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.