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Book Reviews

American Gods
Neil Gaiman
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Remember learning about gods and goddesses in school–their fantastic lives, their exploits, their trials and tribulations? What if it turned out that the gods still walked amongst us? Gods from the old country, and the New World, wanting only to be remembered, but realizing that people who worship the old gods are becoming fewer and fewer. In their place are the new gods, mostly unnamed but who live in the world of technology: computers, internet, media, and more.

In Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, this is the world that main character Shadow Moon encounters when he is released from prison a few days early due to the death of his wife. On a plane to his wife’s funeral Shadow meets a gentleman who says his name is Wednesday. Wednesday wants to hire Shadow to be his bodyguard, but Shadow is leery. When Wednesday shows up in place after place that Shadow visits, Shadow realizes that he may as well give Wednesday a try. The ensuing story follows them as they travel throughout America, meeting with people from Wednesday’s past to attempt to bring them together for a plan Wednesday is hatching.

American Gods is part mythology, part travelogue, and part historical fiction. Readers who are looking for a good story that sometimes might be a challenge to read, should check this book out.


The Sword & Sorcery Anthology
Various Authors

This book is the fantasy equivalent of the beer ‘pick six’ variety pack at the liquor store. It begins with you having a mighty thirst for some fantasy adventure, but you are a discerning imbiber and want to read some new authors.  The editors collected some of the best recent concoctions and have added them to a small batch for sampling.  This anthology is for you if you enjoy your fantasy titles filled to the brim with magic fireballs, musty taverns, battle axes, and glory.


How to Find Love in a Bookshop
Veronica Henry
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A sweet, lovely story! Not just the story of a woman running a bookshop in her father’s memory, but more so a story about how one person can have such a large and last impact on such a wide range of people. The story is also about the beauty in books and their ability to improve lives and bring people together. Veronica Henry is able to create a wide cast of characters, who despite their flaws the reader feels for and is invested in their story and wants to see them succeed and be happy. A must read for anyone who loves reading about a small, quirky town and has ever loved a book!


The Dinner
Herman Koch
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A disturbing novel about what is right morally and wanting to protect your child at all costs. The characters are not likeable and the author does a great job of twisting readers’ opinions about compatibility with these characters. Just when you think you have the “villain” strongly in hand, there is a flip and suddenly the tolerable become intolerable and vice versa. If you liked Defending Jacob, this may be for you.


Z : a novel of Zelda Fitzgerald
Therese Fowler
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Although this is historical fiction, I felt it was a good look into the personal lives of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald through the eyes of Zelda. It is well written, and I was unable to put it down. I was not familiar with the Fitzgeralds, and even though this is a work of fiction, I feel like I have a good look into their fast paced and exotic lives as they travel through Europe and the US. It is more often than not a sad story, and the author enables the reader to be able to truly empathize with the trials Zelda goes through.  There is also a new television series based on this novel on Amazon Prime.

– Michelle

Trigger Warning
Neil Gaiman
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Published in 2015, Trigger Warning is the third collection of short stories from writer Neil Gaiman. The book is comprised of traditional short stories (including fantasy, horror, science fiction, and more), a few fairy tales, a story in verse, and a new story written especially for this collection. Fans of Neil Gaiman, and short story lovers in general, are sure to enjoy this book of diverse literary styles. An added experience is listening to the audiobook, read by Gaiman himself.

– Denise

Big Data Baseball
Travis Sawchik

How does a small market baseball team compete in the post Moneyball era? The Pittsburgh Pirates, unlike the Cubs who were able to supplement their re-build with high priced free agents, had to find value elsewhere. Sawchik chronicles the 2013 season when the Pirates put an end to longest consecutive stretch of losing seasons in North American professional sports history with the use of “big data.”



Readers Advisory Staff

Looking for that great new read? The Villa Park Public Library has a fantastic Readers Advisory staff that is happy to recommend novels. Whether you’re looking for new authors like your old favorites, or you’re ready for something completely new, our RA staff is here to help. They run reading groups and book discussions to help make reading a more social experience. These folks know their stuff!

Looking for a Recommendation?

If you’re looking for a recommendation you can contact one of the readers advisory staff.

dan c


Favorite Genres:
Primary Source Historical Texts, Horror

Favorite Genres:
Mysteries, Graphic Novels
jean c

Favorite Genres:
Romantic Suspense, Scifi-fantasy


Favorite Genres:
Historical Non-Fiction, Women’s Literature

john b

Favorite Genres:
Alternate History Fiction, Suspense

kandice k


Favorite Genres:
Chick Lit, Suspense, and Mysteries

lesley c


Favorite Genres:
Mysteries, Audiobooks, History


Favorite Genres:
Historical Fiction, Psychological Thrillers




Favorite Genres:
True-life biographies, Non-fiction