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 Slow Book Revolution

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The Slow Book Revolution: Creating a New Culture of Reading on College Campuses and Beyond.  Edited by Meagan Lacy.  2014.  (028.9 Slow)

In an era of information overload, this collection of thoughtful essays aims to restore a measure of calmness.  Only a conscious decision to carve out time for books--frequently--can counter the trend toward smartphone-skimming as our main form of reading.  The last essay, by EPL's own Karen Hansen and Lesley Williams, details the nuts-and-bolts of organizing "Mission Impossible," our highly successful Books-Almost-Nobody-Finishes book group.  (Jeff B., Reader's Services)

 

Dear Committee Members

titleSchumacher, Julie. Dear Committee Members. 2014. (Fiction Schum.J)

Oh, my goodness. How many of us have been asked to write letters of recommendation and have, in mealy mouthed fashion, written a bland unactionable piece while yearning to tell the truth as we see it? Jason Fitger, tenured professor in a dying and gutted English department, has no such qualms. Whether hardly apologizing to a former lover for betraying her while asking for a favor for a student or leaving the space blank when asked, in an online form, to explain why this person should be recommended, his hilarious screeds, rants and, yes, recommendations will entertain you.  A jacket blurb describes this novel as putting  "the 'pissed' back into 'epistolary'". 

(Nancy E., North Branch)

 

   

Sarah : the life of Sarah Bernhardt

titleGottlieb, Robert. Sarah : the Life of Sarah Bernhardt. 2010.

Among theatrical actors of the 1800s, the memorable names of but a paltry few have survived the test of time into our own century. The French actress Sarah Bernhardt is not only one of those few, but she arguably tops that list. Robert Gottlieb’s short-but-sweet biography gives humorous account of Sarah Bernhardt’s scandalous behavior (she might have been described as a courtesan…until, at least, the birth of illegitimate son), her eccentricities (she famously wore a stuffed-bat hat), and her unabashed self-promotion (she schlepped around her personal coffin from city to city). Best known for her dramatic on-stage death scenes, Bernhardt’s passionate performances led to her legendary status in Europe and the United States. If you’ve read a late 19th-century biography on any personality in the arts, Sarah Bernhardt will likely be mentioned in it. Gottlieb’s biography, filled with wonderful Victorian-era photographs of Bernhardt, is a recommended and entertaining work on this colorful diva of yesteryear. (Russ K., Ref.)

   

Wagner & Me

titleWagner & Me. 2010. (DVD B. Wagne.R)

Call me shallow but what stood out the most in Stephen Fry's search to understand why one can love Wagner's music and still be appalled by the man was Fry's awful clothing and hair. At one point, my husband said, "Look, he's wearing the colors of the German flag". That's red pants, black shirt, yellow sports coat. And doesn't he ever wash and comb his hair? This is a commercial video for heaven's sake! The music is glorious, the settings of the Bayreuth Festival in Germany and the lakes in Switzerland are beautiful, the Nuremberg Stadium chilling. Wagner wrote a horrible anti-semitic screed and he was Hitler's favorite composer. Fry admits that, though he doesn't like the man, he certainly accepts both sides of the coin and can revel in the music. You will have to make your own decision.

(Nancy E., North Branch)

   

Delicious!

titleReichl, Ruth. Delicious!. 2014. (Fiction Reich.R)

Ruth Reichl had to find something to occupy her time after the magazine Gourmet closed abruptly; she had been editor in chief for ten years. So she wrote this charming food centered story (don't read while hungry), about a self-doubting young woman with a perfect tasting palate, finding her way to love and professional success. If you really want to read Ruth Reichl at her best, however, read Tender at the Bone, the first in her autobiographical trilogy.

(Nancy E., North Branch)

   

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