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.
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen: "The novel, told in flashback by nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski, recounts the wild and wonderful period he spent with the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth, a traveling circus he joined during the Great Depression. When 23-year-old Jankowski learns that his parents have been killed in a car crash, leaving him penniless, he drops out of Cornell veterinary school and parlays his expertise with animals into a job with the circus, where he cares for a menagerie of exotic creatures, including an elephant who only responds to Polish commands. He also falls in love with Marlena, one of the show's star performers-a romance complicated by Marlena's husband, the unbalanced, sadistic circus boss who beats both his wife and the animals Jankowski cares for." (Publisher's Weekly Review)
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen has become a favorite for book club discussions because it is so rich in interesting characters, historical background and compelling plot. Here are several other titles that are popular with book clubs because there is so much to discuss in all of them.
The Adventures of Miles and Isabel by Tom Gilling
"Writhing with labor pains, the very pregnant actress Eliza McGinty is on stage portraying Hamlet in lieu of the drunken actor originally slated for the part, while in the audience the demure Mrs. Ernest Dowling is having contractions of her own. Miles and Isabel would share more than the same birth date in 1856; they would be children of the Industrial Revolution, fascinated by the power of turning cogs and flying machines. Isabel is the child of privilege and a victim of her own femininity in a male-dominated society, and Miles is the illegitimate son of an actress traveling as part of a levitation act, but their common love of invention and possibility would put them on a journey of souls destined to meet. Fantastical and magical, this novel is peppered with humor and the excitement of a time period laden with anticipation and opportunities for the creative, restless minds of innovation."-Booklist review
The Bee’s Kiss by Barbara Cleverly
“It's 1926, and Joe Sandilands is back from Ranipur, yet there is a darkness behind all the postwar gaiety. Against the background of a looming general strike and pressure from an unseen governmental presence, Joe struggles to solve four murders, picking his way through the political panic and rebelling against authority.”—catalog summary
Bel Canto : A Novel by Ann Patchett.
From the bestselling author of "The Magician's Assistant" comes a marvelous novel of love, opera, and terrorism set in South America. Two couples, complete opposites, fall in love; sexual identities become confused; and a horrific imprisonment is transformed into an unexpected heaven on earth.
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.
If you enjoyed "Cooking for Mr. Latte" by Amanda Hesser for the romance and the food, you may enjoy these books:
by Marsha Mehran
"Beneath the holy mountain Croagh Patrick, in damp and lovely County Mayo, sits the small, sheltered village of Ballinacroagh. To the exotic Aminpour sisters, Ireland looks like a much-needed safe haven. It has been seven years since Marjan Aminpour fled Iran with her younger sisters, Bahar and Layla, and she hopes that in Ballinacroagh, a land of "crazed sheep and dizzying roads," they might finally find a home. From the kitchen of an old pastry shop on Main Mall, the sisters set about creating a Persian oasis. Soon sensuous wafts of cardamom, cinnamon, and saffron float through the streets-an exotic aroma that announces the opening of the Babylon Cafe; and a shock to a town that generally subsists on boiled cabbage and Guinness served at the local tavern. And it is an affront to the senses of Ballinacroagh's uncrowned king, Thomas McGuire. After trying to buy the old pastry shop for years and failing, Thomas is enraged to find it occupied-and by foreigners, no less. But the mysterious, spicy fragrances work their magic on the townsfolk, and soon, business is booming. Infused with the textures and scents, trials and triumphs of two distinct cultures, Pomegranate Soup is an infectious novel of magical realism. This richly detailed story, highlighted with delicious recipes, is a delectable journey into the heart of Persian cooking and Irish living."-catalog summary
"How to Cook a Tart"
by Nina Killham
"A dark, wildly funny, and deeply imaginative first novel about the pleasures of food and the perils of marriage. Cookbook author Jasmine March's life is like a perfectly prepared beacute; chamel-rich, satisfying, and drenched in butter. Pleasingly plump and glowing with health and happiness, Jasmine spends her days concocting high-calorie, flavor-saturated recipes. But even a great beacute;chamel curdles sometimes. Her husband, Daniel, has taken up with one of his Zone-dieting drama students; Careme, her daughter, is bent on starving herself to death; and Jasmine's fellow foodies have had just about enough of her astronomically caloric recipes. To make matters worse, her publisher is threatening to cancel her contract. And then there's the small matter of the dead body she finds one morning on her kitchen floor. It's up to Jasmine to set things right, and she does it with characteristic zeal. Filled with mouth-watering descriptions of Jasmine's creations- caviar canapeacute;s, venison stew with Madeira and juniper berries, crispy chicken breasts stuffed with goat cheese and mint-Nina Killham's smart and spirited first novel is good enough to eat."-catalog summary
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 Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The disappearance forty years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden, gnaws at her octogenarian uncle, Henrik Vanger. He is determined to know the truth about what he believes was her murder. He hires crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist, recently at the wrong end of a libel case, to get to the bottom of Harriet's disappearance. Lisbeth Salander, a twenty-four-year-old, pierced, tattooed genius hacker, possessed of the hard-earned wisdom of someone twice her age--and a terrifying capacity for ruthlessness--assists Blomkvist with the investigation. This unlikely team discovers a vein of nearly unfathomable iniquity running through the Vanger family, an astonishing corruption at the highest echelon of Swedish industrialism--and a surprising connection between themselves. (from the publisher)
If you like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (followed by the next three books in the Millennium trilogy: The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, & The Girl in the Spider's Web), you may like these titles -- some have intriguingly complex plots, while others offer portraits of unusual, unique females.
A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn
Jacob's Rest, a tiny town on the border between South Africa and Mozambique, 1952. An Afrikaner police officer is found dead. Detective Emmanuel Cooper, an Englishman, begins investigating the murder following a trail of clues that lead him to uncover a shocking forbidden love and the imperfect life of one Captain Pretorius. (catalog summary)
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.
If you like Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock you might also enjoy:
Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
Fifteen-year-old Dashti, sworn to obey her sixteen-year-old mistress, the Lady Saren, shares Saren's years of punishment locked in a tower, then brings her safely to the lands of her true love, where both must hide who they are as they work as kitchen maids.
A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce
Upon the death of her father, seventeen-year-old Charlotte struggles to keep the family's woolen mill running in the face of an overwhelming mortgage and what the local villagers believe is a curse, but when a man capable of spinning straw into gold appears on the scene she must decide if his help is worth the price.
Ever by Gail Carson Levine
Fourteen-year-old Kezi and Olus, Akkan god of the winds, fall in love and together try to change her fate--to be sacrificed to a Hyte god because of a rash promise her father made--through a series of quests that might make her immortal.
The Explosionist by Jenny Davidson
In Scotland in the 1930s, fifteen-year-old Sophie, her friend Mikael, and her great-aunt Tabitha are caught up in a murder mystery involving terrorists and suicide-bombers whose plans have world-shaping consequences.
If you liked Sherrilyn Kenyon's "Born of Ice" for the romantic SF, see what you think of these selections, which range from the more serious to the lighthearted:
by L A Banks
"All Damali Richards ever wanted to do was create music and bring it to the people. Now she is a top act ... But come nightfall, she hunts vampires and demons - predators that people tend to dismiss as myth or fantasy. Damali and her team cannot afford such delusions, especially now, when a group of rogue vampires has been striking down other musicians. When strange attacks erupt ... Damali realizes these killings are a bit out of the ordinary, even for vampires. Instead of neat puncture marks in the neck showing where the blood has been drained from the body, these corpses are mutilated beyond recognition, indicating a blood lust and thirst for destruction that surpasses any Damali has encountered before. Soon she discovers that behind these brutal murders is the most powerful vampire Damali has ever met - a seductive beast who is coming for her next...."-catalog summary
A loving relative (or maybe it was you, yourself!) was good to you this holiday season and now you want to fill up your Kindle or Sony Reader with books. Or you are looking for even more to do with your iPod Touch. Try these sites for free eBooks:
If you like magical realism, here are some titles you might enjoy:
"The New York Trilogy: City of Glass: Ghosts: The Locked Room"
by Paul Auster
A surrealist take on hard-boiled private eye mysteries. Fast-paced, puzzling and fun.
Looking for information in all the wrong places?
Hello! I haven't had a chance to read "The Lollipop Shoes" (published as "The Girl With No Shadow" in the U.S.) by Joanne
Harris, but I enjoyed "Chocolat". Here are some titles that pick up on
various elements of Harris's work that you may also enjoy:
"The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak
"Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the
story of Liesel--a young German girl whose book-stealing and
story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they
If you liked "The Invisible Circus" by Jennifer Egan, you may enjoy
these novels for their 1960's and 1970's settings:
"The Jane Austen Book Club" by Karen Joy Fowler
A funny and touching book about 5 women and 1 man who meet to discuss
Jane Austen's books. Over the course of six months, each member
reminisces about events from his or her life.
"Crazy in Alabama" by Mark Childress