Join our winter reading club now through January 31, 2012!

Earn a prize after reading 4 books and qualify to enter the grand prize drawing for an Amazon Kindle Fire!

There are two ways to sign up and log your books:

1) Log your books online here.  Then, review and rate the books you’ve read.

2) Pick up a book log at the Fiction or Reference service desks. Once completed, return your log and pick up a prize at the Fiction or Reference desks.

Going on vacation?
Record your books wherever you go with online access.

Call 847-663-6613 or email books@nileslibrary.org with any questions.

* The Grand prize winner must be 12-18 years old and have a Niles Library card in good standing.

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Once again, Isabel Wolff and her chick lit do not disappoint.  Yes, it’s light.  Yes, it’s predictable.  But, it’s fun.  And Wolff is a strong author who can create strong characters and semi-believable tales.  This one finds the main character Ella Graham as a popular portrait painter in London’s inner circles.  Her newly-engaged sister commissions a portrait of her fiancé and Ella encounters problems when she finds herself attractive to the fiancé.  Other fascinating storylines stem from the different clients Ella is assigned to paint, but the main focus is Ella’s woes with her sister’s fiancé.  Wolff combines just the right combination of wispy prose with heartfelt stories and quality writing for this to be a perfect weekend read! 
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Featuring three Brown University seniors in 1982, The Marriage Plot captures the coming of age, apprehension and indecisiveness of timeless college graduates.  Eugenides, a Princeton professor and Brown graduate, writes with knowledgeable authority about the college setting.  Mitchell Grammaticus loves Madeleine Hanna and Madeleine Hanna loves Leonard Bankhead, rather unique names in an all too familiar college love triangle.  Madeleine is writing her senior thesis on Victorian novels and has been rejected by Yale graduate school, Mitchell is a religious studies major who plans a graduation trip to India, and Leonard has accepted a biology research fellowship on Cape Cod. As these three seniors make decisions concerning their future it seems that all three are struggling in their own way to find goodness and do the right thing. Madeleine falls in the female trap of confusing love with a need to save and mother a man. Mitchell confuses love with destiny,  and Leonard rejects love under the paralysis of manic depression.  Quite realistic in the characterization of the three students, their parents, and friends, the novel changes between the voices of the three students as the novel progresses. There is an art to capturing the right texture and rhythm of dialogue and Eugenides excels.  His affection for the characters is evident and he interjects humor throughout the novel to lighten the serious moments.
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Written in lush and lyrical language complimenting the North Carolina forest setting, the novel is a thriller, romance, and character study. Luce is a spunky loner who has abandoned social interactions and lives as a caretaker for an abandoned summer lodge miles from town. Her solitary existence is drastically interrupted as a social worker delivers the children of her murdered sister. The children are mute and unresponsive. Without any experience in the care of children, she must be their protector and savior. Meanwhile the father is lurking in the background freed from the murder of his wife and trying to find hidden sums of money. If Luce is the heroine, Bud the father, is the villain of the narrative. In capturing the mind, motivations and self-pitying justifications of this psychopath, Frazier’s words glow.  Luce cares for the children, a stranger visits and a romance begins. As the action advances, Bud, the children, and Luce become entwined in fearful suspense. Providing the welcome escape that readers crave, Frazier journeys to another time and place. Lovers of Cold Mountain will not be disappointed with Nightwoods.

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Akin to Deanna Raybourn and her Lady Julia Grey series and Anne Perry’s William Monk series, Charles Finch puts together a smart, fresh historical mystery series with a debonair gentleman detective Charles Lenox.  In this book, the fourth in the series, Lenox begins working as a Member of Parliament in 1860s London, but called upon to do some investigating when the servant of a fellow MP turns up murdered.  Sadly, his new wife, Lady Jane Grey, is not too pleased his sleuthing…she would rather he be home with her, so that leads to some tension.  Mostly, Lenox is an easy-going and dapper fellow who appeals to all.  I think most mystery readers, especially those who like historical or British mysteries (or both) will like Finch! 
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Following the overwhelming success of The Millennium Trilogy (The Girl….series) by Stieg Larsson and the recent success of The Snowman by Jo Nesbo, it’s no wonder American publishers are clamoring to get new Scandinavian authors out on the crime fiction shelves.  Sometimes, this leads to less than stellar works…published just for the sake of being published.  That is NOT the case with this book by Kepler, a Swedish husband and wife writing team.  The Hypnotist is one of the strongest thrillers I’ve read in ages…since The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo…and even gives that first book of Larsson’s trilogy a run for its money.  Most of the way through (up until the very end — maybe the last 50 pages) was some of the best suspense ever!  Kepler knows just how to reel the audience in and how much or how little to give away…letting the chills mount until they just HAVE to be released.  The ending was a bit of a disappointment, which is why it was not able to surpass The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as my favorite crime story in a decade.  Unlike Girl, which has a very strong ending, The Hypnotist’s story and writing seems to drag on unnecessarily at the end, which is a shame since most of the book was so taut and fine-tuned.  But, the ending should not keep you from reading this one.  The first 450 pages are superb and need to be savored and remembered as you read to the end.  I’m sure you will not be disappointed with this one!  A MUST for all crime readers!

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Not one of Berg’s best but still a strong tale of woe among 50-something divorcees.  The main female character, Irene, got a little tiresome after a while since I so disagreed with a lot of choices in both parenting and dealing with her ex-husband.  But, John, the ex, is a strongly written, interesting male voice in modern-day America.  I felt John had his feet planted more in the real world than Irene, especially when dealing with their 18-year-old daughter.  If you’ve read Berg (and other women’s fiction) and liked her, you will mostly like this one.

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Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
By Foer, Jonathan Safran
2005-04 – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH)
0618329706 Check Our Catalog

Winner – 2006 ALA Notable Fiction Selection
A BookPage Notable Title
Oskar Schell is an inventor, Francophile, tambourine player, Shakespearean actor, jeweler, pacifist. He is nine years old. And he is on an urgent, secret search through the five boroughs of New York to find the lock that fits a mysterious key belonging to his father, who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center.
…More

The Usual Rules
The Usual Rules
By Maynard, Joyce
2004-02 – St. Martin’s Press
0312283695 Check Our Catalog

Thirteen-year-old Wendy lives in Brooklyn. Her world is transformed one day in September 2001–her mother goes to work that morning and doesn’t come back. Through Wendy’s eyes, readers follow her slow and terrible realization that her mother has died, and the family’s struggle to move forward with their lives. …More

The Submission The Submission
By Waldman, Amy
2011-08 – Farrar Straus Giroux
9780374271565 Check Our Catalog

Cool, eloquent, raising two fatherless children, Claire has emerged as the most visible of the widows who became a potent political force in the aftermath of the catastrophe. She longs for her husband, but she has found her mission: she sits on a jury charged with selecting a fitting memorial for the victims of the attack. …More


Terrorist Terrorist
By Updike, John
2007-05 – Ballantine Books
9780345493910 Check Our Catalog

BookPage Notable Title
Born of an Irish-American mother and an Egyptian father long since disappeared, 18-year-old Ahmad craves spiritual nurture and is drawn into an insidious plot.
…More


Ground Zero Ground Zero
By Wilson, F. Paul
2010-09 – Tor Books
9780765362797 Check Our Catalog

Jack finds the secret behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks, in the new dark thriller in the bestselling Repairman Jack series. …More


Absent Friends Absent Friends
By Rozan, S. J.
2008-08 – Dell Publishing Company
9780440241850 Check Our Catalog

The secrets of a group of childhood friends unravel in this haunting thriller by Edgar Award winner Rozan, set in New York in the unforgettable aftermath of September 11. …More

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Akin to titles by fellow Scandinavians Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson, Norwegian author Nesbo spins an exciting, edge-of-your-seat thriller with a whole lot of punch.  The “creep” factor is high here so don’t read at bedtime…nightmares of snowmen staring through the window at you are almost guaranteed.  Telling the story of a serial killer who is hunting prey in Norway and leaving a snowman at or near the scenes of his crimes, Nesbo weaves terror and strong writing together to tell his teeth-clenching tale.  The police detective investigating, Harry Hole, becomes personally attached to the killer after Hole begins to get messages from the killer.  A solid, intense thriller by an author who will give fans of Mankell’s Wallander series and Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy a run for their money.
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