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.

Ship Breaker

titleBacigalupi, Paolo. Ship Breaker. 2010. (YA Fiction Bacig.P)

"Why are there so many dystopian and apocalyptic novels for young adults right now?" you may ask. I think it's because the news is repeatedly giving us the unnerving and terrifying message that the adults in charge are destroying the world. Therefore, in order to be able to look forward to a future, teens need to feel that they can survive and perhaps make a difference. Global warming melting the ice caps so that all the coastal areas are flooded? Become a ship breaker, pulling apart and selling for salvage all the ocean going vessels that have wrecked on the drowned spires and penthouses of old cities.

Read more: Ship Breaker


Land Girls

Land Girls. 2010. (DVD TV Land)

titleIn Britain during WWII, the Women's Land Army served the country by taking the places of the male farmhands who were in the army. It was essential that food production not be interrupted--England was an easily cut-off island and very vulnerable. This somewhat melodramatic series follows the lives of these women, their farmer bosses, the landed gentry, and the local townsfolk who were inundated with wartime changes.

Read more: Land Girls


The Martian

titleWeir, Andy. The Martian. 2014. (Science Fiction Weir.A)

The Martian. 2015. (DVD Science Fiction Martian)

A great skill set for an astronaut to bring along on a Mars flight is a combination of chutzpah, inventiveness, determination, botany know-how and tool conversancy. Duct tape is good to have, too. And a cheeky sense of self if you are going to record a journal that others would want to read. I certainly enjoyed reading it, racing through the successes, accidents, ruminations and brilliant science of Mark Watney who was left by fellow crew members for dead on Mars. 

Read more: The Martian



titleSimmons, Dan. Hyperion. 1989. (Science Fiction Simmo.D)

Hyperion represents speculative fiction at its most mesmerizing. Echoing Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, this saga of a band of pilgrims unfolds in a fantastical space opera set some seven centuries in the future. As each tale is recounted along the journey, interlocking like so many pieces to a jigsaw puzzle, an ominous day of reckoning looms ever closer, revealing more about the nature of the horrific, inhuman Shrike which travels through space and time for its own mystifying purposes.

Read more: Hyperion


Nora Webster

titleToibin, Colm. Nora Webster. 2014. (Fiction Toibi.C)

Enniscorthy, Ireland is the kind of small town where everyone knows everybody's business and is not afraid to comment and offer advice, especially to a young widow with two pre-teen boys still at home. Nora Webster goes through the motions of housekeeping, being a parent and trying to plan a future without her beloved husband Maurice, but she is deeply depressed and resentful of her situation. Her beloved Maurice kept the stifling sameness and petty concerns of small town life at bay and now he's gone after a terrible illness. Money is short and a newly developed stutter in her older boy is worrying. Nora feels she has no one to confide in, no one who will understand her--even her sisters and aunt seem nosy and intrusive. We are privy to her inner monologue as she starts to reach out to people only to pull back at the last minute. She keeps her thoughts--often not very nice ones--and secret wishes to herself.

Read more: Nora Webster


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