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.

Only When I Dance

Only When I Dance.  2010.  (DVD 792.8 Only)

Both Irlan and Isabella are talented dancers from poor sections of Rio de Janeiro. Both dream of professional ballet careers. This documentary depicts their unyielding efforts, their families' struggles to support them, and the suspense of their international competitions. Only one of them "makes it," but both demonstrate a passion for dance that will entrance you and break your heart. (Jeff B., Reader's Services)

 

The Silent Land

Joyce, Graham. The Silent Land. 2011. (Fiction Joyce.G) 

Barely surviving an avalanche in the French Alps, a happily married young couple miraculously make it back to their resort hotel only to find it completely evacuated. An unsettling silence prevails, punctured by an occasional groan from the landscape, the steady hum of the chairlift, a strange cough from an unusually large crow, the bark of a dog.  Isolated in a skiing paradise, with unlimited access to the finest food and wine, they are yet trapped, with the feeling that time is limited. Is this something positive and wonderful, or one big hellacious hallucination? We wonder too about the nature of love, the meaning of life, memory, and the secrets we keep to protect the ones we love. Bound to keep you up at night. (Susan R., Reader's Services)

   

Death Comes to Pemberley

James, P. D. Death Comes to Pemberley. 2012. (Mystery James.P)

It is a truth universally acknowledged that an author in possession of critical acclaim for a large body of work in the mystery genre should be able to apply her skill to a setting and cast borrowed from another noted author's work. Alas,  P. D. James has disappointed me with her latest offering. Her post-Pride and Prejudice tale starts off well. She serves up a good mix of witty social commentary and keen observations via a delightfully droll review of the events and characters of the original story. She cleverly gets us up to speed with reports gleaned from the gossipy chatterings of the locals in Longbourn, Pemberley and their environs . But once we begin the new story set at Pemberley six years into the happy marriage of Elizabeth and Darcy, things slow down to a dull creep.

Read more: Death Comes to Pemberley

   

El Orfanato (DVD)

El Orfanato. 2008

I decided to watch Guillermo del Toro’s El Orfanato (English: the Orphanage) because a waitress at a local Evanston restaurant raved about it.  “It’s the best horror movie I’ve seen in a long time,” she said.  “It’s really scary!”  So I bit the bullet and watched it.  The story revolves around a woman who purchases a seaside house in Spain—the former orphanage in which she grew up.  When her terminally ill son Simón begins conversing with invisible friends, she gives pause; but after he disappears during a bizarre open-house costume party, in final desperation she contacts a medium to help locate the boy.  While I personally found little that I'd call “scary” or even cohesive in del Toro’s film, the cinematography and special effects were terrifically spooky and haunting. Certainly worth a viewing. Winner of numerous awards and nominations, including Barcelona Best Film. In Spanish with English subtitles. (Russ K., Ref.)

   

This Beautiful Life: A Novel

Schulman, Helen. This Beautiful Life: A Novel. Fiction Schul.H. 2011

The Bergamot’s are a happy family, at least they appear to be. But appearances can be deceiving. When 15 year old Jake forwards to a friend a racy video from an underage girl meant only for him, it quickly goes viral.  As the scandal grows, the middle class cocoon the Bergamot’s have enjoyed begins to unravel and with it the notion that their life is quite as beautiful as they once thought it to be. This slim novel is a quick read and not only draws a portrait of a family in crisis, but is also a contemporary, thought provoking musing on social media and its unintended consequences.

Rika G. 

   

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