Lake Forest Reads

Read with Lake Forest Library

Why We Read

We are happy you have decided to read with your family, friends, neighbors, and us! Lake Forest Library Reading Programs are designed to encourage shared reading experiences, thoughtful discussions, and meaningful community connections. For students, reading outside of school also helps enhance their academic abilities and reduce loss of skills over school breaks.

In addition to reading, our reading programs often invite you to attend Library programs, complete fun activities, or tackle other challenges to enhance your reading journey. Not to mention prizes!

On this page you'll find details about a specific reading program. All programs can be completed using paper logs -OR- online using the Beanstack app. If you have any questions about the program or using Beanstack, please contact us by calling 847.234.0636 or emailing

Using the Beanstack App

Niche Academy has tutorials to help you learn to use Beanstack in your web browser and on Android and Apple devices. Watch tutorials.

Absolutely! The Library continues to provide paper logs for all reading programs. They are available to download and print below, or you can pick them up at the Children's Circulation Desk or Adult Reference Desk.

  1. Download the free Beanstack app from your device's app store.
  2. Open the app and select "At my library, school, or bookstore."
  3. Select "Find a site."
  4. Search for "Lake Forest Library" and select it from the search results.
  5. Create your Beanstack app account using your email address and making up a password.
  6. *Tip* You can add multiple readers to the same account (such as your partner or children), and every reader can join different challenges.
  7. Select "Challenges" and join the current challenge.

If you prefer, you can create a Beanstack account and access open challenges in your browser by visiting the Library's Beanstack page at

If you don’t remember if you have an account, contact us by calling 847.234.0636 or emailing

  1. Open the Beanstack app or visit in your browser.
  2. Select "Sign In" and enter your email address and password.
  3. Select "Challenges" and enroll in the current reading program.
  4. Begin reading, completing activities, and logging your progress!

If you forgot what email address you used when creating your Beanstack account, contact us by calling 847.234.0636 or emailing

  1. Open the Beanstack app or visit in your browser.
  2. Sign in.
  3. If you have multiple readers on the same account (such as you and your children), you can switch between readers by tapping or selecting your name, initials, or profile image.
  4. In the app, tap the big plus sign ➕. If you're using the browser, select "Log reading and activities."
  5. Follow the prompts to enter your achievements.

You can always ask your Lake Forest Librarians for help. Contact us by calling 847.234.0636 or emailing

In the app:

  1. Tap the gear icon ⚙
  2. Tap help

In your browser: Info coming soon.


Lake Forest Reads

Stay tuned for next time

This recurring program will return! Stay tuned for details.

One Book, One Community

Since 2012, Lake Forest Reads has encouraged Lake Foresters to come together and read one book with the purpose of fostering literacy, a culture of reading, and a sense of community. Lake Forest Library and community partners present a month-long series of events and activities focusing on themes in the novel, culminating in a Meet the Author event. We encourage you to deepen your experience with the book by attending events and hosting your own book discussions!

(Past program) Lake Forest Reads 2022

Thank you for your interest in this past event, service, survey, or contest. The event or information has expired and is no longer active.


2022 Selection

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"What an important book this is … So brilliantly sketched is this brilliant woman that you will find yourself both infuriated by the misogynistic battles she faces and inspired by the intellectual achievements she manages to secure regardless. A must-read for anyone interested in science or forgotten heroines." —Kate Moore, New York Times bestselling author of The Radium Girls and The Women They Could Not Silence

"Benedict adeptly brings forward another accomplished, intriguing, and unjustly overlooked or oversimplified real-life woman in a welcoming and involving historical novel." —Booklist


About the Book

She changed the world with her discovery. Three men took the credit.

Rosalind Franklin has always been an outsider—brilliant, but different. Whether working at the laboratory she adored in Paris or toiling at a university in London, she feels closest to the science, those unchanging laws of physics and chemistry that guide her experiments. When she is assigned to work on DNA, she believes she can unearth its secrets.

Rosalind knows if she just takes one more X-ray picture—one more after thousands—she can unlock the building blocks of life. Never again will she have to listen to her colleagues complain about her, especially Maurice Wilkins who'd rather conspire about genetics with James Watson and Francis Crick than work alongside her.

Then it finally happens—the double helix structure of DNA reveals itself to her with perfect clarity. But what unfolds next, Rosalind could have never predicted.

Marie Benedict's powerful new novel shines a light on a woman who sacrificed her life to discover the nature of our very DNA, a woman whose world-changing contributions were hidden by the men around her but whose relentless drive advanced our understanding of humankind.

Go to the catalog to borrow "Her Hidden Genius" by Marie Benedict

Photo Credit: Anthony Musmanno

About the Author

As a young woman, Marie Benedict was gifted a book by a treasured aunt—who also happened to be an English professor—that opened her eyes to the hidden world of women's stories and voices that lurked in the shadows of the past. The epiphany she experienced while immersed in this particular book, The Mists of Avalon, is one she hopes to share with the readers of her own books, as she unearths important but unknown, historical women from the detritus of the past and brings them into the light of modern-day where their very contemporary contributions and issues can be explored.

Marie's route to authorship was circuitous—involving a decade as a commercial litigator in New York City and failed aspirations at becoming an archaeologist—but now that she's arrived, she is wasting no time in writing her narratively connected series of historical novels, that began with The Other Einstein, the story of Einstein's first wife, a physicist who made important contributions to his theories, continued with Carnegie's Maid, the tale of an Irish immigrant woman who influenced Carnegie's transformation into the founder of free libraries, and persists with The Only Woman In The Room, the story of the brilliant inventor Hedy Lamarr.

Lady Clementine (Jan 2020) is the story of the incredible Clementine Churchill and was an instant international bestseller. Her next novel, The Mystery of Mrs. Christie was published in January of 2021, and her first co-written book, The Personal Librarian, with the talented Victoria Christopher Murray, in June of 2021. Her latest novel, Her Hidden Genius, was published in January 2022. Coming in January 2023 is The Mitford Affair.

Marie, a magna cum laude graduate of Boston College and a cum laude graduate from the Boston University School of Law after which she practiced as a commercial litigator in New York City for a decade, lives in Pittsburgh with her family. Writing as Heather Terrell, Marie also published the historical novels The Chrysalis, The Map Thief, and Brigid of Kildare.

Read · Discuss · Attend

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Thank you for attending these 2022 events with us

  • Afternoons with Judy Levin discussion of "Her Hidden Genius"

  • Book Discussion with Dickinson Hall: "Her Hidden Genius"

  • DIY Kit: Beaded Double Helix Keychain

  • Where Science & Art Connect with Deb Levie

  • Book Chat & Coffee: "Her Hidden Genius"

  • Feature Film Friday showing of "Hidden Figures"

  • Nonfiction at Night discussion of "Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA"

  • A Conversation with Author Marie Benedict and Davis Schneiderman

  • A Morning Chat with Marie Benedict & Dr. Lise Eliot

  • After Hours with Author Marie Benedict


Further Reading & Resources

"How We Rise," a conversation between author Marie Benedict and the niece of Dr. Rosalind Franklin
Helix magazine, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

Discussion Guide for "Her Hidden Genius" by Marie Benedict curated by your librarians.

WGN Midday Fix: Author of Her Hidden Genius

Writing Contest


  • Submit your typed entry by September 30, 2022, using the form below.
  • Entries must be between 2,000 and 10,000 words.
  • Entries must involve some theme from “Her Hidden Genius,” (women in science, DNA, Paris, London, physics, chemistry, x-rays, etc.).


  • Your entry published on the Library’s blog and promoted on social media
  • A personalized, signed copy of “Her Hidden Genius”
  • A $50 gift card to Lake Forest Book Store
  • Two front row seats to all Lake Forest Reads author events

Submit Your Entry

Thank You to Our Partners

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