


The Unexpected Bookmarks of Evanston, IL

You’re reading a book from the library. It is good.  You are having a good time, but something unexpected comes up.  You need to hold your place and being a responsible patron you know that you can’t just break the book’s spine and hold your location by splaying it across the back of a chair or a dog.  So you grab the nearest bookmark at hand.  Time passes.  You don’t go back to the book, and you’ve also forgotten the bookmark.  You return the book to the library where we find it and, in some cases, stare in bafflement at what we find.

Today, we are celebrating unexpected bookmarks.  Now I’m not a member of the circulation staff so I had to get their help in identifying some of the stranger donations.  Here’s a quickie 101 on Evanstonian bookmarks 2016:


Without a doubt the MOST common bookmark at EPL is the Ventra card.  Do we check them for money?  We do not.  So if you’re using one make sure that puppy is empty empty empty.


This is my favorite find.  An old punch library card.  According to members of our staff, each book would have one of these (you can see that it was a book called LAKE CHAMPLAIN by Van De Wa(something) and that it had a call # of 974.7.  Before computers as we know it, the librarians would just punch out the books.  Technology at its finest!


Children of the 80s unite!  As a child I was forbidden from owning any Garbage Pail Kids cards (a gross reactionary creation to the Cabbage Patch Kids).  I nonetheless managed to get my hands on some.  Did you know that Art Spiegelman did quite a few of them?  True story.  In any case, this little guy ended up in one of our books.


Well you would hardly expect another city’s team to be used to hold someone’s place, would you?


This appears to be less a bookmark and more a crie de coeur.  At least they didn’t write this in the book itself.  That would be just a bit more irony than I could handle.


Well, it’s not like any of us have kept track of all our eighth place ribbons, after all.


Any idea what this is?  Aside from the fact that I can’t figure out how you’d go about making a coin even work as a bookmark (don’t they just sorta roll out?) I’m not sure what this actually is.


Awwww. If every single patron used a hand-drawn image from Bob’s Burgers as a bookmark, what a wonderful world this would be.


And finally, the #1 most common bookmark found in returned library books is . . . . .


Thanks for playing, everybody.  And remember to check those books before you taken them back.

Introducing the 2016 Holiday Gift Guide from the Evanston Public Library Staff!

It’s that time of year again. In fact, if you haven’t done your holiday shopping yet, you might be glancing nervously at the calendar (like me) worrying about whether or not you’ll be able to ship your items in time.

With that in mind, let Evanston Public Library ease your worries a tad. If you need book recommendations, we’ve got ’em! Our staff has culled together some stellar suggestions for everyone on your list.

Now the list as it appears here will be a bit small.  Print it out in a larger size (PDF version)if you’re able or, better yet, come by our RA Desk on the second floor and pick up a couple copies for you and your friends.  All titles on these lists are 2016 titles.

Happy Holidays!



75-Years Ago: Remembering Pearl Harbor

On December 7th, 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked in a surprise military strike by Japanese forces.  This year marks the 75th anniversary of the attack.  For those of you looking to brush up on your knowledge in that area, have no fear.  We’ve a list of all the newest books on the subject.  As you might imagine, a lot of books have come out recently to commemorate the anniversary.  Reserve them today:

All the Gallant Men: An American Sailor’s Firsthand Account of Pearl Harbor by Donald Stratton


In this extraordinary never-before-told eyewitness account of the Pearl Harbor attack–the only memoir ever written by a survivor of the USS Arizona–ninety-four-year-old veteran Donald Stratton finally shares his unforgettable personal tale of bravery and survival on December 7, 1941, his harrowing recovery, and his inspiring determination to return to the fight.

Countdown to Pearl Harbor: The Twelve Days to the Attack by Steve Twomey


A fascinating look at the twelve days leading up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor–the warnings, clues and missteps–by a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter.

Dawn of Infamy: A Sunken Ship, a Vanished Crew, and the Final Mystery of Pearl Harbor by Stephen Harding


As the Pearl Harbor attack began, a U.S. cargo ship a thousand miles away in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean mysteriously vanished along with her crew. What happened, and why ?

Eve of a Hundred Midnights: The Star-Crossed Love Story of Two World War II Correspondents and Their Epic Escape Across the Pacific by Bill Lascher


The unforgettable true story of two married journalists on an island-hopping run for their lives across the Pacific after the Fall of Manila during World War II–a saga of love, adventure, and danger.

Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy by Eri Hotta


A groundbreaking history that considers the attack on Pearl Harbor from the Japanese perspective and is certain to revolutionize how we think of the war in the Pacific.

Pearl Harbor: From Infamy to Greatness by Craig Nelson


Published in time for the 75th anniversary, a gripping and definitive account of the event that changed twentieth-century America–Pearl Harbor–based on years of research and new information uncovered by a New York Times bestselling author.

Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience During World War II by Albert Marrin


On the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor comes a harrowing and enlightening look at the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II– from National Book Award finalist Albert Marrin.  Today, America is still filled with racial tension, and personal liberty in wartime is as relevant a topic as ever. Moving and impactful, National Book Award finalist Albert Marrin’s sobering exploration of this monumental injustice shines as bright a light on current events as it does on the past.

And for those of you looking for pertinent DVDs:

75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor


From the facts that are widely known to the unsung heroes, this 75th anniversary set delivers the definitive chronicle of the attack on Pearl Harbor. With combat footage, gripping personal accounts, and detailed historical analysis, six documentaries explore one of history’s most devastating events.


Even More Chicago Literary Awards! The 2016 CWA Book Awards


Sharp-eyed reader Lynn Haller was quick to point out in my last post (The Chicago Review of Book Awards) that the newly founded Chirbies are not the only game in town.  For the past six years the Chicago Writer’s Association has produced its own awards as well.

Lynn also mentioned that, “Evanston’s own Randy Richardson is the president of CWA, if you’re looking for an Evanston connection.”  I think it is fair to say that I am always looking for an Evanston connection.  Thank you, Lynn!

And the awards go to . . .

Award for Fiction, Traditionally Published
The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay


Honorable Mention:
Swarm Theory by Christine Maul Rice
The Fugue
by Gint Aras


Award for Fiction, Non-Traditionally Published
A Bitter Pill to Swallow
by Tiffany Gholar


Award for Nonfiction, Traditionally Published
The Defender by Ethan Michaeli


Honorable Mention:
Exoneree Diaries: The Fight for Innocence, Independence and Identity by Alison Flowers

Award for Nonfiction, Non-Traditionally Published

Hugh Hefner’s First Funeral and other True Tales of Love and Death in Chicago by Pat Colander


Here’s an extra note from the CWA website about the awards ceremony:

This year’s ceremony will also feature the second annual presentation of CWA’s Spirit Award (formerly called the Lifetime Achievement Award) to Don Evans, author, editor, founder of the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, and a tireless advocate for Chicago literature and the people who make it.

Award winners will be honored at a ceremony on Jan. 14, 2017 at 7 p.m. at The Book Cellar, 4736-38 Lincoln Ave., in Chicago’s Lincoln Square.
Authors will read from their award-winning books and will have copies available for purchase and signing.
This event is free and open to the public. Please join us for a festive evening!

The Chicago Review of Books Awards


This one’s going out to those of you who may have wondered why all the major book awards seems to come from places other than Chicago.  Considering the breadth and depth of the literary landscape here, it’s a bit shocking that we have so few awards to name off the top of our heads.  Introducing the Chicago Review of Books Awards.  As they say on their website about the awards:

“. . . the Chicago Review of Books—in partnership with Chicago’s independent bookstores—wants to recognize Chicagoland authors and help them reach more bookshelves across the city, the country, and the world.

This fall, the inaugural Chicago Review of Books Awards (‘Chirbys,’ for short) will celebrate the best books published in 2016 by writers in the Chicago Metropolitan Area.”

They go on to mention that the winners in each category will be announced live on December 8 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at Volumes Bookcafe in Wicker Park, at a free public awards ceremony and book signing that will feature panel conversations between some of the authors in each category about their books, writing process, and Chicago inspirations.

So what are the books up for contention that you should know?  Here’s the full list (with special notes on which of the authors live or work in Evanston):

Best Fiction

Jesse Ball, How to Set a Fire and Why

Wesley Chu, Time Siege

Gina Frangello, Every Kind of Wanting

Abby Geni, The Lightkeepers

Mary Robinette Kowal, Ghost Talkers

Christine Sneed, The Virginity of Famous Men: Stories (<— She lives in Evanston!)

Best Creative Nonfiction

Chris Abani, The Face: Cartography of the Void (<— Mr. Abani is a Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University)

Ethan Michaeli, The Defender

Natalie Y. Moore, The South Side

Toni Nealie, The Miles Between Me

Mary Wisniewski, Algren: A Life

Zoe Zolbrod, The Telling (<— Lives in Evanston!)

Best Poetry

Kevin Coval and Nate Marshall, 1989: The Number

Tony Fitzpatrick, The Secret Birds

Phillip B. Williams, Thief in the Interior

Abigail Zimmer, child in a winter house brightening

Best Debut

Kim Brooks, The Houseguest

Jessica Chiarella, And Again

Maryse Meijer, Heartbreaker: Stories

Ada Palmer, Too Like the Lightning

Martin Seay, The Mirror Thief

T. Sean Steele, Tacky Goblin


Somewhat disappointingly there is no children’s or YA category yet, but I’ve confidence that that will have to change in the future.  In the meantime, enjoy the books and stay tuned for the winners!

How Do Evanston Residents’ Reading Habits Compare to the Country?

Ever wonder what sets Evanston, IL apart from the rest of the nation?  While other parts of the country go gaga over one book or another, can the same be said for our little corner of the world?  Curious, I decided to do some comparisons between the top selling books according to Publishers Weekly this week vs. the books in our library system that have the highest patron demand.  The results may surprise you.  First off, the nation:

Top Fiction Sellers in America Right Now

1. The Whistler by John Grisham

2. Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks

3. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

4. A Baxter Family Christmas by Karen Kingsbury

5. Escape Clause by John Sandford

6. Order to Kill by Vince Flynn

7. Sex, Lies & Serious Money by Stuart Woods

8. The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks

9. The Obsidian Chamber by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

10. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

And now, here are the top fiction titles at Evanston Public Library based entirely on holds placed on titles at this moment in time.

Top Fiction Titles at Evanston Public Library

1. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

2. The Whistler by John Grisham

3. The Trespasser by Tana French

4. Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple

5. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

6. Night School by Lee Child

7. The Mothers by Brit Bennett

8. The Wangs Vs. the World by Jade Chang

9. Turbo Twenty-Three by Janet Evanovich

10. No Man’s Land by David Baldacci

So a couple thoughts on this comparison.  First and foremost, you’ll see that A Baxter Family Christmas is heavily sought after in the rest of the country.  I’ll purchase Christmas fiction for that reason, but I can tell you that when I’m weeding dead fiction (fiction that hasn’t circulated once in over 3 years) Christmas books clog my list.  Nobody in Evanston really looks forward to them.

Second of all, The Blood Mirror?  Really?  Did not see that one coming.

Third, the Evanston books don’t really have as many cult authors or series on them as the national list.  Read into that what you will.

And on the nonfiction side of the equation . . .

Top Non-Fiction Sellers in America Right Now

1. Cooking for Jeffrey: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten

2. The Magnolia Story by Chip Gaines and Joanna Gaines

3. Killing the Rising Sun: How America Vanquished World War II Japan by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

4. Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life’s Storms by Tim Tebow and A.J. Gregory

5. Appetites: A Cookbook by Anthony Bourdain

6. Jesus Always: Embracing Joy in His Presence by Sarah Young

7. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

8. The Broken Way: A Daring Path Into the Abundant Life by Ann Voskamp

9. 100 Days of Real Food: Fast & Fabulous: The Easy and Delicious Way to Cut Out Processed Food by Lisa Leake

10. Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal That Undid Him, and All the Justice that Money Can Buy by James Patterson, John Connolly, and Tim Malloy


How does Evanston compare?  Well, here are out top nonfiction titles with the most holds:

Top Non-Fiction Titles at Evanston Public Library

1. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

2. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

3. Upstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver

4. Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived Joyous Life by William Burnett

5. Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer

6. Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild

7. Cooking for Jeffrey: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten

8. Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal That Undid Him, and All the Justice that Money Can Buy by James Patterson, John Connolly, and Tim Malloy

9. Killing the Rising Sun: How American Vanquished World War II Japan by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

10. In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice From Over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs by Grace Bonney

Looking at these titles, I can see a couple things right off the bat.  Religious titles, while they do well at EPL, are not the most requested books here.  O’Reilly’s books really do circulate on a regular basis.  Also, inspirational title do well but aren’t what we might call circ-busters.

Now interestingly enough, there’s another way to look at our popular books.  We could look at the titles that circulated the most at EPL this week.  These lists aren’t perfect, since they’re reliant on the number of copies we have and not necessarily demand, but I think you’ll find them an interesting alternative way to look at what’s popular at EPL.

Fiction Titles That Circulated the Most This Week:

1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

2. The Nest by Cynthia Sweeney

3. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

4. The Girls by Emma Cline

5. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

6. Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

7. My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

8. Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

9. Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

10. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah


Nonfiction Titles That Circulated the Most This Week:

1. The Rainbow Comes and Goes by Anderson Cooper

2. Gratitude by Oliver Sacks

3. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two by Jack Thorne

4. The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson

5. It Gets Worse by Shane Dawson

6. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

7. White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg

8. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

9. Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson

10. Furiously Happy by Jenni Lawson


The Dos, Don’ts, and Duhs of Donations


When I first arrived at Evanston Public Library about a year ago I was astounded by the sheer number of helpful, happy volunteers present in the building.  Volunteers staff our concierge desk in the lobby.  They aid us in Technical Services, handling a metric ton of books each and every week.  And almost most impressive of all, they handle our donations and book sale.

Now there is no good way to write a post about what they FIND donated in our bins without sounding a bit like a scold.  Evanston Library patrons are the most generous folks in the world.  Why just this week three incredibly popular books were donated in pristine condition and immediately added to the library system (they were The Woman in Cabin 10, Razor Girl, and A Man Called Ove, in case you’re curious).  But for every delightful hardcover there are mounds and mounds and mounds of junk.

Example A: Junk

Here then, is an ode to the most egregious donations, with some light-hearted suggestions along the way.  We absolutely adore our donations.  We just don’t adore ALL our donations.

Case in point:

The Case of the Yellowed Paperbacks

I’m not going to say I never add a paperback to this collection.  But given the choice between adding a paperback or a hardcover, I’m always going to go with the hardcover.  Now that’s if the paperback is in pristine condition.  More common, however, is the yellowed, ancient, smelly (more on smelly soon), paperback.  The one you bought back in the day and loved but don’t really need.  Its spine is all bent but you can still read the words, right?  Maybe so, but you should know that if you don’t recycle the book, we will.  Not even the booksale is going to want yellowed paperbacks.  Best to return it to the pulp from whence it came.

donations4Mold City, Baby

I know how it is.  You put together a nice big box of books to donate to the library, but that’s a trip you don’t necessarily have to make today. Or tomorrow.  Or next week.  And so the box sits in your attic, or basement, or garage and just gets older and moldier, and smellier, and generally more gross.  And then, years later, you (or someone you know) takes it to the library.  And we open it.  And it’s like Pandora’s box all over again, except instead of all the ills of the world escaping, it’s just that smell of damp, dank, books that no one will ever want to touch again.

Business and Medicine

Question: What are the most commonly donated books given to the library?

Answer: Business tomes and medicals texts.  Some are good.  Most are woefully out of date.  In truth, even if a book is in pristine condition, if the information in that book is outdated, we’re not going to add it to the library.

donations2No Book Jackets, No Writing, No Service

This goes without saying but if there’s writing in the book, even if it’s just your name, we’re probably not going to add it.  Maybe we’ll sell it. But if the book jacket is missing and it’s old then it’s doubtful it’ll find a happy home here.


Can’t sell ’em.  Can’t bind ’em.  Can’t include ’em in the collection.  Nope.  Magazines aren’t really our bag, baby.


Cassette Tapes


Need I say more?

Coloring Books


I may be getting a little punch drunk at this point.



Okay! Okay!  That’s it!  I’m out!

But let us be clear.  We love our donations.  We do!  Donations are the food of life.  They save us a lot of money.  But your recycling bins are technically closer when it comes to the old, gross, stuff.  Don’t be afraid to use them too!

So thank you, sincerely, for the awesome donations we receive. You can keep your socks, though.  We’re good on footwear, at the moment.

Clowns: Not All of Them Are Psychos, You Know

eb348bb76f6be41a0a96bd2fac9ec9e3Here’s my theory. With the release of a new version of Stephen King’s It, I half suspect that the reason we’ve been seeing a lot of scary clowns in the news lately is that someone started dressing up as a form of viral promotion and things got out of hand.  That’s just my theory, though.  King himself had a very nice public statement recently about how most clowns out there aren’t of the scary variety, and are stand up and cheer decent people just trying to make a living.  In that vein, here are clown books that AREN’T scary in the least, and celebrate those good-natured souls that have willingly taken on one of the trickiest of jobs.

And for the record, finding material about non-creepy clowns is much much harder than finding scary stuff.

Fred the Clown by Robert Langridge


A graphic novel indebted to such influences as Max Fleisher’s animated cartoons (e.g., Betty Boop), comic strips ( Peanuts, Garfield, etc.), underground cartoonists (Crumb, Deitch), and picture-book artists (Seuss, Gorey), Langridge gives us a hero that’s as funny as he is touching.

Cooks, Clowns, and Cowboys: 101 Skills and Experiences to Discover on Your Travels by Andrew Bain


If you want a book that encourages hands-on, immersive experiences around the world, this is the one to try.  Clowning is just a small part of all the wonderful things you can do.  If nothing else, this can also be a book for someone searching for a new hobby.

Funny: The Book: Everything You Wanted to Know About Comedy by David Misch


This book is has a far wider reach than mere clowning, but you’ll find that covered alongside speculations about sitcoms, religion, silent films, and more.

The Clowns


I’d no sooner put together a clown list and fail to mention Fellini than I would put on a clown costume and forget the red nose.  Fellini’s childhood fascination with clowning began in his youth.  In this, one of his lesser known film, he allows it his full adult attention.

Clown Paintings by Diane Keaton


I said this was just going to be a collection of non-creepy clowns and I stand by it, though I suspect some folks might find Keaton’s collection a bit on the odd side.  Apparently Diane Keaton has been collecting clown paintings for years.  Accompanying some of the paintings in her collection is commentary from such comics as (big breath now) Woody Allen, Dan Aykroyd, Roseanne Barr, Candice Bergen, Sandra Berhard, Carol Burnett, Chevy Chase, Larry David, Ellen Degeneres, Danny Devito, Phyllis Diller, Carrie Fisher, Whoopi Goldberg, Bobcat Goldthwait, Goldie Hawn, Eric Idle, Don Knotts, Lisa Kudrow, Nathan Lane, Jay Leno, Jerry Lewis (naturally), Garry Marshall, Steve Martin, Harold Ramis, Paul Reubens, Michael Richards, Joan Rivers, Garry Shandling, Martin Short, Ben Stiller, Dick Van Dyke, John Waters, and Robin Williams.  Something for everyone then.

Working IX to V: Orgy Planners, Funeral Clowns, and other Prized Professions of the Ancient World by Vicky Leon


Yep.  Right there in the subtitle.  “Funeral clown”.  I’m out.

Fall Is Delicious

Usually around this time of year I like to put up a big display of fall books on the first floor.  Mind you, that was before Hamilton: The Musical came to Chicago.  Now my apples have been replaced with Federalist Papers.  Pretty cool, but with all these lovely autumnal materials on our shelves it seems only fitting to let you know about them.  Here then are some particularly toothsome little numbers best befitting this newly chilly season.

Eat Feed Autumn Winter: 30 Ways to Celebrate When the Mercury Drops by Anne Bramley


Let’s face it.  It’s easier to feed your face when the Farmer’s Market is there to provide.  But with the looming closure of our favorite blacktop institution, consider taking a gander at this book to best become a consummate (and truly seasonal) cold-weather cook.

Apples by Frank Browning


Everything you did (and hadn’t thought to) want to know about everyone’s favorite fruit.  From various tree-of-life myths involving the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Celts, French, and Scandinavians to the fruit’s origins in Kazakhstan on the slopes of the Heavenly Mountains, Browning covers his bases.  Be ready for genetics, biotech breeding programs, and cider making  galore.

Purely Pumpkin: More Than 100 Wholesome Recipes to Share, Savor, and Warm Your Kitchen by Alison Day


I know some of you cringe whenever you see the annual onslaught of all the “pumpkin” flavored items that appear around now.  Why not skip all those and go to the real thing instead?  This little book is great for recipe ideas, and has the extra-added bonus of also containing a fair number of gluten-free options as well.

Apples to Cider: How to Make Cider at Home by April White


Of course, for some of you, merely reading about apples won’t be enough.  You must defeat them on your own terms.  Crush their resistance!  And make something yummy in the process.  This book shows you how.

A Harvest of Pumpkins and Squash: Seasonal Recipes by Lou Seibbert Pappas


What do the following words have in common:




If you said they were all different kinds of squashes and pumpkins then you are right on the money.  Or, put another way, nom nom nom nom nom.

Apples, from Harvest to Table: 50 Recipes Plus Lore, Crafts and More Starring the Tried-and-True Favorite by Amy Pennington


I know I’m a little fixated on the apples today, but they’re just so darn tasty.  This book is good for folks who, as Library Jounal put it, are “more interested in recipes than in history and botanical information.”