Literary Fiction

12/27/2016 - 11:01am
The New Neighbor by Leah Stewart

True confession: I loved the television shows Thirtysomething and Parenthood, and I’d classify The New Neighbor, by Leah Stewart, as a book similarly driven by well-developed characters. So, if your cup of tea is action-packed novels over touchy-feely, spill-your-guts literature, then I’d strongly advise you to move on to another blog post!

Jennifer Young has recently moved with her young son into the house next to Margaret Riley. Although the two abodes are separated by a pond, each woman can see the other from her own back porch. At the age of ninety, Margaret is not as spry as she once was, and, over the years, her prickly personality has alienated any number of potential friends. But she’s lonely and finds herself insatiably curious about her new neighbor.

12/20/2016 - 10:10am
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

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 Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
Generally considered the first English sensation novel, The Woman in White features the remarkable heroine Marian Halcombe and her sleuthing partner, drawing master Walter Hartright, pitted against the diabolical team of Count Fosco and Sir Percival Glyde. A gripping tale of murder, intrigue, madness, and mistaken identity, Collins's psychological thriller has never been out of print in the 140 years since its publication. (catalog summary)

If you like The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, a classic of psychological suspense generally considered to be the first English mystery novel, you may want to read: 



The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Conan Doyle's collection of short stories, first published in 1892 and featuring the world's most famous fictional detective. These 12 stories, which include "A Case of Identity," "The Boscombe Valley Mystery," and "The Man with the Twisted Lip"—will certainly appeal to a new generation of Holmes fans. (catalog summary)





A Dangerous Mourning
by Anne Perry 
Inspector William Monk has his hands full when an aristocrat's daugher is stabbed to death in her own bed. He is instructed to proceed without delay, but finds his efforts hamstrung by the lingering traces of amnesia and the craven ineptitutde of his supervisor, who would love to see him fail. With the help of Hester Latterly, formerly a nurse with Florence Nightingale, Monk gropes warily through the silence and shadows, knowing that with each step he comes closer to the appalling truth. (catalog summary)

 

12/01/2016 - 11:30am
The Godfather by Mario Puzo

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 other book matches here.

The Godfather by Mario Puzo
When Mario Puzo's blockbuster saga, The Godfather , was first published in 1969, critics hailed it as one of the greatest novels of our time, and "big, turbulent, highly entertaining." Since then, The Godfather has gone on to become a part of America's national culture, as well as a trilogy of landmark motion pictures. From the lavish opening scene where Don Corleone entertains guests and conducts business at his daughter's wedding...to his son, Michael, who takes his father's place to fight for his family...to the bloody climax where all family business is finished, The Godfather is an epic story of family, loyalty, and how "men of honor" live in their own world, and die by their own laws. (catalog summary)
 

If you like The Godfather book series, check out these other titles as well:
 


The Black Dahlia
by James Ellroy
On January 15, 1947, the torture-ravished body of a beautiful young woman is found in a Los Angeles vacant lot. The victim makes headlines as the Black Dahlia-and so begins the greatest manhunt in California history.Caught up in the investigation are Bucky Bleichert and Lee Blanchard: Warrants Squad cops, friends, and rivals in love with the same woman. But both are obsessed with the Dahlia-driven by dark needs to know everything about her past, to capture her killer, to possess the woman even in death. Their quest will take them on a hellish journey through the underbelly of postwar Hollywood, to the core of the dead girl's twisted life, past the extremes of their own psyches-into a region of total madness. (catalog summary)

 



Blood on Snow: A Novel by Jo Nesbø
Oslo, 1970s. Olav, an extremely talented "fixer" whose unexpected capacity for love is as far-reaching as his talent for murder, works for Oslo's crime kingpin, "fixing" anyone who causes him trouble. But it's becoming clear to Olav that the more you know about your boss's business, the more your boss might want you fixed yourself, especially if you've fallen in love with his wife. (catalog summary)

 


 

11/21/2016 - 2:30am
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

In Fates and Furies, first you meet the couple, Lotto and Mathilde, on their beach honeymoon. They seem a golden couple, but then the story unfolds from Lotto’s perspective in “Fates” and then Mathilde’s side in part two, “Furies.” Both characters are seriously flawed. This portrait of a marriage is like a Greek or Shakespearean tragedy. Lauren Groff even includes a Greek chorus by commenting about the characters within brackets.

The novel is full of strong and powerful women who take the threads of their lives and others’ into their own hands. How much does fate affect our destinies? How much do the female spirits of vengeance and justice, the angry ones, the Furies, change our paths?

11/17/2016 - 3:29pm
Bibliophiles, Real and Imagined

For those of us who love books and reading, there are few things more pleasurable than meeting other readers and bibliophiles. Swapping books, book suggestions, and perhaps even going on a reading retreat are all a thrill to those of us who are avid readers.  

There are times, though, when a fellow book lover isn’t available, or you are tired and just want to be alone, but yet you’d still love to discuss books. Did you know that there is an entire genre written for those times? I like to call them books about books, and there are many that have been written, both fiction and nonfiction, just for people like us.

11/17/2016 - 11:56am
If you like World War II and Audiobooks

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 other book matches here.

If you like history and listening to it, here are a few highly recommended audiobooks set in World War II:

All Clear by Connie Willis
After three Oxford historians travel back in time to the year 1940, historical records indicate that at least one of them affected the past and changed the outcome of World War II. (catalog summary)
 



All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris and is blind by age six. Her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, so she can memorize it and navigate the real streets. When the Germans occupy Paris, they flee to Saint-Malo on the coast. In Germany, Werner grows up enchanted by a crude radio he finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, which wins him a place with the Hitler Youth. Werner travels throughout Europe, and finally to Saint-Malo, where his meets Marie Laure. Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Literature. (catalog summary)
 

 


Atonement by Ian McEwan
In the summer of 1935, 13-year-old Briony Tallis wildly misinterprets the relationship between her sister Cecilia and Robbie Turner, childhood friends home from Cambridge. So when her young cousin is assaulted, Briony gives in to her hyperactive imagination and blames the atrocity on Robbie. It is a terrible decision that alters lives and fills Briony with an everlasting sense of guilt. (catalog summary)
 

07/20/2017 - 9:42am
Frankenstein’s creature has many differences from other popular monsters associated with Halloween. Rather than being based off an ancient legend, religious concept, or historical figure, his origin is solely literary in nature, being confined to one book. Despite this, public perception of the creature has changed greatly since the publication of the original novel, leading to wildly divergent styles and plotlines in its various film adaptations.
 
People’s perceptions of the creature have become so warped by time and decades of misleading film posters and article titles that most use the name “Frankenstein” to refer to the creature itself, rather than the scientist who created him!  An understanding of literary history is necessary to understand the truth of the creature’s tragic history and how decades of film adaptations changed him into the lumbering brute most know him as today.
10/21/2016 - 10:16am
If you like Creepy Classics

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 other book matches here.

Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
 "We will each write a story," poet Lord Byron announced to his next-door neighbors, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin and her lover Percy Bysshe Shelley. The friends were summering on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland in 1816, Shelley still unknown as a poet and Byron writing the third canto of Childe Harold. When continued rains kept them confined indoors, all agreed to Byron's proposal. The illustrious poets failed to complete their ghost stories, but Mary Shelley rose supremely to the challenge. With Frankenstein, she succeeded admirably in the task she set for herself: to create a story that, in her own words, would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature and awaken thrilling horror -- one to make the reader dread to look round, to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart. (catalog summary)

Here are other creeptastic classics you must get your claws on, and read:
 

 

The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories by H.P. Lovecraft
Howard Philips Lovecraft reinvented the horror genre in the 1920s, discarding ghosts and witches, and instead envisioning mankind as a tiny outpost of dwindling sanity in a chaotic and malevolent universe. S. T. Joshi, Lovecraft's preeminent interpreter, presents a selection of the master's fiction, from the early tales of nightmares and madness such as "The Outsider" to the overpowering cosmic terror of "The Call of Cthulhu." (catalog summary)



 

 

Dracula by Bram Stoker
Bram Stoker's classic vampire story has haunted and disturbed the modern imagination for a hundred years. Set in Transylvania, London, and Whitby, it pits the sinister but seductive Count Dracula against a team of Vampire-hunters armed only with typewriters, phonographs, and syringes. Vividly presented in the form of diaries and letters, the narrative blends ancient superstitions with modern technologies, and pulsates with obsessive fears of foreignness and sexuality. (catalog summary)

 

 

10/20/2016 - 3:50pm

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 other book matches here.

Rococo: A Novel by Adriana Trigiani
In Our Lady of Fatima, N.J., plucky narrator Bartolomeo di Crespi, aka B, reigns supreme: he can doll up an ottoman with kicky trim and sparkly crystals with the best of 'em, and he decorates all the area's best houses, including the manse belonging to the mother of his putative fiancè, Capri Mandelbaum. (Really they're just friends, but Aurelia, Capri's mother, is certain they'll marry.) When the local church comes due for a major renovation, B gets the commission, after Father Porporino is convinced (forcibly, it's later revealed) that a tony Philadelphia firm won't do. But can B come up with a timeless yet innovative design for the church he loves? He calls in the experts-all of them sexy-takes trips to London and Italy, and benefits from a minor miracle amid a cast of family and friends who fight, fall in love, have babies and come out of the closet. (catalog summary)

 

Romance and lust and family dynamics feature prominently in Rococo by Adriana Trigiani. Some other titles that you might like:



Baker Towers
by Jennifer Haigh
Bakerton is a community of company houses and church festivals, of union squabbles and firemen's parades. Its neighborhoods include Little Italy, Swedetown, and Polish Hill. For its tight-knit citizens—and the five children of the Novak family—the 1940s will be a decade of excitement, tragedy, and stunning change. Baker Towers is a family saga and a love story, a hymn to a time and place long gone, to America's industrial past, and to the men and women we now call the Greatest Generation. It is a feat of imagination from an extraordinary voice in American fiction, a writer of enormous power and skill. (catalog summary)

 

 


Bet Your Bottom Dollar
by Karin Gillespie
Welcome to the Bottom Dollar Emporium, where everything from coconut mallow cookies to Clabber Girl Baking Powder costs only a dollar, and coffee and gossip are free. For Elizabeth, Mavis, and Attalee, logging nine to five at the Bottom Dollar is not just work time, it's family time. So when news gets out that the Super Saver Dollar Store chain plans to set up shop and run the Bottom Dollar out of town, things go catawampus. Manager Elizabeth, who has a good head for business even though she flunked pin-curling in beauty school, teams up with a crew of dedicated do-gooders bent on saving the Bottom Dollar from the fate of spare change. But when Elizabeth's unlikely new love interest—who also happens to be Cayboo Creek's wealthiest bachelor—pitches woo, out come some startling revelations about her past that turn life more than a little interesting for all her friends and neighbors. (catalog summary)

 

 

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