unRequired Reading Blog
Years ago when researchers were in heated debates about whether or not animals can think, I could have told them that they do. When I was first married I had an incredible dog named Doctor. One day when I was young and stupid, I had a knock on my door. There was a man standing outside my door whom I didn’t recognize, so I locked my screen door to keep my dog in and stepped outside to see what this man wanted. He began to ask me some very bizarre questions about the neighborhood. He kept stepping back to draw me away from my front door. Suddenly I found that I had gone into my front yard to talk to this strange young man. Red flags were going off in my brain at this point. He was about to ask me another odd question when he suddenly stopped and said, “I have to go.” He turned around and walked quickly away. I thought, “What a strange man that was!” When I turned around I discovered that Doctor had jumped up, unhooked the screen door, and was sitting behind me with his lips curled back in a silent growl. Evidently, he thought that the man was odd also.
When my husband bought me Alex & Me, by Irene Pepperberg, last year and gently said, “I think that you would like this," I politely thanked him and stubbornly put it on the shelf. A year later I picked it up and now I grudgingly have to admit that he was correct. I do love this book!
Near Manchester, England, in 1836, Emmeline Roke finished a piece of golden embroidery on a blue silk gown. It wasn’t her gown. Had she enough money for such a dress, she would have used it to buy better food and other small comforts for her family. At fifteen, her sewing work was an important source of income for them. Everyone in her family worked—her beautiful, willful, widowed mother in the fabric mill whilst her beloved little brother, deaf-mute since nearly his birth, also did piece work. Life in the all-too-real world of Linda Holeman’s Search of the Moon King’s Daughter is hard for the Roke family, and it’s about to get harder.
Emmeline remembers that it wasn’t always this way. Not too long ago, they lived in a small cottage attached to the village grocery shop. Her father Jasper Roke may have been destined for greater things, but he gave it up when he met Emmeline’s mother, Catherine. He took the job running the shop, which came with the cottage. If he was a bit lazy and closed down for the afternoon when he felt like taking them all out for a picnic and reading poetry and fairy stories to his family, it was no matter to him. But when he died suddenly, everything came apart. The little family had to move to another town—a mill town—where there was work to be had. It was a hard life, but it was doable—until the day Catherine Roke was hideously injured at her loom.
Forever, the final book in (local author!) Maggie Stiefvater's Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy is out! (Of course, you die-hard fans already knew that.) If you haven't gotten your hands on it, place your hold now.
Steifvater's creativity seems to know no bounds. She created this stop motion book trailer and wrote the accompanying music.
The main character of the book The Absolute Value of Mike, by Kathryn Erskine, is the son of a brilliant but absent-minded mathematician. Mike takes care of everything around the house. He pays the bills and handles all the day-to-day activities of the household. Although Mike's father is a mathematician, Mike suffers from a condition called dyscalculia, meaning that he has an inablity to process math problems. Mike's father wants him to become an engineer, a career which requires a lot of math. Mike does not want to disappoint his father, but he struggles with math because of his dyscalculia. He doesn't know how to tell his father that he does not want to be an engineer.
Mike learns that his father is going to Romania for work, and that he will not be going with him. The plan is to send Mike to live with his Great Aunt Moo and Great Uncle Poppy in Pennsylvania. Mike has never met them, and he is not happy about this arrangement. Upon his arrival Mike soon realizes that Poppy and Moo need his help more than he needs theirs. Poppy and Moo are living from Social Security check to Social Security check. Their home is in disrepair, and they are terrible at managing their finances.
This readalike is in response to a patron'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. See our other Book Matches.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Huxley's story shows a futuristic World State where all emotion, love, art, and human individuality have been replaced by social stability. An ominous warning to the world's population, this literary classic is a must-read.
1984 by George Orwell
Portrays a terrifying vision of life in the future when a totalitarian government, considered a "Negative Utopia," watches over all citizens and directs all activities, becoming more powerful as time goes by.
Erewhon by Samuel Butler
Erewhon (an anagram for "nowhere") is a faraway land where machinery is forbidden, sickness is a punishable crime, and criminals receive compassionate medical treatment.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
A totalitarian regime has ordered all books to be destroyed, but one of the book burners suddenly realizes their merit.
You met Griffin Bing and his friends in Swindle and followed their escapades in Zoobreak. Now Gordon Korman has brought the gang back in his latest installment—Framed. Griffin always seems to find trouble even when he is not looking for it. In this latest adventure, Cedarville Middle School has become the recipient of of a Super Bowl ring. It is put on display in the school's trophy cabinet. Suddenly, it goes missing. Griffin is held responsible for the heist. His friends decide to prove his innocence and set out to find the real thief.
Divergent, by Veronica Roth, is an example of dystopian young adult fiction at its best! It takes place in a Chicago of the future--in a world that has been rebuilt after society collapsed. In an attempt to avoid the problems of the past, this new Chicago society is divided into five factions - Dauntless (bravery), Amity (friendship), Erudite (knowledge), Candor (truth), and Abnegation (selflessness). Each faction follows a strict code of conduct; each has its own ideals; and each has its own role in governing the new society. At the age of 16, every person throughout the city must go through a simulation designed to show him or her which faction would be most suitable to join.
We are all very familiar with the atrocities engineered by Adolph Hitler, but less is heard about the atrocities that occurred at the direction of Joseph Stalin. Twenty million people were murdered under his leadership. In the book Between the Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys gives a very compelling account of the Soviet invasion of the country of Lithuania in 1941. Lists of people who were considered enemies of the state were compliled, and these people were removed from their homes and workplaces. These people were often professors, teachers, writers, artists, and librarians. The men were sent to prison and the women and children to forced labor camps--some of which were located in Siberia and the Arctic Circle. These individuals were separated from family members and forced to live under extremely harsh conditions with none of the comforts of home. They were not given food or medical attention. The women and children were shoved into railroad cars and sent away without ever being told where they were going.
The main character in this book is named Lina. She, her mother, and her younger brother are removed by force from their home and sent to Siberia. In Siberia, which is harsh enough to begin with, they have to scrounge for anything to eat. Even one potato becomes a luxury for the prisoners. Beets become a treat. The prisoners are forced to dig with shovels which have no handles, and they sleep on the freezing cold floor of a shack.
How 'bout a spooky supernatural tale to send chills down your spine on a hot summer day? Check out this trailer for Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.