Miner Recs: Read, Watch & Listen

September 14, 2023

Happy Reading From Your DPPL Readers Advisory Team
Alicia, Amy, Angelo, Annie, Ariana, Bridgid, Cathy, Chris, Christa, Christina, Colleen, David, Jessica, Joanie, Joanne, Lalu, Maureen, Nina and Sarah.



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Recommended by Alicia

The Enchanted Hacienda by J.C. Cervantes

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This book is a feel-good read, perfect for the start of Hispanic Heritage Month. It all begins when Harlow Estrada is fired from her job, dumps her no-good boyfriend, and goes back to her family farm in Mexico. Her family farm is filled with magical flowers that can do different helpful things. However, Harlow is the only one that the magic does not respond to. She must rely on her own talents and wit as she is left to watch the farm by herself, helping others in her own way. I enjoyed the family aspect and the way they all cared for each other, no matter what. Family matters, magic, and an unexpected romance all tie-in together for a coming-of-age story that is reminiscent of the movie Encanto, but catered to adults. If you prefer audiobooks, this one has a fantastic narrator that really brought the story to life.

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Recommended by Colleen

What I Lick Before Your Face: And Other Haikus by Dogs by Jamie Coleman

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Are you a dog lover? Do you occasionally need a quick happiness fix? If you answered yes to either of these questions, I wholeheartedly recommend this hilarious book. Imagine if you could find out what your dog was really thinking, and that they were able to put those thoughts into haiku form? The accompanying photos in this tiny book are great too. As a teaser, here’s one of my favorites.

I sometimes feel bad

That I don’t get as happy

Whenever you sit

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Recommended by Annie

Huda F are You? by Huda Fahmy

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Huda Fahmy’s moves from a community where she is the only girl wearing a hijab, to one with a large Muslim population. In her tweens and teens, she is finding her identity apart from being the “hijabi girl,” now that she is in a sea of hijabs. This is one of those books that can provide a mirror to those from a similar background as well as a window to others. I really appreciate that Huda gives non-Muslims a welcoming and humorous entry to understanding aspects of life for Muslim women. In the same vein, other excellent graphic books by the author are That Can Be Arranged, Huda F. Cares and Yes, I’m Hot in This: The Hilarious Truth about Life in a Hijab.

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Recommended by David

Open Throat by Henry Hoke

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I like odd books and I read a lot of them. So I was intrigued when I saw the review, “A novel narrated by a queer and hungry mountain lion living in the drought-devastated land beneath the Hollywood sign”. And it bit into me and wouldn't let go from its phenomenal first line.

I’ve never eaten a person, but today I might.

And as I was reading, I realized what I really love is when an author can make the bizarre stuff believable and maybe even normal. And this book does just that. This animal sees some crazy stuff, human stuff. It made me visualize an animal’s viewpoint on humanity, society, interpersonal relationships, as well as disasters and climate change. It was a weird, fun, fast and thought provoking book. And it’s only 158 pages.

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Recommended by Angelo

The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race by Walter Isaacson

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From Walter Isaacson, the award-winning author of the 2011 biography of Steve Jobs and the 2017 biography of Leonardo da Vinci comes his next great masterpiece, The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race. This biography of American biochemist Jennifer Doudna follows her career from growing up in Hawaii, being fascinated by the island’s wildlife, to winning the Pulitzer Prize in 2020 for developing a revolutionary gene editing method. This fascinating portrait of one of the world’s top scientists is quite eye-opening, showcasing what the current state of science is like and what awaits us in the future.

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Recommended by Christa

The Salt Grows Heavy by Cassandra Khaw

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In only 106 pages, The Salt Grows Heavy places readers in the bond formed between a mermaid and a plague doctor as they travel together. This novella grasps onto the concept of things just slightly not human–teeth too sharp, limbs too long, but are you sure something is wrong? It pulls you in to explore the connections between characters, encourages you to question their backstories and motives through snapshots of the present and the past. With its short length and the ability to tug at human curiosity, I highly recommend The Salt Grows Heavy for people looking to get back into reading fantasy (so long as you don’t mind a little gore).

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Recommended by Maureen

Everybody (Else) is Perfect by Gabrielle Korn

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Usually, I stay away from memoirs, but I am familiar with the writing of Gabrielle Korn so I decided to try it out. This book is a collection of nonfiction essays that tackle the journey of how Gabrielle Korn went from being a features writer to an Editor in Chief. Gabrielle talks about her struggle with trying to fit into the very heteronormative world of fashion as a queer woman. This book is a great book to read for anyone who is starting a career.

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Recommended by Jessica

Code Gray: Death, Life, and Uncertainty in the ER by Farzon A. Nahvi, M.D.

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When I picked up this book, I thought it was going to be about stories that took place in the ER between 2020-2022, however, what I got was so much more interesting and important; you will get a better look into the realities of being a doctor or health worker in the ER, what makes up a good doctor, and much more. If you’re not acquainted with the behind-the-scenes work that doctors do, this is a wonderful eye opening book to understand the medical field, build empathy, and get that inside look into why ER wait times are so crazy long. And, if you’re paying attention, you’ll also get insights into the challenges and complexities of life, and how sometimes the answer for some problems is really just one thing – but I’ll let you read the book to figure that one out.



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Recommended by Chris

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret

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The long-awaited film adaptation of Judy Blume’s beloved novel Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret was released earlier this year.

The film stays true to the book with a 1970s setting. Eleven-year-old Margaret arrives home from camp to learn that her family is moving from New York City to suburban New Jersey. Anxious about leaving her grandmother, her friends, and everything she knows behind; Margaret begins to talk to God. The story follows Margaret through sixth grade as she makes new friends and tackles the business of growing up.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Heartwarming and funny, it is a real treat!

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Recommended by Bridgid

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse isn’t just your average superhero movie; it’s a ground-breaking, genre-defying, fun watch that captivates everyone of all ages.

It’s fun to catch up on the great Spiderman movies that have been made, and with the new Marvel's Spider-Man 2 game approaching in October, players will not only get to play as Peter Parker, but also Miles Morales.

So, pick your favorite Spiderman (mine happens to be Miles), and catch up with all the diverse, relatable, and brought to life characters that will make you laugh, cry, and root for them like crazy. Plus, catching up with Miles Morales before you check out Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 game is a great way to hype the release as well.




Recommended by Cathy

Salsa Music

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I don’t know much about salsa music. I do know, I’m a fan of the tempo. Lyrics are not my priority like those beats per minute. I started experimenting with salsa using premade Freegal playlists found by searching latin, jazz, mambo and salsa. I’ve settled, for the time being, on this one particular album. If you are interested in something new in your repertoire, try this jazzy compilation of Latin sounds, and fast beats.




Recommended by Amy

Arkham Horror: The Card Game

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It’s officially spooky season so why not immerse yourself in a spooky board game? Arkham Horror is a 1-4 player game that uses the works of H.P. Lovecraft as its inspiration. As investigators you’ll solve mysteries and discover eldritch horrors while trying to keep your sanity. What I love about this game is that you can play it solo - making for a perfect++ night in!



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Recommended by Cathy

Hoopla BingePass

Hoopla Digital

If you are an avid reader of this newsletter you’ve surely noticed Hoopla links for ebooks and audiobooks but maybe skipped over Hoopla BingePasses. These allow for bulk consumption; packages of curated collections that give you access to a lot of content using just one of your hoopla credits. For seven days, you have access to specific items and you don’t have to pay attention to your usage. The options for BingePasses keep growing with one the first offerings being The Great Courses followed by Curiosity Stream, a documentary service and then Hallmark shows. Kids packages are available too including the classic Highlights. The best way to find all these goodies is to use the BROWSE drop down box on the Hoopla search page. Have fun binging.



Book Discussions at the Library

October 3 at 10am - Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li

October 12 at 7:30pm - Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Join our book discussions in person at the Des Plaines Public Library. Copies of the books are available at the 3rd floor information desk at the library. Discussions are held each month on the first Tuesday morning and the second Thursday evening of each month.

Film Talk Tuesdays Virtual Film Discussions

September 19 at 7pm - Sami Blood

October 3 at 7pm - Everything Everywhere All at Once

October 17 at 7pm - Let the Right One In

Join our virtual film discussion. Watch the movie beforehand on Kanopy and then join us on Zoom to talk about it. If you need help using Zoom, see our guide here.


Recommended by Christina


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About the Miner Recs Newsletter

The friendly Readers Advisors at the Des Plaines Public Library love to connect readers with our books, movies and more. Here we provide recommendations of books, media and library services. And most titles promoted here are available digitally.

Happy Reading!

Your DPPL Readers Advisory Team

Alicia, Amy, Angelo, Annie, Ariana, Bridgid, Cathy, Chris, Christa, Christina, Colleen, David, Jessica, Joanie, Joanne, Lalu, Maureen, Nina and Sarah.

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