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 Marrying of Chani Kaufman

Harris, Eve. The Marrying of Chani Kaufman. 2013. (Fiction Harri.E)

titleTo most of us, the frum (religiously observant Jews-don't worry, there's a glossary) all look alike, the women enveloped in their dark clothing, followed by hordes of children, and the bearded men equally enwrapped in their dark suits and hats. But, of course, each is individual in thoughts, desires and beliefs. Chani, who this day in November 2008, is getting married, is one of eight girls in a poor family.  She is marrying the son of wealthy parents, against the strongly expressed wishes of her mother-in-law to be.  Chani and Baruch are painfully innocent. We watch as bit by bit their pasts unfold along with the story behind the marriage of the presiding rabbi and his wife.  Though the book is set in the orthodox Jewish London community, it is universal in its feel for and description of the mystery of the people closest to us.

(Nancy E., North Branch)


Angelique’s Descent


Parker, Lara. 2012. Angelique’s Descent. (Paperbk Fiction Parke.L)

If you loved the Dark Shadows daytime soap opera (1966-1971), you’ll remember two of the show’s most popular characters: Barnabas Collins and Angelique Bourchard, who appear in the 1795 storyline. The television drama revealed that Angelique—maidservant to the lovely Josette Du Pres—was also secretly a voodoo-practicing witch, who hailed from the island of Martinique. Intimated was Angelique’s once-romantic involvement with the dashing Barnabas Collins, heir of a Maine shipping magnate. But Barnabas, betrothed now to Josette, left Angelique’s love unrequited. So she sent a bat after him, infecting him with a “Vampire Curse.” But the series left many questions unanswered: how did Angelique become a witch?  What was the depth of her mysterious affair with Barnabas? How did Barnabas first meet the French-speaking Josette? And how did Angelique, a secret witch, become Josette’s maidservant? Lara Parker, the actress who played 'Angelique' on the show, convincingly answers those mysteries in this gripping, gothic horror series tie-in prequel! (Russ K.,Ref.)


Tim's Vermeer


Tim's Vermeer. 2014. (DVD 759.9492 Verme.J)

DVD 759.9492 Verme.J

In 2001 artist David Hockney wrote Secret knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters. He suggested that Dutch painter Vermeer used optics to achieve his photo-realistic paintings. Texas inventor and millionaire Tim Jenison sets out to prove Hockney’s theory in this documentary produced and directed by the magic team Penn and Teller. In his quest to reproduce Vermeer’s 1662 painting “The Music Lesson” non-painter Jenison takes obsession to a new level - painstakingly recreating the room and every object depicted in the painting - and constructing everything by hand, including stained-glass windows, costumes, tapestry, floor tiles, even a harpsichord. Seeing Jenison use tiny brushes to paint even the most intricate patterns is sometimes like watching paint dry. But most of the film is absorbing and fascinating. So does the final product live up to the original? Prepare to be awed. (Laura, Reader's Services)


The Sookie Stackhouse Series/True Blood

titleHarris, Charlaine. The Sookie Stackhouse Series2001. (Mystery Harri.C) 

With the last season of True Blood airing right now, I felt it was time to reflect on the world that is Sookie Stackhouse.  I can’t remember if I watched first or read first, but with 7 seasons and 13 books, who could?  All I know is, that like all other times, the books are better than the movies.  They are even, dare I say it, less ridiculous.  Yes, there are vampires, fairies, and werewolves, but there are no maenads, crazy witchtitlees, or Hep V.  SPOILER ALERT: In the series the great love story is not Sookie and Bill, Sookie and Alcide, or even Sookie and Sam – it’s Sookie and Eric.  Which, really, isn’t that what we all want anyways?  The books are livelier and have funny moments in them with more depth of character, minus Lafayette (he dies in the first novel).  I think what the two series do is add to one another, they supplement each other in an interesting way that no other book/movie series does.   And that’s because the two series don’t match up book for season, episode to story-line.  So watch the movies, read the books, it’s a great world that I’m already going to miss.  (Kim - Reader's Services)  True Blood. 2009. (DVD TV True Season 1)


Sex and Lucia

titleSex and Lucia . 2003. (DVD Foreign Spanish Sex)

I have seen this movie no less than 12 times and, to this day, even having watched it last week, I still do not understand it.  The movie starts with a one-night stand on an island.  Flash forward and the man is back in his hometown and is pursued by the beautiful Paz Vega. Then it gets confusing.  There is Lucia and there is sex, so the title isn’t misleading, but after that part it veers off on a tangent that I’ll never be able to understand.  The man we originally meet is a writer and begins writing himself into his story or his story into himself (still not sure which).  Tragedy unfolds and everyone becomes interconnected in a way that takes the whole film to explain.  The story the writer writes is full of “advantages”, which, as defined by him, are little holes that drop you back into the story at a different stage as to influence the outcome: think “Choose Your Own Adventure”.  And the book he’s writing has one great “advantage” that it ends where is begins, thus bringing it full circle.  See…even when I explain it exactly as it is, it makes no sense.  But it doesn’t matter.  The film is beautiful, interesting, and a true masterpiece.  It is sexy, tragic, and hopeful all at the same time.  I LOVE this movie…even if I never live to understand it.  (Kim – Reader’s Services)


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