eAudiobooks

15 Funny Books You Can Read or Listen to Right Now

 

I've been continuing to dig through Hoopla for titles to recommend since you never have to wait or place the book you want on hold—all of their content is always instantly available. Right now you can get up to 10 downloads a month, and they offer eBooks, eAudiobooks, comics, movies and TV shows, and music. If some humor sounds good to you right now, here are some suggestions to make you laugh (and sometimes cry too), with some available as eBooks, some as eAudiobooks, and some available in both formats. 

Descriptions in italics provided by the publisher.

eAudiobooks + Comedy Albums

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris 
(Essays) Sedaris’s essays on living in Paris are some of the funniest he's ever written. At last, someone even meaner than the French! The sort of blithely sophisticated, loopy humour that might have resulted if Dorothy Parker and James Thurber had had a love child. (Also available as an eBook on Overdrive)

A Horse Walks Into A Bar by David Grossman, translated by Jessica Cohen, read by Joe Barrett 
(Fiction) An Israeli comedian a bit past his prime conveys with semi-questionable humor anecdotes from his violence-stricken youth during a night of standup, while a judge in the audience wrestles with his own part in the comedian's losses. Winner of the Man Booker International Award (Also available as an eBook on Overdrive) 

Yes Please by Amy Pohler 
(Biography) Amy Poehler is hosting a dinner party and you're invited! Welcome to the audiobook edition of Amy Poehler's Yes Please. The guest list is star-studded with vocal appearances from Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Michael Schur, Patrick Stewart, Kathleen Turner, and even Amy's parents-Yes Please is the ultimate audiobook extravaganza. Also included? A one night only live performance at Poehler's Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Hear Amy read a chapter live in front of a young and attractive Los Angeles audience. While listening to Yes Please, you'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll become convinced that your phone is trying to kill you. Don't miss this collection of stories, thoughts, ideas, lists, and haikus from the mind of one of our most beloved entertainers. 

Beta Male by Kumail Nanjiani 
(Stand-Up) In the world premiere of his Comedy Central one-hour stand-up special, "Beta Male," Kumail Nanjiani [Silicon Valley, The Big Sick] tells you about all the things that terrify him completely.

You can also browse hundreds of comedy albums on Hoopla here. 

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, read by Carly Robins
(Fiction) Stella Lane comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old. It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional--which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. (Also available as an eBook on Overdrive)

Ask A Mexican by Gustavo Arellano, read by William Dufris, Christine Marshall 
(Essays) An irreverent, hilarious, and informative look at Mexican American culture is taken by a rising star in the alternative media, as well as a new kid on the block in such mainstream venues as NPR, the Los Angeles Times, Today, and The Colbert Report. Gustavo Arellano has compiled the best questions about Mexican Americans from readers of his Ask a Mexican! column in California's OC Weekly and uses them to explore the clichés of lowriders, busboys, and housekeepers; drunks and scoundrels; heroes and celebrities; and most important, millions upon millions of law-abiding, patriotic American citizens and their illegal-immigrant cousins who represent some $600 billion in economic power.

eBooks

Small Doses: Potent Truths for Everyday Use by Amanda Seales 
(Essays) Comedian, writer, actress, and social media star Amanda Seales is a force of nature who has fearlessly and passionately charted her own course through life and career. Now, in her one-of-a-kind voice that blends academic intellectualism, Black American colloquialisms, and pop culture fanaticism, she's bringing her life's lessons and laughs to the page. This volume of essays, axioms, original illustrations, and photos provides Seales's trademark 'self-help from the hip' style of commentary, fueled by ideology formed from her own victories, struggles, research, mistakes, risks, and pay-offs. Unapologetic, fiercely funny, and searingly honest, Small Doses engages, empowers, and enlightens readers on how to find their truths while still finding the funny!

Rez Salute by Jim Northrup 
(Essays) Since 2001, Indian Country has seen great changes, touching everything from treaty rights to sovereignty issues to the rise (and sometimes the fall) of gambling and casinos. With unsparing honesty and a good dose of humor, Jim Northrup [looks at] the changes in Indian Country, as well as daily life on the rez.

Outwitting Squirrels by Bill Adler 
(Anti-squirrel How-to) For 25 years, Outwitting Squirrels has been leading the charge to help bird lovers defend their feeders from these fast, greedy, incredibly crafty creatures who pillage birdfeeders before owners very eyes. This classic defense manual for the besieged bird feeder has been fully updated to deal with the more tech-savvy, 21st-century squirrel. It provides 101 cunning strategies, both serious and hilarious, for outsmarting these furry, but not so cute, creatures. Author Bill Adler Jr. discusses the different bird personalities and the best seed to attract them. He rates birdfeeders based upon how squirrel-proof, or squirrel vexing they are, and discusses creative anti-squirrel structures and devices. Spooker poles, Perrier bottles, baffled fishing line, Teflon spray, Vaseline, water bombs, cayenne pepper, and Nixalite the author has tried them all and he regales readers with his squirrel adventures and misadventures.

A Confederacy Of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole 
(Fiction) A Confederacy of Dunces is an American comic masterpiece. John Kennedy Toole's hero, one Ignatius J. Reilly, is "huge, obese, fractious, fastidious, a latter-day Gargantua, a Don Quixote of the French Quarter. His story bursts with wholly original characters, denizens of New Orleans' lower depths, incredibly true-to-life dialogue, and the zaniest series of high and low comic adventures" (Henry Kisor, Chicago Sun-Times). Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. 

eBook & eAudiobook

I’m Just a Person by Tig Notaro 
(Biography) One of America’s most original comedic voices delivers a darkly funny, wryly observed, and emotionally raw account of her year of death, cancer, and epiphany… An inspired combination of the deadpan silliness of her comedy and the open-hearted vulnerability that has emerged in the wake of that dire time, I’m Just a Person is a moving and often hilarious look at this very brave, very funny woman’s journey into the darkness and her thrilling return from it.

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore 
(Fiction) A bold, hilarious, speculative novel fills in the lost years of Jesus life, told from the perspective of Biff, Christ's childhood best buddy… Lamb is the crowning achievement of Christopher Moore's storied career: fresh, wild, audacious, divinely hilarious, yet heartfelt, poignant, and alive, with a surprising reverence. Let there be rejoicing unto the world! Christopher Moore is come -- to bring truth, light, and big yuks to fans old and new with the Greatest Story Never Told! 

Rabbit by Patricia Williams with Jeannine Amber
(Biography) Patricia Williams (aka Ms. Pat) was born and raised in Atlanta at the height of the crack epidemic. One of five children, Pat watched as her mother struggled to get by on charity, cons, and petty crimes. At age seven, Pat was taught to roll drunks for money. At twelve, she was targeted for sex by a man eight years her senior. By thirteen, she was pregnant. By fifteen, Pat was a mother of two. Alone at sixteen, Pat was determined to make a better life for her children. But with no job skills and an eighth-grade education, her options were limited. She learned quickly that hustling and humor were the only tools she had to survive. Rabbit is an unflinching memoir of cinematic scope and unexpected humor. With wisdom and humor, Pat gives us a rare glimpse of what it's really like to be a black mom in America. (Also available as a stand up comedy album, Rabbit by Ms. Pat)

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert 
(Fiction) A witty, hilarious romantic comedy about a woman who's tired of being "boring" and recruits her mysterious, sexy neighbor to help her experience new things… Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list.

What If? by Randall Munroe 
(Essays & Trivia) Millions of people visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe's iconic webcomic. His stick-figure drawings about science, technology, language, and love have a large and passionate following. Fans of xkcd ask Munroe a lot of strange questions. What if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90 percent the speed of light? How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live? If there was a robot apocalypse, how long would humanity last? In pursuit of answers, Munroe runs computer simulations, pores over stacks of declassified military research memos, solves differential equations, and consults with nuclear reactor operators. His responses are masterpieces of clarity and hilarity, complemented by signature xkcd comics. 

Need Help?

You can find out more about Oakland Public Library's online books, movies and more here.

If you need help using eBooks or other online resources, you can make an appointment to speak with a librarian. Fill out the online form here, or call 510-238-3134 to make an appointment.

If you need help with your library account or have other questions, please email eanswers@oaklandlibrary.org or leave a voice mail with your full name and details at 510-238-3134.

If you don’t have a library account, we're still issuing new library cards during the Shelter in Place Order. Just complete an online application and email eanswers@oaklandlibrary.org to set one up.

Looking for more reading recommendations? Try our service for readers, Book Me! Fill out an online form and a librarian will send you a personalized list of reading suggestions.

Have you read anything wonderful during the Shelter in Place? Please share in the comments!

 

 

15 Great Mysteries You Can Read or Listen to Right Now

 

 

Hoopla is my favorite library eResource right now because you never have to wait—all of their content is always available. Right now you can get up to 10 downloads a month, and they offer eBooks, eAudiobooks, comics, movies and TV shows, and music. I’ve been browsing Hoopla for great reads to share with you and here are some mystery suggestions. Some are available as eBooks, some as eAudiobooks, and some are available in both formats. 

Descriptions in italics provided by the publisher.

Hoopla eBooks 

Edwin of the Iron Shoes by Marcia Muller 
The first novel in the award winning series featuring private detective Sharon McCone by a recipient of the Mystery Writers of America's Grand Master award. Already at odds with the San Francisco Police Department, private investigator Sharon McCone is determined to stay on the case of a murdered, small-time antique dealer, despite some alarming mayhem.

Black Water Rising by Attica Locke 
Locke’s first novel was was a finalist for the Orange Prize and was recognized with nominations for an Edgar Award, an NAACP Image Award, and a Los Angeles Times Book Prize. When African-American lawyer Jay Porter jumps into the bayou to save a drowning white woman in Houston, Texas, in 1981, he finds his practice and life in danger when he becomes embroiled in a murder investigation involving Houston's elite. Attica Locke—a writer and producer of FOX's Empire—delivers an engrossing, complex, and cinematic thriller about crime and racial justice.

Maggie Terry by Sarah Schulman 
Post-rehab, Maggie Terry wants nothing more than to rebuild her life in hopes of being reunited with her daughter. But her first day as private investigator lands her in the middle of a sensational new case: actress strangled. To solve this mystery, she'll have to shake the ghosts—dead NYPD partner, vindictive ex, steadfast drug habit—that have long ruled her life. Sarah Schulman is a literary chronicler of the marginalized and subcultural, focusing on queer urban life.

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz 
This modern take on classic British crime fiction was the winner of the Macavity Award for Best Novel, nominee for the Anthony Award for Best Novel, a New York Times bestseller and NPR best book of the Year.  Ignoring the troubling behavior of an eccentric crime writer with whom she has worked for years, editor Susan Ryeland is dismayed when a subplot hidden in the author's latest manuscript reveals a real-world murder. Also available as a Hoopla audiobook.  

Fear of the Dark by Gar Anthony Haywood 
Haywood won a Shamus Award for best first Private Investigator novel for this hard-boiled series opener featuring Aaron Gunner. The shooting of two Black men by a white youth transforms pre-election Los Angeles into a powderkeg, and Aaron Gunner finds himself caught up in political intrigue, violence, and murder.

Eva’s Eye by Karin Fossum 
First in the Inspector Konrad Sejer series by the "Norwegian queen of crime." Eva and her young daughter Emma are walking by the river when Emma spots something floating in the water. It's the body of a man, and what's more, a man Eva recognizes. Sejer and Skarre piece together the stories behind two unsolved murders . . . does it all lead back to Eva? Also available as a Hoopla audiobook.  

Violent Spring by Gary Phillips 
Phillips is a revered author inspired by comics and classic pulp detective stories whose character Ivan Monk is an L.A. private investigator and donut shop owner in the era of the Rodney King Riots. When the body of a murdered Korean shopkeeper is discovered during a South Central groundbreaking ceremony, private investigator Ivan Monk is thrown into a maze that pits him against the gangs, cops, power brokers, and leaders of Los Angeles.

The Hot Rock by Donald E. Westlake 
This first comic caper featuring career criminal John Archibald Dortmunder was an Edgar Award finalist. John Dortmunder leaves jail with ten dollars, a train ticket, and nothing to make money on but his good name. Thankfully, his reputation goes far. No one plans a caper better than Dortmunder. His friend Kelp picks him up in a stolen Cadillac and drives him away from Sing-Sing, telling a story of a $500,000 emerald that they just have to steal. Dortmunder doesn't hesitate to agree.  

One Perfect Shot by Steven F. Havill 
This prequel is a good introduction to this beloved series of western-themed police procedurals. When a county employee is found shot to death in sun-drenched daylight while sitting in his county road grader, Undersheriff Bill Gastner is faced with puzzling questions. The simplest explanation--that an errant bullet from a careless target shooter's rifle blew out Larry Zipoli's brains--is soon discarded as inconsistencies surface. The fatal bullet shows no rifling marks, and investigation reveals that the shooter walked directly toward the road grader, in full view of the victim--who did nothing to defend himself. In addition to the demands of the investigation, Gastner learns that Sheriff Eduardo Salcido has hired a new deputy without discussing the matter with his undersheriff. And Gastner learns that the new hire is destined to be the first female road patrol deputy in the history of Posadas County. Also available as a Hoopla audiobook. 

One Night Stands And Lost Weekends by Lawrence Block 
In the era before he created moody private investigator Matthew Scudder, burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr, sleepless spy Evan Tanner, and the amiable hit man Keller-and years before his first Edgar Award-a young writer named Lawrence Block submitted a story titled "You Can't Lose" to Manhunt magazine. It was published, and the rest is history. One Night Stands and Lost Weekends is a sterling collection of short crime fiction and suspense novelettes penned between 1958 and 1962 by a budding young master and soon-to-be Grand Master-an essential slice of genre history, and more fun than a high-speed police chase following a bank job gone bad.

Hoopla eAudiobooks

The Mermaids Singing by Val McDermid 
This inaugural entry in the series featuring clinical psychologist and profiler Dr. Tony Hill and Detective Chief Inspector Carol Jordan won the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel of the Year and inspired the British television series Wire in the Blood. When the fourth victim of a twisted serial killer is found, Detective Inspector Carol Jordan teams up with criminologist Tony Hill to develop a complicated criminal profile, the accuracy of which becomes pivotal to the case. eBook available on Overdrive.  

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear 
A New York Times Notable Book, Agatha Award winner for Best First Novel, and nominee for the Edgar Award for Best Novel, this historical mystery introduces beloved heroine Maisie Dobbs, a volunteer nurse during the Great War who later launches her own detective agency in London. Private detective Maisie Dobbs must investigate the reappearance of a dead man who turns up at a cooperative farm called the Retreat that caters to men who are recovering their health after World War I. eBook available on Overdrive.

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich 
This bestselling debut was nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, Agatha, Shamus, and Macavity awards, launching a hilarious, fast-paced, romantic mystery series featuring heroine Stephanie Plum. After her Miata is repossessed, Stephanie Plum turns to bounty hunting for quick cash, and her first quarry, an ex-cop accused of murder, turns out to be her first lover, with whom she still shares a powerful chemistry. eBook available on Overdrive.

Blanche On The Lam by Barbara Neely 
Neely received the Agatha Award, Anthony Award, and the Macavity Award for best first novel for this series opener. She sadly passed away in early March, only a few months after she was recognized as the Mystery Writers of America’s 2020 Grand Master. Blanche White is a plump, feisty, middle-aged African-American housekeeper working for the genteel rich in North Carolina. But when an employer stiffs her, and her checks bounce, she goes on the lam, hiding out as a maid for a wealthy family at their summer home. That plan goes awry when there’s a murder and Blanche becomes the prime suspect. So she’s forced to use her savvy, her sharp wit, and her old-girl network of domestic workers to discover the truth and save her own skin.

The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan 
Winner of the Arthur Ellis Award, the Barry Award, and a nomination for the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, this series opener introduces detectives from Canada's Community Policing Section investigating racially- and ethnically-sensitive cases. Detective Esa Khattack and his partner, Detective Rachel Getty, investigate the death of a local man who may have been a Bosnian war criminal with ties to the Srebrenica massacre of 1995, in a haunting debut novel of loss, redemption and the cost of justice.

You can find out more about Oakland Public Library's online books, movies and more here.

If you need help with your library account or have other questions (including help with eBooks!), please email eanswers@oaklandlibrary.org or leave a voice mail with your full name and details at 510-238-3134.

If you don’t have a library account, we're still issuing new library cards during the Shelter in Place Order. Just complete an online application and email eanswers@oaklandlibrary.org to set one up.

Looking for more reading recommendations? Try our service for readers, Book Me! Fill out an online form and a librarian will send you a personalized list of reading suggestions.

 

In Celebration of National Poetry Month

A guest post from one of our poetry experts at the Main Library, Librarian Stella Goodwin.

This selection of eBooks, Audiobooks and films draws on works from Overdrive and Kanopy. If you have any difficulty with either of these platforms, you can send a message to eanswers@oaklandlibrary.org to request assistance.

Some eBooks on Overdrive

Contemporary Poetry

Dark. Sweet.
By Linda Hogan
“To be held / by the light / was what I wanted, / to be a tree drinking the rain, / no longer parched in this hot land” (To Be Held): Linda Hogan’s environmental concerns and spiritual focus, and her Chickasaw heritage, infuse her poetry.

Hard Times Require Furious Dancing
By Alice Walker
Alice Walker’s words from the preface of this collection, published in 2013, resonate today, “Though we have encountered our share of grief and troubles on this earth, we can still hold the line of beauty, form, and beat. No small accomplishment in a world as troubled as this one.”

Red Bird
By Mary Oliver
“I did not come into this world / to be comforted. / I came, like a red bird, to sing” (Red Bird). Mary Oliver’s appreciation of nature, and her gratitude for life, reverberate in this collection.

Time and Materials
By Robert Hass
“Or to render time and stand outside / The horizontal rush of it, for a moment / To have the sensation of standing outside / The greenish rush of it” (Time and Materials). In this collection of poems, Bay Area poet, and former US Poet Laureate, Robert Hass addresses nature, art, domestic life, and American society.

Some eBooks about Poetry

Don’t Read Poetry
By Stephanie Burt
Rather than telling us to avoid poetry, as the catchy title of this work suggests, literary critic Stephanie Burt shows us how to read and enjoy poems, both of the past and present.

Japanese Haiku
By Kenneth Yasuda
A leading scholar in the field, Kenneth Yasuda includes and analyses both translated haiku, and haiku written in English; he explains what haiku is and how it has developed.

The Making of Poetry
By Adam Nicolson
Adam Nicolson takes as his subject an amazing year for poetry in England, June 1797 to September 1798, calling it the “year of marvels.” He focuses on certain works, notably Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan, and Wordsworth’s Tintern Abbey and the revolutionary songs in Lyrical Ballads.

Some Classics

Unlike most works on Overdrive, which are subject to holds, classic eBooks are always available. Here are a few from a large collection, inspired in part by Nicolson’s The Making of Poetry (see above):
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral by Phillis Wheatley
The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Some Audiobooks on Overdrive

American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassins by Terrance Hayes
The Poetry Remedy: Prescriptions for the Heart, Mind and Soul by William Sieghart
A Surprised Queenhood in the New Black Sun: The Life and Legacy of Gwendolyn Brooks by Angela Jackson

Some Films on Kanopy

For My People: The Life and Writing of Margaret Walker
Hughes’s Dream Harlem
Poetry in Motion
Other poets depicted on film include Milosz, Neruda and Yeats

To conclude, National Poetry Month was established in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets. Their website is a rich resource for poetry. For example, you can sign up to receive a poem-a-day via email. Visit their site at https://poets.org/

10 Great Biographies You Can Read or Listen to Right Now

Have you tried Hoopla yet? The app is free, the library pays for the content, and your library card will get you 10 downloads a month. Best of all, you never have to wait--everything is available right now. I’ve been browsing Hoopla for great reads to share with you--here are 10 biography picks, and all 10 are available as an eBook and as an eAudiobook.

Descriptions in italics are provided by the publisher.

Old in Art School by Nell Irvin Painter
A Princeton University historian describes her post-retirement decision to study art, a venture that compelled her to find relevance in the undervalued masters she loves, the obstacles faced by women artists, and the challenges of balancing art and life. The author, a noted scholar, was raised in Oakland and graduated from Oakland Tech. Her book was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and a Best Book of the Year selected by The San Francisco Chronicle.

Just Kids by Patti Smith
In this memoir, singer-songwriter Patti Smith shares tales of New York City : the denizens of Max's Kansas City, the Hotel Chelsea, Scribner's, Brentano's and Strand bookstores and her new life in Brooklyn with a young man named Robert Mapplethorpe--the man who changed her life with his love, friendship, and genius. Winner of the National Book Award, finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and many other awards.

The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King
Fred Rogers (1928-2003) was an enormously influential figure in the history of television and in the lives of tens of millions of children. Drawing on original interviews, oral histories and archival documents, the author traces the iconic children's program host's personal, professional, and artistic life through decades of work. Selected as a Best Book of the Year by The San Francisco Chronicle.

Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Díaz
Jaquira Díaz writes an unflinching account of growing up as a queer biracial girl searching for home as her family splits apart and her mother struggles with mental illness and addiction. From her own struggles with depression and drug abuse to her experiences of violence to Puerto Rico's history of colonialism, every page vibrates with music and lyricism. Winner of a Whiting Award in Nonfiction, a Lambda Literary Awards Finalist​, and a Best Book of the Year selected by Library Journal.

All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung
Chung investigates the mysteries and complexities of her transracial adoption in this chronicle of unexpected family for anyone who has struggled to figure out where they belong. A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and a Best Book of the Year selected by The Washington Post, NPR and numerous others.

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
Recounts how the author, an experienced falconer grieving the sudden death of her father, endeavored to train for the first time a dangerous goshawk predator as part of her personal recovery. Winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Costa Book of the Year, one of The New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year, and numerous other accolades.

Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot
The author recounts her coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest where she survived a dysfunctional childhood and found herself hospitalized with a dual diagnosis of PTSD and bipolar II disorder. Selected as a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Library Journal and others.

The Ungrateful Refugee: What Immigrants Never Tell You by Dina Nayeri
In her first work of nonfiction, Dina Nayeri defies stereotypes and raises surprising questions about the immigrant experience. Here are the real human stories of what it is like to journey across borders in the hope of starting afresh. Finalist for The Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Kirkus Prize.

Chasing Space: An Astronaut's Story of Grit, Grace, and Second Chances by Leland Melvin  
In this moving, inspirational memoir, a former NASA astronaut and NFL wide receiver shares his personal journey from the gridiron to the stars, examining the intersecting roles of community, perseverance and grace that align to create the opportunities for success.

Darling Days by iO Tillett Wright
At the center of Darling Days is the remarkable relationship between a fiery kid and a domineering ma-a bond defined by freedom and control, excess and sacrifice; by heartbreaking deprivation, agonizing rupture, and, ultimately, forgiveness. Darling Days is also a provocative examination of culture and identity, of the instincts that shape us and the norms that deform us, and of the courage and resilience it takes to listen closely to your deepest self. When a group of boys refuse to let six-year-old, female-born iO play ball, iO instantly adopts a new persona, becoming a boy named Ricky-a choice iO's parents support and celebrate. It is the start of a profound exploration of gender and identity through the tenderest years, and the beginning of a life invented and reinvented at every step. Alternating between the harrowing and the hilarious, Darling Days is the candid, tough, and stirring memoir of a young person in search of an authentic self as family and home life devolve into chaos.

You can find out more about Oakland Public Library's online books, movies and more here.

If you need help with your library account or have other questions (including how to access Hoopla), please email eanswers@oaklandlibrary.org or leave a voice mail with your full name and details at 510-238-3134.

If you don’t have a library account, we're still issuing new library cards during the Shelter in Place Order. Just complete an online application and email eanswers@oaklandlibrary.org to set one up.

Looking for more reading recommendations? Try our service for readers, Book Me! Fill out an online form and a librarian will send you a personalized list of reading suggestions.

10 Great Fiction eReads Available Right Now

If you haven’t used Hoopla yet, it’s easy—just download the free app, and it gives you access to eBooks, eAudiobooks, comics, music, movies and television shows. Best of all, there are no waitlists—all content is always available. Right now your library card will get you 10 downloads a month.

I’ve been browsing Hoopla for great reads, and here are 10 fiction picks for you.

 

Girl, Woman, Other
by Bernardine Evaristo
This year Evaristo became the first Black woman to win the Booker Prize (sharing it with Margaret Atwood) for her novel that uses artful prose in an exploration of race, sexuality, gender, age and Black British womanhood through the interconnected lives of twelve women and femmes who take turns sharing the narrative spotlight. “The prose may be experimental, but the readerly pleasures of character and plot are very traditional. It is a life-enhancing, horizon-expanding novel: funny, inventive and fizzing with vitality.” (The Guardian

The Sympathizer
by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction along with a fistful of other awards. A half-Vietnamese, half-French young man looks back at the fall of Saigon, his flight to the United States as a refugee and his new life in Southern California. He’s a double agent: a Communist sympathizer working for the South Vietnamese Army, torn between two loyalties, two cultures and two lands. “Ultimately a meditation on war, political movements, America's imperialist role, the CIA, torture, loyalty, and one's personal identity, this is a powerful, thought-provoking work” (Library Journal). “Both chilling and funny, and a worthy addition to the library of first-rate novels about the Vietnam War” (Kirkus).  

An American Marriage
by Tayari Jones
Newlyweds Roy and Celestial have a bright future ahead of them; he’s a rising corporate executive and she is an up-and-coming artist. Their lives are shattered when, in a case of mistaken identity, Roy is wrongly convicted of rape and sentenced to twelve years in prison. “This novel is peopled by vividly realized, individual characters and driven by interpersonal drama, but it is also very much about being black in contemporary America… This is, at its heart, a love story, but a love story warped by racial injustice. And, in it, Jones suggests that racial injustice haunts the African-American story. Subtle, well-crafted, and powerful.” (Kirkus Reviews) An American Marriage won the Women’s Prize for Fiction, Aspen Words Prize and an NAACP Image Award.  Also available as an eAudiobook. 

Oakland Noir
Edited by Jerry Thompson and Eddie Muller
Our beloved town grabs the spotlight in this long running crime anthology series from Akashic Books, featuring noir stories by local authors including Nayomi Munaweera, Judy Juanita, Keenan Norris, Kim Addonizio, and our own Oakland History Center Librarian and author Dorothy Lazard. “Thompson and Muller have taken such pains to choose stories highlighting Oakland's diversity and history that the result is a volume rich in local culture as well as crime.” (Kirkus Reviews) Also available as an eAudiobook 

Convenience Store Woman
by Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori
Keiko Furukura was a strange child. When she turned 18, she discovered that as a convenience store worker at Smile Mart she could smother her unconventional urges with her employer’s rigid corporate culture. Another 18 years later, adult expectations of who she should be chip away at her efforts at living a “normal life.” “A sly take on modern work culture and social conformism… Murata provides deceptively sharp commentary on the narrow social slots people—particularly women—are expected to occupy and how those who deviate can inspire bafflement, fear, or anger in others… A unique and unexpectedly revealing English language debut.” (Kirkus) Winner of Japan’s prestigious Akutagawa Prize.  Also available as an eAudiobook 

The Mountains Sing
by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai
The history of the Trần family over four generations is set against the tumultuous background of Vietnam in the 20th century. Diệu Lan’s life of privilege as a young person fades as she persists through tragedy after tragedy, and she ultimately shares her story with her granddaughter Hương when she becomes her sole caregiver. “Widely published in Vietnamese, poet, nonfiction writer, and translator Nguyễn’s first novel in English balances the unrelenting devastation of war with redemptive moments of surprising humanity.” (Booklist) Also available as an eAudiobook.

The Leavers
by Lisa Ko
Ko won the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction and was a National Book Award Finalist for this debut novel about Peilan Guo, an undocumented immigrant and young mother from China, and her American-born son, Deming. Deming is a fifth grader when his mom fails to return from her job at a Bronx nail shop. Foster care puts him in the care of a couple of white professors in upstate New York. After years of wondering, a struggling 21 year old Deming seeks answers about his mother. “Ko’s stunning tale of love and loyalty—to family, to country—is a fresh and moving look at the immigrant experience in America, and is as timely as ever.” (Publishers Weekly) Also available as an eAudiobook. 

The Wangs Vs. the World
by Jade Chang
Charles Wang left China for the United States, where he built a cosmetics empire. When his company tanks during the economic crash of 2008, he loses his Bel Air house, pulls his younger kids out of college and private school and the family hits the road with the intent to move in with the eldest daughter, a conceptual artist who lives in the Catskills. “Chang’s charming and quirky characters and comic observations make the novel a jaunty joy ride to remember.” (Publishers Weekly) The Wangs Vs. the World was a New York Times Editor's Choice and selected as a Best Book of the Year by NPR and others.  

Useful Phrases for Immigrants
by May-Lee Chai
This slim volume of stories, winner of a 2019 American Book Award, looks at the lives of people in China and the Chinese diaspora around the globe, touching on issues of class, sexuality, identity and relationships. “With her masterful short story collection, Chai proves with exquisite craftsmanship that less can be so much more… The concise tales in this literary gem linger in the mind long after the pages are turned.” (Booklist 

Sarong Party Girls
by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan
Jazzy’s 27th birthday is coming up, so it’s time to stop partying and find her dream husband—an ang moh, a rich white Western expat. Cheeky, clever and determined, not to mention brand-obsessed, Jazzy pursues her marital goal in the often shocking after-hours clubs of Singapore. Her story is punctuated with Singlish—a patois derived from a mix of English, Malay, Mandarin, Hokkien, Teochew, Indian and Cantonese. “A rowdy tale, memorable language, and a very distinctive protagonist.” (Kirkus Reviews) Tan is also the author of the memoir A Tiger in the Kitchen (2011). Also available as an eAudiobook.

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