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 One and Only


Giffin, Emily. The One and Only. 2014. (Fiction Giffi.E)

I’ve read all of Emily Giffin’s other novels and I’ve long been a fan of her storytelling style and the fully shaped characters that she creates. In the end, THE ONE AND ONLY was only okay, definitely my least favorite of Giffin’s books. The story centers around Shea Rigsby who is thirty-three years old and has never moved out of her small hometown of Walker, Texas, largely because of her devotion to Walker University football. The team is coached by Clive Carr, her best friend Lucy’s father, whom Shea has looked up to and admired for her entire life. When Lucy’s mother dies of cancer, everything in Shea’s life begins to change… the biggest change of all being the relationship she has with Coach Carr.

I did enjoy THE ONE AND ONLY once I got into it, but it took me FOREVER to actually do so. It was only in the last quarter of the book that the plot really seemed to move. Giffin’s usually well-developed characters felt flat and uninteresting— especially Shea, who I didn’t really care much about. There’s a lot of sports talk, too, (which really isn’t my thing) so if you’re a football fan, you’ll probably like it more than I did. (Jeny, Reader’s Services)


Shoes: What Every Woman Should Know

altPedersen, Stephanie. Shoes: What Every Woman Should Know. 2005. (391.413 Peder.S)

If you're a shoe lover, what's not to love about a micro-history of the objects of your passion? From the earliest shoes--think two, maybe three, strips of leather and no glamour at all--to the dizzying range of styles available to us moderns, British author Pedersen offers us a sole-ful look at what for some is the be-all and end-all of their wardrobes. Despite a distinctly British take on trends and design, shoe lovers in the U.S. need not fear any misunderstanding. It's no big deal to remember that "court" shoe in England equals "pump" here. And, yes, this book is over 10 years old, but carries the history of footwear well into the new millennium--you will recognize styles and trends that are still current. Nice photos abound and illustrate what all the fusses are about. Breezy commentary and captions are just right--no gushing, no overstatement. This is just a fun, little book to help you fantasize about all the glorious shoes out there, perhaps satisfying your inner Carrie Bradshaw (or Imelda?).

(Barbara L., Reader's Services)


The Hired Girl

titleSchlitz, Laura Amy. The Hired Girl. 2015. (YA Fiction Schli.A)

Housework as a maid is still drudgery fourteen year old Joan discovers when she flees her horrid father and her life of unpaid, unremitting labor on the family farm. But, at least, the house in 1911 Baltimore has running water, the laundry is sent out and she receives wages. Catholic Joan, innocent and intelligent, passing for eighteen, is challenged in many ways in the observant Jewish household where she is encouraged to read through the library (after her day's duties are completed), flirted with by one of the sons, and must observe the laws of kashrut, all faithfully recorded in her journal. Joan is determined not to remain a hired girl for the rest of her life but what other choices does she have?

(Nancy E., North Branch)


Happy Valley


Happy Valley. 2015. (DVD TV Happy Season 1)

A kidnapping plot gone terribly wrong is at the center of this BBC miniseries, but at its heart is a complex character study that draws you into its tangled web immediately. Set in Northern England it stars the wonderful actress Sarah Lancashire (Last Tango in Halifax) as local police sergeant Catherine Cawood devoted to her job and trying to cope with day-to-day life in her problem-ridden community, as well as with her own tragic past – the death of her daughter, the care of her grandson, a sister who’s a recovering addict, a broken marriage, and the recent release from prison of Tommy Lee Jones (James Norton - Grantchester) the young man who raped her daughter. Happy Valley indeed! We know who the “bad guy” is pretty much right from the beginning, but it’s the how, if, and when he will be caught that makes for great drama. With brilliant acting all around and a terrific script, this is a suspenseful (albeit disturbing) and fascinating series that makes for compulsive viewing.  (Laura, Reader's Services)



titleTrainwreck. 2015. (DVD Comedy Trainwr)

I could not think of a more appropriate title for this movie because it was, indeed, a train wreck.  If I wanted to watch a chubby-ish girl wear ill-fitting, too short dresses get wasted and indiscriminately sleep around, I would go on Facebook and look back at pictures of girls I knew in college.  Seriously.  This movie was touted as the funniest comedy of the year, reinvigorating the “girl power” agenda.  But what it really is is a cheap imitation of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.  Amy is a hard partying single girl in New York City that works for a men’s magazine.  Her assignment this month?  Interview an up and coming sports doctor.  She goes, insults not only his profession, but him too in the worst “meet cute” attempt I’ve ever seen.  There is ZERO chemistry, yet after she has a panic attack all her walls are down and he invites her for a drink (*mime vomit motion here*).  They drink, have sex, then she tries to avoid him.  Then they date, fall in love, and she messes it up.  Then she writes an article that gets published and does a dance and happily ever after.  There are SO MANY things wrong with this.  A) The supporting characters are athletes and, while they have funny lines, they cannot act to save their lives, making it painful.  B) The only way Amy can get the guy is when she gives up being her true, albeit unhealthy, self.  Is that female empowerment, I ask?  C) This movie is not even a little bit raunchy.  If you were looking for the humor of Amy Schumer’s stand-up or sketch show, it’s not here.   All in all, if you’re looking for a rom-com, stick with Kate Hudson and if you’re looking for a comedy, watch Saturday Night Live, because all the old players make an appearance in this movie, but it’s better to see them when they were funny.  (Kim - Reader's Services)


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