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.

Girl Most Likely

titleGirl Most Likely. 2013. (DVD Comedy Girl)

This movie is charming, quirky, and delightful.  Recently dumped, Kristen Wiig stars as a girl who has fallen from her graceful perch on top of life and ends up back at home…in New Jersey.  She has a predictably wacky family, including great cameos from Annette Bening and Matt Dillon, and no prospects.  All in all, it’s cute and funny and Wiig shines in this more subtle/awkward humor.  (Kim - Reader's Services) 




Behind the Candelabra

titleBehind the Candelabra. 2013. (DVD TV Behind)

Let’s be honest, I watched this movie to see what the big fuss was about Matt Damon and Michael Douglas making out.  I found, however, one of the best displays of acting I’ve seen this year.  Both men are absolutely spot on in this film, from their bravado in some scenes to moments of pure vulnerability.  “Made for TV” movie no longer carries the stigma it once did.  Is this movie as salacious as it was made out to be?  No.  It is actually a heartfelt look at a love story without a happy ending.  It is worth seeing, even if the subject matter doesn’t float your boat, for the acting alone.  Such a good film.  (Kim - Reader's Services) 



The Fall

titleThe Fall. 2013. (DVD TV Fall)

Want to get the goods on the new Christian Grey?  Check out the new BBC series, The Fall, and you can tell all your friends you had him first.  Also, if I have not mentioned it before, I would like to mention it now; I LOVE serial killers.  And this series does not disappoint.  Jaime Dornan stars as a family man, grief counselor, and serial killer.  Gillian Anderson (The X-Files) is the specialist sent to Belfast to solve one of his gruesome murders.  I must also point out that I am a sucker for Irish accents, so this series just makes me swoon.  It moves a little slowly at first, but it is well done.  The only thing that is out of place is Anderson’s accent.  Born in Chicago, but raised until the age of 11 in the United Kingdom, Anderson affects an odd accent in this show.  She sounds as she did as Agent Scully with the exception that some words are British-ized, whereas other times she lays it on super thick.  It makes the show somewhat disjointed because you are so aware of her accent trials, when all you want to do is watch the handsome killer stalk and murder his victims.  (Kim - Reader's Services) 



The Purge and Antiviral

titleThe Purge. 2013. (DVD Horror Purge) and Antiviral. 2013. (DVD Horror A)

I recently watched two movies about the world’s disturbing future, the first of which was The Purge.  Set in 2022, the United States has an unemployment rate of 1% and everything is practically great.  The reason for this utopian future is “the purge.”  For 12 hours, one day a year, all crime is legal; including murder.  Now the rich people have security systems and can bunker down, but poor people get killed.  It’s a truly unique idea.  As a horror/thriller movie it provides little thrills, but as a thought experiment, it is pretty cool because the main characters feel no need to “purge” themselves whereas all their counterparts in the neighborhood have “purge parties.”  Would you “purge”?


The second movie I partook in was, Antiviral, and it was really bizarre.  More a commentary on popular, consumerist, celebrity driven culture than a movie, it takes place in an unnamed time and place in the future where you can purchase, and be infected with, your favorite celebrity’s brand/strain of illness.  This ranges from a specific type of herpes to the common cold.  Again, a fascinating idea, but a poorly executed film.  The main character is a virus smuggler, but also just a weirdo, so there is no opportunity for empathy to be established.  In the end, if no one cares, no one cares.  (Kim - Reader's Services) 



Hanukkah in America

titleAshton, Dianne. Hanukkah in America: A History. 2013. (296.435 Ashto.D)

This year (2013 Julian calendar, 5774 Jewish calendar) Hanukkah falls very early--we light the first candle on November 27th, the night before Thanksgiving, or "Erev" Thanksgiving, as someone quipped. That hasn't happened since 1888 and won't happen again until 79,811(can one even conceive of dates that far in the future?). So this book, sitting quietly on our new titles display, caught my eye. Ashton's comprehensive history takes us from the minor holiday, shetl version of the holiday to the almost Christmas-like interpretation that western culture has imparted to it. A great deal of Hanukkah hype evolved in America particularly in the middle decades of the 20th century. Was it a form of defense against total assimilation into the mainstream Protestant population? Was it the marketing industry ready to create a new reason to shop, shop, shop? Regardless, here is an illuminating look at one of Judaism's most celebrated holidays as well as a snapshot of the greater American culture. Oh, and may I add...Happy Hanukkah to everyone!

(Barbara L. Reader's Services)


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