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.

American Rust

altMeyer, Philipp.  American Rust.  2009.  (Fiction Meyer.P)

This is the Crash of novels.  The way the story intertwines and weaves seven points of view together is a masterpiece.  This is a darkly depressing and beautiful first novel from Philipp Meyer about love, loss, and circumstances.  Poe and Isaac are unlikely best friends determined to get out of their decaying steel town when fate intervenes.  One incident changes the course of their lives forever and, by extension, the lives of everyone around them.  The web of narrative Meyer uses is flawless.  As the reader you can feel the despair and through it you learn that there are no real heroes or villains, but that within us all reside a bit of both.  American Rust is an unbelievable contribution to American fiction. (Kim, Reader's Services)



Gone to New York

Frazier, Ian. Gone to New York. 2005. (917.471 Frazi.I)

My daughter and I went to New York City to visit an ailing relative. For the flight I picked up this collection of Big Apple-focused comic nonfiction by Sandy Frazier, the only two-time winner of the James Thurber prize (for humor writing). Frazier is a jester with a great heart, just what I needed for a bittersweet trip. Several essays cheered my 12-year-old companion too. Guaranteed belly laughs, plus something more enduring. (Jeff B., Reader's Services)



Mozart's Sister

Mozart's Sister. 2012. (DVD 791.4372 Mozarts)

Mozart’s sister was unfortunately born the wrong gender and in the wrong century. Taught by her father Leopold to play the harpsichord when she was seven, Maria Anna Mozart (nicknamed “Nannerl”) and Wolfgang toured the royal courts throughout Europe. But as soon as Nannerl was of “marriageable age” she was no longer allowed to play the violin or compose (a man’s province only). Director Rene Feret vividly portrays her early life in 18th-century France, showcasing her musical accomplishments as well as her imagined friendship with King Louis XV’s youngest daughter Louise and widowed son, the Dauphin. We will never know how great a musician she could have become since none of her compositions survived – we do know that she acquiesced to the roles of wife, mother, and dutiful daughter. And although several books have been written about her, she has been relegated to walking in her brother’s shadow. The director’s daughter Marie Feret brings intelligence, simplicity and thoughtfulness to the title role – and a resigned sadness for the limitations imposed upon her. She may only be a footnote in history, but in this film she shines. In French with English subtitles. (Laura, Reader's Services)



Après Lui (DVD)

Après Lui. 2007.

If you’re a fan of Catherine Deneuve (or French film), you'll enjoy Après Lui (English: After him). Directed in 2007 by Gaël Morel, Deneuve gives a memorable performance as Camille, an attractive, but aging divorced mother whose teenage son, Mathieu, is unexpectedly killed in a car accident. As she grieves, she becomes obsessed with her son’s best friend, Franck, who survived the accident. Camille’s disturbing fixation on the young man derives, it seems, from an attempt to keep her son’s memory alive. As she increasingly asserts herself on Franck—to the disapproval of family and friends—she becomes increasingly isolated and unstable. Deneuve gives a stirring performance as the intense, unraveling Camille. French with English subtitles. (Russ K., Ref.)



King, Stephen. 11/22/63. 2011. (Fiction King.S)

Although it's more science fiction than horror, 11/22/63 is pure Stephen King, reminiscent of his best 70s novels. Jake Epping is a high school English teacher, recruited by his dying friend, Al, to travel into the past to prevent the assassination of President Kennedy. The diner that Al owns hides a portal to 1958, which is the year the family of one of Jake's adult education students was murdered. Jake decides to go back in time to save the student's family, then returns to the present to assess the repercussions of changing that event. Eventually he's persuaded that saving JFK will result in more good than bad, and he heads back to 1958. First, though, he has to save his student's family again because each trip back is a complete "reset." Jake then settles down to wait for November 1963. The historical details are fascinating, and Stephen King obviously did his research about Lee Harvey Oswald, but despite a love interest (a librarian!) and some endearing supporting characters, the novel drags a bit in the middle. Several twists and the introduction of another villain get it back on track. (Genevieve G.)



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