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.



Bar-Zohar, Michael and Mishal, Nissim. Mossad. 2012. (327.1256 Barzo.M.)

The unadorned writing understates the difficulty and courage involved in the best known missions of the Mossad, Israel's secret intelligence agency. The events covered in the book reflect the tensest moments of Israeli history, as in the Munich massacre of the 11 Israeli Olympic athletes. Yet the rescue of several Syrian girls from the country so they could marry in the US shows another side of the often feared organization. Exciting and fascinating reading.


Shira S., Reader's Services


Sex at Dawn: the Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality


Ryan, Christopher and Cacilda Jetha.  Sex at Dawn: the Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality.  2010.  (306.7 Ryan.C)

Marriage is hard for most people.  Why?  The authors argue it's mainly because monogamy just isn't in human nature. They assert that homo sapiens evolved in cooperative groups that shared sexual partners (along with food and childcare)--and that we're asking too much of ourselves when we pledge exclusivity, in marriage or in any sexual relationship. Some people may be turned on by monogamy, but the authors believe it shuts most people down, and that traditional marital vows are misguided. Without reassessment, they contend, we will see very few happy marriages, let alone long happy marriages. They appear to favor either open marriage or "monogamish" marriage, as opposed to strict monogamy, for most humans, though they acknowledge that to many these approaches feel even less sustainable than traditional marriage.

Read more: Sex at Dawn: the Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality


I Can't Complain

Lipman, Elinor. I Can't Complain. 2013. (814.54 Lipma.E).

titleI laughed, I cried, I laughed, I cried again. Then I went out and bought the book for two friends. If you've ever dated, been married, had a child, had parents,written a book, thought about writing a book, wondered how authors name their characters, longed to learn to say no politely to invitations, had "the talk" with your child, wanted to know what authors obsess about at book signings, this collection of essays is for you.  Whether you read only one and savor it, or gulp several down at once, I guarantee you will laugh, too. Me, I cry easily. (Nancy E., North Branch)


A Late Quartet


A Late Quartet. 2013 (DVD 791.4372 Late)

The musical and emotional bond of an acclaimed string quartet begins to unravel when their lead cellist (Christopher Walken) learns he has Parkinson’s disease and announces his retirement. Although the group has worked in harmony for most of their 25 years together, tensions flare and buried jealousies and resentments are unearthed. And the difficulty of playing the Beethoven string quartet is echoed in their relationships. Walken, who usually plays “over-the-top” characters here is understated and thoroughly convincing as the group’s founder. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, and Mark Ivanir make up the rest of the quartet and give terrific performances in this insightful and provocative film. (Laura, Reader's Services)



The Middlesteins

titleAttenberg,Jami. The Middlesteins. 2012. (Fiction Atten.J)

Edie Middlestein is not an easy woman to love. Her husband, Richard, and two adult children, Benny and Robin, each have tried hard to find a place in their hearts for this domineering, demanding, passionate woman. And, if her difficult personality were not enough, Edie is eating herself to death. She’s a dedicated lawyer--one cannot fault her for going to the mat for all kinds of causes, but Edie’s greatest passion has always been food--good food, junk food, any food. When we meet her early on in the book, she's morbidly obese and about to have a third operation to shunt a collapsed vein in her leg--a consequence of her diabetes. This is a family portrait that would have made Tolstoy happy. Each character wonders: am I the way I am because of Edie, or is she the way she is because of me. In Attenberg's darkly comic novel our sympathies are tested by these imperfect, but oh so human people.

(Barbara L., Reader's Services) 


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