Posts Tagged ‘graphic’

The Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 1

December 5, 2012

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

Author: Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn

Genre: horror, comic

Publisher: Image Comics

Publication Date: 2009

Pages: 1088

Geographic Setting: Georgia

Time Period: Post Apocalyptic

Series: yes- Walking Dead

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

Subject Headings: zombie apocalypse

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

My Three: suspenseful, horrific, survival

Similar Fiction:

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

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

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

Similar Nonfiction:

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

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

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

Name: Jennifer

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Get me out: a history of childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the sperm bank

November 7, 2012

Get me outTitle: Get me out : a history of childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the sperm bank

Author: Randi Hutter Epstein

Genre: Nonfiction, Science Writing

Publication Date: 2010

Number of Pages: 302

Geographical Setting: Setting changes, as does time period

Plot Summary:  Get me out is an incredibly interesting, if not mildly disturbing overview of the history of childbirth.  Randi Hutter Epstein does a good job providing scholarly information in a popular and easily accessible way that non-medical professionals will be able to understand.  An example of this blending of scholarly and popular is the stylistic choice to include footnotes at the bottom of the pages, instead of having to flip to the end of the book to find the additional information.  The topics covered vary from medical to issue-oriented.  A few examples are discussions about how certain current medical procedures were perfected, how resistant doctors were to accept findings contrary to what suited their needs, and how influential health insurance providers were several decades ago.  This is  book is for everyone; however, I would caution the faint of heart, or anyone currently pregnant because the descriptions can be rather graphic and some of the topics covered are still current issues today.
Subject Headings: Birth customs; Childbirth; Gynecology; Midwifery; Obstetrics; Pregnancy; Reproduction; Reproductive technology; Medicine; Childbirth — History

Appeal:  Compelling; Engrossing; Sobering; Issue-oriented; Thought-provoking; Historical details; Accessible; Medical details; Descriptive; Episodic; Frank; Jargon; Well-researched; Informative; Graphic

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Compelling; Informative; Historical and Medical details;

Three fiction read-alikes:

The birth house by Ami McKay (Childbirth, Thought-provoking, Descriptive)

In an isolated village in Nova Scotia during the first years of World War I, a midwife and her apprentice, Dora Rare, face the challenge of protecting generations of birthing traditions and wisdom when a smooth new doctor comes to town promising fast, painless childbirths.

The birth of love by Joanna Kavenna (Childbirth, Issue-oriented)

In nineteenth-century Vienna, doctors did not routinely wash their hands.  In twenty-first-century London, a woman chooses to have a drug free homebirth.  In twenty-second-century Arctic Circle, a woman rebels against custom and becomes pregnant without the help of science.  Three different women, during three different centuries face their generations’ challenges of labor and childbirth.

 The zygote chronicles by Suzanne Finnamore (Pregnancy)

A humorous story, told in diary form, about a 30 year-old woman’s pregnancy and the changes and challenges she faces as motherhood nears.

Three related non-fiction titles:

Pink and Blue: telling the boys from the girls in America by Jo B. Paoletti (Social issues, Descriptive, History)

How important is it to dress children in the ‘right’ colors?  This book explores the fascinating history of gendered clothing in America.  A culmination of 30 years of research, this book covers issues of child development, gender studies, fashion, marketing, and parenting. For those curious about the answer to the question, blue used to be for girls!

Birth matters: how what we don’t know about nature, bodies, and surgery can hurt us by Ina May Gaskin (Science writing, Descriptive, Childbirth)

Ina May offers a global and practical look at pregnancy and the significance and purpose of childbirth.  Ina May is a famous midwife with years of experience and knowledge about different cultural approaches to childbirth.

Pushed: the painful truth about childbirth and modern maternity care by Jennifer Block (Science writing, Childbirth, Maternal health services)

Block, known to many from her previous book Our Bodies, Ourselves, tackles the current issues women are faced with when deciding where and how to give birth.  This book delves into questions pertaining to the number of cesarean sections and episiotomies performed and whether or not that number is reflective of necessity for a safe and healthy childbirth.

Name: Shira

Stuck Rubber Baby

August 8, 2012

Author:  Howard Cruse

Title: Stuck Rubber Baby

Genre: Historical Fiction. Gay Fiction. Graphic Novel

Publisher/Publication Date:  DC Comics, 2010

Number of Pages:  210  (Black & White)

Geographical Setting: The fictional city of Clayfield, in the American South

Time Period:  Late 1950s, early 1960s

Plot Summary:  This is the story of Toland, a homosexual man coming to terms with his sexuality in a time when even greater tensions were being explored in the American deep south, that is, African-American civil rights.  Toland is a complex, apathetic man who is desperately trying to be “normal” by saying that his gay thoughts are “just a phase” and by dating a political activist woman named Ginger.  Toland’s world explores the horrifying issues of the time through intense dialogue, disturbing images, and hateful language expressed by the KKK and the more subtle racism of his family members.  Drawn in a realistic, riveting style, Howard Cruse does a fantastic job of creating a city that the reader can instantly recognize as being in the south, yet is entirely fictional.  Indeed, the entire graphic novel reads as if it were an autobiography of sorts.  Still, despite the complex issues being discussed, the novel finds time to enlighten the reader with jazz and blues facts of the time, contains humor, and is very candid and not didactic when discussing sexual issues.

Subject Headings:  Civil Rights–American South–Inter-racial Relationships–Homosexual Issues–Jim Crow Laws–KKK–Politics–Adoption–Abortion–Lynchings–Jazz–Blues–Gay Bars–Drag Queens–Hammond Organs–Religion–Atheism–Alcoholism

Appeal: Striking, Realistic, Brutal, Warm, Angry, Sympathetic, Complex, Political, Violent, Insightful, Serious, Sad, Soulful, Grim, Candid, Blunt, Intense, Dramatic

3 Appeal terms that best describe this book:  Serious, Candid, Realistic

3 Similar Non-Fiction works and authors:

Fun Home.  Alison Bechdel

This graphic novel is the memoir of Alison Bechdel, popular GLBT author of the comic Dykes to Watch out For.  One can tell Bechdel is a fan of Cruse’s work (she admits so in the introduction to Stuck Rubber Baby), and her style is similar in that her story is reflective, redemptive, and very moving.  Fun Home is the story of Alison coming to terms with her father admitting he is homosexual as well late in his life.  The story is complex, but it is also humorous at times, and very compelling in tone.  A must in GLBT graphic novels, and literature in general.

Heroes of Blues, Jazz, and Country.  Robert Crumb

Those who have read Stuck Rubber Baby will inevitably notice Cruse’s devotion to two things: drawing everything in pain-staking detail, and his obsession with the history of Jazz and Rhythm and Blues music.  Robert Crumb’s drawings have always been drawn in a realistic style as well, and this graphic novel is a fun history of said musicians that many people may not be aware of.  Bios of the musicians are provided as well, along with full color photographs.

Juicy Mother: Celebration.  Jennifer Camper

This collection of  GLBT stories describes itself as “an alternative-to-alternative comics.”  What is most intriguing about this graphic novel is that every contributor is either GLBT, or a person of color.  The stories range for the serious to the silly, including such stories as an Arab Muslim lesbian searching for her identity to a Latina teen’s goofy encounter with aliens.  Both touching and bizarre, comical and insightful, there is a story in this collection that will appeal to all readers!

3 Similar Fiction works and authors:

Strangers in Paradise Pocket Book, Vol. 1.  Terry Moore

Katchoo is a beautiful young woman who is in love with her best friend, Francine.  Then along comes David, who Katchoo falls in love with as well.  What results in a complicated love triangle this is both complex and amusing.  Though not as serious as Cruse’s work, readers will love getting to know these sympathetic characters as the develop and change over time.  And, just when everything seems to be going well, the mob decides to but in!  Truly interesting and leisurely paced like Cruse’s work.

A Single Man.  Christopher Isherwood

Stuck Rubber Baby is told in a flashback format from Toland’s point of view, reminiscing about growing up gay in the American South.  Though this fictional work takes place is a different part of the country, Isherwood’s protagonist George is sympathetic, nice, gay, and leads a surprisingly poignant, yet sad life.  After the death of his partner, George must learn to survive in a world where he a complete outsider, both internally and externally.  Comical and very wry, this examination of what it means to be homosexual in the modern world is incredibly moving.

Tales of the City (#1)  Armistead Maupin

These are the tales of the many denizens of 28 Barbary Lane, some straight, some not, but always hilarious, intricate, and fun.  This is the latest incarnation of the popular serial that later became a popular television event.  The tone is indeed a lot different from Cruse’s work, but the humor and attention to realistic details and colorful characters is there.  Striking and bold, witty and quite entertaining.

 

The Boys on the Rock

April 11, 2012

Author: John Fox

Title: The Boys on the Rock

Genre: LGBT

Publication Date: 1984

Number of Pages: 146p.

Geographical Setting: Bronx, N.Y.

Time Period: 1968

Series (If applicable): n/a

Plot Summary: It’s 1968 in the Bronx and Catholic High School sophomore, swim team star, and narrator Billy Connor is gay and knows it and likes it.  Unfortunately, he has only been able to explore his sexuality in very frequent, detailed, creative, and enthusiastic masturbation sessions that the reader will come to know very well.  Billy, not wanting to be drafted and sent to Vietnam, is a Gene McCarthy supporter who meets Al, the head of the local McCarthy campaign office.  Canvassing soon leads to lingering dinners at a pizzeria, which leads to making out, which of course leads to the sex that Billy has longed for.  Billy is very talented in graphic and detailed accounts of his and Al’s lovemaking, leaving not a thing to the reader’s imagination.  While Billy feels newly free and empowered by his relationship with Al, is it really love?  And is it a love that will last?  With the tumultuous Democratic presidential primary and a colorful cast of neighborhood friends and eccentrics as a constant backdrop, Billy brings the reader along for the first few baby steps he will take onto the path that will lead him to the man he will become.

Subject Headings: Coming of age stories, Gay teenagers, Eroticism, U.S. history–1968, Presidential elections–1968, First love, Homosexuality, Graphic sex–homosexual, Graphic sex–heterosexual, Political assassination, Gene McCarthy, Bobby Kennedy, Bronx, Competitive swimming, Catholic school, Homophobia, Nostalgia, Masturbation.

Appeal: Quick-paced, bittersweet, candid, passionate, adolescent, horny, dramatic, edgy, sexual, graphic, gritty, impassioned, nostalgic, naive, sensual, romantic, unpretentious, foul-mouthed, colorful, unrelenting, rebellious, melancholy, vivid, sexually explicit, steamy, issue-oriented, introspective, retrospective, political, historical detail, urban, colloquial, dialect, direct, unaffected, hormonal, empowering, gay, sweaty, messy, intimate, personal discovery, sexual discovery.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: adolescent, gritty, sexually explicit.

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

The Joy of Sex: The Ultimate Revised Edition by Alex Comfort

The Joy of Gay Sex, Revised & Expanded by Charles Silverstein and Felice Picano

The Joy of Lesbian Sex: A Tender and Liberated Guide to the Pleasures and Problems of a Lesbian Lifestyle by Dr. Emily L. Sisley and Bertha Harris

Yes, I know three books are not one book, but I feel I must evoke an “apples and oranges” (and “pears”[?]) exception in this case.  For people that may find appeal in any of these works, two titles will be completely useless (sort of) to them.  And the goal is to be able to satisfy 100% of readers, yes?

There is so much graphic sex and language in Boys that it would seem almost impossible that a reader wouldn’t take some stock of their own romantic life at some point.  These seminal, highly respected, and somewhat clinical works are certainly the “safe” and “tasteful” (yet graphically illustrated) suggestions that could be a stepping off point for a reader who may want to explore better or newer ways in which to get their freak on.

Time 1968: War Abroad, Riots at Home, Fallen Leaders and Lunar Dreams

The United States +1968= CRAZY: MLK shot, RFK shot, protests, race riots, political riots, cities on fire, Vietnam, Tet Offensive, Chicago Democratic Convention (police beatings and rioting and the MC5, for those too young), drugs, sex, rock and roll, men on the moon—and those are just the headlines.

While the rebellion, protest, and awakening of Billy’s 1968 took place mostly in his head and underwear, there is much happening around him that will inform a bevvy of decisions, political and not.  Here is an overview of that year with lots of color pictures.

Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution by David Carter

One year later from Billy’s awakening, the gay community of Greenwich Village rose up against police harassment to spark the beginning of the gay rights movement.  I can vividly picture Billy chanting slogans and punching cops in the face.  Here is a timeline of the events leading up to, and the riots themselves, as well as the aftermath.  This comprehensive account is the result of hundreds of interviews, public and sealed files, and a decade of research.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Forever by Judy Blume

If one took a plot synopsis of Boys and replaced the Bronx with a woodsy, well-to-do suburb, and weekends of beer in the park with ski trips, and animalistic gay sex with meticulously thought-out hetero sex, and Billy with a Katherine, and a cowardly Al with an impossibly sensitive Michael and then washed everyone’s mouths out with soap, one would be left holding a copy of Forever. Had those who have taken the often challenged Forever (ALA 7th all-time) to trial had known that Boys may have been right around the corner, I shudder to think at the number of libraries that may have burned.  While certainly trying to please entirely different audiences, these two books are identical thematically, giving Forever large appeal to the reader who may have picked up Boys hoping for a sentimental tale of teenage sexual awakening, but just not as sticky.

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Luckily for the high-school kids that populate Boy Meets Boy, Levithan has created a bizarro-world town where there is no prejudice of any sort, especially sexual.  This bodes well for a school that features a Harley riding cheerleading squad and a cross-dressing star quarterback/Homecoming Queen.  The book centers on Paul, who thinks he finally may have found true love in Noah.  Simultaneously uplifting and heartbreaking, Levithan brilliantly illustrates that freed of the burden of prejudice, hatred, and ignorance these are just kids, whatever their sexual orientation, awkwardly trying to find their place in the world and maybe a little happiness, too.

Best Lesbian Erotica 2011 by D.L. King, Giselle Renarde, Kathleen Warnock and Kirsty Logan

Best Gay Erotica 2011 by Johnny Murdoc, Natty Soltesz, and Rob Wolfsham

Sweet Confessions: Erotic Fantasies for Couples by Violet Blue

Again, I must use the “apples and oranges” rule exception.  For any reader of Boys that enjoyed the very detailed and descriptive sex scenes, here you go: a little something for everyone.

Name: Bill S.

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.

Name:Cheryl

Dead After Dark

February 22, 2011

Author:  Harris, Charlaine

Title: Dead After Dark

Genre: Fantasy

Publication Date: July 7, 2009

Number of Pages: 327 pages

Geographical Setting: Bon Temps, Louisiana

Time Period: Contemporary

Series: Sookie Stackhouse Series

Plot Summary:  Outwardly, Sookie Stackhouse is your average small-town cocktail waitress in Bon Temps, Louisiana. However, Sookie Stackhouse has a secret; she can hear the thoughts of the people around her.  Hearing everyone’s thoughts can really cramp new relationships, so she doesn’t date much. Then Sookie meets Bill, the first man whose thoughts she cannot hear, and she is intrigued. Bill’s secret isn’t as easy to hide as Sookie’s; Bill is a vampire. A sexually-charged romance blossoms, and soon Sookie and Bill are navigating their way through not only a new relationship, but the challenge of trying to clear a good vampire’s name from the suspect list for the murders streaking Bon Temps.

Subject Headings:  Vampires, Telepathy, Louisiana, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy

Appeal: Easy, Dangerous, Evocative, Gritty, Sensual, Quirky, Strong Secondary Characters, Series (Characters), Graphic, Violent, Sexually Explicit, Imaginative, Accessible

3 Terms that Describe this Book: Sensual, Woman Sleuth, Southern United States Setting

Similar Authors and Works:

–3 Non-Fiction Works and Why:

1. Gay N. Guilford, Louisiana: Off The Beaten Path: A Guide to Unique Places (Louisiana settings, guides and scenery)

2. Gordon Melton, The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead (vampire history)

3. Alison Owings, Hey Waitress!: The USA from the Other Side of the Tray (commune with Sookie via her profession)

–3 Fiction Works and Why:

1. Keri Arthur, Full Moon Rising (sexually explicit, Guardian Series)

2. Rachel Caine, Ill Wind (female romance with a supernatural being, personal journey)

3. Mary Janice Davidson, Undead and Unwed (vampires, series, supernatural powers)

Name: Jennifer Hovanec

Mysterious Skin

April 21, 2010

Author:Scott Heim

Title: Mysterious Skin

Genre: Gay/Lesbian

Publication Date: 1995

Number of Pages: 292

Geographical Setting: Hutchinson, Kansas

Time Period: Segments of the book are set in each of the years 1981, 1983 and 1987

Series (If applicable):n/a

Plot Summary: In 1981 eight year old Brian wakes up in the crawlspace of his house, bleeding and not able to remember the last five hours. He comes to believe he has been abducted by a UFO. At the same time, in the same town Neil, also eight years old, is molested by his little league coach. Over the next several years the two take drastically different paths but ultimately are drawn to each other in an attempt to understand the traumatic events that have shaped their lives.

Subject Headings: Gay/Lesbian issues, child sexual abuse, male prostitution, repressed memories, coming of age

Appeal: dramatic, interior, reflective, sympathetic, well-drawn, detailed setting, small-town, stark, darker, emotionally-charged, introspective, nightmare, uneasy, thoughtful, frank, stark,

3 terms that best describe this book: Graphic, Disturbing, Moving

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Why I killed Peter. By Olivier Ka. A graphic novel depicting the author’s confronting the priest who abused him when he was twelve.

Young Man from the Provinces: A Gay Life Before Stonewall by Alan Helms. This memoir traces the author’s journey from a difficult childhood, growing up gay in 1950’s small town Indiana to a career as an actor and model in the significantly more open New York City.

Why I Didn’t Say Anything: The Sheldon Kennedy Story by Sheldon Kennedy and James Grainger. I

A memoir of a famous Canadian hockey player who reveals the childhood abuse he suffered at the hands of his former coach.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Dream Boy by Jim Grimsley. A coming of age story focusing on a budding relationship between two young men in the rural south.

Heart is Deceitful Above All Things by J. T. LeRoy. A series of stories focusing on a young person suffering from gender confusion and set in the rough world of truck stop prostitution.

The World of Normal Boys by K. M. Soehnlein. A coming of age novel set in 1978 about a thirteen yearl old boy and his explorations of his homosexuality.

Name: Kris Harrison

Finn

March 17, 2010

Finn: A Novel

Author: Jon Clinch

Title: Finn

Genre: Literary Fiction

Publication Date: 2007

Number of Pages: 283

Geographical Setting: Mississippi River; Lasseter, IL (Adams County); St. Petersburg, MO; Alton, IL

Time Period: Pre-Civil War

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Pap Finn is a drunk.  Pap Finn is also a murderer, kidnapper and thief.   Jon Clinch offers a realization of Pap Finn from Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  Finn is his story.   This volatile character is measured by crisscrossing the span of his life to reveal twisted endeavors and tender motives.  Clinch meticulously dovetails Finn into the tapestry of Twain’s enduring yarn while providing something whole and discrete:  a study of a vicious riverman caught is a swirl of misdeeds that conspire to ruin and extinguish him.

Subject Headings: Finn, Huckleberry, father and son, brothers, runaway children, fugitive slaves, women slaves, men—friendship, race relations, boys, paternity, dead, murder, Mississippi River, Missouri, adventure stories—American, coming of age stories

Appeal: character centered, violent, crude, compelling, measured, rhythmic, engrossing, visceral, evocative, graphic, picturesque, raw

Three terms that best describe the book: dark, lyrical, affecting

Similar authors and works:

Nonfiction
Was Huck Black?:  Mark Twain and African-American Voices by Shelley Fisher Fishkin examines the genesis of Mark Twain’s iconic character, Huckleberry Finn.

Inspired by Huckleberry Finn, Jonathon Raban satisfies a lifelong dream in the travelogue Old Glory:  A Voyage Down the Mississippi.

Borrow from the Pap Finn diet plan, eat like a bona fide Mississippi riverman with the help of Stan Warren and his The World’s Best Catfish Cookbook.

Fiction
More father-son dynamics are on display in Cormac McCarthy’s bleak and haunting The Road.

Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen brings new perspective to Matthiessen’s Watson trilogy in this single volume re-envisioning of the everglade epic about a sugarcane farmer and alleged murderer that was famously gunned down in the swamps of southwest Florida.  Another portrait of a deadman.

David Boring by Daniel Clowes approaches the everyday tedium of a character with a larger-than-life story.

Zach

Blood Memory

February 24, 2010

Author: Greg Iles

Title: Blood Memory

Genre: Adrenaline, Suspense

Publication Date: 2005

Number of Pages: 800

Geographical Setting: New Orleans and Mississippi

Time Period: Present

Plot Summary: Pregnant by her married lover, three days sober and in the middle of solving a case of vigilante serial murders; stressed doesn’t even begin to describe Catherine Ferry. When the crime scenes start triggering panic attacks and terrifying images of a part of her childhood she never knew existed she begins to explore her past with the help of her lover, one of the main suspects, and her family members who want to keep their secrets buried.  These repressed memories make her question everything she ever knew about her father’s passing, her family and connect her to the serial killings in a way she never thought possible.

Subject Headings: Forensic science, serial murders, Deep South, molestation, repressed memories, Vietnam, child abuse

Appeal: Tense, fast-paced, Deep South, investigative, layered, graphic, character centered, plot twists, resolved ending, sexually explicit

Three terms that best describe the book: Haunting, suspenseful, vivid

Similar authors and works:

Nonfiction

Exploring the controversy around childhood memories versus “false memories” Lenore Terr uses true stories to explore the issues and the science behind repressed memories in Unchained Memories: True Stories of Traumatic Memories Lost and Found.

Wendy Becker uses case studies in Crime Scene: How Forensic Science Works to take the reader into the mind of a forensic scientist from the moment they walk into a crime scene until the case is solved.

Hannah Rosen explores suffrage, racial tensions, and equality through testimonies of what life was like in postemancipation United States in Terror in the Heart of Freedom: Citizenship, Sexual Violence, and the Meaning of Race in the Postemancipation South.

Fiction

In Dead Sleep Greg Iles brings back Detective John Kaiser to help Jordan Glass solve the disappearance of her sister that is somehow connected to a series of paintings known as “The Sleeping Woman.”

The Lesson of Her Death: A Novel of Suspense by Jeffery Deaver throws Lt. Bill Corde into solving the murder of a coed. It soon takes a turn exploring sexual obsessions in academia as well as his own family.

Terry McCaleb just received a heart transplant. The donor? A victim in a string of serial killings. When her sister comes to McCaleb asking for help can he turn away? Michael Connelly connects his main character to the murder in unimaginable ways in Blood Work.

Name: Michael Ann

Meg

February 24, 2010

https://i2.wp.com/i.biblio.com/z/058/489/9780385489058.jpg

Author: Steve Alten

Title: Meg

Genre: Adrenaline, Thriller

Publication Date: 1997

Number of Pages: 278

Geographical Setting: Pacific Ocean (Guam, Mariana Trench, Hawaii, Coastal California)

Time Period: Present

Series: Shark series 1

Plot Summary: One-time ace submersible pilot and current crackpot paleontologist, Jonas Taylor is an authority on Carcharodon megalodon.  Jonas’ unpopular theory that the Megalodon (or “Meg”)  never followed its prehistoric ilk into extinction was born from a face-to-face encounter with the beast while on a top secret mission for the Navy– a mission that went horribly awry, killing everyone but Jonas.  Racked with guilt, haunted by memories, betrayed by an adulterous wife, Jonas finds himself back in the pilot’s seat, diving for an old friend.  This favor brings twisted validation to the battered Jonas Taylor:  a live Megalodon.  Released from the Mariana Trench during a salvage mission, Meg ravages the Pacific Ocean.  Professionally redeemed, Jonas must now assume the charge of protecting the ecosystem from this perfect predator.

Subject Headings: Paleontologists, sharks, prehistoric animals, Carcharocles megalodon, Carcharodon megalodon, sea monsters, deep diving, suspense stories—American

Appeal: graphic, cinematic, action oriented, unrelenting, tense, fast paced, pop science

Three terms that best describe the book: rip-roaring, pulpy, outrageous

Similar authors and works:

Nonfiction

Equal parts gorgeous coffee-table book and academic text, Discovering Fossil Fishes by John G. Maisey will certainly satisfy curiosities concerning how “Meg” fits in the world of fishes.  Caveat:  although Carcharodon megalodon is mentioned in this work, it is not the focus.

Fans of Meg will recognize the Farallon Island setting of The Devil’s Teeth:  A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America’s Great White Sharks by Susan Casey, a suspenseful account of pioneering biologists studying shark behavior off the coast of San Francisco.

Descent:  The Heroic Discovery of the Abyss by Bradford Matsen handles the birth of deep-sea exploration in this accessible account of revolutionary adventurers (and depression-era celebrities) Otis Barton and William Beebe.

Fiction

Surprise!  A prehistoric monster eats your head!  Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park provides another raucous fling that bends the rules of science for thrills.

“Demonrays” rule the sea and the sky in Natural Selection by Dave Freedman.  This terrifying tale of giant rays that have learned to fly bridges the gap between Meg and Jurassic Park.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne is an essential underwater adventure.