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 Cat's Table

Ondaatje, Michael. The Cat's Table. 2011. (Fiction Ondaa.M)

A renowned writer named Michael reimagines himself as an 11-year-old boy setting sail from his native Colombo, on an ocean liner bound for England, to meet a mother he hardly remembers.  Assigned a seat at the Cat's Table with the least privileged passengers, he befriends two boys who become his cohorts in a series of (sometimes mischievous) adventures.  Undetected by adults who are mostly unreliable, untrustworthy, and incomprehensible, he is free to explore, use his imagination and reinvent himself.  This perilous journey includes a cast of colorful characters, thievery, mysterious death, a shackled prisoner who walks each midnight, plants (some poisonous) with remarkable powers, and more.  Full of suspense, with vivid scenes that seem almost like paintings, this sad and beautiful story is magnificent. (Susan R.)


The Anti-Romantic Child: A Story of Unexpected Joy

Gilman, Priscilla. The Anti-Romantic Child. 2011. B Gilma.P.

Yale Professor Pricila Gilman had always wanted to be a mother and when she became pregnant with her first child she was elated. From the moment her little boy Benjamin was born he was an extraordinary child; he began reading and memorizing poetry at the age of two. What Gilman and her husband think is brilliance turns out to be a disorder called hyperlexia, which impairs his ability to truly communicate and create social bonds with others. The Anti-Romantic Child explores our hopes for our children and how fate can intervene and create a new set of dreams. It teaches us to embrace the unexpected in life and shows us how situations we may once have see as difficult can actually enrich our lives.

Rika G.


The Big Thirst

Fishman, Charles.  The Big Thirst.  2011.  (331.91 Fishm.C)

You think about other commodities. You may know the cost of gas, or electricity. Possibly you try to conserve them. Water? You barely think about it at all. It’s like air.

But the end of water's "golden era" is upon us, says Fishman. Our tap water is abundant, clean, and cheap—but soon we will be choosing two out of three:  abundant, clean, or cheap.  Abundant, clean water will cost much more.  Abundant, cheap water won’t be clean.

Read more: The Big Thirst


Following Ezra: What One Father Learned About Gumby, Otters, Autism, and Love from His Extraordinary Son

Fields-Meyer, Tom. Following Ezra. 2011. 616.85882 Field.T.

When author Tom Fields-Meyer was told by a therapist that his son Ezra was showing signs of autism he was told he needed to grieve. "For what?" he asked. The answer, "For the child he didn't turn out to be." Fields-Meyer did not grieve; he instead embraced his son for who he was, working tirelessly to find ways to connect to what was important to his child. Following Ezra is Fields-Meyer's gift to his middle child, a narrative of the journey from when Ezra is first diagnosed in preschool until the onset of adolescence at age 13. It is a quirky and often humorous story, and packed with a lot of love, just like Ezra himself.

RIka G.


Best Choices from the People's Pharmacy

Graedon, Joe. Best Choices from the People's Pharmacy. 2006. (615.1Graed.J)

A few weeks ago on NPR, Bob Edwards interviewed Joe and Terry Graedon, a team of pharmacologists and creators of the "People's Pharmacy" syndicated column. The Graedons have collected a comprehensive array of information on home remedies, prescription drug facts, traditional and holistic medicine, and more. I was intrigued enough to take a gander at the book based on their column. It is indeed an essential reference for those who want to understand the medications they  take and a resource for those who want find out if there are other effective treatments besides what the doctor may scrawl on that little white pad. Covering the gamut of topics from acne to weight loss, the book is laid out in clearly organized segments without heavy use of lingo. Including readers in the mix with Q & A sidebars is very helpful, and addresses the real concerns people have.

Read more: Best Choices from the People's Pharmacy


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