Archive for December, 2011

Sing You Home

December 2, 2011

Author: Jodi Picoult

Title: Sing You Home

Genre: GLBTQ

Publication Date: 2011

Number of Pages: 480

Geographical Setting: Rhode Island

Time Period: Present day

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: Zoe and Max Baxter have been plagued by infertility and the birth of a still-born. Zoe desperately wants to continue trying to conceiving while Max has reached his limits. IVF treatments have caused a strain in their marriage that ultimately leads to divorce. Post-divorce, Zoe, a music therapist, finds friendship in the arms of an unexpected friend, Vanessa. Max reverts to alcoholism, and a near-death car accident leads him to become a born-again Christian. Zoe and Vanessa’s relationship blossoms into love, and eventually the couple wants to use Max and Zoe’s frozen embryos for a child. Max does not approve of the relationship, or using the embryos which causes a court battle over the rights of the embryos. Picoult brings a controversial and current issue to the forefront in this thought-provoking novel.

Subject Headings: infertility issues, IVF, divorce, Christianity-homosexuality, lesbian relationships, embryo freezing, music therapy, gay- lesbian rights

Appeal: Current events, character-driven, plot-driven, moving, compelling, lyrical, thought-provoking, compassionate, realistic characters, domestic, issue-oriented, contemporary

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: issue oriented, compassionate, thought-provoking

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

An Introduction to Music Therapy Theory and Practices (3rd Edition) by William B. Davis, Gfeeller and Thaut. A comprehensive overview of the practice of music therapy for the 21st century. It covers the origins, present, and future of music therapy. This book is a good introduction for those interested in music therapy as a career or just wanting to learn more about Zoe’s job in Sing You Home.

Every Drunken Cheerleader: Why Not Me? By Kristine Ireland Waits. Women and with infertility difficulties will enjoy the wisdom, humor and warmth of this book filled with information. It provide inspiration for those most challenging times—baby shows, husbands, insurance—and how to cope. Women will laugh, cry and nod their heads in understanding while they read through this book.

Gay and Lesbian Rights in United States: A Documentary History by Walter L. Williams. The history of America’s gay and lesbian community’s struggle for civil and equal rights. This collection of primary documents examines counter-arguments, provides different viewpoints and look at the complexity of gay and lesbian rights. A nice companion to Sing You Home for a reader looking to learn more about gay and lesbian rights in America.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

A Blessed Event by Jean Reynolds Page. Childhood friend Joanne agrees to be surrogate mother for Darla. However, a freak accident that leaves Joanne brain damaged and in a coma but the baby alive.  Darla and Joanne’s family now are fighting over the rights of Joanne’s body. With a controversial and current issue this book draws similarities between Sing you Home over moral issues.

Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner. Four women quickly become closely involved when the pregnant one’s husband suddenly dies. The four women include an ivy-league egg-donor, working-class surrogate housewife, and the wealthy pregnant woman and her stepdaughter. This book weaves women’s lives and relationships with present day issues.

A Seahorse Year by Stacey D’Erasmo. A San Franciscan teen goes missing and his parents are frantic trying to find him. Christopher was raised by a gay mother and father and suffers from schizophrenia. The novel delves into the complexity of growing up as a child in a gay parenthood.

Name: Noelle Swanson

Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

December 1, 2011

Author: Julie Powell

Title: Julie & Julia [sound recording] : 365 days, 524 recipes, 1 tiny apartment kitchen

Genre: Non-fiction; Food Writing

Publication Date: 2005

Number of Pages: 5 sound discs: digital; 4 3/4 in.

Geographical Setting: New York, New York

Time Period: current day

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: Julie Powell is a 29 year old living in New York City who is fed up with her dead end secretarial job and depressing apartment in Queens.  In an attempt to find deeper meaning in her life, Julie takes up an ambitious project: she resolves to cook the 524 recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a single year.  To document what she calls “The Julie and Julia project,” she begins writing a blog that captures not only every frustration encountered in following each recipe to exaction but also one that reveals aspects of her marriage, her friends, and her wry observations about daily life.  This memoir delivers a more fleshed out version of events than her blog but still retains its chatty, observant, and hilarious tone.  This inspiring and encouraging book is well written and honest.   It is as much about the character of Julie and her relationships as it is a food memoir that that conveys the challenges and triumphs of a novice young cook attempting masterful French cooking in a tiny New York apartment.

Subject Headings: Powell, Julie.

Child, Julia. Mastering the art of French cooking.

Women cooks Anecdotes.

Cookery, French Anecdotes.

Audiobooks (Abridged).

Appeal: compelling, easy, engrossing, earnest, heartwarming, hopeful, humorous, lighthearted, optimistic, thoughtful, upbeat, quirky, realistic, well developed characters, character-centered, domestic, accurate, contemporary, details of cooking, chatty, candid, conversational, engaging, informal, witty, descriptive, informative, entertaining,

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: engaging, witty, entertaining

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Flinn, Kathleen. The Sharper Your Knife, the Less you Cry: Love, Learning and Tears at the World’s Most Famous Cooking School.  Like Julie and Julia, this book is a memoir that centers on cooking.  The author recalls how she changed careers and attended Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris.  Like Julie and Julia, the author recalls humorous anecdotes, explores love relationships, and uses cooking as a metaphor for life. 

Reichl, Ruth. Tender at the Bone: Growing up at the Table. Like Julie and Julia, this is a memoir that is centered on food.  It recounts the life and career of the restaurant critic from The New York Times.  Like Julie and Julie, this is a heartwarming account that takes place in New York, features a strong woman character and contains humorous anecdotes and recipes.

Wizenberg, Molly.  A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from my Kitchen Table. Like Julie and Julia, this memoir was derived from a popular blog that recounts the author’s life in terms of cooking and recipes.  Also like Julie and Julia, the author’s accounts are sometimes touching and sometimes humorous in this charming account.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Bender, Aimee.  The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.  Rose Edelstein has the ability to taste the emotions of others when tasting their cooking.  Like Julie and Julia, this novel is a witty, offbeat account of a woman’s relationship with food and with loved ones.

Esquivel, Laura.  Like Water for Chocolate: a Novel in Monthly Installments, with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies. Tito, a doting daughter who cooks every meal for her parents in Mexico, finds love and herself through her cooking.  Like Julie and Julia, this is a witty story that centers on cooking, love relationships, and contains recipes.

Mileti, Meredith.  Aftertaste, A Novel in Five Courses: In this novel, Mira Rinaldi is a New York City restaurant owner whose life is in a shambles.  Like Julie and Julia, this novel contains many descriptions of delicious food and recipes and features a strong female character who overcomes personal struggle and gains self-worth through cooking.

Name: Meghan M.

Ghost World

December 1, 2011

Author: Daniel Clowes

Title: Ghost World

Genre: Literary Fiction, Graphic Novel

Publication Date: 2003

Number of Pages:80

Geographical Setting: Unnamed American Small Town/City

Time Period: Contemporary

Plot Summary: It’s the summer after high school graduation, and Enid Coleslaw and her friend Rebecca have no plans but to hit up the local diner and make sarcastic comments about the other, eccentric, customers. They have nobody else but each other, but the promise of the coming fall and their different priorities leads them to re-evaluate their friendship.

Subject Headings: Friendship, Graphic Novels, Teenage Girls

Appeal: sarcastic, episodic, melancholy, stark, quirky, flawed characters, thought-provoking, small-town, direct, witty, edgy, atmospheric, slice of life

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: melancholy, edgy, witty

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

McCloud, Scott. “Understanding Comics”. Clowes’ take on the comic medium requires an intimate understanding of the comics medium; McCloud’s book, written as a comic, is the book where one can get that understanding.

Pekar, Harvey. “The Quitter”. Comic memoir about Pekar’s childhood where he was a quitter—when things grew tough, he quit and moved on. A mindset that Enid seems far too familiar with.

Wurtzel, Elizabeth. “Prozac Nation”. Enid goes through the motions of life as much as Wurtzel did in her own teen years; Wurtzel suffered from extreme depression, and it seems Enid is balancing between depression and ennui.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Robinson, Alex. “Box Office Poison”. If Ghost World is about post-high school uncertainty and malaise, BOP is the same about post-college life, where a degree in English just means working part time at a book shop. Melancholy tone and simple art are here as well.

Salinger, J.D. “Catcher in the Rye”. The teen angst classic, of which Enid no doubt identifies. Similar tone as well.

Tomine, Adrian. “Summer Blonde”. Another slice-of-life about teens, with a similar melancholy tone and artistic style—Tomine was highly influenced by Clowes. And the central love triangle in both have nice echoes.

Name: Brian C.