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Recommended Reading for Adults

WC Public Library

    Adult Services Librarian, Barbara Alvarez, shares some of her favorite reads from the summer.

Forgotten Country by Catherine Chung

Beautifully written, Catherine Chung’s debut novel follows the rocky relationship between sisters Janie and Hannah. When Hannah suddenly disappears without a trace, Janie is desperate to reunite her broken family, especially after their father is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Once she is found, Hannah reluctantly agrees to join the family in their native Korea, where their father will receive medical treatments and support from relatives. It is in their home country that Janie learns of hidden secrets, stories, and folktales that help her understand her family’s history and current dynamics. Touching on topics like immigrant identity and Korean history, Catherine Chung’s debut novel seamlessly intertwines the characters’ memories and present situations into a story that pulls at the heart.

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

Join Charlotte in her adventures in Austenland! A recently divorced mother of two teenagers, Charlotte decides to take a much needed vacation to England’s Pembrook Park- a location where guests and residents dress, behave, and live as if it were the early 1800s, including creating imaginary personas for themselves. When Charlotte is swept up in the time period’s formalities, quaintness, and old world charms, she develops a love interest in one of the male residents. She also stumbles upon a secret room where she believes that a murder may have taken place. But are her feelings and findings real or just a part of the act?  Author Shannon Hale creates the perfect balance between romance and mystery in this engaging read. A great book for Jane Austen fans and newcomers alike.

Go Down Together: the true, untold story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn

     Written like a thriller, Jeff Guinn’s book shows the lesser-known side of Bonnie and Clyde. While history books know the pair as heartless, gun-toting bank robbers who killed innocent people during the Great Depression, not many know about their personal lives, histories, and steadfast commitment to one another. Guinn traces Bonnie and Clyde’s past back to their humble beginnings in Texas, with Clyde from a family that was so poor they had to use a wagon for shelter and Bonnie as a Hollywood hopeful. Learn about Clyde’s attempts to earn an honest wage before resorting to a life of a crime, the gang’s devotion to their families, the sensationalism of the couple in the media, and their less-than-skilled attempts to make ends meet by knocking off small-town banks and gas stations. Paired with excellent research and interviews from those who met Bonnie and Clyde, this biography will have you hooked in just the first few pages.

Contributor Biography

     Barbara Alvarez is an Adult Services Librarian at the West Chicago Public Library District. In addition to recommending reads to the newspaper, she also leads the library’s monthly book discussion group, Between the Lines.


  • Shelley Campbell, Public Relations Specialist
    West Chicago Public Library District
    Phone:  (630) 231-1552, ext. 128
    FAX:  (630) 231-1709


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