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.

American Qur'an

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American Qur'an, illustrated by Sandow Birk, with a preface by Reza Aslan and featuring essays from Zareena Grewal and Iftikhar Dadi. 2016 (297.1225 Birk.S Oversize)

A huge, beautiful English translation of the Muslim holy book, lavishly illustrated with calligraphy and paintings depicting everyday life, and not so everyday crises in contemporary America. Each page contains a Qur'anic sura, embellished with images of NASCAR races, office cubicle chat, schoolchildren on yellow buses, farmers working their tractors. Other scenes reference the Katrina floods, soldiers at war, earthquakes, and foreclosed homes. As scholar Reza Aslan notes in his preface, "Sandor Birk ...is immersing himself in a deeply American form of Islam, but also dreaming up a way to present its holiest text in all its universalist glory".   (Lesley, Adult Services)

 

The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel

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The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel.  Cary Nelson and Gabriel Noah Brahm, eds.  2015.  (378.1213 Case)

Should defenders of Palestinian Arab rights boycott Israeli universities and instructors?  Is this an appropriate intellectual weapon?  And does the "BDS" movement [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] aim principally to improve Israeli policies?  The authors of the thirty essays in this collection argue that the answers are No, and are linked by antisemitism.  The initial arguments are familiar--that intellectual freedom shouldn't be sacrificed in pursuit of a fairer society, and that the free exchange of ideas is crucial to achieving that greater fairness.  The linking argument, about BDS in general, is deeper.  Several authors hold that the goal of BDS is not to improve Israel, but to erase it:  insofar as the BDS movement formally calls for an Arab right of return, and insofar as a sweeping return would render Israel minority-Jewish, BDS and a Jewish Israel probably can't coexist.  Against this backdrop, the argument over academic boycotts takes on an existential edge for both Arabs and Israeli Jews.  (Jeff, Reader's Services)    

   

The Islands at the End of the World

titleAslan, Austin. The Islands at the End of the World. 2014. (YA Fiction Aslan.A)

This story gives a new meaning to "island hopping". An enormous green cloud has appeared in the sky over Hawaii causing the collapse of the electric grid. It may have disrupted all power worldwide but as there is no way to communicate, no one in Hawaii knows. Leilani and her father are at a hospital on the island of Oahu so she can undergo testing for new drugs to control her epilepsy when the cloud appears. They are desperate to get back home to the Big Island and their family. Unfortunately, it doesn't take long for decency and cooperation to disappear. Without her meds, Leilani is having more severe seizures during which she hears voices that may be hallucinatory or may be from the green cloud. From island to island, on their odyssey towards what they hope is still a home, Leilani and her father have to fight against martial law, armed bandits, gangs, and lack of fuel, food and transportation.What is the green cloud? Will it go away? What will be life be like if it stays or if it goes?

(Nancy E., North Branch)

   

The Fall

titleThe Fall. 2013/2014. (DVD TV Fall Series 1, DVD TV Fall Series 2).

I just love serial murderers, don't you? The more bizarre the MO, the better. It's especially nice when the killer seems so ordinary, so normal, maybe even good looking and a great dad, to boot. In The Fall ice queen detective Stella Gibson (played superbly by Gillian Anderson) is called in from Scotland Yard to help the Dublin police solve the high profile murder of a young professional woman, the ex-wife of the son of a prominent Council member. Gibson senses almost immediately that this is not a "one-off" crime and proceeds to investigate it as a serial murder case despite resistance from the local Chief. The viewer knows she's right because we are introduced to Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan) right away. Outwardly a nice guy--a grief counselor no less--but one that harbors a menacing, unhinged mind inside his very handsome, buff body. More murders are committed, the tension builds, a subplot involving crooked cops interferes with the investigation, and the personal backstories of Gibson and her colleagues all mix it up for a gripping, hard-to-stop-watching drama. Series 1 ends with a cliff hanger and zero resolution. You'll want Series 2 on hand so you can just keep going.

(Barbara L., Reader's Services)

   

The Darkest Minds

Bracken, Alexandra. The Darkest Minds. 2012. (YA Fiction Brack.A)title

A riveting take on the teen dystopian novel, the tension never lets up as Ruby escapes from a brutal "rehabilitation facility" for kids with special mind-control powers. At age ten, normal children either die or mutate, terrifying their parents and other adults who remove them from society. Joining with other escapees, Ruby and her friends try to find a place of safety where, instead of being punished, they can learn to control their powers and live without fear. The dangerous journey is heartbreaking and heart pounding. Of course, to be continued.

(Nancy E., North Branch)

   

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