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.

Not the End of the World

titleAtkinson, Kate. Not the End of the World: Stories. 2002. (Fiction Atkin.K)

With this collection of short stories Atkinson demonstrates her skill and agility in creating tales that border on or are firmly embedded in the fantastic (immortality, doppelgängers, dystopic futures) yet deal with the very real human concerns of love, loneliness, the need for change, and the thrill of taking risks. Atkinson displays sympathy for her characters. Her use of pathos is not mocking, yet she tinges her work with humor and some pointed social commentary. My favorite tale is about a burnt-out media critic who realizes that he has a doppelgänger who is having a much more enjoyable life than he is. The collection is bracketed by a sad, beautiful story of how two dear friends share the dwindling resources of a world about to end.

Barbara L., Reader's Services


Call the Midwife

titleWorth, Jennifer. Call the Midwife. 2002. (618.2 Worth.J)

Fascinating, revolting, funny, horrifying, these tales of midwives in the slums of London’s  Docklands during the 1950's and 1960's are at once repellent and rewarding.  The conditions under which these compassionate and dedicated women worked and under which these slum dwellers lived are unbelievable to those of us fortunate enough to live in clean and comfortable conditions.  Moments of love and joy are present but rare, though there is a lot of good humor amongst the young midwives and the nuns who are their mentors.  This memoir is the basis for the PBS series of the same name.

(Nancy  E., North Branch)


Walk On!

titleFrazee, Marla. Walk On! A Guide for Babies of All Ages. 2006. (JPicture Fraze.M)

Do you have someone new to walking in your life? Are you, perhaps, looking for a refresher course for yourself? Frazee's delightful book is chock full of good advice for everyone starting something new. For example, who can argue with this nugget: "You will need support. This is tricky because sometimes what you think will support you won't." Charming illustrations grace each page, and I promise you will fall under the spell of the main character, an almost-toddler with a seriously oversized diaper and a great deal of determination (despite one restorative melt down).

Barbara L., Reader's Services



Moscow Sting


Dryden, Alex. Moscow Sting. 2010. (Fiction Dryde. A)

Former KGB colonel Anna Resnikov is at the center of this suspense story and held my attention as a tough woman clearly at home in a "man's" world. Top American and British spy agencies kidnap her son to force her to cooperate in leading them to another key spy. Dryden designs the plot skillfully, throwing in twists and turns, with characters double-crossing and outmaneuvering each other. The author seems to have authentic knowledge about the politics of spy operations. Pretty good read. Although the ending was somewhat disappointing, I am planning on looking into more of his books.


Shira S. (Reader's Services)


The Age of Miracles

Walker, Karen Thompson. The Age of Miracles. 2012. (Fiction Walker.K)

Sad.  That’s how this book made me feel: sad.  As if it’s not bad enough to be a small, plain-looking, friendless, lonely middle-schooler whose parents’ marriage is falling apart, whose crush’s mother is dying, whose beloved grandfather’s mind is going, the earth’s rotation is slowing and the days and nights are getting longer and longer. Then things really start to go wrong.  Gravity and lives are disrupted. This is a haunting, surprisingly gentle, read.

(Nancy E., North Branch)


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