Posts Tagged ‘evocative’

The Heat Seekers by Zane

November 16, 2011
 

Author: Zane

Title: The Heat Seekers

Genre: Urban Fiction /African American

Publication Date: 2002

Number of Pages: 320

Geographical Setting: Washington, D.C.

Time Period: Contemporary

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: In addition to the witty dialogue and steamy sex that Zane is known for, The Heat Seekers is also a saga of two strong women who face some serious issues and manage to overcome them. Best friends Janessa and Tempest have all but given up on finding straight, single, good-looking men who are not “freaks.” Out to have some fun one night, they go to a local club to “get their groove on.” As chance would have it, they end up meeting two eligible men who are also best friends. Geren is handsome, available, seemingly perfect, and is very interested in Tempest. Dvonte is a cute and charming “playa” who nonetheless wins Janessa’s heart. Erotic tension builds for Tempest and Geren as they wait to consummate their love, while Janessa and Dvonte are not ashamed to express their desires. As each couple embarks on their different relationships, the drama builds as each confront issues that could threaten their fairy tale romances. Despite the focus on sexual love, at the heart of this novel is the caring relationship these two women have with each other, and their ability to help each other through rough times. This is an entertaining, thought provoking novel that encourages readers to reflect on their own lives and accomplishments. It also has enough humor and steamy sex scenes to satisfy any reader.

Subject Headings: African American, Urban Fiction, Erotic Fiction, Unwanted Pregnancy, Contemporary Romance Appeal: candid, emotionally charged, dramatic, compassionate, humorous, romantic, sensual, erotic, playful, sympathetic characters, well developed characters, evocative, insightful, character centered, steamy, issue oriented, racy, resolved ending, strong language, sexually explicit, steamy, thought provoking, contemporary, urban, accessible, conversational

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: steamy, thought provoking, humorous

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

How Stella Got her Groove Back by Terry McMillan. Like The Heat Seekers, this book features a strong, African American protagonist who embarks on a passionate love affair and provides the reader with a fairy tale ending.

Sweeter than Honey by Mary B Morrison. This is a steamy, urban tale. Like The Heat Seekers, it features a strong female African American protagonist who encounters drama and has to overcome adversity. It also deals with complex, thought-provoking issues.

True to the Game by Teri Woods. This gritty, urban tale is grittier than The Heat Seekers, yet it provides readers with a similar steamy love affair between passionate African American characters. Like The heat Seekers, this novel deals with some of the serious issues facing contemporary young people.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors In Good Conscience: a Practical, Emotional, and Spiritual Guide to Deciding Whether to Have an Abortion by Anna Runkle. Multiple characters in The Heat Seekers deal with unwanted pregnancy, all in different ways. One character deals with a very difficult abortion. This guide will help readers who may be facing the same situation to think their pregnancy through before making a decision.

Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: a Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether To Stay in or Get Out of your Relationship by Mira Kirshenbaum. In The Heat Seekers, Janessa stays in a bad relationship with Dvonte. Readers who are dealing with a similar situation in their lives may find help in this chatty, sympathetic relationship guide.

 Men, Love & Sex: the Complete User’s Guide for Women by David Zinczenko with Ted Spiker. The relationships in The Heat Seekers are complicated and the men sometimes seem like they are from another planet. At the same time, the characters are all having satisfying sexual adventures. This book would be great for readers who want to understand the other sex a little more or simply put some spark into their sex lives.

Name: Meghan Maleski

I Am J

November 9, 2011

Author: Cris Beam

Title:  I Am J

Genre: Realistic Fiction, GLBTQ

Publication Date: 2011

Number of Pages: 352

Geographical Setting: New York

Time Period: Early Present Day

Plot Summary:  J always felt different.  He was certain that eventually everyone would understand who he really was; a boy mistakenly born as a girl.  Yet as he grew up, his body began to betray him; eventually J stopped praying to wake up a “real boy” and started covering up his body, keeping himself invisible, from his family, from his friends, from the world.  But after being deserted by the best friend he thought would always be by his side, J decides that he’s done hiding, it’s time to be who he really is. And this time he is determined not to give up, no matter the cost.  This is an inspiring story of self-discovery, of choosing to stand up for yourself, and of finding your own path.

Subject Headings: Transsexuals, Rejection(Psychology), Emotional problems of teenagers, Identity (Psychology), Friendship, Transgender teenagers, Female-to-male transsexuals, Seventeen-year-olds, Teenagers

Appeal: Character-driven, Issue-oriented, Emotionally intense, easy, dramatic, evocative, moving, thoughtful, inspiring, lifelike, realistic, sympathetic, well-developed, inspirational, though-provoking,
contemporary, urban, engaging

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Character-driven, Issue-oriented, Emotionally intense

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Transitions – A Guide To Transitioning for Transsexuals and Their Families by Mara Drummond

Having a gender identity that conflicts with one’s physical gender is a huge emotional burden. The anxiety, stress and depression that can result from having such a conflict can push a person to the point where everything in life that is held dear is risked to undertake one of the hardest challenges a human being can make: transitioning from one gender to the other. Anyone with interests in transgender and how they deal with the transition should pick up this book.

Helping Your Transgender Teen: A Guide for Parents by Irwin Krieger

According to the author, “Today’s teens have access to a wealth of information on the internet. Teenagers who are wondering about gender identity soon find out what it means to be transgender or transsexual. Parents, on the other hand, know little about this topic. When a teenager declares he or she is transgender, parents fear that their child is confused and is choosing a life fraught with danger. I wrote this book to help parents of transgender teens gain an understanding of this complex subject.” “Helping Your Transgender Teen” begins with the basic information you and your family need.  Another good source for anyone wanting to know more about what J goes through in the book.

Letters For My Brothers by Zander Keig

In today’s fast paced world, the internet can provide quick answers to personal questions. But when an individual raised by society to live, breathe and look at the world with female eyes transitions to male, some of the most enlightening, helpful and profound advice can only come in retrospect. Letter to my Brothers, features essays from respected transmen mentors who share the wisdom they wish they would have known at the beginning of their journey into manhood.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

f2m (the boy within) by Hazel Edwards

School-leaver Skye plays guitar in her all-female Chronic Cramps band. Making her name in the punk/indie scene is easier than FTM (female to male) transitioning: from Skye to Finn, from girl to man. Uncovering genetic mysteries about family heritage tear the family apart. Trans gender identity is more than injections and surgery, it’s about acceptance. Going public, Finn sings ftm lyrics on TV. With a little help from bemused mates and family who don’t want to lose a daughter, but who love their teenager, Finn is transitioning.  Anyone who finds the subject matter of I am J interesting will fall into this book’s story.

Almost perfect by Brian Katcher

Logan Witherspoon recently discovered that his girlfriend of three years cheated on him. But things start to look up when a new student breezes through the halls of his small-town high school. Sage Hendricks befriends Logan at a time when he no longer trusts or believes in people. Sage has been homeschooled for a number of years and her parents have forbidden her to date anyone, but she won’t tell Logan why. One day, Logan acts on his growing feelings for Sage. Moments later, he wishes he never had. Sage finally discloses her big secret: she’s actually a boy. Another realistic portrayal of teens and sexual identity that fans of I Am J will like.

Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger

Angela Katz-McNair has never felt quite right as a girl, but it’s a shock to everyone when she cuts her hair short, buys some men’s clothes, and announces she’d like to be called by a new name, Grady. Grady is happy about his decision to finally be true to himself, despite the practical complications, like which gym locker room to use. And though he didn’t expect his family and friends to be happy about his decision, he also didn’t expect kids at school to be downright nasty about it. But as the victim of some cruel jokes, Grady also finds unexpected allies in this thought-provoking novel that explores struggles any reader can relate to.  Fans of I Am J will find this novel interesting for the emotional journey the main character takes from female to male.

Name: Jason Rock

Songs of Blood and Sword: A Daughter’s Memoir

November 8, 2011

Author: Fatima Bhutto

Title: Songs of Blood and Sword: A Daughter’s Memoir

Genre: Biography, World History

Publication Date: 2010

Number of Pages: 470

Geographical Setting: Pakistan

Time Period: 1933-present

Series (If applicable):
n/a

Plot Summary: The Bhutto family is a politically powerful yet tragic Pakistani family. Fatima is only 14 years old when her father, a Member of Parliament of Pakistan, is murdered outside her family home in a controversial police encounter. Her father’s murder is just one of the many tragedies that haunt her family. Her grandfather, Zulkifar Ali Bhutto, Pakistan’s first freely elected Prime Minister, is overthrown in a coup d’état and executed under the military dictatorship in 1979. Her aunt, Benazir Bhutto,
twice elected and first female Prime Minister was assassinated in 2007. Fatima provides a candid account into her family’s history beginning as feudal landowners to powerful politicians. Fatima searches the globe for friends, acquaintances and others who knew her family to learn more about her family. Songs of Blood and Sword also provides a political history of Pakistan from its formation and independence to present day.

Subject Headings: Pakistan-politics and government, Bhutto family, assassinations, coup d’état, fathers and daughters, Muslim women, international relations

Appeal: Densely written, political, historical details, academic, introspective, candid, descriptive, family-centered, tragic, evocative, authoritative, intimate, dramatic

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Political, densely written, candid

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

1.Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an unexpected life by Queen Noor. Born into a distinguished Arab-American
family and raised among privilege, Lisa Halaby never dreamt she would become Queen of Jordan.  This is her journey as the wife of a moderate, Arab monarch and her new-found role in the political
limelight.  Like Fatima Bhutto, Queen Noor is a strong female who takes on an unexpected political role in an Islamic country.

2.Daughters of the East by Benazir Bhutto. The autobiography of Pakistan’s first female Prime Minister. It is the dramatic story of Bhutto’s upbringing, her ties to the tumultuous political history of her country, and her triumph of becoming one of the most powerful, influential world leaders. Fatima Bhutto’s aunt’s autobiography provides more memoirs of the political family.

3.Pakistan: A Hard Country by Anatol Lieven. Provides an account on 21st Century Pakistan
including the history, politics, environment issues, and government of the country. Pakistan has an important role in Asia with its relationship with the West and fighting against terror, as the most powerful and strongest army with a nuclear power in the region, and a burgeoning population. For those who want to learn more about present day Pakistan.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

1.A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif. Hanif reimagines the conspiracies and coincidences that led to the plane crash that killed dictator General Zia ul-Hag, the man who orchestrated the coup d’état and execution of Fatima’s grandfather, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

2.In Other Rooms, Other Wonders: Connected stories by Daniyal Mueenuddin. Stories of intertwined lives of landowners and their servants and managers, providing a vivid account of feudal Pakistan. The Bhutto’s have long been a prominent family due to their feudal landlord history so this book may provide more of an insight in feudalism in Pakistan.

3. Sadika’s Way: A Novel of Pakistan and America by Hina Haq. Sadika is forced into an arranged marriage to an American first-cousin; however Sadika is picked over for her younger sister to become the man’s wife. Sadika’s failed marriage ruins her and her family’s reputation and her hopes of finding a suitable husband. Sadika chooses to travel to U.S. alone in hopes of escaping the regimented gender roles of her homeland. This first novel provides an insight in expectations of Pakistani women and their culture.

Name: Noelle Swanson

 

The Water’s Edge by Karin Fossum

October 12, 2011

Author: Karin Fossum

Title: The Water’s Edge

Genre: Mystery

Publication Date: 2007

Number of Pages: 227

Geographical Setting: Norway

Time Period: present

Series: 6th in the Inspector Sejer series

Plot Summary:  In Fossum’s haunting sixth novel featuring Inspector Sejer, Ris and Kristine Reihhardt are out for a quiet walk on a Sunday afternoon when they stumble on the body of a young boy left in a pile of leaves.  They also have happened to see a man with a limp walking out of the woods and to his car just minutes before.  Is this man with a white car and a distinct look the killer?  After finding the boy, the couple’s relationship is tested as Ris becomes more and more obsessed by the case while Kristine is disgusted by his morbid fascination.  As Inspector Sejer and his young partner, Jacob Skaar, begin interviewing townspeople, the stark beauty of Norway comes alive and the nature of the tight-knit community is revealed.  Before long, another young boy has gone missing, leaving the entire town edgy, terrified and suspicious of each other.  This time, however, the boy has some serious problems of his own in relation to his single mother that may complicate the case.  With haunting, poetic prose Fossum tells the dark, twisted story through the eyes of the Reinhardts, the killer, and the investigators as the chase down the elusive murderer. This novel is satisfying on many levels; first as an intriguing police procedural, second as a character-centered novel that gets into the minds of many characters, and lastly as a musing on human nature and the meaning of good and evil.

Subject Headings: crimes against children, grief, marriage, murder, murder investigation. Konrad Sejer

 

Appeal: chilling, haunting, atmospheric, character-centered, dark, elegant, compelling, engrossing, intense, bleak, contemplative, evocative, foreboding, psychological, suspenseful, sophisticated, multiple plots, investigative, start, rural, poetic, well crafted, police procedural

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: chilling, atmospheric, character-centered

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Staalesen, Gunnar, The Consorts of Death.  Like The Water’s Edge, this is a police procedural mystery that also takes place in Norway and features a young boy who is connected to a murder.

Holt, Anne, What is Mine.  This novel features a Norwegian police commissioner who leads a murder investigation of the murder of several young children.  Fans of Fossum will enjoy the characterization as the main characters attempt to get inside the minds of the criminals.  Like The Water’s Edge, this is an engrossing mystery with several plot twists.

Edwardson, Ake, Frozen Tracks.  Like The Water’s Edge, this is a haunting police procedural from a Scandinavian writer in which two crimes are connected.  Also like Fossum’s novel, this book features multiple plot lines, one of which gets inside the mind of the criminal.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Holt, Elizabeth, Living in Norway.  This picture book shoes the beautiful landscape of Norway and also talks about the history of the country and the unique character of the Norwegian people.  Fans of Norwegian writers may be interested in learning more about and seeing a visual representation of the setting and landscape that is so important to these mysteries.

Amy Hammel-Zaban, Conversations with a Pedophile, in the Interest of our Children. The Water’s Edge seeks to get in the mind of a pedophile to better understand the affliction and try to show the abuse that occurs early in life which often turns people into pedophiles.  It also features an important scene in which the detectives are interviewing a known pedophile who gives them some vital information.  This book would be helpful for those who wish to gain a better understanding of this affliction after reading this novel.  Like the novel, it also features a first person account of a pedophile.

Rangle, Larry, Crime Scene: From Fingerprinting to DNA Testing- An Astonishing Look at the Real World of CSIThe Water’s Edge features multiple scenes of crime scene investigation and the crime is also eventually solved using forensic evidence.  This book would be great for readers who are interested in learning more of the forensic aspect of the police procedural.

Name: Meghan Maleski

Butcher’s Crossing

September 28, 2011

Author: John Edward Williams

Title: Butcher’s Crossing

Genre: Western / Literary Fiction

Publication Date: 1960

Number of Pages: 240

Geographical Setting: Kansas / Colorado

Time Period: 1870s

Plot Summary: Naïve college boy Will Andrews flees his Harvard education for the wide open spaces of the West, where he hopes to find himself. In the Kansas frontier town of Butcher’s Crossing, Andrews hooks up with a hunter named Miller and ends up bankrolling a buffalo hunting expedition to Colorado. Andrews, Miller and the two other men in their crew endure an arduous journey, from survival mode in the wilderness to the ugly process of killing and skinning buffalo. After a point it becomes clear that hunting buffalo is not just an occupation for Miller, but a dangerous obsession—and Andrews is thrown into personal turmoil as his romantic notions of the West and nature are shattered by the grim reality of their journey.

Subject Headings: Western stories; Revisionist westerns; Buffalo hunting; Frontier life; Coming-of-age stories; Man vs. nature

Appeal: austere, cinematic, coming-of-age, descriptive, detailed, evocative, gritty, intense, physical, realistic, relaxed pace, strong sense of place, vivid

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: descriptive, gritty, physical

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1) The Border and the Buffalo by John R. Cook [Memoir by an actual buffalo hunter that gives a detailed, first-hand account of the buffalo slaughter that occurred in the western territories during this time, as well as other descriptions of frontier life]

2) Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer [Idealistic young intellectual tries to brave the wilderness]

3) The Buffalo Hunters: The Story of the Hide Men by Mari Sandoz [Densely packed history of plains buffalo hunters]

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1) The Morning River by W. Michael Gear [Both a western and a coming-of-age story; about a naïve Harvard idealist who faces gritty hardship in the west; realistic, descriptive, detailed]

2) Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy [Revisionist western, also about a massacre (of Indians rather than Buffalo) and the harshness of wilderness; gritty, intense, descriptive; Butcher’s Crossing often cited as precursor to this novel]

3) Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry [Western about an arduous journey; relaxed pace, gritty, descriptive]

Name: Brian W.

No-No Boy

August 17, 2011

Author: John Okada

Title: No-No Boy

Genre: Multi-cultural, Asian-American

Publication Date: 1957

Number of Pages: 260

Geographical Setting: Seattle, WA

Time Period: 1945, just following World War II

Series: n/a

Plot Summary: 25 year old Ichiro grew up in Seattle, but for four years sat captive, experiencing the horrors of internment camps and prisons. The United States punished Ichiro, as they did countless Japanese-Americans, because he resembled the enemy. Ichiro was a no-no boy, a Japanese-American who refused to fight in WWII. Now, the country he loved and viewed as a beacon of hope has turned its back on him because he did not have the heart to fight a war. Following the end of WWII and his release from prison, Ichiro constantly struggles with shame and regret for his decision. Although Ichiro’s parents represent his biggest supporters, home offers little comfort; Ichiro’s mother believes Japan has won the war and awaits the arrival of Japanese ships to bring the family home. Meanwhile, Ichiro’s internal struggles alter his once bright personality and strong ambition. The only chance for Ichiro to regain his lost identity is through friendship and self-acceptance.
Okada, a Japanese-American, respectfully and accurately depicts the struggles of Japanese-Americans following World War II. The author examines key issues related to immigration including profound conflicts of culture and racism. Okada does so in a detailed and accessible manner. The themes and writing style render this book a timeless resource for any one living, or curious about, the immigrant experience in the United States.

Subject Headings: Japanese-Americans; Japanese-Americans—Mass Internment, 1942-1945; Immigrants–United States; Racism–United States; Post World War II; Japanese-Americans–Family Relations; Suicide; Conflicts of Culture–United States

Appeal: Relaxed, Emotionally-charged, Poignant, Sympathetic, Evocative, Introspective, Issue oriented, Thought-provoking, Character-centered, Historical Details, Accurate, Timeless, Accessible, Intimate, Dialect, Detailed, Flashbacks

Three Terms that Best Describe this Book: Character-centered, Emotionally-charged, Timeless

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:
Farewell to Manzanar: A True Story of Japanese American Experience During and After the World War II Internment by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
(This memoir offers an emotionally-charged account of Japanese-American internment during WWII and the experience of Japanese-Americans following the war. Like No-No Boy, this book offers the perspective of a young Japanese-American during WWII who experiences racism, imprisonment, and culture conflicts.)

Paper Daughter by Elaine M. Mar
(Although the frame of this book differs slightly from No-No Boy because it involves Chinese immigrants in a more contemporary setting, this autobiography manages to accurately and emotionally convey the immigrant experience in the United States. A distinct similarity between the books involves the account of the struggles between an immigrant mother who denies American values and a child who embraces them,)

Looking like the Enemy: My Story of Imprisonment in Japanese-American Internment Camps by Mary Matsuda Gruenewald
(Gruenewald offers an emotionally-charged and accurate description of life in internment camps during WWII. The Japanese-American author offers numerous historical details in an accessible manner. The result is a timeless book about racism, immigration, overcoming adversity, and self-acceptance.)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
(This novel revolves around the tumultuous life of a Japanese-American who has just returned to the Pacific Northwest after being held captive in an internment camp. The novel appears character-driven, issue oriented, and presented at a relaxed pace. Racism represents one of the most thought-provoking issues tackled in the book.)

Color of the Sea by John Hamamura
(This story details the experiences of a Japanese-American man who is torn away from his loved ones after they are placed in an internment camp. The main character deals with a major conflict of culture as he enlists in the US army to carry out a secret mission upon Japan. This issue-oriented and character-centered book offers a timeless account of prejudice and racism. The writing style accessible and detailed.)

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
(This thought-provoking and issue-oriented classic tackles racism, stereotype, and prejudice within a single US community. The plot revolves around the trial of a black man accused of raping a white woman. This is a timeless, coming-of-age story told through the prospective of a young protagonist. The storyline is character-driven.)

In Cold Blood

August 8, 2011

Author: Truman Capote

Title: In Cold Blood: a True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences

Genre: Non-fiction/True Crime

Publication Date: 1965

Number of Pages: 343

Geographical Setting: Holcomb, Kansas

Time Period: November 1959- April 1965

Plot Summary:  In November of 1959, The Clutter family, a prominent, wealthy household of four, were ruthlessly and senselessly murdered.  The story starts on the day of the murder, rightfully titled: The Last to See Them Alive.  It then goes to the two killers points of view describing their flee from Kansas, their childhoods, and their unfeeling emotions towards the crime that they committed.  Dewey, a detective on the case only has little evidence to lead on and the words of a convicted felon informing him that he heard a man talk about planning to rob and kill the Clutter family.  Will he be able to bring the two men to justice?

Subject Headings: True Crime, Clutter Family, Murder Investigation,

Appeal: evocative, descriptive, well-crafted, philosophical, flawed characters, journalistic, compelling, sobering, character-centered

3 terms that best describe this book: tragic, small-town, bleak

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper Case Closed by Patricia Cornwell

This story examines the case of Jack the Ripper and his serial killing that terrorized London in the 1880s.  Using forensic science, research, and insight into the criminal mind, she reveals the true identity of the infamous murderer.  Similar to In Cold Blood, it gives insight into the mind of a murderer.  (detailed, strong sense of place, compelling)

Death Sentence: the True Story of Velma Barfield’s Life, Crimes, and Execution by Jerry Bledsoe   

Bledsoe describes Barfield’s abusive and poverty-stricken childhood and how it led to her killing four people, two of them being her mother and boyfriend.  Similar to In Cold Blood, it discusses the past of a killer and how it lead up to the killings.  (bleak, disturbing, moving)

Helter Skelter: the True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi

This is the inside story behind how Manson was able to make his “family” murder for him and how he was brought to justice. (gritty, descriptive, menacing)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Capote in Kansas by Ande Parks

This Graphic novel tells the fictional story of the trip that Capote took to Kansas with Harper Lee to find out about the Clutter murders.  Similar to In Cold Blood, this novel looks at what it might have been like when Capote researched for his novel. (graphic novel, bleak, disturbing)

The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld

Freud is called to New York to analyze a hysterical woman who escaped an attack from a serial killer, but can remember nothing of the assault.  Similar to In Cold Blood, this story looks at the gritty aspects of a murderer. (gritty, detailed, complex characters)

A Mansion and Its Murder by Bernard Bastable

Sara Jane Fearing’s uncle mysteriously dies after marrying and producing a son.  50 years later, she recounts the scene and her childhood growing up with indifferent parents.  Similar to In Cold Blood, it is the retelling of a suspicious death in a rich family. (intricately plotted, detailed, atmospheric)

Name: Christina Freitag

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

August 1, 2011

Author: Philip K. Dick

Title: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Genre: Science Fiction

Publication Date: June 1996

Number of Pages: 244

Geographical Setting: Los Angeles, California

Time Period: 2021

Plot Summary:

Deckard is a bounty hunter living in California in 2021 after World War Terminus that left the world in rubble with a poisonous dust killing off anyone still left on the planet who does not own a lead codpiece.  As a bounty hunter, he finds and “retires” androids that have deserted Mars and returned to Earth illegally.  In order to find out if they are really an android he must administer an empathy test, but when Deckard fells badly about killing an android he starts to question his own psychological efficiency.

Subject Headings: Androids, Bounty Hunters, Los Angeles, California, Dystopia

Appeal: thoughtful, dramatic, urban, evocative, descriptive, fast-paced, well-crafted, philosophical, flawed characters

3 terms that best describe this book: compelling, bleak, suspenseful

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique by Michael S. Gazzaniga

This book examines the biological, psychological, and highly social nature of our species within the social context of our lives.  It compares the intellectual capabilities between other animals, as well as the human spectrum to find out what makes the human brain unique.  This book could be of interest to Dick’s fans because it explores every aspect of human thinking and actions, which was brought up in the novel.

The World without Us by Alan Weisman

Weisman explores the possibility of how long it would take the Earth to destroy evidence of humankind ever having lived on the planet.  This is the true, nonfiction look at post-apocalyptic world, which fans of Dick’s work should enjoy.

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach

Roach examines what life is like enduring spaceflight on a trip to Mars.  This humorous book discusses the challenges of walking, eating, bathing, and even having sex in an anti-gravity travel through space.  Characters in Dick’s novel moved to Mars after destroying Earth, so readers will find it interesting to see what space travel to Mars is truly like.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Guy Montag is a fireman in a world where fireman start fires rather than put them out.  Even more strangely, they object they set fire to, is books.  This dystopic society wants to keep books and knowledge out of the hands of the citizens.  On one of the fire raids, Montag decides to keep a book and when he goes home and reads it (illegally), he realizes that he will not be able to perform his job anymore.  This is a science fiction novel set in a dystopia future, similar to Dick’s novel.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

In a present day dystopia, the narrator, Kathy, recalls events from her childhood at a Hailsham, a private school for “special” children.  What makes these children special? They are clones and their sole purpose is to serve as organ donors.  Similar to Dick’s novel, this story raises moral questions and takes place in a bleak dystopia.

Foundation and Chaos by Greg Bear

This sci-fi novel is the second in the Foundation Trilogy.  As the robot, R. Daneel Olivaw, organizes to assist in leading humankind through the New Dark Ages there are two major threats to society: a robot revolution and a girl with extraordinary psychological powers.  Similarly, Dick’s novel has characters working with and fighting against androids/robots.

Name: Christina Freitag

Black Hole by Charles Burns

April 13, 2011

Author: Burns, Charles

Title: Black Hole

Genre: Graphic Novel

Publication Date: 2005

Number of Pages: 368 Pages.

Geographical Setting: Seattle, Washington

Time Period: 1970s

Series: Collection of separately issued comic books

Plot Summary: High school students in Seattle in the 1970s have normal lives, except for the “bug.” This sexually transmitted disease begins to spread among many of the teens, resulting in disfiguring mutations appearing on the affected teens’ bodies. Though not all are visible, the infected teens that begin to show mutations they cannot cover up are treated as outcasts and resort to living in the wilderness and depending on each other for survival. Unfortunately for them, the recluses begin to disappear, and the teens’ concern for their acceptance by society turns into the necessity to survive.

The frightening black-on-white drawings of the graphics further emphasize the foreboding tone of the book, and aid the fast-paced plot.

Subject Headings: Teenagers — Sexuality; Hallucinations and illusions; Sexually transmitted diseases; Homeless teenagers; Disfigured teenagers; Alienation (Social psychology); Sick persons;
Misfits (Persons); Plague; Dreams; Mutants; Mutation (Biology); The Seventies (20th century).

Appeal: Engrossing, fast-paced, evocative, introspective, multiple points of view, vivid, flashbacks, issue-oriented, layered, plot twists, racy, sexually explicit, strong language, thought-provoking, tragic, stark, bleak, dramatic, intimate, uneasy, earthy, unusual.

3 Terms that Best Describe this Book: Character-centered, haunting, chilling.

Similar Fiction Authors and Works:

Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese: Introspective, multiple points of view, character-centered; an examination of identity, race, and social acceptance.

Daniel Clowes’ Ghost World: Urban, evocative, raunchy; an interconnected story of eight teens and their sexual actions.

Dash Shaw’s BodyWorld: Dystopic, comedic, emotional; a small-town group of teenagers discover a mysterious plant with telepathic results.

Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

David Small’s Stitches: Introspective, haunting, intimate; Small’s memoir of growing up, a story of true self-discovery.

David B.’s Epileptic: Introspective, hallucinatory, shady; a memoir of B.’s youth, focusing on his epileptic brother and the family relationships.

Art Spiegelman’s Maus: Haunting, layered, bleak; a personal look into the horrors of the Holocaust and its effects.

Annotation by Carlen

This Book is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save the World

March 30, 2011

Author:  Marilyn Johnson

Title:  This Book is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians can Save Us All

Genre:  Non-fiction

Publication Date:  2010

Number of Pages:  272

Geographical Setting:  N/A

Time Period:  Present Day

Plot Summary:  The library profession is one that is in a constant state of flux.  Embracing the plight of this profession in renaissance, Marilyn Johnson takes readers on a journey through the, “ranks of information professionals and readers on technology burn-out.”  This collection of twelve essays provides a look at the ups and downs of a profession that is comprised of a vast variety of different people: the obscene bloggers, the tattooed-children’s librarians and couples who quietly (but stoutly) fight the FBI for Intellectual Freedom.  Johnson speaks about taboo topics in a witty, almost lighthearted manner; she gracefully ponders what’s funny about finding poop in the drop box.  In the next essay, she writes about a town library that is considered to be the state’s wealth of historical information, yet it is run by one full time librarian.  Readers are given the opportunity to see library life across the genres: the real life inner workings of a library in a circulation system transfer (horror), special libraries (romance) and libraries without any walls (humor).  Whether you’re a library worker or a library patron, there is an essay for you in Johnson’s collection.

Subject Headings:  Libraries, Blogs, Cybrarians, Workplace, Nonfiction, Patriot Act, Librarians-Humor

Appeal:  compelling, easy, evocative, exuberant, inspiring, unpretentious, eccentric, observant, authentic, inspirational, issue-oriented, smart

3 terms that best describe this book: Eye-opening, Encompassing, Easy

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):
3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

  1. The Dead Beat by Marilyn Johnson:  A wry study of the cult and culture of the obituary challenges public interest in these unique and morbid human-interest stories.
  2. Library: An Unquiet History by Matthew Battles: A history of how libraries began and grew beyond just a place to house books.
  3. A Reader on Reading by Alberto Manguel: In this major collection of his essays, Alberto Manguel, argues that the activity of reading, in its broadest sense, defines our species.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

  1. Day Job: A Workplace Reader for the Restless Age by Jonathan Baird:  This combination of text and illustrations in an unusual format, is guaranteed to furnish some insights, chuckles and a lesson or two about satisfaction in the job market.
  2. Death Loves a Messy Desk by Mary Jane Maffini:  When Charlotte Adams, a professional organizer and occasional sleuth, is hired by Fredelle Newhouse to organize a co-worker’s cluttered desk, she must solve an untidy mystery when the woman behind the mess goes missing, causing workplace tempers to explode.
  3. Allison Hewitt is Trapped: A Zombie Novel by Madeleine Roux:  Maintaining a blog from inside a bookstore where she and five co-workers are trapped during the Zombie Apocalypse, Allison wryly documents the sensational adventures they share while carving their way through ranks of zombies and equally threatening humans.

Name:  Jennifer Hovanec