Thursday, December 8, 2011

Reading Lists - Kristin on Nordic Crime Fiction

Since Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo hit the United States, there has been a growing interest in Scandinavian crime fiction here. I've done a bit of reading in the genre, though I'm looking forward to doing a lot more. (I'm especially fond of Norwegian author Jo Nesbø.) I decided to put together a list for other fans of the genre, focusing on authors whose work we own here at Samuels.

The definition of "Scandinavia" in this case isn't quite accurate. From what I read, strictly speaking Scandinavia is only Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. However, Finland and Iceland are sometimes grouped with Scandinavia because of their historic and/or cultural ties, in which case they're more accurately called the Nordic countries. I've included them too.

This is just a brief, and by no means comprehensive, list. For more Nordic crime, I would recommend starting with Glass Key award winners. The Glass Key, named after the Dashiell Hammett novel, is given every year by the members of the Crime Writers of Scandinavia (Skandinaviska Kriminalsällskapet) to a crime novel written by a Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, or Swedish author. Each country's members put forth a candidate novel, making up the shortlist.

Now without further ado, I give you a briefly annotated list of Nordic crime fiction available at Samuels Library.


Adler-Olsen, Jussi - His first (and so far only) book to be translated into English is The Keeper of Lost Causes, the first in a series about chief detective Carl Morck. The Copenhagen detective is recovering from what he thought was a career-destroying gunshot wound when he is assigned to Department Q, a newly created unit charged with solving cold cases. I haven't read this yet, but I like the sound of the cold cases, the twisty plot, and the touch of humor that Glass Key winner Adler-Olsen is said to possess.

Davidsen, Leif - Davidsen won the Glass Key for Lime's Photograph, a political espionage thriller about Danish expat Peter Lime, who makes his home in Madrid and his living as a paparazzo. Lime takes one photo too many and finds himself in prison; when he is released, it is to discover his wife and daughter have been murdered and his archives burned. Lime's suspenseful search for answers leads him to Moscow, Berlin, and  his own past. Sounds exciting!

Høeg, Peter - I understand that Høeg's Glass Key winner Smilla's Sense of Snow is a must read in the genre. Smilla Qaavigaaq Jasperson is an unemployed glaciologist from Greenland living in Copenhagen. When her six-year-old neighbor falls to his death and no one is willing to suspect foul play, Smilla begins her own investigation. She is a rebellious, stubborn, tough, fearless Eskimo woman with an uncanny sense of direction, a love of Isaac Newton's theories, and a gift for mathematics. She treasures her aloneness, successfully hiding her vulnerability under a near-impenetrable facade of aggressiveness. What a character!

Jungersen, Christian - In Jungersen's only novel translated into English, The Exception, four women employed at the Danish Centre for Genocide Studies are receiving death threats. They suspect a Bosnian torturer and war criminal is the culprit, but then they discover that it could be someone in their very midst. Again, this is another book I haven't read yet, but it sounds like a masterpiece of psychological suspense.


Fossum, Karin - Fossum writes a series about Inspector Konrad Sejer. The second in the series and first to be translated into English, Don't Look Back, won the Glass Key. Here, the residents of a small village northwest of Oslo are torn asunder by the murder of a much-loved 15-year-old girl. Sejer, an aging, secretive cop still grieving for his late wife, must probe the psychological ticks of members of the seemingly idyllic community to solve the crime. I hear great things about this series.

Holt, Anne - Holt has written two series and several stand alone novels, though many haven't been translated. Her Stubo/Vik series follows the partnership of Norway police commissioner Adam Stubo and troubled FBI profiler Johanne Vik. Personally, I'm really looking forward to the first book to be translated into English from her Hanne Wilhelmsen series, which is coming out on December 27. In 1222, travelers on the Oslo to Bergen train are stranded by a blizzard in a decrepit hotel, where one of their number begins killing off the rest. I love a good locked room mystery!

Nesbø, Jo - I have to try not to get carried away when I talk about Nesbø's Harry Hole series. Hole is a classic loose cannon in the police force, with few close friends and unorthodox methods. He's a smoker and an alcoholic, always in the process of recovery or relapse, which puts his boss, Bjarne Møller, in difficult situations when he's forced to save his brilliant detective's job. In my opinion, Harry is one of the best-written characters I've ever read, and Nesbø's novels are intricately plotted, fascinating, and strongly written. The first in the series, The Bat Man, won the Glass Key. The first translated into English is The Redbreast.


Jungstedt, Mari - I chose to include Jungstedt because her novels are set on the island of Gotland, which makes a nice change from Stockholm. The series features Detective Superintendent Anders Knutas and the journalist Johan Berg. (Jungstedt herself has worked as a journalist for many years.) In the title we own, The Inner Circle, students working on an archaeological dig to uncover an ancient Viking fortification become caught up in a web of horror when a young woman turns up dead, naked, and hanging from a tree, the victim of a ritual killing. Dark enough for you?

Läckberg, Camilla - Läckberg's American debut and first in the Erica Falck/Patrik Hedstrom series is The Ice Princess. After she returns to her small west coast hometown, Fjällbacka, biographer Erica Falck learns that her friend Alex was found in an ice-cold bath with her wrists slashed. She researches her friend's past in hopes of writing a book and joins forces with Detective Patrik Hedstrom, who has his own suspicions about the case. I like the premise of a professional and an amateur working together, plus it sounds like there may be a bit of romance. Also, there are many empty houses in the small village's off-season, and I've read that the quiet creates a chilling atmosphere in which silence drives suspense. Sounds awesome.

Mankell, Henning - Mankell won the inaugural Glass Key in 1992 for Faceless Killers, the first novel in his Kurt Wallender series, and was an international bestseller before Steig Larsson had been published. Inspector Wallander works in the southern town of Ystad,  has few close friends, and is known for his less-than-desirable lifestyle—too much alcohol and junk food, too little exercise, and some anger issues. He  investigates on a very personal level, throwing himself into catching criminals and going against the orders of his superiors to try to solve a case. In Faceless Killers, he finds himself coping with a wave of anti-foreigner sentiment when he is put in charge of the investigation into the brutal murders of an elderly couple.

Marklund, Liza - Some mystery/thriller readers might recognize Marklund as the coauthor of James Patterson's Postcard Killers. She has also written her own series about journalist Annika Bengtzon. In the American debut of the series, Red Wolf, a journalist is murdered in the northern Swedish town of Lulea during the freezing winter. Annika suspects that the killing is linked to an attack against an air base in the late sixties. Against the explicit orders of her boss, Annika continues her investigation of the death, which is soon followed by a series of shocking murders. With terrorism and communist splinter groups abounding, this sounds like quite an exciting read.

Sweden seems to dominate the Nordic crime genre, so I've only detailed a few authors here. Also try: Karin Alvtegen,  Åke Edwardson, Kjell Eriksson, Lars Kepler, Åsa Larsson, Steig Larsson, Håkan Nesser, Leif Persson, Anders Roslund, Maj Sjöwall & Per Wachlöö, and Helene Turseten.


So far I haven't been able to find any Finnish crime authors in our collection, but they might be hiding from me! If you're looking for something from Finland, let me know!


Arnaldur Indriðason - A two-time Glass Key winner, Arnaldur Indriðason has written a few stand-alone books and 11 novels featuring Detective Erlendur. (Icelanders are called by their first names since their second name is a patronymic.) In his American debut, Jar City, Erlendur Sveinsson investigates the murder  of an elderly man named Holberg, who was found with a cryptic typed note reading, "I am HIM." Murder in Iceland is rare, and Erlendur is just coordinating his probe when two other crimes demand his attention: the assault of geriatric twin sisters in their home and the disappearance of a bride shortly after her wedding. Sounds like the type of moody, psychological, twisty Nordic mystery that we love!

Ridpath, Michael - Okay, so Ridpath is actually British, but I included him because I recently read his book Where the Shadows Lie, which takes place in Iceland. I thought he did really good research and the book felt Nordic, so it gets a special guest spot on the list. Sequestered to the Icelandic Police Force after a drug cartel puts a bounty on his head, former Boston detective and native Icelander Magnus Jonson is forced to confront difficult truths while investigating rumors about a priceless ancient manuscript. Norse mythology, Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, details of life in Reykjavik, stunning settings, an interesting detective... I thought this was a real winner, and I'm looking forward to the next installment, 66 Degrees North.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Samuels Says - "Which books give you that holiday spirit?"

This month for our display, we asked the staff: "Which books give you that holiday spirit?" Here are our picks—we'd love to hear yours too! 

The Homecoming: a novel about Spencer’s Mountain by Earl Hamner (F Ham)
The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry, illustrated by P. S. Lynch (JF Hen)
Christmas with Southern Living (394.2 Chr)
Snowy Night with a Stranger by Jane Feather (Paperback Romance F)
A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas (F Kle)
A Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco (EF Pol)
Home for the Holidays by Johanna Lindsey
The Nutcracker – American Ballet Theatre and Mikhail Baryshnikov production
(Vid / DVD 792.8 Nut)

Joan 1:
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (JF Dic)
Christmas Jars and Christmas Jars Reunion by Jason Wright (F Wri)
The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans (F Eva)
The Christmas Books by Charles Dickens (F Dic)
The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry (F Hen)
Silent Night by Mary Higgins Clark (F Cla)
One Shenandoah Winter by T. Davis Bunn (F Bun)
A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg (F Fla)
Skipping Christmas by John Grisham (F Gri)
The Christmas Train by David Baldacci (F Bal)

Country Living: Merry and Bright: 301 Festive Ideas for Celebrating Christmas from the editors of Country Living (745.594 Cou) “I really like this one”
The Golden Book of Desserts by Carla Bardi and Rachel Lane (641.8 Gol)
Christmas with Southern Living-2008 and up (394.2 Chr)
Everything Christmas by David Borden (394.26 Bor)
Simple Pleasures for the Holidays by Susannah Seton (394.26 Set)
Seriously Simple Holidays by Diane Rossen Worthington (641.568 Wor)
Swedish Christmas Crafts by Helene S. Lundberg (745.594 Lun)
American Christmas edited by Chuck Williams (641.5686 Ame)

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (F Dic)
White Christmas (DVD and Vid F Whi)
Skipping Christmas by John Grisham (F Gri)
Six Geese a-Slaying by Donna Andrews (F And)
Christmas Gifts That Always Fit by James W. Moore (F Moo)
A Blue and Gray Christmas by Joan Medlicott (F Med)
A Chesapeake Christmas by Sheryl Woods (F Woo)
Hot Flash Holidays by Nancy Thayer (F Tha)
Seven Stars of Christmas by Claudia Martin (JS Mar)

Joan 2: I like when the story just happens to take place during a holiday!
Enchanted, Inc. series by Shanna Swendson (F Swe)
Till the Cows Come Home, the Stella Crown series by Judy Clemens (F Cle)
Embrace Me by Lisa Samson (F Sam)
Shakespeare’s Christmas by Charlaine Harris (F Har)
Home in Time for Christmas by Heather Graham (F Gra)
The Christmas Pearl by Dorothea Benton Frank (F Fra)
The Snow Globe by Sheila Roberts (F Rob)
Without a Backward Glance by Kate Veitch (F Vei)
The Last Noel by Michael Malone (F Mal)
Silver Bells by Luanne Rice (F Ric)
The Christmas Wish by Richard Siddoway (F Sid)
The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern (F Ahe)
The Next Queen of Heaven by Gregory Maguire (F Mag)
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown (F Bro)
Coronets and Steel by Sherwood Smith (F Smi)

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham (F Gri)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (YAF Row) Yule Ball!!
Ice by Linda Howard (F How)
Not Enough Beds! by Lisa Bullard (E Bul)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss (E Seu)
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs (E Bri)
     + The Snowman (JF DVD Sno), the 1982 animated version!
The Snowman by Jo Nesbø (F Nes)
Chocolat by Joanne Harris (F Har)
Shakespeare’s Christmas by Charlaine Harris (F Har)
The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman (YAF Pul)
Miracle on 34th Street (DVD F Mir)

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (JF Dic)
Snow Angel by Jean Marzollo (E Mar)
Jan Brett’s Snowy Treasury by Jan Brett (E Bre)
Sam the Snowman by Susan Winget (E Win)

Christmas in the Adirondacks by William H. H. Murray (F Cassette Mur)
Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris (818.5402 Sed)
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom (F Alb)
Christmas with Southern Living (394.2 Chr)

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (F Dic)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss (E Seu)
The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore (J 811 Moo)
Nutcracker by E. T. A. Hoffmann (JF Hof)
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg (E All)
The Spirit of Christmas by Nancy Tillman (E Til)

`Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore (E Moo)
Dashing Through the Snow by Mary and Carol Higgins Clark (F Cla)
The Christmas Train by David Baldacci (F Bal)
Any Martha Stewart holiday book!
Any current magazine!
Listen to some music on our Holiday CDs! (781.723)

Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo (E Dic)
The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry (F Hen)
It’s a Wonderful Life (DVD F Its)
Miracle on 34th Street (DVD F Mir)
The Santa Clause (DVD F San)
A Charlie Brown Christmas (JF DVD Cha)

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry (E Bar)
All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor (JF Tay) “A great way to learn about Hanukah!”
The Twelve Days of Christmas illustrated by Jan Brett (J 784.4 Twe)
The Twelve Days of Christmas illustrated by Gennedy Spirin (J 784.6 Twe)
Silent Night, Holy Night: a Song for the World by Werner Thuswaldner (J 784.6 Thu)
Cats and Carols by Lesley Anne Ivory (J 784.6 Ivo)
Good King Wenceslas by J. M. Neale (J 782.28 Nea)
Santa Claus is Coming to Town by Fred Coots (J 782.42 Coo)
Holiday cooking and baking books
Holiday decorating and craft books
Christmas music books in 782s

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry (F Hen)
A Foxfire Christmas by Eliot Wiggington (394.2 Fox)
Hogfather by Terry Pratchett (F Pra)
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (JF Dic)
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie (F Chr)
The Penny Whistle Christmas Party Book by Meredith Brokaw (793.21 Bro)
The Flying Latke by Arthur Yorinks (E Yor)
Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett (YAF Pra)
The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder (JF Wil)
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (F Dic)
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (JF Bur)

DVDs :
The Santa Clause 1 and 2, Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, White Christmas, A Christmas Wish, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, Christmas Child: a story of coming home, A Christmas Story, The Red Shoes, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, The Polar Express.

Christmas CDs:
Look for CD 781.723

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What should YOU read next?

A few weeks ago, a patron came to the reference desk and told me that she had just finished all seven books in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. (That's quite an accomplishment—we're talking thousands and thousands of pages!) The eighth in the series has an anticipated publication date of sometime in 2012, but that's just too long to wait for a good book to read! That's why she asked me my all-time favorite question: "What should I read next?"

It can take a few minutes to find a book or two when you ask the reference staff for a recommendation, and probably some trial and error too. But our goal is for you to leave with another book that you're excited to read. In this patron's case, she left with two! She also inspired me to prepare an entire list of read-alikes for the next Outlander fan looking for a good read. (See our last post.)

The point of this little anecdote is to make sure you know that we want to help you—yes, you— find your next favorite book.The next time you're in the library and looking for a good book to read, ask for assistance at the reference desk. Give us a few minutes, and we'll send you home with something new to try. If you prefer, you can give me a few weeks, and I'll create an entire annotated reading list like I did for the Outlander reader.

Please come ask us for reading recommendations! We're waiting for you!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Read-alike Guides - Outlander

 If you liked Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, you might enjoy one of these books:

Devil Water by Anya Seton
Seton wrote several thick books with elements of appeal for Outlander fans—though no one book has everything. They are nicely paced, involving stories woven through with solid historic detail and attention to character. Here, Jenny, the daughter of the last Englishman beheaded for supporting the pretender James Stuart in the Jacobite Rebellion, goes to Virginia.

Into the Wilderness by Sarah Donati
Donati regards Gabaldon as her mentor; her work also has solid history, evocative settings, love between "outsiders," and strong characterization. In the first book of her saga, Elizabeth leaves England to teach in New York. When she meets Nathaniel, a white man raised as a member of the Mohawk tribe, their love causes a scandal that leads them to flee into the woods and into danger.

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
For early historical romance, try the classic Ivanhoe. At the time of the Norman Conquest, Ivanhoe returns from the Crusades to claim his inheritance and the love of Rowena. He becomes involved in the struggle between Richard Coeur de Lion and his Norman brother John. The gripping narrative is structured by a series of conflicts: Saxon versus Norman, Christian versus Jew, and men versus women.

A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux
Abandoned by her lover after a quarrel, Dougless Montgomery is stranded in rural England. The sudden appearance of Nicholas Stafford—a knight who died in 1564—begins a passionate affair that eventually takes Dougless back to the 16th century. Also try Legend, in which an antique wedding dress leads to 1873 Colorado.

Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
Sold into indentured servitude at the exotic Night Court as a child, Phèdre nó Delaunay faces a difficult choice between honor and duty as she deals with a world of conspiracy and betrayal. Adventure, action, romance, and steamy sex figure prominently in this sprawling, intricately plotted fantasy series.

Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon
John Grey, who befriends Jamie Fraser at Adsmuir prison in Voyager, has his own series set in the Outlander world. Here, upon his return from Scottish exile in 1757, Lord John pursues a traitor through London and across the seas, an endeavor that is complicated by a delicate family affair and his memories of the Jacobite Rising.

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Readers who enjoy Gabaldon’s detailed stories of everyday lives during extraordinary historical times should try this modern classic. Set in 12th century England, this epic of kings and peasants follows the lives, loves, dreams, and heartbreaks of Kingsbridge during the construction of a magnificent cathedral.

Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson
Set against the backdrop of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, Quicksilver tells the intertwining tales of three unforgettable main characters as they traverse a landscape populated by mad alchemists, Barbary pirates, and bawdy courtiers, as well as historical figures including Ben Franklin, William of Orange, Louis XIV, and many others.

The Skystone by Jack Whyte
A retired centurion and his former commander conquer enemies and establish an independent community in Britain, while also providing a possible origin for one of the greatest artifacts of Arthurian myth—Excalibur. "From the building blocks of history and the mortar of reality, Jack Whyte has built Arthur's world and showed us the bone beneath the flesh of legend," Gabaldon has written of this series.

Son of the Morning by Linda Howard
In this beloved time travel romance, ancient language translator Grace St. John finds a document that gives the location of a treasure that Niall of Scotland brought home as Guardian of the Treasure for the Knights Templar in the 14th century. She is transported to his time to protect the relics, including the Holy Grail. Niall is one sexy Scot in a class with Jamie Fraser!

Timeline by Michael Crichton
When elderly Yale history prof Edward Johnston travels back to his beloved 15th century and gets stuck, his assistants follow to the rescue. Crichton invests his story with terrific period detail, castles, sword-play, jousts, sudden death, bold knights-in-armor, and seductive ladies-in-waiting. There's also strong suspense as he cuts between past and present, where the time-travel machinery has broken. Will the heroes survive and make it back?

Time and Again by Jack Finney
Simon Morley, a young Manhattan illustrator, is selected by a secret government agency—presumably to test Einstein's theory that the past actually co-exists with the present—and finds himself transported to the year 1882 under hypnosis. There, he falls in love and refuses to change records for the government agency controlling his experiment. Written with style and elegance, this novel is boldly visionary yet romantic.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
For a much different twist on time travel romance, try the story of Henry and Clare Detamble. Henry’s Chrono-Displacement Disorder forces him to travel against his will, causing him to visit Clare as a little girl and later as an aged widow and explain "how it feels to be living outside of the time constraints most humans are subject to." This novel is a beautiful, heartbreaking, timeless love story.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Read-alike Guides - The Help

If you liked The Help by Kathryn Stockett, you might enjoy one of these books:

Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson
After a gypsy predicts that Rose's violent husband will kill her, Rose grabs a gun and her dog Gretel and sets out on a cross-country escape, following messages that her missing mother has left for her and unraveling family secrets. Kathryn Stockett says, “I love reading about smart, flawed, and ultimately wise women, like Rose Mae.”

The Healing by Jonathan Odell
A plantation mistress takes a newborn slave child named Granada as her own. Meanwhile, her husband purchases Polly Shine, a slave woman known as a healer. Polly recognizes "the gift" in young Granada, and a domestic battle of wills ensues that raises tantalizing questions about who Polly Shine really is: a clever charlatan, a meddlesome witch, or a divine redeemer.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
When artifacts from Japanese families sent to internment camps during World War II are uncovered during renovations at a Seattle hotel, Henry Lee embarks on a quest that leads to memories of growing up Chinese in a city rife with anti-Japanese sentiment. Ford writes earnestly and cares for his characters, who consistently defy stereotype.

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
Working as an indentured servant alongside slaves on a Virginia tobacco plantation, Lavinia, a seven-year-old Irish orphan with no memory of her past, finds her light skin and situation placing her between two very different worlds that test her loyalties.  Like Stockett, Grissom narrates from multiple female perspectives.

Little Bee by Chris Cleave
This is a tale of the precarious friendship between an illegal Nigerian refugee and a woman from suburban London, told from the alternating and disparate perspectives of both women. He moves between alternating viewpoints with poignant prose and the occasional lighter note. A tense, dramatic ending and plenty of moral dilemmas add to a satisfying, emotional read.

Miss Ophelia by Mary B. Smith
In the summer of 1948, 11-year-old rural Virginia bookworm Isabel “Belly” Anderson goes to help her mean Aunt Rachel recover from surgery, because she wants to get away from home and take piano lessons from Miss Ophelia Love. A sharp observer of the mysterious doings of the adults in her life, the charming Belly learns a lot while she’s there.

Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
Two families, the white landowning McAllans and the Jacksons, their black sharecroppers, narrate this novel in six distinctive voices. The family stories include the faltering marriage of Laura and Henry McAllan, the mean-spirited family patriarch and his white-robed followers, and returning war heroes Jamie McAllan and Ronsel Jackson.

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
The stories of a small Cape Cod postmistress and an American radio reporter stationed in London collide on the eve of the United States's entrance into World War II, a meeting that is shaped by a broken promise to deliver a letter. Stockett called this book “a beautifully written, thought-provoking novel that I’m telling everyone I know to read.”

Second Nature by Jacquelyn Mitchard
Losing her father in a school fire that disfigures her face, Sicily is raised by a dynamic aunt who urges her to pursue a normal life, an effort that is influenced by her fiancé, a terrible drunken revelation, and an opportunity for a risky full-face transplant. “The characters are the sort that stay with you long after the last page is turned,” says Stockett of this “fascinating story.”

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Like Stockett, See writes thought-provoking novels about women who use what little freedom they have to subvert the oppressive system in which they are forced to live. Her novels are compelling, layered, and character centered. In this story of female friendship set in 19th century China, an elderly woman and her companion communicate through a unique secret language.

Sula by Toni Morrison
At the heart of this novel by the beloved Toni Morrison is the bond between two women, a friendship whose intensity first sustains, then injures. Sula and Nel are both black, both smart, and both poor. Through their girlhood years, they share everything. When they meet again as adults, it's clear that Nel has chosen a life of acceptance and accommodation, while Sula must fight to defend her seemingly unconventional choices and beliefs.

Walk Like a Natural Man by M. Dion Thompson
Skip Reynolds, an 18-year-old Texas sharecropper, follows his dreams to L.A. He settles into a job as a dishwasher and begins the adjustment to urban life in the late 1930s. His aspirations of being the "bronze Errol Flynn" and improving on the Hollywood image of blacks are sorely tested by the compromises of Hollywood in the 1930s, when the most prominent black actor was Steppin Fetchit. How far will he go to realize his dream in this fascinating historical fiction novel?

Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Four slave women—Lizzie, Reenie, Sweet and Mawu—who are their masters’ mistresses, meet when their owners vacation at the same summer resort in Ohio. There, they see free blacks for the first time and hear rumors of abolition. During the final summer at Tawawa House, the women all have a decision to make—will they run? Heart-wrenching, intriguing, original, and suspenseful, this novel brings the unfortunate past to life.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Samuels Says - "It's Halloween... what should we read?"

This month for our display, we asked the staff: "It's Halloween,,, what should we read?" Here are our picks—we'd love to hear yours too!

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (F She)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling (YAF Row)
Dracula by Bram Stoker (F Sto)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (F Ste)
Jaws by Peter Benchly (F Ben)
The Exorcist by William Blatty (F Bla)
Fear: 13 Stories of Suspense and Horror by R. L. Stine (YAF Sti)
Zombies vs. Unicorns compiled by Justine Larbalestier and Holly Black (YA Story Zom)
The Crucible by Arthur Miller (812.52 Mil)

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (F Bra) - ”The absolute best Halloween-y book ever!”
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (F Mor)
First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones (F Jon)
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (F Har)
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (F Wat)
Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris (F Har)
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger (F Nif)
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux (F Ler)
The Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue (F Dom)
A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb (YAF Whi)
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (F Kos)
Mr. Was by Pete Hautman (YAF Hau)
The Radleys by Matt Haig (F Hai)
The Mummy by Anne Rice (F Ric)
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (F Cri)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling (YAF Row) “Dementors! Plus I love the Halloween Feast!”
And of course: Dracula by Bram Stoker (F Sto), Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (F She), and The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells (F Wel)

The Shining by Stephen King (F Kin)
The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe (F Poe)
Beastly by Alex Flinn (YAF Fli)
The Bride Finder by Susan Carroll (F Car)
Midnight Bride by Susan Carroll (F Car)

Kathy J
“I’ve heard that anything by Ted Dekker (F Dek) is pretty intense, but I’ve been too chicken to read them myself!”
Books by Frank Peretti: (F Per)
This Present Darkness
Piercing the Darkness
The Visitation

Rules of Prey by John Sanford (F San)
The Stand by Stephen King (F Kin)
Red Dragon by Thomas Harris (F Har)
The Woodchipper Murder by Arthur Herzog (364.1523 Her)
Firebird by Janice Graham (F Gra)
The Dark Queen series by Susan Carroll (F Car)
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Retiring Early by Dee Lee (332.024 Lee)
Practice for the S.A.T.s, 1969 edition (378.1662 Pra)
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (F Jac)
Anything in non-fiction 595.4 - 595.

Anything by Edgar Allan Poe!
A Yankee Roams at Dusk by Paula Ann Kirby (133.1 Kir)

First Grave on the Right and Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones (F Dar)
Embrace the Grim Reaper and The Grim Reaper’s Dance by Judy Clemens (F Cle)
A Stranger is Watching by Mary Higgins Clark (F Cla)
Covenant with the Vampire by Jeanne Kalogrdis (F Kal)
A Touch of Dead by Charlaine Harris (F Har)
Waking the Witch by Kelly Armstrong (F Arm)

The Dead by Charlie Higson (YAF Hig)
Who’s There by Stephanie Tolan (YAF Tol)
Wait till Helen Comes: a Ghost Story by Mary Hahn (JF Han)
The Bermuda Triangle by Jacqueline Gorman (J 001.94 Gor)
Tailypo: a Newfangled Tall Tale by Angela Medearis (J 398.2 Med)
Stranger with My Face by Lois Duncan (YAF Dun)
Skeleton Man by Joseph Bruchac (JF Bru)
Dracula by Bram Stoker (F Sto)
The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson (133.1 Ans)
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving (JF Irv)

Joan 1
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (F She)
Carrie by Stephen King (F Kin)
The Vampire Chronicles series by Anne Rice (F Ric)
Dracula by Bram Stoker (F Sto)
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stenson (F Ste)
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (F Wil)
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (F Doy)
The Shining by Stephen King (F Kin)
The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe (F Poe)
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (F Jac)
The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty (F Bla)
Coraline by Neil Gaiman (YAF Gai)

Joan 2
Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz (F Koo)
Graveminder by Melissa Marr (F Mar)
Wither by Lauren DeStefano (YAF Des)
White Cat by Holly Black (YAF Bla)
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride (YAF McB)
Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris (F Har)
The Passage by Justin Cronin (F Cro)
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff (YAF Yov)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (F Lee)
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman (F Hof)

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion (F Mar)
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff (YAF Yov)
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (YAF Rya)
The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong (YAF Arm)
Revenge of the Witch, from The Last Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney (YAF Del)
Tithe by Holly Black (YAF Bla)
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith (F Aus)

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (YAF Gai)
Anything by Neil Gaiman (F Gai)
The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe (F Poe)
Firestarter and The Stand by Stephen King (F Kin)
Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice (F Ric)

The Ghosts of Charlottesville and Lynchburg by L. B. Taylor (133.1 Tay)
...especially Chapter 21: “ The Extraordinary Rocking Cradle” was my grandmother’s house!

Let us not forget DVDs!
The Sixth Sense, The Birds, The Shining, Psycho, When a Stranger Calls, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Addams Family, Sweeney Todd, The Others, Secret Window, The Mummy, To Kill a Mockingbird, Black Swan, Alice in Wonderland, Twilight, Nightmare on Elm Street, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Blade, Interview with the Vampire, and so many more...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Reading Lists - NPR's Top 100 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Novels

It's been quite awhile since I posted a reading list! While I don't have any new staff-generated content, I do have an absolutely incredible list to share, created by NPR. According to NPR listeners, these are the top 100 science fiction and fantasy novels of all time. The number one spot went to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, which shouldn't be a surprise to fantasy fans. Other top-ten titles include George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series and a perennial book lover's favorite, Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. Young adult and children's books, horror stories, and paranormal romance were excluded, which means several beloved series, including Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Sookie Stackhouse, aren't on the list. What you'll find is a list of science fiction and fantasy in their purest forms. View the complete list here:

Top 100 Science Fiction, Fantasy Books

Of course, this list might be more than a little bit overwhelming, especially for a new sci-fi or fantasy reader. So where should you start? The editors at SF Signal have made a fun and useful flow chart to help you pick a book from the list. You can find it here:

A Guide to Navigating NPR's Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books

Happy reading!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Samuels Says - "Which non-fiction books have instructed or inspired you?"

This month for our display, we asked the staff: "Which non-fiction books have instructed or inspired you?" Here are our picks—we'd love to hear yours too!

Windows 7 by Joyce Cox Preppernau (005.446 Pre)
A Bitter Sweet Season: Caring for our Aging Parents-and Ourselves
by Jane Gross (306.874 Gro)
We are Their Heaven: Why the Dead Never Leave Us by Allison DuBois (133.91 Dub)
Skyland: The Heart of the Shenandoah National Park by George Pollock (975.594 Pol)
The Great Valley Road of Virginia: Shenandoah Landscapes edited by Warren Hofstra (975.5 Gre)
The Book of Quotes compiled by Barbara Rowes (808.8 Boo)

Holy Bible (220.5 Hol)
Where have all the Leaders Gone? by Lee Iacocca (303.3 Iac)
Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening by Louise Riotte (635 Rio)
Draw Me a Tree: What the Tree You Draw Reveals About You by Ethel Johnson (158.2 Jo)
Almost Christian: What the Faith of our Teenagers is Telling the American Church by Kenda Creasy Dean (277.3 Dea)
Drive: the Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink (Overdrive Ebook)
Stop Getting Ripped Off: Why Consumers Get Screwed, and How You Can Always Get a Fair Deal by Bob Sullivan (381.34 Sul)
Tips for the Lazy Gardener by Linda Tilgner (635 Til)
Heaven is for Real: a Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back by Todd Burpo (133.901 Bur)
Universal Design for the Home by Wendy Adler Jordan (728 Jor)
Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki (332.024 Kiy)
The Post American World by Fareed Zakaria (303.49 Zak)
Show Me How: 500 Things You Should Know, Instructions for Life From the Every Day to the Exotic by Lauren Smith (640 Smi)

Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (Bio Frank Anne)
The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli (320.1 Ma)
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller (812.52 Mil)
The Double Helix by James D. Watson (572.86 Wat)
Autobiography of Mark Twain by Mark Twain (Bio Twain Mark)
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African by Olaudah Equiano (Slave Narratives 920 Sla)
Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston (796.522 Ral)
Stonewall Jackson–the Man, the Soldier, the Legend by James I.Robertson Jr. (Bio Jackson Stonewall)

Kathy J.
The Bible
Author Max Lucado
Betty Crocker’s Cookbook by Betty Crocker

The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir (942.052 We)
Frommer’s Bermuda 2004 by Dawn Porter (917.29 Por)
Bermuda Guide by Ron Charles (917.29 Ch)
The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot (530 Ta)
An Embarrassment of Mangoes: a Caribbean Interlude by Ann Vanderhoof (917.29 Van)
The Life of Elizabeth I by Alison Weir (Bio Elizabeth I)
Home Herbal by Penelope Ody (615.321 Od)
Gardening for Fragrance by Ann Bonar (635.968 Bo)
Trees and Shrubs for Fragrance by Glyn Church (635.968 Chu)
Aromatherapy for Mind and Body by David Schiller (615.321 Sch)

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (500 Bry)
You Were Always Mom’s Favorite by Deborah Tannen (306.875 Tan) 
Three Weeks With My Brother by Nicholas Sparks and Micah Sparks (813.54 Spa)
Generation Kill by Evan Wright (956.7044 Wri)
Waiting on a Train by James McCommons (385 McC)
This Book is Overdue! By Marilyn Johnson (027 Joh)
Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind by Ellen Brown (813.52 Bro)
Death and the Virgin Queen by Chris Skidmore (942.05 Ski)
A Voyage Long and Strange by Tony Horwitz (970.01 Hor)
Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz (973.7 Ho)
Taylor’s Guide to Bulbs by Barbara Ellis (635.94 Ell)

Joan 1
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (940.54 Hil)
Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail by Malika Oufkir (Bio Oufkir Malika)
Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him by Luis Carlos Montalvan (362.4 Mon)
Lost City of Z: a Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann (918 Gra)
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi (820.9 Naf)
River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candice Millard (918.1 Mil)
Personal History by Katharine Graham (Bio Graham Katharine)
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson (371.822 Mor)
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (364.1 Cap)
Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health by Gilbert H. Welch (616.074 Wel)
Eat This, Not That by David Zinczenko (613.25 Zin)
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan (613 Pol)
The Wild Trees: a Story of Passion and Daring by Richard Preston (585 Pre)

How to (Un)Cage a Girl by Frances Lia Block (YA 811 Blo)
Girls to the Front by Sara Marcus (305.4 Mar)
Earth: Then and Now by Fred Pearce (779.361 Pea)
Mid-Atlantic Gardener’s Guide by Andre Viette (635.9 Vie)
Curly Girl: More than Just Hair by Lorraine Massey (646.724 Mas)
Exit Through the Gift Shop (DVD 751.7 Exi)
Food, Inc. (DVD 338.1 Foo)
Walmart: the High Cost of Low Price (DVD 381.149 Wal)

Jeanne—“Would have starved without” Joy of Cooking
The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer (641.5 Rom)
Crockett’s Victory Garden by James Underwood Crockett (635 Cr)
Mammals of the Carolinas, Virginia, and Maryland by William David Webster (599.09 We)
Trees of North America by C. Frank Brockman (582 Br)
American Sterling Silver Flatware by Maryanne Dolan (739.2 Dol)
The Pleasures of Cross-Stitch (746.443Ple)
Cheese Primer by Steven Jenkins (641.313 Jen)
Lonely Planet: Corsica by Oda O’Carroll (914.495404 Oca)
Birds of North America by Chandler Robbins (598.2973 Ro)
The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders by Lorus and Margery Milne (595.7097 Mil)

The 150 Healthiest 15 Minute Recipes on Earth by Jonny Bowden (641.555 Bow)
Your Beautiful Wedding on Any Budget by Todd Outcatt (395.22 Out)
Simple, Stunning Wedding Showers by Karen Bussen (793.2 Bus)
Don’t Throw it Out by Lori Baird (640.41 Bai)
Herbs and Spices: the Cook's Reference by Jill Norman (641.657 Nor)
American Christmas edited by Chuck Williams (641.5686 Ame)
Wedding Cakes You Can Make by Dede Wilson (641.8653 Wil)
Get Married Without a Hitch by Lisa Helmanis (395.22 Hel)
Why Don’t Penguins’ Feet Freeze? (500 Why)
The Itty Bitty Kitchen Handbook by Justin Spring (641.5 Spr)

The Cleaner Plate Club by Betty Bader (641.5 Bad)
The Makeup Wake Up by Lois Johnson (646.726 Joh)
Garden Stone by Barbara Pleasant (717 Ple)
Inside the Not So Big House by Sarah Susanko (728 Sus)
Singer Sewing Essentials (642.2 Si)
Almost Vegetarian by Diana Shaw (641.5636 Sha)
Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express by Mark Bittman (641.555 Bit)
Newman’s Own Cookbook by Paul Newman (641.5 Ne)
Root Cellaring by Mike and Nancy Bubel (641.452 Bu)
Shop Smart, Save More by Teri Gault (640.73 Gau)
Grow Vegetables by Alan Buckingham (635 Buc)
Guide to Virginia Vegetable Gardening by Walter Reeves (635 Ree)
Deer Proofing Your Yard and Garden by Rhonda Hart (635.0496 Har)
The Plant Propagator’s Bible by Miranda Smith (631.53 (Smi)
The 20th Century Year by Year by Charles Phillips (Oversize 909.82 Twe)

Joan 2
Life at the Edge and Beyond by Shonda Schilling (616.85 Sch)
Look Me in the Eye: My Life With Asperger’s Syndrome by John Elder Robison (362.196 Rob)
Stop Walking on Egg Shells by Paul T. Mason (616.85852 Mas)
Smart But Scattered by Peg Dawson (649.15 Daw)
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (612.027 Skl)
Your Kids and Sports by Michael Koehler (796.083 Koe)
Rae: My True Story of Fear, Anxiety and Social Phobia by Chelsea Rae Swiggett (YA 618.9285 Swi)
Hannah: My True Story of Drugs, Cutting and Mental Illness by Hannah Westberg (YA 618.9285 Wes)
My House is Killing Me by Jeffrey May (616.97 May)
The 5 Minute Face: the Quick and Easy Makeup Guide for Every Woman by Carmindy (646.72 Car)
No Lye: The African-American Women’s Guide to Natural Hair Care by Tulani Kinard (646.724 Kin)
Fix it and Forget it Cookbook by Dawn J. Rank (641.5884 Ran)
Unmarried Parents’ Rights by Jacqueline D. Stanley
The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis (Bio Oher Michael)

Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams (591.529 Ad)
Storms of My Grandchildren by James Hansen (363.738 Han)
Great British Cooking: a Well Kept Secret by Jane Garney (641.5941 Gar)
When Gadgets Betray Us by Rob Vamosi (004.46 Vam)
Stitch-n-Bitch by Debbie Stoller (746.432 Sto)
Teach Yourself Visually, Knits and Crochet (746.43 Tea)
Traffic by Tom Vanderbilt (629.283 Van)
On Writing: a Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King (813.54 Kin)
Foxfire books (any of them) (917.58)
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards (741.2 Edw)
Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft (362.82 Ban)
Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn (641.8653 Byr)
Heloise: Hints for All Occasions by Heloise (640 He)
Made by Hand by Mark Frauenfelder (BCD 339.4 Fra)
Julie and Julia by Julie Powell (641.5 Pow)
The Book of Games by Peter Arnold (794 Boo)
My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke (Bio Van Dyke Dick)
That’s Not All Folks by Mel Blanc (Bio Blanc Mel)
Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey (332.024 Ram)
The Between the Lions Book for Parents by Linda Rath (372.4 Rat)
Dangerous Book For Boys by Conn Iggulden (J 031.02 Igg)
Complete Book of Home Preserving (641.42 Com)
Canning and Preserving with Ashley English by Ashley English (641.4 Eng)
Bad Science by Ben Goldacre (500 Gol)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Reading Lists - Historical Fiction Set in France

Historical fiction is set in the past, before the author's lifetime and experience. Through its serious respect for historical accuracy and details of time, place, and character, historical fiction enhances a reader's knowledge of past events, lives, and customs. This list consists of historical fiction novels set in France.

The Druid King by Norman Spinrad
Spinrad recreates the world of the Gauls, residents of the territory that would eventually become France. Dubbed the king of the Druids, Vercingetorix unites the disparate tribes of Gaul into a fighting force determined to prevent Julius Caesar from adding more of their lands to his already vast empire.

The Angel and the Sword by Cecelia Holland
While Charlemagne’s grandson, Charles the Bald, struggles to preserve the remains of his grandfather's empire from the Vikings, young princess Ragny of Spain seeks to avenge her mother's death and reclaim her throne by masquerading as the warrior Roderick the Beardless. The story, based on a French legend, blends action, suspense, romance, and history.

Beloved Enemy by Ellen Jones
Duchess of Aquitaine in her own right, Eleanor longs for romance and shared power with her husband. Her disastrous marriage to the monkish Louis of France is dissolved for failure to produce an heir, and she then marries Henry, Duke of Normandy, 11 years her junior but her equal in ambition and passion. Her husband will become Count of Anjou and King of England.

Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by Mark Twain
Twain’s work was published as the memoirs of Joan’s page and secretary, Louis de Conte. He is presented as an individual who was with Joan during the three major phases of her life—as a youth in Domremy, as the commander of the army of Charles VII of France on military campaign, and as a defendant at her trial in Rouen.

The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner
Catherine is betrothed to Henri d'Orleans, brother of the sickly heir to the French throne, at 13. She heads to France with a hidden vial of poison, and after negotiating an uneasy truce with her husband's mistress, she matures into a powerful court presence. Three of her sons become king in succession as the widow Catherine wields increasing influence.

Queen Margot by Alexander Dumas
Dumas relates the stirring events of the last years of Charles IX's reign in the late 16th century. The marriage of Catholic Marguerite de Valois, Charles IX’s sister, to Protestant Henri de Bourbon, King of Navarre, took place during religious wars and intensified an already burning power struggle between two clans in the royal family.

Before Versailles by Karleen Koen
This engaging story is told by lady-in-waiting Louise de la Baume le Blanc. As Louis XIV assumes the responsibilities of governing France, he embarks on a love affair with his sister-in-law, triggering a scandal that is complicated by a finance minister's growing power and a mysterious boy with an iron mask.

To Dance with Kings by Rosalind Laker
Laker chronicles contact between five generations of "women with flower names," descendants of a fan maker, and the Kings of France—from Louis XIV, builder of Versailles, to the Louis who lost his head in 1792. The tale is comfy, dense, and undemanding, full of stalwart heroines and warming touches.

Becoming Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey
This first installment of a planned trilogy imagines the early life of Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna of the Hapsburgs, who at the age of 10 learns from her mother, the ambitious Empress of Austria, that she is to leave her coddled life in the Austrian court to marry the dauphin of France. This volume ends with the dauphin becoming Louis XVI.

Abundance by Sena Jeter Naslund
Naslund traces the life of Marie Antoinette from her "birth as a citizen of France" at age 14 to her execution, told from her own point of view. The novel provides a wealth of detail as Toinette savors life at Versailles, indulges in hair and clothing rituals, gets acquainted with the French court, and experiences motherhood and loss. The outcome is known, but the account is riveting.

Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran
While the tensions rise between the royalty and the people, Marie is torn between two worlds. She tutors the king’s sister in wax sculpting while revolutionaries meet in her family’s salon. Marie, who will one day become Madame Tussaud, must perform a dangerous balancing act to find a way for her family to survive the coming revolution.

Victorine by Catherine Texier
While most of the action takes place outside of France, Victorine captures a piece of French colonialism. In 1899, Victorine leaves her husband and children to go to Indochina with another man and reinvent herself, though she finds herself as out of place in Indochina as she thought she was in Vendee. With lush, vivid description, Texier brings to life both the world around Victorine and the woman herself.

The World at Night by Alan Furst
Film producer Jean Casson is on the verge of developing his first real hit when his life is shattered by the Nazi drive through Belgium and into Paris. His long-brewing crisis of purpose gets him embroiled in an elaborate double-cross as he works undercover for the French and finds himself functioning also for the British and the Germans against his will.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Samuels Says - "Which books have your favorite exotic or foreign setting?"

This month for our display, we wanted to match the theme of the children's Summer Reading Club. We asked the staff: "Which books have your favorite exotic or foreign setting?" Here are our picks—we'd love to hear yours too!

For added authentic ambiance try listening to one of our CDs while reading ~ Destination Mediterranean (781.62 Des). Or, for the truly adventurous, listen to Deep Roots and Future Grooves (781.63 Dee)
Three Ways to Capsize a Boat: an Optimist Afloat by Chris Stewart (910.45 Ste)
Mediterranean Summer: a Season on France’s Cote d’Azur and Italy’s Costa Bella by David Shalleck (641.5092 Sha)
Whose Panties are These? : More Misadventures from Funny Women on the Road edited by Jennifer Leo (910.4 Who)
The Athena Project by Brad Thor (F Tho)
Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne (796.6 Byr)
Chocolat by Joanne Harris (F Har)
The Tour de France Companion: a Nuts, Bolts and Spokes Guide to the Greatest Race in the World by Bob Roll (796.62 Rol)
Best European Fiction 2010, Best European Fiction 2011 edited by Aleksandar Hemon (SC Bes)
Round Ireland in Low Gear by Eric Newby (914.17 Ne)
The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Place by Eric Weiner (910.4 Wei)
Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg (F Hoe)
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (F Ffo)
Murder in the Palais Royal by Cara Black (F Bla)
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (F Chr)
The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith (F Hi)
Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe by Bill Bryson (914.0455 Bry)
Shadow Divers: the True Adventure of Two Americans who Risked Everything to Solve one of the Last Mysteries of WWII by Robert Kurson (940.5451 Kur)
The Enchantment of the World series, especially Slovenia, Croatia, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, and Italy!! (All located in juvenile non-fiction.)

The Rose Café: Love and War in Corsica by John Hanson Mitchell (944.966 Mit)
Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn (F Ray)
The Pillars of Hercules: a Grand Tour of the Mediterranean by Paul Theroux (910.918 Th)
Light of the Moon by Luanne Rice (F Ric)
Crocodile on the Sandbank, the first book in the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters (F Pe)
House of Daughters by Sarah-Kate Lynch (F Lyn)
Juliet by Anne Fortier (F For)
Amandine by Marlena DeBlasi (F De B)
Nights of Rain and Stars, Tara Road, and Scarlet Feather all by Maeve Binchy (F Bin)

The All-of-a-Kind Family series by Sydney Taylor (JF Tay)
The Queen of Water by Laura Resau (YAF Res)
The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson (JF Sav)
The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax, the first in the Mrs. Pollifax series by Dorothy Gilman (F Gil)
The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack (E Fla)
The Adventures of Tintin series by Herge (JF Her)
Dragon and Thief: a Dragonback Adventure, first book in the series by Timothy Zahn (F Zah)
Assassin, first book in the Lady Grace Mysteries series by Grace Cavendish (JF Cav)
I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino (JF Tre)
The Diamond of Drury Lane, first book in the Cat Royal Adventure series by Julia Golding (YAF Gol)
Under a War-Torn Sky by Laura Elliott (YAF Ell)
Far North by Will Hobbs (YAF Hob)
Wild Man Island by Will Hobbs (YAF Hob)

Joan 1:
A Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie (and other exotic titles by her - F Chr)
The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar (F Umr)
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (F Kin)
In the Woods by Tana French (F Fre)
The Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith (F McC)
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (F Hos)
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi (820.9 Naf)
Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail by Malika Oufkir (Bio Oufkir Malika)
Life of Pi by Yann Martel (F Mar)
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by C. Alan Bradley (F Bra)

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (YAF Row)
The Los Angeles setting of Francesca Lia Block’s books (YAF Blo)
The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. The Book of Three is the first one. (JF Ale)
Inu Yasha by Rumiko Takhashi Ani-manga (YAF Tak)
The Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier. Daughter of the Forest is the first one. (F Mar)
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (JF Car)
The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger. Soulless is the first book in the series. (F Car)
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margie Stohl (YAF Gar)

There’s Something About Tropez by Elizabeth Adler (F Adl)
Sailing to Capri by Elizabeth Adler (F Adl)
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells (F We, Classic Paperbacks)
As the Crow Flies by Jeffrey Archer (F Arc)
The Lake House by James Patterson (F Pat)
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (F Gru)
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (JF Swi)
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss (JF Wys)
Alice Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (JF Car)
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares (YAF Bra)

Dark Road to Darjeeling and The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn (F Ray)
In a Sunburned Country (919.404 Bry), Notes From a Small Island (914.104 Bry), and Neither Here Nor There (914.0455 Bry) all by Bill Bryson
Anything... by Michelle Moran (Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen, Cleopatra's Daughter, and Madame Tussaud - F Mor)
Faithful Place and In the Woods by Tana French (F Fre)
Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook has Gone Before by Tony Horwitz (910.92 Hor)
The Invention of Hugo Cabret: a Novel in Words and Pictures by Brian Selznick (JF Sel)
Cause Celeb by Helen Fielding (F Fie)
The Tattoo Artist by Jill Ciment (F Cim)
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (YAF Zus)
Morgan’s Run by Coleen McCullough (F McC)
The Pillars of the Earth, World Without End, and Fall of Giants by Ken Follett (F Fol)
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (F Cri)
The Snowman by Jo Nesbø (F Nes)
The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson (F Lar)
Shall I go on???

Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie (920 Mas)
The African Queen by C.S. Forester (F For)
Baghdad Without a Map, and Other Misadventures in Arabia by Tony Horwitz (915.604 Hor)
Death Comes as the End and Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (F Chr)
The Case of the Missing Books: a Mobile Library Mystery by Ian Sansom (F San)
Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne (JF Ver)
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John Le Carré (BCD Le C)
My Life in France by Julia Child (Bio Child Julia)
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (JF Ste)
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (F Buc)
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DeFoe (JF DeF)
Shakespeare...of course! (822.33)
Dune by Frank Herbert (F Her)
Strata by Terry Pratchett (F Pat)
The Blue Fairy Book and The Green Fairy Book edited by Andrew Lang (J 398 Lan)
The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle by Hugh Lofting (JF Lof)
Neverwhere and Stardust by Neil Gaiman (F Gai)
Blowing My Cover: My Life as a CIA Spy by Lindsay Moran (Bio Moran Lindsay)
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell (JF O'De)
The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp (782.42162 Tr)
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren (JF Lin)
Heidi by Johanna Spyri (JF Sp)
...maybe ask her for the rest!

Joan 2:
Becoming Finola by Suzanne Strempek Shea (F She)
The Heroines by Eileen Favorite (F Fav)
The Forgotten Garden and The House at Riverton by Kate Morton (F Mor)
Chasing Rainbows by Rowena Summers (F Sum)
Coronets and Steel by Sherwood Smith (F Smi)
Death on Tour by Janice Hamrick (F Ham)
The Explorer’s Code by Kitty Pilgrim (F Pil)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Read-alike Guides - Bill Bryson

If you like the witty, informative works of Bill Bryson, you might enjoy one of these books:

Blue Latitudes by Tony Horwitz
Horwitz is know for a casual but informative tone in his fact-filled, steadily-paced nonfiction. As the subtitle of this work suggests, Horwitz boldly goes where Captain Cook has gone before—tracing Cook’s three voyages between 1768 and 1779 that mapped a previously uncharted third of the globe. Fascinating and fun!

Cod by Mark Kurlansky
Kurlansky’s works span a large range of topics. He presents history with a celebratory tone and uses plenty of humor; he also immerses himself in the subject, providing insight into matters whose connection seems remote until he delves into them. Cod is a history of the fish that has led to wars, stirred revolutions, sustained economies and diets, and helped in the settlement of North America.

Did Adam and Eve Have Navels? by Martin Gardner
Readers who enjoy Bryson’s science writing might like this book. Gardner, a master debunker of scientific fraud and pseudoscience, takes on Freud’s dream theory, numerology, reflexology, and the Heaven's Gate cult, among other assaults on reason and rational thought. He presents a witty and erudite rejection of outrageous superstitions masquerading as science.

The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner
Part foreign affairs discourse, part humor, and part twisted self-help guide, this book takes the reader from America to Iceland to India in search of happiness, or, in the author's case, moments of "un-unhappiness." The book uses a mixture of travel, psychology, science and humor to investigate not what happiness is, but where it is.

The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux
Bryson credits Theroux, who in 1975 set the standard for provocative travel accounts with personal reflections, as one of his influences. Rich with characters and adventure, this travelogue takes readers on a fascinating and entertaining journey on classic trains and routes, such as the Orient, Mandalay, and Trans-Siberian Expresses.

My Family and Other Animals by Gerard Durrell
Travel and animals dominate the writing of naturalist Durrell, topics that offer scope for his quirky humor, accessible erudition, flights of fantasy, and astute observations. This book combines the natural history of Corfu with the less conventional history of his own family. Humor and accurate scientific detail characterize this charming tale.

Packing for Mars by Mary Roach
Science writer Roach travels widely to gather material for her side-splittingly funny books. Like Bryson, she makes complex subjects accessible to lay readers. Space is a world devoid of things that humans need to live, and Roach explores the irresistibly strange universe of space travel and life without gravity.

Pecked to Death by Ducks by Tim Cahill
Cahill is an adventurer, willing to meet any physical challenge—and try any food—in the country he explores. While his exploits may be more extreme, Bryson readers will enjoy his companionable style. Here, Cahill chronicles many adventures, from guzzling beer in Australia to a tour of the oil-well fires in Kuwait to bear watching in Yellowstone.

The Sinner’s Grand Tour by Tony Perrottet
Known for his explorations of historic salaciousness, Perrottet puts a new twist on the grand European tour—from the Marquis de Sade’s castle and Casanova’s Venice to Britain’s Hellfire sex clubs of the 1700s and the Vatican’s pornographic art. This mix of quirky historic tales and traditional travelogue makes for an entertaining, informative, and strangely tasteful narrative.

Travels with Alice by Calvin Trillin
Another Midwestern transplant (but to New York City rather than England) travels to Europe with his wife and daughters in search of interesting food and adventures. Trillin’s accounts of fine (and not-so-fine) eating resonate with insights into people and places. His conversational and playful style. ability to put himself into the story, and wonderful self-deprecating humor should please Bryson fans.

Books by Bill Bryson that you shouldn’t miss:

The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid
Bryson recalls growing up in the middle of the last century (the 1950s) in the middle of the country (Des Moines, IA). His alter ego, the Thunderbolt Kid, born of his love for comic-book superheroes and the need to vaporize irritating people, serves as an astute outside observer of life around him. In addition to nostalgic memories, Bryson’s usual meticulous research is evident here.

A Short History of Nearly Everything
Bryson takes the reader on a scientific odyssey from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization. Reflecting his gift for making science comprehensible yet fun, he tells the story of the discoveries and people that have shaped our understanding of the universe in such a way that even those with no knowledge or interest in science can enjoy it.

A Walk in the Woods
"Walking is what we did," Bryson says, as he and a friend attempt to walk the Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine. He laces his narrative with gobbets of trail history and local trivia, highlighting the natural pleasures, human eccentrics, and offbeat comforts of the Trail. Of course, one stop is Front Royal, which makes this a must-read!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Samuels Says - "Which book has the villain you love to hate?"

This month for our display, we asked the staff: "Which book has the villain you love to hate?" Here are our picks—we'd love to hear yours too!

Annie Wilkes from Misery by Stephen King
The Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
The White Witch from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Scrooge from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Shere Kahn from The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Catherine de Medicis from The Dark Queen series by Susan Caroll
“Black Jack” Randall from the Outlander series
The evil Isadora in Casting Spells by Barbara Bretton

Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
Leck from Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Somerled from Wolfskin by Juliet Marillier
The Homunculi from Full Metal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa
Mad Cow Disease from Going Bovine by Libba Bray
Gollum from the Lord of the Rings by J.R. R. Tolkien

Mrs. Hilly from The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Bill Sikes from Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larson
Annie Wilkes from Misery by Stephen King
The Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen (sound recording)
The Burning Wire by Jeffery Deaver (MP3 format)
The Shining by Stephen King

Snape; Voldemort; Draco all from the Harry Potter series by J.K.Rowling
Sir Leigh Teabing from The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Camerlengo from Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
Gollum from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Nuala from Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater
Ursula, the Sea Witch from The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson
Cruella de Ville from The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith
The Volturi from The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer

Joan 1:
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Follow the River by James Alexander Thom
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
The Lovely Bones by Alia Sebold
The Confession by John Grisham
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie (anything else by her too)

Voldemort; the Malfoys, and Bellatrix Lestrange from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
The Capitol citizens from The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Sauron and his minions from The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
Captain Hook from Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
The murderer in Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard
The priest in The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Lucinda from Time Windows from Kathryn Reiss
Mrs. Coulter from The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
Aunt Redd from The Looking Glass Wars trilogy by Frank Beddor
All the baddies but especially "Auntie Em"/Medusa from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan
The original evil vamp from Dracula by Bram Stroker

Bleak House, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe
Hamlet and Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Murder on the Orient Express and Curtain by Agatha Christie
Thief of Time and Sourcery by Terry Pratchett
The Client by John Grisham
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
Firestarter and The Stand by Stephan King
The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Haunted Ground by Erin Hart
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
The White Cat by Holly Black
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell
Grave Sight; book one of the Harper Connelly series by Charlaine Harris
Real Murders; book one of the Aurora Teagarden series by Charlaine Harris
Odd Thomas; The Darkest Evening of the Year; Dark Rivers of the Heart; One Door Away from Heaven; all by Dean Koontz
Deja Dead; book one in the Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs– The Bones T.V. show!
The Bourne Identity; book one of the Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlom
The Fetch by Chris Humphreys
Open Season by Linda Howard
A Child Called “It” by Dave Pelzer

Kathy J.:
Nicolae Carpathia from the Left Behind series; and The Rising series, both by Tim LaHaye

Monday, May 23, 2011

Read-alike Guides - Gone with the Wind

If you liked Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, you might enjoy one of these books:

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
It is 1864, and Inman escapes from a war hospital and starts walking back to Cold Mountain in order to reach Ada. Meanwhile, Ada struggles to save her mountain farm with the help of Ruby, an illiterate but efficient farmer. Like GWTW, Frazier’s novel is character-driven, dramatic, romantic, and has a strong sense of place.

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
The epic novel of Russia in the throes of revolution and one of the greatest love stories ever told follows Yuri Zhivago, physician and poet. Zhivago wrestles with the new order and confronts the changes cruel experience has made in him, as well as the anguish of being torn between the love of two women. For another classic, epic Russian romance, try Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck
This sprawling and often brutal novel, set in the rich farmlands of California's Salinas Valley, follows the intertwined destinies of two families—the Trasks and the Hamiltons—who helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel. Steinbeck does for 20th century California what Mitchell did for 19th century Georgia.

Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor
Abandoned pregnant and penniless on the streets of London, Amber St. Clare manages (by using her wits, beauty, and courage) to climb to the high position of Charles II’s favorite mistress. Among courtiers, noblemen, whores, and highwaymen, from the Great Plague to the Fire of London, she remains, in her heart, true to the one man she loves and can never have.

Heart of the West by Penelope Williamson
Clementine is a proper Bostonian lady until she literally bumps into Gus McQueen and elopes with him to Montana. The land controls her fate and that of her two friends, a prostitute/landowner and a Chinese picture bride. Williamson brings to life the lost and fading ideal of the American frontier as Mitchell did for that of the genteel South.

House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
A portrait of American manners and morals at the turn of the century offers the saga of Lily Bart, who lacks one requirement for marrying well in New York society—her own money. Wharton shows the restricted choices for wealthy women. Lily’s relationship with Shelden somewhat echoes Scarlett's inability to recognize her love for Rhett.

Peachtree Road by Anne Rivers Siddons
Lucy will never become the demure Southern lady her family requires—while her older cousin is too shy and bookish, a far cry from the suave, gregarious Southern gentleman he's expected to be. This is the story of two people cursed by blood and birth, set against the turbulent growth of a great Southern city.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
The classic novel of romantic suspense finds the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter entering the home of her mysterious new husband and learning the story of the house's first mistress, to whom the sinister housekeeper is unnaturally devoted. The young Mrs. De Winter, struggling to find her identity and consumed by love, is a timeless heroine.

Shades of Gray by Jessica James
Set in Virginia during the volatile period of the Civil War, Shades of Gray chronicles the clash of a Confederate cavalry commander with a Union spy as they defend their beliefs, their country, and their honor. This Civil War love story illuminates the fine line between friends and enemies at a time when traditions and principles were worth defending at all costs.

The Touch by Colleen McCullough
Scottish-born Alexander Kinross writes home from the Sydney gold fields for a bride, marrying his young cousin Elizabeth, who struggles with her husband’s ex-madam mistress and illegitimate son. Also set in the 1860s (though a world away), this saga is about the lively personalities and explosive situations that shaped Australia. (McCullough’s classic The Thorn Birds is also a must-read.)

Beyond GWTW

Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley
In the sequel authorized by the Mitchell estate and set during Reconstruction, Scarlett chases Rhett to Charleston. His continued rejection causes her to flee first to Savannah and then to Ireland in search of her roots, where she falls in love with the people and way of life.

Rhett Butler’s People by Donald McCaig
McCaig’s work chronicles the life and times of Rhett, disowned son of a cruel South Carolina planter. This reimagining fleshes out Rhett’s back story and replays famous GWTW scenes from his perspective.

The Wind Done Gone by Alice Randall
In the unauthorized parody, Cindy, Scarlett’s mulatto half-sister, describes her life as a plantation slave and relates how she made her way to Atlanta to become the mistress of a white businessman.

Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind by Ellen F. Brown and John Wiley, Jr.
This biography of the novel documents the writing process, reception by the publishing industry, its cultural importance, the iconic film adaptation, and much more.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Samuels Says - Which book character would you most like to go on a date with?

This month for our display, we asked the staff: "If you weren’t married, or otherwise engaged… and age was just a state of mind... Meaning no disrespect to all the wonderful men in our lives… In a world of fiction… Just for fun... Which book has the character you would most like to go on a date with?" Here are our picks—we'd love to hear yours too... both men and women!

Alex Cross novels by James Patterson
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater
Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
Carry on Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lathem
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris
Dog on it! by Spencer Quinn
The Dresden novels by Jim Butcher
Embrace the Grim Reaper by Judy Clemens
Emma by Jane Austen
Evernight, Stargazer, and Hour Glass by Claudia Gray
Falling Home by Karen White
Fame by Karen Kingsbury
The Flame and the Flower by Kathlynn Woodiwiss
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Heat Wave by Richard Castle
Henry the Eighth: the King and his Court by Allison Weir
The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Inspector Rutledge series by Charles Todd
James Bond novels by Ian Fleming
The Knowland Retribution by Richard Greener
Maximum Ride series by James Patterson
Merlin Trilogy by Mary Stewart
Mitch Rapp novels by Vince Flynn
Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
Orchids and Diamonds by Rosalind Laker
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Outstretched Shadow by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
The Outsider by Penelope Williamson
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Austen and Smith
The Princess by Lori Wick
Princess Bride by William Goldman
Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier
Redemption by Karen Kingsbury
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott
Same Sweet Girls by Cassandra King
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
Shiver and Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
Son of the Shadows by Juliette Marillier
Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire novels by Charlaine Harris
Sophie's Heart by Lori Wick
Sugar Pavilion by Rosalind Lake
The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
To Catch a Thief by David Dodge
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Walt Fleming novels by Ridley Pearson
Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen
The Wayfarer Redemption by Sara Douglass
The Wedding Officer: a Novel of Culinary Seduction by Anthony Capella
Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan
Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskill (movie only)

Reading Lists - Beyond Twilight (YA Fantasy for Adults)

Several (adult) staff members here at the library love to read books from the young adult section, especially fantasy novels. Of course we've read a lot of vampire books (because let's face it, a lot of vampire books have been published lately!), but we've also branched out a lot too—in fact, one of us predicted that angels would be the next big thing before they became the next big thing.

We're often trying to think of recommendations for patrons with the same reading tastes, and we decided to come up with a list of some of our favorites. Though it's difficult to describe the plot and why we liked a book in so few words, trust us when we say, "These books are good!" Our list grew much more quickly than we anticipated, so we finally had to stop with the shocking total of 39 books. Of course, that means there are more where these came from...

Part 1—Paranomal Romance Standards


Evernight by Claudia Gray
Sixteen-year-old Bianca, a new girl at the sinister Evernight boarding school, finds herself drawn to another outsider, Lucas, but dark forces threaten to tear them apart and destroy Bianca's entire world. Why we love it: Not just one but two huge plot twists, quick read, fresh take on the themes of “coming of age” and dealing with the undead,” exciting, Bianca’s sexy friend Balthazar.

Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
Sixteen-year-old Zoey Redbird is Marked as a fledgling vampyre and joins the House of Night where she will train to become an adult vampyre. Why we love it: New twists, great characters (friends, family, and enemies), clique drama, Native American element, realistically fun and witty dialogue, cool tattoos, vampyres have their own religion (worship of the goddess Nyx), Zoey’s one-of-a-kind kitty Nala.

Persistence of Memory by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Diagnosed with schizophrenia as a child, 16-year-old Erin has spent half of her life in therapy and on drugs, but now must face the possibility of weird things in the real world, including shapeshifting friends and her "alter," a centuries-old vampire. Why we love it: Mental illness; mind-sharing; a helpful, magical guy friend; creative; more creatures than just vampires; dramatic.


Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
Having fallen for a human boy, Vivian, a beautiful teenage werewolf, must battle both her packmates and the fear of the townspeople to decide where she belongs and with whom. Why we love it: Classic! Klause makes werewolves cooler than vampires, who Vivian ends up with, interesting ending, dark but very human, saw the movie.

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
Grace Divine learns a dark secret when a childhood friend returns, upsetting her pastor-father and the rest of her family. At the same time, there are strange things happening in their tiny Minnesota town. Why we love it: Just plain good—faith element, family dynamic, artists, paradoxes, suspense/mystery—we could gush forever!

Need by Carrie Jones
Depressed after the death of her stepfather, Zara goes to live with her grandmother in small town Maine, where new friends tell Zara the strange man she keeps seeing may be a pixie king, and that only "were" creatures can stop him from taking souls. Why we love it: Maine, gold pixie dust, Zara supports Amnesty International, most awesome grandma ever.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
In all the years she has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house, Grace has been particularly drawn to an unusual yellow-eyed wolf who has also been watching her with increasing intensity. Why we love it: Reminiscent of Twilight, but we couldn’t put it down—we laughed, we cried, and we fell in love with a hunky wereboy!


Tithe by Holly Black
Sixteen-year-old Kaye, who has been visited by faeries since childhood, discovers that she herself is a magical faerie creature with a special destiny. Why we love it: Intriguing, dark, no cookie-cutter characters (they’re troubled, malevolent, etc.), masterfully portrays the allure and terror of the Fae world, shows the ugly side of life and growing up.

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
Aislinn, who has the rare ability to see faeries, is drawn against her will into a centuries-old battle between the Summer King and Winter Queen, and the survival of her life, her love, and summer all hang in the balance. Why we love it: A bad guy who wants to be good, tattoos, living in a train, several stories to follow, interesting faerie mythology, caring male friend, wicked AND lovely!

Wings by Aprilynne Pike
When a plant blooms out of 15-year-old Laurel's back, it leads to the discovery that she is a faerie and that she has a crucial role to play in keeping the world safe from the encroaching enemy trolls. Why we love it: A love triangle with a very tough choice for Laurel, different faerie mythology (petal wings that sprout in spring and die away in autumn, caste system, unique talents...) Interesting!


Fallen by Lauren Kate
Suspected in the death of her boyfriend, 17-year-old Luce is sent to a Savannah, Georgia, reform school where she meets two intriguing boys and learns the truth about the strange shadows that have always haunted her. Why we love it: Angels and a human heroine might be the only ones able to save the world, the librarian has an important role, creepy gothic school with a pool in the church, dark tone.

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Nora has always been cautious in her relationships, until Patch, who has a dark side she can sense, enrolls at her school. Is it his voice in her thoughts? What is the V-shaped scar on his back? Why we love it: Suspense, romantic tension, funny BFF, Nora has a personality, yummy bad boy Patch—“unputdownable” and at the top of our list!

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Sixteen-year-old Clara Gardner's purpose as an angel-blood begins to manifest itself, forcing her family to pull up stakes and move to Jackson, Wyoming, where she learns that danger and heartbreak come with her powers. Why we love it: Sibling relationship, Wyoming, love triangle (team Tucker!), supernatural girl with a goal, huge surprise ending, very well-written characters.

Part 2—Miscellaneous Paranormal Romance

Beastly by Alex Flinn
A modern retelling of "Beauty and the Beast" from the point of view of a vain Manhattan private school student who is turned into a monster and must find true love before he can return to his human form. Why we love it: Old story reborn, showcases the importance of morality and the power of love, excellent characterization (with both physical and emotional metamorphosis).

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
In a small South Carolina town, 16-year-old Ethan is powerfully drawn to Lena, a new classmate with whom he shares a psychic connection and whose family hides a dark secret that may be revealed on her sixteenth birthday. Why we love it: Poetry, Southern Gothic atmosphere, Civil War history, complex mythology, boy’s point of view, strong descriptions, cool librarian, small town feel.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Suddenly able to see demons and the Darkhunters who are dedicated to returning them to their own dimension, 15-year-old Clary Fray is drawn into this bizzare world when her mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a monster. Why we love it: Plot twists, good laugh-out-loud dialogue, complex romance, interesting characters and mythology.

Evermore by Alyson Noël
Since the car accident that claimed the lives of her family, Ever can see auras and hear people's thoughts, and she goes out of her way to hide from other people until she meets Damen, another psychic teenager who is hiding even more mysteries. Why we love it: California, tulips, great dialogue, engaging back story, sisters, no creatures—just a cool psychic girl.

Firelight by Sophie Jordan
When 16-year-old Jacinda, who can change into a dragon, is forced to move away from her community of shapeshifters and start a more normal life, she falls in love with a boy who proves to be her most dangerous enemy. Why we love it: Strong heroine, love/hate sister relationship, romantic leads endanger each other, and oh yeah—she turns into a dragon! A dragon!

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Orphaned Mary seeks knowledge of life, love, and especially what lies beyond her walled village and the surrounding forest, home of the Unconsecrated, aggressive flesh-eating people who were once dead. Why we love it: Page-turner, hope, depressing but enthralling, highlights consequences of a break with conformity, The Village + I Am Legend.

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
Sam LaCroix, a Seattle fast-food worker and college dropout, discovers he is a necromancer, part of a world of creatures and a threat to another necromancer’s lucrative business of raising the dead. Why we love it: So funny, male lead that boys can relate to, surprise ending, talking head in a bowling bag!

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
After learning that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea, Percy Jackson transfers from boarding school to Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp for demigods, and becomes involved in a quest to prevent a war between the gods. Why we love it: Funny, plenty of action, realistic dialogue, more friendship than romance, great for boys.

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
When a dark prophecy begins to come true, 16-year-old Evie of the International Paranormal Containment Agency must try to stop it and uncover its connection to herself and the alluring shapeshifter, Lend. Why we love it: Refreshing heroine who gets excited to do normal teenage stuff, vampires and faeries plus original supernatural beings keeps things interesting.

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
In late nineteenth-century New York state, wealthy 16-year-old twins Lia and Alice Milthorpe find that they are on opposite sides of an ancient prophecy that has destroyed their parents and seeks to do even more harm. Why we love it: Fighting sisters (one mostly good, one mostly evil), strong secondary characters, great plot, different paranormal abilities.

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Mackie Doyle knows that he replaced a human child when he was an infant. When a friend's sister disappears, he goes against his family's and town's deliberate denial of the problem to confront the beings that dwell under the town, tampering with human lives. Why we love it: Disturbing and gruesome yet beautiful story; pure, refreshing lead character; power of love and selflessness.

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
After Chloe starts seeing ghosts and is sent to Lyle House, a mysterious group home for mentally disturbed teenagers, she soon discovers that neither Lyle House nor its inhabitants are exactly what they seem, and that she and her new friends are in danger. Why we love it: Non-stop action, fun and exciting, great creepy scenes.

The White Cat by Holly Black
When Cassel Sharpe discovers that his older brothers have used him to carry out their criminal schemes and then stolen his memories, he figures out a way to turn their evil machinations against them. Why we love it: Family dynamics, male protagonist, tragic love, good and evil are jumbled up, attention-holding, silly but brilliant concept (two words—supernatural mafia).

Part 3—Alternate Worlds/Sci-Fi

Alternate World Fantasy

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
On the cusp of manhood, Finnikin reluctantly joins forces with an enigmatic young novice and fellow-exile, who claims that her dark dreams will lead them to a surviving royal child and a way to regain the throne of Lumatere. Why we love it: Complex characters, world building, good old-fashioned young-man-on-a-quest fantasy, surprises.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Accompanied by her shape-shifting daemon, Lyra Belacqua sets out to prevent her best friend and other kidnapped children from becoming the subject of gruesome experiments in the Far North. Why we love it: Allegory, the importance of truth, friendship, talking polar bears, witches, parallel worlds, adventure and suspense, physical manifestation of the soul.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore
In a world where some people are born with extreme and often-feared skills called Graces, Katsa struggles for redemption from her own horrifying Grace, the Grace of killing, and teams up with another young fighter to save their land from a corrupt king. Why we love it: Emotional journey, epic fantasy, believable characters, strong and inspiring female lead, disturbing villain, swords, two different eye colors.

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
After the suspicious death of her mother in 1895, 16-year-old Gemma returns to England (after many years in India) to attend a finishing school where she becomes aware of her magical powers and ability to see into the spirit world. Why we love it: Well-written, Victorian era, good and evil are confused, fear, excitement, atmosphere.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Eldest of three sisters in a land where that is considered to be a misfortune, Sophie is resigned to her fate as a hat shop apprentice until a witch turns her into an old woman and she finds herself in the castle of the greatly feared wizard Howl. Why we love it: Unique and involved concept with a well-woven plot, laugh-out-loud sarcasm, a real gem.

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
Cast out of Wonderland by her evil aunt Redd, young Alyss Heart finds herself living in Victorian Oxford as Alice Liddell and struggling to keep memories of her kingdom intact until she can return and claim her rightful throne. Why we love it: Fun and action-packed, new take on a beloved tale, steampunk, detailed characters/character development.

The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan
When 15-year-old Will is rejected by battleschool, he becomes the reluctant apprentice to the mysterious Ranger Halt and winds up protecting the kingdom from danger. Why we love it: Action and adventure, great fun for all ages and genders—knights, archers, Vikings!

Science Fiction

The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
After the mutant Erasers abduct the youngest member of their group, the "birdkids" (who are the result of genetic experimentation) take off in pursuit, also struggling to understand their own origins and purpose. Why we love it: Wings, first love, darkly brooding Fang, future science seems possible, kids controlling their destiny.

The Fetch by Chris Humphreys
After exploring a sea chest full of runes and a journal belonging to his deceased grandfather, 15-year-old Sky summons the old man's ghost, who teaches him how to travel through time and space. Why we love it: Corsica, male protagonist, dark and mysterious, evil grandpa, runestones add a unique touch.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
In future North America, Panem’s rulers maintain control through a TV survival competition, pitting teens from each district against each other. Katniss's skills are tested when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place. Why we love it: Eerily possible future, social commentary, love triangle, tough girl, nail-biting suspense, pure AWESOME!

Skinned by Robin Wasserman
To save her from dying in a horrible accident, 17-year-old Lia's wealthy parents transplant her brain into a mechanical body. She must make the transition from leader of the rich, shallow girls at school to mechanical outcast. Why we love it: Seems like a possible future (believable and realistic), girl trying to find herself, sister relationship, the best character development, inspires moral debate.

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Just before their 16th birthdays, when they will be transformed into beauties whose only job is to have a great time, Tally's best friend runs away and Tally must find her and turn her in, or never become pretty at all. Why we love it: Fun invented language, social commentary fits modern society, utterly captivating world-building, strongly developed characters, exciting.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman
In a future world where those aged 13 to 18 can have their lives "unwound" and their body parts harvested for use by others, three teens go to extreme lengths to uphold their beliefs—and, perhaps, save their own lives. Why we love it: Current headlines projected into future, heart-pounding suspense, biting social commentary, not too much romance, realistic feel.