Reading Room Blog

If you like the Cirque du Freak series by Darren Shan

Cirque du Freak series by Darren Shan

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.

The Cirque du Freak series by Darren Shan begins with The Vampire's Assistant:
After traveling with Mr. Crepsley, the vampire who made him into a half-vampire, Darren returns to the freak show known as the Cirque du Freak and continues to fight his need to drink human blood.

We have eleven other books in the Cirque du Freak series that you would probably enjoy. They are all written by Darren Shan. Here are some other titles you might like: 

Abarat by Clive Barker
Abarat
by Clive Barker
Candy Quackenbush of Chickentown, Minnesota, one day finds herself on the edge of a foreign world that is populated by strange creatures, and her life is forever changed.




The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs by Jack Gantos
The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs
by Jack Gantos
On an unseasonably warm Easter Sunday, a young girl named Ivy discovers a chilling secret in the basement of the Rumbaugh pharmacy across the street from the hotel where she lives with her mother.

 

 

The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld
The Secret Hour
by Scott Westerfeld
Upon moving to Bixby, Oklahoma, fifteen-year-old Jessica Day learns that she is one of a group of people who have special abilities that help them fight ancient creatures living in an hour hidden at midnight; creatures that seem determined to destroy Jess.

 

 Un Lun Dun by China Mieville
Un Lun Dun
by China Mieville
What is Un Lun Dun? It is London through the looking glass, an urban Wonderland of strange delights where all the lost and broken things of London end up . . . and some of its lost and broken people, too - including Brokkenbroll, boss of the broken umbrellas; Obaday Fing, a tailor whose head is an enormous pin-cushion, and an empty milk carton called Curdle. Un Lun Dun is a place where words are alive, a jungle lurks behind the door of an ordinary house, carnivorous giraffes stalk the streets, and a dark cloud dreams of burning the world. It is a city awaiting its hero, whose coming was prophesied long ago, set down for all time in the pages of a talking book. When twelve-year-old Zanna and her friend Deeba find a secret entrance leading out of London and into this strange city, it seems that the ancient prophecy is coming true at last. But then things begin to go shockingly wrong.

Under the Big Top

Under the Big Top

Have you ever thought of chucking it all and running away to join the circus?  Do you love calliope music, the bright lights of the midway and the smell of POPCORN, PEANUTS, CAAAAANDY APPLES?  Do you love clowns or do they figure prominently in your nightmares?

Whether you like sweet nostalgia, historical fiction or scary mysteries, you are sure to find something to your liking in the booklist "Under the Bigtop".  Have a circus-worthy snack and curl up with a good book. 

New 'Whack Jobs' Booklist

Is it possible to LIKE a sociopathic serial killer?  Want to be friends with a hired assassin?  Have an itty bitty crush on a hit-man-for-hire?  Just what IS it that makes some very, very bad boys so appealing?

Check out the booklist Whack Jobs to meet some of the nicest killers, murderers and assassins in recent literature.

What hath Harry Potter wrought?

Was it only twelve short years ago that “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” changed the children’s book world forever? This Friday’s release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the first installment of the last Harry Potter film, brings it all back.

I can still remember eagerly reading an advance copy of the first book and falling head over heels into the world of Hogwarts. J. K. Rowling used familiar elements – a school setting, an orphan, wise teachers, magic – in a fresh story that was notable for its wild invention. Bertie Botts’ Every Flavor Beans, portraits that came to life, the sorting hat, Muggles: these clever new creations were what readers noticed first. It was only with the unfolding of succeeding books that Rowling’s masterful plotting became apparent. Like many others, I devoured the final book over the course of a weekend, tearing up in places and turning the last page with mingled satisfaction and regret.
 
The effect on young readers was the real phenomenon. Kids who might once have eyed thick books with trepidation now proudly announced that they’d read a whole Harry Potter book in one sitting! They read the books over and over, sharing jokes and sayings from the books with their friends. It’s not too much to state that J.K. Rowling created a new generation of fantasy readers.
 

Slow Down and Enjoy Picture Books

A recently published New York Times article, “Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children,” is causing an uproar in the children’s book world.  According to reporter Julie Bosman, booksellers are selling fewer picture books than ever, and not just because of the economic downturn. “Parents have begun pressing their kindergartners and first graders to leave the picture book behind and move on to more text-heavy chapter books,” she reports. One bookseller noted that parents are now buying their four-year-olds “Stuart Little” while classic picture books languish on the shelf. 

Some of this could be linked to standardized testing, but it may also be due to the pressure parents feel to accelerate their children’s learning at an ever faster rate.
 
Those of us who love picture books lament this trend. Even if your four-year-old is enjoying “Stuart Little,” what is he missing by jumping to chapter books three or four years ahead of schedule? What great picture books are going unread?  

Get to Know These Girls

          Two new novels for middle grade readers couldn’t be more different except for one thing: they both concern eleven-year-old girls who have more to offer than first meets the eye.
 
          In Jennifer Holm’s “Turtle in Paradise,” everyone is doing their best to scrape by. It’s 1935, the midst of the Depression, and Turtle’s flighty mother finally has a job as a housekeeper. But her mother’s new boss doesn’t like kids, and her new boyfriend Archie has no room for her, so Turtle is sent far away to Key West, Florida, where her mother’s sister lives.
 
There this tough, sharp-tongued girl finds a whole new world that’s entirely different from the New Jersey shore she knows. Turtle describes Key West as looking “like a broken chair that’s been left out in the sun to rot.” But it’s also green, covered with vines, brightly colored flowers and palm trees. All the kids go barefoot, most of them are related to her, and news of her arrival is soon all over the island thanks to the “Conch Telegraph.” 

Snow Book Group

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

Join a lively and fun discussion of the month's selected title. Refreshments served. Meets the third Tuesday of every month at 10:30 a.m.

Readers of the Round Table (Montross)

Lost in Shangri-La By Mitchell Zuckoff

Meets from 11:00 - noon on the second Friday of each month. 

Written in Virginia Book Group (Montross)

Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

Meets the fourth Thursday of the month at 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Current Selection:

Moosewood Restaurant: Cooking for Health

I’m a fan of the Moosewood Collective and own a lot of their cookbooks. Last year, I was given another entry to their line, Cooking for Health. I was pleased to see their fresh and easy philosophy of the 1970s had been updated for modern tastes. Never heard of Moosewood? Not everyone has, yet they were named one of 13 most influential restaurants of the 20th century by Bon Appétit magazine, and our own Sammy T’s seems to have drawn on them for vegetarian inspiration. 

Moosewood Restaurant began in 1973 in Ithaca, New York, back when vegetarianism was a new idea for most Americans. It was a popular place, and soon enough their dishes were gathered into a bestselling book. The listings in the first editions of the original Moosewood Cookbook drew a lot on established recipes that happened to be vegetarian and were adapted to be prepared easily with nothing fancier than a blender.