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.

A Coney Island of the Mind


Ferlinghetti, Lawrence. A Coney Island of the Mind. 1955. (811.54 Fer)

I meant to review this book in April, during national poetry month. But in Ferlinghetti's mocking words, "Daily I forget what is important... I was an American boy, I got caught stealing pencils from the Five and Ten Cent store the same month I made Eagle Scout." His voice is by turns irritated and sentimental, and something about the old-fashioned typewritten words, scattered across the pages with calculated whimsy, increases the power of his irreverence. Ferlinghetti pushed "beat" poetry into the mainstream in the 1950s, raising questions that the 1960s struggled to answer. He's 96 now, still kicking, helping to run the City Lights bookstore he founded in San Francisco more than sixty years ago.  (Jeff B., Reader's Services)




Fortitude. 2015. DVD TV Fortitu Season 1

Fortitude is the name of a fictional town on the edge of the Arctic Circle – it’s also what I needed to get through all 12 episodes of this ambitious mini-series. Boasting a great international cast (including Christopher Eccleston, Michael Gambon, Stanley Tucci) and an interesting premise (the effect of a brutal murder in a town with no crime), this tv show had all the makings of an exciting drama. And much of it is, but then it gets bogged down somewhere in the middle, with everything thrown in, including the kitchen sink.  Part sci-fi, part mystery, part thriller, part horror film, Fortitude would have benefited from a clearer narrative and a more cohesive plot. But good acting, amazing scenery, and bizarre story lines kept me watching til the bitter end. I understand a second series is in the works.Give me strength. (Laura, Readers Services)



Dead Wake

titleLarson, Eric. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania. 2015. (940.4514 Larso.E)

Eric Larson likes to alternate. Most of his best-selling books on major historical events of the 19th and 20th centuries offer alternating chapters that explore different but parallel facets of a single event or a momentous time. The reader is treated to wonderfully researched information, masterfully written, and then--still fact-based and accurate--the parallel story builds the tension (the serial killer, the impending hurricane, the escaped wife murderer, the Nazi machinations). Larson's latest puts us aboard the RMS Lusitania on her final voyage in May, 1915 during World War I. Alternating chapters take us aboard the German U-boat that sunk the luxury liner. Still others visit Room 40 of the British Admiralty naval intelligence as well as the White House in Washington, D.C.

Read more: Dead Wake



titleDayton, Arwen. Seeker. 2015. (YA Fiction Dayto.A)

Ancient traditions. Magic. Cellphones. Weapons. Scotland. England. Hong Kong. Noble purpose. Corruption. Seriously flawed parents. Teen bonding. Betrayal. Trust. Threats. Kindness. Killers. Healing. Death. To be continued.

(Nancy E., North Branch)




Maddow, Rachel. Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power. 2012. (355.02 Maddo.R)

For a century and a half the U.S.A. made war infrequently and only after serious debate, and Americans felt invested in the battle. Now we are perpetually at war but few of us feel it. We're getting used to War Without Hassle. The country's founders, Maddow explains, wanted war to be hard for everyone--argued openly, paid for contemporaneously, difficult to sustain politically. But in our time wars have been streamlined, hidden from view, and paid for through debt--and the decision to go to war has been stripped from the legislative branch. We drift toward privatized armies, drone attacks, and arguments over whether even to publish photos of soldiers' caskets. An Orwellian future looms, says Maddow, whom I find even more persuasive in print than on TV. (Jeff B., Reader's Services)


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