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.

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)



The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

Chabon, Michael. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. 2000. (Fiction Chabo.M)

I first reaaltd this fantastic novel about thirteen years ago when there was a lot of buzz about the book and the young, talented author. Chabon captured the Pulitzer for this one and deservedly so, I say. Cartooning, magicians, escapists, WWII, New York City, Jewish refugees, and the Golem of Prague all populate this rich tale of two cousins--Sammy Clay and Joe Kavalier--who enter the burgeoning world of the comics industry at a time when America needed superheroes. Their particular talents serve to set a new bar for the genre, and Chabon makes sure his readers know that cartooning is indeed an art form both visual and literary. Chabon's writing is a smooth read except for the occasional, brilliantly devised metaphor, or a delightful description of a character that beg to be re-read. I was both dismayed and pleasantly surprised at my second reading--dismayed because I had forgotten so much of the plot, and pleasantly surprised because it was like a new read for me.

(Barbara L., Reader's Services)



Orange is the New Black


Kerman, Piper. Orange is the New Black. 2011. 365.43 Kerma.P

Every once in a while, my next-door neighbor appears, hands me a book from her apartment and says: Read this. And then I do, because her choices are always interesting. Her most recent recommendation, Piper Kerman’s memoir, Orange is the New Black, was no exception. Piper is a twenty-something young woman who becomes involved in illicit activities while in a relationship with a drug trafficker. (Piper, by the way, is a white, blonde, middle-class gal from a well-educated family.) Eventually, Piper ends the relationship and cleans up her life…but some years later, her past catches up with her anyway. Faced with a trial, she pleads guilty and is sent to a minimum security prison for one year. Kerman’s story is a testament to the misery of incarceration, the failure of the prison system, but also a touching account of the unlikely and sometimes poignant friendships Kerman made with her colorful fellow inmates.  (Russ K., Ref.)



The Slow Book Revolution


The Slow Book Revolution: Creating a New Culture of Reading on College Campuses and Beyond.  Edited by Meagan Lacy.  2014.  (028.9 Slow)

In an era of information overload, this collection of thoughtful essays aims to restore a measure of calmness.  Only a conscious decision to carve out time for books--frequently--can counter the trend toward smartphone-skimming as our main form of reading.  The last essay, by EPL's own Karen Hansen and Lesley Williams, details the nuts-and-bolts of organizing "Mission Impossible," our highly successful Books-Almost-Nobody-Finishes book group.  (Jeff B., Reader's Services)


Dear Committee Members

titleSchumacher, Julie. Dear Committee Members. 2014. (Fiction Schum.J)

Oh, my goodness. How many of us have been asked to write letters of recommendation and have, in mealy mouthed fashion, written a bland unactionable piece while yearning to tell the truth as we see it? Jason Fitger, tenured professor in a dying and gutted English department, has no such qualms. Whether hardly apologizing to a former lover for betraying her while asking for a favor for a student or leaving the space blank when asked, in an online form, to explain why this person should be recommended, his hilarious screeds, rants and, yes, recommendations will entertain you.  A jacket blurb describes this novel as putting  "the 'pissed' back into 'epistolary'". 

(Nancy E., North Branch)



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