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.

The Ice Queen: a novel

Hoffman, Alice. The Ice Queen. 2005. (Fiction Hoffm.A)

titleWhat is the difference between love and obsession? What if you made a spiteful wish and it came true? What if you've stopped letting yourself feel anything and you are struck by lightning? Will it melt the ice shard in your heart? As an angry eight year old, the narrator wished her mother would disappear. Her mother's car slipped on ice and she died. Armoring herself against any further emotions, the narrator lives her life at a remove from those around her until a second wish, that she be hit by lightning, comes true. Now physically damaged as well as emotionally dead, she seeks other survivors to help her discover if life is more than simply surviving. Though with a few too many fairy tale references and a long lead into this odd love story, Hoffman's magical and descriptive language weaves its spell.

(Nancy E., North Branch)


The Ship of Brides

titleMoyes, Jojo. The Ship of Brides. 2014, 2005. (Fiction Moyes.J)

British author Moyes is hot right now in the U.S. She's mastered the art of the sophisticated relationship novel. She knows how to tug at your heartstrings--but not too hard--with intelligent dialogue, compelling plot lines, and believable characters. Some of her titles offer good discussion fodder for book groups; others are just read-'em-and-enjoy selections. This one falls in the latter category. In 1946 British Naval ships bound for home transported thousands of young women who had married British soldiers stationed in Australia during WWII. This novel follows the fate of four such war brides as they make their way on a six week journey to England aboard a decrepit aircraft carrier. They can't help but fret about the future that awaits them. The crewmen, too, have their hopes and worries, and shipboard life is fraught with problems with so many young women aboard.

(Barbara L., Reader's Services)



The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy


Adams, Douglas. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. 1979. (Science Fiction Adams.D)

Perhaps the definitive work of comic Sci-Fi -- thirty-five years old now, and still hilarious. But not just goofball hilarious. Higher-brow hilarious too. And deftly satirical, with fans including scientist Richard Dawkins, actor Stephen Fry, and the Monty Python guys.

In the first of Adams' five-book series, the bland Arthur Dent is trying to understand why his house is to be demolished for a highway bypass, when suddenly it doesn't matter because the Earth is demolished for an interstellar bypass. Plucked from the vaporizing Earth, the nondescript Dent travels the galaxy with a host of non-nondescript characters who are like Lucasfilm creations, but funnier and more thought-provoking.

Read more: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy


Faith Fox

titleGardam, Jane. Faith Fox. 1996. (Fiction Garda.J)

Cheery, well-liked Holly Fox has died giving birth to Faith, the drop in the pond from which the concentric circles radiate. An omniscient narrator swoops from character to character letting us in on the joke, the befuddlement, the pain, the prayers. Upper crust and stiff-upper-lip Londoners mix uneasily with Northerners, in-laws of different class, mysterious Tibetans, unworldly clergy and "reformed" hooligans in this amazing and gentle, though pretention-piercing, story. The opening chapters are like nothing I've read before.

(Nancy E., NB)




Robinson, Marilynne. Lila. 2014 (Fiction Robin.M)

Whether or not you've read the previous installments of Marilynne Robinson's trilogy set in the fictional town of Gilead, Iowa (including the masterful Gilead and Home, which, I admit, I haven't read), please don't hesitate to pick up Lila. With her contemplative prose and fully-drawn characters, Robinson is a writer at the top of her game, truly one of the best in modern fiction. A meditation on love, faith, humanity and the devastating effects poverty and loneliness can have on one's psyche, Lila is worthy of it's place atop many "best of the year" lists. (Heather N., Reader's Services)


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