The Most Fun We Ever Had and author Claire Lombardo

Claire Lombardo’s The Most Fun We Ever Had debuted on the New York Times bestseller list — an impressive start for this first-time novelist who started life in Oak Park. That book, which launched last June here at Ernest Hemingway’s Birthplace Museum, caught the eye of some Hollywood bigwigs. Laura Dern and Amy Adams are signed on to be executive producers of an HBO series based on Lombardo’s book.  

“I’m absolutely thrilled with how this venture has unfolded thus far, and with the fact that the project is in the capable hands of so many smart and talented women,” Lombardo said. “To see The Most Fun We Ever Had find new life beyond the page is incredibly exciting.”

The 500-page work follows the Sorenson family and is partly set in Oak Park. Lombardo can’t say if the series will be set here, but she is the one penning the script, under supervision from seasoned writer/producer Anya Epstein. 

“This is my first time writing for television and it’s been a real delight, almost like learning a new language,” Lombardo said. “To be able to venture down new technical avenues of writing has been fascinating…” 

Lombardo, who can write from anywhere, currently resides in Pennsylvania, but is sheltering in place in Minneapolis, where she was visiting when “things started to get serious” with COVID-19.

At this point, there is no potential date for the show to debut, or actors chosen for the parts. 

“My writer-brain doesn’t look at my characters in terms of actors, so it’s my new favorite game to play with readers and book clubs, to pick their brains about who they see playing so-and-so.”  

Stay tuned to see how the happy Sorenson parents and their four “radically different daughters” translate to the screen.

Library's Oak Park Creates offers variety

There's no time like the present to start a new book. And with the Oak Park Public Library's program, Oak Park Creates, there is a varied collection of local authors' works to choose from.     

"Anyone with direct ties to Oak Park can submit their creative work for possible inclusion, and anyone with a library card in the SWAN library network can check out items from the Oak Park Creates collection," said Kathleen Spale, manager of access services and coordinator of Oak Park Creates.   

Books Spale see as highlights in the collection are Jacob Grant's picture books, Dorothy Grigg's novel, and Sandy Sameshima's recently released photo essay on sexual abuse survivors. All three creators currently reside in Oak Park. 

Grant's Scaredy Kate, about a girl terrified by her aunt's big bulldog, is available as an eBook on Hoopla with a library card. Grigg's "old-school love story" Sisters in Spirit can be accessed through the library's Biblioboard (library.biblioboard.com/welcome). Surviving our Secrets by Sameshima is only available as a physical book.  

Some other current residents who have traditionally published books in the collection are Mike Moreci (graphic novels), Mike Grosso (kids' fiction), Amy Struckmeyer (crafts) and   Eric Friedman (philanthropy). Previous residents include Susan Subak (city planning, history), Daniela Olszewska (poetry) and Jessica Monahan (magical realism fiction).  

Current residents who have self-published books in Oak Park Creates include Wes Payton (social satire), Pam Pomilee (design/fashion), Richard Kordesh (parenting), Darren Musial (mystery), Mark Rosenfelder (science fiction), Bret Juliano (comic book), Dan Frank (action/adventure, thriller) and Lee Barry (pop culture philosophy).

Some of these works are available as eBooks and can be accessed through Hoopla or Biblioboard. No physical books can be obtained now with libraries closed, but when open, a   carousel of shelves holds most of the more than 240-item collection on the second floor of the Main Library. Oak Park Creates also includes music and films. More: oppl.org/read-listen-watch/oak-park-creates.

Michelle Dybal

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