Monday, December 21, 2009

Read-alike Guides - The Lord of the Rings

If you enjoyed The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R.Tolkien, you might enjoy one of these books:

Eragon by Christopher Paolini
In Aagaësia, a 15-year-old boy of unknown lineage called Eragon finds a mysterious stone that weaves his life into a tale of destiny, magic, and power peopled with dragons, elves, and monsters. This sweeping epic crosses a vast geography and is replete with histories, names, and languages. Tolkien’s influence on Paolini is clearly visible. (YAF Pao)

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
Agents of the Dark One are loose in the world. Salvation can only be achieved if the efforts of a small band of unlikely heroes, embarking on a journey to discover themselves and to save the world from the rising evil, are successful. Adventure, melancholy tone, circumscribed magic, and a bleakly atmospheric, layered story add to the feel of Tolkien's own Middle Earth.

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
The royal Stark family faces its ultimate challenge in the onset of a generation-long winter, the plots of the rival Lannisters, the emergence of the Neverborn demons, and the arrival of barbarian hordes. Martin combines intrigue, action, romance, and mystery in a family saga. Tolkien fans will appreciate Martin’s literacy, imagination, emotional impact, and superb world-building.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Lyra Belacqua, who lives in a parallel universe much like ours, sets out to save her best friend and other abducted children from gruesome experiments in the Far North. Descriptive writing, a cast of fascinating characters, and the ever-present philosophical question of the definition of good and evil makes for great reading. (YAF Pul)

Magician: Apprentice by Raymond E. Feist
The first of two linked novels in the Riftwar Saga explores the destiny of two young apprentices—one to a magician and the other to a swordsman—joined in the battle of light against dark. Wizards and elves remind readers of Tolkien, as do the compelling, sympathetic characters and intricate plots, but Feist also adds elements of science fiction.

Mystic and Rider by Sharon Shinn
The Mystic woman Senneth, accompanied by a team of Shapeshifters and Riders, is sent by the king into the land of Gillengaria to investigate reports of retaliation against those who use magic. Elegant prose conjures likable characters and an absorbing group-development narrative in an easy, absorbing, high-quality read.

Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings
The farm boy Garion begins a dangerous quest to recover the magic Orb and prevent the evil Torak from seizing power over the world in the first book of Eddings’ Belgariad. Warring gods, political intrigues, supernatural creatures, and appealingly human magicians populate this adventure fantasy.

Shadowmarch by Tad Williams
With the fate of humanity hanging in the balance, twins Barrick and Briony must save Southmarch Castle and the surrounding lands from their inhuman enemies. The turbulently conflicted land of humans, elves, and dwarves in the first book of this intriguing saga should appeal to fans of Middle Earth and its peoples. Williams’ writing is exciting, intricate, and insightful.

The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay
In The Fionavar Tapestry, beginning with The Summer Tree, five University of Toronto students find themselves transported to the Tolkienesque world of Fionavar, where they discover their individual powers and become involved in a struggle against the forces of evil. Complex plot and characters, mythological lore, and elegant prose make this trilogy comparable to The Lord of the Rings.

The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks
Although the language and plot lack the complexity of Tolkien's, the Shannara series shares many similarities to Tolkien’s works—elves, druids, and wraiths; a young, untried hero; battles of good versus evil; action; and adventure. In this first book, Shea must save inhabitants of the world from the Warlock Lord by reclaiming the wondrous sword.

Also by J.R.R.Tolkien:

The Children of Húrin
Discovered posthumously and edited by Tolkien’s son, The Children of Húrin is a fantasy adventure saga set in the early days of Middle Earth. Túrin, son of the human lord Húrin and the elven lady Morwen, becomes a pivotal force in the ongoing battle against evil. The editorial hand of Christopher Tolkien makes this tale more approachable than his father’s other posthumously published works.

The Silmarillion
In 1917, Tolkien began writing these legends of Middle Earth. Two tales, which outline the origin of the world and describe the gods who create and rule, precede the title story about the Silmarils--three jewel-like creatures who are desired, setting up a clash between good and evil from which the legends of the First Age are set forth. Two short tales follow to round out the history of the Third Age.

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Tolkien was a prodigious letter writer all his life, and Carpenter presents the cream of the crop--letters that shed light on his thoughts about his academic and literary work and those that show his private side, revealing a loving husband, a playful friend, and a doting father. Of course, the most fascinating letters are those in which he discusses Middle Earth. (828 To)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Read-alike Guides - Stephen King

If you like the psychological horror tales of Stephen King, you might enjoy one of these books:

Boy’s Life by Robert R. McCammon
Twelve-year-old Cory Mackenson's father finds a dead man handcuffed to a car's steering wheel that has plunged into Zephyr's Lake in 1964, and they realize that all is not as it seems in their quiet town. McCammon’s novel mixes hair-raising dangers and adventure with a coming-of-age tale.

From the Corner of His Eye by Dean Koontz
Bartholomew Lampion grows up a prodigy, blinded by the surgery required to save him from a fast-spreading cancer. He regains his sight at the age of thirteen and sets out to transform the lives of everyone around him. Kooky characters, multiple storylines, and a fast pace provide something for everyone in this compelling tale of good and evil.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
This classic novel, in which a scientist of the supernatural invites three people to come to Hill House to study and record the occult incidents that occur there, has been scaring readers since its publication in 1959.The phantasma of other worlds—and private worlds—reveal a disconcerting similarity. King fans will appreciate the subtle psychological terror.

Homebody by Orson Scott Card
After losing his daughter in a car wreck, Don Lark buries himself in the work of restoring a magnificent, long-neglected Southern mansion. When he unearths an old tunnel in the cellar, he stirs up the demons of the house's tragic past. This novel is fast-paced, magical, and full of unusual characters.

Hunted Past Reason by Richard Matheson
A camping trip exposes long-hidden rivalries and resentments between two old friends. Tensions rise as they get farther from civilization, until the hostility erupts into a life or death struggle for survival. Matheson effectively translates the basic man-hunts-man story into modern psycho-thriller terms. As always, his dialogue rings true.

Mr. X by Peter Straub
Every year on his birthday, Ned Dunstan experiences a seizure in which he is forced to witness scenes of ruthless slaughter perpetrated by a mysterious and malevolent figure in black whom Ned calls Mr. X. Straub writes this horrific tale of self-discovery in evocative prose, populated with well-drawn characters. Mr. X boasts a labyrinthine plot with shocking twists.

Relic by Douglas J. Preston and Lincoln Child
Investigating a series of savage murders that disrupt a massive new exhibition at the New York Museum of Natural History, graduate student Margo Green finds a clue in a failed Amazonian expedition. Relic has the right blend of gripping suspense, colorful characters, and credible science to create a gripping page-turner.

Sleep No More by Greg Iles
Enjoying a happy marriage while remembering an obsessive love affair years earlier (with a woman who subsequently died), John Waters encounters a woman with a secret only his ex-girlfriend knows. When she, too, is killed, Waters' life is enveloped by guilt and suspicion. Iles is masterful at sustaining psychological suspense with a multitude of plot twists and possibilities.

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
A masterpiece of modern Gothic literature, this is the story of two boys and the evil that grips their small Midwestern town with the arrival of a "dark carnival" one autumn midnight. How these two innocents save the souls of the town, makes for compelling reading on timeless themes. Bradbury excels in revealing the dark side that exists in us all.

Summer of Night by Dan Simmons
Terror comes to Elm Haven, Illinois, when something or someone makes off with a child, bizarre events occur with increasing frequency, and the long-silent Borgia Bell rings by itself, announcing a malignant presence. Stephen King calls Summer of Night an “American nightmare with scares, suspense, and a sweet, surprising nostalgia, one of those rare must-read books.”

Also by Stephen King:

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
King shares his insights into the craft of writing and offers a humorous perspective on his own experience as a writer. This is unmistakably King—friendly, sharply perceptive, cheerfully vulgar, sometimes adolescent in his humor, sometimes impatient with fools, but always sincere in his love of language and writing. (Find it in the nonfiction section, 813.54 Kin.)

Bare Bones: Conversations on Terror with Stephen King
Bare Bones is a cornucopia of rare insights into Stephen King, the man and the writer. The editors have assembled the first book of conversations with him, a series of revealing interviews King has granted to some of America's most respected interviewers. King discusses his life, his work, his fears and dreams. (Available in nonfiction, 813.54 Ki.)

The Bachman Books: Four Early Novels
Many of King’s early novels were written as Bachman. This omnibus includes Rage, a story of stunning psychological horror about an “estra” ordinary high school student; The Long Walk, a contest with death; Roadwork, a strange variation on the theme of “Home Sweet Home;” and The Running Man, where you bet your life—literally. (F Kin)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Staff Selections - Kathy J., Children's

What is your favorite genre? I love inspirational romance! Women's fiction and historical fiction are my next favorites.

Who is your favorite author? Lori Wick.

What are you reading now? Unwrapping Christmas by Lori Copeland.

What have you read recently? One Tuesday Morning and Beyond Tuesday Morning by Karen Kingsbury, an amazing story about two families affected by the 9/11 attacks. I’ve also recently read the Firstborn series by Karen Kingsbury. It was great, but I do recommend reading her Redemption series first.

What is your favorite classic? As a mom, former teacher, and children’s librarian, I am all about the classics. I love reading the original Winnie the Pooh books by A.A. Milne out loud. There are some great quotes to be gleaned from those books!  I really love discovering new classics too! Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin is a terrific book for the little ones!

What is your all time favorite book/series? The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. A close second is the Nancy Drew mysteries by Carolyn Keene.

What are your favorite recommendations? Adult fiction authors: Janette Oke, Angela Hunt, Gilbert Morris, Frank Peretti, Jan Karon, and Jerry Jenkins. Also read The Princess: A Novel by Lori Wick.
Juvenile fiction authors: Madeline L’Engle and C.S. Lewis. Picture book authors: Eric Carle, Doreen Cronin, Kevin Henkes, Russell Hoban, and Robert McClosky. For those just learning to read: I love the We Both Read series. Newly independent readers: The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne is great.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Read-alike Guides - The Other Boleyn Girl

If you liked The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory, you might enjoy one of these books:

The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers by Margaret George
Will Somers, Henry VIII’s court jester, reveals the king’s journal 10 years after Henry’s death. George is a veteran writer of historical fiction biographies, and her 15 years of research for this engaging novel result in vivid period detail, lifelike characterization, and a Tudor England that leaps off the page.

The Firemaster’s Mistress by Christie Dickason
Francis, a fireworks artist, and Kate, an impoverished glove maker, are thrown together amid conspiracies involving Catholic persecution and Guy Fawkes's plot to blow up Parliament. Dickason deftly blends together a richly detailed historical setting, superbly nuanced characters, and a captivating plot rife with deception, danger, and a dash of romance.

I, Elizabeth by Rosalind Miles
The queen writes a diary in which she records court intrigues and the burdens of political power. Focusing more on Elizabeth’s emotional rather than intellectual life, Miles follows her from frightened girl to mature queen—scholarly, vain, shrewd, deeply attuned to such things as the language of dress, capable of great passion, but learning never to let her passions rule.

The Innocent by Posie Graeme-Evans
Anne is a young peasant girl in medieval Britain whose ability to heal others with herbs brings her to the attention of young King Edward IV. There are unexpected results when she becomes a member of his household. This racy tale comes alive with its colorful and often sumptuous descriptions and intriguing plot.

Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir
This complex, absorbing, and psychologically astute novel follows Jane Grey, great-niece of Henry VIII. After the death of Edward VI, Jane becomes a political pawn of the Protestants opposed to Mary’s succession. Jane rules for nine days before reaching the executioner’s block. Weir’s use of alternating viewpoints makes for effective storytelling.

The King’s Grace by Anne Easter Smith
In this highly speculative novel, Edward IV’s illegitimate daughter Grace Plantagenet investigates a young man's claim that he is one of the princes who presumably died in the Tower and who now wants Henry VII's throne. Smith paints 15th-century political intrigue with thought, courage, and honesty through the eyes of a minor historical figure.

The Shadow of the Pomegranate by Jean Plaidy
Katharine of Aragon's marriage to her beloved King Henry VIII is threatened by powerful people at court who spin webs of intrigue regarding whether she can bear a son. Plaidy wrote popular biographical fiction about the British monarchs in the mid-20th century, and she remains one of the best-loved in the genre.

To Dance with Kings by Rosalind Laker
The descendants of a fan maker from a village near Versailles are hired by the courts of Louis XIV, XV, and XVI, and the family's fortunes slowly rise through the French Revolution. Versailles comes alive in this novel of fast-moving drama and romance, which will especially appeal to fans of Gregory’s books with commoners narrating the lives of royalty.

The Wild Irish by Robin Maxwell
Having fought against the English for their oppression of her country, Irish pirate and gunrunner Grace O'Malley goes head-to-head with Queen Elizabeth I when her son is captured, a confrontation that brings her to England and risks her life. Maxwell skillfully interweaves the stories of two very complex, passionate, and remarkable women in this superb tale set during the Irish rebellion.

The Winter Mantle by Elizabeth Chadwick
In the wake of William the Conqueror's triumph at Normandy, one of his noblemen falls in love with William's niece. The situation forces the couple to choose between love and loyalty—a decision that has profound consequences. History, romance, and suspense are knit together in a heartrending tale of love and loss on an appropriately grand scale.

Also by Philippa Gregory:

The White Queen
The Plantagenets are at war, and Elizabeth Woodville catches the eye of the newly crowned boy king and marries him in secret. Their two sons become central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries, disappearing from the Tower of London. This novel is typical Gregory, with added intimate relationships, political maneuvering, battlefield conflicts, and even some supernatural elements.

Earthly Joys
John Tradescant is the gardener of Sir Robert Cecil, Queen Elizabeth's secretary of state who later plays kingmaker for James Stuart. John finds himself drawn deeper into the political and religious quagmire of the early 17th century. The tumult and chaos of pre-Restoration England is juxtaposed artfully against the order and symmetry of Tradescant’s famous gardens.

In the first of an 18th century family saga trilogy, Beatrice does not stop at murder, maiming, persecution of the innocent, or incest in her quest to secure for herself and children the beloved estate of Wideacre, slated to be delivered into the unworthy hands of male heirs only. Gregory’s first—and perhaps raciest—novel features her trademark confessional style.

Read-alike Guides - The Hunt for Red October

If you liked The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy, you might enjoy one of these books:

The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins
One-time British Army soldier Higgins introduces Liam Devlin, an IRA gunman, poet, scholar, and anti-hero. Devlin is one of various spies who assists a small force of German paratroopers when they land on the Norfolk coast in 1943 and attempt to kidnap Winston Churchill. This is a convincing alternate history with detailed characters.

Fade by Kyle Mills
Directed to re-recruit a former agent who was shot in the line of duty, Homeland Security associate director Matt Egan faces a difficult task. The agent, known as “Fade,” becomes a fugitive in a dangerous act of revenge. Fade is a new kind of hero—a tough, loyal American agent and former Navy SEAL of Arab ancestry. Mills has written an exciting terrorism thriller with a twist.

Flight of the Intruder by Stephen Coonts
Coonts often uses themes and plot devices similar to Clancy’s, as well as accurate technical details. In the first novel of this series, Jake Grafton is an A-6 Intruder pilot during the Vietnam War. Enraged at his bombardier’s meaningless death, Jake’s anger and bitterness grow until he decides to do things his own way, which leads him to the riskiest mission of all.

Flight of the Old Dog by Dale Brown
In the first novel featuring Patrick McLanahan, Pat navigates a B-52, attempting to survive waves of Soviet surface-to-air missiles and MiG fighters in order to drop a bomb on a laser installation in Siberia. A former USAF captain, Brown knows his airborne and naval high-tech equipment, as well as the cockpit bantering of crews.

I, Sniper by Stephen Hunter
Hunter's signature blend of cinematic language, action-packed suspense, and multifaceted characters is evident as retired Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger fights to clear the name of a fellow soldier-in-arms. Swagger faces off against one of his most ruthless adversaries yet—a sniper whose keen intellect and pinpoint accuracy rivals his own.

More Than Courage by Harold Coyle
When the members of his special forces unit are captured and scheduled for execution deep in enemy territory, Lieutenant Colonel Harry Shaddock is charged with going behind enemy lines to rescue his men and complete their mission. Coyle, a VMI graduate and army veteran, is a master of characterization and accurate detail.

Rolling Thunder by Mark Berent
Three Air Force pilots go to Vietnam in 1965 and face the horrors of the jungle, but when they return home they face the hostility of Americans against the war. Former USAF pilot Berent, who served three tours in Vietnam, writes nonstop action with convincing technical details and military jargon.

Semper Fi by W.E.B. Griffin
The first of The Corps series tells of the Marines between the World Wars, as they were about to become America’s first line of defense after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. While heavy on action and suspense, Griffin also manages to create lifelike characters and provide detailed description of the culture, relationships, history, and traditions of men at war.

Targets of Opportunity by Joe Weber
Elements of espionage and mounting suspense, high-tech details, action, and adventure are common in Weber’s work. Here, Marine pilot Brad Austin uses a North Vietnamese MiG-17 to fly into Vietnam and infiltrate the Air Force, but once there, he has a difficult additional assignment. A former Marine pilot himself, Weber writes the pilot's perspective realistically.

The Threat by David Poyer
Military details, adventure stories out of today's headlines, and series characters that readers can root for make Poyer’s books great. So great, in fact, that some are used as textbooks at the United States Naval Academy. In The Threat, Medal of Honor recipient Dan Lenson is assigned to serve in the White House, where he uncovers a horrific terrorist plot to smuggle a dirty bomb into the U.S.

Also by Tom Clancy:

Marine: A Guided Tour of a Marine Expeditionary Unit
Clancy offers a unique inside view of the Marines, including their history, recruitment, training, arms, equipment, and strategies. His main focus is the Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). The USMC maintains seven MEUs, rapid-response units that patrol the sea while waiting for the president to send a "911" call for armed intervention. Clancy’s vivid detail works just as well in nonfiction.

Into the Storm
Clancy traces the organizational success story of the U.S. Army's rise from the slough of Vietnam to the heights of victory in the Persian Gulf. He analyzes the art of modern warfare as seen through the eyes of General Frederick M. Franks, Jr., an armor and infantry commander during the Gulf War. Franks is a man of great courage, integrity, and thoughtfulness. This is a great read.

The Teeth of the Tiger
The most recent Jack Ryan novel actually features Ryan’s son, Jack Jr. When a terrorist leader and a drug warlord form a dangerous alliance, FBI agent Dominic Caruso, his Marine captain brother Brian, and their cousin Jack Ryan, Jr. encounter unexpected dangers. Clancy writes with the exceptional realism and cutting-edge authenticity that are his hallmarks.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Staff Selections - Joan 1, Reference

What is your favorite genre? I love a good mystery!!! Agatha Christie is my all time favorite mystery author!

What are you reading now? First Family by David Baldacci.

What have you read recently? Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Fight Terror and Build Nations-One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson, Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese, The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar, and The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

What is your favorite classic? Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.

What is your all time favorite book/series? I’ve read Rebecca and Gone With the Wind FIVE times each, so I guess they must be my favorites…..along with anything by Agatha Christie, which I’ve read multiple times too!! I love The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith.

What are your favorite recommendations? I prefer fiction to nonfiction, but I would recommend Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson as an excellent work of nonfiction. I am in a BOOK CLUB, which I find really broadens the scope of what I read. Some of those selections were: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski, See You in a Hundred Years: Four Seasons in Forgotten America by local author Logan Ward, Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult, Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende, and The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. Also: What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman, The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls and Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen. I guess what I’m saying is...TRY A BOOK CLUB!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Reading Lists - Native American Heritage Month

Historical Fiction:

Arrest Sitting Bull by Douglas C. Jones
It is the 1890s, and the ghost dance—the invocation of the power that will help the Indians destroy the white man—is sweeping through the Dakota reservation. The U.S. government worries about the aging Sitting Bull, who is attracting many fanatical followers. How can peace be maintained when the order is sent that Sitting Bull most be arrested?

Creek Mary’s Blood by Dee Brown
This epic tale of Indian life, written by the author of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, follows a single family’s participation in major events: the American Revolution, the Cherokee relocation of the 1830s, and the Battles of Little Big Horn and Wounded Knee. As the family moves from Georgia to the Great Plains, their history mirrors that of a people and a nation.

The Heartsong of Charging Elk by James Welch
Charging Elk is a young Sioux recruited to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. When the show is in Marseilles, he becomes ill and is accidentally left behind. Unable to communicate in French or English, he lives as an outcast in France, reminiscing of his home in the Dakotas. Welch’s literary style complements the heart wrenching narrative.

House Made of Dawn by M. Scott Momaday
In this Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Abel is a young Indian who has just returned from World War II. He is caught between the world of his ancestors and the modern white world. Abel is an intriguing character, and his fragmented story is engaging. This densely written, issue-centered story is a beautiful, timeless look at the rift between cultures.

Moon of Bitter Cold by Frederick J. Chiaventone
Red Cloud, a Lakota chief, unites the Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Crow to command victory in Red Cloud’s War (1866-1868). Red Cloud, his enemies, his allies, and his country are all vividly painted in this gritty account of the only war that Indians ever won against the U.S.

Mountain Windsong by Robert Conley
This is a love story set during Andrew Jackson’s Indian removal policy, which uprooted the Cherokees from their North Carolina homeland. Oconechee manages to escape the forced removal, but Waguli joins the exodus of the Trail of Tears. The two spend years searching for one another.

People of the Thunder by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear
Set in the 1300s largely in what is now Alabama and Mississippi, this complex novel tracks three wanderers’ quest to create peace in violent times. The story is loaded with historical detail, court intrigue, colorful characters, and sharp plot twists; however, it is not for the squeamish, as it also contains plenty of blood and gore.

Stone Heart by Diane Glancy
The Shoshone woman Sacajawea narrates this second-person account of the 1804 Lewis and Clark expedition. Glancy’s lyrical writing is punctuated with excerpts from the diaries of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. This intimate portrait of a remarkable woman’s physical and spiritual odyssey is worth reading.

Turn the Stars Upside Down by Terry C. Johnston
Recreating the events leading up to the September 5, 1877 death of Crazy Horse, notorious defender of the weak and helpless, Johnston brings the famous Oglala chief dramatically to life. Crazy Horse’s story is compelling and poetically written. "He is a thousand winds that still blow," Johnston writes of Crazy Horse.

Zeke and Ned by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana
Zeke Proctor and Ned Christie were Cherokee folk heroes / outlaws of the late 1800s during the Cherokee struggle for independence. These men and their families are realistic, well-drawn characters that dominate this fast-paced, readable novel. Zeke and Ned is a mock-heroic tale of culture shock and sudden death on the western frontier.

Other genres:

Don’t like historical fiction? Read something from a different genre by one of these authors!
Mystery/Suspense - James D. Doss, Margaret Coel
Romance - Kathleen Eagle, Cassie Edwards, Janelle Taylor
General Fiction - Sherman Alexie, Louise Erdich

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Read-alike Guides - Bridget Jones's Diary

If you liked Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding, you might like one of these books:

Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
At 14, Bridget Jones was probably a lot like Georgia Nicholson. In her journal, Georgia records a year of side-splitting tales as she tries to reduce the size of her nose, stop her mad cat Angus from terrorizing the neighborhood pets, and win the love of hunky Robbie. Adults will love this YA book, a fun reminder of the light side of being a teen. (YAF Ren)

The Goddess Rules by Clare Naylor
Kate Disney is content with her cramped garage studio and her convenient, part-time boyfriend. Then screen legend Mirabelle Moncur commissions Kate, a painter of animal portraits, to immortalize her pet lion cub, and the two become friends. Mirri teaches Kate how to dress properly, stand up for herself, and enjoy a man's attentions in this light, fun, and authentically touching tale.

The Go-To Girl by Louise Bagshawe
Tired of being overlooked among the glamorous, gorgeous women who surround her, lowly script-reader Anna Brown sets out to turn her life around and win the man of her dreams—Mark Swan, Britain's hottest director. Snappy dialogue, deliciously shallow characters, and unusual plot devices (like an arranged marriage) put a new spin on chick lit.

Highland Fling by Katie Fforde
Taking a business trip to Scotland after a fight with her boyfriend, financial assistant Jenny Porter works to save a troubled textile mill and helps in a variety of local causes. Will feisty, independent Jenny find true love and save the town? Light-hearted and witty, Fforde’s book is perfect for readers who like their chick lit with a Scottish twist.

Jemima J by Jane Green
Plus-sized Jemina Jones struggles with weight, dating, and work issues as she navigates a treacherous world dominated by thinner women. Although the technical detail of online dating is outdated (the book was written in 1999), the results of Jemima’s efforts still ring true. This is a feel-good modern fairy tale—with the apt subtitle ”A Novel of Ugly Ducklings and Swans.”

Original Cyn by Sue Margolis
When a coworker steals her idea for an ad campaign, Cynthia Fishbein, the quintessential good girl, reaches her breaking point, taking the other woman's identity and embarking on a double life. With this unusual twist on the chick lit genre, Margolis includes something for everyone—humor, good dialogue, hot love scenes, and lots of dilemmas.

Simply Divine by Wendy Holden
Jane, a struggling young writer for a popular women's magazine, gets the nightmarish assignment of becoming the ghostwriter for Champagne D'Vyne, a stereotypical socialite. Distractions in Jane’s life complicate the task in this clever, pun-filled book populated with vivid characters. Simply put, it’s simply divine.

Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes
Though most chick lit seems to be London-based, Irish novelist Keyes could be called the founder of the genre. Three women in the fashion magazine industry rely on each other’s support as they try to navigate the fast-paced worlds of love and career. This is a fun read for those who enjoyed the dynamic between Bridget Jones and her friends.

A Tale of Two Sisters by Anna Maxted
Professional differences, new loves, and mistakes threaten to separate two very different sisters—Cassandra, a charismatic, and successful woman caught in a bad marriage, and Lizbet, a plump dreamer striving to succeed as a journalist. Cliff-hanger chapter endings make this a page-turner, while clever plotting and truly interesting characters make the novel stand out in the genre.

Twenty Something by Iain Hollingshead
In this Bridget Jones for lads, 25-year-old Jack is having a quarter-life crisis—he hates his job, he's upset about his receding hairline and expanding waistline, and he's stuck in a disastrous relationship. In his diary, Jack records, as he puts it, why he has become such a "tosspot," and he formulates a plan to free himself from the grindstone. Hollingshead has a flair for comedy and characterization.

Also by Helen Fielding:

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Four weeks after the end of her first diary, Bridget’s honeymoon period with Mark Darcy is over. Bridget is feeling uncomfortable with the realities of sharing bed and board with another person, especially one who votes conservative and folds his boxers before bed. Then there’s Rebecca, a sexy woman intent on stealing Bridget’s man. Poor Bridget seems doomed to singlehood forever!

Cause Celeb
Disillusioned with London's glittering celebrity world, Rosie Richardson escapes to a refugee camp in the African desert, where she is forced to draw on her media savvy to aid the starving victims of a devastating famine. The juxtaposition of chattering socialites and silently suffering refugees in Fielding’s first book creates satire that is both humorous and sobering.

Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination
Journalist-turned-spy Olivia Joules finds herself drawn to Pierre Ferramo, a man of impeccable taste and extraordinary wealth, until she begins to worry that he is an international terrorist. Fielding has written another endearing, hilarious heroine in a laugh-out-loud meeting of romance and espionage—a kind of Bridget Jones meets James Bond.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Read-alike Guides - The Runaway Jury

If you liked The Runaway Jury by John Grisham, you might enjoy one of these books:

Absolute Power by David Baldacci
When a wealthy campaign contributor's wife is found murdered, the President of the United States promises to help find the killer—until he is linked to the crime by a cat burglar. Although the reader knows the identity of the guilty party, multiple plots and the mystery of how things will play out create page-turning suspense.

A Certain Justice by John Lescroart
Kevin Shea is an ordinary man who, through no fault of his own, is hounded, hunted, and almost destroyed for a crime he did not commit. Four major homicides create one political and legal nightmare for San Francisco as race relations spiral out of control in the city. This novel about justice and injustice is a shockingly realistic, thoughtful, and exciting thriller.

Dead Even by Brad Meltzer
Husband and wife lawyers Sara and Jared face each other in court, forced into the situation by blackmail and politics. Both have been threatened: win the case or your spouse dies. Sara and Jared’s desperation to protect one another is almost palpable. Two young lawyers pitted against corrupt but powerful enemies is a recipe for exciting danger and heart-stopping suspense.

Final Jeopardy by Linda A. Fairstein
For a twist on the legal thriller, try this series featuring ADA Alex Cooper. In the first, a famous actress is murdered—though Alex may have been the intended victim. Medical details and the investigative role of the District Attorney's office are an added bonus to the legal detail and the great characterization of scrappy, unrelenting Alex.

The Jury by Steve Martini
Paul Madriani defends genetic researcher, Dr. David Crone, who is accused of murdering his assistant. As in many of Martini’s works, investigation plays an important role—actual courtroom drama often takes second place. Readers are sure to become attached to the sympathetic characters of Madriani and his colleagues, underdog lawyers fighting for justice.

The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly
Operating out of his Lincoln Town Car (hence the moniker “Lincoln Lawyer”), Mickey Haller discovers that there is “no client as scary as an innocent man,” as his late father said. Connelly has written a heart-stopping thriller and an intricate, cynical look into the criminal justice system with a world-weary, funny, and likeable protagonist.

Mistaken Identity by Lisa Scottoline
Smart-mouthed attorney Beenie Rosato represents a woman accused of killing a cop in this tale of personal issues and legal corruption. Like Grisham, Scottoline employs sympathetic characters, unexpected twists, and fast pacing, though with a good deal more humor and sarcasm.

New York Dead by Stuart Woods
Detective Stone Barrington hunts for the murderer of a New York newscaster, who fell—or jumped—from her apartment, survived the fall, and disappeared when the ambulance transporting her was hit by a fire truck. While there is suspense, action, and plot twists aplenty, there is more sex and violence than one finds in Grisham.

Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow
Rusty Sabich is a prosecuting attorney investigating the murder of Carolyn Polhemus, his former lover and a prominent member of his boss's staff. Attempting to cover up his affair with Carolyn to spare his wife, Rusty finds himself accused of the crime. Written at a slower pace than Grisham’s work, this novel is still a compelling, believable novel, told in the first-person by the accused lawyer.

Wild Justice by Phillip Margolin
A serial killer is torturing and murdering people seemingly at random, and there are two prime suspects—a prominent surgeon and his estranged wife. Amanda Jaffe, an inexperienced young attorney, has to figure out which of her clients may be a killer in this clever page-turner. Much more gruesome and grisly than the average legal thriller, this is not for the faint-hearted.

Also by John Grisham:

Ford County: Stories
Grisham writes more than legal thrillers. In his most recent work, he returns to Ford County, Mississippi—the setting of his first novel, A Time to Kill—in a surprising collection of seven short stories. Featuring an unforgettable cast of characters, these stories bring Ford County to life. Hilarious, moving, and entertaining, this collection offers an interesting change of pace for fans of Grisham’s suspense novels.

A Painted House
There are no lawyers here! In this coming-of-age story, 7-year-old Luke lives in the cotton fields with his parents and grandparents in a little house that's never been painted. Inspired by his own childhood in rural Arkansas, Grisham follows one boy's difficult journey from innocence to experience with descriptive prose.

Playing for Pizza
Cut from the Cleveland Browns after the worst performance in the history of the NFL, Rick Dockery, desperate to play football, is hired by the Panthers of Parma, Italy. He finds himself confronted by the confusing diversity of Italian culture, language, and romance. Grisham’s detailed descriptions of Italy and its culture speak of a true love for the country in this whimsical, charming novel.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Read-alike Guides - Dead Until Dark

If you enjoyed Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris, you might enjoy one of these books:

Bad Moon Rising by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Were-Hunter Fang Kattalakis is forced to choose sides when war erupts among his lycanthrope brethren, a situation that is further complicated by accusations targeting a woman he loves. Threats against both races could change the world forever. This is the steamiest of paranormal romantic suspense.

Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore
When young Tommy Flood meets beautiful Jody on her nocturnal visit to the supermarket, he unwittingly begins an eternal relationship with a vampire. Together they deal with the occasional corpse, suspicious cops, and a nasty old vampire. Oddball characters, clever dialog, and hilarious situations are Moore’s trademarks.

Dark Road Rising by P.N. Elrod
In 1938 Chicago, vampire P.I. and club owner Jack Fleming is playing babysitter to Gabriel Kroun, an unstable mobster (and newly created vampire) with deadly secrets. Dealing with Kroun leaves Jack vulnerable to the return of an old enemy desperate to unlock the secrets of Jack's immortality. Mystery, suspense, vampires, and gangsters—what a combination!

Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton
Anita Blake is a vampire hunter and necromancer in a time when vampires are protected by law. Now someone's killing innocent vampires, and she agrees to find out who and why. This story is full of energy and humor, as well as appealing characters—dead and alive. Also try A Kiss of Shadows, the first in the Meredith Gentry series.

The Messenger by Jan Burke
Tyler is a Messenger, one who hears the final thoughts of the dying and conveys their messages to their loved ones. His life is solitary until he meets Amanda and grows close to her, unaware that he is being pursued by an old enemy. Charlaine Harris fans will appreciate Amanda's ghostly abilities in this supernatural suspense.

Smoke and Shadows by Tanya Huff
A former ally of private detective Vicki Nelson and vampire Henry Fitzroy, Tony Foster embarks on a new career as a producer of the new TV series Darkest Night, a show about the adventures of a vampire detective. His success is soon threatened by dark forces. This exciting, creepy adventure is a must-read for fantasy mystery enthusiasts.

Storm Front by Jim Butcher
Meet Harry Dresden, Wizard for Hire. He finds lost items, conducts paranormal investigations, does consulting work, gives advice and charges reasonable rates. Zippy dialogue, fast-moving plots, and likeable characters (such as the cynical, flippant Harry Dresden) are the hallmarks of The Dresden Files, a fantasy mystery series with plenty of humor—and even a touch of romance.

Sunshine by Robin McKinley
All hope for stopping the vampiric elite from controlling earth depends on human SOFs (Special Other Forces) and the success of their attempt to recruit Sunshine, the daughter of legendary sorcerer Onyx Blaise. McKinley does suspense with a light touch. Sunshine and her companion Constantine are an enthralling pair of characters.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Young Adult fiction is not just for teenagers! Many supernatural YA series are fun for adults too—start with Twilight. When 17-year-old Bella moves to Forks, Washington, she meets Edward Cullen at school. She feels an overwhelming attraction for him, but she begins to suspect he is not entirely human. Romance with a mysterious love interest and plenty of suspense create a story that even adults can sink their teeth into.

Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson
For humor and vampires, look no further than Davidson’s Undead series. After being killed in a car accident, fashion savvy Betsy Taylor becomes one of the undead. With the help of her newfound friends, the lure of designer shoes, and a sexy vampire, she must destroy a dark enemy and fulfill her destiny as the prophesied vampire queen. This is laugh-out-loud paranormal chick lit at its best.

Also by Charlaine Harris:

Grave Sight
In Harris’s latest series, Harper Connelly is a young woman who possesses a strange gift. She has the ability to uncover the final location of a recently deceased individual and to share their last moments. Aided by her manager and stepbrother Tolliver, Harper uses her skill to find the dead. Harris delivers a nail-biting mystery populated with well-developed, edgy characters. A puzzle toward the end will challenge even the most jaded mystery buffs.

Real Murders
A society of crime buffs discovers a mutilated body in their clubhouse kitchen, and the town librarian suspects a fellow member because the crime resembles the club's "murder of the month.” The small-town Georgia setting, endearing characters, and clever pacing make the Aurora Teagarden series a pleasure to read.

Shakespeare’s Landlord
Lily Bard runs a cleaning business in Shakespeare, Arkansas. One night, she discovers the body of her landlord in a garbage bag, which makes her a suspect. Now she must clear her name. Charlaine Harris has created another amateur sleuth in a small Southern town and given her a colorful and suspenseful mystery series, filled with vigorous and unique characters.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Read-alike Guides - The Notebook

If you liked The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks, you might enjoy one of these books:

The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller
On assignment shooting the covered bridges in Iowa, 52-year-old photographer Robert Kincaid falls in love with Francesca Johnson, a married Iowan woman, during four days of love, magic, and beauty. Like Sparks, Waller tends to focus more on his male lead than the female love interest in this bittersweet tale of lingering memories.

Friendship Cake by Lynne Hinton
Five women, working together to create a church cookbook, share their passions, loves, and losses. As these women share recipes and a love of the Lord, they make a friendship cake to last till the end of their lives. This sincere novel features a North Carolina setting, emphasis on Christian faith and values, and 17 southern-style recipes.

The Last Promise by Richard Paul Evans
Having followed her new husband to his native home in rustic Tuscany, Ellana discovers his chauvinism and philandering. She distracts herself from her marital disappointments by caring for her asthmatic son. She reevaluates her life when she meets American art lover Ross Story. This sweetly sappy story delivers love, heartbreak, and a nearly missed opportunity.

The Last Valentine by James Michael Pratt
In 1944, Caroline Thomas awaits the birth of her child while her husband serves in the Pacific; 50 years later, their son Neil tells their story to a reporter, with whom he falls in love. Through his parents’ legacy, Neil learns about faith and true love. Vivid descriptions and intertwined narratives add depth to this touching novel.

Lisey’s Story by Stephen King
This is “a love story steeped in strength and tenderness, and cast with the most vivid, touching and believable characters,” says Nicholas Sparks. Two years after losing her husband of 25 years, Lisey looks back at the sometimes frightening intimacy that marked their marriage and her husband’s secretive nature that established Lisey's supernatural belief systems.

Love Story by Erich Segal
This is the timeless story about the love and marriage of rich Harvard ice hockey player Oliver Barrett IV and poor Radcliffe music student Jenny Calliveri. In addition to their class differences, the couple must deal with Jenny’s leukemia. Read this with a tissue box nearby. Also try Segal’s Only Love.

Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddons
Returning to her family’s cottage after the death of her husband, Lily takes comfort in carrying on detailed conversations with the spirit she believes is in residence. Revisiting the happy times of her marriage and their unconventional courtship also propels Lily further down memory lane. This is an evocative novel about love and loss, complete with a coastal setting and dramatic surprise ending.

A Song I Knew by Heart by Bret Lott
Naomi has lived with her son and his wife Ruth since the death of her husband. When her son is killed in an accident, Naomi and Ruth begin a painful journey of reconciliation and forgiveness. Lott’s rhythmic phrasing echoes the source of his inspiration—the Book of Ruth—and paints a tender portrait of the grieving process.

Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson
Kate Wilkerson has found her perfect man at last. Then he disappears without explanation, leaving behind only a diary for her to read. The diary is written by a new mother for her baby son, Nicholas. Kate attempts to make sense of what she finds in Suzanne’s diary in this bittersweet story about different types of love and loss. Also try Sam’s Letters to Jennifer by James Patterson.

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
Raised by a mother who's had five husbands, 18-year-old Remy believes in no-commitment, short-term relationships until she meets Dexter, a rock band musician. This Young Adult novel is about coming to terms with the fact that loving someone requires a leap of faith and that a soft landing is never guaranteed. It should appeal to fans of Sparks’ more recent books about teenagers.

Also by Nicholas Sparks:

A Bend in the Road
Devastated by the death of his wife in a hit-and-run accident, Miles, deputy sheriff of New Bern, NC, discovers new meaning in his life when he meets Sarah Andrews, a woman struggling to rebuild her own life. However, their new relationship is tested when Miles receives a tip about his wife’s death. This novel has a touch of mystery and darker themes than most of Sparks’ work.

The Wedding
In this quasi-sequel to The Notebook, Wilson Lewis has been married to Noah and Allie’s daughter for 30 years. With the preparations for their own daughter's wedding serving as a catalyst, Wilson realizes that the spark has left his relationship with his wife, and he sets out to make his wife fall in love with him again.

Three Weeks with My Brother (with Micah Sparks)
In a memoir written with his brother, Sparks describes how the two of them dealt with their grief over the untimely deaths of their parents and only sister by embarking on a three-week odyssey around the world. Part biography and part spiritual travelogue, this a beautiful story about holding onto faith and family when faced with tragedy.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Staff Selections - Jessica, Circulation

What is your favorite genre? I’m a total YA fantasy nerd—if it involves faeries, I’m there!  I love anything that has to do with mythology and fairy tales. Anything FRANCESCA LIA BLOCK writes is gold in my eyes, her books changed my life growing up—I view her as a genre unto herself. I’m also really into MANGA, which is a medium rather than a genre, but there was nowhere else to state my MANGA-FAN-NESS!!

What are you reading now? Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, which, as the title suggests, is Pride and Prejudice with added zombie action. I’m also reading Foxmask by Juliet Marillier, a historical fantasy that draws a lot from Norse culture.

What have you read recently? Lament by Maggie Stiefvater, Wings by Aprilynne Pike, the manga We Were There by Yuki Obata, all of which I loved.

What is your favorite classic? Lewis Carroll’s Alice‘s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. There are very few things I adore more than these books.

What is your all time favorite book/series? As far as books go, it’s between the Harry Potter series, The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander, The Hitchhiker’s Guide books by Douglas Adams, and the Sevenwaters trilogy by Juliet Marillier.  My favorite manga series are Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba, Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa, Alice 19th by Yu Watase, and Sand Chronicles by Hinako Ashihara.

What are your favorite recommendations? Neverwhere by Nail Gaiman, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith, Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You and The Book of Dead Days by Marcus Sedgwick....I could keep going on and on.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Read-alike Guides - Florida Roadkill

If you liked Florida Roadkill by Tim Dorsey, you might enjoy one of these books:

Bahamarama by Bob Morris
Having served two years in prison for a crime he did not commit, ex-Miami Dolphin Zack Chasteen hopes to reunite with his girlfriend in the Bahamas. When murder and kidnapping interrupt his trip, he turns to a police superintendent and a Taino mystic. Colorful locals and the narrator’s comic cynicism will appeal to Dorsey fans, and juicy plotlines make this a real page-turner.

Buck Fever by Ben Rehder
With deer season just around the corner, game warden John Marlin is busy answering poaching complaints, but the situation takes a deadly turn when a man in a deer suit is found shot at the Circle S Ranch. A corrupt sheriff, Colombian gangsters, and a pair of poachers propel the action with increasingly ridiculous schemes in this fast-paced comic thriller.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
Hiding a secret life as a serial killer while working as a murder analyst for the Miami police, Dexter Morgan is intrigued by the work of a new serial killer. His foster sister is a Miami Vice Squad cop working on the killings, so Dexter decides to help her solve the case. This is a gripping and offbeat novel, and Dexter is an appealingly articulate and ghoulish narrator.

Dead Silence by Randy Wayne White
In the most recent novel featuring Doc Ford—retired marine biologist and black-ops agent—Doc’s U.S. senator girlfriend is kidnapped during an assassination attempt outside the Explorers Club in New York City, and he sets out on a rescue mission in the Florida Keys. His frantic chase takes him to some very dark and desperate places.

Dream State: Eight Generations of Swamp Lawyers, Conquistadors, Confederate Daughters, Banana Republicans, and Other Florida Wildlife by Diane Roberts
The title says it all—a humorous history about life in the Sunshine State, told in memoir form. (Find it in the nonfiction section, 975.9 Rob.)

Money Wanders by Eric Dezenhall
An Atlantic City mobster is having trouble getting a casino license, so he hires a prominent Washington pollster (who turns out to be the enemy’s grandson) to beef up his public image. Sharply drawn characters, delightful dialogue, a compelling plot, and a nostalgic look at the Jersey shore make for a unique novel of crime and comedy.

The Naked Detective by Laurence Shames
Pete Amsterdam pretends to be a P.I. to get a tax deduction, and somehow he ends up with a cross-dressing client on the run from the mob. His reluctant adventures take Pete out of a midlife funk and into the arms of a blonde yoga teacher. The constant laughs and laid-back Key West tone are sure to impress.

Skin Tight by Carl Hiaasen
Narrowly escaping an attempt on his life, former Florida state investigator Mick Stranahan wonders who wants him dead and finds suspects in a shaky plastic surgeon, a shady lawyer, and a sensational television host. Hiaasen’s cynical satire, wacky characters, and Florida settings make Skin Tight—and his other novels—must-reads for Serge Storms fanatics.

Stuff To Die For by Don Bruns
On their first job as self-employed movers, twenty-something James Lessor and Skip Moore discover a bloody finger wearing a class ring. Throw in the CIA, murderous thugs, Cubans with agendas, and Miami will never be the same. This engaging mystery with its goofy, loveable characters is a buddy novel reminiscent of the movie Dumb and Dumber.

Walking Money by James O. Born
State police officer Bill Tasker faces the toughest case of his career when he is framed for a crime involving more than a million dollars of stolen money, a corrupt FBI agent, and a murdered key witness. Born’s own law enforcement background lends authority not only to the plot but also to the dialogue, the edgy cop humor, and the glitzy-grotesque South Florida setting.

Also by Tim Dorsey:

Triggerfish Twist
In the fourth book of the series (but the first chronologically), Serge Storms moves to the suburbs—and likes it. His favorite neighbor is recent Tampa resident Jim Davenport, whose dreams of tropical paradise are shattered when he kills one of two recently released convicts and must contend with the other. Countless zany subplots and colorful characters populate this fun addition to the Serge Storms series.

Orange Crush
Dorsey tackles Florida politics in this tale filled with black humor and absurdity. Incumbent Republican governor Marlon Conrad campaigns in an Orange Crush bus, ending his tour of Florida tourist attractions with a WWF tag-team match against his opponent. Serge Storms plays a more minor role here.

Nuclear Jellyfish
As professional thieves begin targeting trade show exhibitors who may not be what they seem, Serge Storms launches an Internet travel site to lure unsuspecting tourists to Florida, only to catch the attention of his nemesis, Agent Mahoney. Serge's instruments of vengeance include garden hoses, pigs, aerosol sprays, and lots of duct tape in this most recent adventure.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Read-alike Guides - The Da Vinci Code

If you liked The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, you might enjoy one of these books:

The Confessor by Daniel Silva
This book is part of a series featuring art restorer and Israeli agent Gabriel Allon. After the assassination of a Munich writer, Allon and Vatican priest Pietro embark on dangerous journeys, revealing long-buried secrets affecting the fates of millions. Meanwhile, the pope vows to uncover the truth about the church's response to the Holocaust in this multilayered-plot.

The Eight by Katherine Neville
During the French Revolution, a young novice risks her life to keep a jeweled chess set that Moors gave Charlemagne; in the 20th century, a computer expert and a chess master try to solve its mystery. The suspenseful narrative contains many puzzles, crosswords, and cryptograms, which should appeal to fans of Robert Langdon’s adventures.

The Eighth Day by John Case
P.I. Danny Cray is hired to discover who is behind a scheme to destroy the reputation of a notorious billionaire—an assignment that hurls him into a sinister world where nothing is what it seems. Dan Brown enthusiasts will love the settings of this riveting thriller—from the streets of D.C. to the Vatican Library to an entire city buried deep under eastern Turkey.

The Expected One by Kathleen McGowan
Maureen Pascal gets mixed up in a quest to gain control of a priceless series of scrolls, written in the first century by Mary Magdalene and hidden in France. Like Langdon, Pascal is an engagingly-drawn university lecturer and author. This book is notable for its hauntingly real depiction of biblical characters and detailed description of biblical history.

Labyrinth by Kate Mosse
Alice, a volunteer at an archaeological dig, becomes a target after discovering a pair of crumbling skeletons in the Pyrenees, while 800 years in the past, Alais, the daughter of a crusader, must safeguard the location of the Holy Grail. Epic adventure weaves together the present and the past in this page-turner.

The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason
Trying to decipher an ancient text that weaves a mathematical labyrinth within a love story, two students at Princeton obtain a diary that may contain the key to the code. When a fellow researcher is killed, they realize that the book contains a dangerous secret. Riddles, romance, and Renaissance mysteries—oh my!

The Secret Supper by Javier Sierra
It is 1497. Sent to oversee the completion of Da Vinci's "The Last Supper," Dominican inquisitor Fray Agustin Leyre investigates the artist’s omission of key elements and use of symbolic imagery, which suggests that there is a coded message in the painting. This is an interesting historical twist on the mysterious work of Leonardo Da Vinci.

The Sign by Raymond Khoury
When a scientific expedition is swallowed up by a shimmering sphere of light during a live CNN report, a viewer in a dusty Egyptian bar recognizes the phenomenon, which is declared by some as proof of God's existence. Unrelenting action and a suitably twisted ending combined with a powerful message make for a compelling read.

The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry
By 1311, the last Templar master had been burnt at the stake—or so it has been assumed. Now former secret agent Cotton Malone must solve a mystery of the lost 14th century Templar riches, before the evil latter-day Templar Raymond de Roquefort, who will do anything to keep their secrets, prevails. This is a complex but extremely readable thriller.

The Testament by Eric Van Lustbader
After his father's death in a mysterious explosion, "Bravo" Shaw discovers that his dad had been a member of a secret sect tasked with preserving an ancient cache of documents, allegedly written by Christ himself, that could reshape all of Christianity. More Jason Bourne than Robert Langdon, this story will appeal more to the action fan than the puzzle fan.

Also by Dan Brown:

Angels & Demons
In the first novel to feature Harvard professor and symbologist Robert Langdon, a famous physicist is found murdered. This seems to be the work of the Illuminati, a secret brotherhood presumed extinct for nearly 400 years. With beautiful Italian scientist Vittoria Vetra, Langdon embarks on a dangerous mission against an invisible enemy to save the Vatican. This novel features all the heart-stopping suspense and well-drawn characters that Brown fans expect.

The Lost Symbol
In the newest Robert Langdon novel, the discovery of a mysterious object in the U.S. Capitol building and a subsequent kidnapping lead Langdon into a web of mysterious codes, secret locations, and hidden knowledge. With the fastest moving plot of the series, all of the action takes place over a 12-hour period.

Deception Point
On the eve of a presidential race in which NASA's budget is a pivotal issue, the space agency announces the discovery of an ancient meteorite filled with fossils deep in the Arctic ice. This is a very different Dan Brown, but with convincing settings, likeable and hateful characters, sophisticated scientific and military details, and a breakneck pace, it’s still a must-read.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Read-alike Guides - The Time Traveler's Wife

If you liked The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, you might enjoy one of these books:

Atonement by Ian McEwan
In the summer of 1935, 13-year-old Briony, an aspiring writer, misinterprets something she sees, tearing apart the lives of her family and those close to them. This is a good choice for readers who like Niffenegger’s literary style and themes of memory, tragedy, and family. Like The Time Traveler’s Wife, Atonement has been adapted into a popular film.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
In 1913, an abandoned girl arrives in Australia and is taken in by strangers. The only clue to her identity is a book of fairy tales. As an adult, she tries to piece together her story; her granddaughter also takes up the challenge. Intersecting narratives that move back and forth in time and a touch of mystery make this a compelling novel.

The Heroines by Eileen Favorite
Anne Marie and her daughter Penny run a bed and breakfast where literary heroines come to life and come to visit. The heroines quickly and comically disrupt their lives. Audrey Niffenegger recommends The Heroines, which she calls "Funny and tender...a chance to see Scarlett O'Hara and Emma Bovary off duty."

The Lovely Bones by Alice Seabold
Susie Salmon is 14 when she’s raped and murdered in 1973. She narrates from heaven, where she watches her grieving family and friends try to cope. This is a moving story about remembering the beauty of life even with faced with an ugly reality. The Lovely Bones will be released as a major motion picture in 2010.

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
In a tale spanning 25 years, a doctor delivers his newborn twins and, rashly deciding to protect his wife from their daughter's affliction with Down Syndrome, turns her over to a nurse, who secretly raises the child. Edwards’ work alternates between light and dark tones in its depiction of a broken family.

The Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue
Razi Nolan, who is having a great love affair, dies in a tragic accident in 1920s New Orleans. She stays behind as a ghost, eventually haunting a young couple and revealing the story of her life while trying to discover her lover’s fate. Dominigue’s well-drawn characters and multiple plotlines will appeal to Niffenegger fans.

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
Forced to leave Shanghai when their father sells them to California suitors, sisters May and Pearl struggle to adapt to life in 1930s Los Angeles while still bound to old customs. Together they face discrimination and confront a life-altering secret. The richly drawn characters and lyrical writing are reminiscent of Niffenegger’s work.

Somewhere in Time by Richard Matheson
Like Henry De Tamble, Richard Collier is a modern man who travels through time, drawn to his soulmate. She is a Elise McKenna, a famous actress living in San Diego in 1896. Somewhere in Time won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, and in 1980 it was made into a film, starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Margaret, a bookseller and biographer, travels to the eerie home of Vida Winter, a dying writer famed for never telling the story of her life the same way twice. Margaret attempts to illuminate the truth of Vida’s life, discovering dark and sometimes dangerous family secrets. The dark, gothic plot is full of twists that will surprise and intrigue.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Ninety-something-year-old Jacob Jankowski remembers his time in the circus as a young man during the Great Depression, including his love for Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, and their friendship with Rosie, the elephant, who gave them hope. Water for Elephants is a poetically written page turner, populated with vividly-drawn characters and a fascinating historical setting.

Also by Audrey Niffenegger:

Her Fearful Symmetry
Niffenegger’s newest novel is about twin American teenagers who inherit their aunt’s flat in London near Highgate Cemetery. The sisters are surprised to discover that their aunt still resides in the flat—in ghostly form. Populated with quirky, troubled characters (both alive and dead) and written with Niffenegger’s familiar, poetic style, this supernatural tale of death, selfhood, love, and family is sure to impress.

The Three Incestuous Sisters
The three sisters of this “novel in pictures” are very different—one is smart, one is talented, and one is pretty. They live together near a lighthouse, far from the city. When one falls in love and becomes pregnant, it has a dramatic emotional effect on all three. This is a grim tale, told with minimal, spooky text and dark, evocative images.

The Adventuress
The dreamlike journey of an alchemist’s daughter unfolds in this “novel in pictures.” After she is kidnapped, she turns herself into a moth and flees to the garden of a charming butterfly collector named Napoleon Bonaparte. Niffenegger’s common themes of love and tragedy find new life in this haunting story that is part gothic romance, part fairy tale.