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 Wolf of Wall Street

titleThe Wolf of Wall Street. 2014. (DVD Wolf)

Talk about self-indulgent.  Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese team up for the fifth time in this debauched movie based on the real life of Jordan Belfort, a criminal stockbroker.  After playing Howard Hughes, an original New York gangster, a mental patient, and an undercover cop, it feels as if Leo said, “I just want to be in a movie where I do nothing but snort cocaine and have sex with hookers.”  Because that is truly all the movie is (adding other substances as well).  It isn’t smart and it isn’t really funny either - and I LOVE morally reprehensible characters.  But I hate movies that break the 4th wall (where the characters within talk to the camera and know there’s an audience) and this movie is one of the worst offenders because not only does the wall get broken, the audience isn’t deemed smart enough to understand the inner workings of what is being explained.  Jordan, multiple times, turns to the camera and describes his illicit activities, then stops to tell you that you won’t get it.  It is beyond irritating because it could have been an interesting movie.  And if you are waiting for Matthew McConaughey’s cameo, wow, wait to be confused and disappointed.  He’s a bit Patrick Bateman with his business suit and talks of making money but he’s still so gaunt from his Dallas Buyers Club role, it’s just uncomfortable to look at him.  If you want a Wall Street movie, I suggest sticking with the original Wall Street, for greed and corruption, or American Psycho, for a drug-induced wild ride. (Kim - Reader's Services)       


The Girl You Left Behind

titleMoyes, Jojo. The Girl You Left Behind. 2014. (Fiction Moyes.J)

Setting: a small French village in northern France, occupied by the Germans; small acts of defiance by the remaining elderly and children. Sophie and her sister, cafe owners, are forced to provide delicious meals for the occupiers. The German commandant admires a painting of Sophie done by her husband. Then he admires Sophie. Bad things happen.

Setting: London, a tony spare modern condo apartment in 2006 London, the only extraneous decoration the painting of Sophie. Liv, the young widowed owner, values the painting as a reminder of the happy life she had with her husband. How did the painting come to be in Liv's home?  What happened to Sophie? Why is the art reclamations bureau insisting on its return to Sophie's family? Why is the lawyer working against Liv so handsome, kind and understanding?

The entwining of history, mystery and two love stories makes for an engaging read.

(Nancy E., North Branch)


The Daughters of Mars

titleKeneally, Thomas.The Daughters of Mars. 2013. (Fiction Kenea.T)

The daughters of the god Mars are the Australian nurses who ministered to the wounded in World War I. Volunteering out of patriotism for their new nation, or fleeing a stifling existence in a lonely land, these women spent the war caring for the  wounded soldiers, enemy and ally, in hospital ships off Gallipoli, in tents near the trenches of the Somme, wherever blood, chaos, guns, gas and terror were wreaking havoc. Limbs are lost, faces destroyed, minds shell-shocked, yet these women keep working through it all. Camaraderie amongst the hospital staff and combatants ameliorates some of the misery until the nurses and those they love also fall victim to war's unpredictability.  Despite gruesome descriptions, this book kept me turning its pages, horrified and hooked.

(Nancy R. Engel, North Branch)


The Piano Teacher


Lee, Janice Y. K. The Piano Teacher. 2009. (Fiction Lee.J)

The Piano Teacher concerns a naïve, young British woman, one Claire Pendleton, who is newly married to a dull Englishman who's been recently transferred as a civil servant to British-ruled Hong Kong.  It’s 1951. Bored by her husband, she becomes a piano teacher to the daughter of the upper-class Chen family. Meanwhile, Claire is lured willingly into a passionate affair with the Chen family’s chauffeur, the mysterious Will Truesdale. As she becomes better acquainted with Truesdale, the Chen’s, and their insular circle of native Hong Konger and British ex-patriot friends, secrets unravel, revealing a war-torn past of betrayal, infidelity and intrigue.  Juxtaposed between 1951 and 1942, author Janice Y. K. Lee’s novel is a fascinating look Hong Kong before, during and after the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong. (Russ K., Ref.)


Dept. of Speculation


Offill, Jenny.  Dept. of Speculation. 2014. (Fiction Offil.J)

Pacing is everything in this fragmented novel. A thin volume of connected snippets from the life of "the wife." Charmigly frustrating conversations with her child, bits of trivia from her ghost writing job, seemingly random thoughts and wandering memories from the early years of her marriage somehow jumble together into a coherent whole. Just when the fragments seem to be rambling, Offill pulls you in with a moment of such perfect observation or tenderness. I'm not usually a "re-reader," but the moment I finished this novel I immediately turned back to the first page and started it again. Highly recommended.

(Heather N., Reader's Services)


Page 10 of 151

evanston logo

Contact us          ©2008-2013 Evanston Public Library   Evanston, IL 60201   847.448.8600