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!!