Books and Reading
When you hear that word, what comes to mind? Green hair, cracked and disgusting fingernails—maybe a flying broomstick? Mysterious, midnight covens dancing around a campfire? Today, most of society associates the word “witch” with Halloween and possibly even the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.
The most famed and prolific area of science fiction is the planetary adventure, featuring strange environments, exotic alien races, and massive battle scenes. Many of the most popular science fiction universes, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, and Avatar, take place in these environments. Most of these universes owe their existence to the adventure fiction of one author.
His name is Floyd Peterson.
Although he has horns, wild eyes, clompy feet, long toenails, crazy hair, and fangs...that doesn't mean he's a monster.
Floyd does have a huge, toothy grin that glows in the dark. He sleeps in closets and behind shower curtains...he howls at the moon—and the sun. But that doesn't mean he's meat-snacking a monster!
Disregard the terrifying GROWWLS and the ROAAARRS—because Floyd Peterson is not a monster!
Looking for some reading recommendations for your book club? Why not mix things up with a Young Adult (YA) title!
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
The story follows Hetty "Handful" Grimke, a Charleston slave, and Sarah, the daughter of the wealthy Grimke family. The novel begins on Sarah's eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership over Handful, who is to be her handmaid. "The Invention of Wings" follows the next thirty-five years of their lives. Inspired in part by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke (a feminist, suffragist and, importantly, an abolitionist), Kidd allows herself to go beyond the record to flesh out the inner lives of all the characters, both real and imagined. (catalog summary)
If you enjoyed The Invention of Wings, you may also like these titles:
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A young woman from Nigeria leaves behind her home and her first love to start a new life in America, only to find her dreams are not all she expected. (catalog summary)
Belle Cora by Phillip Margulies
A sweeping historical tale based on the life and times of the daughter of a New York merchant finds the orphaned Belle suffering at the hands of a rival cousin before working as a prostitute and transforming herself repeatedly to win the love and life she desires. (catalog summary)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic novel—a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unswerving honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence, and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina and quiet heroism of one man's struggle for justice—but the weight of history will only tolerate so much. (catalog summary)
One of the best-loved classics of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has earned many distinctions since its original publication in 1960. It has won the Pulitzer Prize, been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than thirty million copies worldwide, and been made into an enormously popular movie. Most recent, librarians across the country gave the book the highest of honors by voting it the best novel of the century (Library Journal).
Sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird: Go Set a Watchman
If you like To Kill a Mockingbird, you may also like the following titles:
The Catcher and the Rye by J.D. Salinger
In an effort to escape the hypocrisies of life at his boarding school, sixteen-year-old Holden Caulfield seeks refuge in New York City. (catalog summary)
Freshwater Road by Denise Nicholas
When University of Michigan sophomore Celeste Tyree travels to Mississippi to volunteer her efforts in Freedom Summer, she's assigned to help register voters in the small town of Pineyville, a place best known for a notorious lynching that occurred only a few years earlier. As the long, hot summer unfolds, Celeste befriends several members of the community, but there are also those who are threatened by her and the change that her presence in the South represents. (catalog summary)
Dune by Frank Herbert
Follows the adventures of Paul Atreides, the son of a betrayed duke given up for dead on a treacherous desert planet and adopted by its fierce, nomadic people, who help him unravel his most unexpected destiny. (catalog summary)
Other books in the Dune series include: Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, God Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune, Chapterhouse Dune
If you enjoyed Dune, you may enjoy these titles because of the detailed world-building, complex politics, and fascinating characters.
Artemis Awakening by Jane M. Lindskold
The distant world Artemis is a pleasure planet created out of bare rock by a technologically advanced human empire that provided its richest citizens with a veritable Eden to play in. All tech was concealed and the animals (and the humans brought to live there) were bioengineered to help the guests enjoy their stay. But the Empire was shattered in a horrific war; centuries later humanity has lost much of their advanced technology, and Artemis is a fable told to children. Until young archeologist Griffin Dane finds intriguing hints that send him on a quest to find the lost world. Stranded on Artemis after crashing his ship, he encounters the Huntress Adara and her psych-linked companion, the puma Sand Shadow. Their journey with her will lead Dane to discover the planet's secrets...and perhaps provide a key to give unimagined power back to mankind. (catalog summary)
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller
In a nightmarish ruined world slowly awakening to the light after sleeping in darkness, the infant rediscoveries of science are secretly nourished by cloistered monks dedicated to the study and preservation of the relics and writings of the blessed Saint Isaac Leibowitz. From here the story spans centuries of ignorance, violence, and barbarism, viewing through a sharp, satirical eye the relentless progression of a human race damned by its inherent humanness to recelebrate its grand foibles and repeat its grievous mistakes. Seriously funny, stunning, and tragic, eternally fresh, imaginative, and altogether remarkable, A Canticle for Leibowitz retains its ability to enthrall and amaze. It is now, as it always has been, a masterpiece. (catalog summary)
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
The "memoirs" of one of Japan's most celebrated geishas describes how, as a little girl in 1929, she is sold into slavery; her efforts to learn the arts of the geisha; the impact of World War II; and her struggle to reinvent herself to win the man she loves. (catalog summary)
If you like Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, you may likese these selections:
Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn
Set in an imaginary, ancient Japanese society dominated by warring clans, Across the Nightingale Floor is a story of a boy who is suddenly plucked from his life in a remote and peaceful village to find himself a pawn in a political scheme, filled with treacherous warlords, rivalry-and the intensity of first love. In a culture ruled by codes of honor and formal rituals, Takeo must look inside himself to discover the powers that will enable him to fulfill his destiny. (catalog summary)
The Binding Chair, or A Visit From the Foot Emancipation Society by Kathryn Harrison
In poised and elegant prose, Kathryn Harrison weaves a stunning story of women, travel, and flight; of love, revenge, and fear; of the search for home and the need to escape it. Set in alluring Shanghai at the turn of the century, The Binding Chair intertwines the destinies of a Chinese woman determined to forget her past and a Western girl focused on the promises of the future. (catalog summary)
Forty-seven-year-old Caelum Quirk and his wife, Maureen, move to Littleton, Colorado. Both get excellent jobs in their respective fields: Caelum as a high school English teacher and Maureen as a nurse. Their great opportunities are at a high school named Columbine.
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Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Aldous Huxley is rightly considered a prophetic genius and one of the most important literary and philosophical voices of the 20th Century, and Brave New World is his masterpiece. From the author of The Doors of Perception, Island, and countless other works of fiction, non-fiction, philosophy, and poetry, comes this powerful work of speculative fiction that has enthralled and terrified readers for generations. Brave New World remains absolutely relevant to this day as both a cautionary dystopian tale in the vein of the George Orwell classic 1984, and as thought-provoking, thoroughly satisfying entertainment. (catalog summary)
If you like Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, here are some other titles you may enjoy:
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Animal Farm is the most famous by far of all twentieth-century political allegories. Its account of a group of barnyard animals who revolt against their vicious human master, only to submit to a tyranny erected by their own kind, can fairly be said to have become a universal drama. Orwell is one of the very few modern satirists comparable to Jonathan Swift in power, artistry, and moral authority; in animal farm his spare prose and the logic of his dark comedy brilliantly highlight his stark message. (catalog summary)
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
After his youthful adventures of raping and pillaging, Alex finds himself in prison. When he volunteers for an experiment, his sentence is commuted to two weeks. The experiment leaves him physically incapable of doing wrong and releases him back into the world. However, when he repeatedly runs into people he has wronged in the past, his real suffering begins. (catalog summary)