unRequired Reading Blog

04/19/2017 - 9:49am
Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

“It was June and long past time for buying the special shoes that were quiet as summer rain falling on the walks. June and the earth full of raw power and everything everywhere in motion.  The grass was still pouring in from the country, surrounding the sides, stranding the houses.  Any moment the town would capsize, go down and leave not a stir in the clover and weeds.  And here Douglas stood, trapped on dead cement and red-brick streets, hardly able to move.”

The opening piece in Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine finds Doug Spaulding at the start of his twelfth summer, yearning for a pair of running shoes that will let him be a part of the glorious season. Like the dandelion wine bottled and stored in his grandparents’ cellar, the memories of that long-ago summer are preserved to be savored by his readers.

04/10/2017 - 2:12pm
Cover to City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

If you’re going to be a thief, the first thing you need to know is that you don’t exist.

Tina and her mother fled the Congo as refugees, trading their war-torn village for the vibrant metropolis of Sangui City. Life was supposed to get better. Their new home, the City of Saints and Thieves, was supposed to be safe.

But when Tina finds her mother dead in the private study of her employer, Mr. Greyhill, she knows just who is to blame. The Greyhill family is hiding something behind their wealth. And Tina’s mother knew their secret.

04/03/2017 - 8:43am
Cover to poemcrazy

Are you inspired by life, whether light or dark, to mark moments or passages with words that dance, shout, or whisper your personal truth? You might be poemcrazy. Author (and poet) Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge certainly is. In her book, she shares how she sees the world as a poet as she’s progressed from shy teen to mother to writing workshop presenter.

03/31/2017 - 11:16am
Lily and Dunkin book cover image

Your heart will soar and fall with the story of two teens overcoming tremendous odds to show the world who they truly are. Lily Jo McGrother was born Timothy McGrother, but now, as she enters eighth grade, she wonders if it’s time—if she’s strong enough—to be the girl she is inside. Norbert Dorfman, brand new to town, has a hard enough time dealing with his bipolar disorder and a secret from his past. Both Lily Jo and Norbert (who chooses the nickname "Dunkin" after his coffee habit) are hoping eighth grade will mean a fresh start.

03/27/2017 - 12:27am
Cover to Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith

Sherri L. Smith’s Flygirl is an extremely moving historical novel about friendship, freedom, love, and loyalty.

Ida Mae Jones dreamed of doing something to help U.S. troops defeat the Nazis in World War II. She was young, smart, and knew how to fly an airplane. But that wasn’t enough, not even when they started accepting women to fly non-combat missions. Because Ida Mae was black, and only white women were allowed to join the flying service. So there was no way she could help win the war and bring her brother home all the sooner. Unless she broke the rules.

03/20/2017 - 10:12am
Cover to Women Heroes of World War II, the Pacific Theater: 15 Stories of Resistance, Rescue, Sabotage, and Survival

For women caught in war zones, there are choices to be made. Try to get by as best you can, protecting your family if you have one, or throw in with the men defending your country, risking your own life. The 15 women whose stories are told in Women Heroes of World War II, the Pacific Theater all made difficult choices. Even so, as much as they were able, they resisted the invaders who overran their countries.

03/13/2017 - 9:48am
Cover to Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley

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.

03/03/2017 - 12:44am
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

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.

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
Before John Glenn orbited the earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as "human computers" used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South's segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America's aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam's call, moving to Hampton Virginia and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory. Even as Virginia's Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley's all-black "West Computing" group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens. (catalog summary)
 

Have you read our Rappahannock Read, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly? If you have and you're looking for more titles like Hidden Figures, check these out! These selections include: history of the Space Race and women's achievements in science and other fields of STEM.


 

The Astronaut Wives Club: A True StoryThe Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story by Lily Koppel
As America's Mercury Seven astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their young wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from military spouses into American royalty. They had tea with Jackie Kennedy, appeared on the cover of Life magazine, and quickly grew into fashion icons. Annie Glenn, with her picture-perfect marriage, was the envy of the other wives; platinum-blonde Rene Carpenter was proclaimed JFK's favorite; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived on base with a secret. Together with the other wives they formed the Astronaut Wives Club, meeting regularly to provide support and friendship. Many became next-door neighbors and helped to raise each other's children by day, while going to glam parties at night. As their celebrity rose—and as divorce and tragic death began to touch their lives—they continued to rally together, and the wives have now been friends for more than fifty years. (catalog summary)
 


02/07/2017 - 8:20am
Wax by Gina Damico

Poppy Palladino is a 17-year-old aspiring actress. As the head of her high school's theatrical, Poppy is ambitious and serious about her future. So ambitious she takes on challenge of a talent show to show off her skills. But tragedy strikes Poppy's perfect life when she falls on stage and splits her head open. It wouldn't have been too embarrassing if it wasn't on national television.

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