Rob Solka

09/06/2016 - 3:34pm
If you like the TV series Stranger Things

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.

Stranger Things is an American science fiction/horror Web television series created by the Duffer Brothers (Wayward Pines). The plot follows the disappearance of a young boy. A telekinetic girl helps his friends in their search, while the boy's older brother and the town police chief start their own investigations. The show is set in 1980s Indiana and is a nod to 80s pop culture, channeling the works of Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter, Stephen King, and George Lucas.

The show was released on Netflix on July 15, 2016. It received positive reviews for its characterization, pacing, atmosphere, acting, soundtrack, directing, writing, and homages to 1980s genre films. A second season will be released in 2017. (Wikipedia

Once you've finished binge-watching Stranger Things, here are a few books involving 80s nostalgia and/or horrifying mysteries to keep the adventure going.


Boy's Life by Robert McCammon
The lake's depths claim a car and a corpse. Cory and his father begin searching for the truth of this death. Cory's life explodes into a kaleidoscope of clues and puzzles. As he searches for a killer, he learns more about the meaning of life and death. (catalog summary)




The Boy Who Drew Monsters
by Keith Donohue
Ever since he nearly drowned in the ocean three years earlier, 10-year-old Jack Peter Keenan has been deathly afraid to venture outdoors. Refusing to leave his home in a small coastal town in Maine, Jack Peter spends his time drawing monsters. When those drawings take on a life of their own, no one is safe from the terror they inspire. His mother, Holly, begins to hear strange sounds in the night coming from the ocean, and she seeks answers from the local Catholic priest and his Japanese housekeeper who fill her head with stories of shipwrecks and ghosts. His father, Tim, wanders the beach, frantically searching for a strange apparition running wild in the dunes. And the boy's only friend, Nick, becomes helplessly entangled in the eerie power of the drawings. While those around Jack Peter are haunted by what they think they see, only he knows the truth behind the frightful occurrences as the outside world encroaches upon them all. (catalog summary)

03/21/2016 - 3:35am
Code Name Verity

Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity starts with something different and unexpected, a story’s protagonist, or hero, not being very heroic. Our protagonist, a young female British spy, is being held hostage in an aristocratic hotel in Nazi-occupied France. While other spies would withstand any amount of torture in order to protect their friends, family, and country, Code Name Verity’s protagonist, whose name and identity are a secret, begins by making a deal with the Gestapo. She will give them anything and everything they want to know, including writing the story of how she arrived in Nazi-occupied France, and, in return, they will feed her, clothe her, stop torturing her, and they will not kill her—for now.

01/20/2016 - 11:21am
The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Quentin Coldwater is used to being the smartest person in the room. Some would even call him a genius. Even in the world of elite private schools, Quentin is bored out of his mind, finding his only escape in the fictional world of Fillory. Fillory is a fantasy realm existing in a series of books from his childhood, books which years later still resonate with him as a young adult. Quentin’s ho-hum existence is interrupted and forever changed when he is spontaneously transported to Brakebills University, a school for people like Quentin who have the potential to perform magic, real magic.

11/04/2014 - 9:30am
Meet Wini Ashooh, CRRL's RJC Coordinator

Even after four years of working at CRRL and growing up as an all-around library brat, I still hadn’t known that CRRL works with the Rappahannock Juvenile Center, also known as the RJC. Then I learned about Wini Ashooh, the librarian for this service, and the wonderful things she is doing with the youth there. During my interview with the fast-talking Boston native, I discovered that Wini’s work is certainly a library service that deserves as much recognition as it can receive.

09/06/2014 - 3:00am
Spotlight on Local Authors: Ginny Tata-Phillips

Next up in our Spotlight on Local Authors series is poet and novelist Ginny Tata-Phillips. Tata-Phillips owns a bird and basset hound plantation where she writes full-time, working on books that benefit animal rescue organizations.

08/30/2014 - 3:00am
Warren Rochelle

Our area is in no short supply of historical sites, restaurants, shops, and, of course, wonderful local authors. In the interest of getting our resident writers the attention and recognition that they deserve, CRRL is doing a series of profiles to spotlight the lives and works of our own local authors, beginning with Mr. Warren Rochelle.

03/03/2016 - 2:19pm
CRRL Staff Member Jenny McGee at a Lobby Stop

CRRL accommodates customers who otherwise couldn’t get access to their library materials through Assistive Services, Interlibrary Loan, and our work with the Rappahannock Juvenile Center, through the Lobby Stops program, which is coordinated by Jenny McGee. I sat down with Jenny to learn more about the Lobby Stops.

08/19/2014 - 8:59am
Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris

Grave Sight, by Charlaine Harris, is an unusual and inventive twist on the classic genre of whodunit mysteries. The story follows Harper Connelly, a woman who has developed a unique ability after being struck by lightning as a child. Now, no matter where the bodies are, how old they are, or how well they are hidden, Harper can find them—and see how they died.

08/02/2014 - 3:00am
Customers checking out an interlibrary loan

The Interlibrary Loan or ILL library staff are some of our unsung heroes. While library visitors get to meet and interact with the friendly people at Customer Service and Research, there are also people working behind the scenes to get you your materials from other libraries outside our system, as well as lending CRRL materials to libraries all over the country. Through the years, the Interlibrary Loan department has gone above and beyond simply getting customers hard-to-find materials. They have also helped students ready their dissertations and writers research topics for their books.

07/16/2014 - 3:00am
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

Joe Hill’s NOS4A2 follows the story of Vic McQueen, or "The Brat" as her father affectionately calls her, who happens to be a special little girl. While some children are fast readers, and others are good at a sport from a young age, Vic has the talent for finding lost things. Whether it’s a bracelet, a doll, or a missing photo, she can just hop on her bike, and her magic “covered bridge” takes her wherever it is that she needs to go. At first she takes her little trips to escape her volatile home life. However, over the course of her adventures, Vic soon discovers that she isn't the only person with such a talent—and not everyone with these abilities is nice.


Subscribe to Rob Solka