Reading Room Blog
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.
Do you have a small space but still want to have a thriving garden?
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 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)
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.
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?
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.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
A curmudgeon hides a terrible personal loss beneath a cranky and short-tempered exterior while clashing with new neighbors, a boisterous family whose chattiness and habits lead to unexpected friendship. (catalog summary)
If you like A Man Called Ove, check out these other similar titles:
100 Days of Happiness by Fausto Brizzi
What would you do if you knew you only had 100 days left to live? So begins the last hundred days of Lucio's life, as he attempts to care for his family, win back his wife (the love of his life and afterlife), and spend the next three months enjoying every moment with a zest he hasn't felt in years. From helping his hopelessly romantic, widowed father-in-law find love, discovering comfort in enduring friendships, and finding new ones, Lucio becomes, at last, the man he's always meant to be. In 100 epigrammatic chapters, one for each of Lucio's remaining days on earth, it is as delicious as a hot doughnut and a morning cappuccino. (catalog summary)
An Available Man by Hilma Wolitzer
When sixty-two-year-old science teacher Edward Schuyler is widowed, he finds himself ambushed by female attention. Edward receives phone calls from widows seeking love, or at least lunch, while well-meaning friends try to set him up at dinner parties. Even an attractive married neighbor offers herself to him. The problem is that Edward doesn't feel available. He's still mourning his beloved wife, Bee, and prefers solitude and the familiar routine of work, gardening, and bird-watching. But then his stepchildren surprise him by placing a personal ad in The New York Review of Books on his behalf. (catalog summary)
Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
Britt-Marie is a socially awkward, fussy busybody who is used to being organized. When she walks out on her cheating husband and gets a job as caretaker of the dilapidated recreation center in Borg, she is woefully unprepared for the changes. But as she takes on the task of leading the supremely untalented children's soccer team to victory, she just might find a place she belongs. (catalog summary)
So, you want to make a substantial, memorable meal, but you don’t want to use every pot in the house or have to time multiple dishes to arrive at the table in good shape? Maybe what you need is a One-Dish Wonder. The very experienced editors at Southern Living (Oxmoor House) have gathered recipes that don’t require a lot of fuss, will work well at covered-dish suppers, and will satisfy a gathering of friends and/or family. Recipes range from breakfast to dinner to sides to desserts. Some are strictly from scratch, while others take advantage of time-saving, pre-packaged ingredients.
Savory pies really shine here, including Loaded Chicken-Bacon Pot Pie, Cheese-Crusted Pizza Pot Pies, and Vegetable Pot Pie with Parmesan-Black Pepper Biscuits. And, of course, there are many dishes in traditional casserole form. Casseroles are great for the aforementioned covered-dish suppers, and they can also provide welcome sustenance for families and friends going through difficult times. Some that caught my eye: Chicken-Mushroom-Sage Casserole, Four-Cheese Macaroni, and Easy Lasagna.
Do you love the magic, romance, and wisdom of the traditional tale of Beauty and the Beast? Are you ready for something more than a Disney retelling? Award-winning fantasy author Robin McKinley’s Rose Daughter will grant your wish.
Fredericksburg native Julie Scelfo returns home to discuss her first book, The Women Who Made New York, in a partnered event with the University of Mary Washington's Program in Women’s and Gender Studies. You can meet Julie on Monday, April 10, at 7:00 p.m., at the Headquarters Library. The event will include a lively Q&A session followed by a book signing. If you want to read the book before the event, check it out from the library!
The Women Who Made New York is an illustrated work featuring stories of the remarkably talented and influential women who made the city perhaps the most distinctive and vibrant in the world.
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 Shack by William Paul Young
Mackenzie Allen Phillips' youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever. (catalog summary)
If you like The Shack, here are some other titles you may enjoy:
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Combining magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder, The Alchemist has become a modern classic, selling millions of copies around the world and transforming the lives of countless readers across generations. Paulo Coelho's masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago's journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams. (catalog summary)