The Emergency: A Year of Healing and Heartbreak in a Chicago ER by Thomas Fisher

“It’s a highly personal memoir showing me a side of medicine I hadn’t been privy to before now.” – Amy B., Kids Room/ATS

Thomas Fisher is an emergency room physician who works on the South Side of Chicago very near to where he has lived his entire life. He became a doctor to help the poor in his neighborhood get access to quality medical care. The book highlights the inequity in healthcare that many people of color know about all too well. He also takes the reader through many of his shifts in the emergency room showing, in detail, the kinds of cases he sees. The reader gets a real sense of what it is like to actually work in the emergency room. A fascinating read.

Beginner’s Mind by Yo-Yo Ma

“This audiobook was such a unique blend of beautiful musical selections along with self-discovery and meditative introspection. I have listened to this musical memoir several times, and each time, it still provides inspiration and relaxation.” – Van, ATS

Classical musician and cultural icon Yo-Yo Ma invites listeners to ponder humanity and hope with a beginner’s mind. He recounts various details of his life with minimal dialogue in between beautiful musical performances, which showcase his stunning mastery of the cello.

Dumpling Dreams: How Joyce Chen Brought the Dumpling from Beijing to Cambridge by Carrie Clickard and Katy Wu

“Katy Wu’s beautiful illustrations really brought this story to life! It is a very sweet story about one little girl following her passion.” – Gina, Circulation 

This is the story of Chinese-American Chef, Joyce Chen, and how she popularized Chinese food in the United States.

Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? by Harold Schechter & Eric Powell

“Well-researched and non-exploitative, with illustrations in a drab grey, the book traces Gein’s life from growing up with an alcoholic father and verbally abusive mother, carving out a hermit-like existence as an adult except for handyman jobs, and all the while moving forward in his psychosis, driven by an unwavering devotion to his mother.” – Karen, Adult & Teen Services

A true crime graphic novel rendition of the necrophile serial killer Eddie Gein, who, in the 1950s, killed women and robbed graves to create household items. His life was the basis for films such as Psycho and Silence of the Lambs.

Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body by Rebekah Taussig

“Taussig’s short essays are beautiful and incredibly powerful. She demonstrates that disability affects everyone at some point and will make you think about the world we all live in, disabled or not. A must-read!” – Amanda, Adult & Teen Services

Growing up as a paralyzed girl during the 90s and early 2000s, Rebekah Taussig only saw disability depicted as something monstrous (The Hunchback of Notre Dame), inspirational (Helen Keller), or angelic (Forrest Gump). None of this felt right; and as she got older, she longed for more stories that allowed disability to be complex and ordinary, uncomfortable and fine, painful and fulfilling. Writing about the rhythms and textures of what it means to live in a body that doesn’t fit, Rebekah reflects on everything from the complications of kindness and charity, living both independently and dependently, experiencing intimacy, and how the pervasiveness of ableism in our everyday media directly translates to everyday life.

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

“I think we all have been touched by mental illness in some way, whether it’s ourselves or someone we love. It was inspiring to read about someone who lived through it and learned to appreciate life despite their illness. This book is filled with hope.” – Gina, Circulation

In this inspiring and emotional memoir, Matt Haig, author of ‘The Midnight Library,’ depicts his own experience with depression and how he overcame his mental illness.

Three Girls From Bronzeville by Dawn Turner

“Very well written. Gives glimpses into Bronzeville, its people, and its history. I’ve visited a few times, but didn’t know very much about its history or the people who live there.” – Amy, Adult & Teen Services/Kids Room 

I picked up this memoir because of its author, Dawn Turner Trice. I’ve read many of her pieces over the years in the Chicago Tribune. This book is a memoir of her life. It’s the story of a woman who grew up in Bronzeville, attended U of I, and went on to work for the Tribune. It’s the story of Dawn and her sister and her best friend who all took very different paths in life. It’s the story of the evolution of Bronzeville, a neighborhood in Chicago where many people of color, including Dawn’s grandmother, settled after the Great Migration. It’s very well written and moving. It’s tragic and beautiful and triumphant at the same time.

Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics by Dolly Parton

“Is there anything Dolly Parton can’t do? I listened to the audiobook and was just in awe of her positivity and her work ethic. My favorite part was hearing her talk about her favorite song (hint, it’s all of them).” – Erin, Kids Room 

Country music legend Dolly Parton shares a behind-the-scenes look at 175 of her songs. From hits everyone hums along to, to lesser-known ballads, Parton has a story about them all.

Out of Hiding by Ruth Gruener

“If you enjoyed Alan Gratz’s book Prisoner B-3087 you will enjoy Out of Hiding because in real life Ruth Gruener married Jack Gruener! Both are mentioned in their respective books. I also enjoyed that this book is a great introduction for young readers looking to read about the Holocaust. While Ruth tells her story of survival it is mostly about her journey to America and finding her way.” – Miss Traci, Kids Room

This is the story of Ruth Gruener who survived the Holocaust as a young girl with her parents and how they immigrate to New York after the war.

Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown by Anne Glenconner

“This book is a fascinating look into the life of an English aristocrat. In addition to showing the reader what life as an English aristocrat is like, the book portrays Anne as a real person who has experienced both joys and sorrows in life. Despite Anne’s privileges, she has endured many difficulties, including the deaths of two of her children, serious injury to another, and a husband who was very challenging. If you are an Anglophile and loved watching The Crown and Downton Abbey, this is the book for you!” – Nancy, Adult & Teen Services

This fascinating memoir introduces us to Anne Glenconner, the daughter of the Earl of Leicester, who was born in England in the early 1930s. Anne was a childhood friend of Princesses Margaret and Elizabeth, served as a maid of honour at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth, and spent over 30 years as a lady in waiting to Princess Margaret. Anne married a very wealthy, but eccentric, man, had five children, traveled the world, hobnobbed with stars on the island of Mustique, and endured numerous family difficulties and tragedies.

Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America by John Lewis

“An inspiring read for anyone who seeks to bring truth, peace, justice, and love to the world.” – Grace, Public Relations

In Across That Bridge, Congressman John Lewis draws from his experience as a prominent leader of the Civil Rights Movement to offer timeless wisdom, poignant recollections, and powerful principles for anyone interested in challenging injustices and inspiring real change toward a freer, more peaceful society.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

“Mindy auditioned for an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. (Yes, Mindy Kaling from The Office.) She professionally impersonated Ben Affleck. She used to be a member of a middle school Cheesecake Factory gang of girls. I had to reread multiple chapters because I was laughing too hard the first time.” – Kelly K., Circulation

Mindy Kaling – the obedient, chubster child of immigrant professionals, playwright, and comedy writer/actress – writes a “memoir.” But really, she just makes you feel like she’s in the room with you, reliving her most humiliating failures. And finally, finally, reaching a few goals.

Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love by Jonathan Van Ness

“I absolutely loved listening to Van Ness’ audiobook. I could not get enough of him in the series, Queer Eye. His joy for life just radiates and his quippy lines stick with you. I am really just amazed by his ability to turn his pain into passion. With humor and inspiration, his story is a must-listen!” – Kira, Adult & Teen Services

Van Ness, one of the stars in the Netflix series “Queer Eye” shares his story of how he transformed pain into strength. Through years of endured trauma and abuse, he turned his story around to inspire and inform others about the true meaning of self-love.

Life Will Be the Death of Me…And You Too! by Chelsea Handler

“I’ve followed Handler’s career for years now, and her very in your face, no holds barred, no filter comedy has always been funny. This book, however, is brutally honest, insightful, sensitive, and hilarious. One minute I was laughing, the next minute I was in tears.” – Erin, Kids Room

Comedian Chelsea Handler decides to make some changes in her life and in the world around her. She wants to become more self-sufficient, she wants to work through her anger, and she wants to finally confront the death of her brother.

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes

“As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride is… an audiobook, of a book, about a movie, based on another book. A quote from the original work, The Princess Bride by William Goldman, might put it best: “This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it”. This book combines two great things: warm nostalgia for the classic 80s movie The Princess Bride, and cool behind-the-scenes information. Add to that the audiobook’s narrator – Westley himself (Cary Elwes), as well as all the personal memories read by other members of the cast and crew – and you get something really wonderful!” – DGPL Staff

Written and narrated by Cary Elwes (the actor who played Westley), As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride is a sweet memoir about the making of this classic 80s movie.

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Ellis Island Records

Over 60 million records of immigrants who came through Ellis Island and the Port of New York from 1820 - 1957.