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.



Robinson, Marilynne. Lila. 2014 (Fiction Robin.M)

Whether or not you've read the previous installments of Marilynne Robinson's trilogy set in the fictional town of Gilead, Iowa (including the masterful Gilead and Home, which, I admit, I haven't read), please don't hesitate to pick up Lila. With her contemplative prose and fully-drawn characters, Robinson is a writer at the top of her game, truly one of the best in modern fiction. A meditation on love, faith, humanity and the devastating effects poverty and loneliness can have on one's psyche, Lila is worthy of it's place atop many "best of the year" lists. (Heather N., Reader's Services)


Deepsea Challenge

titleDeepsea Challenge. 2014. (DVD 627.72 Deepsea) 

He took us to Titanic, Pandora, and into the Abyss, so why wouldn’t James Cameron take us along on his greatest journey yet: to the deepest depths of the ocean? Deepsea Challenge is a documentary about Cameron’s 2012 expedition to the Challenger Deep, the deepest point of the Mariana Trench.  The very bottom of the ocean reveals a desolate, flat, lifeless landscape.  Much like man’s adventure to the moon, this movie was more about the journey than the destination.  That journey though, was amazing.  Cameron took his childhood passion and made it a reality, spending 3+ hours at the deepest the oceans of the world have to offer.  It was a remarkable feat of engineering and so interesting to see history being made. (Kim - Reader's Services)    


Falling Angels

titleChevalier, Tracy. Falling Angels. 2001. (Fiction Cheva.T)

Queen Victoria has just died; England is in full mourning. The middle class expresses its grief by visiting family plots at cemeteries. Two young girls whose families share neighboring grave sites begin a friendship. Livy is a drama queen, very pretty and very spoiled. Maude is more level headed and somber, an only child of an unhappy marriage. Both girls are drawn to visit the cemetery and tour the stone angels that grace many graves. During the new Edwardian era there is much upheaval in their lives. Chevalier lets various characters, from a gravedigger's son to a parlor maid, tell the story of the girls' friendship and the profound changes in store for them. This is a plus--the voices are distinct and offer glimpses into other lives and other struggles.

(Barbara L., Reader's Services)


The Language of Food

titleJurafsky, Dan. The Language of Food: A Linguist Looks at the Menu. 2014. (641.3 Juraf.D)

If you've ever taken a moment to ponder the language on a restaurant menu, or if you've wondered where the corn is in corned beef, Jurafsky's lively treatise will answer those questions and many more. For instance, he explains why the more expensive the restaurant, the fewer the descriptors on the menu. Alinea, say, does not need to convince diners that the foods are fresh, delicious, sizzling hot, tempting or buttery. The Olive Garden does. We also learn how the sound of a food name can influence our perception of its taste. Jurafsky takes us on journeys of food history by tracing the names of foods, culture and geography. He uncovers the hidden connections between things like England's iconic fish and chips and the raw fish appetizer in South America called ceviche. I love food, I love words. This book is a creative blend of those two important ingredients resulting in a dish I'll call a tasty read.

(Barbara L., Reader's Services)


Foreign Affairs

titleLurie, Alison. Foreign Affairs. 1984. (Fiction Lurie.A)

Virginia "Vinnie" Miner, a middle-aged academic, is dogged by self-pity. Just as the title is a double entendre, there is a visual pun revealed in the first sentence of the book, symbols of the humor and affection with which the story is related. Vinnie is going to London, her favorite city, to study playground rhymes. Her young, handsome, recently separated colleague has just arrived in London for his research. They each get mixed up with theater folk, upper class matrons, other ex-pats. Parts academic satire and comedy of manners, this is a delightful read. Oh, and it won the Pulitzer.

(Nancy E., North Branch)


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