Reading Room Blog

04/07/2017 - 2:07am
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

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.

Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel by George Saunders
On February 22, 1862, two days after his death, Willie Lincoln was laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery. That very night, shattered by grief, Abraham Lincoln arrives at the cemetery under cover of darkness and visits the crypt, alone, to spend time with his son's body. (catalog summary)
 

If you like historical fiction like Lincoln in the Bardo, check out these other titles. Some are alternate histories and biographical fiction.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith


Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
by Seth Grahame-Smith

While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. (catalog summary)


 

04/05/2017 - 2:06am
This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

In this fractured fairy tale, a mother with four boys uses all the old wives’ tales to try to conceive a girl. Nine months later, Claude, the fifth son is born, but Claude wants to grow up to be a princess. How Claude or any child achieves a happily-ever-after is what every parent worries about and what this book is about: love, marriage, family, acceptance, and raising children.

06/20/2017 - 2:00pm
Identity Unknown: Rediscovering Seven American Women Artists

As an art student, Donna Seaman naturally studied artists of the past, thumbing through photographs and reading sketches of their lives and works. It didn’t take her long to figure out there was something wrong with these pictures. In too many, the male artists’ names were proclaimed, but the women, when they did appear, were simply listed as, “Identity Unknown.”

On a mission to make these women and their works known, Seaman did the research on seven whose art and lives were every bit as intriguing as their male counterparts. We meet the provocative sculptor Louise Nevelson, “The Empress of In-Between.” Her medium was wood, and she derived much inspiration from ancient cultures. The essay “Girl Searching” introduces Gertrude Abercrombie, whose specialty was edgy, emotional and autobiographical paintings. She cruised Chicago in her vintage Rolls-Royce and held jam sessions in her three-story Victorian brownstone, earning her title, “Queen of the Bohemian Artists.”

04/01/2017 - 2:03am
CRRL Guest Picks: Stephanie Lyles

Besides being a business development officer at NSWC Federal Credit Union, Stephanie Lyles is also on the board of the Leadership Colloquium at UMW, which prepares women to work toward "a lifetime of leadership." Winner of the Laurie A. Wideman Enterprising Woman's Award, Stephanie has been recognized as an "independent, energetic spirit" as well as being "ready to act in business and in the community, and lead with values of the highest level of integrity and honesty."

This month, Stephanie shares her personal and professional favorites with our library community.

03/31/2017 - 9:03am
If you like The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman

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 Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story by Diane Ackerman
The true story of how the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo saved hundreds of people from Nazi hands. When Germany invaded Poland, Stuka bombers devastated Warsaw—and the city's zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Żabiński began smuggling Jews into empty cages. Another dozen "guests" hid inside the Żabińskis' villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing, and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts. Jan, active in the Polish resistance, kept ammunition buried in the elephant enclosure and stashed explosives in the animal hospital. Meanwhile, Antonina kept her unusual household afloat, caring for both its human and its animal inhabitants—otters, a badger, hyena pups, lynxe—and keeping alive an atmosphere of play and innocence even as Europe crumbled around her. (catalog summary)

The Zookeeper's Wife is a 2017 British-American war drama film directed by Niki Caro and written by Angela Workman. The film stars Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh, Michael McElhatton and Daniel Brühl. The film is scheduled to be released on March 31, 2017, by Focus Features. View the offical HD Trailer below the book recommendations.

Looking for a war-time drama like The Zookeeper's Wife? Check out these other titles.
 

A Blessing on the Moon by Joseph Skibell

A Blessing on the Moon by Joseph Skibell

At the center of A Blessing on the Moon is Chaim Skibelski. Death is merely the beginning of Chaim s troubles. In the opening pages, he is shot along with the other Jews of his small Polish village. But instead of resting peacefully in the World to Come, Chaim, for reasons unclear to him, is left to wander the earth, accompanied by his rabbi, who has taken the form of a talking crow. Chaim's afterlife journey is filled with extraordinary encounters whose consequences are far greater than he realizes. (catalog summary)

 


03/29/2017 - 2:01am
Cover to Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life

The best science teachers bring their subjects to life. They intrigue and entrance their students, often by explaining how everyday events they have observed, such as swirling a dollop of milk in a cup of tea or coffee, are really quite similar to what happens elsewhere in the Universe on both a much larger and much smaller scale. By hooking their students’ interest in a relatable way, a great teacher can inspire them to see their world differently, to open their minds, and to understand the underpinnings of our daily lives.

03/24/2017 - 11:07am
If you like Ghost in the Shell

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.

Ghost in the Shell [Volume 1] by Masamune Shirow
Deep into the twenty-first century, the line between man and machine has been inexorably blurred as humans rely on the enhancement of mechanical implants and robots are upgraded with human tissue. In this rapidly converging landscape, cyborg superagent Major Motoko Kusanagi is charged to track down the craftiest and most dangerous terrorists and cybercriminals, including "ghost hackers" who are capable of exploiting the human/machine interface and reprogramming humans to become puppets to carry out the hackers' criminal ends. When Major Kusanagi tracks the cybertrail of one such master hacker, the Puppeteer, her quest leads her into a world beyond information and technology where the very nature of consciousness and the human soul are turned upside down. (catalog summary)

Ghost in the Shell is an upcoming American epic science fiction action film based on the Japanese manga of the same name by Masamune Shirow. The film stars Scarlett Johansson, Michael Pitt, Pilou Asbæk, Chin Han and Juliette Binoche. It will be released on March 31, 2017, in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D. See the trailer for the movie below the book recommendations.

If you like science fiction titles like Ghost in the Shell, check out these other far-out-there titles.
 

Akira: Book OneAkira: Book One by Katshuiro Ōtomo
Set in Tokyo 38 years after its destruction in World War III (which, according to this story, happened in 1992), Akira eventually evolves into a philosophical investigation of time. But this first volume is all action, nonstop car chases and gun fights strung together with exaggerated speed lines and lots of gigantic machinery. The complicated plot revolves around two teenagers in a motorbike gang that encounters a strange child with an old man's features. When one of the young bikers begins manifesting violent, supernatural powers that threaten to destroy him, both bikers find themselves enmeshed in a massive conflict between two sinister agencies (which both believe they're fighting to save the world) over some unnamed thing so terrifying it's locked away in a vault and frozen to absolute zero. (catalog summary)


03/22/2017 - 8:09am
Dark Matter: A Novel by Blake Crouch

Forty-year-old atomic physicist Jason Dessen is living a normal life in present-day Chicago. Working as a undergrad physics professor, he lives in a brownstone with his wife and teenage son. Every Thursday evening, the family enjoys a home-cooked meal and spends time together. Sometimes, Jason and his wife ponder on what their lives could have been before their son—but Jason believes he has a life that he wouldn't give up for anything.

03/21/2017 - 1:56am
Cover to The Trespasser by Tana French

Dublin Murder Squad detectives Antoinette Conway and Stephen Moran catch the case of an attractive young woman found dead with her head bashed in. Since neither has extensive experience, a seasoned detective is assigned to assist. Initially the case looks like a slam dunk—rejected boyfriend loses his head and, in a rage, kills the woman of his dreams.

But certain facts just don’t add up. The person committing the murder used great force, and the boyfriend has a slight build and no history of violent behavior. Also baffling is that the best friend of the victim suggested there was a clandestine relationship with another man. But the most intriguing question is, why would the third detective push so hard to arrest the boyfriend when absolutely zero hard evidence exists?

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