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.

House of Eliott


House of Eliott. 1991. DVD 791.4572 House.

Until Season 4 of Downton Abbey premiers, you can revel in the complete collection of The House of Elliot. Created by Jean Marsh and Eileen Atkins (of Upstairs, Downstairs fame), this BBC series is set in England during the 1920s. It revolves around the beautiful Elliot sisters, Evangeline (Stella Gonet) and Beatrice (Louise Lombard) who are left penniless after the death of their spendthrift father - and must find work In order to survive. Talented seamstresses and designers, they eventually set up their own fashion house – not an easy feat in an era where women’s roles were quite limited. The story has it all: romance, intrigue, social issues, and some of the most gorgeous fashions you’ll ever see. My one quibble—the series ended after only three seasons. But the almost 30 hours of this wonderful drama may help you forget, if just for a while, that Downton Abbey doesn’t air until 2014. (Laura, Reader's Services)



Office Space

titleOffice Space. 1999. (DVD 791.4372 Office) 

What would you do if you had a million dollars?  Supposedly, the answer to that question will tell you what job would make you happiest and most fulfilled.  If you’re like me, or this movie’s main character Peter Gibbons, your answer is, “nothing.”  This movie defined a generation with that one answer: the slacker generation.  When the man hypnotizing Peter dies, he stays in this state of being relaxed and uncaring, letting go of all responsibilities.  He starts coming in late to work, wearing sandals, and telling the truth to all, consequences be damned.  This movie includes the classic scene where Peter and two co-workers take the office printer to a field and destroy it with a baseball bat.  It is the funniest movie made about the rat race that is life in a cubicle.  Rife with outstanding quotes that are applicable to everyday life, this movie is one of the all-time greatest comedies.  (Kim - Reader's Services) 


Destiny of the Republic

Millard, Catitlendice. Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President. 2011. (973.84 Milla.C)

I like nonfiction books and I love those that read like novels. This one does just that thanks to the storytelling skill of its author. Most of us who stayed awake through history class know a fair amount about the assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy, and we are vaguely aware that there were other presidential attacks, some successful, some not (click here to see them all). But the nearly forgotten assassination of James Garfield in 1880, in which the confluence of science, technology, machine politics, and medicine, played a role, is a very dramatic episode in American history that is worthy of our attention because as the title states, the destiny of our country, its political system, the rule of law (as opposed to mob action), and the practice of medicine hinged on events that took place that spring and summer. Sadly, it seems that Garfield would have been an exceptional president for his time, but his legacy was cut short only four months into his presidency.

(Barbara L., Reader's Services)



The Big Bang Theory

titleThe Big Bang Theory. 2008-2013. (DVD 791.4572 Big) 

Had this show been around when I was in high school, I might have had a fighting chance in my physics class.  Schrödinger’s cat?  Check.  Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle?  Check.  This sitcom focuses on the academic and personal lives of Dr. Leonard Hofstadter, Dr. Sheldon Cooper, Dr. Rajesh Koothrappali, not a doctor Howard Wolowitz, and Penny.  Part buddy show and part romantic comedy, there is no questioning why this is the most popular show on TV.  Let your inner nerd out and embrace the physics, the flags, the foibles, and (of course) the force.  It’s not only smart, but truly laugh out loud funny.  Amy Farrah Fowler (Mayim Bialik) joins the cast in Season 4 and is without a doubt the most hilarious character on television today.  (Kim - Reader's Services)


Burma Chronicles


Delisle, Guy. Burma Chronicles. 2008 (915.91 Delis.G)

When your spouse works for Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), you end up living in some pretty unusual places. This book chronicles the year comic artist Delise spent living in Rangoon, the capital of Burma, with his wife and young son. With simple drawings, he focuses on the small details of daily life as a foreigner living in an oppressive state: learning to get by despite language barriers, censorship, restricted travel, limited resources, odd living arrangements, etc. and forming friendships with the people he encounters. But it's the trips he makes with his wife to remote MSF clinics in the countryside, where doctors are working to combat addiction and HIV, that give insight into the plight of rural Burmese and make this book special.

Also by the same author:

Pyongyang: a journey in North Korea (915.193 Delis.G)

Shenzhen: a travelogue from China (915.12 Delis.G)

Jerusalem: chronicles from the Holy City (915.6944 Delis.G)

(Heather N.)



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