Favorite Books at RHC

Posted on June 5, 2014. Filed under: Fiction, Nonfiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

During National Library Week, Oakton Community College Library asked people “What is you favorite book?” This week, we will share the list of the favorite books from our Skokie campus. In the next blog, we will share the list of favorite books from the Des Plaines campus. If you didn’t have a chance to list your favorite book at either location, why not post it here in the comment section!

book cover for All the President's MenAll the President’s Men
by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward

“Beginning with the story of a simple burglary at Democratic headquarters and then continuing with headline after headline, Bernstein and Woodward kept the tale of conspiracy and the trail of dirty tricks coming—delivering the stunning revelations and pieces in the Watergate puzzle that brought about Nixon’s scandalous downfall. Their explosive reports won a Pulitzer Prize for The Washington Post and toppled the President (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for The Devil Wears PradaThe Devil Wears Prada
by Lauren Weisberger

“Andrea Sachs, a small-town girl fresh out of college, lands the job ‘a million girls would die for.’ Hired as the assistant to Miranda Priestly, the high-profile, fabulously successful editor of Runway magazine, Andrea finds herself in an office that shouts Prada! Armani! Versace! at every turn, a world populated by impossibly thin, heart-wrenchingly stylish women and beautiful men clad in fine-ribbed turtlenecks and tight leather pants that show off their lifelong dedication to the gym.

With breathtaking ease, Miranda can turn each and every one of these hip sophisticates into a scared, whimpering child. The Devil Wears Prada gives a rich and hilarious new meaning to complaints about ‘The Boss from Hell.’ Narrated in Andrea’s smart, refreshingly disarming voice, it traces a deep, dark, devilish view of life at the top only hinted at in gossip columns and over Cosmopolitans at the trendiest cocktail parties. From sending the latest, not-yet-in-stores Harry Potter to Miranda’s children in Paris by private jet, to locating an unnamed antique store where Miranda had at some point admired a vintage dresser, to serving lattes to Miranda at precisely the piping hot temperature she prefers, Andrea is sorely tested each and every day—and often late into the night with orders barked over the phone.

She puts up with it all by keeping her eyes on the prize: a recommendation from Miranda that will get Andrea a top job at any magazine of her choosing. As things escalate from the merely unacceptable to the downright outrageous, however, Andrea begins to realize that the job a million girls would die for may just kill her. And even if she survives, she has to decide whether or not the job is worth the price of her soul” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for DivergentDivergent
Divergent series, Book 1
by Veronica Roth

“In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves … or it might destroy her” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Eat, Pray, LoveEat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia
by Elizabeth Gilbert

“It’s 3 a.m. and Elizabeth Gilbert is sobbing on the bathroom floor. She’s in her thirties, she has a husband, a house, they’re trying for a baby—and she doesn’t want any of it. A bitter divorce and a turbulent love affair later, she emerges battered and bewildered and realizes it is time to pursue her own journey in search of three things she has been missing: pleasure, devotion and balance.

So she travels to Rome, where she learns Italian from handsome, brown-eyed identical twins and gains twenty-five pounds, an ashram in India, where she finds that enlightenment entails getting up in the middle of the night to scrub the temple floor, and Bali where a toothless medicine man of indeterminate age offers her a new path to peace: simply sit still and smile. And slowly happiness begins to creep up on her” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

Ethan Fromebook cover for Ethan Frome
by Edith Wharton

“Young Ethan Frome marries Zeena Pierce, who is seven years his senior, after she nurses Ethan’s mother through a terminal illness. When Zeena also turns sickly, she invites her cousin Mattie Silver to live in and help with household chores. Ethan and Mattie fall in love, and Zeena, aware of their attraction, decides to send Mattie away.

A desperate Ethan cannot bear the thought of letting Mattie go, but neither can he escape with her. The couple decide upon a course of action designed to ensure that they remain together, but the plan falters and all three characters are left to suffer its nightmarish consequences”  (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for George Washington's Secret SixGeorge Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution
by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger

“Among the pantheon of heroes of the American Revolution, six names are missing. First and foremost, Robert Townsend, an unassuming and respected businessman from Long Island, who spearheaded the spy ring that covertly brought down the British … before they, or anyone else, could discover their names.

Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger finally give Townsend and his fellow spies their proper due, telling the fascinating story of how they passed information to George Washington that turned the tide of the war. Using a network of citizen operatives that included a longshoreman, bartender, newspaper editor, housewife, tailor, and femme fatale, and employing a series of complex codes, the so-called Culper Spy Ring used sophisticated tactics to subvert the British.

Based on previously unpublished research, George Washington’s Secret Six is a gripping history of these amazing, anonymous Patriots who risked their lives for our freedom” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for GodfatherThe Godfather
by Mario Puzo

“More than thirty years ago, a classic was born. A searing novel of the Mafia underworld, The Godfather introduced readers to the first family of American crime fiction, the Corleones, and the powerful legacy of tradition, blood, and honor that was passed on from father to son.

With its themes of the seduction of power, the pitfalls of greed, and family allegiance, it resonated with millions of readers across the world—and became the definitive novel of the virile, violent subculture that remains steeped in intrigue, in controversy, and in our collective consciousness” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for The Great GatsbyThe Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Jay Gatsby had once loved beautiful, spoiled Daisy Buchanan. Now living on Long Island in the early 1920s having made himself wealthy through illegal means, the mysterious Jay Gatsby tries to rekindle his romance with Daisy, who has since married the wealthy and cruel Tom Buchanan for money.

Gatsby covers for Daisy and takes the blame when she accidentally kills her husband’s mistress in a car accident. The result is a murder and an ending which reveals the failure of money to buy love or happiness. Fitzgerald’s elegantly simple work captures the spirit of the Jazz Age and embodies America’s obsessions with wealth, power, and the promise of new beginnings” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's StoneHarry Potter Series
by J.K Rowling

Description for Book 1, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: “Harry Potter has never been the star of a Quidditch team, scoring points while riding a broom far above the ground. He knows no spells, has never helped to hatch a dragon, and has never worn a cloak of invisibility.

All he knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley—a great big swollen spoiled bully. Harry’s room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn’t had a birthday party in eleven years.

But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to an incredible place that Harry—and anyone who reads about him—will find unforgettable.

For it’s there that he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic in everything from classes to meals, but a great destiny that’s been waiting for him … if Harry can survive the encounter” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Hunger GamesThe Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins

“In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Life of PiLife of Pi
by Yann Martel

“Pi Patel is an unusual boy. The son of a zookeeper, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior, a fervent love of stories, and practices not only his native Hinduism, but also Christianity and Islam. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes.

The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days lost at sea.

When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story and press him to tell them ‘the truth.’ After hours of coercion, Pi tells a second story, a story much less fantastical, much more conventional—but is it more true?

Life of Pi is at once a realistic, rousing adventure and a meta-tale of survival that explores the redemptive power of storytelling and the transformative nature of fiction. It’s a story, as one character puts it, to make you believe in God” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Like Water for ChocolateLike Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments, with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies
by Laura Esquivel

“The last of three daughters, Tita is saddled with a terrible responsibility that tradition carries down: In well-born Mexican families, the youngest daughter must remain unmarried and stay at home to care for her mother in old age.

When she falls in love, Mama Elena refuses to bend the rules, and forces Tita to reject her suitor and assume the role of family cook. The result is a clash of wills that brings magic, love, sex, and fabulously good food to a previously unknown level of enjoyment” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Fellowship of the RingsThe Lord of the Rings
by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien’s three-volume epic, is set in the imaginary world of Middle-earth—home to many strange beings, and most notably hobbits, a peace-loving ‘little people,’ cheerful and shy.

Since its original British publication in 1954-55, the saga has entranced readers of all ages. It is at once a classic myth and a modern fairy tale … Middle-earth is a world receptive to poets, scholars, children, and all other people of good will… The story of this world is one of high and heroic adventure … In fact the saga is sui generis—a triumph of imagination which springs to life within its own framework and on its own terms” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for Lovely BonesThe Lovely Bones
by Alice Sebold
“‘My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.’

So begins the story of Susie Salmon, who is adjusting to her new home in heaven, a place that is not at all what she expected, even as she is watching life on earth continue without her—her friends trading rumors about her disappearance, her killer trying to cover his tracks, her grief-stricken family unraveling. Out of unspeakable tragedy and loss, The Lovely Bones succeeds, miraculously, in building a tale filled with hope, humor, suspense, even joy” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for PersepolisPersepolis: The Story of a Childhood
by Marjane Satrapi

“An intelligent and outspoken only child, Satrapi—the daughter of radical Marxists and the great-granddaughter of Iran’s last emperor—bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. Originally published to wide critical acclaim in France, where it elicited comparisons to Art Spiegelman’s Maus, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s wise, funny, and heartbreaking memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution.

In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.

Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran: of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life and of the enormous toll repressive regimes exact on the individual spirit. Marjane’s child’s-eye-view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a stunning reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, through laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for The PostmanIl Postino (The Postman)
by Antonio Skármeta

“The unforgettable inspiration for the Academy Award-winning Il Postino, this classic novel established Antonio Skármeta’s reputation as ‘one of the most representative authors of the post-boom generation in contemporary Latin American letters’ (Christian Science Monitor).

Boisterously funny and passionate, The Postman tells of young love ignited by the poetry of Pablo Neruda. Set in the colorful, ebullient years preceding the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, the book has been translated into nearly twenty-five languages around the world” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for A Raisin in the SunRaisin in the Sun
by Lorraine Hansberry

“In south side Chicago, Walter Lee, a black chauffeur, dreams of a better life, and hopes to use his father’s life insurance money to open a liquor store. His mother, who rejects the liquor business, uses some of the money to secure a proper house for the family. Mr Lindner, a representative of the all-white neighbourhood, tries to buy them out.

Walter sinks the rest of the money into his business scheme, only to have it stolen by one of his partners. In despair Walter contacts Lindner, and almost begs to buy them out, but with the help of his wife, Walter finally finds a way to assert his dignity” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for The Wolf of Wall StreetWolf of Wall Street
by Jordan Belfort

“In the 1990s Jordan Belfort, former kingpin of the notorious investment firm Stratton Oakmont, became one of the most infamous names in American finance: a brilliant, conniving stock-chopper who led his merry mob on a wild ride out of the canyons of Wall Street and into a massive office on Long Island. Now, in this astounding and hilarious tell-all autobiography, Belfort narrates a story of greed, power, and excess that no one could invent.

Reputedly the prototype for the film Boiler Room, Stratton Oakmont turned microcap investing into a wickedly lucrative game as Belfort’s hyped-up, coked-out brokers browbeat clients into stock buys that were guaranteed to earn obscene profits—for the house. But an insatiable appetite for debauchery, questionable tactics, and a fateful partnership with a breakout shoe designer named Steve Madden would land Belfort on both sides of the law and into a harrowing darkness all his own.

From the stormy relationship Belfort shared with his model-wife as they ran a madcap household that included two young children, a full-time staff of twenty-two, a pair of bodyguards, and hidden cameras everywhere—even as the SEC and FBI zeroed in on them—to the unbridled hedonism of his office life, here is the extraordinary story of an ordinary guy who went from hustling Italian ices at sixteen to making hundreds of millions. Until it all came crashing down …” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

-posted by Gretchen Schneider

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