Posts Tagged ‘emotional’

Thirteen Reasons Why

October 3, 2012

Author: Jay Asher

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why

Genre: YA; Psychological Suspense

Publication Date: January 2008

Number of Pages: 288 pages

Geographical Setting: Most likely a small town in the USA

Time Period: Present Day

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: Clay Jenkins comes home from school one day to a box full of tapes. As he listens to them he hears the voice of Hannah Barker, the girl who took her life a few weeks back. On the tapes are thirteen people who played a role in Hannah’s decision to take her life and she wants them to know why. Each person on Hannah’s list will receive these tapes and have to listen to her story and their role in it. Clay is distraught and can’t believe he is on these tapes, he shouldn’t be on them, he liked Hannah and even had a crush on her. Throughout the book Clay walks the streets of his town to places Hannah mentions on the tapes and listens to the events that lead up to her suicide. Suspensefully written and full of emotions and detailed characters, this book gives you a look at high school life for teenagers, the struggles they face and the real life decisions some teens make.

Subject Headings: Suicide Victims, Rape, Emotions in teenagers, guilt, suicide, interpersonal relations, tapes, high schools, schools, teenage boys

Appeal: Suicide, Relationships, Dual Narratives, High School, Suspense, Realistic Fiction, Drama, Character Driven, Emotional, Present Day, Fast-Paced, Small Towns

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Suicide, Suspense, High School

Three Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1.Dear bully: Seventy authors tell their stories (Sep 2011)

For anyone interested in hearing more stories about bulling and how it affects others. These authors of teen and young adult literature share their own stories about bullying from all sides of the issue.

2. Secrets girls keep: What girls hide (& why) and how to break the stress of silence (Nov 2009) by Carrie Silver-Stock

Thirteen Reasons Why centered around Hannah Bakers’ decision to take her own life and the stresses faced by teenage girls. In this book, teenage girls can find answers to questions about daily life as a teen. Topics covered in this book include; drug use, Internet, making friends, boyfriends, school and grades, depression and more.

3. Teen Suicide (Aug 2011) By Lorena Huddle

The main subject of Thirteen Reasons Why was teenage suicide. In this book we get an overview of the causes, risks, prevention, intervention and how to cope with a suicide.

Three Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1. Looking for Alaska (Mar 2005) by John Green

Like Thirteen Reasons Why, this book tell of a young boy who falls for a girl whose death will leave unanswered questions. Throughout the book, one main character searches for answers dealing with life and death.

2. Why we broke up (Dec 2011) By Daniel Handler

For anyone looking for answers as to why something happened, check out Why we broke up. Why we broke up tells the story of a 16 year old girl who writes a letter to her ex-boyfriend explaining why they broke up. Along with the letter she includes a box of items that will help tell the story and why the relationship ended. In Thirteen Reasons Why, Hannah gives tapes to the people who played a part in her decision to take her life. She tells her story and reasons why through the tapes.

3. Hate List (Sep 2009) By Jennifer Brown

After the school shooting by her boyfriend, Valerie realizes that the people targeted during the shooting were on the Hate list. A list she helped create with her boyfriend. Now she is struggling with the last year of high school and her relationships with those around her as she tries to deal with feelings of guilt and her role in the shooting. Like Thirteen Reasons Why, there was a list and the people on this list played a role in the decision to take a life.

Name: Madison Gailus

Mom’s Cancer

April 18, 2012

Author: Brian Fies

Title: Mom’s Cancer

Genre: Graphic Novel

Publication Date: 2006

Number of Pages: 115

Geographical Setting: New York

Time Period:  2011

Series (If applicable):

Plot Summary: Cancer is never an easy subject to discuss but in this honest graphic novel, Mom’s Cancer discusses one family’s experience with lung and brain cancer. Brian uses his art to be straightforward with his reader about the hardships that him and his family members dealt with after learning about his mother’s cancer.  Written from the words of his journal, Brian turned the text into bold and moving illustrations. His art is bold, reflective and thoughtful. His ability to capture emotion on a page is memorizing as the reader will captivated from image to image.

Subject Headings: Autobiographical Comic Book, Relationships, Graphic Novels, Family, Science Fiction

Appeal: Cancer, Family and Relationships, Memoir, Quick Pace, Thought provoking, Character Driven, Moving, Candid, Honest, Emotional, Powerful, Moving, Well-Developed, Straight-forward, Reflective

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Family and Relationships, Cancer and Graphic Novel

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Mom: 101 Stories Celebrating the Power of Choice for Stay-at-Home and Work-from-Home Moms by Jack Canfield. This non-fiction novel contains 101 stories from mothers who have all made the choice to be a stay at home mother or work from their home all while raising a family. These high-performing women have become powerful mothers who write from the heart about trying to be “perfect” for their children and themselves. This is a great book club book and empower all women who strive to want something better for themselves and their families.

            Stitches by David Small. David awakes from an operation to discover he can no long talk. It isn’t until several years later at the age of 14 that he finds out he had cancer and was not expected to make it through the night. This award-winning child’s author and illustrator recreate his childhood events in a painful, highly anxious and painful story.

The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Lacks. This novel takes a look at an African American southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors.  Henretta became the first “immortal” human to have her cells grown in culture and with the help of her cells, the polio vaccine, secrets of cancer viruses and the atom bomb’s effects were all developed although she has been deceased for more then 60 years. Rebecca Skloot takes a look at her life before and after she became known as HeLa. A well researched novel that will bring numerous topics to be discussed around book club members and family alike.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

What We Keep by Elizabeth Berg. A heartwarming novel about the relationship between both mothers, daughters, sisters and friends. It portrays evolving family dynamics, choices and changes. The novel flips back and forth between two perspectives; 12 year old Ginny who experiences abandonment of her mother along with 47 year old Ginny who is flying to visit her mother who she hasn’t seen in 35 years. Ginny learns how to confront painful choices that occurred in her life as well as surprising truths about the people she thought she knew best. A gripping tale depicting grudges, forgiveness and the importance of having a mother-daughter relationship.

The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause. Zoe’s mom is dying of cancer, her father id distracted and her best friend moved away. She feels utterly alone until she meets Simon, who wants to avenge his own mother’s death which was over 300 years ago. Simon is one of the undead, a vampire, seeking revenge for the gruesome death of his mother three hundred years before.  Does Simon ask Zoe to help him with his chase or does she have to suffer forever? The point of you alternates between Zoe and Simon allowing the reader to draw close to each character. This does have a different spin on romance between humans and vampires showcasing that life is valuable and should be lived or move on to the next stage of their life.

Our Cancer Year by Harvey Pekar. A novel about a man named Paul Giamatti who finds out he has lymphoma and must begin chemotherapy. This graphic novel does a wonderful job discussing the struggles that families go through when dealing with the news. It emphasis’s the energy to survive not just cancer but the treatment as well. It’s a gripping tale that will embrace cancer and the troubles it brings to both its patients and their family members. The tone is soft, encouraging and insightful.

Zami: A New Spelling of My Name

April 4, 2012

Author – Audre Lorde

Title – Zami: A New Spelling of My Name

Genre – Women’s Lives & Relationships, GLBTQ

Publication Date – 1982

Number of Pages – 256

Geographical Setting – New York City

Time Period – 1950s

Series – N/A

Plot Summary – Renowned poet Audre Lorde portrays her life and loves in this self-proclaimed ‘biomythography.’ Lorde’s book gives a firsthand account of what it means to be a black lesbian in the 1950s.  Enlightening, honest, and downright depressing at times, Zami tells the story of Lorde’s childhood and her less-than-graceful transition into adulthood, all the while attempting to define herself in her own terms.  Using her personal life experiences, Lorde provides the reader with a heartfelt portrayal of what a woman must deal with when battling prejudices against three identities which define her, being African American during a time of rampant racism, being a woman during a time of sexism and strict gender roles, and being a lesbian during a time in which the identity was hardly recognized yet certainly ostracized.

Subject Headings – Gay & Lesbian ; Autobiographical Fiction; Lesbian Fiction; Feminist Theory; Women’s Studies; Coming of Age; New York City; Self Discovery

Appeal – Articulate; Thought Provoking; Powerful; Poetic; Descriptive; Emotional; Honest; Lyrical; Fast-Paced; Introspective; Entertaining; Romantic

3 Appeal Terms That Best Describe the Book – Emotional; Powerful; Honest

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works –

Back Then: Two Lives in 1950’s New York (Anne Bernays): The two authors each give their account of coming to age in New York City during a time of various social revolutions, McCarthyism, and the Cold War.  Readers who enjoyed the historical and geographical aspects of Zami may enjoy this different perspective of growing up in New York City.

Voices of Freedom: An Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement from the 1950s through the 1980s (Henry Hampton): This book serves as an oral history of the Civil Rights Movement, beginning in 1954.  Readers who wish to know more about race relations in the 1950s may enjoy this historical work.

Full Frontal Feminism:  A Young Women’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters (by Jessica Valenti): Serving as a comprehensive overview of feminism and feminist issues, this book discusses health, reproductive rights, violence, and education from a feminist perspective.  Readers who enjoyed the feminist aspect of Zami and wish to have a better understanding of feminism and its roots will likely enjoy this book.

3 Relevant Fiction Works –

Black Like Us: A Century of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual African American Fiction (Various Authors): This book is a collection of fiction authored by African American lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals.  Ranging from the Harlem Renaissance to the gay liberation movements, this is a comprehensive compilation of 20th century GLBTQ literature.  Readers who wish to learn more about homosexuality within African American culture would likely enjoy this read.

The Bluest Eye (Toni Morrison): A classic coming of age story, this novel deals with a young African American girl’s obsession with attaining white standards of beauty.  Raising questions of race, class, and gender, this novel would interest readers who wish for another story of an African American attempting to grow up in a ‘white’ world.

The Beautiful Room is Empty (Edmund White): This novel is about a young gay man attempting to come to terms with his homosexuality during two very different eras: first in the conservative and restrained 1950s and later in the open and experimental 1960s.  Readers interested in another novel portraying the various struggles homosexuals faced in the 1950s and 60s may enjoy this book.

Name: Katie Midgley

Heaven is for Real

March 28, 2012

Author: Todd Burpo

Title: Heaven is for Real

Genre: Spirituality and Religion

Publication Date: November 2, 2010

Number of Pages: 163

Geographical Setting: Nebraska

Time Period: Present Day

Plot Summary: Heaven is for Real tells Colton Burpo’s story of experiencing Heaven during an emergency appendectomy.  It all started as a bad case of the flu in which Colton, three years old at the time, could not stop throwing-up.  When Colton’s symptoms had not pass within 48 hours, Todd and his wife Sonja knew it had to be something more serious.  They rushed their son to the hospital and after many tests discovered that Colton was suffering from a burst appendix, causing a steady leak of acid into his small body.  Months after his surgery, Colton mentions to his parents that he remembers the angels singing to him at the hospital, and this is only the beginning of what he experienced.  Heartwarming and compelling, it is hard not to fall in love with Colton Burpo, but more importantly this book will leave you wondering if Heaven is for real.

Subject Headings: Burpo, Colton, 1999-; Four-year-old boys — Nebraska — Biography; Heaven (Christianity); Near-death experience — Religious aspects — Christianity; Christian life — Nebraska; Eschatology, Christian

Appeal: compelling, heartwarming, inspirational, thought-provoking, fast-paced, humorous, engaging, best-seller, small-town, conversational, emotional, captivating

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: heartwarming, inspirational, thought-provoking

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

  1. Just Who Will You Be?, Maria Shriver.  Philosophical and inspirational, Shriver has a similar writing style to that of Todd Burpo.  This book is about her experience of giving up her job at NBC and discovering what is most important about oneself.
  2. Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, Mary Roach.  Engaging and humorous, this quirky read is the perfect blend of skepticism and a sincere desire to know about life after death.
  3. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, Carl Sagan.  This book provides an argument for the role of scientific thought in our society and how it competes with spirituality.

3 Fiction Works and Authors

  1. The Ice Queen: A Novel, Alice Hoffman.  After surviving a near-death experience, a small town librarian finds herself in a love affair with a most unlikely partner.
  2. A Bend in the Road, Nicholas Sparks.  Heartwarming and homespun, this story is about finding happiness after the loss of a loved one.
  3. The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom.  Inspirational and psychological, this book explains the meaning of Eddie’s life through his encounters with five people in heaven.

Name: Erin Shinneman

Sophie’s Choice

March 21, 2012

Author: William Styron

Title: Sophie’s Choice

Genre: Literary Fiction

Publication Date: 1979

Number of Pages: 562

Geographical Setting: Brooklyn, New York

Time Period: Post World War II (1947)

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: The story begins when Stingo, a young southerner and struggling author, moves North in an attempt to write the next great American novel.  Upon arrival, he quickly finds himself emotionally and intellectually involved in the tumultuous and often abusive relationship of his neighbors, Nathan and Sophie.  Nathan, a brilliant but manic-depressive man with a very dark side, shortly becomes like a brother to Stingo.  However, things get messy when Stingo finds himself falling for the beautiful Sophie, a young Polish woman with a terrible secret.  When Stingo notices the tattoo of a concentration camp on the arm of Sophie, this philosophical and emotional novel starts to bounce between past and present, as Sophie begins to tell Stingo the story of her tortured past.

Subject Headings: Authors, American; Concentration Camp Survivors;  Dating Violence;  Guilt in Women;  Jealousy in Men;  Jewish Men;  Men/Women Relations;  Suicide Pacts;   Triangles (Interpersonal Relations);  Women Holocaust Survivors.

Appeal: Engrossing, Contemplative, Foreboding, Detailed, Haunting, Bleak, Tragic, Sympathetic, Well-Developed, Character-Centered, Passionate, Emotional

3 Appeal Terms that Best Describe this Book: Haunting, Tragic, Passionate

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works:
Five Chimneys: The Story of Auschwitz (by Olga Lengyel): This memoir provides one woman’s unflinching account of life in Auschwitz- Birkenau.  Lengyel offers readers unbelievable and shocking descriptions of the daily horrors of life in the most famous concentration camp.  Readers who were interested in the historical aspect of Sophie’s Choice will enjoy this read.

Free Yourself From an Abusive Relationship (by Andrea Lissette & Richard Kraus): This work is a guide to recognizing and dealing with abusive relationships.  The work focuses on various stages of domestic abuse and violence, and how to change these relationships or break them off for good.  Readers who were interested in, or identified with, Nathan and Sophie’s abusive relationship might be interested in this read.

How to Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead:  Your Words in Print and Your Name in Lights (by Ariel Gore):  Written by a writer, teacher, and ‘self-made lit-star,’ this book is a fun and useful guide on how to become an accomplished writer.  Combining writing advice with self-promotion and marketing techniques, the aim of this work is to help you achieve the literary success you always dreamed of.  Readers who identify with Stingo’s plight as a struggling author may enjoy this read.

3 Relevant Fiction Works:

The Other Side of the Bridge (by Mary Lawson): This compelling and character-driven novel tells the story of a classic love triangle. Set in Canada in the 1950s, follow Arthur and Jake Dunn as their relationship takes a turn for the worse when they both fall in love with the same beautiful young woman.  Readers who enjoyed the love triangle aspect of Sophie’s Choice would likely enjoy this novel.

Chain of Love (by Anne Stuart): Recovering from an abusive relationship, Cathy Whiteheart has sworn off men completely.  However, when an attractive man begins to pursue her, she finds herself on a romantic journey.  The situation, however, may unravel when her disturbing secret is discovered.  Readers may enjoy this if they were caught up in Sophie’s struggle as an abused girlfriend, as well as her burdensome secret.

Fatelessness (by Imre Kertesz): This historical novel, told through the eyes of a fourteen-year old boy, recounts the daily life of prisoners at Auschwitz.  The boy, placed on a train to Auschwitz for no apparent reason, attempts to make sense of his surroundings as he witnesses countless horrors.  Readers who were interested in the historical aspect of Sophie’s Choice will enjoy this work of fiction.

Berlin: City of Stones

November 27, 2011

Author: Jason Lutes

Title: Berlin: City of Stones

Genre: Graphic Novel

Publication Date: 2001

Number of Pages: 209

Geographical Setting: Berlin, Germany

Time Period: September 1928-May 1st 1929

Series: Berlin Trilogy

Plot Summary: This is the first part of a trilogy that chronicles the lives of several characters as they struggle with their own hopes and dreams along with the larger (and darker) events that are happening around them.  This masterful piece of historical fiction documents the twilight years of the Weimer Republic, as well as the disillusionment of the Germans after World War I and the rise of two different political parties: Communism and National Socialism.  We see how the personal circumstances of some of the characters draw them to one party or another, while others simply try to live out their lives in spite of the events unfolding around them.  The two main characters are Kurt Severing, a cynical and world-weary journalist, and Marthe, a naïve but gifted and insightful art student exposed to the city of Berlin for the first time.  These central figures are only two of the characters who provide and intimate and emotional glimpse into a dark period of history.

Subject Headings: Art students, Journalists, Fascism—Germany, Men/Women relations, Communists, The Twenties (20th Century).

Appeal: Strong sense of place, intricately detailed, dark, compelling, atmospheric, engrossing, historical details, character-driven, cinematic, layered, thought-provoking, sexy, emotional, stirring, vivid.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Compelling, atmospheric, intricately detailed.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman:  For those who are interested in reading more about the Jewish struggle during and after World War II, this Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel does a great job describing the horrific story of the author’s parents fight to survive the Holocaust and how the survivor’s children are affected.

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi: Another nonfiction graphic novel that would appeal to those who like Berlin’s focus on character and its thought-provoking analysis of a society during a specific time in a specific place.  Although this is about the daughter of Marxists growing up in Tehran and therefore has a very different plotline, the historical detail and atmospheric nature of the novel will appeal to those who like these same elements in Berlin.

Before the Deluge: A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920’s by Otto Friedrich:  A nonfiction book that profiles some of the “colorful personalities” who contributed to the social, political, and cultural environment of Berlin in the 1920’s.  A good nonfiction crossover that would appeal to those who read this graphic novel and are interested in the history of Berlin, particularly the years between the world wars.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

V For Vendetta by Alan Moore: Although this graphic novel takes place in the future, it will appeal to those interested in totalitarian regimes and the people who fight against them.  Despite its larger meaning, this will appeal to those who like the focus on characters in Berlin as well its bleak and suspenseful elements.

The Golem’s Mighty Swing by James Sturm: A graphic novel that follows a traveling Jewish team in the early days of baseball, this will appeal to those who like the historical elements of Berlin, the Jewish characters in Berlin, as well as the bittersweet appeal that Berlin carries.

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation by Tim Hamilton:  A classic novel that envisions a dystopic future.  A good crossover for fiction readers or vice versa.  Despite the sci-fi genre that is very different from Berlin, this is a character-centered and profound story that will grip almost any reader.

Giovanni’s Room

November 15, 2011

Author: James Baldwin

Title: Giovanni’s Room

Genre: GLBTQ / Literary Fiction

Publication Date: 1956

Number of Pages: 169

Geographical Setting: Paris

Time Period: 1950s

Plot Summary: With his fiancée Hella away in Spain, David—a twenty-something American living abroad in Paris—moves in with an Italian man named Giovanni and begins a romantic affair with him. David is conflicted about his burgeoning homosexual identity and this conflict grows more intense when Hella returns to Paris. David loves Giovanni, but his conditioning as an American male of the mid-twentieth century precludes him from committing to the relationship and to the truth of his homosexuality. David narrates the story from some time in the future, in a house in the south of France, at which point Hella has returned to America and Giovanni has been sentenced to death for some crime which is revealed near the end of the book. The story thus recounts how David ends up alone, with neither a gay nor a straight companion.

Subject Headings: Homosexuality; Gay fiction; Love triangles; American expatriates—Paris

Appeal: bleak, character-centered, compelling, concise, emotional, first-person narrative, heartbreaking, introspective, melodramatic, psychological, reflective, somber, tragic

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: character-centered, introspective, heartbreaking

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Out of the Past: Gay and Lesbian History from 1869 to the Present by Neil Miller [Comprehensive guide to the history of homosexuality, including information about the time and place of Giovanni’s Room]

Gay Fictions: Studies in a Male Homosexual Literary Tradition by Claude J. Summers [Lit-crit text featuring essays about male homosexual fiction, including one about Giovanni’s Room]

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway [About life as an American expatriate in Paris]

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The Married Man by Edmund White [Love story about gay men set in Paris; tragic, bleak, heartbreaking; protagonist is an American expatriate]

Maurice by E.M. Forster [Ahead-of-its-time depiction of gay romance; examination of inner conflict produced by having homosexual feelings in a time when being gay was socially unacceptable; European setting]

The City and the Pillar by Gore Vidal [First American novel to openly discuss homosexuality; more inner conflict about gay identity; tragic love story]

Name: Brian W.

Kiss of the Spider Woman

November 15, 2011

Author: Manuel Puig, translated from the Spanish by Thomas Colchie

Title: Kiss of the Spider Woman

Genre: Latin American Fiction, GLBTQ

Publication Date: 1978

Number of Pages: 281

Time period: Late 1970’s

Plot Summary: Perhaps one of the best-known works by Argentine novelist Manuel Puig, Kiss of the Spider Woman is a compelling look at love, sexuality, and human desire, as well as the manipulation and victimization of others that can result from this. Told almost entirely in back-and-forth dialogue between two characters, the story takes place in an Argentine prison where two men are incarcerated together. One is Molina, a gay window dresser convicted of sexual relations with a minor. He is self-absorbed, somewhat self-hating, yet still charming and sympathetic. The other is Valentin, a well-spoken and well-educated political prisoner who has dedicated his life to “the cause”. The two slowly, but guardedly, become attached to each other as they bond over Molina’s retellings of fantastical and romantic movies until their feelings result in sexual attraction. Interspersed throughout the novel are moments of stream-of-conscious prose and Puig’s plot twists and revelations exposed through brief dialogues between prison guards and wardens. There are also, seemingly at random, academic footnotes that recite the development of theories discussing the nature and “origination” of homosexuality.  This is a thoughtful, engaging, character-centered novel that is extremely moving and thought-provoking and, ultimately, about friendship and loyalty.

Subject Headings: Gay prisoners, Torture—Argentina, Prisoners—Argentina, Friendship, Loyalty.

Appeal Terms: Compelling, Moving, Thoughtful, Thought-provoking, Controversial, Romantic, Character-driven, Leisurely Paced, Complex, Literary, Emotional, Issue-oriented, Sparse, Engaging, Dark.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Romantic, Controversial, Character-driven

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

West, D.J. Homosexuality.  This is the work that is frequently cited in the footnotes contained in the book.  The footnotes are such that a reader is intrigued by the practice of psychoanalysis, even if they do not agree with it, and may want to learn more, starting with the book that Puig cites throughout the novel.

Freud, Sigmund. Three Case Histories.  Despite the controversy surrounding Freud’s theory, he is still the founding father of psychoanalytic theory, and he is featured prominently in Kiss of the Spider Woman.  This particular work is both fascinating and easy to read.  Freud should be read at least once by anyone, and this novel makes the reader want to pick up Freud’s work and see what it’s all about.

Chasteen, John Charles. Born in Blood & Fire: A Concise History of Latin America (3rd Ed.).  Readers may want to learn more about the history of Latin America after reading this novel.  It alludes to the political climate of the time but only in the way it affects the two main characters.  This is perhaps on purpose, for the novel leaves the reader wanting to learn more about the history of Latin America, specifically Argentina.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Borges, Jorge Luis. Collected Fictions.  Borges is considered to be one of the most influential Argentine authors and is known for his short fiction.  NoveList calls him “a seminal figure in the magical realism movement”, Borges blends fantastical elements with reality.  This is similar to the way Molina in Kiss of the Spider Woman tells fanstastical and romantic stories to pass the time in prison.  Molina’s stories are as much a part of the novel as the story of the two men in prison, so readers may also enjoy Borges’ magical realism.

Llosa, Mario Vargas.  The Feast of the Goat.  This Peruvian author, much like Puig, explores the darker side of human nature, but thoughtfully and with insight.  Also like Puig, his novels are often political and violent and contain elements of magical realism.  A little more stylistically complex than Kiss of the Spider Woman, this author writes thoughtful and haunting books that readers who liked Kiss of the Spider Woman will appreciate.

Marquez, Gabriel Garcia.  Any of the novels written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez will attract readers of Kiss of the Spider Woman.  A Colombian novelist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982, Marquez is also a writer of magical realism and lush descriptions of Latin America.  His work is strongly character-centered and his storytelling techniques are unique and imaginative.

Rebecca C.

Ask Me No Questions

August 25, 2011

Author: Budhos, Marina

Title: Ask Me No Questions

Genre: Multicultural

Publication Date: 2006


Number of Pages: 157 p.

Geographical Setting: New York City

Time Period: Post 9/11/2001

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: A young Muslim Bangledeshi girl named Nadira and her family have lived in America on expired visas for years working, living, and looking for a way to become United States citizens. Then the events of 9/11 occur and suddenly Muslims are considered dangerous and Nadira’s family is under threat from sides. Ask Me No Questions tells the tale of a girl and her family as they face threats of deportation; increased scrutiny from neighbors and the law. This novel provides an intimate and alternate perspective on the United States “war on terror” through the eyes of 14 year-old.

Subject Headings: Freedom, Patriot Act, war on terror, 9/11, Islam, immigration,

Appeal: short chapters, emotional, inspirational, memorable characters, multicultural, , Issue-oriented, relaxed pace, heartwarming, heart-breaking, detailed settings, dramatic, contemporary.

3 terms that best describe this book: Timely, controversial, informative.

3 Relevant Non Fiction Works and Authors

1.)  They were strong and good by Robert Lawson – The author retales how his grandparents helped build the United States

2.) The Ancient Ship by Wei ZhangRecounting the trial and tribulations of three intertwined families over three generations.


3.) Five thousand days like this one: an American family history  by Jane Brox – The history of a family of New England farmers.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

1.) Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier – An Indian tennager in the U.S. deals with non- acceptane from both Indian and American peers.

2.)  The absolutely true tales of a part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie – A young Native American leaves his reservation’s troubled high school to attend a majority caucasian high school.

3.) Journey of the Sparrows by Fran Leeper BussBrother and sister refugees are smuggled into the United States from El Salvador and attempt to start a life in Chicago.



August 17, 2011


Author: Leslie Marmon Silko

Title:  Ceremony

Genre:  Native American Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

Publication Date: 1977, 2006

Number of Pages:  243

Geographical Setting:  WWII Japan, American West

Time Period: 1930s, WWII, post-World War II

Plot Summary: Tayo, a Native American World War II veteran, struggles with coming to terms with the death of his cousin in the war while trying to overcome “battle fatigue.” The story is ripe with flashbacks to the war and Tayo’s childhood on the reservation as well as traditional Laguna stories and tales.

Subject Headings: World War, 1939-1945 –Veterans –Fiction.

Laguna Indians — Fiction

Appeal: densely written, bleak, moving, introspective, character-driven, emotional, details of Laguna life, powerful, realistic, touching, thought provoking, deep, honest, well-crafted

3 terms that best describe this book: moving, character-driven, introspective


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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

House of Rain: Tracking a Vanished Civilization Across the American Southwest – Craig Childs

Just as Tayo’s tribe was being to be “lost” in the white world, this book explores the lost civilization of the Anasazi tribe.

Spirit walker – Nancy Wood and Frank Howell

Native American poetry that draws on tradition and imagery.

Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony: A Casebook – Allan Chavkin

An academic look at Ceremony, including 14 essays that provide more information on Native American traditions.

3 relevant fiction works and authors:

War woman: a novel of the Real People – Robert J Conley

A novel based on the early struggles between the Cherokee and the Europeans. Tribal traditions and beliefs are woven into the story.

Love medicine – Louise Erdrich

Interwoven stories exploring the past and present struggles of Native tribes.

A yellow raft in blue water – Michael Dorris

A more modern look at the hardships of life on a reservation.