Oak Park’s Best of 2022 returns! Our annual librarian-curated selection of titles features some of the titles most requested and checked out by Oak Parkers.
See some of our favorite TV shows, movies, and music on this page or browse more using the links below.
Adult fiction: General | Adult fiction: Romance, lives & relationships | Adult fiction: Mystery, history & sci-fi | Adult nonfiction | Teen fiction | Kids books | Picture books | TV shows | Movies | Music
Why you should try it: A staff favorite! Folks say "it's just really good" and it's "the highlight of my week! Hilarious, heartwarming, and so familiar as a former elementary school aide."—Megha, Children's Services Library Specialist; Shelley, Children's Services Librarian
Description: A group of teachers is brought together in a Philadelphia public school, because they love teaching. Though outnumbered and underfunded, they love what they do even if they don't love the school district's less-than-stellar attitude toward educating children.
Why you should try it: "I love Jean Smart's performance, in a situation we have seen many times but with fresh humor and pathos. Jean's two Emmys from this series are well deserved."—Ed, Adult Services Librarian
Description: Multiple Emmy Award winner Jean Smart stars as a legendary Las Vegas comedian who is forced to hire an ambitious young writer.
Why you should try it: "Don't take the title of this medical TV show, based on a memoir, lightly—these episodes have deep emotional impact. Ben Whishaw is phenomenal as the lead."—Jenna, Collection Management Librarian
Description: Set in the labor ward with all its hilarity and heart-lifting highs but also its gut-wrenching lows, the show delivers a brutally honest depiction of life as a junior doctor on the wards, and the toll the job can take back home.
Why you should try it: "Bridging two great genres of sports story plus recent historical story, this is a fun watch for both those who don't follow basketball and fans that do. Quincy Isaiah as Magic Johnson is new on the scene and a dead ringer playing the young basketball star. Oscar-nominated actor John C. Reilly is as watchable as always, and it's great to see Sally Fields and Adrien Brody among others in a great cast with a fun story to tell."—Alex, Manager of Adult Services
Description: A fast-break drama series chronicling the professional and personal lives of the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers. One of the sport's most revered and dominant dynasties, the team defined its era, both on and off the court.
Why you should try it: "You get so much with this show. Adventure, thriller, mystery, engaging characters, horror, and some 90s music mixed in. A high school girls' soccer team plane crashes in the wilderness. But what happened to them in the woods, and what has happened to them in the present day? You'll have to keep watching to find out. A great show that will suck you in right away. Enjoy the binge!"—Margita, Adult Services Librarian
Description: Part survival epic, part psychological horror, and part coming-of-age drama, this is the story of a team of wildly talented high school girls soccer players who survive a plane crash deep in the remote northern wilderness.
Why you should try it: A certified staff favorite! Staff says this "exciting and unique film" provided an "unexpected punch of emotional impact, especially as the mother of a teenager." A "great" film to watch "again and again."—Margita, Adult Services Librarian; Genevieve, Children's Services Librarian
Description: Evelyn Wang, a flustered immigrant mother, is contacted from a parallel universe and told that only she can save the world. The unlikely hero must learn to channel her newfound powers and fight through the splintering timelines of the multiverse to save her home, her family, and herself.
Why you should try it: Another staff fave! Folks say, "with Sailor Moon influences and a high-energy cast, this movie made me remember what it was like being a middle school girl who was just excited and embarrassed about so many things" and "Mei and her family dynamics hit close to home."—Amy, Creative Technology Librarian; Andrea, Collection Management Librarian
Description: Meilin Lee is a confident, dorky 13-year-old torn between staying her mother's dutiful daughter and the chaos of adolescence. In addition to Mei's changing interests, relationships, and body, she has started to "poof" into a giant red panda whenever she gets emotional . . . which is almost all the time!
Why you should try it: "Stunning visuals!"—Andrea, Collection Management Librarian
Description: A mythic and emotionally charged hero's journey that tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding. He must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people.
Why you should try it: "Films based on true events always catch my attention. In this film, the performances, cinematography, and music are outstanding. No wonder it won over 10 awards! The story is one of friendship, cultural differences, struggles, resilience and hope."—Rashmi, Adult Services Librarian
Description: Two friends in Oman work together at the zoo, but after Tariq's sister has an arranged marriage, which results in her being abused, he plans to steal animals and sell them on the black market in order to give her money to escape. When the white, wealthy Cai figures out what's happening, it strains the friendship as the two young men are forced to face the differences in their lives and situations.
Why you should try it: "This movie is filled with all the warm fuzzies. Cozy, charming, and delightful."—Jenna, Collection Management Librarian
Description: In 1950s London, a widowed cleaning lady falls madly in love with a couture Dior dress, deciding she must have one of her own. After working to raise the funds to pursue her dream, she embarks on an adventure to Paris that will change not only her own outlook but the very future of the House of Dior.
Why you should try it: "There is nothing I can say about this movie that isn't a massive spoiler, so I'll just say: It's great."—Dontaná, Collection Management Librarian
Description: Two siblings who run a California horse ranch discover something wonderful and sinister in the skies above, and the owner of an adjacent theme park tries to profit from the mysterious, otherworldly phenomenon.
Why you should try it: "Worth all the hype. So easy to enjoy."—Jenna, Collection Management Librarian
Description: After more than 30 years of service as one of the navy's top aviators, Pete "Maverick: Mitchell is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. Training a detachment of graduates for a special assignment, Maverick must confront the ghosts of his past and his deepest fears.
Why you should try it: "I watched a lot of this movie from behind a blanket. It was engaging and had callbacks to some of the great slasher films of the 70s and 80s. If slasher movies are your thing, this is definitely one to watch. Also the prequel, Pearl."—Dontaná, Collection Management Librarian
Description: In 1979 some young filmmakers set out to make an adult film in rural Texas, but when their reclusive, elderly hosts catch them in the act, the cast members find themselves in a fight for their lives.
Why you should try it: "Interesting movie, to say the least."—Megha, Children's Services Library Specialist
Description: Trapped on her family's secluded farm, Pearl must tend to her ailing father under the bitter and domineering watch of her devout mother. Yearning for a glamorous life like she's seen in the movies, Pearl finds her ambitions, temptations, and repressions all colliding in this origin story of X's iconic villain.
Why you should try it: "Who woulda thought that a former teen vampire 'heartthrob' would go on to do the best portrayal of the Batman/Bruce Wayne of the entire franchise? The supporting cast is basically a dream team of today’s finest thespians. And finally, the score. In my opinion, using the Nirvana classic 'Something in the Way' was just another icing-on-the-cake/stroke of genius. Not just using the song, but also scoring the film using the same melody. I loved that."—Micah, Patron Services Library Assitant
Description: Two years of stalking the streets as the Batman, striking fear into the hearts of criminals, has led Bruce Wayne deep into the shadows of Gotham City. With only a few trusted allies—Alfred Pennyworth and Lt. James Gordon—and amongst the city's corrupt network of officials and high‐profile figures, the lone vigilante has established himself as the sole embodiment of vengeance amongst his fellow citizens.
Un Verano Sin Ti by Bad Bunny
Why you should try it: "When I need a boost of confidence I just listen to this whole album."—Andrea, Collection Management Librarian
Description: Un Verano Sin Ti is the fourth solo studio album, and fifth overall, by Puerto Rican rapper and singer Bad Bunny. Comprised of 23 tracks, the album is primarily a reggaeton, cumbia, and indie pop record.
Emotional Creature by Beach Bunny
Why you should try it: "Beach Bunny's upbeat alternative rock has playful yet sophisticated lyrics that convey the complexity of love, friendship, and self-esteem. Singer-songwriter Lili Trifilio exposes her conflicts in a way that makes you want to root for her."—Kheir, Archivist
Description: Emotional Creature is a collection of highly relatable songs that capture the highs and lows of new relationships, the joys and vulnerabilities of letting someone in, the gut-wrenching realities of experiencing anxiety, leaving toxic relationships, and seeing yourself through the eyes of the one you love. These complex feelings are expertly contrasted with ultra-poppy melodies, anthemic choruses, and a slight punk edge.
Revolver (2022 Remix) by The Beatles
Why you should try it: "A remix and remaster of the Beatles seminal album with bonus material, rehearsals, outtakes, and demos. This is one of my favorite Beatles albums not just for the groundbreaking sounds they produced but the cover art is a work of artistic genius."—Joel, Adult Services Library Specialist
Description: Features a new mix by Giles Martin and Sam Okell, plus a disc of highlights from the album sessions that includes early versions of songs.
Special by Lizzo
Why you should try it: "Listening to Lizzo will always put me in a good mood. Upbeat and uplifting."—Jenna, Collection Management Librarian
Description: Her massively anticipated second full-length offering arrives via Nice Life Recording Company/Atlantic Records with the help of collaborators such as Ricky Reed, Max Martin, and Mark Ronson.
Texas Moon by Khruangbin
Why you should try it: "If you need an easy listening experience with a mellow groove funk, then this album is for you. This is another one of my favorite psychedelic funk bands, Khruangbin's collaborations with the great R&B/Soul singer-songwriter Leon Bridges."—Joel, Adult Services Library Specialist
Description: Two of the acts boldly leading Texas music into the future have now delivered a second chapter of their groundbreaking collaboration, further extending the region's sonic possibilities. Singer/songwriter Leon Bridges, from Ft. Worth, and trailblazing Houston trio Khruangbin have joined forces for the Texas Moon EP, a follow-up to 2020's acclaimed Texas Sun project.
Panorama by Hayley Kiyoko
Why you should try it: "This was a summer fun album if ever there was one, and I enjoyed listening to it. My favorite tracks are 'For the Girls' and 'Sugar at the Bottom'."—Dontaná, Collection Management Librarian
Description: Following her landmark 2018 debut album Expectations, Hayley Kiyoko began to work on a new album. That release is here and it includes the singles "For the Girls," "Found My Friends," and "Chance".
Hell on Church Street by Punch Brothers
Why you should try it: "Chris Thile's good-time bluegrass quintet reworks Tony Rice's 1983 album Church Street Blues, which includes Rice originals and covers of folk songs, Bob Dylan, and 'The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.'"—Kheir, Archivist
Description: Recorded at Nashville’s Blackbird Studio in November 2020, during a time of great uncertainty, Hell on Church Street was intended as both its own work of art and a gift to Rice, who died that Christmas.
Midnights by Taylor Swift
Description: A collection of music written in the middle of the night, a journey through terrors and sweet dreams. The floors we pace and the demons we face—the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout Taylor's life.
The Tipping Point by Tears for Fears
Why you should try it: "It's their first studio album in 17 years. They haven't mellowed out—it's just as political and danceable as their older music. And it contains one of the best lines I've heard in quite a while on the track 'My Demons''"—Michelle, Patron Services Supervisor
Description: Some 40 years into one of music's most impactful partnerships, Tears For Fears have arrived together at The Tipping Point—the group's ambitious, accomplished, and surprising first new studio album in nearly two decades. An inspired song cycle that vividly recalls the depth and emotional force of the group's earliest triumphs.
Mahal by Toro y Moi
Why you should try it: "I absolutely love this album for its low-fi vibe and chill beats that I can have on repeat all day and never get tired of it. A prolific artist/producer Chaz Bear is known for his electro-synth pop, 'chillwave' sounds with an extensive run of widely lauded albums."—Joel, Adult Services Library Specialist
Description: The record spans genre and sound—encompassing the shaggy psychedelic rock of the 1960s and '70s, and the airy sounds of 1990s mod-post-rock—taking listeners on an auditory expedition, as if they're riding in the back of Bear's Filipino jeepney that adorns the album's cover.