History & Politics

02/27/2017 - 10:07am
If you like The Man in the High Castle

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 Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

“They know a million tricks, those novelists.” ― Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle

The first season of Amazon Prime’s The Man in the High Castle is based on Philip K. Dick’s book of the same title and is now continuing into its second season. The series does an astonishingly good job of immersing viewers in an alternate history where the Axis powers won World War II, and America has been divided between Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan for years.

The players include spies and rebels, conflicted commanders, and ordinary people caught up in frequently lethal events. Even with all that is going on, things are not what they seem.

If you enjoy richly imagined worlds of might-have-been, battlefield conflicts that lead to difficult choices on the home front, or dangerous worlds where the truth lies beneath everyday appearances, try these books by other novelists who know a million tricks.


Babel-17Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delaney
In a war-riven world, why will saving humanity require . . . a poet? At twenty-six, Rydra Wong is the most popular poet in the five settled galaxies. Almost telepathically perceptive, she has written poems that capture the mood of mankind after two decades of savage war. Since the invasion, Earth has endured famine, plague, and cannibalism, but its greatest catastrophe will be Babel-17. Sabotage threatens to undermine the war effort, and the military calls in Rydra. Random attacks lay waste to warships, weapons factories, and munitions dumps, and all are tied together by strings of sound, broadcast over the radio before and after each accident. In that gibberish Rydra recognizes a coherent message, with all of the beauty, persuasive power, and order that only language possesses. To save humanity, she will master this strange tongue. But the more she learns, the more she is tempted to join the other side . . . (publisher’s description)
 


The Big Time
The Big Time
(Change Wars #1) by Fritz Leiber

Fritz Leiber (1910-1992) may be best known as a fantasy writer, but he published widely and successfully in the horror and science fiction fields. One of his major SF creations is the Change War, a series of stories and short novels about rival time-traveling forces locked in a bitter, ages-long struggle for control of the human universe where battles alter history and then change it again until there’s no certainty about what might once have happened. The most notable work of the series is the Hugo Award-winning novel The Big Time, in which doctors, entertainers, and wounded soldiers find themselves treacherously trapped with an activated atomic bomb inside the Place, a room existing outside of space-time. (publisher’s description)


02/21/2017 - 10:03am
Thomas Armat: Fredericksburg Native Was an Inventor of the Motion Picture Projector

Most Fredericksburg cinephiles have to content themselves with a life far removed from the gaudy glamour of the flashy film world that is now at its yearly peak as “award season” takes over Hollywood. However, if not for the ingenuity and tenacity of Fredericksburg-born entrepreneur and movie projector inventor Thomas Armat (1866-1948), the movie magic viewers take for granted today may have had a very different history.

02/01/2017 - 3:36pm
Author of the Month: Langston Hughes

"I was unhappy for a long time, and very lonesome, living with my grandmother. Then it was that books began to happen to me, and I began to believe in nothing but books and the wonderful world in books — where if people suffered, they suffered in beautiful language, not in monosyllables, as we did in Kansas." (From The Big Sea, one of Hughes’ autobiographies) 

01/18/2017 - 12:09am
Cover to The Book of Spice: From Anise to Zedoary

If you like a good cooking show—and a good story—dive into John O’Connell’s The Book of Spice for a lot of kitchen knowledge, delivered with an English accent. From his first try at tandoori chicken at a family picnic, Mr. O’Connell was hooked on the beautiful differences spices could make.

As seasoned cooks know, spice is very nice, and there are certainly more of them available now, both online and in the supermarket. Indeed, there are so many herbs, spices, and blends that it’s a daunting proposition to select one to try out. Surely it would be better if you understood not only their uses but also their fascinating histories.

02/22/2017 - 12:52pm
Our Stories: A Panel Discussion Inspired by Hidden Figures

As fascinating and inspirational as we find the trials and triumphs of the African American women mathematicians profiled in our Rappahannock Reads selection, Hidden Figures, there are many, many such stories that our own friends and neighbors can tell us. We’ve invited some of those friends and neighbors to join us on Thursday, February 23, 7:00, at Headquarters Library for a lively panel discussion and to share with us their stories that parallel, in ways both large and small, those of the women of Hidden Figures. The stories may describe our past, but they will illuminate our present day and inform our future. Our panel members include: Ambassador Pamela Bridgewater, Daisy Howard-Douglas, Dorothy Jackson, Johnny Johnson, Sandra and Donald Manigault, Cynthia Montague, Xavier Richardson, and Frank White.  Our moderator will be DeShawn Robinson-Chew.

Come to the library, and join the discussion. We’ll even serve refreshments! Read more about the panel members below.

01/04/2017 - 1:02pm
Digital Fortress by Dan Brown

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.

Digital Fortress by Dan Brown
When the NSA's invincible code-breaking machine encounters a mysterious code it cannot break, the agency calls its head cryptographer, Susan Fletcher, a brilliant and beautiful mathematician. What she uncovers sends shock waves through the corridors of power. The NSA is being held hostage...not by guns or bombs, but by a code so ingeniously complex that if released it would cripple U.S. intelligence. Caught in an accelerating tempest of secrecy and lies, Susan Fletcher battles to save the agency she believes in. Betrayed on all sides, she finds herself fighting not only for her country but for her life, and in the end, for the life of the man she loves. From the underground hallways of power to the skyscrapers of Tokyo to the towering cathedrals of Spain, a desperate race unfolds. It is a battle for survival—a crucial bid to destroy a creation of inconceivable genius...an impregnable code-writing formula that threatens to obliterate the post-cold war balance of power. Forever. (catalog summary)

If you like technothrillers, like Digital Fortress, or thrillers in general, check out these titles as well:



9800 Savage Road: A Novel of the National Security Agency by M.E. Harrigan
In a tale inspired by events leading up to the September 11 attacks, a small team of intelligence analysts is horrified when satellite phone calls by Osama bin Laden are abruptly halted in the wake of a high-profile murder that marks the beginning of an escalating series of disasters. (catalog summary)

 

 

The Boost by Stephen Baker
Ralf is a software prodigy. He works in the US government office that updates the software in the population's boosts—networked supercomputers contained in a chip implanted within the brains of 99 percent of the world's population. Invented by Chinese researchers in 2032, the boost is credited with leading humanity to its most significant cognitive leap since the discovery of fire. Days before a national upgrade, Ralf notices that the update includes an open surveillance gate—meaning that Americans, who had negotiated high levels of privacy with the Chinese manufacturers, will now be subjected to the invasive Chinese standard. Ralf attempts to hack the boost, but is caught by agents working for Washington's preeminent lobbyist. His boost is ripped from his head, and Ralf barely escapes with his life. Pursued by the lobbyist's mercenary cadre, Ralf flees to the US-Mexico border, where there are others like him—"wild" humans on the fringes of society, unenhanced by technology. It's a frightening and backward world controlled by powerful drug lords. Ralf's only hope is to somehow work with these wild bosses of the analog world—in hopes of winning back freedom in the digital one. (catalog summary)

 

12/28/2016 - 12:24pm
Duel With the Devil: The True Story of How Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr Teamed up to Take on America's First Sensational Murder Mystery by Paul 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 other book matches here.

Looking for that perfect "whodoneit" book—but in non-fiction format? Check out these book titles. Next to the book titles are article links to the murder investigations.
 

Duel With the Devil: The True Story of How Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr Teamed up to Take on America's First Sensational Murder Mystery by Paul Collins (The First Murder Trial in the United States): Acclaimed historian Paul Collins' remarkable true account of a stunning turn-of-the-19th century murder and the trial that ensued—a showdown in which iconic political rivals Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr joined forces to make sure justice was done. (catalog summary)
 


Filthy Rich [a Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal That Undid Him, and All the Justice That Money Can Buy : the Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein]
by James Patterson (Founder of J. Epstein & Co, convicted sex offender): Jeffrey Epstein rose from humble origins to the rarefied heights of New York City's financial elite. A college dropout with an instinct for numbers—and for people—Epstein amassed his wealth through a combination of access and skill. But even after he had it all, Epstein wanted more. And that unceasing desire—especially a taste for young girls—resulted in his stunning fall from grace. From Epstein himself, to the girls he employed as masseuses at his home, to the cops investigating the appalling charges against him, Filthy Rich examines all sides of a case that scandalized one of America's richest communities. (catalog summary)

 

12/19/2016 - 2:41pm
If you like Adult Suspense

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.

Thank you for requesting a book match! You said that you were looking for books like Lost Symbol, Congo, Timeline, and Angels and Demons. If you like those books, you may also like these books of page-turning suspense.




The Eight
by Katherine Neville
Computer expert Cat Velis is hired to recover the chess pieces of the Montglane Chess Service of 1790, they have the ability to endow anyone playing with them unlimited power. (catalog summary)


 



The Golden Hour
by Todd Moss
Stymied by infighting and turf battles after being appointed director of the new State Department Crisis Reaction unit, Judd Ryker attempts to prove himself during a coup in Mali that becomes a violent maelstrom of dominating personalities and shifting loyalties. (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)

 


 

11/29/2016 - 2:36am
Cover to Escape to Virginia: From Nazi Germany to Thalhimer’s Farm

When I was a child, Thalhimer’s meant shopping—Christmas shopping in Richmond. It was one of the last grand old department stores before shopping malls took over, and it got itself gussied up for the holidays. We might come home with bars of marzipan or hermit crabs but always with stars in our eyes. It was a place of sweet and inventive dreams. Little did we know that the store’s founder had played an important part in making dreams of safety come true for many Jewish teenagers in World War II.

Robert H. Gillette’s previous book, The Virginia Plan: William B. Thalhimer and a Rescue from Nazi Germany, gave an overview of how Mr. Thalhimer managed it.  In Gillette’s current work, Escape to Virginia: From Nazi Germany to Thalhimer’s Farm, readers learn the in-depth stories of two of the rescued teenagers.

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