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.

White Dog Fell From the Sky

White dog fell from the sky coverMorse, Eleanor. White Dog Fell from the Sky. 2013. (Fiction Morse.E)

I don't know how the author made me care so quickly about Isaac, one of the main characters but within two pages, I hoped mightily that he would survive whatever awful event was bound to befall him. Isaac is a black South African medical student forced to flee from the apartheid government and smuggled into Botswana. He feels responsible for the family left behind and finds a job as a gardener for Alice, a white American working in Botswana, unsure of where she belongs and what to do with her life. The descriptions of birds, animals, landscape, the San people, are magical but do not soften this tale of man's infinite capacity for cruelty towards his fellow man. What does soothe the pain of the story are the moments of compassion and forgiveness arising from good people. There is hope.

(Nancy E., North Branch)





Stoppard, Tom.  Arcadia.  1993.  (Play File Arcadia)

Stoppard's wit and craftsmanship infuse every line.  This is an absorbing exploration of the differences between the Romantic and Classical temperaments--between feeling and thought--as well as an investigation into the connections between science and literature, all shaken and linked by the unifying disruption of sex.  It's a tour-de-force that requires your share of creative work, but also makes you laugh out loud.  (Jeff B., Reader's Services)


The Next Best Thing


Weiner, Jennifer. The Next Best Thing. 2012. (Fiction Weine .J). 

Ruth Saunders dream was to create a show based on her life with her grandmother. The Next Best Thing illustrates the dramatic and moving story of Ruth’s Hollywood vision. In this engaging depiction of a previous television show assistant and writer getting her own chance to design her own show, she has to deal with the pressure of both the television executives and the actors. How will the process of producing her own television show change Ruth’s life? The Next Best Thing is a heartwarming and romantic tale.

(Samantha B., Adult Services)



titleAusten, Jane. Emma. 1815. (Fiction Auste.J)

What do you call a person who suffers supreme self-confidence in deciding what's best for others, especially those of marriageable age? If your name is Sholem Aleichem, you call her Yenta the Matchmaker. If you're Jane Austen, you call her Emma Woodhouse. Emma is the "queen bee" of her small village society in Regency England, and due to her high status, most defer to her strong but well intentioned opinions. Most, not all. Mr. Knightly, her dear family friend and mentor, watches with growing dismay as things Emma socially engineers go awry. Along the way, Austen entertains us with fine prose, marvelous characters, and a generous dose of social commentary on class, women's roles, and romantic love.

Since there's been a bit of ballyhoo recently over the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice, I thought that Austen's next most famous book* should get a little ink as well.

*Or do you put Sense and Sensibility in the number 2 slot?

Barbara L., Reader's Services


Big Fat Cookies

altKlivans,Elinor. Big Fat Cookies. 2005.

Klivans is an accomplished baker and prolific cookbook author, as seen from her other works at EPL, Chocolate Cakes: 50 Great Cakes for Every Occasion and  125 Cookies to Bake, Nibble, and Savor. Intrigued by the very unsubtle title, I quickly skimmed through one delicious looking recipe for oversized cookies after another. The mark of a successful cookbook author in my mind is the combination of appealing recipes, very clear explanations, and attractive photos. Big Fat Cookies hits the target, from Chocolate Chip Stuffed (!) Cookies to Big-City Black and Whites to Lemon Whoopie Pies, Klivans presents tasty treats with a friendly, enthusiastic voice. I read this as an e-book and was surprised how absorbed I became in a digital cookbook. Warning to dieters: Big Fat Cookies is for serious noshing or celebrations only! 

(Shira S., Reader's Services)


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