Posts Tagged ‘jargon’

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


October 17, 2012

John Scalzi's RedshirtsAuthor: John Scalzi

Title: Redshirts

Genre: Science Fiction

Publication Date: 2012

Number of Pages: 317

Geographical Setting: Aboard the Universal Union starship Intrepid; Los Angeles, CA

Time Period: The distant future; 2010

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Redshirts builds an entire novel around the premise that on the television series Star Trek, the actors known as extras—usually wearing red shirts—who accompany the main cast members on away missions, invariably die a horrible death at the hands of whatever space monster is threatening the crew that episode. In a Star Trek-like universe aboard the starship Intrepid, Scalzi relates the exploits of red shirt-wearing junior officers determined to discover why their kind is being killed at such an alarming rate. Led by Ensign Andy Dahl, the redshirts follow the trail of a mysterious rogue officer, Lt. Jenkins, who lives a hermit-like existence in the bowels of the ship. Once cornered, the disheveled and wild-eyed Jenkins reveals the truth: that their reality is somehow being shaped by a poorly-written television program from Earth’s distant past. Although incredulous at first, Dahl and his fellow redshirts steal a shuttle craft and time travel to Hollywood in the year 2010 to confront the creators of the basic cable science fiction show, Chronicles of the Intrepid. With an irreverent, witty tone, and filled with eccentric characters, Redshirts satirizes familiar science fiction tropes in a fast paced story filled with enough plot twists to keep the reader guessing through the action-packed mayhem that ensues.

Subject Headings: Space warfare, Aliens (Humanoid), Interplanetary relations, Betrayal, Interstellar relations, Futurism, Human-alien encounters

Appeal: fast paced, eccentric, intriguing secondary characters, quirky, action oriented, television references, plot twists, strong language, humorous, philosophical, suspenseful, colorful, conversational, jargon, unusual

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: quirky, plot twists, humorous

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

The Life of Super-Earths: How the Hunt for Alien Worlds and Artificial Cells Will Revolutionize Life on Our Planet (2012) by Dimitar D. Sasselov

Redshirts protagonist Andy Dahl is a xenobiologist aboard the starship Intrepid, an expert in alien biology. For those readers who want to know more about the very real field of xenobiology, Sasselov’s work is a fast paced and thought provoking exploration of the blending of synthetic biology and extra-planetary astronomy that seeks to expand our knowledge of life in the universe.

The Physics of Star Trek (2007) by Lawrence Krauss

Theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss has made his reputation as a popular author translating the frontiers of scientific thought for a mass audience. In this work Krauss discusses many of the dramatic devices of the classic television series Star Trek, such as warp speed and time travel, and demonstrates their connection with the very real ideas of scientists like Einstein and Stephen Hawking. Readers who enjoy the discussions of the plausibility of the science of Star Trek in Redshirts will appreciate Krauss’s unique brand of scholarly but accessible science writing.

So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel (2012) by Phil Hornshaw

Hornshaw’s humorous, offbeat study of the theory of time travel will appeal to readers of Redshirts who were taken with Scalzi’s descriptions of black holes, alternate timelines, and time paradoxes. Descriptive and engaging, this book uses real science as the basis for a handy guide for would-be time travelers.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Lost and Found (2004) by Alan Dean Foster

In this first volume of the Taken trilogy, Foster tells an atmospheric tale of Marc Walker, who while camping is abducted by seven foot-tall aliens known as the Vilenjji. From his cage aboard an interstellar slave ship, he learns from a fellow abductee, a talking dog named George, that they are to be auctioned off to collectors of interstellar life forms. Readers who responded to Scalzi’s blend of humor and suspense will appreciate a similar tone found here in Dean’s writing.

Night of the Living Trekkies (2010) by Kevin David Anderson

Fans of Star Trek who delighted in seeing that show parodied in Redshirts—if they are willing to swap science fiction for horror with a humorous tone—will be amused by this book. Richly detailed in the lore of all things Trek, Anderson’s novel follows the exploits of Jim Pike, who is forced to lead a small band of survivors when a strange virus transforms most of the attendees at a Star Trek convention into flesh-eating zombies.

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe (2010) by Charles Yu

Time travel was central to the storyline of Redshirts, as it is in this novel, which depicts a future where time travel is commonplace, and about a young man’s quest through time to find his missing father—the very first time traveler. Both Redshirts and How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe share a tongue-in-cheek meta-perspective about the genre of science fiction, are witty in tone and similarly filled with eccentric and interesting characters.

Name: John Rimer

The Committments

March 22, 2012

Author: Roddy Doyle

Title: The Commitments

Genre: Literary Fiction

Publication Date: 1987

Number of Pages: 140

Geographical Setting: Dublin, Ireland

Time Period: Contemporary

Series (If applicable): The Barrytown Trilogy

Plot Summary: When Dublin youths Outspan and Derek decide to start a band, they enlist their friend Jimmy Rabbitte to manage them. Jimmy is that kid everyone knows who has his finger on the pulse of music. “Jimmy had Relax before anyone had heard of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, and he’d started slagging them months before anyone realized that they were no good.” Instead of advising the band (And And! And) to continue doing covers of Depeche Mode songs, or turning them punk or metal or grunge, he goes way back and decides they should be a soul band. He calls it “Dublin Soul”, and surprisingly hits the nail on the head, as it turns out that soul music by African Americans has an appeal for working class Dubliners. The band expands to include Joey “The Lips” Fagan, an aging musician who has played trumpet with most of the bands the young boys are idolizing, Deco Cuffe, a talented singer with a large ego, and cute background singers The Commitmentettes. The band starts small, and then start to build a loyal following. Just when a record deal is about to be signed, the band pulls apart from ego, the saxophone player’s growing interest in jazz, and everyone wanting to get with the cutest Commitmentette. This charming coming of age novel hits that point of time when nothing else matters except the music that hits you hard. Woven into the humor is the fervor the love of music can inspire, along with philosophical musings about what soul music is really about. The Commitments also lays the groundwork for the next two books, which become increasingly personal and bittersweet as the series goes on.

Subject Headings: Working class teenagers — Dublin Ireland. Soul Music. Rock Music. Egotism in teenagers. Ambition in teenagers.

Appeal: funny, strong sense of place, dialect-rich, engaging, character-driven, colorful, urban, quirky, strong secondary characters, breezy, direct, jargon, unaffected, exuberant, impassioned, playful, eccentric, unpretentious.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: dialect-rich, strong sense of place, engaging

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom by Peter Guralnick

Someone who wants to learn more about soul music might enjoy this history of Stax Records, the company that signed many of the rhythm and blues singers that the Commitments are trying to emulate. Guralnick gets deep into not just the music, but the cultural and racial tensions that tore Stax apart in the end.

Nowhere To Run: The Story of Soul Music by Gerri Hirschey

This book is a bit more narrative than “Sweet Soul Music.” Hirschey compiles oral tellings and recollections gleaned from years of working as a music journalist, and writes with a literary flair. It’s the best of both worlds as it’s both a comprehensive history of soul music interwoven with anecdotes about riding around in a limo with James Brown and Al Sharpton.

Me Father Was a Hero and Me Mother Was a Saint by Eamonn Sheridan

Someone interested in the Irish working class should pick up this memoir. Sheridan’s father fought for the IRA during the War of Independence against the British, then fought for the British army during WWII while his mother raised their 11 kids. Sheridan reminisces living in poverty in Dublin until they were forced to emigrate to England.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

Hornby’s Rob Thomas could be the grown up version of Jimmy Rabbit, with a giant record collection, a ready knowledge of all things music, memories of his happiest times being a dj, and his own record store. When Rob questions, “Which came first…the music or the misery?” Jimmy would promptly answer, “the music” because the misery hasn’t sunk in quite yet for him.

Glue by Irvine Welsh

Carl is Jimmy’s Scottish soul mate, going to the record store every week to buy something new, and becoming attracted to an unconventionally pretty (plump) girl because she can talk about music with him. Welsh also has a laser-like sense of place for Edinburgh, Scotland just as Doyle does for Dublin, Ireland, and both have come up with their own killer dialect for their regions.

The Exes by Pagan Kennedy

After Hank and Lilly break up (and are finally back on speaking terms), they come up with a great idea for a band comprised entirely of exes. They enlist Shaz, a talented bass player who brings in her one male ex, Walt to play drums. The band starts to creak as they all want different things for this…Hank wants to find that perfect spot where a band is indie-famous without selling out, Lilly wants to be the next Gwen Stefani, Shaz has been in a major band before and just wants to play for fun, and Walt is simply trying to hold it together as he faces down his demons of depression and anxiety. The Exes are from the east coast, but the final chapter takes place in Chicago as the Exes play the Metro, and Kennedy gets the sense of place just right.

Name: Jessica

Garden of Beasts

November 30, 2011

Author: Jeffrey Deaver

Title: Garden of Beasts

Genre: Adventure, Historical Fiction

Publication Date: 2004

Number of Pages: 11 discs

Geographical Setting: New York City, New York; Berlin, Germany; other various

Time Period: 1936

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary:  When hitman Paul Schumann finds himself caught in a sting set up by New York City police, he recognizes that his luck has run out.  Preparing himself to be tried, jailed and probably executed, Schumann is surprised when he is given a choice: instead of facing the consequences in America, he can work a job for the American government and assassinate a political leader in the burgeoning Nazi government.  When he accepts, Schumann is sent off on a wild and crazy ride through Berlin where he meets local characters, beautiful women, and the most dangerous and evil villains in the world at that time.  Narrated by several characters other than Schumann, including a German police detective hot on Schumann’s heels and the object of Schumann’s assassination plot, the audio book version’s performer Jefferson Mays does a decent job of differentiating between characters and uses accents to provide local color.

Subject Headings: Mafia hitman; Nazi Germany; German Olympics; Adolf Hitler; Jesse Owens; Assassination plot; Detectives; Anti-semitism

 Appeal: Builds in intensity, engrossing, fast-paced, atmospheric, dangerous, dramatic, menacing atmosphere, stark, detailed characters, flawed characters, strong secondary characters, multiple points of view, action-oriented, character-centered, cinematic, investigative, multiple plot lines, plot twists, thought-provoking, detailed setting, historical details, political, unpretentious language, jargon

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Builds in intensity, flawed characters, historical details

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

A piece of narrative nonfiction, this title describes the lives of the William E. Dodd, the American ambassador to the Third Reich, and his family as they lived in Berlin during the period before World War II.  Figuring in the story also are the characters of Göring and Goebbels who are featured in Jeffrey Deaver’s novel of almost the same title.

Hitman: The Untold Story of Johnny Martorano: Whitey Bulger’s Enforcer and the Most Feared Gangster in the Underworld by Howie Carr

This biography of Johnny Martorano, a hitman for the mob tells the story of life for a real hitman.  It also discusses the knowledge of some politicians and the FBI of Martorano’s activities.  This mirrors Schumann’s eventual connection to political and law enforcement organizations as well as giving more information about his line of work.

Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany by Robert Gellately

This title discusses and rejects the idea that the German population as a whole knew nothing about the atrocities committed by Hitler and his minions.  It discusses this point of view using primary sources including case studies and news sources.  Some of the terms and ideas touched on in Garden of Beasts are presented and expounded upon in this book.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

A Game of Lies by Rebecca Cantrell

The third in a series about German crime reporter Hannah Vogel, this title takes place during the 1936 Olympics in Hitler’s Berlin, Germany.  This historical mystery shares a time period and setting with Garden of Beasts.

Casino Royale: a James Bond novel by Ian Fleming

This first James Bond novel has 007 taking on the Soviet Union.  It includes many elements similar to Deaver’s Garden of Beasts including adventure, international intrigue and assassins and is written with a fast-paced and suspenseful style.

Killing Castro by Lawrence Block

This novel, written in 1961 tells the story of 5 Americans offered $20,000 to kill Fidel Castro.  The fast-paced suspense story includes multiple plot lines and a suspenseful feel that may appeal to fans of Garden of Beasts.

Name: Christi H.

Full Speed

October 5, 2011  Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes
Title:  Full Speed
Genre:  Romantic Suspense (Audiobook)
Publication Date:  2003
Number of Pages:  7.5 hours
Geographical Setting:  A small town outside Knoxville, TN.
Time Period:  21st Century
Series (If applicable):  Full Series
Plot Summary:  Newspaper reporter Jaime Swift finds herself hot on the trail of what she hopes will be a break out story.  She has reason to believe that a popular preacher has connections to the mob.  In order to solve the case and get her story she is forced to team up with millionaire business man Max Holt.  There is a powerful connection between Swift and Holt and as suspense builds so does the romantic tension between them.  This book is filled with quirky characters, an ai (artificial intelligence) computer who sounds like Marilyn Monroe and is going through menopause and a hound dog named Fleas who hates country music.  These characters work to create a romantic suspense that is funny yet still fast paced and suspenseful.  Note: the audio version doesn’t add anything to the story.  The narrator is a woman who does different voices for each character, this can become confusing and at times it can make a scene seem more comical than it’s supposed to be.
Subject Headings:  Romance; Suspense; Fiction; South; Newspaper writing.
Appeal:  Quirky characters, fast-paced, suspenseful, romantic, relatable characters, conversational, builds in intensity, atmospheric, series characters, linear, resolved ending, small town setting, jargon, funny, light-hearted.
3 appeal terms that best describe this book: light-hearted, quirky characters, and romantic.
3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:
Brilliant Bylines:  A Biographical Anthology of Notable Newspaper-Women in America by Barbara Belford.  The main character in Full Speed is a newswoman, so fans of the main character might want to find out about real women reporters in history.

Tennessee Curiosities:  Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff by Kristin Luna.  Provides an in-depth look into some of the more interesting places to see in Tennessee.  Readers who are curious about the Knoxville area, and other cities and counties throughout Tennessee, will find a wealth of information in this text.
The State Line Mob: A True Story of Murder and Intrigue by W.R. Morris.  The villain in Full Speed is a member of a notorious mob family and readers might be interested to read this book about a real mob group who lived and worked in Tennessee in the 1950s.
3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:
Bubbles Ablaze by Sarah Strohmeyer.  This book is part of a series chronicling the life of a ditzy hairdresser turned journalist who tries to solve the various cases that she seems to find herself involved in.  It has quirky characters, comedy, suspense, and romance.

Under the Boardwalk by Carly Phillips.  This book includes all the quirky characters, humor, steamy romance and mild suspense that readers of Full Speed will be drawn to, as the main character Ariana works with the sexy detective Quinn Donovan to find her missing twin sister.

Slay it with Flowers by Kate Collins.  Also part of a series, this book will appeal to fans who enjoy a comedic twist to their romantic suspense, as a flower shop owner works with a sexy ex-cop to solve a murder at her cousin’s wedding.
Name:  Jessica Lake

Gun Man

July 23, 2011

Author: Loren D. Estleman

Title: Gun Man

Genre: Western/Historical Fiction

Publication Date: 1985

Number of Pages: 210

Geographical Setting: The Western American Frontier; especially Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado

Time Period: 1842-1880

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: When 12 year old Eugene Mortimer takes to the Western Frontier, he enters the world as a vulnerable young boy seeking an identity and a purpose. Eugene finds this through the power of an expert gunshot, embracing a new persona as John “Killer” Miller. As John Miller, the young protagonist becomes a notorious gunfighter and outlaw who roams the West lending his skills to serve both sides of justice. Estleman’s compelling novel exemplifies Western fiction characterized by vivid and detailed settings, realistic and powerful dialog, and plenty of violent action. Unlike many examples of Western fiction, however, Estleman’s work offers a thought-provoking and balanced examination of Western justice that is rooted in historical fact.

Subject Headings: Western (US), Outlaws, Gunfights, Lawmen, Pioneer and Frontier Life, Missouri Frontier, Men, Family-Relations, Alcholism, Poverty

Appeal: Compelling, Steady, Gritty, Nostalgic, Realistic, Engaging, Violent, Thought-provoking, Detailed setting, Historical details, Well-researched, Dialogue, Jargon, Accessible

Three Terms that Best Describe this Book: Detailed-setting, Gritty, Historical Details

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Leon Claire Metz, The Shooters (This work details the lives of the most notorious gunfighters of the American West. It adds a human element to these violent outlaws and lawmen, revealing the transformation of young men from innocent to dangerous)

Joseph G. Rosa, Wild Bill Hickok, Gunfighter (This biography is framed within the same setting and time  period as Gun Man. It is detailed, compelling, gritty, and violent. It revolves around lawmen, outlaws, and gunfights)

T.J. Stiles, Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War (Biography takes place from 1847-1882. Involves a robber, outlaw, and gunfighter. Employs historical detail, a strong sense of place, and a balanced viewpoint toward Western law)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Louis L’Amour, To Tame a Land (Novel revolves around gunfighter in the West, takes place in the 19th century, and is thought-provoking when dealing with the vague notion of justice in the West)

Johnny D. Boggs, Killstraight (This novels contains a detailed setting, historical details, and offers complexity to the Western genre. Like Gun Man, the novel presents a balanced approach toward discussing Western justice and relations between Whites and Indians)

Larry McMurty, The Wandering Hill (This novel offers a detailed-setting, a strong sense of place, and takes place in the same geographical setting. Its writing style appears gritty and descriptive. The novel is a coming-of-age story with a strong family dynamic)

Name: Dan Thorson

Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us.

April 13, 2011

Author: Seth Godin

Title: Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us.

Genre: Audiobooks; Business Writing

Publication Date: 2009

Number of Pages: 4 hours

Geographical Setting: n/a

Time Period: Current

Series: n/a

Plot Summary: “Tribes are the way of the future and change is good.” Godin posits that tribes are catalysts for change and innovation.  Anyone can be a leader of a tribe – look at Facebook groups or the Obama campaign.  Most people don’t want to be leaders because they fear failure, but good leaders find similarly minded people and connect them to one another and a common idea – usually through the internet.  Tribes can happen anywhere over any shared interest but according to Godin they are the best way to create lasting and substantive change.  Readers will find a wealth of case studies and examples of how and why tribes work.

Subject Headings: Leadership; Godin, Seth; Corporate Culture

Appeal: Candid, Evangelistic, Hopeful, Persuasive, Inspiring, Straightforward, Conclusive, Linear, Well-researched, Unpretentious, Reiterative, Jargon.

3 terms that best describe this book: Smart, Upbeat, Fast-paced

Similar Authors and Works

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

  1. All the Devils are Here (Audiobook) by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera – Wall Street, Journalistic, Finance.
  2. The Influentials by Edward B. Keller – Successful leadership qualities, Real-life case studies.
  3. Drive by Daniel H. Pink – Motivational, Personal / Business success, Knowledge management.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

  1. Save as Draft by Lee Cavanaugh – For readers who are interested in the effect of social networks in every aspect of our lives this may be a good read.  Tribes deals with social networks from a business perspective this book gives a personal point of view.
  2. Confessions of a Wall Street Shoeshine Boy by Doug Stumpf – This novel may be a good read for readers who enjoyed the “Big Business” component of Tribes.  This is a thrilling, suspenseful look at Wall Street from an outsider’s point of view.
  3. Apex Hides the Hurt by Colson Whitehead – This book takes an introspective and sometimes humorous look at American commercialism and the ways in which innovation in business can both help and hurt.

Name: Liz Humrickhouse

Dirty Blonde

February 23, 2011

Author: Lisa Scottoline

Title: Dirty Blonde

Genre: Legal Thriller

Publication Date: 2006

Number of Pages: 354

Geographical Setting: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Time Period: Contemporary

Plot Summary:
Judge Cate Fante has just been appointed to federal court, and though she has some lingering doubts about her readiness for the position, she is passionate about the law, justice, and the Philadelphian citizens she serves. While she appears to have it all – a successful career, a loving stockbroker boyfriend, a fabulous home, and a caring best friend – Cate Fante also leads a seamy double life.

When a high-profile Hollywood plagiarism case lands in her jurisdiction, Cate makes a controversial ruling that ends in a shocking murder-suicide. Her darkest secrets catch up to her when it’s revealed that the murdered television producer was developing a new series starring a thinly fictionalized version of her. The sudden tabloid exposure not only threatens her career and her relationships, but places her life in jeopardy.

Subject Headings:
Women judges, Philadelphia, Federal court, Murder, Double lives, Television production, Friendship

Appeal: Fast-paced, page-turning, action-oriented, contemporary, urban, linear, plot twists, gritty, dramatic, familiar characterization, flawed characters, suspenseful, jargon, resolved ending

3 terms that best describe this book: page-turning, breezy, suspenseful

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors
The Lincoln Lawyer (Mickey Haller #1) by Michael Connelly
Lawyer Mickey Haller finds himself in over his head when he takes the defense of Louis Roulet, a high-paying client whose case ends up challenging Haller’s sense of ethics, especially when a close friend is murdered for getting too close to the truth.
Similarities: Legal thriller, character-driven, fast-paced, morally conflicted lead characters

Motion to Suppress (Nina Reilly #1) by Perri O’Shaugnessy
After losing her husband and her job, attorney Nina Reilly relocates to Lake Tahoe and takes up the case of Misty Patterson, a barmaid accused of murdering her husband, juggling the drama of court with her own personal drama.
Similarities: Legal thriller, strong female protagonist, fast-paced

Prior Bad Acts (Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska #3) by Tami Hoag
Detectives Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska are assigned to protect Judge Carey Moore after a controversial ruling. When Judge Moore goes missing, the case takes several unexpected turns.
Similarities: Women judges as characters, plot twists, suspenseful

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors
Decision in Philadelphia: The Constitutional Convention of 1787 by Christopher Collier and James Lincoln Collier
Profiles the fifty-five men who convened in Philadelphia to create the U.S. Constitution and how they worked through personality and ideological clashes to draft the famous document.
Similarities: Takes place in Philadelphia, focuses on the creation of law

Sandra Day O’Connor: How the First Woman on the Supreme Court Became Its Most Influential Justice by Joan Biskupic
Chronicles the life and career of the first woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court
Similarities: Features a prominent woman judge

Too Late to Say Goodbye: A True Story of Murder and Betrayal by Ann Rule
Investigates the suspicious death of Jenn Corbin, whose murder was initially ruled a suicide.
Similarities: Murder investigation, gritty tone

Name: Cassie Carbaugh

The Autobiography of an Execution

April 7, 2010

Author: David R. Dow

Title:  The Autobiography of an Execution

Genre:  Nonfiction

Publication Date:  2010

Number of Pages:  288

Geographical Setting:  Houston, Texas

Time Period:  21st century

Series:  N/A

Plot Summary:  David Dow is a husband, father, university professor, and defender of death row inmates.  In The Autobiography of an Execution, Dow blends tales of his imperfect domestic life with accounts of a deeply flawed Texas penal system.  Since 1989, Dow has fought to get his clients – convicted murderers – stays of execution, if only for a few days or hours.  In Dow’s world, prosecutors hide evidence and police lie, lawyers fall asleep during their clients’ trials and judges go home early on scheduled execution days.  A victory for Dow may mean his client lives only one more day.  The author’s love of the law is his motivator; he does not respect his clients, and he rarely even likes them.

Once the pragmatic lawyer becomes convinced that one of his clients, Henry Quaker, convicted of murdering his wife and two children, is actually innocent, he effectively and dramatically transports the reader into the Texas legal world.  Dow and his colleagues attempt a myriad of legal maneuvers in order to have Quaker spared in the days, hours, and minutes before his scheduled execution.

As the personal toll of Quaker’s case wears on Dow, he struggles to balance his love for his family with his love of the law.  The Autobiography of an Execution is a candid and personal look at the legal and emotional issues enveloping the death penalty.

Subject Headings:

Law teachers –Texas –Houston –Biography.

Capital punishment –Texas.

Biographies & Memoirs –Professional & Academics –Lawyers & Judges.

Crime & Criminals –Penology.

Law –Law Practice.

Appeal: compelling, engrossing, closely observed characters, authentic, episodic, issue-oriented, thought-provoking, contemporary, candid, sobering, foreboding, jargon, smart

3 terms that best describe this book: candid, sobering, absorbing

Similar Authors and Works:


1.  Dead Man Walking by Helen Prejean (a nun’s view of the death penalty; appeals to those interested in personal death penalty perspectives)

2.  Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino, Ronald Cotton, and Erin Torneo (a co-written memoir of a man wrongly accused of rape and the woman who mistakenly identified him; appeals to readers interested in exonerated or wrongly accused criminals)

3.  Texas Tough: The Rise of America’s Prison Empire by Robert Perkinson (a researched history of American penology and retribution, specifically the Texas penal system; appeals to readers interested in how both rehabilitation and retribution are elements of U.S. prisons)


1.  End of the Line: Five Short Novels about the Death Penalty by Victor Hugo, Elizabeth Gaskell, Wilkie Collins, Herman Melville, and Leonid Andreyev; edited by Susan Ives (fictional works of authors with interesting views on the death penalty, might appeal to a reader of interested in the history and context of the death penalty in literature)

2.  The Lincoln Lawyer: A Novel by Michael Connelly (a defense lawyer representing some unsavory characters takes on a possibly innocent client; might appeal to readers looking for a novelized version of Dow’s professional life)

3. Conviction: A Novel by Richard North Patterson (lawyer Teresa Peralta Paget fights to stop the execution of a convicted murderer is sentenced to die; appeals to fiction readers interested in not only courtroom drama, but also the complexities of death penalty laws)

Name: Elizabeth

Say Goodbye

February 23, 2010


Author: Lisa Gardner

Title: Say Goodbye

Genre:  Suspense/Thriller

Publication Date: 2008

Number of Pages: 355

Geographical Setting: Atlanta, GA area

Time Period: Present day

Series: Pierce Quincy/Kimberly Quincy novels, 6

Plot Summary:  FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy is smart, ambitious, and five months pregnant with her first child. When a local prostitute, Delilah Rose, asks for Kimberly by name, Delilah tells her about a missing friend who she suspects was killed by a john known as Dinchara (an anagram of “arachnid”) who is obsessed with spiders. Kimberly is compelled to investigate, although she suspects Delilah might not be who she says she is, and her relationship with Dinchara may be more than she is willing to admit. As the investigation continues, the list of missing people continues to grow, but there are no bodies and little evidence. Kimberly starts receiving terrifying phone calls that seem to be coming from a young boy witnessing Dinchara’s murders, and it seems Kimberly may be falling into the web.

Subject Headings: FBI, missing persons, forensic science, pregnant women, serial murderers, spiders

Appeal: engrossing, multiple points of view, explicitly violent, investigative, layered, sexually explicit, contemporary, American South, chilling, suspenseful, jargon

3 terms that best describe this book: chilling, suspenseful, violent

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

The Forensic Casebook: the science of crime scene investigation by N.E. Genge: Using photos, illustrations and case studies, Genge explains how forensic science is used in law enforcement. The casebook also includes examples from true crimes, fictional crimes, and examples of when fiction authors got it wrong.

Hidden Evidence: forty true crimes and how forensic science helped to solve them by David Owen: A YALSA winner for Best Books for Young Adults, Hidden Evidence looks at how investigators used forensic science to solve forty high-profile cases.

My life among the serial killers: inside the minds of the world’s most notorious murderers by Helen Morrison and Harold Goldberg: Morrison, a forensic psychiatrist, gives insight into the minds of serial killers. She includes stories of her FBI work with famous serial killers like John Wayne Gacy, and argues that there may be a serial killer gene.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Head Games by Eileen Dreyer: An ER nurse in St. Louis receives threatening notes and human body parts in the mail, which may be coming from an abused boy she tried to help years ago. The story features a female investigator, a serial murderer, and psychological suspense.

Ashes to Ashes by Tami Hoag: A former FBI agent is in charge of protecting a teenage runaway who is the only person who can identify a serial killer at large in Minneapolis. This psychological thriller is told from multiple points of view.

A Perfect Evil by Alex Kava: A FBI profiler goes to Platte City, Nebraska to help nab a potential copycat killer who kidnaps and murders young boys. This suspenseful story features a female investigator pursuing a serial murderer in a small town.

Name: Christina