September’s Celebrity Book Club Picks

It’s a new month which means that Jenna Bush Hager and Reese Witherspoon have picked new books for their book clubs! Reminder that if you join our Best Sellers Club, these titles will automatically be put on hold for you.

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Jenna Bush Hager has selected Solito: A Memoir by Javier Zamora for her September pick.

Curious what Solito is about? Check out the following description provided by the author:

A young poet tells the unforgettable story of his harrowing migration from El Salvador to the United States at the age of nine in this moving, page-turning memoir hailed as “the mythic journey of our era” (Sandra Cisneros)

Trip. My parents started using that word about a year ago—“one day, you’ll take a trip to be with us. Like an adventure.”

Javier’s adventure is a three-thousand-mile journey from his small town in El Salvador, through Guatemala and Mexico, and across the U.S. border. He will leave behind his beloved aunt and grandparents to reunite with a mother who left four years ago and a father he barely remembers. Traveling alone except for a group of strangers and a “coyote” hired to lead them to safety, Javier’s trip is supposed to last two short weeks.

At nine years old, all Javier can imagine is rushing into his parents’ arms, snuggling in bed between them, and living under the same roof again. He cannot foresee the perilous boat trips, relentless desert treks, pointed guns, arrests and deceptions that await him; nor can he know that those two weeks will expand into two life-altering months alongside a group of strangers who will come to encircle him like an unexpected family.

A memoir as gripping as it is moving, Solito not only provides an immediate and intimate account of a treacherous and near-impossible journey, but also the miraculous kindness and love delivered at the most unexpected moments. Solito is Javier’s story, but it’s also the story of millions of others who had no choice but to leave home.

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Reese Witherspoon has selected On the Rooftop by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton for her September pick.

Curious what On the Rooftop is about? Check out the following description provided by the author.

A stunning novel about a mother whose dream of musical stardom for her three daughters collides with the daughters’ ambitions for their own lives–set against the backdrop of gentrifying 1950s San Francisco.

At home they are just sisters, but on stage, they are The Salvations. Ruth, Esther, and Chloe have been singing and dancing in harmony since they could speak. Thanks to the rigorous direction of their mother, Vivian, they’ve become a bona fide girl group whose shows are the talk of the Jazz-era Fillmore.

Now Vivian has scored a once-in-a-lifetime offer from a talent manager, who promises to catapult The Salvations into the national spotlight. Vivian knows this is the big break she’s been praying for. But sometime between the hours of rehearsal on their rooftop and the weekly gigs at the Champagne Supper Club, the girls have become women, women with dreams that their mother cannot imagine.

The neighborhood is changing, too: all around the Fillmore, white men in suits are approaching Black property owners with offers. One sister finds herself called to fight back, one falls into the comfort of an old relationship, another yearns to make her own voice heard. And Vivian, who has always maintained control, will have to confront the parts of her life that threaten to splinter: the community, The Salvations, and even her family.

Warm, gripping, and wise, with echoes of Fiddler on the Roof, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton’s latest novel is a moving family portrait from “a writer of uncommon nerve and talent” (New York Times Book Review).

Join our Best Sellers Club to have Oprah, Jenna, and Reese’s adult selections automatically put on hold for you!

‘Daisy Darker’ by Alice Feeney

“Families are like fingerprints; no two are the same, and they tend to leave their mark.”
― Alice Feeney, Daisy Darker

Alice Feeney’s latest novel, Daisy Darker, is a dark and twisty locked-room mystery of a family gathered together for their grandmother’s birthday. It was deliciously messy and full of family drama. This is a contender for my favorite novel of 2022.

Daisy Darker was born with a broken heart. She wasn’t particularly wanted by either of her parents, but nevertheless she survived and was brought home to start her life with her parents and her two older sisters. Flash forward years and Daisy’s entire family is assembling for Nana’s 80th birthday party on a tiny tidal island in her crumbling gothic house. The family has been avoiding each other for years, but a fortune teller foretold that Nana would die on her 80th birthday, so the family has assembled per her wishes.

As each member of the family arrives, they bring baggage, both physical and the secrets that they are all hiding from each other. The tidal island that Nana lives on means that the entire family will be shut off from the rest of the world for eight hours until the tide goes out. At midnight, a storm rages across the island. A scream pierces the night. Nana is found dead. An hour later, another family member is discovered dead. A deadly mystery has come to the island and the Darker family is left wondering who is responsible. Stuck on the island where someone is murdering the members of the Darker family one by one, they all must pull out their past secrets until they figure out the present murder mystery. They just have to make it until the tide goes out and they can escape the island. The deadly force on island may not let them leave alive though. Only time will tell.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Key Changes: Machine Gun Kelly and Mainstream Sellout

As someone who’s had the song Emo Girl (featuring Willow Smith) stuck in their head on and off for weeks, I think this is a perfect time to explore controversial artist Machine Gun Kelly’s professional journey from hip-hop and rap to pop-punk and mainstream success, culminating in 2022’s appropriately-named album Mainstream Sellout.

He rose to fame with a series of rap and hip-hop mixtapes (generally acclaimed) before releasing studio albums, starting with Lace Up in 2012, General Admission in 2015, and Bloom in 2017. Notable features included rapid-fire flow and pride in an unattractive underdog image. Then in 2020 he made a dramatic shift from rap to pop/punk with the release of Tickets to My Downfall – a shocking, impressive, and fluid album still with rap-inspired elements.

Why did he make the move? Without knowing details, it reminds me of Lady Gaga’s professional journey (which is a blog post in itself) in which she made mostly loud statement pieces until she’d captured public attention and then, fame established, moved to a more stripped-down mainstream sound in albums like Joanne. (Lady Gaga, of course, has now moved back to her outlandish roots with the flashier album Chromatica, but I digress.) Sometimes musicians want to try something different and explore their other interests, but don’t have the freedom to do so until they’ve reached a certain level of success.

Whatever the reason he seems satisfied with his new career track, since he continued with pop/punk in 2022’s album, Mainstream Sellout. The reviews have been mixed, but the album has had big commercial success debuting high on the Billboard 200 charts. Emo Girl ft. Willow is particularly good track (though I may be biased in saying that) — it’s a good example of the overall pop punk revival going on in the 2020s, partly because it’s extremely self-aware of how it’s referencing a scene more than participating in it. Rolling Stone called it “gleefully derivative” and on the whole the feeling is of playing a part and having a ton of fun with it.  Willow Smith’s vocals shine, her gen Z energy a good balance to Kelly’s so-called “buzzsaw bubblegum”.

For myself, I haven’t heard the whole album yet, but I enjoy Machine Gun Kelly better in pop-punk, which is one of my favorite genres. I know I may be in the minority; what are your thoughts on Machine Gun Kelly, Willow, or the pop-punk revival? Let us know in the comments!

Best Sellers Club September Authors: Jojo Moyes and J.R. Ward

Want the hottest new release from your favorite author? Want to stay current with a celebrity book club? Love nonfiction? You should join the Best Sellers Club. Choose any author, celebrity pick, and/or nonfiction pick and the Davenport Public Library will put the latest title on hold for you automatically. Select as many as you want! If you still have questions, please check out our list of FAQs.

New month means new highlighted authors from the Best Sellers Club! September’s authors are Jojo Moyes for fiction and J.R. Ward for romance.

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Our September fiction author is Jojo Moyes. She studied journalism at City University and then worked at The Independent for 10 years. In 2001, she became a full-time novelist. Jojo has sold over thirty-eight million copies of her novels worldwide and has hit the number one spot in twelve countries. Her novels have been translated into forty-six languages. She won the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Novel of the Year in 2004 for her novel, Foreign Fruit aka Windfallen. Her novel Me Before You was adapted into a movie starring Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke that was released in June 2016. Jojo currently lives in Essex with her husband and has three children. She writes historical fiction, romance, and general fiction.

Kingsbury’s newest book is The Giver of Stars, which was published in October 2019.

Curious what this book is about? Check out the following description provided by the author:

Set in Depression-era America, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond, from the author of Me Before You.

Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically.

The leader, and soon Alice’s greatest ally, is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. They will be joined by three other singular women who become known as the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky.

What happens to them–and to the men they love–becomes an unforgettable drama of loyalty, justice, humanity and passion. These heroic women refuse to be cowed by men or by convention. And though they face all kinds of dangers in a landscape that is at times breathtakingly beautiful, at others brutal, they’re committed to their job: bringing books to people who have never had any, arming them with facts that will change their lives.

Based on a true story rooted in America’s past, The Giver of Stars is unparalleled in its scope and epic in its storytelling. Funny, heartbreaking, enthralling, it is destined to become a modern classic–a richly rewarding novel of women’s friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Our September romance author is J.R. Ward. This is a pseudonym used by author Jessica Bird. As Ward, she has written over thirty novels. The Black Dagger Brotherhood series is both a #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling series. So far, there are more than 15 million copies of her novels in print worldwide published in 25 different countries.Ward first majored in Art History and History at Smith College, but then decided to go to law school. After law school, she worked in healthcare in Boston, eventually worked many years as Chief of Staff at one of the premier academic medical centers in the United States. She currently lives with her husband and her golden retriever in the south. Ward primarily writes romance while focusing on paranormal romance and romantic suspense.

Ward’s newest book is The Viper, set to be published in September 2022. This is the third book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood: Prison Camp series.

Curious what this book is about? Below is a description provided by the publisher:

In this newest Prison Camp installment, #1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward pens a heart-wrenching tale of love and betrayal in the Black Dagger Brotherhood world…

Framed for the grisly murder of his shellan, Kane is condemned to the notorious prison camp—unaware of the dark truth behind his arranged mating. Centuries later, when he is horribly burned while attempting to save others, he prays he’ll finally be reunited in the Fade with his mate…not knowing what revelations await him.

Nadya is a self-taught nurse who does what she can to ease the suffering of the prisoners. When Kane comes under her care, she cannot help but empathize with his condition for very personal reasons—and as the guards take him away one last time, she fears he is facing a terrible death.

After a daring rescue, Kane is offered a treatment that will change his very nature. Choosing life, for the time being, he goes back for the female who took such good care of him—but his duty to Nadya sets him on a collision course with his own past. When long-buried secrets are exposed, his self-destruction is inevitable…unless true love can save his soul.

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Michelle Zauner’s wildly popular memoir, Crying in H Mart, is everything everyone said it would be: devastating and beautifully written. Zauner is a musician who rose to fame with her band Japanese Breakfast with their breakout album Psychopomp which came out in 2016. Her memoir, though, is not about her musical fame, but about her mother’s terminal cancer diagnosis and the months following her death. 

Zauner grew up in Eugene, Oregon, which is the backdrop of her contentious childhood and difficult relationship with her mother. She describes her mother as “not a mommy-mom,” compared to the mothers of her classmates. She was not as warm or affectionate as Michelle thought she ought to have been, but as she grew into adulthood the two became much closer. Her mother’s diagnosis only cemented her filial love, and they ultimately became “innately, intrinsically intertwined.” 

Food fuels the story. The title, for one, references the Asian grocery store chain H Mart, but Korean food is also woven into every aspect of the narrative: The fish covered in gochujang Zauner’s mother makes for her before she leaves for college; the “tender short rib” with “Hard-boiled soy-sauce eggs sliced in half, crunchy bean sprouts flavored with scallions and sesame oil, doenjang jjigae with extra broth, and chonggak kimchi, perfectly soured” she prepares when she comes to visit after the initial cancer diagnosis; the jatjuk (pine nut porridge) Zauner makes for her mother during her final months and continues to make for herself when she is gone; the doenjang jjigae (fermented soybean soup) she makes the day after her funeral.

Perhaps the most powerful element of Zauner’s story is how she ties the living memory of her mother to the Korean food she ate as a child and learns to cook in her mother’s absence. Each dish holds a piece of her mother. Each conversation she stumbles through in Korean grasps at her mother. She found a home in her mother’s culture, thus allowing her to embrace that culture as her own.

Zauner’s memoir is striking in many ways, but one of the most profound is how she brings a humanity to her mother that we sometimes struggle to do with a parent. After her mother’s death, she learns more about her than she ever knew while she was alive. She realized how similarly she and her mother saw the world, how their emotional turmoil was inseparable, and how the memory of her mother would continue with her. Even as just a reader and spectator at the sidelines of Zauner’s relationship with her mother, Crying in H Mart feels like a tether between the two that now lives beyond their physical bodies. It was beautiful to read about and I think Zauner did an excellent job memorializing her mother with this book.

This title is also available in the following formats:

Large Print

Libby eBook

Libby eAudiobook

Hispanic Heritage Month Reading Challenge

Summer Reading might be over, but we have a new challenge open now! September 15th – October 15th, patrons can participate in our Beanstack exclusive Hispanic Heritage Month Reading Challenge. National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated each year from Sep. 15 to Oct. 15. This year, the theme is “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation.” Honor diverse voices, unique perspectives, and rich cultural traditions through activities and book recommendations. Log your reading and complete activities to earn badges throughout the challenge. Enter your tickets into the prize option of your choice for a chance to win! Visit davenportlibrary.beanstack.com to sign up or join in the Beanstack app!

Unlike past off-season reading challenges, we have prizes for this one! It’s an all ages challenge with two prize drawing options listed below.

Adult & Teen Prize:
A Mercado on Fifth gift basket including

  • a $25 gift certificate to Restaurante El Mariachi in Moline
  • Mercado on Fifth t-shirt
  • Mercado on Fifth cantarito
  • Group O magnetic koozie
  • two books on Latino leadership
  • a Mercado on Fifth lanyard

This prize was generously donated by Maria Ontiveros – co-founder of Mercado on Fifth.

Children’s Prize:
Win a mini home library of picture books by Hispanic and Latinx authors and illustrators including:

  • Bright Star by Yuyi Morales
  • ¡Vamos! Let’s Cross the Bridge by Raul the Third
  • Strollercoaster by Matt Ringler
  • My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero
  • ¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market by Raul the Third
  • Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika A. Denise
  • Carmela Full of Wishes by Matt be la Peña
  • Islandborn by Junot Díaz
  • Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales
  • Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You by Sonia Sotomayor
  • Where Are You From? by Yamile Saied Mendez
  • Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh

Romance Reads: Wedding Date series by Jasmine Guillory

“I’ve never seen you look at anyone or anything like you look at her. And you’re just going to throw all of that away for some bullshit reason? Because you’re too scared for something real?”
― Jasmine Guillory, The Wedding Date

The Wedding Date is the first book in the Wedding Date series by Jasmine Guillory. I enjoyed this title as it’s a contemporary multicultural romance with one of my favorite romance tropes: fake dating!

Alexa Monroe works in Berkeley as the mayor’s chief of staff. She has a busy professional life, but with her sister living across the country in New York, her personal life isn’t as fulfilled as she wishes it was. When Olivia comes to California for a visit, Alexa is excited and a bit hesitant to see her. Their relationship isn’t the best, but she’s determined to try fixing it. Deciding to visit Olivia at the hotel where she is staying, Alexa is so caught up in her emotions that she misses the attractive guy who is in the hotel elevator with her. Fate intervenes, the elevator gets stuck, and Alexa soon finds herself as a last-minute date to a wedding with elevator guy.

Drew Nichols is a pediatric surgeon in Los Angeles. Spending the weekend in Berkeley for his ex’s wedding festivities is not how he wanted to spend his time, especially since his date wasn’t able to come. Getting stuck in the elevator with the stunningly attractive Alexa Monroe is the perfect distraction that Drew needed. In fact, he is so drawn to her, he asks her to be his last-minute wedding date and his fake girlfriend to the wedding.

Alexa and Drew have more fun than they originally thought they would have had at the wedding. After the weekend is over, the two head back to their high-stress jobs, but soon find that they can’t stop thinking about each other and the good times that they had. Alexa and Drew begin talking and decide to spend more time together with the assumption that their relationship, or whatever they want to call it, is only short-term. This long-distance dating situationship starts to get messier and messier, soon leaving the two to have to think about what they actually want and need from each other.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Wedding Date series

  1. The Wedding Date (2018)
  2. The Proposal (2018)
  3. The Wedding Party (2019)
  4. Royal Holiday (2019)
  5. Party of Two (2020)
  6. While We Were Dating (2021)

Library Card Design Contest

Calling all artists! We want you to submit your designs for our very first Library Card Design Contest! The Davenport Public Library seeks art for Limited Edition Library Cards launching in April during National Library Week. If you are interested, visit any Davenport Public Library location or download the PDF off the events page on our website. Please be sure to read the rules carefully on the form before submitting artwork.

The Library is looking for artists of all ages, but we ask that the submissions come from Davenport residents. The contest is for artists of all ages to design a library card featuring some aspect of The Library, literacy, or reflect what The Library means to them. The artwork must include the Davenport Public Library logo. Entries must include a completed and signed release form. The contest will take place from September 6th to October 10th. Completed designs and release forms must be returned to any Davenport Public Library Branch by October 10th.

There are three categories: Youth (0-11), Teens (11-19) and Adults (19+). The selection process will include representatives from The Library to select top designs in each of the categories and then patrons will have a chance to vote for their favorites in each category. The special edition Library Cards will be released during National Library Week in April and will be available while supplies last!

Raising Men: Reads for Modern Masculinity

I recently spotted How to Be a Real Man by Scott Stuart at our Fairmount branch and I really recommend you check it out. This super cute children’s book draws you in with verse and a gently progressive message about identity and value. First, it examines different “tough guys” from history — vikings and pirates, etc. — and how “tough” they were. Then it offers a real set of guidelines for good men: fight for what’s right, express your feelings, help others. It’s a good read for all ages and genders to feel a hopeful breath of fresh air.

Here are some reads from the adult section that share a more enlightened view of masculine identity:

Man Enough: Undefining My Masculinity by Justin Baldoni

In this urgent, groundbreaking and provocative reimagining of what it means to be man enough, Justin arms readers with new tools and the ability to have both compassion and empathy for themselves and the men in their lives.

Pretty Boys: Legendary Icons Who Redefined Beauty (and how to glow up too) by David Yi

In this inclusive, illustrated history and guide to skin care and beauty, journalist and founder of Very Good Light David Yi teaches us that self-care, wellness, and feeling beautiful transcends time, boundaries, and binaries-and that pretty boys can change the world.

Father Figure: How to Be a Feminist Dad by Jordan Shapiro

Shapiro presents an exploration of the psychology of fatherhood from an archetypal perspective as well as a cultural history that challenges familiar assumptions about the origins of so-called traditional parenting roles.

Better Boys, Better Men: The New Masculinity That Creates Greater Courage and Emotional Resiliency by Andrew Reiner

How modern forms of masculinity are harming men-and what we can do about it.

Tough: My Journey to True Power by Terry Crews

Not only the gripping story of a man’s struggle against himself and how he finally got his mind right, but a bold indictment of the cultural norms and taboos that ask men to be outwardly tough while leaving them inwardly weak. 

‘Something Wilder’ by Christina Lauren

‘Just because thoughts are loud or constant doesn’t mean they’re right.’ – Christina Lauren, Something Wilder

Something Wilder by Christina Lauren is the newest novel by authors Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. This novel is full of laughter, romance, wilderness, and the hunt for treasure.

Lily Wilder grew up in the shadow of her father Duke Wilder. Duke was a notorious treasure hunter which sadly made him an absentee father. Lily’s mother left when she was young, leaving her to grow up with her father and her uncle on Wilder Ranch, a property owned by her uncle. After her uncle passed away, her father took control of the ranch, something he detested. He repeatedly left the ranch to go exploring with Lily to handle the day-to-day running of the ranch. Duke’s constant explorations left little money, so running the ranch was what Lily had to do to make money to survive. She grew to detest the treasure hunts that pulled her dad away.

Now that she’s older, Lily uses Duke’s hand-drawn maps to lead tourists on fake treasure hunts through the red rock canyons of Utah. Lily would love nothing more than to stop doing these tourist trips, but sadly they are the main way she makes money. She only makes enough money to pay the bills, but nowhere near enough to buy back Wilder Ranch which her father sold years ago. The summer Duke sold Wilder Ranch was also the summer that the man she loved left her and never contacted her again. He broke her, something that Lily swears she will never let happen again.

Imagine Lily’s surprise when her lost love shows up for a treasure hunt with a group of his friends. Her emotions run ragged. Once Leo Grady gets over his shock of seeing Lily in person again, he decides that he is ready to leave the past behind and reconnect with Lily. She however is only interested in keeping their relationship professional – it’s her business after all to make sure they all stay safe on the trip.

Not long into their hunt, disaster strikes, leaving the group scrambling to figure out what to do next. The biggest question: is the legend of the hidden treasure that Duke spent his life searching for actually true? In order to find the truth, Lily and Leo must work through their past. They must decide how much of themselves they are willing to risk.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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