Batavia Public Library

Batavia Public Library
10 S. Batavia Ave. Batavia, IL 60510
(630) 879-1393

Mon.–Thurs:    9 am–9 pm
Fri.–Sat.:           9 am–5 pm
Sunday:             12   –  5 pm

Book discussions led by Astrid

Fiction | Nonfiction


American Dervish  by Ayad Akhtar
A young Pakistani boy, whose parents left the fundamentalists behind when they came to America, finds transformation and a path to happiness through a family friend who shows him the beauty and power of the Quran. (Coming-of-age stories; Psychological fiction)

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
This novel tells the story of three years in the life of a young Mexican American boy living in a small New Mexico farm village in the 1940’s. Ultima comes to live with his family and becomes his spiritual guide.(Coming-of-Age Stories; Classic)

The Truth and Other Lies by Sascha Arango
It’s Henry Hayden’s name on the cover of his best-selling novels, but it’s his wife who writes them. Now his mistress is pregnant and Henry has to make a decision.  “One wicked tale…with schemers all around” (Kirkus).(Mystery/Suspense)

Conjure Women by Afia Atakora
A midwife and conjurer of curses reflects on her life before and after the Civil War, her relationships with the families she serves and the secrets she has learned about a plantation owner’s daughter. 
(Historical Fiction; African-American Fiction)

Stone Mattress: Nine Tales by Margaret Atwood
Vintage Atwood, these brilliant and original nine tales epitomize the famous saying that “growing old ain’t for sissies.” (Short Stories; Literary Fiction)

The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine by Alina Bronsky
Matriarch Rosa Achmetowna narrates the story of three generations of women in this funny but dark black comedy that takes unexpected and increasingly tragic turns as the dysfunctional ties that bind become unraveled. (Literary Fiction; International Fiction; Irreverent)

Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton
The apocalypse is coming…Humans are turning into shells of their former selves, nature is taking over, and the animals band together. S.T., a crow raised by a human in Seattle, must learn to adjust to the new world order. A finalist for the 2020 Thurber Prize for American Humor. (Apocalyptic Fiction; Animal Voices; Literary Fiction; Humor Fiction)

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
After a horrific accident, a disfigured man lies in a burn ward planning his suicide. There, he meets an emotionally unhinged sculptress of grotesques who tells him they have known each other for 700 years. (Psychological Fiction; Historical Fiction)

Bliss, Remembered by Frank Deford
In this fictional memoir, 87-yr old Sydney is dying and decides to tell her son about an early part of her life, starting with her time as a swimmer when she attended the 1936 Olympics in Berlin and fell in love with an assistant to Leni Riefenstahl. Entertaining and thought-provoking.  (Historical Fiction; Sports and Romance)

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
A Pulitzer Prize winning novel, this combelling book spans three generations. Told with humor and pathos, it tells the story of Cal, who grew into a man but was born a girl. (Literary Fiction; Coming-of-Age Stories)

History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund
Young Madeline/Linda lives with her parents on a failed commune in the Minnesota woods. Her life changes when a young family moves in across the lake and she starts to babysit their 4 year old son. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017. (Coming-of-Age Stories; Literary Fiction; Psychological Fiction)

Good Omens  by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Armageddon is coming, but demon Crowley and angel Aziraphale have become friends and Baby Satan was misplaced—now what? This collaboration by Brits Gaiman and Pratchett has been called “irreverently funny and unexpectedly wise.” (Humorous Fantasy; British Humor; Upbeat)

Arcadia by Lauren Groff
The story of a utopian community, told through the eyes of Bit, whose parents were founding members. A lyrical and beautifully told coming-of-age story. (Literary Fiction; Coming-of-Age Stories)

The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff
Wilhelmina Upton returns to seemingly idyllic rural New York and her hippie-turned-born-again-Christian mother. Her journey of rediscovery reveals the trurth about her own twisted family tree and the monsters behind the facade,both literally and figuartively. (Family Saga)

The Humans by Matt Haig
An extra-terrestrial comes to Earth with a mission to save humans from themselves. Thought-provoking and darkly humorous. (Dark Humor; Thought-Provoking; Speculative Fiction)

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Blending humor and horror, this novel “addresses racism, sexism, and the mistaken belief that housewives are dull” (Library Reads). A “cheeky, spot-on pick for book clubs” (Booklist). (Horror; Southern fiction)

The Nix by Nathan Hill
A bored college professor decides to write a tell-all biography about the mother who abandoned him when he was a child, after the story of her arrest is plastered all over the news media. Engrossing, darkly humorous, and a Library Journal Top Ten. (Domestic Fiction; Darkly Humorous; Historical and Contemporary Timeline)

The Dinner by Herman Koch
Two couples meet for dinner at a trendy restaurant in Amsterdam to discuss a tragic incident involving their teenage children. A dark and controversial international bestseller of high suspense. (Psychological Suspense; International Fiction; Disturbing; Twisted; Compelling)

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon
A creepy woods in Vermont and strange disappearances (past and present) give this literary novel about mothers and daughters an air of unsettling spookiness and suspense. (Historical Fiction; Multiple Perspectives; Psychological Suspense)

The Sherlockian by Graham Moore
When the world’s leading Arthur Conan Doyle scholar is found murdered, recent Sherlock Holmes enthusiast society inductee Harold White takes up the search for the killer. (Historical and Contemporary Timeline; Mystery; Parallel Narratives)

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
Lonely, insecure Tsukuru Tazaki meets a woman who prompts him to find out why his closest friends in high school all rejected him many years ago, his quest taking him from Japan to Finland. (Books in Translation; Literary Fiction; Psychological Fiction)

Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
Retiring to the remote place in Norway that marked his coming-of-age, 67-yr. old Trond Sanders is forced to confront a long avoided past. A mesmerizing novel about memory and youth. (Literary Fiction; Quiet and Contemplative)

Felidae by Akif Pirinçci
An internationally acclaimed suspense novel that features the adventures of Francis, a house cat who, in trying to catch the murderer of his feline friends, meets up with a bizarre cat cult, a kitty computer whiz, and a perceptive Persian. Very dark. (Psychological Fiction; Mystery)

The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx
The story of Quoyle, a loser who can’t seem to get anything right. After his wife’s unexpected exit, Quoyle is left in charge of their two young daughters. His feisty aunt Agnis persuades him to move back with her to the ancestral home in Newfoundland, where Quoyle attempts to get a fresh start. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award.(Literary Fiction; Domestic Fiction)

If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio
A novel about murder and obsession that takes place at an Illinois college specializing in Shakespeare studies. The story is woven together with poetry and plots straight from Shakespeare’s plays. (Literary Fiction; Thrillers & Suspense; Shakespeare)

Nemesis by Philip Roth
A polio epidemic is raging through Newark, New Jersey, in the summer of 1944, and fear of contagion and rumors about the spread of the disease keep many children inside. This book vividly captures the climate of fear and hostility the epidemic engenders and the toll that guilt takes on the psyche. (Historical Fiction; Literary Fiction)

Please Look After Mom  by Kyung-sook Shin
An old woman comes to Seoul to visit her children. At a busy train station she is separated from her husband and lost. While the family looks for their mother, they reflect on her life and their relationship to her. The novel represents the contrast between old and new in Korea and is the author’s first book to be translated to English. (Literary Fiction; Domestic Fiction)

Autumn by Ali Smith
This post-Brexit novel tells the story of friendship between Daniel, a century old and Elizabeth, born in 1984. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017. (Literary Fiction; Psychological Fiction)

Olive Kitteridge  by Elizabeth Strout
This Pulitzer Prize winning novel of interconnected stories follows the lives of folks in a small Maine town, including the rather blunt and opinionated school teacher of the title. Finely crafted and deeply emotional. (Literary Fiction; Short Stories)

The Tale of Halcyon Crane  by Wendy Webb
A feisty heroine, a remote island in the Great Lakes, an old mansion, and dark family secrets are the main ingredients in this contemporary ghost story with a gothic feel. (Gothic Fiction; Ghost Stories)

This is Happiness by Niall Williams
“This elegiac novel is as unhurried as its setting…The novel’s description of a lost rural lifestyle, and the gaps between a young man’s romantic expectations and the inescapable letdown of reality, is comic and poignant in equal measure.” – The New Yorker (Bildungsroman; Literary Fiction)



The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit  by Michael Finkel
The story of a 20-yr old Massachusetts man who disappeared into the woods of Maine to live there alone for almost three decades. A National Geographic Best Book of the Year. (Life Stories; Hermits/Solitude)

A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage, and the Quest for the Color of Desire  by Amy Butler Greenfield
This entertaining book traces the far-reaching impact of a single commodity, cochineal. A legendary red dye discovered by Spanish conquistadors in 1519, it produced the strongest, most vivid red color the old world had ever seen. Spain’s cochineal monopoly was worth a fortune, and the English, French, Dutch and other Europeans were determined to discover their own source of this elusive dye. (History; Arts & Entertainment)

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
A hundred thousand years ago, there were several different species of humans inhabiting earth. Today only one remains–homo sapiens. In this international bestseller, renowned historian Harari gives his take on how and why that happened. (Nonfiction; Society & Culture; Science Writing; History Writing)

The Art of Choosing  by Sheena Iyengar
Which of the 23 varieties of mustard on the shelf will we purchase? Why? Would it be an easier and less stressful choice if there were only 3 varieties? This book discusses “the pitfalls of making up one’s mind” and the psychology of choice. (Society and Culture; Psychology)

The United States of Arugula  by David Kamp
A cultural history that chronicles the progression of fine dining in the United States: from boiled-to-death vegetables, gelatinous salads, and mass-produced white bread to sun-dried tomatoes, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil, and artisanal whole –grain breads. (Gastronomy)

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Called “an intertwining of science, spirit, and story” by the author (who is a scientist of Potawatomie heritage), this book was named a “Best Essay Collection of the Decade” by Literary Hub and a Book Riot “Favorite Summer Read of 2020.”  (Nonfiction; Nature Writing)

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things   by Jenny Lawson
Exploring her lifelong battle with mental illness, bestselling author Jenny Lawson is “at her snort-inducing funniest” in this book that also features Rory the raccoon, who “lives” in her office. (Autobiography; Self-Depracating; Candid;)

The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery
A creature one would think has not much in common with us, the octopus species has remarkably different personalities. They are intelligent, affectionate, playful, and even sneaky (think Fido on the forbidden couch, after you leave the house). An enchanting National Book Award Finalist. (Animal Behavior; Science)

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
The host of the Daily Show shares the story of his life in South Africa in this autobiographical comedy book. Born  to a  black mother and a  white father, his birth violated the Immorality Act of 1927, which outlawed interracial relationships. (Autobiography; Humor; Life Stories)

The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas J. Preston
Bestselling thriller writer Preston joins an archaeological expedition looking for evidence of a fabled city of immense wealth called the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. Named a best book of the year by National Geographic, The Boston Globe, and AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science. (True Adventure Stories; Travel Writing)

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
Some cadavers lead quite interesting lives after death, as Mary Roach demonstrates in this witty and informative, funny yet respectful work of nonfiction. (Science; Darkly Humorous)

Yes, Chef: A Memoir by Marcus Samuelsson
World-renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson chronicles his life from early childhood in Ethiopia to his formative years in Sweden to his rousing culinary success in the United States. (Memoir; Food Writing)


Statement of Mission

The mission of the Batavia Public Library is to provide and ensure access to materials and services to meet the lifelong learning needs of residents and organizations, as well as to create a welcoming place to gather, exchange ideas, and participate in cultural events.

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