Reading Room Blog

04/13/2011 - 11:33am
Claudia Emerson

Claudia Emerson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and English professor at the University of Mary Washington, will be inducted into the prestigious Fellowship of Southern Writers during its biennial meeting at the Conference on Southern Literature.  Emerson won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for Late Wife. She has written five books of poetry, with a sixth forthcoming, and has won numerous other honors.  We are fortunate that each April she has helped our library system by judging  the Teen Poetry Contest and acting as presenter for Teen Poetry Night.

07/25/2016 - 11:02am
If you like Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

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.

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
When Kendra and Seth go to stay at their grandparents' estate, they discover that it is a sanctuary for magical creatures and that a battle between good and evil is looming. (catalog summary)

If you like Fablehaven, read the rest of the Fablehaven series:

If you like the Fablehaven series you might like:



The Alchemyst
by Michael Scott (Book #1 in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel)
While working at pleasant but mundane summer jobs in San Francisco, fifteen-year-old twins, Sophie and Josh, suddenly find themselves caught up in the deadly, centuries-old struggle between rival alchemists, Nicholas Flamel and John Dee, over the possession of an ancient and powerful book holding the secret formulas for alchemy and everlasting life. (catalog summary)
 





The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (Book #1 in The Bartimaeus Trilogy)
Nathaniel, a magician's apprentice, summons up the djinni Bartimaeus and instructs him to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from the powerful magician Simon Lovelace. (catalog summary)

 

 

02/14/2011 - 8:57am
Books by Robert Heinlein

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. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse the book matches here.

Robert Heinlein is a fantastic "old" master of hard science fiction whose famous books include Stranger in a Strange Land and Starship Troopers. If you like his books, you may also like these selections:

cosmCOSM / Gregory Benford
On an otherwise ordinary day not long from now, inside a massive installation of ultra-high-energy scientific equipment, something goes wrong with a brilliant young physicist's most ambitious experiment. But this is not a calamity. It will soon be seen as one of the most significant breakthroughs in history. For the explosion has left something behind: a wondrous sphere the size of a basketball, made of nothing known to science. Before long, it will be clear that this object has opened a vista on an entirely different universe - a newborn cosmos whose existence will rock this world and test one woman to the limit as she comes face-to-face with fame and terror. That woman is the physicist who has ignited this thrilling adventure. (catalog summary)

Earth / David Brin
Brin uses the escape of a manmade black hole that is eating away at the Earth's core and a plausible future of sophisticated, instant universal and global computer data linkage and retrieval to reexamine, explore, and expand upon the themes regarding genetic creation and advancement begun in Star tide Rising (1983) and The Uplift War (1987). There is an element of suspense and intrigue as the characters scramble to define, find, and solve the black hole damage before each other and before it's too late. Although less engaging than the previously mentioned books, this is timely in its investigation of current ecological issues…(Joan Lewis Reynolds, School Library Journal)

01/26/2011 - 8:22am

Here’s a quick look at four cookbooks that offer very different takes on making the most of your food budget and your schedule. From true Brit to vegan to down home Southern, you’re likely to find that one of these books for cooks matches your palate and your wallet.

01/21/2011 - 11:03am
Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing by Ann Angel

I am thrilled to share my first column with Caroline’s readers. Through the years, I have helped many of you find the titles Caroline recommended so I know how enthusiastically the column was embraced and will endeavor to continue her tradition of sharing great books for children of all ages. Luckily, children’s literature is in my blood. I began shelving books in the Headquarters Library children’s department while still in high school.

01/07/2011 - 1:39pm
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. 

12/10/2010 - 1:31pm

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.

11/18/2010 - 3:11pm

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.
 
07/28/2016 - 10:55am
If You Like The Help by Kathryn Stockett

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. Browse other book matches here.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett 
In Jackson, Mississippi, in 1962, there are lines that are not crossed. With the civil rights movement exploding all around them, three women start a movement of their own, forever changing a town and the way women--black and white, mothers and daughters--view one another. (catalog summary)
 

If you liked The Help, then you may like these books with similar themes:

 

 

Clover by Dori Sanders
After her father dies within hours of being married to a white woman, a ten-year-old black girl learns with her new mother to overcome grief and to adjust to a new place in their rural black South Carolina community. (catalog summary)

 

 

Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal
When Ibby Bell's father dies in a tragic accident in the summer of 1964, her mother unceremoniously deposits Ibby with her eccentric grandmother, Fannie, and throws in her father's urn for good measure. Fannie's Victorian house is like no place Ibby has ever been--and Fannie, who has a tendency to end up in the local asylum every once in a while--is like no one she has ever met. Fortunately, her black cook, Queenie...and Queenie's feisty daughter Dollbaby take it upon themselves to initiate Ibby into the ways of the South, both its grand traditions and its darkest secrets. (catalog summary)


 

08/09/2016 - 1:45pm
If You Like The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

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 Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered. (catalog summary)

 

If you like gritty biographies like The Glass Castle, these other titles might intrigue you:

 


The Black Girl Next Door by Jennifer Lynn Baszile
A powerful, beautifully written memoir about coming of age as a black girl in an exclusive white suburb in "integrated," post-Civil Rights California in the 1970s and 1980s. (catalog summary)
 

 


 

 


Chanel Bonfire by Wendy Lawless
This memoir recounts the author's emotional trauma from living with a mentally ill mother, Georgann Rea, who showed Lawless and her younger sister no love. The author narrates this tale of Georgann's life: growing up in a trailer park, then reinventing herself as a glamorous Manhattanite who left a string of men in her wake. Lawless discusses her mother's nervous breakdowns, suicide attempts, and hospital stays with equal parts detachment and regret. (catalog summary)

 

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