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 fiancĂ©, 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!