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 Bird Sisters

Rasmussen, Rebecca. The Bird Sisters. 2011. (Fiction Rasmu.R)

In the magical Purple Prairie of Spring Green, Wisconsin, as aging sisters Milly and Twiss realize their bird rescuing days are dwindling, they recall the eventful summer of 1947 when Cousin Bett came down from Deadwood and changed everything.  Their disbelieving priest ditched town to drink margaritas in Mexico.  Their golf-pro father lost his touch and retreated to the barn.  The smug Sewing Society edged out their mother.  Henry the parrot sang "Ave Maria" at the fair, while wild Twiss's cure-all tonic sold like hot cakes.  And pretty Milly, so full of promise, was smitten by a boy named Asa.  Full of humanity, this moving story of family bonds and dashed dreams is a perfect package of humor, heartbreak, suspense and surprise, from a talented emerging author.  (Susan R., Reader's Services)


Stranger Things Happen

null Link, Kelly. Stranger Things Happen. 1991. (Science Fiction Link.K)

Truth is stranger than fiction, but Kelly Link’s wonderfully imaginative tales may be an exception. Inspired by everything from fairy tales such as Cinderella to legends like the Donner Party, each short story in this debut collection contains a surprise, and includes winners of the Nebula, Tiptree, and World Fantasy Awards. If you're looking for something original and strange to read, you might appreciate the 11 quirky and fantastical stories in Stranger Things Happen. (Olivia, Reader's Services)


A Better Life

Weitz, Chris. A Better Life. 2011. (DVD 791.4372 Better)

This moving story of an illegal immigrant working hard to give him and his son a better life evokes Vittorio De Sica’s The Bicycle Thief. This 2011 American drama film is about a single dad in Los Angeles raising a surly teenager who is being lured by L.A. gangs. Ironically, the hijacking of the truck that was stolen from them is an amusing scene that brings dad and son together. This movie is directed by Chris Weitz and written by Eric Eason based on a story by Roger L. Simon and stars well-known Mexican star Demián Bichir, as Carlos, a low-key gardener dodging the INS and father of Luis played by José Julián. (Elvira C-D, Reader's Services) 



Touched by an Alien

Koch, Gini. Touched by an Alien, 2010. (Science Fiction Koch.)

Hilarious science fiction/romance hybrid with a touch of grrrl power oomph. Katt, a mid-level marketing exec, finds herself covered in slime after an unexpected encounter with an enraged alien in a downtown parking lot. Intercepted by a mysterious team of gray suited "operatives", including the hunky Jeff Martini and his sardonic cousin Christopher, Kat is swept up in a top secret battle to protect Earth from a an invasion of murderous aliens who feed off human rage. Nothing and no one is exactly as they seem, including Kat's own parents, who turn out to be far more than the mild mannered college professor and "consultant" she thought they were. A highly enjoyable read, for fans of either genre!

Lesley W.


We The Animals

Torres, Justin. We The Animals. 2011. Fiction Torre.J. 

The imagery is so strong and the language so beautiful in We The Animals, a story of three boys growing up with a white mother carrying too large a burden and a Puerto Rican father, a dreamer who floats from job to job and takes his anger out with his fists. Despite a difficult upbringing of abuse and neglect, the author creates moments of pure joy and you can't help but want to be with the boys as they dance around their mother shouting "Happy Birthday!...Happy New Year!...It's zero o'clock!...It's never-never time!...It's the time of your life!" or as their father shows them how to mambo like a Puerto Rican.

This edgy coming of age story is a powerful read of a family that does everything (fight, love, and make up) large. The images jump off the page and make you wince but also smile and laugh as the boys learn to become men.

Rika G.


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