This Summer’s “What’s on Your Nightstand” event was held at Skokie campus. Thank you to those attending. People have declined to attend in the past because they only read non-fiction. Looking at our list, they should be delighted to know all books are welcome—even e-books. Here are a list of the books the participants 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.
A Hologram for the King
by Dave Eggers
“In a rising Saudi Arabian city, far from weary, recession-scarred America, a struggling businessman named Alan Clay pursues a last-ditch attempt to stave off foreclosure, pay his daughter’s college tuition, and finally do something great. In A Hologram for the King, Dave Eggers takes us around the world to show how one man fights to hold himself and his splintering family together” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).
What is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng
by Dave Eggers
“In a heartrending and astonishing novel, Eggers illuminates the history of the civil war in Sudan through the eyes of Valentino Achak Deng, a refugee now living in the United States. We follow his life as he’s driven from his home as a boy and walks, with thousands of orphans, to Ethiopia, where he finds safety—for a time. Valentino’s travels, truly Biblical in scope, bring him in contact with government soldiers, janjaweed-like militias, liberation rebels, hyenas and lions, disease and starvation—and a string of unexpected romances. Ultimately, Valentino finds safety in Kenya and, just after the millennium, is finally resettled in the United States, from where this novel is narrated.
In this book, written with expansive humanity and surprising humor, we come to understand the nature of the conflicts in Sudan, the refugee experience in America, the dreams of the Dinka people, and the challenge one indomitable man faces in a world collapsing around him” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).
The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted: And Other Small Acts of Liberation
by Elizabeth Berg
“Every now and then, right in the middle of an ordinary day, a woman kicks up her heels and commits a small act of liberation. What would you do if you could shed the ‘shoulds’ and do, say—and eat—whatever you really desired? Go AWOL from Weight Watchers and spend an entire day eating every single thing you want? Start a dating service for people over fifty to reclaim the razzle-dazzle in your life—or your marriage? Seek comfort in the face of aging, look for love in the midst of loss, find friendship in the most surprising of places? In these beautiful, funny stories, Elizabeth Berg takes us into the heart of the lives of women who do all these things and more—confronting their true feelings, desires, and joys along the way” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).
The Kill Artist
by Daniel Silva
Gabriel Allon series, book 1
“Once a key operative in secret Israeli-intelligence missions, Gabriel Allon is on the run from his past, assuming a quiet life as a meticulous restorer of priceless works of art. But now he is being called back into the game. The agent with whom he is teamed hides behind her own beautiful mask—as a French fashion model. Their target: a cunning terrorist on one last killing spree, a Palestinian zealot named Tariq who played a dark part in Gabriel’s past.
What begins as a manhunt turns into a globe-spanning duel fueled by political intrigue and deep personal passions. In a world where secrecy and duplicity are absolute, revenge is a luxury no man can afford—and the greatest masterpiece of all” (eReadIllinois).
The Mapmaker’s Daughter
by Laurel Corona
“Spain, 1492. On the eve of the Jewish expulsion from Spain, Amalia Riba stands at a crossroads. In a country violently divided by religion, she must either convert to Christianity and stay safe, or remain a Jew and risk everything.
It’s a choice she’s been walking toward her whole life, from the days of her youth when her family lit the Shabbat candles in secret. Back then, she saw the vast possibility of the world, outlined in the beautiful pen and ink maps her father created. But the world has shifted and contracted since then. The Mapmaker’s Daughter is a stirring novel about identity, exile, and what it means to be home” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).
Friendly Fire: A Duet
by A.B. Yehoshua
translated by Stuart Schoffman
With great artistry, A. B. Yehoshua has once again written a rich, compassionate, rewarding novel in which sharply rendered details of modern Israeli life and age-old mysteries of human existence echo one another in complex and surprising ways” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).
Agatha Raisin and the Murderous Marriage
by M.C. Beaton
“After her first husband, Jimmy Raisin, stops her wedding and she is left jilted at the altar, he is found strangled to death, and Agatha Raisin must prove her innocence along with that of her intended. Agatha Raisin and the Murderous Marriage is a mystery filled with murder and mayhem, from bestselling author M.C. Beaton” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).
The Blood of an Englishman
by M.C. Beaton
Agatha Raisin series, book 25
“‘Fee, fie, fo, fum. I smell the blood of an Englishman…’
Even though Agatha Raisin loathes amateur dramatics, her friend Mrs. Bloxby, the vicar’s wife, has persuaded her to support the local pantomime. Stifling a yawn at the production of ‘Babes in the Woods,’ Agatha watches the baker playing an ogre strut and threaten on the stage, until a trapdoor opens and the Ogre disappears in an impressive puff of smoke. Only he doesn’t re-appear at final curtain.
Surely this isn’t the way the scene was rehearsed? When it turns out the popular baker has been murdered, Agatha puts her team of private detectives on the case. They soon discover more feuds and temperamental behavior in amateur theatrics than in a professional stage show—and face more and more danger as the team gets too close to the killer” (Barnes & Noble).
Mothers Who Kill Their Children: Understanding the Acts of Moms from Susan Smith To the “Prom Mom”
by Cheryl L. Meyer and Michelle Oberman ; with Kelly White … [et al.]
“A special kind of horror is reserved for mothers who kill their children. Cases such as those of Susan Smith, who drowned her two young sons by driving her car into a lake, and Melissa Drexler, who disposed of her newborn baby in a restroom at her prom, become media sensations. Unfortunately, in addition to these high-profile cases, hundreds of mothers kill their children in the United States each year. The question most often asked is, why? What would drive a mother to kill her own child?
Those who work with such cases, whether in clinical psychology, social services, law enforcement or academia, often lack basic understandings about the types of circumstances and patterns which might lead to these tragic deaths, and the social constructions of motherhood which may affect women’s actions. These mothers oftentimes defy the myths and media exploitation of them as evil, insane, or lacking moral principles, and they are not a homogenous group. In obvious ways, intervention strategies should differ for a teenager who denies her pregnancy and then kills her newborn and a mother who kills her two toddlers out of mental illness or to further a relationship. A typology is needed to help us to understand the different cases that commonly occur and the patterns they follow in order to make possible more effective prevention plans.
Mothers Who Kill Their Children draws on extensive research to identify clear patterns among the cases of women who kill their children, shedding light on why some women commit these acts. The characteristics the authors establish will be helpful in creating more meaningful policies, more targeted intervention strategies, and more knowledgeable evaluations of these cases when they arise” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).
The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager
by Thomas Hine
“Teenagers occupy a special place in American life. They are envied and sold to, studied and deplored. They seem to be growing up too fast, and always immature. They are barbarians at the gate—and our only hope for a better world. What, then, is this thing called ‘teenager’—this strong, troubling creature caught somewhere between the rock of youth and the hard place of adulthood?
As author Thomas Hine reveals in this groundbreaking work, the teenager is a social invention shaped by the needs of the twentieth century. With intelligence, insight, imagination and humor, Hine traces the culture of youth in America—from the spiritual trials of young Puritans and the vision quests of native Americans to the media-blitzed consumerism of contemporary thirteen-to-nineteen-year-olds. He masterfully examines the ways in which young people have adapted over generations to meet—or at times to revise—the expectations and mores of their time. Here is an extraordinary story of torches passed, a saga of sons and daughters of settlers, immigrants, slaves and farmers coming to terms with their world and building America as they did so” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).
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