Readers' Services

The Readers’ Services staff can help you find specific materials and can offer reading suggestions. Please phone (847) 448-8620 for assistance. Use Novelist, to find reviews, reading guides, and reading lists for fiction lovers.

All the Light We Cannot See

titleDoerr, Anthony. All the Light We Cannot See. 2014. (Fiction Doerr.A)

Spirals of snail shells, of incendiary bombs falling, of snowflakes in the wind, of water eddying in tide pools, of a staircase in a tall narrow building . "It was hard to live through the early 1940s in France and not have the war be the center from which the rest of your life spiraled." Exquisitely written in rich and vivid language, this story of a blind French girl and a clever German boy, who are inexorably drawn into the execution and horror of WWII, is mesmerizing. Marie-Laure and her father flee Paris for the relative safety of Saint-Malo, a medieval walled city on the coast of Brittany. Walls will not block out this war. Werner, orphaned and destined for the mines that killed his father, is rescued from this inevitability only to be sent to a brutal training school for young soldiers of the Reich because of his talents for math and radio.He does what he is told. As the war escalates, so do their losses and bravery. This is a book to be savored.

(Nancy E., North Branch)


Amelia Anne Is Dead and Gone

titleRosenfield, Kat. Amelia Anne Is Dead and Gone. 2012. (Fiction Rosen.K)

I am not a mystery reader; I am much too impatient. As soon as the murder happens, I want to know who, why, how. Usually, I make a guess, skip to the end, find out I am wrong and then don't go back to read the rest. But I read this on the treadmill (YA's are perfect for the treadmill since the print is large and the plots move along quickly); if it's really good, you can forget to notice that you are exercising. This captured me. There are two young women whose lives vaguely parallel each other's. One is dead Amelia Anne, brutally assaulted and left to bleed to death on the side of the road outside the stifling small town where the second, Becca, lives while plotting her escape. Will the murder be solved before Becca becomes as dead and gone as Amelia Anne? And what do their boyfriends have to do with the deeds? Alternating between first person and third person narrative, each girl tells her story while hurtling towards her fate.

(Nancy E., North Branch)


The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

titleJonasson, Jonas. The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. 2012. (Fiction Jonas.J)

Allan Karlsson likes his vodka. After living in a dry Swedish pensioners' home for seven years, he climbs out the window to go in search of a drink on his hundredth birthday. Soon he is on the (slow) run, with a rolling suitcase stuffed with 50 million kroner. Allan's always been an easy-going guy (ask Harry Truman, Francisco Franco, Madame Mao, Herbert Einstein, among others) so he offers to share his unexpected wealth with anyone who will help him stay out of the home. The unlikely gang that forms in this amusing shaggy dog story, comes to include a small-time thief, a highly over-educated hot dog stand owner, an elephant and her mistress...Well, you get the idea. Enjoy.

(Nancy E.,North Branch)


Say What You Will

titleMcGovern, Cammie. Say What You Will. 2014. (YA Fiction Mcgov.C)

Sex, alcohol, classwork, parents, prom: all are challenges for high school students. How much more of a challenge are they if you have a disability? Amy, a senior with severe CP, wants to make friends and gain independence before leaving for college. Matthew, one of her student helpers, has undiagnosed OCD and no friends. Together and individually they confront their fears, developing a strong friendship which is severely tested by circumstances both within and outside their control. A YA librarian described this as the best book she read all year. It is funny, lovely and frightening.

(Nancy E., NB)


7 Years Younger: Instant Makeovers

title7 Years Younger Instant Makeovers: The Quick & Easy Anti-Aging Plan for Beautiful Skin, Hair, Mind & Body. 2015. (646.7042 Seven)

I love makeovers! There's just something satisfying about seeing the befores and afters. Would I do that to her hair? Is that a good color for her? What about those eyebrows on steroids? Sometimes it's, oh my, she looks fabulous now! And, who doesn't want to look 7 years younger? 14-year-olds aside, most of us wouldn't mind knocking off a few years. But this book was not that much fun--too many words, not enough pictures. Tons and tons of product advice (no brand loyalty detected, so that's nice), diet advice, a bunch of pages devoted to exercise moves, lifestyle changes and more. I decided at one point that unless you drank the kool-aid and did everything the authors suggested, the most you'd lose was one or two years. (And, while I'm at it, why do makeup artists think that plus-forty faces need so much foundation?)

(Barbara L., Reader's Services)



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