Reading Room Blog

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)


02/22/2017 - 12:39am
Cover to The Gift of Caring: Saving Our Parents from the Perils of Modern Medicine

In the days before modern hospitals, there were fewer options for the sick and elderly. Today, there are medical miracles, yes, but hospitals are often understaffed, and a family member is usually the best advocate an elderly patient can have. But what do you need to know to take on that role effectively?

02/17/2017 - 12:36am
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

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.

“They say it's good to let your grudges go, but I don't know, I'm quite fond of my grudge. I tend it like a little pet.” ​

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Follows three mothers, each at a crossroads, and their potential involvement in a riot at a school trivia night that leaves one parent dead in what appears to be a tragic accident, but which evidence shows might have been premeditated. (catalog summary)

Big Little Lies is an upcoming American drama miniseries series created by David E. Kelley, based on the book of the same name by Liane Moriarty. The series will air on HBO. The series will consist of seven episodes, all directed by Jean-Marc Vallée. The series stars Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Shailene Woodley. The series will premiere on February 19, 2017.¹ See a trailer below book suggestions.
 

If you like books like Big Little Lies, check out these other adult fiction titles:
 

Adult Onset by Ann-Marie MacDonaldAdult Onset by Ann-Marie MacDonald
Mary Rose MacKinnon is a successful author of young adult fiction doing a tour of duty as stay-at-home mom while her partner, Hilary, takes a turn focusing on her career. She tries valiantly to balance the (mostly) solo parenting of two young children with the relentless needs of her aging parents. But amid the hilarities of full-on domesticity arises a sense of dread. Do others notice the dents in the expensive refrigerator? How long will it take Mary Rose to realize that the car alarm that has been going off all morning is hers, and how on earth did her sharpest pair of scissors wind up in her toddler's hands? As frustrations mount, she experiences a flare-up of forgotten symptoms of a childhood illness that compel her to rethink her own upbringing and family history. Over the course of one outwardly ordinary week, Mary Rose's world threatens to unravel, and the specter of violence raises its head with dangerous implications for her and her children. With humor and unerring emotional accuracy, Adult Onset explores the pleasures and pressures of family bonds, powerful and yet so easily twisted and broken. Ann-Marie MacDonald has crafted a searing, terrifying, yet ultimately uplifting story. (catalog summary)
 


All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage


All Things Cease to Appear
by Elizabeth Brundage

Arriving home to find his wife murdered and their toddler left alone, art history professor George Clare is targeted with suspicion by a relentless police officer, as dark community secrets are revealed over a span of decades. (catalog summary)

 

02/15/2017 - 3:40pm
The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle

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 Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle
Iris and Will have been married for seven years, and life is as close to perfect as it can be. But on the morning Will flies out for a business trip to Florida, Iris' happy world comes to an abrupt halt: another plane headed for Seattle has crashed into a field, killing everyone on board and, and according to the airline, Will was one of the passengers. Grief stricken and confused, Iris is convinced it all must be a huge misunderstanding. Why did Will lie about where he was going? And what else has he lied about? As Iris sets off on a desperate quest to uncover what her husband was keeping from her, the answers she finds shock her to her very core.
 

If you liked The Marriage Lie, check out these other suspenseful titles:
 

The Dry by Jane HarperThe Dry by Jane Harper
After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke's steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn't tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead. Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there's more to Luke's death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets. (catalog summary)

 

The Far End of Happy by Kathryn Craft

The Far End of Happy
by Kathryn Craft

After enduring years of a struggling marriage, Ronnie Farnham has decided to divorce her husband and is beginning to hope for a happy future—until the morning Jeff is supposed to move out, when he locks himself in their barn with a rifle. When a massive police presence arrives to control the 12-hour stand-off, the women in Jeff's life are pushed to their breaking points. (catalog summary)

 

 

02/15/2017 - 8:47am
Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves

Johnny Truant is an L.A. tattoo artist looking for a new apartment. His friend says an elderly blind man who lived in his apartment complex recently passed away. Traunt figures it wouldn't hurt to check out the apartment. Inside, Traunt discovers the man, Zampanò, has been meticulously studying a documentary film, The Navidson Record, about photojournalist Will Navidson. When Traunt goes to look up the documentary, there isn't a record of the film ever being made.

So begins Traunt's descent into the madness of Zampanò. 

02/15/2017 - 3:09pm
Cover to Take Me with You by Catherine Ryan Hyde

August, a science teacher on break for the summer, is making a pilgrimage to Yellowstone to honor his 19-year-old son Phillip who was killed in an auto accident. The excursion had originally been planned as a father/son “trip of a lifetime.” When the RV breaks down and the repair promises to be costly, August resigns himself to the fact that he won’t have enough money to reach his destination or scatter Phillip’s ashes in the park.

02/10/2017 - 10:19am
If you like Legion (X-Men)

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.

David Charles Haller (better known by his nickname Legion) is a fictional character appearing in the X-Men series from Marvel Comics. Legion is Dan Stevens as David Hallerthe mutant son of Professor Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Holocaust survivor, Gabrielle Haller. Legion takes the role of an antihero and has a severe mental illness, DID or Dissociative Identity Disorder (previously known as MPD, Multiple Personalities Disorder), with each of his personas (over 50) controlling one of his many, and sometimes dangerous, superpowers. His ability to absorb a person's psyche, allows Legion to create alternate personalities, and manifest their superhuman abilities when they are dominant including: telepathy, telekinesis, pyrokinesis, time travel, and reality warping.

The television network, FX, has developed a TV series with writer Noah Hawley (Fargo, Before the Fall) surronding the complex life (or lives) of Legion. Dan Stevens stars as David Haller; Rachel Keller, Jean Smart, Aubrey Plaza, Jeremie Harris, Amber Midthunder, Katie Aselton, and Bill Irwin are also set to star. Hawley wanted to show Haller as an "unreliable narrator", including mixing 1960s design with modern-day elements, and filming the series through the title character's distorted view of reality.¹ Legion premiered at the Pacific Design Center on January 26, 2017, ahead of its FX debut on February 8. It is set to run over eight episodes for its first season. This is the first television series to take on the X-Men franchise. Check out the trailer for Legion below the book recommendations.

Like Legion? Check out these other book and movie titles, some involving superheroes, and some involving pyschological disorders. *note: Because Legion is considered an adult TV series, all of these are adult titles. Not all Marvel movies we have in our catalog are listed. To see more X-Men comics for adults, go here.
 

02/10/2017 - 10:32am
5 Hot New Titles for February

Looking for a new read? Check out these five popular and brand-new adult titles that have hit the shelves this month. To see more fresh titles, check out our recent arrivals page.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales. In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin's son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki—son of a giant—blood brother to Odin, and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator. Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Once, when Thor's hammer is stolen, Thor must disguise himself as a woman—difficult with his beard and huge appetite—to steal it back. More poignant is the tale in which the blood of Kvasir—the most sagacious of gods—is turned into a mead that infuses drinkers with poetry. The work culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and rebirth of a new time and people. Through Gaiman's deft and witty prose emerge these gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again. (catalog summary)

02/08/2017 - 12:30am
Cover to My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier

The haunted newlyweds in Rebecca. The vile and violent act of nature unleashed in The Birds. Deadly family secrets at the Jamaica Inn. British novelist Daphne Du Maurier was the queen of romantic suspense. She knew perfectly well how to portray a broken person who felt helpless in a desperate situation—someone who might have had a happy life were it not for the encroachment of nightmarish scenarios created by the wicked. Every so often, a movie director will rediscover her work and bring a tale of inner torment to the screen. In July 2017, Du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel will enter theaters once more.

01/31/2017 - 11:44am
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

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 Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
As London is emerging from the shadow of World War II, writer Juliet Ashton discovers her next subject in a book club on Guernsey a club born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi after its members are discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island. (catalog summary)

If you like epistolary fiction (letter writing) like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, check out these other titles as well.
 

The Antagonist



The Antagonist by Lynn Coady (General Fiction)
A man of enormous size and strength, Gordon Rankin, Jr., has been plagued with misfortune his entire life, which culminates in an old, trusted college friend publishing a novel that borrows freely from the traumatic events of Rank's own life. (catalog summary)

 


 

Dear Committee Members
Dear Committee Members
by Julie Schumacher (Humor, General Fiction)
Jason Fitger is a beleaguered professor of creative writing and literature at Payne University, a small and not very distinguished liberal arts college in the Midwest. His department is facing draconian cuts and squalid quarters; his writing career is in the doldrums; his life is a tale of woe. In a series of letters of recommendation that Fitger is endlessly called upon by his students and colleagues to produce, he creates small masterpieces of high dudgeon, low spirits, and passive-aggressive strategies. (catalog summary)

 

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