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Book Reviews

Dan Brown
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Origin is an intensifying and thought-provoking novel, which confronts the continued existence of human life as we know it.  The novel attempts to not only address the question of where we come from, but also where we are going.  While a fictional novel, it is written with enough believability to make the reader wonder “what if”?  If you like the Sigma Force series, this may be a book for you.


National Geographic Atlas of Beer: A Globe-Trotting Journey Through the World of Beer
Nancy Hoalst-Pullen and Mark W. Patterson
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Hey beer drinkers, do you remember when Coors was considered micro brew? National Geographic remembers!  Nat Geo’s Atlas of Beer is a milestone in how far the frothy and prolific beverage has progressed in the last few centuries.  Everything from spotlights on up and coming versus established breweries, historical timelines, and regional ingredients preferences are just scratching the surface of all the heady info stashed in this hardcover tome. [Obvious pro tip]: it is even more enjoyable to read while drinking some micro brew!


And Then There Were None
Agatha Christie
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Everyone of Agatha Christie’s books prove why she is truly the “Queen of Crime.” Christie is able to make this elaborate plot of ten people on a private island dying based on a poem, complicated, yet understandable with an ending and twist the reader will never see coming, even though she gave you the clues all along. What makes this specific edition remarkable is Dan Stevens’ narration (Stevens played Matthew Crawley in “Downton Abbey” and the beast in the newest live action version of “Beauty and the Beast”). Stevens delivers with a enormous range of character voices, all done with authentic accents. Furthermore, he uses tone and pace that clearly indicate the wide range of emotions these characters encounter. The narration truly turns this remarkable work into a full performance that elevates the work to a whole new level.


The Builders
Daniel Polansky
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A rag-tag band of ex-mercenaries who backed the losing side in a dynastic struggle gets back together after five years of lying low. But now they have regrouped, a little worse for wear, to take revenge on the comrade who betrayed them.

Oh, and the characters are all anthropomorphized animals. But this isn’t Disney! A bloody, bawdy, dark tale with fully realized characters, it’s like Watership Down meets The Hateful Eight in the Sonoran Desert.


Dynastic, Bombastic, Fantastic : Reggie, Rollie, Catfish, and Charlie Finley's Swingin' A's
Jason Turbow

The ‘Swingin A’s’ were the last great dynasty of the last great era of baseball. Turnbow details the rise and fall of the A’s under their outrageous Charlie Finley.  From his purchase of the team in Kansas City, to their move to the Bay Area where they won three World Championships, and to the team’s ultimate demise with the arrival of free agency.



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.


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
Dan’s bookshelf on goodreads

Favorite Genres:
Mysteries, Graphic Novels
Denise’s bookshelf on goodreads

Favorite Genres:
Romantic Suspense, Scifi-fantasy
Jean’s bookshelf on goodreads


Favorite Genres:

Historical Non-Fiction, Women’s Literature
Jawahir’s bookshelf on goodreads

Favorite Genres:
Alternate History Fiction, Suspense
John’s bookshelf on goodreads
kandice k

Favorite Genres:

Chick Lit, Suspense, and Mysteries

lesley c

Favorite Genres:

Mysteries, Audiobooks, History
Lesley’s bookshelf on goodreads

Favorite Genres:

Historical Fiction, Psychological Thrillers
Michelle’s bookshelf on goodreads


Favorite Genres:

True-life biographies, Non-fiction
Sean’s bookshelf on goodreads

Favorite Genres:
Fantasy, Film