Reading Room Blog

02/28/2017 - 12:42am
Touring the Shenandoah Valley Backroads by Andrea Sutcliffe

The Shenandoah Valley is convenient to our region and offers a lot in the way of recreation and history, but it’s rare that travelers can find material on lesser-known towns and roadways. Andrea Sutcliffe’s Touring Shenandoah Valley Backroads is a good companion for people who enjoy a ramble away from the homogenized offerings of the well-traveled Interstate.  

The book is split into 13 regional tours. They cover a lot of ground between them, from Front Royal to Fincastle. You’ll find “Walks in the Woods” at Massanutten Mountain briefly described, details on Grand Caverns (or Grottoes, as Thomas Jefferson knew it), and directions to the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley with its exhibits on regional history and art, and many other sites to investigate along the way.

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)


03/02/2017 - 9:02am
If You’re Waiting for the Twin Peaks Revival

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.

Twin Peaks (1990-1991) - It is happening again.
Twin Peaks is an American television serial mystery-drama created by Mark Frost (The Equalizer) and David Lynch (Blue Velvet) that premiered on April 8, Kyle MacLachlan and Sherilyn Fenn1990, on ABC. The series was renewed for a second season that aired until June 10, 1991. It follows an investigation headed by FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) into the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) in the fictional town of Twin Peaks, Washington. The show's unsettling tone and supernatural elements are consistent with horror films, but its campy, melodramatic portrayal of quirky characters engaged in dubious activities draws on American soap operas. Like much of Lynch's work, it is distinguished by offbeat humor and surrealism.¹

Twin Peaks is often regarded as one of the greatest television dramas in the 1990s. It's cult following over the years has made the show even bigger. Unfortunately in 1991, the show recieved declining ratings due to the prolonged idendity of the killer and ABC insisted that it be revealed. Ratings did not improve and the show was cancelled. A full length feature film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me was released in 1992, that serves as both a prequel and epilogue to the series. In 2014, the television network Showtime announced that the series would return for one season, scheduled to premiere on May 21, 2017. The miniseries is written by Lynch and Frost, as well as directed by Lynch. Many original cast members, including Kyle MacLachlan as Agent Cooper and Sheryl Lee as Laura Palmer, are returning. To watch the cast talking about making the show again 25 years later, watch the trailer at the bottom of the book recommendations.

Offical Twin Peaks Rivial Page on Showtime

If you're looking forward to the revival of Twin Peaks as much as I am, you may want to read books similar to the eerie and surreal tone of the series. Here are a few suggestions:

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)

 

02/16/2017 - 3:45pm
If you like the Midnight Crossroads series

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.

Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris
Welcome to Midnight, Texas, a town with many boarded-up windows and few full-time inhabitants, located at the crossing of Witch Light Road and Davy Road. It's a pretty standard dried-up western town. There's a pawnshop (someone lives in the basement and is seen only at night). There's a diner (people who are just passing through tend not to linger). And there's new resident Manfred Bernardo, who thinks he's found the perfect place to work in private (and who has secrets of his own). Stop at the one traffic light in town, and everything looks normal. Stay awhile, and learn the truth. (catalog summary)

Midnight, Texas is an upcoming American drama television series set to be broadcast on NBC as a midseason entry to the 2016–17 network television schedule. The series is based on the book series of the same name by author Charlaine Harris, who also created the books True Blood is based on.

Did you like Midnight Crossroad? Check out the other titles in the series, along with addtional, spooky book titles.

Day Shift by Charlaine HarrisNight Shift by Charlaine Harris


Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia

Beautiful Creatures
by Kami Garcia

In a small South Carolina town, where it seems little has changed since the Civil War, sixteen-year-old Ethan is powerfully drawn to Lena, a new classmate with whom he shares a psychic connection and whose family hides a dark secret that may be revealed on her sixteenth birthday. (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.
 

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