Staff Picks

Check out the following books recommended by Chicago Ridge Public Library staff.


Secrets Under the Olive Tree By Nevien Shaabneh

My cousin, who is a local high school teacher in the south suburbs first mentioned this book to me a few months ago.  I put it on my “to-read” list and forgot about it. But then a patron came into the library and asked me if I read this book.  Since part of my Job in Adult Reference is Readers Advisory and I run a Book Club, I decided to give it a go.  Now let me tell you, that the patron who asked me this question was not very happy with the author.  She felt that the author made all Arab men look bad and gave non-Arab people a twisted view of how the culture is.  I picked up this book and sank into the pages and into the world of Layla and after flying through it (and passing it on to my best friend) I have to say that I totally disagree with my patron.  But we are all entitled to our opinion.

Layla touched a chord within me because I have known many “Laylas” growing up. The book is beautifully written and the mystery (although I figured it out very early) will keep you reading until the end.  I cried three different times and if I get emotional over a character, the book is a winner. Pick up the book today, you will NOT be disappointed!!

Review by Eva, Adult Services (Added 3/9/2015)


Factory Man by Beth Macy

Great insight into today's manufacturing dilemmas and challenges. There's enough family drama to keep the story interesting but not so much it overshadows the issue of American enterprise. Macy is a good example of how reporters should research before they write, which is as quaint and endearing as the subjects of book.

Tom Hanks and HBO will collaborate on a mini series......let's see if they film in the US or Canada, where it's cheaper.....
Review by Pam, Adult Services (Added 1/12/2015)


Hello from the Gillespies by Monica McInerney

This was a thoroughly enjoyable read about a family in crisis.  It really takes you on a journey to the Australian outback and lets you experience life there.  Angela, the mother, has a tradition of sending out an annual Christmas letter that basically sums up their lives. Sometimes she fudges just a bit…making her life out to be all peaches and cream. But life is not okay.  It hasn’t been okay in a long time.  Not with her and her husband, not with her kids, and not with the outback station they live in.  Her children are harboring secrets, her husband has stopped talking to her, and she has started having recurring headaches.  So this year, Angela sits down at the laptop to write the letter and just lets it rip…the secrets, the fears, the loneliness, the affair she thinks her husband might be having, her children’s scandals, and her fantasy life with her British husband and one perfect daughter.  She meant to delete it after, she really did.  But it actually gets sent.  To one hundred families.  Her children.  Her husband.  The fallout from the letter and the resulting consequences will have you rooting for this family and appreciating the human capacity for love, forgiveness, and loyalty.
Review by Eva, Adult Services (Added 12/29/2014)


Golden Son (Red Rising Trilogy #2) by Pierce Brown

The second book in the Red Rising Trilogy started out with a bang and just kept on coming!  This book was Freaking phenomenal! I raced through it with my heart beating so hard, knowing that there was betrayal and heartache around every corner. Darrow is a hero of the ages who was born to “break the chains” of his ancestors. Pierce Brown has managed to create a new world for me to love when I thought I’ve visited them all…his words spoke to me on so many levels that I would stop reading so I can post his quotes on Instagram and share his genius with the whole world. 

My hats off to you Mister Brown.

Hic Sunt leones

Golden Son will be released January 6, 2014. Click on the catalog button below to put your hold in now!
Review by Eva, Adult Services (Added  12/5/2014)


The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

I kept putting this book down to do other things and five minutes later I would pick it up because I really wanted to know what Harold was up to. He really touched my heart with his journey. I kept picturing my grandfather who was the strong silent type and who kept his feelings hidden from the world. He lived until the age of 99 and used to walk everywhere he can. Harold became my grandfather in my mind as he traveled by foot and also traveled in his mind and relived all the years that has passed in his life. There is so much we don’t know about the lives of our elders and we just never really think about it. We hear their stories if they choose to share them but there is still so much that they experienced that they keep close to their hearts. I cried my eyes out at the end of this book and it will be a story I will remember when I am also old and reminiscing about my life and the paths I have taken or turned away from.
Review by Eva, Adult Services (Added 10/9/2014)


The Sweet Spot by Stephanie Evanovich

If you enjoyed “Big Girl Panties” By Stephanie Evanovich you will definitely love this story. This author is the niece of the Famous Janet Evanovich, so I was a little leery of reading any of her books.  But I chose not to judge her by her association and to not place any expectations of her story telling abilities.  I am glad that I did not.  You will read mixed reviews from people who either loved it or hated it.  I chose to just enjoy the story line (Isn’t that what getting lost in a fiction book is about anyway?)  Expectations do not HAVE to fit reality.
Review by Eva, Adult Services