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.



Hersey, John. Hiroshima. 1946. (940.5425 Herse.J)

It's been almost 70 years. The last survivors are dying off. We remember the bomb, the background, the numbers--but individual stories are fading. Fortunately this chronicle endures. A year after the blast, Hersey spent half a summer in Hiroshima gathering the stories of six survivors: two doctors, a clerk, a young widow, a minister, a German priest. All were going about their usual morning business at 8:15 on August 6, 1945 when a noiseless flash lit their city from east to west, a third of its people died quickly, most structures were flattened or incinerated, water and food were tainted, and another fifth of the people began dying slowly. One of the two doctors, with borrowed eyeglasses and virtually alone on his hospital ward, labored to treat hundreds of patients. The young clerk, her leg broken, sat in rubble for days. Hersey's account is at once personal and sweeping. It was first published by the New Yorker in the issue of August 31, 1946--the only time the magazine has devoted an entire issue to one story. (Jeff B., Reader's Services)


The Indian Doctor


The Indian Doctor. 2014. (DVD TV Indian Series 1)

If you were wondering what Doc Martin might be like with compassion and kindness, tune into The Indian Doctor. Dr. Prem Sharma and his wife Kamini become "strangers in a strange land" when they leave India and put down roots in a small Welsh coal mining town during the early 1960s. Faced with prejudice and ignorance from many of the locals, Dr. Sharma, unlike the curmudgeonly Doc Martin, maintains a positive attitude and a great bedside manner. There’s no sex, violence, car crashes, or “CGI” here and though there may be some implausible situations, the stories (including smallpox, impotence, and teen pregnancy) are always interesting and engaging. Acting by the lead and supporting characters is superb, scenery idyllic and the entire series so quirky and charming you'll want to see all three. (Laura, Readers Services)


The Ice Princess

titleLäckberg, Camilla. The Ice Princess. 2014. (Mystery Läckb.C)

When Erica Falck returns home to picturesque Fjallbacka to clean out her recently deceased parents' home, she becomes involved with the gruesome murder of Alex, her best friend from elementary school. Their friendship had cooled and then Alex and her family had moved away. Since Erica was one of the people on the scene to find the murdered Alex in a bloody bathtub, she's a witness, and that leads to Erica's developing relationship with Patrik, the detective on the case. He, too, is an old friend from schooldays, as are many of the persons of interest in the case. Everyone involved is connected to Alex's past and the town's past, there are deep and dirty secrets that must be revealed, and motivations to kill Alex abound. As far as the plot twists and interesting list of characters, and the small town setting, this is a page-turner--I couldn't figure out whodunit and I wanted to know.

Read more: The Ice Princess




Ida. 2014. (DVD Foreign Ida)

This year's Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film (and the first film from Poland to receive that award), Ida is both bleak and beautiful with images that will remain indelible. Set in 1960s Poland 18-year-old Anna, raised in a convent, is preparing to take her vows. Summoned by her aunt Wanda (her only known relative), she learns that she is Jewish, that her name is Ida, and that her parents were killed at the end of World War II. Together they will travel to the village where her parents died to uncover more about her past. This is a very personal story, filmed in black and white, and told with unsparing simplicity. The acting by both leads is amazing but it is Ida’s face (like a Vermeer painting) that you will remember long after the movie ends. (Laura, Reader's Services)


The General's Son


Peled, Miko. The General's Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine. 2012. (956.9405 Peled.M)

In 1948 the author's father, Matti Peled, fought in Israel's war of independence. In the 1967 Six-Day War, he helped Israel avoid destruction as one of its leading generals. But Gen. Peled believed Israel's survival hinged also on the establishment of a Palestinian homeland, and he campaigned for it. He died in 1995. Two decades later, his son Miko (born in 1961) argues that his father was on the right track but didn't go far enough. After a 1997 suicide bombing killed his niece (Matti's granddaughter), the younger Peled came to believe the solution is not two states, but a single shared state providing a homeland to all in the region who deserve it. He wants Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs to cohabitate. While activists such as Uri Avnery and Amos Oz push for an amicable divorce, Miko Peled wants the couple to work it out.

Read more: The General's Son


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