Celebrate National Library Lovers’ Month with a Curation of Titles to Read

Celebrate National Book Lover’s Month by diving into the captivating world of literature! We curated a list of titles around libraries and popular adaptations. Join us now in the world of reading!

The Joy Luck Club by Susan Kim, adapted from the novel by Amy Tan

The Joy Luck Club tells the story of four older Chinese-American women and their complex relationships with their American-born daughters. The play moves from China in the early twentieth century and San Francisco from the 1950s to the 1980s, as the eight women struggle to reach across a seemingly unpassable chasm of culture, generation and expectations to find strength and happiness.

John Steinbeck’s East of Eden adapted by Frank Galati

Escaping a turbulent past, Adam Trask is determined to make a new start in California’s Salinas Valley. Adam and his wife, Cathy, settle on a beautiful farm, and soon Cathy gives birth to twins Caleb and Aron. But family history, sibling rivalry, and the impending danger of World War I will threaten their little piece of paradise. East of Eden is an American epic, grand in scope yet deeply personal, that asks if it is possible to escape the mistakes of previous generations.

The Bookstore by Adam Szymkowicz

The future of a whimsical, almost magical bookstore is uncertain after the owner dies and leaves the shop to her niece Rachel. Rachel has a job in New York City that doesn’t pay her enough and a fiancé that won’t stop calling. She doesn’t have the time or patience to run a bookstore, so when real estate magnate Max Brewer offers her more money than she can imagine to turn the store into an apartment complex, her choice seems like a no-brainer. But as the shop works its magic on her and she gets to know the eccentric employees and clientele, she starts to wonder: Can you really put a price on a beloved community bookstore?

Carl the Second by Marc Palmieri

Midway through a life of living in the shadows of others, city bookstore manager Carl Fraser has found solace and an understanding of his place in the universe with the great also-rans of literature. At peace in the lonesome cloister of a used bookstore, Carl has somehow found dignity, comfort and a kind of sad romance in the condition to which he believes he is doomed. Enter Christine, perhaps the first woman in his life who threatens his theory with a challenge to defy the evidence and dare to be loved.

A Day for Surprises by John Guare

Zany and absurdist in style, this hilarious short play deals with the surprising day on which one of the stone lions in front of New York’s Public Library left its perch long enough to devour one of the lady librarians. The victim was also the fiancée of a fellow worker—whose grief leads to an enormously funny recounting of their brief liaison. But, as the satiated lion resumes his customary perch, consolation is at hand in the form of another lady librarian, and we are aware that still more surprises are likely to come as life goes on its unpredictable way.

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby: Part I & Part II by David Edgar, from the novel by Charles Dickens

Winner of the 1982 Tony Award® and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play

Despite its length and large cast, the play requires relatively simple staging, enabling it to move smoothly through its many scenes and related storylines. The sum total is a brilliant recapturing of the sights and sounds of Victorian England, and the touching, funny, exhilarating saga of the virtuous young Nicholas as he meets and masters the challenges of poverty and corruption. In the end, the play is a soaring affirmation of man’s essential goodness—a thrilling, eloquent rendering of the diverse people, places, and events which, in Dickens’ time or in ours, make up the real stuff of life and draw on the deepest resources of the human spirit. As Clive Barnes puts it: “The greatness of NICHOLAS NICKLEBY is breathtakingly simple. The play flies. And it flies backwards. It takes you to a world of sentiment and passion glimpsed before but never known.”

The Wind in the Willows adapted by Zoey Zimmerman

Badger, Ratty, Mole, and the rest of their animal cohorts are on a mission to save their beloved riverbank home, now gravely ill from the effects of global warming. Their plan is to enter the Wide World and teach it to rethink its fundamental notions of design, but first, they must overcome a group of criminal weasels and a very stubborn Toad. Influenced by William McDonough and Michael Braungart’s environmental text Cradle to Cradle, this version of The Wind in the Willows is a modern, comedic adaptation of Kenneth Graham’s classic novel.

The Wind in the Willows adapted by T. James Belich

What begins as a peaceful summer on the River is soon disrupted by Toad and his obsession with motorcars. After crashing several cars, he then steals one and lands himself in jail. His friends Mole, Badger, and Water Rat make every effort to protect Toad’s residence, Toad Hall, but are instead ousted by the Ferrets and Weasels of the Wild Wood. Will Toad escape from jail and regain Toad Hall? Will he learn a lesson about his boastful and impetuous ways? A spirited adaptation of a timeless classic.

The Librarian by James Prideaux

In a mental institution, a librarian, driven to the edge of madness, is questioned by a doctor. She tells him of her bewilderment that libraries could close, in such a great country, due to a lack of funding, revealing that the closing of her beloved library has caused her to resort to violence. She finds comfort only in the voices of the great artists of the past, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, and above all, Vincent Van Gogh, and from them, she clings to hope.

Junie B. Jones: Toothless Wonder by Allison Gregory

Junie B. Jones is having a rough day—no, scratch that, a rough week! First off, she is about to lose her first tooth, and what does the Tooth Fairy do with all those teeth anyway? Even worse, everyone in her class has been invited to her classmate Jim’s birthday…except for her. Will Junie land that surprisingly elusive invitation? And if her tooth comes out, what will she even look like? Visit Junie’s charming and witty world as we learn together what it means to grow up and fit in.

The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon (full-length) by Don Zolidis

The fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm are turned on their heads in this fast-paced, rollicking ride as two narrators and several actors attempt to combine all 209 stories ranging from classics like Snow White, Cinderella, and Hansel and Gretel to more bizarre, obscure stories like The Devil’s Grandmother and The Girl Without Hands. A wild, free-form comedy with lots of audience participation and madcap fun. (A one-act version of this play is also available.)

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher, from the novella Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

A new and shocking version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale of depravity, lust, love and horror. On the fog-bound streets of Victorian-era London, Henry Jekyll’s experiments with exotic “powders and tinctures” have brought forth his other self—Edward Hyde, a sensualist and villain free to commit the sins Jekyll is too civilized to comprehend. When Hyde meets a woman who stirs his interest, Jekyll fears for her life and decides to end his experiments. But Hyde has other ideas, and so the two sides battle each other in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse to determine who shall be the master and who his slave. With multiple Hydes portrayed by members of the cast.

Flesh and Blood by Peter Gaitens, adapted from the novel by Michael Cunningham

Adapted from Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Michael Cunningham’s keenly observed saga of twentieth-century American life, FLESH AND BLOOD traces nearly 100 years in the lives of one archetypal family. Dominated by their volatile father, the Greek immigrant Constantine, and alienated from their mother, the genteel and ambitious Mary, the Stassos children, Susan, Billy and Zoe, struggle to build lives and find love in a culture undergoing tectonic shifts. Like lonely planets whose long, elliptical orbits collide in unexpected, sometimes violent ways, the members of the Stassos family, as well as the extraordinary friends and lovers whom they find along their way, careen both towards and away from one another in poignant, heartbreaking and sometimes shattering fashion. Burdened by expectation, betrayed by circumstance and confounded by desires that they can only struggle to control, the ever-evolving clan marches inexorably toward tragedy—and ultimately redemption. Eschewing a literal translation of the novel’s massive scale, the play employs an almost musical structure, relying on theatrical versions of counterpoint, rhythm and harmony to illustrate both the yawning chasms and the intimate spaces that define human relationships. Finding humor in the most unlikely of places, sadness in the funniest of exchanges and grace in the most devastating of circumstances, Flesh and Blood is a detailed, poetic and boldly theatrical reinvention of a classic American story.

Little Women by Kate Hamill

Adapted from the novel by Louisa May Alcott

Jo March isn’t your typical Victorian lady. She’s indecorous and headstrong, and one day she’s going to be a great American novelist. As she and her sisters grow up in the middle of the Civil War, they strive to be brave, intelligent, and imaginative young women. But as adulthood approaches, each sister must negotiate her private ambitions with society’s expectations. In a war-torn world defined by gender, class, and personal tragedy, Jo March gives us her greatest story: that of the March sisters, four dreamers destined to be imperfect little women.

Little Women (full-length) adapted by Marisha Chamberlain

Under the guidance of their beloved mother, the four young March sisters — tempestuous Jo, motherly Meg, shy Beth, and spoiled baby Amy — struggle to keep their family going while Father’s away in the Civil War. In this beautifully dramatized adaptation of the classic novel, even as privation, illness, and sibling rivalry cast their shadows, each girl strives to find her true self. (A one-act version of this play is also available.)

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Two drifters, George and his friend Lennie, with delusions of living off the “fat of the land,” have just arrived at a ranch to work for enough money to buy their own place. Lennie is a man-child, a little boy in the body of a dangerously powerful man. It’s Lennie’s obsessions with things soft and cuddly that have made George cautious about who the gentle giant, with his brute strength, associates with. His promise to allow Lennie to “tend to the rabbits” on their future land keeps Lennie calm, amidst distractions, as the overgrown child needs constant reassurance. But when a ranch boss’ promiscuous wife is found dead in the barn with a broken neck, it’s obvious that Lennie, albeit accidentally, killed her. George, now worried about his own safety, knows exactly where Lennie has gone to hide, and he meets him there. Realizing they can’t run away anymore, George is faced with a moral question: How should he deal with Lennie before the ranchers find him and take matters into their own hands?

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales based on the book by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smithby John Glore

Though the characters may be familiar, each of your favorite storybook fables is uproariously derailed in this adaptation of Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith’s quintessential children’s book of fractured fairy tales. Everything from “Chicken Little” to “The Gingerbread Man” gets a complete makeover. Fun music and witty narration accompany the likes of ineloquent giants, sassy barnyard animals, colossal cow pies, and enough stinky cheese to go around.

Vanity Fair by Kate Hamill

based on the novel by William Makepeace Thackeray

Becky is “bad.” Amelia is “good.” But in an unfair world, it isn’t always that simple…Two women—one born into privilege, another straight from the streets—attempt to navigate a society that punishes them for every misstep. Clever Becky’s not afraid to break the rules; soft-hearted Amelia’s scared to bend them. Both strive for what they want—but neither can thrive without the other. Through Becky and Amelia’s victories and losses, this thrilling, highly theatrical (im)morality play explores how flexible our morals can become when the wheel of fortune turns…Bold, wickedly funny, and shockingly relevant, VANITY FAIR demands that we face our own hypocrisy. After all…who are we to judge?

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time based on the novel by Mark Haddon, adapted by Simon Stephens

Winner of the 2013 Tony Award® for Best Play

15-year-old Christopher has an extraordinary brain: He is exceptional at mathematics but ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched, and he distrusts strangers. Now it is 7 minutes after midnight, and Christopher stands beside his neighbor’s dead dog, Wellington, who has been speared with a garden fork. Finding himself under suspicion, Christopher is determined to solve the mystery of who murdered Wellington, and he carefully records each fact of the crime. But his detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a thrilling journey that upturns his world.

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