When EVPL temporarily suspended in-person services in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, our staff excitedly began exploring new entertainment offerings for our library users. This is a list of titles that members of our EVPL staff loved the most while discovering new-to-us titles. These books, audiobooks, graphic novels, movies, and TV shows were our favorites during quarantine.
Each title includes a list of links for you to place holds on physical copies for you to pick up using EVPL To Go; or instantly check out and read/watch digital copies through OverDrive, Hoopla, or RB Digital. Additionally, a few movies are available through Kanopy. Kanopy is a new digital streaming service available to anyone with an EVPL library card. We hope you love these books, graphic novels, and DVDs as much as we did!
The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchet, Recommended by Katie S. from EVPL Central
Armed only with a frying pan and her common sense, Tiffany Aching, a young witch-to-be, is all that stands between the monsters of Fairyland and the warm, green Chalk country that is her home. Forced into Fairyland to seek her kidnapped brother, Tiffany allies herself with the Chalk’s local Nac Mac Feegle – aka the Wee Free Men – a clan of sheep-stealing, sword-wielding, six-inch-high blue men who are as fierce as they are funny. Together they battle through an eerie and ever-shifting landscape, fighting brutal flying fairies, dream-spinning dromes, and grimhounds – black dogs with eyes of fire and teeth of razors – before ultimately confronting the Queen of the Elves, absolute ruler of a world in which reality intertwines with nightmare. And in the final showdown, Tiffany must face her cruel power alone…
Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok, Recommended by Elizabeth from EVPL Central
A poignant and suspenseful drama that untangles the complicated ties binding three women—two sisters and their mother—in one Chinese immigrant family and explores what happens when the eldest daughter disappears, and a series of family secrets emerge.
A deeply moving story of family, secrets, identity, and longing, Searching for Sylvie Lee is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive portrait of an immigrant family. It is a profound exploration of the many ways culture and language can divide us and the impossibility of ever truly knowing someone—especially those we love.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, Recommended by Marilyn W. from EVPL Central
Set in the days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.
The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King, Recommended by Jamye W. from EVPL Central
Long retired, Sherlock Holmes quietly pursues his study of honeybee behavior on the Sussex Downs. He never imagines he would encounter anyone whose intellect matched his own, much less an audacious teenage girl with a penchant for detection. Miss Mary Russell becomes Holmes’s pupil and quickly hones her talent for deduction, disguises, and danger. But when an elusive villain enters the picture, their partnership is put to a real test.
The Secret, Book & Scone Society by Ellery Adams, Recommended by Jamye W. from EVPL Central
Miracle Springs, North Carolina, is a place of healing. Strangers flock here hoping the natural hot springs, five-star cuisine, and renowned spa can cure their ills. If none of that works, they often find their way to Miracle Books, where, over a fresh-baked “comfort” scone from the Gingerbread House bakery, they exchange their stories with owner Nora Pennington in return for a carefully chosen book. That’s Nora’s special talent—prescribing the perfect novel to ease a person’s deepest pain and lighten their heaviest burden.
When a visiting businessman reaches out to Nora for guidance, she knows exactly which novels will help. But before he can keep their appointment at Miracle Books, he’s found dead on the train tracks. Stunned, Nora forms the Secret, Book, and Scone Society, a group of damaged souls yearning to gain trust and earn redemption by helping others.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, Recommended by Jessica at EVPLK McCollough
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 1 by Alan Moore, Recommended by Eric J. at EVPL Central
London, 1898. The Victorian Era draws to a close and the twentieth-century approaches. It is a time of great change and an age of stagnation, a period of chaste order, and ignoble chaos. It is an era in need of champions.
In this amazingly imaginative tale, literary figures from throughout time and various bodies of work are brought together to face any and all threats to Britain. Allan Quatermain, Mina Murray, Captain Nemo, Dr. Henry Jekyll, and Edward Hyde and Hawley Griffin (the Invisible Man) form a remarkable legion of intellectual aptitude and physical prowess: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
Locke & Key by Joe Hill, Recommended by Stacy H. at EVPL Central
Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them. Home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all…
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, Recommended by Claire W. at Central
Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the worst thing she’d ever been through. That was before her planet was invaded. Now, with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra are forced to fight their way onto one of the evacuating craft, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But the warship could be the least of their problems. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their biggest threat; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady plunges into a web of data hacking to get to the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: Ezra.
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, Recommended by Megan P. at EVPL Oaklyn
“Jarvious Cotton’s great-great-grandfather could not vote as a slave. His great-grandfather was beaten to death by the Klu Klux Klan for attempting to vote. His grandfather was prevented from voting by Klan intimidation; his father was barred by poll taxes and literacy tests. Today, Cotton cannot vote because he, like many black men in the United States, has been labeled a felon and is currently on parole.”
In this incisive critique, former litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it. Alexander shows that, by targeting black men and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of color blindness. The New Jim Crow challenges the civil rights community–and all of us–to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.
This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jerkins, Recommended by Karalyn C. at EVPL Oaklyn
From one of the fiercest critics writing today, Morgan Jerkins’ highly-anticipated collection of linked essays interweaves her incisive commentary on pop culture, feminism, black history, misogyny, and racism with her own experiences to confront the very real challenges of being a black woman today.
Hide Away by Jason Pinter, Recommended by Lesa H. at EVPL Central
On the surface, Rachel Marin is an ordinary single mother; on the inside, she’s a fierce, brilliant vigilante. After an unspeakable crime shatters her life, she changes her identity and moves to a small town in Illinois, hoping to spare her children from further trauma…or worse. But crime follows her everywhere. When the former mayor winds up dead, Rachel can’t help but get involved. Where local detectives see suicide, she sees murder. They resent her for butting in—especially since she’s always one step ahead. But her investigative genius may be her undoing: the deeper she digs, the harder it is to keep her own secrets buried.
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson, Recommended by Kirt E. at EVPL North Park
Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it’s okay — Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.
But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down . . . until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington.
Empire of Blue Water by Stephan Talty, Recommended by Christina B. at EVPL Central
He challenged the greatest empire on earth with a ragtag bunch of renegades—and brought it to its knees. Empire of Blue Water is the real story of the pirates of the Caribbean.
Henry Morgan, a twenty-year-old Welshman, crossed the Atlantic in 1655, hell-bent on making his fortune. Over the next three decades, his exploits in the Caribbean in the service of the English became legendary. His daring attacks on the mighty Spanish Empire on land and at sea determined the fates of kings and queens, and his victories helped shape the destiny of the New World.
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, Recommended by Donna S. at EVPL Central
Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, Recommended by Susan H. at EVPL Red Bank
The story begins in the 1950s, in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets the two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else. As they grow, as their paths repeatedly diverge and converge, Elena and Lila remain best friends whose respective destinies are reflected and refracted in the other. They are likewise the embodiments of a nation undergoing momentous change. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her protagonists, the unforgettable Elena and Lila.
The Overstory by Richard Powers, Recommended by Ann-Marie M. at EVPL Central
The Overstory is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of – and paean to – the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Richard Powers’s twelfth novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside ours—vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.
10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story by Dan Harris, Recommended by Jennifer W. at EVPL Central
Nightline anchor Dan Harris embarks on an unexpected, hilarious, and deeply skeptical odyssey through the strange worlds of spirituality and self-help, and discovers a way to get happier that is truly achievable.
After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, Dan Harris knew he had to make some changes. A lifelong nonbeliever, he found himself on a bizarre adventure, involving a disgraced pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a gaggle of brain scientists. Eventually, Harris realized that the source of his problems was the very thing he always thought was his greatest asset: the incessant, insatiable voice in his head, which had both propelled him through the ranks of a hyper-competitive business and also led him to make the profoundly stupid decisions that provoked his on-air freak-out.
Knives Out, Recommended by Elizabeth I. at EVPL Central
Place a hold here
When renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead at his estate just after his 85th birthday, the inquisitive and debonair Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is mysteriously enlisted to investigate. From Harlan’s dysfunctional family to his devoted staff, Blanc sifts through a web of red herrings and self-serving lies to uncover the truth behind Harlan’s untimely death.
What We Do in the Shadows (Season 1), Recommended by LucyAnne at EVPL Red Bank
Place a hold here
Three vampires have lived together for hundreds of years. After an unexpected visit from their dark lord and leader, they’re reminded that they were initially tasked with completing domination of the New World upon their arrival in Staten Island; over a hundred years ago. But what exactly is the best way to go about achieving said domination?
This Is Us (TV Series), Recommended by Jamye W. at EVPL Central
Start with Season 1 (season 2 and 3 also available)
Centered on characters who share the same birthday, the story follows several decades in the lives of Jack and Rebecca Pearson. As the plot unfolds, it traverses numerous timelines, and intertwines the stories of people whose lives connect in unexpected ways. Filled with memorable performances from its acclaimed cast, it is a smart, poignant dramedy.
The West Wing (TV Series), Recommended by Jessica at EVPL McCollough
Start with Season 1 (Seasons 2-7 also available)
Presidential advisers get their personal lives hopelessly tangled up with professional duties as they try to conduct the business of running a country. Fictional Democratic President Josiah “Jed” Bartlet suffers no fools, and that policy alienates many. He and his dedicated staffers struggle to balance the needs of the country with the political realities of Washington, D.C., working through two presidential terms that include countless scandals, threats and political scuffles, as well as the race to succeed Bartlet as the leader of the free world.
Poldark (TV Series), Recommended by Kelsey K. at EVPL Central
Start with Season 1 (Seasons 2-5 also available)
Ross Poldark returns to England after fighting in the American Revolution. His family and friends thought he was dead. The woman he hoped to marry is now engaged to his cousin. His father is dead, and the property he has inherited has been allowed to deteriorate. It is the late 1700s in Cornwall, England. This is a family drama, but is also about the challenges and conflicts between the rich and the poor. It is a time when fishermen are not catching much fish, tin and copper mines are closing down because prices are too low, but the price of food and rents are high. Ross faces the challenge of making his land productive, caring for the tenants who rely on him, and trying to win back the woman he loved – or finding a reason to live without her.
Jesus of Nazareth, Recommended by Elaine L. at EVPL North Park
Place a hold here
Beginning before the Nativity and extending through the Crucifixion and Resurrection, this mini-series brings to life all of the sweeping drama in the life of Jesus, as told by the Gospels.
Dear White People (TV Series), Recommended by Megan P. at EVPL Oaklyn
Place a hold here
Based on the acclaimed movie, this is an episodic series that tells the story of a group of black students navigating the daily slights and slippery politics of life at an Ivy League college that’s not nearly as post-racial as it thinks.
Queen & Slim, Recommended by Karalyn C. at EVPL Oaklyn
Place a hold here
While on a forgettable first date together in Ohio, a black man and a black woman, are pulled over for a minor traffic infraction. The situation escalates, with sudden and tragic results, when the man kills the police officer in self-defense. Terrified and in fear for their lives, the man, a retail employee, and the woman, a criminal defense lawyer, are forced to go on the run. But the incident is captured on video and goes viral, and the couple unwittingly becomes a symbol of trauma
Chernobyl (Miniseries), Recommended by Christina B. at EVPL Central
Place a hold here
In April 1986, a huge explosion erupted at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in northern Ukraine. This series follows the stories of the men and women, who tried to contain the disaster, as well as those who gave their lives preventing a subsequent and worse one.
Ex Libris: The New York Public Library, Recommended by Jake K. at EVPL Central
Stream on Kanopy
Frederick Wiseman’s new film EX LIBRIS goes behind the scenes of one of the greatest knowledge institutions in the world and reveals it as a place of welcoming cultural exchange and learning. With 92 locations throughout Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, the library is committed to being a resource for all the inhabitants of this multifaceted and cosmopolitan city, and beyond.
The New York Public Library exemplifies the deeply rooted American belief in the individual’s right to know and be informed. It is one of the most democratic institutions in America – everyone is welcome. The Library strives to inspire learning, advance knowledge, and strengthen communities.
1985, Recommended by Jake K. at EVPL Central
Having been gone for three years, closeted advertising executive Adrian returns to his Texas hometown for the holidays during the first wave of the AIDS crisis. Burdened with an unspeakable tragedy in New York City, Adrian looks to reconnect with his preteen brother Andrew while navigating his relationship with religious parents Eileen and Dale. When he reaches out to his estranged childhood friend Carly, their unresolved issues force Adrian to confront an uncertain future that will significantly alter the lives of those around him.
In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, Recommended by Jake K. at EVPL Central
“Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.” With those seven words, journalist Michael Pollan distills a career’s worth of reporting into a prescription for reversing the damage being done to people’s health by today’s industrially-driven Western diet. Pollan offers a clear answer to one of the most urgent questions of our time: What should I eat to be healthy?
As I Lay Dying, Recommended by Jake K. at EVPL Central
Based on the classic novel by William Faulkner, first published in 1930, “As I Lay Dying” is the story of the death of Addie Bundren and her family’s quest to honor her last wish to be buried in the nearby town of Jefferson.
Little Women (2019), Recommended by Jennifer W. at EVPL Central
In the years after the Civil War, Jo March lives in New York City and makes her living as a writer, while her sister Amy March studies painting in Paris. Amy has a chance encounter with Theodore “Laurie” Laurence, a childhood crush who proposed to Jo, but was ultimately rejected. Their oldest sibling, Meg March, is married to a schoolteacher, while shy sister Beth develops a devastating illness that brings the family back together.