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.

Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs


Barry, Dave. Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs. 1997. (817.54 Barry.D)

Twenty years ago Dave Barry wrote a classic Miami Herald column mocking songs that stink, eliciting thousands of reader comments and leading to this great collection of bad lyrics and apt quips about them. For example, "I Am," written and sung with great emotion by Neil Diamond:  "I am, I said / To no one there / And no one heard at all / Not even the chair." To which Barry responds: "Was Neil surprised?" And then there's "MacArthur Park," by Jimmy Webb: "Someone left the cake out in the rain / I don't think that I can take it / 'Cause it took so long to bake it / And I'll never have that recipe again." Which Barry and many readers dismiss as inane, intolerable, incomprehensible, inexcusable, and many other "in-" pejoratives. Chapter themes include ""Teen Death" and "Weenie." Barry generously highlights others' creative mockery, passing along such choice reader comments as "I'd rather chew a jumbo roll of tinfoil than hear that song."

Read more: Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs


Great Balls of Cheese

titleBuffardi, Michelle. Great Balls of Cheese. 2013. (641.373 Buffa.M)

Did you know that according to legend, the first cheese ball in recorded history was made for Thomas Jefferson in 1801 and weighed 1,235 pounds? Scholars agree that the second cheese ball (and probably all subsequent ones) was made for some unknown cocktail party and weighed considerably less. OK, I'm pulling your leg a little here by way of introducing this clever book. 'Tis the season to bring something to the party, and just about every cheese ball recipe here will produce oohs and aahs and maybe a few laughs. They all look delicious, and the adorably anthropomorphic ones display a kitschy creativity that's sure to please. A colleague of mine made the sweet almond hedgehog (pg. 98) and another colleague attested to its cuteness and yummy-ness. Alas, it was all gone by the time I got to work [sigh].

(Barbara L., Reader's Services)


The Internship

titleThe Internship. 2013. (DVD Comedy Interns)

This movie was cute.  If it did anything more than make me chuckle at some parts it was make me want to abandon all current employment and go in search of a crumb of a job at Google.  Not only do they give you free food all day long, and bike to ride around on, but they have AND promote the use of NAP PODS!  Do you know how much more I’d enjoy coming to work if I knew at some point during the day I could not only escape the desk, but be encouraged to sleep?  Aside from the unrealistic dreams it puts in your head of a company that is awesome beyond words, it’s a predictable comedy, standard and formulaic.  That said, it’s still better than some of the crap nearly over-the-hill early 00’s comedians are putting out (i.e. Grown Ups).  (Kim - Reader's Services) 


Man of Steel

titleMan of Steel. 2013. (DVD Sci-Fi Man)

I’m not often at a loss of words, but I just don’t know where to start about this movie.  Maybe it’s because I’m not a fan of origin stories or maybe it’s because I’m not a fan of my superheroes being deep and anguished, but this movie was lackluster for me.  To me, Superman will always be Dean Cain from Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.  I liked the dorkiness of Clark Kent and the ridiculousness that Lois doesn’t recognize that Clark and Superman are the same person with or without glasses on.  The Man of Steel Superman is darker, more tortured, avoiding his destiny on crab fishing boats and ice road trucking routes in Alaska and the far North.  Also, Lois Lane, in this iteration, is the one that finds him out before anything else happens.  Henry Cavill is the only redeeming feature.  He is sexy.  His American accent is spot on (he’s actually English).  And he could be Superman...had he a better script.  (Kim - Reader's Services) 


Above Suspicion


Above Suspicion. 2010. (DVD TV Above)

I’m on a Lynda La Plante TV diet. Her series from Prime Suspect to The Commander are non-fattening but completely addictive. In Above Suspicion Ciaran Hinds as DCI James Langton and Kelly Reilly as DCI Anna Travis combine forces, both personal and procedural, to solve some very gruesome serial murders. “The Red Dahlia” one of the most chilling episodes, focuses on a copycat murderer who recreates in graphic detail the unsolved 1940s murder of Elizabeth Short in Los Angeles called the Black Dahlia case. Intricate plotting, interesting character development, and great acting make for another excellent British drama series that will keep you riveted. EPL has sets 1 and 2 in its collection. (Laura, Reader's Services)


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