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.

Dinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship

titleVincent, Isabel. Dinner with Edward: A Story of an Unexpected Friendship. 2016. (B Vince.I Vince.I)

Charming, touching, short memoir of two lost individuals who connect. Edward, in his 90's, has recently lost his most beloved wife. Isabel is in a falling-apart marriage. As a favor to her friend, Edward's daughter, Isabel agrees to go to dinner at Edward's to try to reignite his will to live. In the course of the weekly gourmet dinners cooked by Edward (each chapter starts with a menu), both find a reason to give life another try.

(Nancy E., North Branch)


The Killing

titleThe Killing. 2011-2015. (DVD TV Killing).

Addictive, binge-worthy, gritty--oh, did I mention addictive? Set in rainy, dreary Seattle which lends a dark and looming feel to the production, Sarah Linden and Steve Holder, a pair of hard bitten homicide detectives dealing with serious issues in their own lives, investigate serial murders, city corruption, police coverups and more. The duo's relationship evolves from one of disdain by Linden for junior partner Holder to grudging respect cum friendship. Both are workaholics. They share a tenacious and instinctive approach to crime solving. The cases are gruesome and the investigations are complex and twisty. Red herrings abound. Linden and Holder wear no halos; their justice is sometimes meted out without the benefit of judge or jury. The fourth and final season has a subplot that ups the usually high tension to a fine pitch. There is seriously good acting on all parts. This series is based on the Danish-Swedish program "Forbrydelsen," which, alas, is not available (yet) in the U.S.

(Barbara L., Reader's Services)


Talking to the Dead

titleWeisberg, Barbara. Talking to the Dead: Kate and Maggie Fox and the Rise of Spiritualism. 2004. (133.9 Weisb.B)

Barbara Weisberg’s account of the Fox sisters is a fascinating one that leaves you…well, wondering. It starts in 1848 when strange rappings are heard on the walls of the Fox Family household in Hydesville, NY. Two young sisters, Maggie and Kate Fox, claim these rappings are spirit communications and that they are the conduits through which the spirits speak. Word about the girls’ special talents spreads quickly and the Fox Sisters become famous nationwide for their ability to speak to the dead. These ghostly knockings follow them throughout their lives as they travel America, filling concert halls with a public excited to see two young women who could relay messages from beyond. The Fox Sisters are arguably the founders of the spiritualist movement and, unlike the copycats who followed, fakery could never be proven. Did the Fox Sisters talk to the dead? After reading Talking to the Dead, you might not be sure that they didn’t. (Russ K., Ref.)


The Signature of All Things

titleGilbert, Elizabeth. The Signature of All Things. 2013. (Fiction Gilbe.E)

Alma Whittaker grew up during the scientifically exciting 1800s. The privileged and sheltered daughter of a rogue botanical explorer who rose from the slums of London to make his fortune supplying exotics to wealthy collectors, Alma was a brilliant botanist herself though as a young woman she rarely left the confines of her family's estate and extensive greenhouses outside Philadelphia. Filled with strong characterizations and episodes of high adventure, Gilbert's novel follows Alma on her journey--both literal and figurative--of  scientific discovery and personal growth. She deals with family drama, an almost unquenchable desire of things not mentioned in those strait-laced times, and the pain of disappointing love. She prevails through deep depression, self doubt and isolation to arrive at a belief in the unique signature of all things, most especially her own self.

(Barbara L., Reader's Services)


Instant Mom


Vardalos, Nia. INSTANT MOM. 2013. (B Varda.N Varda.N)

You may or may not know the name Nia Vardalos. She was the breakout star of the surprise hit, MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING. And even if you do recognize the name and the face, what you probably don't know about Vardalos is that she and her husband, Ian Gomez, struggled for years and years to have a child. They went through multiple rounds of fertility treatments , then registered with foreign adoption agencies and domestic adoption agencies, and endured many, many bouts of heartbreak before finally being placed with an adorable three-year-old girl. In this beautiful autiobiography, Nia Vardalos is very blunt about the struggles that she and her husband faced in their journey to parenthood. And even after they met their new daughter and welcomed her into their home, their struggles were not over. They then began the exhaustive process of getting this tiny child, who had already endured so much in her short life, to trust them.  This book is a beautiful tribute to not just the adoptive family, but motherhood as a whole. (Jeny, Reader’s Services)


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