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 Drowned Boy

titleFossum, Karin. The Drowned Boy. 2015. (Mystery Fossu.K)

Oh, goody! A new Karin Fossum mystery. And--it's one of her Inspector Sejer mysteries. Cool-headed Sejer and his charming junior, Skarre, are confronted with an apparently accidental drowning of a 16-month-old toddler. The young parents, Carmen and Nicolai, are distraught: she had just popped into the bathroom for a few minutes while the boy played on the living room rug. Nicolai was working in the basement. Tommy, who had just begun walking, must have found his way out the open front door and down to the pond at the edge of their yard. Negligence for sure, but still just a terrible, terrible accident. Or is it? First Skarre then Sejer have doubts. There's just something not quite right. Fossum spins out the investigation slowly, and over the next few months, we see the two parents grieve in very different ways. Carmen, so immature and self-centered--but could she have really murdered her own child?  And Nicolai, withdrawn, non-communicative--is it guilt or what? As usual, Fossum expertly sets us up for the delicious twist at the end.

(Barbara L., Reader's Services)




Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy


Fielding, Helen. Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy. 2013. (Fiction Field.H)

I loved the first two of Helen Fielding’s books about Bridget Jones (Bridget Jones’ Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason). Bridget begins the series as a woman in her thirties looking for love and trying to establish herself in her career. Daily, she chronicles in her diary all the vital statistics of her day: her weight, the calories she’s eaten, the number of cigarettes she’s smoked, the number of alcohol units she’s partaken in. The books have gained sensational popularity for a couple of reasons. First, because they are so laugh out loud funny. And second, because the struggles Bridget goes through are so very real and identifiable to many women.

(SPOILER ALERT: Book one ends with Bridget falling in love with her old childhood acquaintance, Mark Darcy. In book two, Bridget and Mark go through some relationship turmoil, but still end up together.) And then comes book three. We find that Bridget and Mark got married and had two children. But-- here comes a MAJOR spoiler alert-- in this third installment, Bridget is on her own again. Mark Darcy, who worked as a human rights lawyer, is dead, killed five years previously in a landmine incident in Darfur. His death caused public outcry from loyal readers. And while it shocked me and saddened me, I was ready to roll with it. 

Read more: Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy


The One and Only


Giffin, Emily. The One and Only. 2014. (Fiction Giffi.E)

I’ve read all of Emily Giffin’s other novels and I’ve long been a fan of her storytelling style and the fully shaped characters that she creates. In the end, THE ONE AND ONLY was only okay, definitely my least favorite of Giffin’s books. The story centers around Shea Rigsby who is thirty-three years old and has never moved out of her small hometown of Walker, Texas, largely because of her devotion to Walker University football. The team is coached by Clive Carr, her best friend Lucy’s father, whom Shea has looked up to and admired for her entire life. When Lucy’s mother dies of cancer, everything in Shea’s life begins to change… the biggest change of all being the relationship she has with Coach Carr.

I did enjoy THE ONE AND ONLY once I got into it, but it took me FOREVER to actually do so. It was only in the last quarter of the book that the plot really seemed to move. Giffin’s usually well-developed characters felt flat and uninteresting— especially Shea, who I didn’t really care much about. There’s a lot of sports talk, too, (which really isn’t my thing) so if you’re a football fan, you’ll probably like it more than I did. (Jeny, Reader’s Services)


Shoes: What Every Woman Should Know

altPedersen, Stephanie. Shoes: What Every Woman Should Know. 2005. (391.413 Peder.S)

If you're a shoe lover, what's not to love about a micro-history of the objects of your passion? From the earliest shoes--think two, maybe three, strips of leather and no glamour at all--to the dizzying range of styles available to us moderns, British author Pedersen offers us a sole-ful look at what for some is the be-all and end-all of their wardrobes. Despite a distinctly British take on trends and design, shoe lovers in the U.S. need not fear any misunderstanding. It's no big deal to remember that "court" shoe in England equals "pump" here. And, yes, this book is over 10 years old, but carries the history of footwear well into the new millennium--you will recognize styles and trends that are still current. Nice photos abound and illustrate what all the fusses are about. Breezy commentary and captions are just right--no gushing, no overstatement. This is just a fun, little book to help you fantasize about all the glorious shoes out there, perhaps satisfying your inner Carrie Bradshaw (or Imelda?).

(Barbara L., Reader's Services)


The Hired Girl

titleSchlitz, Laura Amy. The Hired Girl. 2015. (YA Fiction Schli.A)

Housework as a maid is still drudgery fourteen year old Joan discovers when she flees her horrid father and her life of unpaid, unremitting labor on the family farm. But, at least, the house in 1911 Baltimore has running water, the laundry is sent out and she receives wages. Catholic Joan, innocent and intelligent, passing for eighteen, is challenged in many ways in the observant Jewish household where she is encouraged to read through the library (after her day's duties are completed), flirted with by one of the sons, and must observe the laws of kashrut, all faithfully recorded in her journal. Joan is determined not to remain a hired girl for the rest of her life but what other choices does she have?

(Nancy E., North Branch)


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