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.

King of the World

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Remnick, David.  King of the World.  1999.  (796.8309 Ali.M Remni.D)

Remnick opens the story on February 25, 1964, when Muhammad Ali was twenty-two and about to face the fierce heavyweight champion Sonny Liston: "for the first and last time in his life, [Ali] was afraid." It's a shrewd distillation of a historic moment. Not many expected Ali to win--just as not many expected him to become arguably the dominant personality of late twentieth-century America.

Read more: King of the World

 

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Season 1)

titleUnbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Season 1). 2016. (DVD TV Unbreak Season 1).

What a wonderfully fun and thoroughly entertaining series! Created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlorck, it stars Ellie Kemper as Kimmy Schmidt, a 29-year-old woman who is rescued from a bunker in Indiana after being held in captivity for 15 years by Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (played by Jon Hamm), leader of a doomsday cult. Kimmy, always looking on the bright side, sets out in New York City to begin her life anew. Her first order of business is to find an apartment, and does so in the building belonging to Lillian Kaushtupper (played by Carol Kane). The only catch is that it’s already occupied. Titus Andromedon (played by Tituss Burgess) is a gay, flamboyant struggling actor/singer who doesn’t want a roommate, but relents when Kimmy shows him how much she has in “Mole Money”— donations she’s received from the fund to benefit ‘The Indiana Mole Women’ (the name the press has given to the four freed captives). Kimmy’s next order of business is to find a job, and that she does in the home of Jacqueline Voorhees (played by Jane Krakowski) as a nanny. And surrounded by all these lovable, wacky people, Kimmy starts to create her new life. 

This series is simply comic brilliance. Wittily written and excellently acted— by both the regular cast and guest stars, including Fey herself, Martin Short and Richard Kind— it is a must see for all. (Jeny, Reader's Services)

 

   

Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeons's Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart

titleDoty, James R. Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon's Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart. 2016. (617.48 Doty.J)

Doty had me at the first sentence: "There's a certain sound the scalp makes when it's being ripped off the skull-like a large piece of Velcro tearing away from its source." It's good that I was gripped right away because this story of a boy born to poverty, with an alcoholic father and severely depressed mother, mixed autobiography with self-help. I don't read self-help. When he was 12 years old, lonely, scared, scarred, with no thoughts of a future, Doty stumbles in to a magic shop in the California desert where he meets Ruth, the mother of the shop owner, who recognizes a child in need of everything. Over the three months of summer vacation, Ruth teaches him how to realize and reach whatever he wants; that the real magic is inside. He goes on to become a neurosurgeon, arrogant dotcom millionaire, and finally, a philanthropist and good person.

(Nancy E., North Branch)

   

Salamander

Salamander. 2015. (DVD Foreign Salamander)

Salamander: the name of a Belgian resistance operation during WWII involving titlethe transfer of millions of dollars to fund the resistance movement. Salamander: the name of a fascist secret society operating in present-day Belgium dedicated to becoming the most powerful organization in the country by controlling the heads of all ministries of government. How are the two related? This high action, cleverly plotted TV police thriller follows one honest cop--Inspector Paul Gerardi--as he delves into the case that begins with a robbery at a private bank in which sixty-six safety deposit boxes are emptied of their contents. Soon after there are threats to those at the highest levels of government with dire results. Gerardi believes much more is going on than simple blackmail for monetary gain, and goes rogue when his superiors try to quash his investigation. Twelve intense episodes--perfect for bingers!

(Barbara L., Reader's Services)

   

The Selection Series: Books 4 and 5

titleCass, Kiera. THE HEIR. 2015. (YA Fiction Cass.K)

Cass, Kiera. THE CROWN. 2016. (YA Fiction Cass.K) 

I’m writing this as a separate review from the first three books in the series because these two follow a different main character.

So... ***SPOILER ALERT IF YOU’VE NOT READ THE FIRST THREE BOOKS IN THE SERIES*** 

Princess Eadlyn Schreave is the product of one of the most fairy tale love stories the kingdom has ever known: that of her parents, King Maxon and Queen America. Eadlyn was born just a few moments before her twin brother, and her parents changed the law so that she could become the first female ruler of the kingdom.

Maxon and America have abolished the caste system and not everyone is happy with that decision—most notably, those who used to be of a high caste. Some people even believe that there should not be a monarchy anymore in order to make every citizen truly equal to the next. There is unrest in the kingdom and as a distraction, her parents convince Eadlyn to have her own Selection. Eadlyn is opposed to the idea, believing that she does not need a husband’s help to rule the kingdom. However, she does want to help her parents, and although Eadlyn does not believe that she will find anyone she wants to spend the rest of her life with, she accepts—if the Selection is conducted on her own terms.

Read more: The Selection Series: Books 4 and 5

   

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