In honor of National Pierogi Day on October 8th, this month’s task for our 2022 Reading Challenge is to read a book by a Polish author. Below you’ll find a few recommendations to meet the task, but for even more suggestions, give us a call at 708-867-7828. Your librarians are here to help.
Download a printable form and keep track of your reading tasks throughout the year to earn a free book.
Time Between Trains by Anthony Bukoski
Welcome to Superior, Wisconsin, the westernmost port on the Great Lakes, home to a declining population, often-dismal weather, and dying ethnic communities. Despite the biting winter winds and the ore dust blanketing the city, miracles occur here. In the title story, the only Jewish track inspector for the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe system discovers a magical place behind the drab house of a lonely Polish schoolteacher; in “Closing Time,” an accordion player working the bar of the local VFW finds an appreciative audience in a disillusioned German war bride; in “The Moon of the Grass Fires,” a retired flour mill worker has a vision of ultimate goodness and the meaning of his life one beautiful autumn evening as, covered with wheat dust, he takes a walk near the East End’s abandoned ore docks.
I Sailed with Magellan by Stuart Dybek
Following his renowned The Coast of Chicago and Childhood, story writer Stuart Dybek returns with eleven masterful and masterfully linked stories about Chicago’s fabled and harrowing South Side. United, they comprise the story of Perry Katzek and his widening, endearing clan. Through these streets walk butchers, hitmen, mothers and factory workers, boys turned men and men turned to urban myth. I Sailed With Magellan solidifies Dybek’s standing as one of our finest chroniclers of urban America.
The Visible Man by Chuck Klosterman
Therapist Victoria Vick is contacted by a cryptic, unlikable man who insists his situation is unique and unfathomable. As he slowly reveals himself, Vick becomes convinced that he suffers from a complex set of delusions: Y__, as she refers to him, claims to be a scientist who has stolen cloaking technology from an aborted government project in order to render himself nearly invisible. He says he uses this ability to observe random individuals within their daily lives, usually when they are alone and vulnerable. Unsure of his motives or honesty, Vick becomes obsessed with her patient and the disclosure of his increasingly bizarre and disturbing tales. Over time, it threatens her career, her marriage, and her own identity.
A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny
In the murky London gloom, a knife-wielding gentleman named Jack prowls the midnight streets with his faithful watchdog Snuff – gathering together the grisly ingredients they will need for an upcoming ancient and unearthly rite. For soon after the death of the moon, black magic will summon the Elder Gods back into the world. And all manner of Players, both human and undead, are preparing to participate.
Some have come to open the gates. Some have come to slam them shut.
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
The story remains unchanged, focusing on a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.
Of course, neither Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson nor his companion Karen Green was prepared to face the consequences of that impossibility, until the day their two little children wandered off and their voices eerily began to return another story — of creature darkness, of an ever-growing abyss behind a closet door, and of that unholy growl which soon enough would tear through their walls and consume all their dreams.
The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski
Kosinski’s story follows a dark-haired, olive-skinned boy, abandoned by his parents during World War II, as he wanders alone from one village to another, sometimes hounded and tortured, only rarely sheltered and cared for. Through the juxtaposition of adolescence and the most brutal of adult experiences, Kosinski sums up a Bosch-like world of harrowing excess where senseless violence and untempered hatred are the norm.
The Prophecy by Chris Kuzneski
When the prophetic writings of sixteenth-century visionary Nostradamus begin to ring alarmingly true, Payne and Jones find themselves in a life-or-death race across the world to stop those who would use the French seer’s predictions for their own dark purposes.
Suitcase Charlie by John Guzlowski
Chicago, May 30, 1956: On a quiet corner in a working-class immigrant neighborhood, a heavy suitcase is discovered on the sidewalk late at night. Inside is the body of a young boy, naked and hacked into pieces.
Two hard-drinking Chicago detectives are assigned to the case: Hank Purcell, who still has flashbacks ten years after the Battle of the Bulge, and his partner Marvin Bondarowicz, a wise-cracking Jewish cop who loves trouble as much as he loves booze. Their investigation takes them through the dark streets of Chicago in search of an even darker secret—as more and more suitcases turn up.
The Lullaby of Polish Girls by Dagmara Dominczyk
Anna’s family emigrate to the U.S. in the 1980s when she is just a girl. They are granted political asylum because of her father’s role in the Solidarity movement that brings an end to the Communist regime. Anna never quite feels like she belongs until the summer she is 12, when she returns to Kielce, Poland, to visit her grandmother. She develops an intense friendship with two local girls-brash and beautiful Justyna and desperate, awkward Bronka. Despite the very different paths their lives take, they maintain their connection. Over a decade later, a scandalous murder leads them back to the place where their unlikely friendship began.