John Gaines

08/09/2013 - 3:02am
The Fallback Plan by Leigh Stein

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.

The Fallback Plan by Leigh Stein: "After Esther graduates from Northwestern University, she finds herself jobless, directionless, and moving back in with her parents. When her mother finds her a job caring for the four-year-old daughter of a neighboring family, she grudgingly agrees. But the family lost an infant child earlier in the year, and Esther, struggling with her own depression, finds herself caring for both the girl and the grieving mother. As she also navigates through romantic relationships with the girl's father and a friend her own age, we witness her inner conflict and personal growth." (Booklist)

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
A novel that spans fifty years. The Italian housekeeper and his long-lost American starlet; the producer who once brought them together, and his assistant. A glittering world filled with unforgettable characters. (catalog description)
 
 
 
 
Stuck in a dead-end relationship, this fearless narrator leaves her metaphorical baggage behind and finds a comfort zone in the air, feeling safest with one plane ticket in her hand and another in her underwear drawer. She flies around the world, finding reasons to love life in dozens of far-flung places from Alaska to Bhutan. Along the way she weathers unplanned losses of altitude, air pressure, and landing gear (catalog description)
 
 
08/06/2013 - 3:02am
How to Get Sued by J. Craig Williams

Many people wonder about the possible legal implications of their actions, given that legal cases can be financially and emotionally stressful. Although it’s impossible to predict the legal consequences of every single action in your life, How to Get Sued, by J. Craig Williams, provides a good summary of some of the main issues that can land people in legal trouble. With such chapters as “Go to Work” and “Get Married,” Williams provides humorous examples of how seemingly small issues can be inflamed by bizarre and contradictory state and local laws. Although written primarily as a humor book and lacking in deep legal analysis, How to Get Sued provides plenty of amusingly bizarre examples of how twisted the legal system—and human behavior—can potentially become.

07/23/2013 - 3:02am
Less than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis

The 1980s has become a time memorialized in current pop culture as a lost, neon wonderland, a time of gargantuan ambition and even more gargantuan hairstyles that would define America for a young generation. Often forgotten are the numerous problems that young people confronted at the time, including the families splintered through divorce, the temptation of easy access to dangerous drugs such as cocaine, and a world that became more individualistic and “winner take all” each passing day. Less Than Zero was Bret Easton Ellis’ first novel, a satire describing the lives of wealthy, young people on their time off from college as they travel through a disorienting haze of drugs, frayed relationships, and pop cultural references. Although not as widely remembered or highly regarded as Ellis’ other “80s novel,” American Psycho, Less Than Zero is still a worthy read for anyone seeking to understand the true essence of the 1980s.

07/12/2013 - 3:03am
If you like Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.: "After harsh early years, Pip, an orphan growing up in Victorian England, is given the means to become a gentleman by an unknown benefactor and learns that outward appearances can be deceiving." (Book summary) 

 If you enjoyed this title, here are some other titles you may enjoy:

Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope
In this novel Trollope continues the story of Mr. Harding and his daughter Eleanor, adding to his cast of characters that oily symbol of progress Mr. Slope, the hen-pecked Dr. Proudie, and the amiable and breezy Stanhope family. The central questions of this moral comedy - Who will be warden? Who will be dean? Who will marry Eleanor? - are skillfully handled with that subtlety of ironic observation that has won Trollope such a wide and appreciative readership. (catalog description)

 

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
In the fictional New England town of Starkfield, an unnamed narrator is forced to stay at the home of Ethan Frome during a winter storm. He relates his encounter with Frome, the most striking figure in Starkfield, he was but the ruin of a man, with a careless powerful look - in spite of a lameness checking each step like the jerk of a chain. When the beautiful cousin of Frome's bitter wife comes to help with housekeeping, Frome's attraction to her does not go unnoticed. (catalog description)
 

07/09/2013 - 8:55am
Bela Lugosi in White Zombie

With the success of the TV series The Walking Dead, zombies are now considered one of the most popular monsters in pop culture. People who just recently became interested in zombie-related works may be surprised to learn how long zombies have existed in the public’s imagination. The following films provide plenty of thrills and chills featuring the undead:

06/30/2013 - 10:24pm
Christopher Reeve as Superman

Superman is perhaps the longest lived of the classic Golden Age superhero characters to remain in the public imagination, and, in addition to a 75-year history of comic book publication, the character has also had a long career on the silver screen.  Unlike many other superheroes, Superman has an extensive history of being utilized as a film character, and his film appearances have influenced his portrayal in comic books in many fascinating ways.  

06/28/2013 - 5:42pm
If you like Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok
Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok: "A resolute yet naive Chinese girl confronts poverty and culture shock with equal zeal when she and her mother immigrate to Brooklyn in Kwok's affecting coming-of-age debut. Ah-Kim Chang, or Kimberly as she is known in the U.S., had been a promising student in Hong Kong when her father died. Now she and her mother are indebted to Kimberly's Aunt Paula, who funded their trip from Hong Kong, so they dutifully work for her in a Chinatown clothing factory where they earn barely enough to keep them alive. Despite this, and living in a condemned apartment that is without heat and full of roaches, Kimberly excels at school, perfects her English, and is eventually admitted to an elite, private high school. An obvious outsider, without money for new clothes or undergarments, she deals with added social pressures, only to be comforted by an understanding best friend, Annette, who lends her makeup and hands out American advice." (Publisher's Weekly)
 
If you like Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok, here are some other titles you may enjoy:
 
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
Afghanistan, 1952. Abdullah and his sister Pari live with their father and step-mother in the small village of Shadbagh. Their father, Saboor, is constantly in search of work and they struggle together through poverty and brutal winters. To Adbullah, Pari, as beautiful and sweet-natured as the fairy for which she was named, is everything. (catalog description)
 
 
 
In early-twentieth-century Korea, Najin Han, the privileged daughter of a calligrapher, longs to choose her own destiny. Smart and headstrong, she is encouraged by her mother--but her stern father is determined to maintain tradition, especially as the Japanese steadily gain control of his beloved country. (catalog description)
 
 
 
06/21/2013 - 10:08am
If you like The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
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.
 
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly: "After the death of his mother, 12-year-old David mourns her loss alone in his attic bedroom, with only his books to keep him company. As his anger at her death grows with each day, the books begin to speak to him, telling their wild tales of dragons, princes, and knights. Soon reality and fantasy collide, and David finds himself in a land unlike his own, a world where monsters, evil sorceresses, and half-human wolves dwell. With the help of friends he meets in this strange land, David goes on a search for the King, who is said to have The Book of Lost Things; this book will help David find his way home. Along the way, David encounters many challenges that transform the boy into a man." (Library Journal)
 
If you enjoyed this novel, here are some other titles you may enjoy:
 
Reveals the world of Peter Pan through the eyes of Nick, a fatherless teen whose dreams of wonderland are replaced by the gritty reality of life and death, as Peter's recruits are forced into a lethal battle where the line between good and evil is blurred. (catalog description)
 
 
 
 
Even after two hundred years, the tales collected by the Brothers Grimm remain among our most powerful stories. Their scenes of unsparing savagery and jaw-dropping beauty remind us that fairy tales, in all their simplicity, have the power to change us. With some of the most famous stories in world literature, including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White, as well as some less well known stories like The Seven Ravens, this definitive collection promises to entrance readers with the strange and wonderful world of the Brothers Grimm. Maria Tatar's engaging preface provides readers with the historical and cultural context to understand what these stories meant and their contemporary resonance. Fans of all ages will be drawn to this elegant and accessible collection of stories that have cast their magical spell over children and adults alike for generations. (catalog description)
 
06/19/2013 - 3:30am
Gojira

During the summer’s excitement over the massive, new blockbusters, many older and more unusual films are neglected and ignored. These older monster films, though they lack the digital effects and huge budgets of more modern releases, are classics of their genre, with clever performances and intriguing plots. One day this summer, you may feel compelled to take a trip back in time and see some of these legendary movies for yourself.

06/25/2013 - 10:03am
Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett

Discworld, Terry Pratchett’s satirical fantasy series, has entertained lovers of fantasy novels since the publication of its first installment, The Color of Magic, in 1983. Over the course of dozens of novels, the focus of Pratchett’s satire in the series changed. Early entries like The Color of Magic tended to be broad parodies of fantasy and role-playing conventions and characterizations. However, later novels such as Night Watch, Thud, and Unseen Academicals became much more focused on satire of real-world concepts of race, class, and current societal issues. Unseen Academicals is a strong example of the style of the later Discworld installments. On its surface level a novel about a group of wizards trying to win a “football” game, Unseen Academicals is a sprawling satire of modern attitudes towards sports fandom, social class, and the cloistered nature of academe.

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