During the fall “What’s on Your Nightstand” event at the Skokie campus, the following books were discussed.
Remember, if Oakton doesn’t own the book or our copy is checked out, you can order a copy to be sent from one of our consortium libraries for FREE! Most books take less than a week to arrive.
Afterlife with Archie
by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Francesco Francavilla
“When Jughead’s beloved pet Hot Dog is killed in a hit and run, Jughead turns to the only person he knows who can help bring back his furry best friend—Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Using dark, forbidden magic, Sabrina is successful and Hot Dog returns to the land of the living. But he’s not the same—and soon, the darkness he brings back with him from beyond the grave begins to spread, forcing Archie, Betty, Veronica and the gang to try to escape from Riverdale!” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).
The Avengers: A Jewish War Story
by Rich Cohen
“Rich Cohen, author of the acclaimed Tough Jews, again narrates a little-known episode of Jewish history, this time altering what we thought we knew about the Holocaust.
Abba Kovner, Vitka Kempner, Ruzka Korczak-comrades, lovers, friends. In the Lithuanian ghetto of Vilna, they were the heart of a breathtakingly courageous underground movement, and when the ghetto was liquidated, they fled to the forests and joined other partisans in continued sabotage and resistance. Riveting, poignant and uplifting, The Avengers is a powerful exploration of resistance and revenge, of courage and dedication, and an inside look at some of the intrepid individuals who fought against the Holocaust and the Nazi occupation of Europe” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).
College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be
by Andrew Delbanco
“As the commercialization of American higher education accelerates, more and more students are coming to college with the narrow aim of obtaining a preprofessional credential. The traditional four-year college experience—an exploratory time for students to discover their passions and test ideas and values with the help of teachers and peers—is in danger of becoming a thing of the past.
In College, prominent cultural critic Andrew Delbanco offers a trenchant defense of such an education, and warns that it is becoming a privilege reserved for the relatively rich. In arguing for what a true college education should be, he demonstrates why making it available to as many young people as possible remains central to America’s democratic promise.
In a brisk and vivid historical narrative, Delbanco explains how the idea of college arose in the colonial period from the Puritan idea of the gathered church, how it struggled to survive in the nineteenth century in the shadow of the new research universities, and how, in the twentieth century, it slowly opened its doors to women, minorities, and students from low-income families. He describes the unique strengths of America’s colleges in our era of globalization and, while recognizing the growing centrality of science, technology, and vocational subjects in the curriculum, he mounts a vigorous defense of a broadly humanistic education for all. Acknowledging the serious financial, intellectual, and ethical challenges that all colleges face today, Delbanco considers what is at stake in the urgent effort to protect these venerable institutions for future generations” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).
“In the 1880s, as the European powers were carving up Africa, King Leopold II of Belgium seized for himself the vast and mostly unexplored territory surrounding the Congo River. Carrying out a genocidal plundering of the Congo, he looted its rubber, brutalized its people, and ultimately slashed its population by ten million—all the while shrewdly cultivating his reputation as a great humanitarian. Heroic efforts to expose these crimes eventually led to the first great human rights movement of the twentieth century, in which everyone from Mark Twain to the Archbishop of Canterbury participated. King Leopold’s Ghost is the haunting account of a megalomaniac of monstrous proportions, a man as cunning, charming, and cruel as any of the great Shakespearean villains.
It is also the deeply moving portrait of those who fought Leopold: a brave handful of missionaries, travelers, and young idealists who went to Africa for work or adventure and unexpectedly found themselves witnesses to a holocaust. Adam Hochschild brings this largely untold story alive with the wit and skill of a Barbara Tuchman. Like her, he knows that history often provides a far richer cast of characters than any novelist could invent. Chief among them is Edmund Morel, a young British shipping agent who went on to lead the international crusade against Leopold. Another hero of this tale, the Irish patriot Roger Casement, ended his life on a London gallows. Two courageous black Americans, George Washington Williams and William Sheppard, risked much to bring evidence of the Congo atrocities to the outside world. Sailing into the middle of the story was a young Congo River steamboat officer named Joseph Conrad. And looming above them all, the duplicitous billionaire King Leopold II. With great power and compassion, King Leopold’s Ghost will brand the tragedy of the Congo—too long forgotten—onto the conscience of the West” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).
Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls
by David Sedaris
“A guy walks into a bar car and…
From here the story could take many turns. When this guy is David Sedaris, the possibilities are endless, but the result is always the same: he will both delight you with twists of humor and intelligence and leave you deeply moved.
Sedaris remembers his father’s dinnertime attire (shirtsleeves and underpants), his first colonoscopy (remarkably pleasant), and the time he considered buying the skeleton of a murdered Pygmy.
With Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, David Sedaris shows once again why his work has been called ‘hilarious, elegant, and surprisingly moving’ (Washington Post)” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).
More Stories from My Father’s Court
by Isaac Bashevis Singer
“A sequel to I. B. Singer’s classic memoir In My Father’s Court, these stories, published serially in the Daily Forward, depict the beth din in his father’s home on Krochmalna Street in Warsaw. A unique institution, the beth din was a combined court of law, synagogue, scholarly institution, and psychologist’s office where people sought out the advice and counsel of a neighborhood rabbi.
The twenty-seven stories gathered here show this world as it appeared to a young boy. From the earthy to the ethereal, these stories provide an intimate and powerful evocation of a bygone world” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).
My Glorious Brothers
by Howard Fast
“‘The strength of five brothers will define a nation. My Glorious Brothers is the epic story of perhaps the most breathtaking chapter in the history of Israel, a stirring tale of courage for those who like to find meaning for today’s world in the great events of history.
After witnessing a ransacked and desecrated Jerusalem, Simon and his four brothers—soon to be known and revered as the Maccabees—rise to lead an earthshaking rebellion. Their tale has almost no parallel in human history. Theirs was the will, fire, and unbending spirit that inspired the timeless rite of Hanukkah, transforming a society of farmers and scholars into an unconquerable army that would wage the first modern fight for freedom and the first victory for religious freedom. Master storyteller Howard Fast recounts the story of great battles, brutal atrocities, and undying love and loyalty. But it is also a sensitive and sure picture of a people and an age, in which the mood of a small but spirited segment of humanity two thousand years ago is recreated with gripping authenticity” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).
One For the Money
by Janet Evanovich
“Welcome to Trenton, New Jersey, home to wiseguys, average Joes, and Stephanie Plum, who sports a big attitude and even bigger money problems (since losing her job as a lingerie buyer for a department store). Stephanie needs cash—fast—but times are tough, and soon she’s forced to turn to the last resort of the truly desperate: family…
Stephanie lands a gig at her sleazy cousin Vinnie’s bail bonding company. She’s got no experience. But that doesn’t matter. Neither does the fact that the bail jumper in question is local vice cop Joe Morelli. From the time he first looked up her dress to the time he first got into her pants, to the time Steph hit him with her father’s Buick, M-o-r-e-l-l-i has spelled t-r-o-u-b-l-e. And now the hot guy is in hot water—wanted for murder…
Abject poverty is a great motivator for learning new skills, but being trained in the school of hard knocks by people like psycho prizefighter Benito Ramirez isn’t. Still, if Stephanie can nab Morelli in a week, she’ll make a cool ten grand. All she has to do is become an expert bounty hunter overnight—and keep herself from getting killed before she gets her man…” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).
Two for the Dough
by Janet Evanovich
“Stephanie is after a new bail jumper, Kenny Mancuso, a boy from Trenton’s burg. He’s fresh out of the army, suspiciously wealthy, and he’s just shot his best friend.
With her bounty hunter pal Ranger stepping in occasionally to advise her, Stephanie staggers kneedeep in corpses and caskets as she traipses through back streets, dark alleys, and funeral parlors.
And nobody knows funeral parlors better than Stephanie’s irrepressible Grandma Mazur, a lady whose favorite pastime is grabbing a front-row seat at a neighborhood wake. So Stephanie uses Grandma as a cover to follow leads, but loses control when Grandma warms to the action, packing a cool pistol. Much to the family’s chagrin, Stephanie and Granny may soon have the elusive Kenny in their sights.
Fast-talking, slow-handed vice cop Joe Morelli joins in the case, since the prey happens to be his young cousin. And if the assignment calls for an automobile stakeout for two with the woman who puts his libido in overdrive, Morelli’s not one to object.
Low on expertise but learning fast, high on resilience, and despite the help she gets from friends and relatives, Stephanie eventually must face the danger alone when embalmed body parts begin to arrive on her doorstep and she’s targeted for a nasty death by the most loathsome adversary she’s ever encountered. Another case like this and she’ll be a real pro” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).
When Will There Be Good News?
by Kate Atkinson
“On a hot summer day, Joanna Mason’s family slowly wanders home along a country lane. A moment later, Joanna’s life is changed forever…
On a dark night thirty years later, ex-detective Jackson Brodie finds himself on a train that is both crowded and late. Lost in his thoughts, he suddenly hears a shocking sound…
At the end of a long day, 16-year-old Reggie is looking forward to watching a little TV. Then a terrifying noise shatters her peaceful evening. Luckily, Reggie makes it a point to be prepared for an emergency…
These three lives come together in unexpected and deeply thrilling ways in the latest novel from Kate Atkinson” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).
-posted by Kevin Purtell
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