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 Heather Wells Mysteries

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Cabot, Meg. Size 12 is Not Fat. 2006,  Size 14 is Not Fat Either. 2006,  Big Boned. 2007, Size 12 and Ready to Rock. 2012,  The Bride Wore Size 12. 2013. (Mystery Cabot.M)

I bought the first book in this series, Size 12 is Not Fat, a long time ago—the clever title caught my eye and it seemed like it would be a cute read. Meg Cabot has written some wonderful youth and teen novels, so I figured her fiction would be equally as fun. I got a few pages in, put it down, and didn’t pick it up again for quite some time. When I got back to it, it took me a bit to really get into it. I liked the characters, I liked the humor, but it just felt really slow.

I’m glad, though, that I stuck through it because this series is really wonderful. The characters are (mostly) likeable, the who-done-it’s are intriguing, and they made me laugh out loud numerous times per volume.

The series centers around Heather Wells, a former teenage pop sensation whose album, “Sugar Rush”, made her a household name... for a while. Her career went down the tubes when she happened to gain a dress size or two, and when she dared to tell her record label that she wanted to write her own music instead of singing the fluff they wanted her to perform. Heather’s father is in jail for tax evasion, her mother stole all of her money and ran off with her manager, and she caught her boyfriend (well, now ex-boyfriend) in bed with another woman. So, left with almost nothing, Heather moved in with her ex’s older brother (it’s strictly platonic... although Heather wishes it wasn’t) when he took pity on her and offered her a job as his bookkeeper in exchange for a no rent place to live. And she now works as an assistant resident hall director at New York College.

Read more: The Heather Wells Mysteries

 

The Long, Long Trailer

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The Long, Long Trailer. 2006. (DVD Comedy Long)

I love Lucy. I truly do. And arguably, some of her best comedic work (outside of I Love Lucy) is The Long, Long Trailer. Filmed when I Love Lucy was at its peak, it pairs Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as Tacy and Nicky Collini, a newly married couple who decide to make their home in—you guessed it—an incredibly long trailer. Nicky has a new job in Colorado and they plan to see the sights as they travel there in their new, portable home. But, in true comedic fashion, things don’t go as planned. Mud, rosebushes, trailer park residents, rocks, canned goods and a 40-foot-long trailer that sometimes seems to have a mind of its own all wreak havoc on the newlyweds’ relationship. The scene where Tacy decides to cook dinner in the trailer while Nicky drives is absolute Lucille Ball brilliance. It’s a light and fun comedy that’s enjoyable by not just the nostalgia lover, but by anyone, young and old alike. (Jeny, Reader's Services)

 
   

A Moveable Feast

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Hemingway, Ernest. A Moveable Feast. 2009. (B Hemin.E Hemin.E 2009)

Paris's literary scene in the 1920s was partly an American phenomenon with such luminaries as Ezra Pound, Ford Madox Ford, and Gertrude Stein at the center.  On the periphery were writers a generation younger, such as Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald.  In this posthumously-published memoir, re-edited and introduced by Hemingway's grandson, the twentysomething Hem is honing his terse style in nonfiction pieces and in observations of his fellow expatriates (Fitzgerald in particular).  Sometimes his now-familiar voice is used in gossip, shrinking both Hemingway and his subject.  Elsewhere, in confessional pieces, the muscular prose carries more heart than we're used to from this author, as in this conclusion to an essay about home life with his first wife: 

“The only one, Hadley, who had no possible blame, ever, came well out of it finally and married a much finer man than I ever was or could hope to be and is happy and deserves it and that was one good and lasting thing that came of that year.”

(Jeff B., Reader's Services)

   

Arne Dahl

titleArne Dahl Season One. 2014. (DVD TV Arne Season 1)

This wonderfully crafted police drama is based on the books by Swedish crime writer Arne Dahl. Led by veteran Chief Inspector Jenny Hultin, the elite "A" Unit tackles mob activities, international sex traffickers, drug dealers and serial killers. Working and family relationships enter into the mix, humorous interludes break some of the tension, but the overall adrenaline level of the story lines and pacing is high and terribly exciting. Unlike many series of this nature produced in the U.S., there is much less use of actual gun play and almost no explosions (so when they happen--wow--hold onto your hat). Fine acting by a nicely diverse group of Swedes, not all blond and blue-eyed, not all male. With 10 episodes, each over an hour long, you can luxuriate in a truly binge-worthy TV series.

(Barbara L., Reader's Services)

   

The Math Myth : and Other STEM Delusions

altHacker, Andrew. The Math Myth : and Other STEM Delusions. 2016. (510.71 Hacke.A)

Building on his 2012 New York Times article, journalist Hacker questions some of the oft-repeated jeremiads about contemporary math education: Americans are falling behind economically and strategically because of poor math skills, companies can't find enough skilled workers due to poor math skills, the next generation is lacking in critical thinking and reasoning due to poor math skills. On the contrary, Hacker points out that the dearth in qualified job candidates is due to low salaries, not a small talent pool; that tech and engineering careers may require higher level math to get hired but NOT to perform the work; and that the short sighted focus on coding and computer skills is producing large numbers of unemployed young people with few other qualifications. In interviews with professionals in science, technology, engineering, manufacturing and actuarial work, Hacker reveals that few of these occupations require the advanced algebra, trigonometry, and calculus high school students are now being encouraged to take, and that unrealistic requirements are in fact barring talented students from the better colleges, and excluding them from professions like law, medicine and veterinary. science, as well as from many paraprofessional careers.

Read more: The Math Myth : and Other STEM Delusions

   

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