Reading Room Blog

10/19/2011 - 8:16am
The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

I decided to read this book because I’ve always been interested in the Dalai Lama. I really thought The Art of Happiness would be more focused on understanding Buddhist principles; instead, it’s a peculiar mix of Eastern religion meets Western medicine.

Co-author Dr. Howard Cutler is a psychiatrist with a private practice in Phoenix, and the Dalai Lama is a Buddhist monk. It’s amusing to see two very different approaches to achieving happiness. The Dalai Lama’s approach to achieving happiness is more of a holistic, spiritual system that focuses on improving oneself using the power of the mind. Dr. Howard Cutler takes more of a back-seat approach in which he listens to the Dalai Lama’s suggestions and gives input about modern psychological approaches used in the United States.

10/18/2011 - 3:30am
Dear American Airlines

Most people know what it feels like to be stuck in limbo somewhere between departure and destination. Even if your journey was perfectly planned, there are so many things that can easily go awry and impede your progress. In Dear American Airlines, that agonizing stasis is symptomatic of much more than an airline’s incompetence or a missed connection. It characterizes the 53 years that Benjamin R. Ford has been living and drawing breath.

While en route from New York to Los Angeles, Bennie’s flight is abruptly canceled. Even though the sky is bright and the clouds look picturesque, rather than ominous, American Airlines claims foul weather has interfered with the scheduled flight. As a consequence, Bennie finds himself trapped in Chicago’s O’Hare airport with no way out. But he does have a pen, some paper, and the desire to complain to American Airlines.

The entirety of Jonathan Miles’s poignant and humorous novel is written in the form of a letter of complaint. At first, Bennie’s explicit goal is to write and get his ticket refunded. As the letter progresses, however, it becomes quite clear that a check from American Airlines will not resolve Bennie’s existential crisis.

10/05/2011 - 4:13pm
The Earth, My Butt and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler

This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading  recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. See our other Book Matches.

The Earth, My Butt and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
Feeling like she does not fit in with the other members of her family,who are all thin, brilliant, and good-looking, fifteen-year-old Virginia tries to deal with her self-image, her first physical relationship, and her disillusionment with some of the people closest to her.
 

Alt Ed by Catherin Atkins
Alt Ed
by Catherine Atkins
Participating in a special after-school counseling class with other troubled students, including a sensitive gay classmate, helps Susan, an overweight tenth grader, develop a better sense of herself.

 

 

Angus, Thongs, and Full-frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
Angus, Thongs and Full-frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson
by Louise Rennison
Presents the humorous journal of a year in the life of a fourteen-year-old British girl who tries to reduce the size of her nose, stop her mad cat from terrorizing the neighborhood animals, and win the love of handsome hunk Robbie.


 

Bras and Broomsticks by Sarah Mlynowski
Bras and Broomsticks
by Sarah Mlynowski
Living in New York City with her mother and her younger sister, Miri, fourteen-year-old Rachel tries to persuade Miri, who has recently become a witch, to help her become popular at school and to try to stop their divorced father's wedding.

 


Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Dairy Queen
by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
After spending her summer running the family farm and training the quarterback for her school's rival football team, sixteen-year-old D.J. decides to go out for the sport herself, not anticipating the reactions of those around her.

 

08/09/2011 - 3:30am
Bossypants

When I first saw Tina Fey co-anchor Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update with Jimmy Fallon on some lonely teenage evening, I couldn't stand her. The punchlines were marinated in a sense of overwhelming superiority, with a side of mean-spirited smarminess. Thankfully this is not the version of Tina Fey that came into focus as time passed.

07/27/2011 - 11:21am
A Game of Thrones

When you play the Game of Thrones, you either win or you die.  In George R.R. Martin’s rich fantasy, King Robert of the House of Baratheon wins the game by defeating the Old Dynasty, the House of Tagaryen, but as his best friend, Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell’s family motto states, Winter is Coming, and things are changing.  Robert was a better soldier than king so the House of Lannister threatens his power, and a civil war breaks out. Jaime Lannister fights with his brawn, and his brother, the dwarf Tyrion Lannister, with his wit.

Martin’s characters are not black and white; he goes back to Sir Thomas Malory, where even Lancelot, the role model for chivalry, has deep, fatal flaws. Stark is an honest man, yet he does not know whom to trust and endangers himself and his family.  If you love fantasy combined with the Arthurian legend of knights and chivalry and an added twist of Machiavellian political intrigue, this book is for you. The magical elements of the godswoods, the dragon eggs, and the evil beings lurking the wilds of the north add an air of mystery and the supernatural to the novel.

07/20/2011 - 6:44pm
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. You can browse our book matches here.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
The summer following her father's death, Macy plans to work at the library and wait for her brainy boyfriend to return from camp, but instead she goes to work at a catering business where she makes new friends and finally faces her grief.

If you like The Truth About Forever you might like these books: 

The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart
The Boyfriend List
by E. Lockhart
A Seattle fifteen-year-old explains some of the reasons for her recent panic attacks, including breaking up with her boyfriend, losing all her girlfriends, tensions between her performance-artist mother and her father, and more. Read the sequel, The Boy Book, too!

 


The Earth, My Butt, and Other, Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
The Earth, My Butt, and Other, Big Round Things
by Carolyn Mackler
Feeling like she does not fit in with the other members of her family, who are all thin, brilliant, and good-looking, fifteen-year-old Virginia tries to deal with her self-image, her first physical relationship, and her disillusionment with some of the people closest to her.


 

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
How I Live Now
by Meg Rosoff
To get away from her pregnant stepmother in New York City, fifteen-year-old Daisy goes to England to stay with her aunt and cousins, with whom she instantly bonds, but soon war breaks out and rips apart the family while devastating the land.

06/08/2011 - 2:27pm
The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading  recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. You can browse our book matches.

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
Welcome to the magical underworld of Venice, Italy. Here hidden canals and crumbling rooftops shelter runaways and children with incredible secrets....After escaping from their cruel aunt and uncle, orphans Prosper and Bo meet a mysterious boy who calls himself the "Thief Lord." Clever and charming, the Thief Lord leads a band of street children who enjoy making mischief. But the Thief Lord also has a dark secret. And suddenly Prosper and Bo find themselves on a fantastical journey to a forgotten place. What they discover there will change the course of their destiny ... forever.

If you like The Thief Lord then you might like:

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud
The Amulet of Samarkand
by Jonathan Stroud
Nathaniel, a magician's apprentice, summons up the djinni Bartimaeus and instructs him to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from the powerful magician Simon Lovelace.

 

 

Endymion Spring by Matthew Skelton
Endymion Spring
by Matthew Skelton
Having reluctantly accompanied his academic mother and pesky younger sister to Oxford, twelve-year-old Blake Winters is at loose ends until he stumbles across an ancient and magical book, secretly brought to England in 1453 by Gutenberg's mute apprentice to save it from evil forces, and which now draws Blake into a dangerous and  life-threatening quest. 

 

Troll Fell by Katherine Langrish
Troll Fell
by Katherine Langrish
Forced to live with his evil identical-twin uncles after his father's death, Peer tries to find a way to stop their plan to sell the neighbor's children to the trolls.

 

 

Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
Wee Free Men
by Terry Pratchett
A young witch-to-be named Tiffany teams up with the Wee Free Men, a clan of six-inch-high blue men, to rescue her baby brother and ward off a sinister invasion from Fairyland.

 


 

06/07/2011 - 4:16pm
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading  recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. You can browse our book matches.

Twillight by Stephenie Meyer
Isabella Swan's move to Forks, a perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. When she meets the mysterious, alluring Edward Cullen--a vampire--her life takes a thrilling and terrifying romantic turn.


Of course, you'll want to read the next three books if you haven't yet: New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn.

New MoonEclipseBreaking Dawn

 

 

 

 

 

If you like the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer here are other titles you might enjoy:

Avalon High by Meg Cabot
Avalon High
by Meg Cabot
Having moved to Annapolis, Maryland, with her medievalist parents, high school junior Ellie enrolls at Avalon High School where several students may or may not be reincarnations of King Arthur and his court.


 

Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
Blood and Chocolate
by Annette Curtis Klause
Having fallen for a human boy, a beautiful teenage werewolf must battle both her packmates and the fear of the townspeople to decide where she belongs and with whom.

 

 

Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz
Blue Bloods
by Melissa de la Cruz
Schuyler Van Alen, 15, the last of the line in a distinguished family, is being raised by her distant and forbidding grandmother. Schuyler, her friend Oliver, and their new friend Dylan are treated like outsiders by the clique of popular, athletic, and beautiful teens made up of Mimi Force, her twin brother, and her best friend. What they have in common is the fact that they are all Blue Bloods, or vampires. (School Library Journal Review)
 

05/10/2011 - 2:29pm
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. You can browse our book matches here.

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
For thirty-five years, the acclaimed, bestselling first-person account of a teenage girl's harrowing decent into the nightmarish world of drugs has left an indelible mark on generations of teen readers. As powerful -- and as timely -- today as ever, Go Ask Alice remains the definitive book on the horrors of addiction.

 If you like Go Ask Alice and Ellen Hopkins books, then you may like:

Fallout by Ellen Hopkins
Fallout
by Ellen Hopkins (her latest book)
Written in free verse, explores how three teenagers try to cope with the consequences of their mother's addiction to crystal meth and its effects on their lives.
 




Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron
Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You
by Peter Cameron
Eighteen-year-old James living in New York City with his older sister and divorced mother struggles to find a direction for his life.

 



Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr
Story of a Girl
by Sara Zarr
In the three years since her father caught her in the back seat of a car with an older boy, sixteen-year-old Deanna's life at home and school has been a nightmare, but while dreaming of escaping with her brother and his family, she discovers the power of forgiveness.

04/29/2011 - 7:27am
Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

This readalike is in response to a patron's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids.  You can browse the book matches here.

Summer Sisters by Judy Blume: "The story concerns rather implausibly a friendship begun when Caitlin and Vix (for Victoria) are 12. Caitlin, daughter of wealthy, divorced parents, declares that Vix, eldest daughter in a blue-collar family, will be her best friend. Caitlin invites Vix to spend the summer at the family home on Martha's Vineyard. Vix is taken in by Caitlin's family, who arrange for her scholarship to private school and then support her Harvard education. Summers on the Vineyard are filled with sun and adolescent sexual encounters. The girls' friendship endures betrayal, love for the same man, and diverging career paths." (Library Journal)

If you enjoyed Summer Sisters by Judy Blume, these stories about women and friendship may appeal to you:

Annie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral by Kris Radish
“For Katherine Givens and the four women about to become her best friends, the adventure begins with a UPS package. Inside is a pair of red sneakers filled with ashes and a note that will forever change their lives. Katherine's oldest and dearest friend, the irrepressible Annie Freeman, left one final request - a traveling funeral - and she wants the most important women in her life as ‘pallbearers’."—summary from book jacket


Anybody Out There by Marian Keyes.
Anna Walsh returns to her Dublin family after a serious and disfiguring accident. She wants to return to her life in New York City, but she has more than physical healing to do.