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.

05/16/2014 - 2:18pm
The Loch by Steve Alten

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The Loch by Steve Alten: Something hungry is in the loch . . and it's not the gentle Nessie of Scottish lore! Marine biologist Zach Wallace, fresh from a near drowning in the Sargasso Sea during an expedition in search of the elusive giant squid, returns to his Scottish birthplace when his estranged father is accused of murder. Unfortunately for Zach's father, Angus, his entire defense hinges on his claim that something in Loch Ness killed his business partner when he fell into the water after Angus punched him. But the trial soon becomes a media circus when more people go missing and half-eaten body parts are discovered along the shore. Zach must contend with rival scientists, interfering thrill seekers, and even a rogue remnant of the Knights Templar in his search for what is really lurking in Loch Ness.

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Cujo by Stephen King

Left to fend for herself by her workaholic husband, Donna Trenton takes her ailing Pinto to Joe Camber's garage for repairs. Once there, Donna must lock herself and her son, Tad, in her sweltering car, for the Cambers' once-friendly Saint Bernard, Cujo, has now turned into a monstrous and rabid killer. 

 

05/09/2014 - 2:23pm
Perfume by Patrick Süskind

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Perfume by Patrick Suskind: Set in 18th-century France, Perfume relates the fascinating and horrifying tale of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a person as gifted as he was abominable. Born without a smell of his own but endowed with an extraordinary sense of smell, Grenouille becomes obsessed with procuring the perfect scent that will make him fully human. With brilliant narrative skill Susskind exposes the dark underside of the society through which Grenouille moves and explores the disquieting inner universe of this singularly possessed man. 

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American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis Patrick Bateman moves among the young and trendy in 1980s Manhattan. Young, handsome, and well educated, Bateman earns his fortune on Wall Street by day while spending his nights in ways we cannot begin to fathom. Expressing his true self through torture and murder, Bateman prefigures an apocalyptic horror that no society could bear to confront. 
 



  The Collector by John Fowles A butterfly collector wins a lottery and, thus, acquires a remote cottage where he imprisons a young woman. (worldcat.org)

 

 

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

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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.

03/21/2014 - 3:03am
If you like A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
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.
 
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving: "Owen Meany, the only child of a New Hampshire granite quarrier, believes he is God's instrument. He is. This is John Irving's most comic novel; yet Owen Meany is Mr. Irving's most heartbreaking character." (Book description)
 
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The Brothers K by David James Duncan
Story of the Chance family living in the Pacific Northwest in the early '60s embattled over the ideals represented by baseball and religion. (worldcat.org)
 
 
 
 
Fifth Business by Robertson Davies
Ramsay is a man twice born, a man who has returned from the hell of the battle-grave at Passchendaele in World War I decorated with the Victoria Cross, and destined to be caught in a no-man's-land where memory, history, and myth collide. As Ramsay tells his story, it begins to seem that from boyhood he has exerted a perhaps mystical, perhaps pernicious influence on those around him. 
 

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