unRequired Reading Blog

05/25/2018 - 9:02am
If you like Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

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.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden. Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

Fahrenheit 451 is an upcoming 2018 dystopian television film written and directed by Ramin Bahrani, based on the book of the same name, set to premiere on HBO, Saturday, May 19. It will star Michael B. Jordan as Guy Montag, Michael Shannon as Captain Beatty, and Sofia Boutella as Clarisse. See the first trailer for the TV movie below.

Looking for other titles similar to Fahrenheit 451? Check out these recommended novels. See also the book matches for Brave New World and The Handmaid's Tale, both similar dystopian novels.

05/23/2018 - 9:02am
Cover to Show Off

I don't care if you are a kid, teen or adult - it feels great to be able to do some impressive tricks for your family and friends at the next backyard barbecue, like blowing a bubble within a bubble or slicing an unpeeled banana. If you want to move beyond mere parlor tricks, you can learn how to identify clouds, ride a boogie board or fold fortune cookies thanks to the super-easy directions in Show Off: How to Do Absolutely Everything One Step at a Time, by Sarah Hines Stephens and Bethany Mann.

What makes "Show Off" a fantastic book are the step-by-step picture directions. Since I am a graphic learner, this makes it so much easier for me than trying to decipher a page of text describing how to fold a ninja star. The ingredient lists tend to be very slight, which is a bonus for parents. If you want to learn more about an activity, several of them have longer descriptions in the back under "tell me more." The 224 activities are grouped under the categories of "amaze," "investigate," "create," "explore," "cook," and "move." Most of these are easy to do by yourself if you're at least 10 years old, while others will require adult help.

05/09/2018 - 9:57am
Cover to Grendel by John Gardner

Lurking in the shadows of the Dark Ages is the howling form of Grendel. He is the monster of midnight, the bone-gnasher, the ardent hunter of warriors who strews their bones and howls his fury to the world as he wreaks havoc on the safety of civilization. No hall fire burning brightly, no line of armed men can keep him back when he desires destruction. 

But, as John Gardner tells of Grendel, this was not always so. For the bane of the Hrothgar’s hall has a soul much tormented by his desire for good and fellowship with the humans even as his demonic appearance frightens them into violent action. To them, he is a thing, and so he becomes what they believe him to be—an adversary whose fame has spanned the centuries.

05/09/2018 - 1:28pm

Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Claudia Emerson Teen Poetry Contest! Many thanks to our contest judges: University of Mary Washington faculty members Amanda Rutstein, adjunct English instructor, and Laura Bylenok, assistant professor of English.

05/02/2018 - 10:37am
If you like The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

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 Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Sixteen-year-old Ruby breaks out of a government-run 'rehabilitation camp' for teens who acquired dangerous powers after surviving a virus that wiped out most American children. Read the entire Darkest Minds series.

The Darkest Minds is an upcoming American science fiction action film directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson. The film will be released in theaters and IMAX on August 3, 2018. The film stars Amandla StenbergMandy Moore, and Gwendoline Christie. See the trailer below.

04/27/2018 - 2:16am
If you like A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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 Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from stories, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin, a High Lord of the faeries. As her feelings toward him transform from hostility to a fiery passion, the threats against the faerie lands grow. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse or she will lose Tamlin forever. 

The other books in the Court of Thorns and Roses series:

A Court of Mist and FuryA Court of Wings and RuinA Court of Frost and Starlight
The 4th book in the series: A Court of Frost and Starlight is due out on shelves May 1, 2018.
Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can't keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated—scars that will have the far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

If you like the Court of Thorns and Roses series, check out these other exciting fantasy fiction young adult titles with similar themes.

04/25/2018 - 9:16am
Cover to Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

What would happen if you met someone who had the exact same name as you? Would you examine them, looking for any similarities and differences, desperately trying to figure the other one out? Two high school students from suburban Chicago are about to find out, and both of them are Will Grayson in Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green and David Levithan.

One lives by two rules: 1. Don’t care too much. 2. Shut Up. By following them, Will has made it through life without too many bruises. Unfortunately, his best friend Tiny Cooper is royally wrecking everything for him. Royal is appropriate for Tiny, a gigantic queen who just happens to be the school’s best football player and the writer/director/star of his own biographical musical, Tiny Dancer. This, along with Tiny’s constant attempts to get Will to go out with their mutual friend Jane, is exactly the kind of attention that Will does not want.

04/19/2018 - 9:12am
The Pants Project by Cat Clarke

Liv dreads starting middle school. Not because of the work, or the classes, or the other students. No, Liv doesn’t want to go because of the uniform: “Girls must wear a black, pleated, knee-length skirt.” Which wouldn’t be such a huge issue, except...Liv is not a girl. Liv is transgender, and, though they may look like a girl on the outside and be a girl on paper, Liv knows that they are a boy. And Liv knows that they feel awful and unlike themselves in a skirt.

04/17/2018 - 8:46am
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Will’s brother Shawn is dead. After watching him get gunned down on the streets, now Will has to do what’s expected. He has to follow The Rules.

03/30/2018 - 1:57am
If you like Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

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.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
In the not-so-distant future—the world has turned into a very bleak place, but luckily there is OASIS, a virtual reality world that is a vast online utopia. Along with millions of other world-wide citizens, Wade dreams of finding three keys left behind by James Halliday, the richest man to have ever lived. The keys are rumored to be hidden inside OASIS, and whoever finds them will inherit Halliday's fortune. Stuffed to the gills with action, puzzles, nerdy romance, and 80s nostalgia, this high energy cyber-quest will make geeks everywhere feel like they were separated at birth from author Ernest Cline. 

Ready Player One is an upcoming American live-action/animated science fiction action film produced and directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Zak Penn and Ernest Cline, based on Cline's 2011 novel of the same name. The film stars Tye SheridanOlivia CookeBen MendelsohnT. J. MillerSimon Pegg, and Mark Rylance. The film is scheduled to be released by Warner Brothers in the United States on March 30, 2018. See the trailer below.

If you like Cline's Ready Player One, check out these titles.

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