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Adult Services’ Favorite Picks of 2020

As 2020 comes to a close, the Adult Services department would like to share our favorite reads and tv/movies that have gotten us through this year. You can find these titles and more in our library catalog (*access to Netflix is available on the library’s Roku device). 


Death in Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh
An eerie blend of mystery and dark comedy, perfect for these times. The unreliable main character begins to lose her grip on reality, while memories of the past begin to bubble to the surface. A relatable main character if you are in quarantine! ~Jamie

Superman Smashes The Klan by Gene Luen Yang: Perhaps the best graphic novel I read in 2020. I’ve always loved the Superman myth. This graphic novel draws the parallels between being a Chinese immigrant in America and Superman and both wanting to belong and yet feeling like outsiders. ~Ted

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow: I’m a bit late to this title, as it came out in 2019, but I got a chance to listen to the audiobook, recorded by Ronan Farrow himself, and I was immediately hooked. It was a fast-paced, intriguing story of a complex issue and I found it extremely interesting. ~Anne

The Empire of Gold by S. A. Chakraborty (the final installment of the Daevabad Trilogy): This was highly anticipated for me and it did not disappoint. I loved everything about this trilogy; from the strong female lead character, to the fascinating settings, political intrigue, magic, and the overall sensory experience (vivid sights, smells, tastes, etc.). I was sad for the series to come to a close. ~Vicki

Tempest by Beverly Jenkins: This was recommended by Sarah MacLean and Jen Prokop in the June episode of the DPL Podcast. It’s a historical romance set in the Wyoming territory in 1885. The heroine is a mail order bride who has her own money, her own gun, and she suffers no fools. I listened to the audiobook on Hoopla and it was a delight. Beverly Jenkins writes strong women and her books are mini-lessons in Black American history, as well as being hopeful and reliably good reads.~Trisha

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell: When fifteen-year-old Vanessa becomes involved in an affair with her English teacher, she believes it to be true love. As an adult, she is unable to view herself as a victim of abuse and struggles to come to terms with the true nature of the relationship. Despite the heavy nature of the topic, this was a compelling and thought-provoking story that engaged me more than any other book this year. ~Melissa

Real Life by Brandon Taylor: Wallace is an outsider in his predominantly-white grad school program in the Midwest, observing his science experiments and his friends from a distance. Taylor’s beautiful writing has both the deep interiority of Henry James and speaks directly about gay love and the disaster of contemporary racism. ~Dylan

Troublemakers: Chicago Freedom Struggles Through the Lens of Art Shay by Erik Gellman: A major book for local readers, Deerfield-based photojournalist Art Shay’s work is beautifully showcased alongside a historical analysis that will have you rethinking post-war Chicago protest movements and culture. Hear our Deerfield Public Library Podcast interview the author here! ~Dylan


Parasite: What a fantastic film to start 2020. When I looked back, I was shocked to see that this came out in 2020. It seems like SO long ago. Seeing this in my history and thinking about where I was at that time made me think about the “before times”. ~Ted

Netflix’s Blood of Zeus: A quick-paced animated show based on Greek Mythology, Blood of Zeus grabbed me and pulled me in so quickly I found myself blitzing through the entire show and finishing it in less than a day. ~Anne

HBO’s The Outsider: I loved the book by Stephen King and thought they did a really great job of bringing it to the screen with a fantastic cast and super-creepy atmosphere. ~Vicki

Netflix’s The Queens Gambit:  I’m very impressed by how they took a subject that is boring to me (chess) and made it incredibly interesting/engaging to watch and crafted a wonderful story behind it.  Anya Taylor-Joy was magnificent as the lead character! ~Sam

Netflix’s My Octopus Teacher: Octopuses are one of my favorite creatures because of their mysterious nature.  This documentary explored a relationship formed between a guy and an octopus and it just made my heart melt.  I wish I had an octopus best friend! ~Sam

Netflix’s Dolly Parton: Here I Am: A documentary of Parton’s songwriting, music, and film career that changed my impression of her. She is so talented and interesting. The story of how she wrote the song “9 to 5” and the accompanying interviews with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin alone are worth the 90 minutes.~Trisha

Schitt’s Creek: Somehow I did not know about this series until recently, but this is my favorite discovery of 2020. The uber-wealthy Rose family suddenly finds themselves broke and has to move into a road-side motel in a small, rural town. The hilarity that ensues was absolutely what I needed in 2020. Simply the best! (available on Netflix) ~Melissa 

Strong Woman, Bong Soon: I enjoyed this KDrama series because it’s an easy, fun, low-stress series. While there are some dark moments (a violent serial kidnapper on the loose), it’s chock full of suspense, humor, cute characters, quirkiness, magical realism, and romance. (available free online) ~Stevie

Neflix’s #Alive: A zombie film more about humanity & survival than the monsters themselves. I liked the movie for the strength and ease of the two leads performances — they made the movie. ~Stevie

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