Best of 2021 (so far): Adult fiction & nonfiction

Introducing Oak Park’s Best of 2021 (so far)! We just couldn’t wait until the end of the year to share the titles our library staff loved so far in 2021, so you’ll find our adult fiction and nonfiction favorites on this page. Or browse more using the links below.

Adult fiction & nonfiction | Teen books | Kids books & picture books
Movies, TV shows & music

Adult fiction & nonfiction

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

Why you should try it: "This hilarious and surprising book got me out of a reading rut. I can't wait for the Netflix adaptation!"—Jenna, Collection Management Librarian

Description: What happens when you mix 1 (accidental) murder with 2 thousand wedding guests, and then, toss in a possible curse on 3 generations of an immigrant Chinese-Indonesian family? You get 4 meddling Asian aunties coming to the rescue!

Stream & download with: Media on Demand/Libby (ebook, digital audiobook)

Find all available formats in the catalog »

The Fall by Jared Muralt

Why you should try it: "It fills the void that The Walking Dead left and teased with its European spinoff, The Alien. While there are no zombies, it is a rich look into the struggle to maintain humanity under duress."—Dean, Children's Services Library Assistant

Description: After just losing his wife, one father will have to face a world in freefall, shaken to its core by an economic, social, political, and health crisis without precedent. Facing seemingly unreal and very unexpected dangers, he will do whatever it takes to protect his loved ones in a country on the brink of collapse.

Stream & download with: Hoopla (ebook)

Find all available formats in the catalog »

Eat the Mouth That Feeds You by Carribean Fragoza

Why you should try it: "This short story collection moved me. I couldn't stop thinking about it when I finished. It examines Chicanx womanhood and femininity, the meaning of strength, and all the ways that loving is a visceral process."—Dontaná, Collection Management Librarian

Description: This stunningly original collection of stories illuminates a spectrum of Latinx, Chicanx, and immigrant women's voices. In confrontations with fraught matrilineal lines, absent or abusive fathers, and the effects of historical violence, these women and girls navigate a male-dominated world where they rely on a resilient mujer network to get them through sometimes supernatural obstacles. 

Stream & download with: Hoopla (ebook, digital audiobook)

Find all available formats in the catalog »

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Why you should try it: "Shall we a cross between Harry Potter and Good Omens? A magical island with endearing characters. Best book I've read since the Covid shut down."—Carolyn, Patron Services Supervisor

Description: Linus Baker is a by-the-book case worker in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He's tasked with determining whether six dangerous magical children are likely to bring about the end of the world. Arthur Parnassus is the master of the orphanage. He would do anything to keep the children safe, even if it means the world will burn. And his secrets will come to light.

Stream & download with: Hoopla (digital audiobook), Media on Demand/Libby (ebook, digital audiobook)

Find all available formats in the catalog »

Fortune Favors the Dead by Stephen Spotswood

Why you should try it: "This is a fabulous noir-style private investigator story, with twists and turns and women in pants and in charge during the 1940s. I can't wait for book two this winter!"—Shelley, Children's Services Librarian

Description: It's 1942 and Willowjean "Will" Parker is a scrappy circus runaway whose knife-throwing skills have just saved the life of New York's best, and most unorthodox, private investigator, Lillian Pentecost. When the dapper detective summons Will a few days later, she doesn't expect to be offered a life-changing proposition: Lillian's multiple sclerosis means she can't keep up with her old case load alone, so she wants to hire Will to be her right-hand woman.

Stream & download with: Media on Demand/Libby (ebook)

Find all available formats in the catalog »

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

Why you should try it: "A perfect book to escape into and was great as an audiobook. A beautifully written book that follows the many lives of Addie LaRue and explores life, immortality, and love."—Margita, Adult Services Librarian

Description: France, 1714: In a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever, and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

Stream & download with: Hoopla (digital audiobook), Media on Demand/Libby (ebook, digital audiobook)

Find all available formats in the catalog »

Chicken 'n Dumplins 'n Death by A. Zed

Why you should try it: "A short mystery set in scenic Oregon."—Carolyn, Patron Services Supervisor

Description: For the group of seniors along for the ride, the day trip to the Columbia River Gorge organized by their local parks department was flowing as smoothly as the waters of the iconic river. But when they arrived at Tad's Chicken 'n Dumplins historic roadside diner, the day took a bitter turn. Fortunately, Bertha May Olson was there, ready to match wits with anyone attempting to get away with murder.

Stream & download with: Media on Demand/Libby (ebook)

Find all available formats in the catalog »

Good Morning, Monster by Catherine Gildiner

Why you should try it: "I thought I'd just ease into this one, but found I couldn't put it down/stop listening. What's not great about other people's therapy? You don't have to do any of the work but get all of the insight. "—Alex, Adult Services Manager

Description: Therapist Catherine Gildiner presents five of what she calls her most heroic and memorable patients. Among them: a successful, first generation Chinese immigrant musician suffering sexual dysfunction; a young woman whose father abandoned her at age nine with her younger siblings in an isolated cottage in the depth of winter; and a glamorous workaholic whose narcissistic, negligent mother greeted her each morning of her childhood with "Good morning, Monster."

Stream & download with: Media on Demand/Libby (ebook, digital audiobook)

Find all available formats in the catalog »

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Why you should try it: "I can't begin to explain how deeply this book resonated with me and how thoroughly it captured my experience as an Asian American grappling with identity and belonging. The relationship between Michelle and her mother is one that spoke so clearly and closely to my heart. I think this will be a book I return to over time and especially as my mother ages."—Rose, Adult Services Librarian

Description: From the indie rockstar of Japanese Breakfast fame, and author of the viral 2018 New Yorker essay that shares the title of this book, an unflinching, powerful memoir about growing up Korean American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity.

Stream & download with: Media on Demand/Libby (ebook, digital audiobook)

Find all available formats in the catalog »

House of Sticks by Ly Tran

Why you should try it: "I think about this fantastic memoir all the time. It was so heartbreaking and shocking yet also hopeful. Readers who loved Educated by Tara Westover will find a similarly compelling memoir of resilience in an unseen America."—Kathy, Collection Management Librarian

Description: A coming-of-age memoir recounting a young girl's journey from war-torn Vietnam to Ridgewood, Queens, and her struggle to find her voice amid clashing cultural expectations.

Stream & download with: Media on Demand (ebook)

Find all available formats in the catalog »

The Southern Entertainer's Cookbook by Courtney Dial Whitmore

Why you should try it: "I enjoy trying out Southern recipes, and this cookbook’s collection of recipes grabbed my attention. The photos are simply stunning, and recipes are easy to follow. The party menu section is useful for those who want to entertain. I enjoyed reading the author’s anecdotes, which she provides with each recipe. My favorite recipes from this cookbook are: Cozy Chicken Pot Pie, Southern Spoon Bread, Buttermilk Pie, and the Hummingbird Cakes with Cream Cheese Frosting."—Rashmi, Adult Services Librarian

Description: In addition to sharing modern twists on classics and beloved heirloom recipes from her family's cookbooks (not to worry, no archaic methods or hard-to-find ingredients here), Courtney provides tips throughout to make the most of your gathering: Try embellishing a plate with edible flower petals or create mini versions of a well-known dessert.

Find all available formats in the catalog »

Stay current on news and new arrivals.

Close Bitnami banner