Posts Tagged ‘first-person’

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

June 14, 2010

Housekeeping book cover

Author: Robinson, Marilynne

Title: Housekeeping

Genre: Literary Fiction, Women’s Lives and Relationships

Publication Date: 1980

Number of Pages: 219

Geographical Setting: Fingerbone Lake, Idaho

Time Period: Roughly the middle of 1900s

Series: No

Plot Summary:

Abandoned by their mother who has driven off a bridge to her death, Ruth and her sister Lucille are taken in by their maternal grandmother. After their grandmother’s demise, the girls are temporarily cared for by two spinster great aunts. The great aunts gratefully pass the responsibility of raising the sisters to Aunt Sylvie, one of their mother’s sisters. Aunt Sylvie is a drifter and her “housekeeping” is questionable, both in the eyes of Lucille and the townspeople. As Lucille asserts her independence and makes personal choices, Ruthie becomes attached to Sylvie and finds comfort in her odd ways.

Subject Headings: Loss (Psychology), Family relationships, Survivors of suicide victims, Eccentric aunts, Teenage girls, Sisters, Eccentrics and eccentricities, Mothers – Death, Suicide, Small town life, Grandmothers, Aunts, Loneliness in women, The West (United States), Literary fiction, Psychological fiction, Domestic fiction, First person narratives

Appeal: Densely written, measured, deliberate, detailed, eccentric, insightful, reflective, sympathetic, character-centered, domestic, family-centered, interior, thought-provoking, small-town, first-person, sympathetic, issue-oriented, contemplative, reflective, elegiac, literary, poetic, introspective, thoughtful, frank, detailed setting.

Three Terms that best describe this book: Family-Centered, Detailed, Thought provoking

Similar Authors and Works:

Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Bitterbrush Country: Living on the Edge of the Land by Diane Josephy Peavey. This is a collection of autobiographical essays about her adult life on Flat Top Sheep Ranch as the wife of Idaho Senator John Peavy. Each essay renders a narrative about the spirit of Western rural culture. This compilation is similar to Housekeeping in that it is reflective, insightful, poetic, written in the first-person, and about life in Idaho.

The Boy on the Green Bicycle: a Memoir by Margaret Diehl. At the tender age of ten, the author lost both her brother (in a bicycle accident) and her father (to suicide). Thirty years later, Diehl looks back on this difficult time as part of her grieving process. This book is similar to Housekeeping in that it is family-centered, deals with death and suicide, is about families and relationships, and is thought-provoking.

Written on Water: Essays on Idaho Rivers edited by Mary Clearman Blew. This book is a compilation of essays about “any river” in Idaho. All written by Idaho writers, some of the essays are personal and others are matter-of-fact reports. This book is similar to Housekeeping in that all the writings are set on rivers in Idaho.

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Runaway: Stories by Alice Munro. This collection of short stories focuses on the distinction between societal expectations and the contrasting yearnings and desires of women. This compilation portrays women of all ages dealing with and confronting an array of life’s challenges. This collection is similar to Housekeeping in that it is introspective, insightful, thought-provoking, issue-oriented, and about women’s lives and relationships and small town life.

Amy and Isabelle, by Beth Strout. This story follows a mother/daughter relationship, while Housekeeping is the story of an aunt/niece relationship. This story is similar to Housekeeping in that it is character- and family-centered, issue-oriented, thought-provoking, and contains a family secret.

The Homesman, by Glendon Swarthout. Set in the American West, Mary Bee Cuddy is a self-sufficient unmarried woman. Cuddy’s neighbor, Theoline, becomes mentally unstable and is in immediate need of help. Cuddy volunteers to act as “homesman” for Theoline and three other mentally ill women by accompanying them to Iowa where help is waiting. This story is similar to Housekeeping in that it has sympathetic characters, is character-centered, thought-provoking and issue-oriented, takes place in the West, and mentally ill and suicidal women play prominent roles.

Name: Laona Fleischer

Love @ First Site

March 31, 2010

Author: Jane Moore

Title: Love @ First Site

Genre: Women’s Lives and Relationships

Publication Date: 2006

Number of Pages: 368

Geographical Setting: London, England

Time Period: Present time

Series: Not part of a series

Plot Summary: Jess Monroe is thirty four with a burgeoning career in television, great friends, a wonderful flat and no boyfriend. No boyfriend in the past year, six months, or on the horizon. Her friends decide it’s high time she find love and sign her up for the world of Internet dating. She endures horrible dates, confusing suitors, and a tragic blow to her family. Jess finally faces the reality that the dream relationships of her sister, parents and friends takes real work and sacrifice and whether or not she is ready for a true partner.

Subject Headings: London, Romance, Internet Dating, Relationships, Family, Friendships, Sisters, Illness

Appeal: Humorous, sarcastic, love and romance, sarcasm, linear plot, measured, reflective, first person, measured, sensible, determined, surprise ending.

3 terms that best describe this book: Sardonic, romantic and direct

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

1. I Can’t Believe I’m Buying This Book: A Commonsense Guide to Successful Internet Dating by Evan Marc Katz  (Katz, founder of the world’s first online dating consultant firm, guides a novice through the world of internet dating and what they can expect; internet dating, sarcastic, true life experiences)

2. Vibrational Harmony: Why We Don’t Get What We Want and How We Can by Beverly Nadler (Nadler gives tips on how to recognize defeating self programming and overcome those obstacles to get what you really want; self realization, goals, well being, actionable steps for personal success)

3. Dead-End Lovers: How to Avoid Them and Find True Intimacy by Nina Brown (Brown advises readers on how to ditch the pointless relationships in their lives and how to open themselves up to find a true parter; maintaining relationships, introspective, boundary building, changing illusions)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

1. Manhunting by Jennifer Cruise (Kate sets up a business plan to find the perfect man; dating, love, self-discovery, strong female characters, determined)

2. Reinventing Mona by Jennifer Coburn (Mona is determined to make her crush fall for her, but does her dancing partner Mike have other ideas in mind? surprise love, determined woman, self-discovery, love)

3. Love the One You’re With by Emily Giffin (Ellen wonders if she could have had a better life with her ex than with her husband; self-fulfillment; love, unresolved feeling, self-discovery)

Name:  Michael Ann

Dead Until Dark

June 15, 2009

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine HarrisAuthor: Charlaine Harris
Title: Dead Until Dark
Genre: Horror / Mystery
Publication Date: 2001
Number of Pages: 260
Geographical Setting: Bon Temps, LA
Time Period: Contemporary (2001)
Series: Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Series

Plot Summary: Sookie Stackhouse lives in a small, rural town in Louisiana. She waits tables at Merlotte’s bar. She lives with her grandmother. She has a brother. She is a typical 25 year-old. She is pretty normal, except for the small fact that she has to spend most of her mental energy each day blocking out the thoughts of all the people around her. Sookie is a telepath. When people think dirty thoughts about her, she has to keep a straight face, pretending their thoughts don’t bother her at all. This has led to Sookie not having much of a social life. When the first vampire, since they “came out of the coffin,” walks into the bar, Sookie is intrigued by him. When she talks to Bill Compton, the vampire, and realizes she doesn’t hear his thoughts, she is further drawn to him. Bill has returned to Bon Temps, hoping to mainstream back into human life in his original hometown. Yet right after he moves back, bodies start appearing. All of the bodies are people who either have fang marks or are known to associate with vampires. So how well is Bill going to mainstream into the town when bodies are appearing?

Subject Headings: Louisiana; Vampires; Small town life; Mystery; Fantasy

Appeal: Breakneck, intriguing, series (characters), well-developed, character-centric, mystical, gentle violence, racy, resolved ending, rural, small-town, dangerous, humorous, suspenseful, conversational, first person, unpretentious

Three terms that best describe this book: Exciting vampire mystery, humorous narration, engaging characters

Relevant Fiction:

  • Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, Guilty Pleasures is first in the series (Vampires and other supernaturals all exist, humorous and witty female protagonist)
  • Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series, starting with Bitten (strong female main characters, supernaturals are hidden though, starts with werewolves but world includes vampires, witches, etc, not as funny as Harris and a bit more sexually explicit)
  • Mary Janice Davidson’s Undead series, begins with Undead and Unwed (female vampire is main character, humorous, just made vampire but wants to become top)


Relevant Nonfiction:

  • Poor Man’s Provence: Finding Myself in Cajun Louisiana by Rheta Grimsley Johnson
  • Piercing the Darkness: Undercover with Vampires in America Today by Katherine M. Ramsland
  • True Vampires: Blood-sucking Killers Past and Present by Sondra London

Name: Jill Chouinard

The House on Mango Street

April 15, 2009

Author: Sandra Cisneros

Title: The House on Mango Street

Genre: Latino/a, Hispanic, Best Sellers, Short Stories

Publication Date: 1994 (original publication date 1984)

Number of Pages: 134

Geographical Setting: A poor Latino neighborhood in Chicago

Time Period: Contemporary / early 1980’s

Plot Summary: A Mexican-American girl recalls the year she moved to Mango Street. A poignant coming-of-age story, 12-year-old Esperanza struggles to find a place in her community and in the world. Through a series of short vignettes, she recounts stories about people in her community and her family. As Esperanza begins to dream of living a life different than the one possible on Mango Street and of escaping the poverty and limitations of Mango Street, will she be able learn to accept herself and her heritage?

Subject Headings: City Life; Identity; Home; Friendship; Family relationships; Growing up — Chicago; Mexican-American girls — Chicago; Mexican-Americans; Chicago, Illinois; Coming-of-age stories; Short stories; Bildungsromans.

Appeal: poetic, literary, coming-of-age, evocative, poignant, quick read, urban, first-person, hopeful, intimate, strong sense of place, impressionistic, powerful imagery, accessible, short and vivid tales, episodic, precise prose, unforgettable characters, details of a young Latina growing up in a rundown Chicago neighborhood, Hispanic identity and culture, image-rich language.

Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

The Air Down Here: True Tales from a South Bronx Boyhood by Gil C. Alicea, with Carmine DeSena (collection of reminiscences, teen viewpoint, urban Hispanic neighborhood, optimistic viewpoint, details of inner-city life).

Chicken Soup for the Latino Soul: Celebrating La Comunidad Latina compiled by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Susan C. Sánchez (inspirational stories, details of Latina culture, details of Latina identity, details of Latino family life and community).

City of Dreams by Wilfredo Cruz (details of Latino immigration to Chicago, details of Mexican-American culture and neighborhoods in Chicago).

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez (episodic, sisters move from Dominican Republic to New York City, challenges in adapting to American culture and reconciling cultures, family life, cultural expectations, adjustments to another culture).

How to Be a Chicana Role Model by Michele M. Serros (episodic, narrated by teen Chicana writer , cultural identity and expectations, female identity, finding one’s true identity, urban).

I Sailed with Magellan by Stuart Dybek (immigrant view point, dreams of a better life, coming of age, details of Chicago, poetic, realistic, interlocking stories).

Name: Amy