Reading Room Blog

09/19/2016 - 11:20am
Cover to Boy by Roald Dahl

Novelists have bills like the rest of us. They could be writing novels and need auto repairs but cannot wait until they get the advances on the novels. What to do? Short pieces, book reviews, and articles in magazines help a bit. Writers with a journalism background will publish a collection of pieces filed from a war front; others have something they cannot work into novels and publish the ideas separately, as essays. Either way, readers win. 

09/14/2016 - 12:18am
Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs. Perhaps it’s not a fascinating name, but it –is- the name of a fascinating woman. Born to a poor but loving family, thirteen-year-old Maisie goes into service in a grand London house. How very fortunate for her that it is the home of a clever and bored lady bountiful.

09/13/2016 - 12:18am
Cover to Irena’s Children: A True Story of Courage by Tilar J. Mazzeo

History is complicated, and people’s lives are even more so. In the short biography and video clip that Facebook has to share, Irena Sendler is presented as a Catholic woman who saved approximately 2,500 Jewish children. That is true, as far as it goes. Irene was certainly a courageous woman, and she came from Catholic roots and was devoted to the Church during her later years. But there is more to her story. Real heroes often lead complicated lives, as readers of Tilar J. Mazzeo’s Irena’s Children will discover.

09/09/2016 - 12:16am
If you like The Fireman by Joe Hill

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 Fireman: A Novel by Joe Hill
The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton: a highly contagious spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies before causing them to burst into flames. There is no antidote. Harper Grayson was a nurse who treated hundreds of infected patients; now the telltale gold-flecked marks are on her skin. But Harper wants to live at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. Her husband Jakob becomes unhinged and abandons her. And a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter's jacket straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted-- and as a weapon to avenge the wronged. (catalog summary)

If you like The Fireman, read Joe Hill's other terrifying novels:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft is the first volume of a 6-vol. graphic novel series (Illustrations by Gabriel Rodriguez)

 

09/07/2016 - 1:33pm
If you like The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva
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 Kill Artist by Daniel Silva

Immersed in the quiet, meticulous life of an art restorer, former Israeli intelligence operative Gabriel Allon keeps his past well behind him. But now he is being called back into the game--and teamed with an agent who hides behind her own mask...as a beautiful fashion model. Their target: a cunning terrorist on one last killing spree, a Palestinian zealot who played a dark part in Gabriel's past. And what begins as a manhunt turns into a globe-spanning duel fueled by both political intrigue and deep personal passions...(catalog summary)

 
If you liked The Kill Artist, you may also like these titles:
 


Duplicity
by Newt Gingrich
When President Sally Allworth decides to reestablish America's Mogadishu embassy in Somalia before Election Day, her challenger says she's playing politics with American lives. That turns out to be true when the embassy is attacked and hostages are taken. Embassy station chief Gunter Connor and Marine Capt. Brooke Grant end up the unlikely survivors of this Benghazi-style attack. Suddenly, they are the only hope for saving their captured colleagues. (catalog summary)

 
 



The Faithful Spy
by Alex Berenson
John Wells is the only CIA agent to ever penetrate al Qaeda. While living in the mountains of Pakistan, he became a Muslim, convinced of the decadence and shallowness of the United States. (catalog summary)
 
 
 
 
09/07/2016 - 11:26am
If you like Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson

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.

 

Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson
Katie Wilkinson believes she has found the perfect man, until he vanishes, leaving behind a diary penned by a woman named Suzanne who wrote it for her baby boy Nicholas. (catalog summary)
 

If you like relationship stories with strong, complex emotional impact, you may like these titles:


The Amateur Marriage
by Anne Tyler
The moment Pauline, a stranger to the Polish Eastern Avenue neighborhood of Baltimore (though she lived only twenty minutes away), walked into his mother's grocery store, Michael was smitten. And in the heat of World War II fervor, they are propelled into a hasty wedding. But they never should have married. Pauline, impulsive, impractical, tumbles hit-or-miss through life; Michael, plodding, cautious, judgmental, proceeds deliberately. While other young marrieds, equally ignorant at the start, seemed to grow more seasoned, Pauline and Michael remain amateurs. In time their foolish quarrels take their toll. Even when they find themselves, almost thirty years later, loving, instant parents to a little grandson named Pagan, whom they rescue from Haight-Ashbury, they still cannot bridge their deep-rooted differences. Flighty Pauline clings to the notion that the rifts can always be patched. To the unyielding Michael, they become unbearable. (catalog summary)

 




A Bend in the Road
by Nicholas Sparks
Devastated by the death of his wife in a hit-and-run accident, Miles, deputy sheriff of New Bern, North Carolina, discovers new meaning in his life when he meets Sarah Andrews, a woman struggling to rebuild her own life. (catalog summary)

 


 

09/07/2016 - 10:06am
If you like Witching Hour by Anne Rice

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 Witching Hour by Anne Rice
On the veranda of a great New Orleans house, now faded, a mute and fragile woman sits rocking—and The Witching Hour begins. It begins in our time with a rescue at sea. Rowan Mayfair, a beautiful woman, a brilliant practitioner of neurosurgery—aware that she has special powers but unaware that she comes from an ancient line of witches—finds the drowned body of a man off the coast of California and brings him to life.

If you enjoyed The Witching Hour, you may enjoy the rest of the Lives of the Mayfield Witches series:

 

 

 

 

 


 

If you enjoy this witching title, here are some other novels you may enjoy:
 



Covenant with the Vampire
by Jeanne Kalogridis

In 1845, Arkady Tsepesh and his pregnant wife, Mary, travel from England to his ancestral home in Transylvania on the occasion of his father's death. It is destined that Arkady, as eldest son, will assume his father's duties as aide to his great-uncle, Vlad Dracula. The family's blood ties dictate that Arkady must do his uncle's bidding, but it soon becomes apparent that Arkady's allegiance could destroy his wife and unborn child. Written as a prequel to Bram Stoker's Dracula, this is the first title of a promised trilogy that will continue Vlad's story and ultimately mesh with the classic novel. (catalog summary)


 


Dark Witch
by Nora Roberts
Centuries ago, dark witch Sorcha spurned, marked, and nearly destroyed the evil sorcerer Cabhan as she gave her life to protect her three children. But Cabhan still lived-and waited. Now, with Iona Sheehan's arrival in County Mayo, the descendants of those offspring are finally together, and the time is right for Cabhan to take his revenge. But Iona and her cousins Branna and Connor O'Dwyer are far more powerful than Cabhan had imagined, as he discovers when he sets his sights on neophyte witch Iona. While this is definitely Iona and stable owner Boyle McGrath's romantic story, the other characters, including assorted friends, relatives, and animals (especially a brilliant horse named Alastar), are important elements in the mix, beautifully setting the stage for the stories to come. (Library Journal)


 

09/06/2016 - 4:13pm
If you like The Four-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris
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 Four-hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
This step-by-step guide to luxury lifestyle design teaches: how Tim went from $40,000 per year and 80 hours per week to $40,000 per month and 4 hours per week; how to outsource your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour and do whatever you want; how blue-chip escape artists travel the world without quitting their jobs; how to eliminate 50% of your work in 48 hours using the principles of a forgotten Italian economist; how to trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and frequent "mini-retirements." (catalog summary)
 
Here are similar books for those interested in either retiring younger or for those interested in working less, but making more:


Balancing the Big Life: Finding Happiness in Work, Family & Life by Miriam Liss
We can obtain happiness for ourselves through a better evaluation of what we want from ourselves, our families, our jobs, and each other. Determining a 50/50 division of labor around the house may not be the thing that works for everyone. Working from home or not at all may not be the thing to bring us satisfaction, but learning what studies show and how to feel balanced and make those decisions to bring balance is crucial. The authors argue that people can find balance in their roles by doing things in moderation. Although being engaged in both parenting and work is good for well-being, people can avoid the pitfalls of over-parenting and over-working. They show that balance can come from a meaningful consideration of what happiness and contentedness mean to us as individuals, and how best to achieve our goals within the limitations of our current circumstances. They illustrate that balance is not simply an individual problem. Social issues such as the lack of parental leave, flexible work schedules, and affordable, high quality child care make balance difficult. With attention now on the issue, they argue that it’s time men and women advocate for better services and better opportunities to achieve balance, happiness, and success in all their roles. (catalog summary)
 




Born for This: How to Find the Work You Were Meant to Do
by Chris Guillebeau
Through inspiring stories of those who have successfully landed their dream career, as well as actionable tools, exercises, and thought experiments, he'll guide you through today's vast menu of career options to discover the work perfectly suited to your unique interests, skills, and experiences. (catalog summary)
 
 
 
09/06/2016 - 3:34pm
If you like the TV series Stranger Things

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.

Stranger Things is an American science fiction/horror Web television series created by the Duffer Brothers (Wayward Pines). The plot follows the disappearance of a young boy. A telekinetic girl helps his friends in their search, while the boy's older brother and the town police chief start their own investigations. The show is set in 1980s Indiana and is a nod to 80s pop culture, channeling the works of Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter, Stephen King, and George Lucas.

The show was released on Netflix on July 15, 2016. It received positive reviews for its characterization, pacing, atmosphere, acting, soundtrack, directing, writing, and homages to 1980s genre films. A second season will be released in 2017. (Wikipedia

Once you've finished binge-watching Stranger Things, here are a few books involving 80s nostalgia and/or horrifying mysteries to keep the adventure going.

 


Boy's Life by Robert McCammon
The lake's depths claim a car and a corpse. Cory and his father begin searching for the truth of this death. Cory's life explodes into a kaleidoscope of clues and puzzles. As he searches for a killer, he learns more about the meaning of life and death. (catalog summary)

 

 

 


The Boy Who Drew Monsters
by Keith Donohue
Ever since he nearly drowned in the ocean three years earlier, 10-year-old Jack Peter Keenan has been deathly afraid to venture outdoors. Refusing to leave his home in a small coastal town in Maine, Jack Peter spends his time drawing monsters. When those drawings take on a life of their own, no one is safe from the terror they inspire. His mother, Holly, begins to hear strange sounds in the night coming from the ocean, and she seeks answers from the local Catholic priest and his Japanese housekeeper who fill her head with stories of shipwrecks and ghosts. His father, Tim, wanders the beach, frantically searching for a strange apparition running wild in the dunes. And the boy's only friend, Nick, becomes helplessly entangled in the eerie power of the drawings. While those around Jack Peter are haunted by what they think they see, only he knows the truth behind the frightful occurrences as the outside world encroaches upon them all. (catalog summary)
 

09/06/2016 - 2:02pm
If you like Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

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.
 

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
The narrator of Atwood's riveting novel calls himself Snowman. When the story opens, he is sleeping in a tree, wearing an old bedsheet, mourning the loss of his beloved Oryx and his best friend Crake, and slowly starving to death. He searches for supplies in a wasteland where insects proliferate and pigoons and wolvogs ravage the pleeblands, where ordinary people once lived, and the Compounds that sheltered the extraordinary. As he tries to piece together what has taken place, the narrative shifts to decades earlier. How did everything fall apart so quickly? Why is he left with nothing but his haunting memories? Alone except for the green-eyed Children of Crake, who think of him as a kind of monster, he explores the answers to these questions in the double journey he takes - into his own past, and back to Crake's high-tech bubble-dome, where the Paradice Project unfolded and the world came to grief. (catalog summary)

Other books in the Maddadam trilogy: The Year of the Flood and Maddadam

 

If you like Oryx and Crake, you may also enjoy some of the following novels:

 

 

The Children of Men by P.D. James
The human race has become infertile, and the last generation to be born is now adult. Civilization itself is crumbling as suicide and despair become commonplace. Oxford historian Theodore Faron, apathetic toward a future without a future, spends most of his time reminiscing. Then he is approached by Julian, a bright, attractive woman who wants him to help get her an audience with his cousin, the powerful Warden of England. She and her band of unlikely revolutionaries may just awaken his desire to live...and they may also hold the key to survival for the human race. (catalog summary)


 

 

The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
The Chyrsalids is set in the future after a devastating global nuclear war. David, the young hero of the novel, lives in a tight-knit community of religious and genetic fundamentalists, always on the alert for any deviation from the norm of God's creation. Abnormal plants are publicly burned, with much singing of hymns. Abnormal humans (who are not really human) are also condemned to destruction--unless they succeed in fleeing to the Fringes, that Wild Country where, as the authorities say, nothing is reliable and the devil does his work. (catalog summary)

 

 

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