Posts Tagged ‘exotic’

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


October 24, 2012


Author: Marjane Satrapi

Genre: Graphic Novels; Autobiographical stories; Women’s Lives

Publication Date: 2005

Number of Pages: unpaged

Geographical Setting: Iran (present day)


Plot Summary:  A multi-generational group of Iranian women gathers after a meal to share a cup of tea and raunchy stories.  In this book, Marjane Satrapi reveals a glimpse into the world of the women in her life.  These compelling stories of sexual exploits range from humorous to sad.  Despite the fact these women come from an exotic country, the stories are accessible, engaging and full of issues that arise in the lives of most women, regardless of era, country, and culture.

Subject Headings: Family; Friendship; Marriage; Women; Sexuality; Interpersonal relationships;

Appeal:  Thought-provoking; Humorous; Reflective; Character-driven; Accessible; Conversational; Engaging; Spare; Nostalgic; Issue-oriented; Exotic; Introspective;Realistic; Bleak

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Exotic; Humorous; Realistic;

Three fiction read-alikes:

Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea (Islamic county, Women’s lives, Sexuality)

Four young women navigate the complex line between today’s modern culture and the more traditional one of their parents and their land.

Laughable loves by Milan Kundera (Character-driven; Spare; Exotic)

A collection of short-stories revolving around the sexual games and fantasies of middle-class Central Europeans.

Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros (Character-driven, Spare, Reflective)

Family secrets unfold and sibling rivalries flare during intergenerational vacations involving road trips from Chicago to visit relatives in Mexico.

Three related non-fiction titles:

 Unlikely by Jeffrey Brown (Graphic novel, Interpersonal relationships, Autobiographical)

In this autobiographical graphic novel, Jeffrey Brown bravely shares the compelling story of his first sexual relationship and eventual breakup.

 Reading Lolita in Tehran: a memoir in books by Azar Nafisi (Iran, Women)

This is a compelling true story of a group of women in Iran, who risk their lives for the love of literature.

Passionate uprisings: Iran’s sexual revolution by Pardis Mahdavi (Iran, Sexuality)

Told from the unique point of view of a Westerner born of Iranian parents, this book explores the sexual revolution and extreme risks taking place in Iran today.

Name: Shira

We Can Remember it for you Wholesale

October 17, 2012

We Can The Collected Works of Philp K. Dick Volume 2Remember it for you Wholesale: The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick Volume 2

Author: Philip K. Dick

Genre: Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Books to Movies

Publication Date: 1987

Number of Pages: 381

Geographical Setting: The not so distant future, variety of locals

Series: The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick (Volume 2)

Plot Summary:  One of the important names in the Science Fiction genre, Philip K. Dick’s influence has reached beyond the printed word and onto the big screen.  This is a collection of short stories dating from early in his career, 1952 -1955.  The stories in this volume read like Twilight Zone episodes.  He is somehow able to create believable worlds, with compelling characters, and in-depth plots, complete with twists that leave readers thinking, in the same number of pages as a single chapter in some novels.  These chilling stories, mostly set in the not so distant future, take place in a variety of locals including Chicago, Earth, and other planets.  The stories in this collection cover a variety of topics, including, but not limited to the importance placed on modern convenience, ethical responsibility, and time travel.  Contained in this volume is the short story, We Can Remember it for you Wholesale, which is the basis for both the 1990 and 2012 Total Recall movies.

Subject Headings: Futurism; Speculative fiction; Short stories; Stories to film; Aliens; Technology; Interpersonal relations; Science fiction; Time travel;

Appeal:  Thought-provoking; Descriptive; Chilling; Plot twists; Accessible; Conversational; Engaging; Atmospheric; Flawed; Issue-oriented; Exotic; Introspective; Fast paced

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Thought-provoking; Chilling; Engaging;

Three fiction read-alikes:

The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke by Arthur C. Clarke (Science fiction; Short stories; Story to film)

A collection of thought-provoking stories from one of Science Fictions biggest names, this collection includes “The Sentinel”, the basis for the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, and stories not found in other collections.

A Sound of Thunder and Other Stories by Ray Bradbury (Books to movies, Science fiction, Short stories, Thought-provoking)

A collection of 32 thought-provoking stories that explore the depths of humanity by the genre defying Ray Bradbury.  The title story was adapted for screen in 2005.

Robot Dreams by Isaac Asimov (Science fiction, Thought-provoking, Technology)

A collection of 21 thought provoking stories involving technology and humanity’s future from one of Science Fictions biggest names.

Three related non-fiction titles:

You are not a gadget: a manifesto by Jaron Lanier (Speculative, Technology, Social aspects)

Many people today worry about how social media, such as Facebook, is changing society.  In this book Jaron Lanier, a computer scientist, discusses his opinions on how current computer technology is changing society and where it will take us in the future.


Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 by Michio Kaku (Speculative, Technology)

This book discusses technological innovations, and speculates how these innovations will influence humanity in the future.

This will change everything: ideas that will shape the future by John Brockman (Inventions, Social prediciton)

New ideas are dreamed, new inventions are created every day, but which ones will change the way we live.  This book contains the opinions of 130 scientists about what innovations will come to pass and have the greatest impact on humanity.

Name: Shira

Mama Black Widow

August 15, 2012

Author:  Iceberg Slim

Title: Mama Black Widow: A Novel

Genre: African-American, Urban Lit, GLBTQ

Publisher/Publication Date:  Old School Books, 1998

Number of Pages:  240

Geographical Setting:  Southside Chicago

Time Period:  1930s-1970s

Plot Summary:  Mama Black Widow tells the tragic tale of Otis Tilson, a 40-year-old gay drag queen living on Chicago’s south side during the racially turbulent 70s.  Much of the novel is told in a realistic way by Otis about how his family moved to Chicago from the south in the 1930s, and the hard times they had to endure from then on.  Most of the novel is spent examining Otis’s mother “mama,” a vile, manipulative, downright evil woman who basically destroys every member of the Tilson family.  She drives her husband away, coerced one of her daughters into prostitution, and a lot of innocent people suffer greatly by her hands.  The author of this novel, Iceberg Slim (former pimp) writes in a way that is both shocking and insightful.  The language is often blunt, candid, and very, very offensive.  Sex scenes are described in explicit detail, and tone often changes from jovial to deadly serious.  Issues such as integration, trade unions, Chicago’s underground gay scene, police brutality, and hatred for the white man are discussed at length throughout the novel.  Slim even admits in the introduction that he is not the greatest writer, but he writes for the common people, and “tells it like it is.”

Subject Headings: Chicago (Southside)–Police (Brutality)–House of Corrections–Plantations–Trade Unions–Black Power–Bars (Gay)–Drag Queens–Cross-dressing–GLBTQ–Pimps–Drugs–Guns–Prostitution–Religion–False Preachers–Sex–Erotica–Rape–Pedophiles–Martin Luther King, Jr.–Street Cars–The El

Appeal: Realistic, Shocking, Character-Driven, Blunt, Candid, Erotic, Frantic, Intense, Dramatic, Serious, Political, Steamy, Graphic, Comical, Gut-Wrenching, Tragic, Sad, GLBTQ, Sexy

3 Appeal terms that best describe this book:  Serious, Steamy, Graphic

3 Similar Non-Fiction works and authors:

Soul on Ice, Eldridge Cleaver

This non-fiction memoir by Eldridge Cleaver will appeal to Iceberg Slim fans for its ability to shock, outrage, and question the readers’ ideas of what it means to be black in America.  His memoir is both sincere, raw, and very engaging.  He says at one point, “I’m perfectly aware that I’m in prison, that I’ve been a rapist, and that I have a higher Uneducation.”  Cleaver made indeed be too offensive to some, but he always savagely honest.  He tells the truth and he knows it.

Manchild in the Promised Land, Claude Brown

Claude Brown is a young, streetwise criminal growing up in Harlem in the 1940s and 50s.  This novel does an excellent job of describing northern black ghettos in New York in a turbulent, thrilling way.  Everything from pimps, drugs, street vendors, local shop owners, police brutality, gangs, sex and violence, and the gay underground are discussed in this book.  This book is however, quite inspiring and affirmative because Claude Brown is one of the lucky few who “made it” in this brutal world.

Out and Proud in Chicago: An Overview of the City’s Gay Community,  Tracy Baim

This handy reference book guides the reader through Chicago’s long and rich history of the gay community.  Those interested in Slim’s descriptive scenes of obscure bars and drag clubs will enjoy the multiple photographs presented within these pages (both in color and black & white).  The book draws on many scholarly, historical, and journalistic sources and covers time periods from pre- WWI to WWII-1960s, and 1970s to the present day.

3 Similar Fiction works and authors:

Blow Your Mind, Eric Pete

The description of the book reads,”In this erotic novel of sex and revenge, Eric Pete takes the consequences of dark sexual fantasies one step further.”  This story is about Tanner Coleman, his wife Bianca, and her wild sister, pumpkin.  When a man named Henry shows up and blackmailed Tanner, their lives are changed forever in a truly twisted way.  Not for the squeamish, this hardcore erotic, steamy, violent novel will appeal to Slim fans for its challenging dialogue, absurd situations, and the pessimistic world view that “we all die, and it will probably be sooner rather than later.”  Very popular!

Drag Queen, Robert Rodi

Considering the titles mentioned above, Rodi’s novel Drag Queen is a bit more light-hearted and comical, but also very engaging.  One review describes it as “The Parent Trap meets Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert.”  Gay attorney Mitchell Sayer has just found out from his mother that he has an identical twin, who happens to live not far from him in Northern Chicago.  The thing is, Mitchell’s brother is now named “Kitten Kaboodle,” gown-wearing, stillet0 strutting star of Tam-Tam’s “All-girl” review.  Furious, Mitchell tries to force Kitten into “the real world,” but Kitten feels she has a few lessons to teach as well.  Comical, insightful, and full of the Chicago landmarks Slim famously paints throughout his books.

Last Exit to Brooklyn, Hubert Selby, Jr.

This graphic, brutally raw novel of characters living in Brooklyn during the 60s and 70s examines the anger and rage of many diverse individuals in a time where justice seemed non-existent.  Considered a classic of modern American writing, this book, as Slim would describe it, “tells it like it is.”  There are crooks, hoodlums, pimps, prostitutes, drag queens, gay men and women, police riots, and strikes galore.  Gritty and serious, blunt and brutally honest.  Truly essential.

The Alchemist

August 13, 2012

Author: Paulo Coehlo; audiobook narrated by Jeremy Irons

Title: The Alchemist

Genre: Inspirational; Spiritual Fiction; Literary Fiction; Fables

Publication Date: 1993

Number of Pages: 177

Geographical Setting: Spain; Egypt

Time Period: Not specified

Series: Not applicable

Plot Summary: Santiago’s reoccurring dream leads him on a quest to Egypt to find treasure and to also discover his personal legend or destiny. Along his journey, Santiago’s commitment to his personal legend is tested on multiple occasions, but he continues to keep choosing his quest. The Alchemist becomes Santiago’s guide through the dessert and his teacher about how to follow his heart and his dreams in the hope that, unlike so many people, Santiago will fulfill his destiny. This is a philosophical and spiritual journey for Santiago and his readers. The Alchemist is a thought-provoking and powerful novel that will cause you to question how your life and actions can impact and change yours and other peoples lives. This book will draw literary fiction, inspirational, and folk tale readers and undoubtedly, will cause all who read it to feel inspired to seek out their own personal legends.

Subject Headings: Alchemists — Fiction. Shepherds — Spain — Andalusia — Fiction. Andalusia (Spain) — Fiction. Fables.

Appeal: mystical, character-centered, gentle, thought-provoking, exotic, detailed setting, literary, thoughtful, lyrical

3 terms that best describes this book: relaxed, philosophical, inspiring

3 Nonfiction Read-a-likes:

The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz.

Don Miguel Ruiz discusses and explicates the paths and steps to take to personal freedom, peace, and unconditional love. A great read-a-like for readers who were inspired by themes in The Alchemist of filling your life with love and peace that will help readers know spiritual enlightenment.

The Awakening Course: the Secret to Solving All Problems, Joe Vitale

This book offers a step-by-step approach to changing your personal and professional transcendence. A thought-provoking, spiritual transformation that will help readers of The Alchemist be able to take their own inspirational journey to help achieve their lives goals.

Andalusia, Eliane Faure

 Andalusia is an illustrated guide to this part of Spain. This book offers a visual understanding to one of the exotic landscape of The Alchemist. You can explore Andalusia customs, the landscape, the major regions, and more.

 3 Fiction Read-a-likes:

Siddhartha, Herman Hesse.

Brahmin or Siddhartha abandons his aristocratic life to embark on a spiritual journey to better understand Indian spirituality. Siddhartha is another inspirational, mystical, though-provoking piece of literary fiction for the reader who enjoys spiritual journeys like in The Alchemist.

The Five People You Will Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom

After Eddie dies in a tragic accident, Eddie reflects upon his life in heaven feeling that his life was uninspired, but five people he knew in life explains the meaning of his life.  The Five People You Will Meet in Heaven is an inspiring, philosophical tale about appreciating and realizing ones purpose in life.

The Tale of the Unknown Island, Jose Saramago

A philosophical fable about a man who knocks on a king’s petitioner’s door to ask him for a boat to use on his voyage. Like the king, the man sparks curiosity and desire in the reader to find out where it is he is journeying too. The Tale of the Unknown Island is a spiritual journey similar to The Alchemist in the sense that both stories are character centered, literary, and inspires readers to explore their relationship to the world.

Name: Alison Kulczak

The Emperor’s Knife

February 15, 2012

Author: Mazarkis Williams

Title: The Emperor’s Knife

Genre: Fantasy Fiction

Publication Date: 2011

Number of Pages: 346

Geographical Setting: Nooria

Time Period: n/a

Plot Summary: Many, many characters come together in the name of the Cerani kingdom – a kingdom that means something different to everyone. In the time of a plague where the sick are marked with patterns before they are turned into zombie like creatures, the Emperor is in dire need of an heir. The Emperor’s brothers have all been put to death by the Assassin (who wields the Emperor’s Knife) to prevent them from fighting one another for power over the kingdom. Only one brother, Prince Sarmin, was saved. Locked up and forgotten in the Castle, Sarmin now might be the only chance for an heir to the throne. The Vizier Tuvaini and the Emperor’s mother have other plans for the throne.Series: First book of the Tower and Knife Trilogy

Subject Headings: Plague – Fiction, Conspiracies – Fiction.

Appeal: leisurely paced, darker, multiple points of view, detailed, political, complex, world-building, character-driven, exotic, mathematical, violent, multiple plot lines

3 Appeal Terms that Best Describe the Book: dark, multiple plot lines, character-driven

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors: Pattern Theory: From Representation to Inference (Oxford Studies in Modern European Culture) by Ulf Grenander (The Emperor’s Knife relies heavily on the use and finding of patterns, the Pattern is the disease in the book), The Assassin Legends: Myths of the Isma’ilis by Farhad Daftary (This book is about the history and myths of Assassins in the Middle East centuries ago), The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time by John Kelly (This book is about the Black Plague in 1347, medieval setting similar to Emperor’s Knife by the medieval setting and an unstoppable plague).

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors: The Runelords by David Farland (both write world-building novels about Kingdoms and Rulers), Hunter’s Run by George R.R. Martin (both write fantasy about rulers and assassins, this book includes violence, flashbacks and being hunted by an overseer like Emperor’s Knife), Rhapsody by Elizabeth Haydon (both write world-building stories about assassins and magic).
name: Jaymie

River of Doubt

November 9, 2011

Author: Candice Millard (Narrated by Paul Michael)

Title: The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey

Genre: Non-Fiction

Publication Date: 2005

Number of Pages: 353 pages (10 audio discs)

Geographical Setting: Amazon River Basin

Time Period: 1912-1914

Plot Summary:   After a defeat in his run for a third Presidential term, Theodore Roosevelt decides to explore an uncharted river in the Amazon river basin with his son Kermit, and a cast of American participants, some who ultimately end up risking the success of the expedition.  The Brazilian government assigns an experienced explorer, Candido Rondon, to navigate and accompany the American group. This expedition faces a myriad of challenges from the Amazon rainforest itself, as well as indigenous Brazilian Indian tribes, lack of proper boats, food and medicine.  The narrator of the audio version does a good job of bringing the different characters to life, including the Spanish/Portugese accents and moving us through the details of this very complex story.

Subject Headings: Natural history; Presidents; Rain forests; Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919; Roosevelt-Rondon Scientific Expedition (1913-1914)

Appeal: adventurous, atmospheric, exotic, accessible, informative, engaging, suspenseful, graphic, vivid, moving, optimistic, academic, steady pacing

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: detailed setting, well-researched, compelling

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

The Lost City of Z by David Grann

This book chronicles the search for the lost adventurer Percy Fawcett, who disappeared on an expedition in the Amazon basin in search of the fabled Lost City of Z.  This is a richly detailed book that illustrates the dangers of the Amazon and is partially based on diaries, like the River of Doubt. This is also a New York Times Notable book like the River of Doubt.

When Trumpets Call by Patricia O’Toole.

This book chronicles the complete ten years after Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency, including his adventures on the River of Doubt and the African safari he went on with his son Kermit prior to his Amazon expedition. This book illustrates that Teddy Roosevelt does not recede in the background after his Presidential term is over and not only is an adventurer and a naturalist, but still remains active in political life.

Fordlania by Greg Grandin

The author, a NYU professor of Latin American History, tells the true yet unbelievable story of Henry Ford in his attempts to transform part of Brazil’s Amazon River basin into small-town America in order to produce rubber for car tires. Until now, the colossal failure of this project had not been well documented, and this Top 10 Business Book of 2009 shows what happens when a capitalist visionary ignores cultures, politics and nature.

 3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

This compelling, richly detailed and atmospheric novel set in the Amazon basin, and specifically near  Manaus ( the end of Roosevelt’s expedition), is character centered with interesting characters, similar pacing as the River of Doubt  and a sense of unease and danger lurking around every page.

The Seamstress by Frances de Pontes-Peebles

This work of historical fiction in 1920’s and 1930’s Brazil, follows two impoverished sisters, who share excellent sewing skills, into their adult lives with the backdrop of the populist revolt of 1930.  This sweeping novel describes the political instability that affected Brazil at this time, while the attention to detail provides a vivid sense of place and a good characterization of the sisters’ relationship.

The Blood of the Wicked by Leighton Gage

This debut novel follows a Brazilian Chief Inspector Mario Silva as he attempts to solve the murder of a bishop while navigating the politically charged local battle between wealthy Brazilian landowners and the landless poor. The author, who lived in Brazil for many years, builds a fascinating character in Mario Silva, vividly evokes a contemporary sense of Brazil’s social and political problems and sets the stage for two additional Mario Silva novels.


The Good Daughter

August 8, 2011

Author:  Jasmine Darznik

Title:  The Good Daughter: a memoir of my mother’s hidden life

Genre:  Adult Books for Young Adults: Autobiographies; Biography; Family and Relationships; Memoirs

Publication Date:  2011

Number of Pages:  324

Geographical Setting:  Tehran, Iran; California

Time Period:  20th century

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary:  Jasmine flies home to attend her father’s funeral.  After the funeral, her mother is unable to stay in her house and needs to move.  Jasmine discovers a picture of her mother in a wedding dress with another man who is not her father.  Her mother at first refuses to discuss the picture or its meaning.  Jasmine returns home and then receives the first of many cassette tapes in which her mother relates the story of her life in Iran, her first marriage and that Jasmine has a half-sister.  It is a bittersweet, moving story that gives the reader an intimate and in-depth look at life in Iran and the hardships faced by women in the country.  Despite the hardships, her mother Lili survived and moved to America and depicts the struggle she had in making a life in America for her and her daughter.  Jasmine relates the difficult relationship she had at times with her mother as Jasmine sought to fit in America and did not want to abide by her mother’s cultural beliefs.  Although this is a non-fiction novel, fiction readers will also enjoy this moving story of mother-daughter and women’s relationships that span several generations.

Subject Headings:  Darznik, Jasmine; Mother and adult daughter; Family secrets; Abandoned children; Women—Iran—Social conditions—20th century; Immigrants; Iranian-American women.

Appeal: Bittersweet, thoughtful, moving, engrossing, leisurely-paced, gritty, atmospheric, multiple points of view, well-developed, flawed, exotic, descriptive, character-driven

3 terms that best describe this book:

Character-driven, gritty, descriptive

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Paula Isabel Allende ( a memoir about a mother-daughter relationship of Isabel and her daughter Paula and their turbulent life in Chile)

Things I have been silent about Azar Nafisi (a memoir about girl growing up in Iran and her struggle with her mother and the women’s choices in Iran)

Lipstick jihad:  a memoir growing up Iranian in America and American in Iran (a memoir of an Iranian who grew up in America but traveled to Iran, this story relates the author’s exotic picture of Iran with the reality of actually living in Iran)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Digging to America Anne Tyler (a story about an Iranian woman and a young American couple who adopted two girls from Korea and their resulting friendship.  It gives two different perspectives on adapting to life in America, yet still keeping the traditions of their culture).

Winter Garden Kristin Hannah ( a story about the strained relationship between two sisters and their mother and the family secret that their mother has kept for years)

The Joy Luck Club Amy Tan ( a story of mother’s and daughters and the disconnect and lack of understanding between the two as the mother struggles to hold on to her Chinese heritage and the daughter struggles to assert herself in America.)

Name:  Sara Bartels



August 3, 2011

Author: Bram Stoker

Title: Dracula

Genre: Horror

Publication Date:  June 2000

Number of Pages: 358; Audio/Playaway

Geographical Setting: Transylvania

Time Period: Nineteenth Century

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: An Englishman goes on a trip to Transylvania to conduct business with an interesting client, Count Dracula. Not soon after the Count shows his true colors. Dracula leaves Transylvania for England for fresh blood. Unexplained incidents begin to happen all over London. It takes some time to figure out what exactly or who exactly is causing all this mayhem.

Subject Headings: Horror, Vampires, Transylvania

Appeal: imaginative, dramatic, haunting, detailed setting, well-crafted, cinematic, violent, intriguing, suspenseful, dangerous, sophisticated, chilling

3 terms that best describe this book:

Exotic, historical details, classic

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

1.         Monsters: a celebration of the classics from Universal Studios – by Roy Milan

This book is for the true fan of horror. This book is filled with movie stills and full-color film posters.  A behind the scene look at some of the most famous monster movies is included in this book. Some of the movies are: Dracula, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, and The Invisible Man.

2.         Werewolves- by Jon Izzard

Staying with the movie monster trend is a book about werewolves and there origination. This book also examines the love/fear relationship people have with the werewolf.

3.         Vampire forensics: uncovering the origins of an enduring legend -by Mark Jenkins

This book is for the vampire lover. This book studies the history of Dracula and ancient civilizations and archeological findings of vampires.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

1.         Interview with a Vampire-Anne Rice

This is another classic vampire story that vampire lovers will like to read. This is the story of a vampire who tells the story of his first two hundred years on earth.

2.         The Historian- Elizabeth Kostova

Upon discovering a medieval book and a bunch of letters, an American girl becomes a historian just like her late father. She investigates the legacy of Vlad the Impaler.

3.         Fledgling- Octavia E. Butler

A young girl suffering from amnesia wakes up to find that she’s actually a middle-aged vampire. Her family has been killed for creating a race of people who are half human half vampire.


Name: Juanita Fisher


February 17, 2010

Author: Neil Gaiman

Title: Stardust

Genre: Fantasy

Publication Date: 1999

Number of Pages: 235

Geographical Setting: Wall (a town in England’s countryside)/world of Faerie

Time Period: The beginning of the Victorian Era, approximately the early 1800s

Plot Summary: Within the safe confines of the world of Wall, Tristran Thorn lives an ordinary life as a shopkeeper’s helper with his father, mother, and sister.  One night, upon witnessing a falling star, Tristran ventures from his home and into the magical world of Faerie to bring the star back to his childhood crush.  Unfortunately for Tristran, he is not the only person who is after the fallen star, who has taken the form of a young woman named Yvaine.  Tristran and Yvaine journey through the world of Faerie while she is pursued by those who wish her harm, and Tristran grows to find that what he thought he wanted may not be what he actually wants.  Gaiman weaves dark humor and intrigue into this coming-of-age tale through quirky secondary characters and a fast-paced plot.  From witches to unicorns to talking trees, Gaiman constructs a vivid fantasy world where fairy tales come to life and mythical creatures live alongside humans.  However, the emotional undercurrents of growing up, finding love, understanding good vs. evil, and finding your place in the world are relatable to young and old, star or human.

Subject Headings: Fairy Tales, English; Quest; Magic; Fantasy fiction, English; Adventure fiction

Appeal: fast-paced, compelling, engaging, well-developed characters, quirky, intriguing, mystical, mythic, multiple plot lines, cinematic, suspenseful, lush landscapes, detailed setting, rural, exotic, foreboding, romantic, playful, menacing, vivid, descriptive, unusual, well-crafted

Three terms that best describe this book: Darkly humorous, Adventure tale, Coming-of-age


  • Magic and Superstition in Europe: A Concise History from Antiquity to Present by Michael D. Bailey: Describes the history of many of the magical elements used in Stardust, such as mythical creatures and magic spells.
  • Finding Atlantis: A True Story of Genius, Madness, and an Extraordinary Quest for a Lost World by David King: The true life tale of a man who seeks to find a mythical land (on a hero’s quest, in a way) despite all odds against him.
  • The Interpretation of Fairy Tales by Marie-Louise von Franz and Kendra Crossen: An exploration of what we can learn about our own psychological experiences through fairy tales, and how the different stories can represent aspects of the human psyche.


  • Beauty by Robin McKinley: A new spin on the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, with a focus on character development, notably strong female characters.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis: A unique fairy tale series for adults and children that shows the battle between good and evil and the creation of a magical world.
  • The Prydain Chronicles: The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander: A boy on a quest finds himself while seeking his goal, with intricate character development, dark themes and overtones.

Name: Jessica Coates