Author Archive

The Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 1

December 5, 2012

Title: The Walking Dead Compendium (Vol.1 issues 1-48)

Author: Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn

Genre: horror, comic

Publisher: Image Comics

Publication Date: 2009

Pages: 1088

Geographic Setting: Georgia

Time Period: Post Apocalyptic

Series: yes- Walking Dead

Summary: Officer Rick Grimes and his family, as well as a rag-tag group of refugees, have to survive in a zombie infested world.

Subject Headings: zombie apocalypse

Appeal Terms: tense, suspenseful, dystopian world, horrific, supernatural, comic to tv show, survival, graphic, detailed, post-apocalyptic, zombies, bloody, atmospheric, character centered, dark, gritty, violent.

My Three: suspenseful, horrific, survival

Similar Fiction:

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks (Crown:NewYork, 2006)
A Survivor-eye’s view of the conflict between zombies and humans. If you want a book that is a cross between fiction and nonfiction, and has a touch of history, this is one to try.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith (Quirk Books, 2009)
The Jane Austen classic with a twist. For those who want to try something different when moving away from the tried and true.

Zombie, Ohio by Scott Kenemore (Skyhorse, 2011)
Told from the zombie’s point of view, Peter Mellor, a college professor, tries to solve his own murder. Interesting because the main character can still pass for human.

Similar Nonfiction:

So Now You’re a Zombie: A Handbook for the Newly Undead by John Austin (Chicago Review Press, 2010)
Like the title says, this is a guide to being a zombie. Not meant to be taken seriously, but could be a nice reference book.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Zombies! A Book of Zombie Christmas Carols by Michael P. Spradlin (William Morrow Publishing, 2009)
A spoof of favorite Christmas songs filled with zombies and other horrific bits. If you liked Nightmare Before Christmas, try this one for giggles.

The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead by Max Brooks (Three Rivers Press, 2003)
What started out as the basis of an SNL skit turned into a fully comprehensive guide to surviving a zombie attack. Deadpan humor and extremely detailed. Bonus points that this is written by Mel Brooks’ son.

Name: Jennifer

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The Rag Doll Plagues

November 28, 2012

Title: The Rag Doll Plagues

Author: Alejandro Morales

Genre: Fiction, magic realism, historical, sci-fi, Chicano lit

Publisher: Arte Publico Press: Houston

Number of Pages: 200

Date of Publication: 1992

Geographic Setting: Spain, Mexico, California, Lamex

Time Period: 1788-1792, modern day, 2050

Summary: The plague called La Mona (what we would call AIDS today) is sweeping through Mexico during its colonial period, and no one knows what to do. The King of Spain sents his physician, Dr. Gregorio Revueltas, to try and help the colonists. Interwoven is the story of a doctor in California who falls in love with a woman who contracts AIDS from a blood transfusion; and the future story of Lamex, a collaborative state combining Mexico and the Southwest USA: where the people who once lived in Mexico City may finally develop the cure for the plague. The whole book is one cycle, as the main characters of books two and three are descended from the physician of the first, and that the spirit of the doctor returns to help guide them to the cure.

Subject Headings: communicable diseases–fiction

Appeal: drama, disease study, dystopian world, suspense, contemporary, Chicano, alternative history, deep, detailed, culture study, folk medicine, terse writing

My Three Appeal Terms: culture, detailed, disease study

Recommended Nonfiction Authors:

Santeria:The Religion: Faith, Rites, Magic by Migene Gonzales-Wippler. World Religion and Magic Series, 2002.
An in-depth look at Santeria, a religion that combines Catholicism and Yoruba African deities into a spell-binding package. Chosen because it plays a major role in Dreaming in Cuban.

The Wisdom of Whores by Elizabeth Pisani. Norton W. W. & Company. 2008.
An unconventional look into AIDS from angles people might not have considered, including political and autobiographic viewpoints. A little graphic in parts, but not meant to be gratuitous. Chosen because it deals with the main subject of Rag Doll.

Tales from Another Mexico: The Lynch Mob, the Popsicle Kings, Chalino and the Bronx by Sam Quinones. University of New Mexico Press, 2001.
A book of nonfiction vignettes about contemporary Mexico collected while reporting in the area. Chosen for subject area and general format, as well as for setting, which ties it to the other recommended books.

Recommended Fiction Authors:

Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia. Ballatine Books: New York. 1992.
A family split by the revolution in Cuba and each takes their own way in life. Chosen because it falls under Latin American literature and history. It also is cyclically written and detailed in its settings like Rag Doll. Recommended for those who want another view on Hispanic culture, modern history or religion.

Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. Perfection Learning 1995.
The youngest daughter of a Mexican woman in the 20th century tries to find true love and independence from her overbearing mother and the rule that the youngest daughter cannot marry. Chosen because it is cyclical, deals with family and is extremely detailed. Recommended for those who like cooking, romance, history, culture and for those who like to get angry when they read ( trust me, you will!)

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia-Marquez. Harper Perenial Modern Classics: New York. 2006.
A cyclical view of the mythical town of Macondo, as told by the Buendia family. Chosen for being in the canon of Latin American Literature and lush, detailed settings. For those who like drama, family and Latin American culture studies.

Name: Jennifer

Temari Techniques

November 7, 2012

Author: Barbara B. Suess

Title: Temari Techniques A Visual Guide to Making Japanese Embroidered Thread Balls

Genre: Nonfiction

Publish Date: 2012

Pages: 199

Summary: An in-depth study of Temari; embroidered thread balls that are symbols of friendship and good luck in Japan, originally created as toys for young children and now are miniature works of art. Includes their origin, how they were made in the beginning  and to make the balls now, teaches the various embroidery techniques used to decorate them, lesson plans for teaching others in a class setting using the book, and more diagrams than you can shake a stick at. Contains full color photographs and practice projects, as well as how to create your own original designs. Complete bibliography and source guide for gathering materials is included. Includes some Romanji (English characters for Japanese words) in describing the embroidery aspect of the craft, but everything is set forth in plain English. Meant for people of all levels of craftiness, including the complete novice and the expert: the author caters to both in this text.

Headings: 1. Fancy work–Japan 2. Embroidery–Japan 3. Decorative balls–Japan

Appeal: detailed, artistic, informative, exotic, green (recycling), history, arts and crafts, math-based, geometry, unique, toys, accessible

Top Three Terms: Accessible, informative, artistic

Similar Nonfiction:

  • Japanese Sashiko Inspirations by Susan Briscoe (2008) For those who are interested in learning other Japanese techniques, Sashiko is a intricate type of embroidery or quilting completely done with one simple stitch. The motifs used here are also applicable to the temari balls and can also used as home decor. Even if you are just curious, the pictures are a pleasure to look at and may inspire you to try something new.
  •   Japanese Braiding The Art of Kumihimo by Jaqui Carey (1997, spiral bound in 2009) Although originally used as the lacing to samurai armor, kumihimo can be used in home furnishings, jewelry and fashion, much like the other crafts mentioned so far. This little book has all the details on the materials to how to make several of the basic braids, though this is not the end all be all on the topic. Full of diagrams, this is a good place to start.
  • Kanzashi in Bloom: 20 Simple Fold and Sew Projects to Wear and Give by Diane Gilleland (2009) Kanzashi refers to the hairpins worn by geisha, and is also the name given to pretty little flowers made of folded fabric that often make up the decorations for the hairpins. Full color photographs and diagrams teach the novice how to make several kinds of flowers and how to use them. Kanzashi flowers can be used for jewelry and fashion purposes, as well as for home decor. Just about the only book on the topic in English.
  • Bonus Nonfiction: Women of the Pleasure Quarters The Secret History of the Geisha by Lesley Downer (2001). A detailed history of Geisha from those who were and are a part of the ‘flower and willow’ world. Contains photographs and a glossary of terms used by the community. Included because the crafts talked about here also play a role in the culture. Interesting for those who want to really know what the geisha were about.

Similar Fiction:

  • Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (1997). A fictional memoir of a young girl who is pulled into the ‘flower and willow’ world of geisha and how she tries to live her life. Similar to Pleasure Quarters because of its detail and poignancy. One of the few books on the topic because of the secrecy surrounding the geisha world.
  • The Ronin’s Mistress by Laura Joh Rowland (2011) A fictional answer to  the historical occurrence that was the 47 Ronin is presented in book 15 of the Sano Ichiro mystery series. Another view point on Japanese culture presented through the eyes of men. Replete with detail, readers will be pulled into a forgotten time.
  • The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu (Tyler Translation 2001) The original novel of Japanese court life in the 10th and 11th century. For those who love history with a touch of romance or are curious about another culture.

Name: Jennifer

V for Vendetta

October 24, 2012

Author: Alan Moore

Title: V for Vendetta

Genre: Graphic novel, book to movie, comic books

Date Published: Nov. 2005

Pages: 256

Setting: Alternative England

Time Frame: The near future

Series: N/A

Summary: In a different world and a Totalitarian England that never was, a young woman, Evey, is rescued by ‘V’, a charming and mysterious vigilante who stands for the downfall of the government’s tyranny and shows her a new and different way of thinking and living.

Headings: Vigilantes, Dystopias, resistance to government, human experimentation in medicine, Totalitarianism, Fascism, revenge, hope

Appeal: dark, grim, bleak, dramatic, suspenseful, thought-provoking, realistic art style, antiheroes, intricate, world-building, gritty, character-driven

Three Best Descriptions: Character-driven. bleak, suspenseful

Similar Fiction Authors:

  • The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (1996) Located in an alternate Oxford, England, young Lyra must discover why local children are being kidnapped and why they are being severed from the Daemons that form part of themselves. (medical experimentation, suspense, world-building, steampunk, teens and adults)
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (2008) In a post-apocalyptic North America known as Panem, a lottery is held every four years to select a boy and a girl from each of its twelve Districts to participate in the widely broadcasted and gladiatorial Hunger Games; in order to prevent revolution. (world-building, character-driven, scifi, bleak, teens)
  • 1602 by Neil Gaiman (2004) In an alternative England, familiar Marvel comic book characters step into new roles in the court of Queen Elizabeth and have to deal with many trials (GN, historical, superheroes, teens and adults)

Similar Nonfiction Authors:

  • The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt (2004) A political analysis dealing with Totalitarianism through its many phenomenas in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia in the 19th century. In depth study for those who need a definition of the way of thought. (antisemitism, social movements, historical writing)
  • Persepolis: the Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi (2003) An autobiographical  and child’s eye view at life under the Islamic Revolution. (GN, memoir, historical writing, family and relationships)
  • Doctors from Hell: the Horrific Account of Nazi Experiments on Humans by Vivian Spitz (2005) Unpublished photos and documents from the Nuremburg Trials during the Holocaust (historical account, ethics, 20th century)

Name: Jennifer Palermo

The Apothecary Rose

October 17, 2012

Author: Candace M. Robb

Title: The Apothecary Rose

Genre: Historical Mystery

Publication Date: 1993

Number of Pages: 256 pages

Setting: Great Britain

Time Period: 1363

Series: Owen Archer Mysteries, 1

Plot Summary: Owen Archer,  a former Captain of the Archers, turned spy and masquerades as an apothecary apprentice; all in order to discover who murdered two pilgrims at York and for what reason.

Subject Headings: Archer, Owen, 14th Century, Civilization-Medieval- England

Appeal Terms:

suspenseful, murder investigation, authentic, tangled relationships, detailed settings, poison, 14th Century England, religion, Medieval culture, pilgrimages

3 Best Appeal Terms:

  • suspenseful
  • authentic
  • detailed

Similar Fiction Authors:

  • The Nightingale Gallery by P.C. Doherty;1991 (historical mystery series, Medieval Great Britain)
  • The Last Templar by Michael Jecks; 1995 (14th Century, historical murder mysteries, Knights Templar)
  • A Shrine of Murders by C. L. Grace: 1993 (15th Century Great Britain, woman protagonist, Medieval murder mystery series)

Similar Nonfiction Authors:

  • The Lust for Blood: Why We are Fascinated by Death, Murder, Horror and Violence by Jeffery A. Kottler; 2010                                                                                                 For those readers who say “why am I reading murder mysteries when I am squeamish about blood?” you aren’t alone. This scientific book takes a hard and gritty look at why people continue to be infatuated  with blood and violence, starting with the gladiators of Rome all the way to popular culture figures such as zombies and vampires. (science, gritty, from the ancients to contemporary times)
  • Dead and the Virgin Queen: Elizabeth I and the dark scandal that rocked the throne by Chris Skidmore :2011                                                                                              For readers that like to know if any of these murders were even possible, try some true crime from the 16th Century. Written as an exploratory study of the death of Anne Robsart using forensics, science and history buffs should enjoy this little hidden gem (16th Century Great Britain, true crime, journalistic, compelling)
  • Royal Blood: Richard III and the Mystery of the Princes by Bertram Fields: 1998                                                                                                                                                         Here’s another forensic mystery that might change the history books. This one has no resolution, but for those who like cold cases, this is bound to be interesting.  (true crime, 15th Century Great Britain, forensics)

Name: Jennifer Palermo