Reading Room Blog

12/10/2010 - 1:31pm

Is it possible to LIKE a sociopathic serial killer?  Want to be friends with a hired assassin?  Have an itty bitty crush on a hit-man-for-hire?  Just what IS it that makes some very, very bad boys so appealing?

Check out the booklist Whack Jobs to meet some of the nicest killers, murderers and assassins in recent literature.

11/18/2010 - 3:11pm

Was it only twelve short years ago that “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” changed the children’s book world forever? This Friday’s release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the first installment of the last Harry Potter film, brings it all back.

I can still remember eagerly reading an advance copy of the first book and falling head over heels into the world of Hogwarts. J. K. Rowling used familiar elements – a school setting, an orphan, wise teachers, magic – in a fresh story that was notable for its wild invention. Bertie Botts’ Every Flavor Beans, portraits that came to life, the sorting hat, Muggles: these clever new creations were what readers noticed first. It was only with the unfolding of succeeding books that Rowling’s masterful plotting became apparent. Like many others, I devoured the final book over the course of a weekend, tearing up in places and turning the last page with mingled satisfaction and regret.
 
The effect on young readers was the real phenomenon. Kids who might once have eyed thick books with trepidation now proudly announced that they’d read a whole Harry Potter book in one sitting! They read the books over and over, sharing jokes and sayings from the books with their friends. It’s not too much to state that J.K. Rowling created a new generation of fantasy readers.
 
07/28/2016 - 10:55am
If You Like The Help by Kathryn Stockett

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. Browse other book matches here.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett 
In Jackson, Mississippi, in 1962, there are lines that are not crossed. With the civil rights movement exploding all around them, three women start a movement of their own, forever changing a town and the way women--black and white, mothers and daughters--view one another. (catalog summary)
 

If you liked The Help, then you may like these books with similar themes:

 

 

Clover by Dori Sanders
After her father dies within hours of being married to a white woman, a ten-year-old black girl learns with her new mother to overcome grief and to adjust to a new place in their rural black South Carolina community. (catalog summary)

 

 

Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal
When Ibby Bell's father dies in a tragic accident in the summer of 1964, her mother unceremoniously deposits Ibby with her eccentric grandmother, Fannie, and throws in her father's urn for good measure. Fannie's Victorian house is like no place Ibby has ever been--and Fannie, who has a tendency to end up in the local asylum every once in a while--is like no one she has ever met. Fortunately, her black cook, Queenie...and Queenie's feisty daughter Dollbaby take it upon themselves to initiate Ibby into the ways of the South, both its grand traditions and its darkest secrets. (catalog summary)


 

08/09/2016 - 1:45pm
If You Like The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

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.

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered. (catalog summary)

 

If you like gritty biographies like The Glass Castle, these other titles might intrigue you:

 


The Black Girl Next Door by Jennifer Lynn Baszile
A powerful, beautifully written memoir about coming of age as a black girl in an exclusive white suburb in "integrated," post-Civil Rights California in the 1970s and 1980s. (catalog summary)
 

 


 

 


Chanel Bonfire by Wendy Lawless
This memoir recounts the author's emotional trauma from living with a mentally ill mother, Georgann Rea, who showed Lawless and her younger sister no love. The author narrates this tale of Georgann's life: growing up in a trailer park, then reinventing herself as a glamorous Manhattanite who left a string of men in her wake. Lawless discusses her mother's nervous breakdowns, suicide attempts, and hospital stays with equal parts detachment and regret. (catalog summary)

 

10/20/2010 - 3:22pm

A recently published New York Times article, “Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children,” is causing an uproar in the children’s book world.  According to reporter Julie Bosman, booksellers are selling fewer picture books than ever, and not just because of the economic downturn. “Parents have begun pressing their kindergartners and first graders to leave the picture book behind and move on to more text-heavy chapter books,” she reports. One bookseller noted that parents are now buying their four-year-olds “Stuart Little” while classic picture books languish on the shelf. 

Some of this could be linked to standardized testing, but it may also be due to the pressure parents feel to accelerate their children’s learning at an ever faster rate.
 
Those of us who love picture books lament this trend. Even if your four-year-old is enjoying “Stuart Little,” what is he missing by jumping to chapter books three or four years ahead of schedule? What great picture books are going unread?  
10/14/2010 - 11:07am
          Two new novels for middle grade readers couldn’t be more different except for one thing: they both concern eleven-year-old girls who have more to offer than first meets the eye.
 
          In Jennifer Holm’s “Turtle in Paradise,” everyone is doing their best to scrape by. It’s 1935, the midst of the Depression, and Turtle’s flighty mother finally has a job as a housekeeper. But her mother’s new boss doesn’t like kids, and her new boyfriend Archie has no room for her, so Turtle is sent far away to Key West, Florida, where her mother’s sister lives.
 
There this tough, sharp-tongued girl finds a whole new world that’s entirely different from the New Jersey shore she knows. Turtle describes Key West as looking “like a broken chair that’s been left out in the sun to rot.” But it’s also green, covered with vines, brightly colored flowers and palm trees. All the kids go barefoot, most of them are related to her, and news of her arrival is soon all over the island thanks to the “Conch Telegraph.” 
11/24/2014 - 10:33am
The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan

Join a lively and fun discussion of the month's selected title. Refreshments served. Meets the third Tuesday of every month at 10:30 a.m.

11/24/2014 - 10:34am

Meets from 11:00 - noon on the second Friday of each month. 

 

 

01/14/2014 - 12:06pm
Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

Meets the fourth Thursday of the month at 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Current Selection:

07/28/2016 - 11:41am
If you like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

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 Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The disappearance forty years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden, gnaws at her octogenarian uncle, Henrik Vanger. He is determined to know the truth about what he believes was her murder. He hires crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist, recently at the wrong end of a libel case, to get to the bottom of Harriet's disappearance. Lisbeth Salander, a twenty-four-year-old, pierced, tattooed genius hacker, possessed of the hard-earned wisdom of someone twice her age--and a terrifying capacity for ruthlessness--assists Blomkvist with the investigation. This unlikely team discovers a vein of nearly unfathomable iniquity running through the Vanger family, an astonishing corruption at the highest echelon of Swedish industrialism--and a surprising connection between themselves. (from the publisher)

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (followed by the next three books in the Millennium trilogy: The Girl Who Played with FireThe Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, & The Girl in the Spider's Web), you may like these titles -- some have intriguingly complex plots, while others offer portraits of unusual, unique females.



A Beautiful Place to Die
 by Malla Nunn
Jacob's Rest, a tiny town on the border between South Africa and Mozambique, 1952. An Afrikaner police officer is found dead. Detective Emmanuel Cooper, an Englishman, begins investigating the murder following a trail of clues that lead him to uncover a shocking forbidden love and the imperfect life of one Captain Pretorius. (catalog summary)

 

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