John Gaines

07/01/2014 - 3:00am
Thud! by Terry Pratchett

How can a man maintain stability and order in a city where volatile race relations are about to boil over? In Thud! an installment of Terry Pratchett’s long-running Discworld series, Commander Vimes of the City Watch must deal with the erupting tensions between trolls and dwarves following the unexplained death of Hamcrusher, a high-ranking dwarf. Like most of Pratchett’s entries in this series, the humor in Thud! is self-contained and does not require knowledge of prior novels. It offers a mixture of satire of fantasy tropes with real-world issues and conflicts. Reliant on verbal humor and character development, the book is a good choice for fans of British genre satire such as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

10/03/2016 - 11:40am

This readalike is in response to a customer'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.

Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins
The bottle is blue, very, very old, and embossed with the image of a goat-horned god. If the liquid in the bottle actually is the secret essence of the universe, as some folks seem to think, it had better be discovered soon because it is leaking and there is only a drop or two left. (catalog summary)

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Asleep by Banana Yoshimoto
In Asleep, Yoshimoto spins the stories of three young women bewitched into a spiritual sleep. One, mourning for a lost lover, finds herself sleepwalking at night. Another, who has embarked on a relationship with a man whose wife is in a coma, finds herself suddenly unable to stay awake. A third finds her sleep haunted by a woman against whom she was once pitted in a love triangle. (catalog summary)


 

 


The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon
The highly original satire about Oedipa Maas, a woman who finds herself enmeshed in a worldwide conspiracy, meets some extremely interesting characters, and attains a not inconsiderable amount of self knowledge. (catalog summary)

 

10/03/2016 - 2:19pm
If you like Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

This readalike is in response to a customer'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.

 

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
With these words, the reader is ushered into an isolated gray stone mansion on the windswept Cornish coast, as the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter recalls the chilling events that transpired as she began her new life as the young bride of a husband she barely knew. For in every corner of every room were phantoms of a time dead but not forgotten—a past devotedly preserved by the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers: a suite immaculate and untouched, clothing laid out and ready to be worn, but not by any of the great house's current occupants. With an eerie presentiment of evil tightening her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter walked in the shadow of her mysterious predecessor, determined to uncover the darkest secrets and shattering truths about Maxim's first wife—the late and hauntingly beautiful Rebecca. (catalog summary)

 

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Caught in the Light
by Robert Goddard
On assignment in Vienna, photographer Ian Jarrett falls suddenly and desperately in love with a woman he has met purely by chance, Marian Esguard. Back in England, he separates from his wife and goes to meet Marian at an agreed-upon rendezvous, only to hear her tell him on the telephone that she will not be coming after all. She then vanishes from his life as mysteriously as she entered it. Searching frantically for the woman for whom he has sacrificed everything, Jarrett stumbles upon a Dorset churchyard full of gravestones of dead Esguards. He meets Daphne Sanger, a psychotherapist, who is also looking for someone: a former patient who has come to believe she is the reincarnation of Marian Esguard - a woman who lived in Regency times and, it emerges, may have invented photography ten years before Fox Talbot. But why is Marian Esguard unknown to history? And who and where is the woman Ian Jarrett met and fell in love with in Vienna? (catalog summary)


 


The Ghost Orchid
by Carol Goodman
For more than one hundred years, creative souls have traveled to Upstate New York to work under the captivating spell of the Bosco estate. Cradled in silence, inspired by the rough beauty of overgrown gardens and crumbling statuary, these chosen few fashion masterworks-and have cemented Bosco's reputation as a premier artists' colony. This season, five talented artists-in-residence find themselves drawn to the history of Bosco, from the extensive network of fountains that were once its centerpiece but have long since run dry to the story of its enigmatic founder, Aurora Latham, and the series of tragic events that occurred more than a century ago. (catalog summary)

 

05/26/2014 - 3:01am
Avengers Academy: Arcade Death Game

Poor Arcade just can’t catch a break. The Marvel Comics villain, known more for his arrogance and his overly-contrived, easily-escapable “traps” has had enough of heroes thwarting his schemes and embarrassing him. In order to regain his prestige in the hierarchy of villains, he must successfully assassinate a superhero, but whom should he choose? He decides on the inexperienced yet powerful young superheroes of the Avengers Academy, a training camp for the next generation of Avengers. Arcade Death Game details his attempt to kill the young recruits of the group with his intricate traps and deadly machines. It is a tightly-paced thriller with appealing heroes and some well-drawn artwork.

05/05/2014 - 3:01am
Raptor Red by Robert T. Bakker

Many novels with animal protagonists go to great lengths to anthropomorphize them, giving them names, extensive language, and culture that strongly resemble those of humans. Paleontologist Robert Bakker goes the opposite route with his novel Raptor Red. He creates a primeval world viewed through the eyes of dinosaurs and other creatures of the Early Cretaceous epoch.

07/28/2016 - 11:39am
If you like The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

This readalike is in response to a customer'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.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Waging a fierce competition for which they have trained since childhood, circus magicians Celia and Marco unexpectedly fall in love with each other and share a fantastical romance that manifests in fateful ways. (catalog description)

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A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Witch and Yale historian Diana Bishop discovers an enchanted manuscript, attracting the attention of 1,500-year-old vampire Matthew Clairmont. The orphaned daughter of two powerful witches, Bishop prefers intellect but relies on magic when her discovery of a palimpsest documenting the origin of supernatural species releases an assortment of undead who threaten, stalk, and harass her. (catalog description)
 

 

04/07/2014 - 8:46am
Star Wars Classic Comics: The Rebel Storm by Archie Goodwin

There was a considerable gap between the releases of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi in the early 1980s.  During that time, the expanding Star Wars fan base began to wonder what was happening to the characters in the meantime.  What worlds did Luke, Leia, and Han visit?  What schemes did Darth Vader plot to destroy the rebellion?  Did Chewie ever get a decent flea bath? Two of these three questions are answered in Archie Goodwin’s The Rebel Storm (Classic Star Wars Volume Two), an anthology of comics originally published between 1981 and 1984.  Although sometimes marred by a sense of discontinuity with Lucas’ universe, the best stories in this anthology deserve a place in Lucas’ galaxy far, far away.

03/12/2014 - 8:02am
Scooby-do

From the mid-1950s to the late 1980s, the world of animation in the United States experienced a severe quality drought. Television animation was cheaply and quickly produced and loaded with errors. Feature-length animation experienced severe budget cuts, and the number of animated movies being released was drastically reduced. Cartoons that many generations grew up watching were made with “limited animation”—a style that utilized as few frames as possible, which resulted in choppy, simplified character motions.

03/03/2014 - 3:03am
Spider-Man: New Ways to Die by Dan Slott

The graphic novel Spider-Man: New Ways to Die begins like many Spider-Man stories before it. There is a brief explanation of Peter Parker’s dual life as a superhero and a photographer stuck in perpetual poverty, quickly followed up by a battle between Spidey and the newest “Goblin” character, Menace.

However, it quickly becomes clear to the reader that the status quo has been greatly changed for this latest adventure. Parker works for a different newspaper, his former nemesis Eddie Brock is dying of cancer, and Norman Osborn, previously the Green Goblin, is in charge of the Thunderbolts, a team of “hero hunters” out to capture Spider-Man.

02/12/2014 - 2:55pm
Luthor by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo

Have you ever been in a situation where you faced impossible odds to succeed? Or, have you ever gone up against an opponent seemingly superior to you in every way? These traits are usually associated with a brave protagonist “overcoming the odds” but can sometimes be compellingly applied to a villain as well. Lex Luthor, a villain almost as old as the Superman mythos itself, has long existed without a compelling character hook. He was originally a fat, bald man who schemed to ruin Europe simply because he could.

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