Posts Tagged ‘persuasive’

Jurassic Park

July 30, 2012

Author: Crichton, Michael

Title: Jurassic Park

Genre: Science Fiction

Publication Date: 1991

Number of Pages: 399 p.

Geographical Setting: Multiple Locations in the United States and Costa Rica

Time Period: 1989

Series: Has a sequel, The Lost World

Plot Summary: In this thrilling, fast-paced science fiction story, a genetic engineering corporation, InGen, successfully clones 15 species of dinosaurs.  Hoping to feature these previously extinct creatures in the greatest theme park of all time in an island off the west coast of Costa Rica, the visionary of the project, John Hammond, brings a group of people to evaluate it, including a paleontologist, Alan Grant, a paleobotanist, Ellie Sattler, an investment banker, Donald Gennaro, a mathematician, Ian Malcolm, a computer system analyst, Dennis Nedry, and Hammond’s two grandchildren, Lex and Tim Murphy.  While the theme park initially lives up to its fascinating premise, the underlying instability and chaos of the organization are apparent when an employee turns off the park’s power and security grid to steal dinosaur embryos for a competing genetic company, Biosyn.  The action that follows is a nightmarish fight for survival against several Tyrannosaurus rex, velociraptors, and other dinosaurs as every character tries to leave the island alive.  The novel alternates between the points of view of many different characters, although Ian Malcolm and his illustrations often serve as the main narrator and framework of Michael Crichton’s concerns regarding unregulated science and technology. As in many of his novels, Crichton uses clear language and technical details to tell a suspenseful and compelling story about the dangers of bioengineering and people’s desire to use science and math to control nature and the world.

Subject Headings: Genetic Engineering; Clones and Cloning; DNA; Dinosaurs; Prehistoric Animals; Amusement Parks; Business Sabotage; Scientists; Eccentric Men; Billionaires; Islands — Costa Rica; Science Fiction; Suspense Stories; Adventure Stories; Thriller Stories;

Appeal: fast-paced, compelling, dangerous, dramatic, foreboding, menacing, suspenseful, thought-provoking, thrilling, multiple points of view, flawed and recognizable characters, strong and interesting secondary characters, sympathetic characters, action-oriented, cinematic, violent, imaginative, issue-oriented, descriptive, detailed, informative, intelligent, persuasive, scientific, thoughtful, unique, vivid, well-crafted

3 Terms That Best Describe This Book: unique, thrilling, thought-provoking

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Rex Appeal: The Amazing Story of Sue, the Dinosaur That Changed Science, the Law, and My Life by Peter Larson and Kristin Donnan is an intriguing book about the politics and legal issues surrounding a real significant dinosaur discovery and excavation.

A Clone of Your Own?: The Science and Ethics of Cloning by Arlene Judith Klotzko is an informative and thought-provoking book about the moral and legal issues and history of stem cell research and cloning.

Blindsided: Surviving a Grizzly Attack and Still Loving the Great Bear by Jim Cole is a fascinating book about a grizzly bear that attacks the author during a trip to Yellowstone National Park and how despite his injuries, he still has empathy for grizzly bears and other animals that are still trying to survive in the wild.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Tyrannosaur Canyon by Douglas Preston is an action-oriented, detailed science fiction thriller about Tom Broadbent who receives a journal from a dying man, Stern Weathers, in New Mexico that a murderer and the government is determined to get because of its description of the location of a special completely preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Shock by Robin Cook is a suspenseful and thought-provoking story about two Harvard graduate students Joanna Meissner and Deborah Cochrane, in Boston, Massachusetts, who investigate the use of their eggs at a fertility clinic and in the process, confront firsthand the hazards of cloning.

Esau by Philip Kerr is a fast-paced scientific story about Stella Swift, a paleontologist, who receives a fossilized skull from America’s greatest mountain climber, Jack Furness, and organizes an expedition to the Himalayas to investigate the possible new species that the skull represents.

Open by Jenny Block

March 28, 2012

Author: Jenny Block

Title: Open: Love, Sex and Life in an Open Marriage

Genre: Popular Nonfiction

Publication Date: June 2009

Number of Pages: 276

Geographical Setting: The south

Time Period: Present

Series: No

Plot Summary:

Open is a provocative memoir exploring the writer’s experience being in an open marriage. Jenny Block leads readers through her first experiences constructing and deconstructing gender and sexuality to her gradual realization that she was miserable in a monogamous marriage. The book offers a fascinating glimpse into the author’s experience in an open marriage and how she believes monogamy is ultimately the exception and not the rule to human happiness.

Subject Headings: Family and Relationships, Communication in marriage, Marriage, Men/Women Relationships, Open Marriage

Appeal: streamlined plot, engaging, provocative, character driven, deliberate, easy, introspective, contemporary, political, conversational, direct, thoughtful, meticulous, persuasive, unusual, argumentative

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: thoughtful, conversational, provocative

Relevant Nonfiction Works and Authors:

Why Good People Have Affairs: Inside the Minds and Hearts of People in Two Relationships, by Mira Kirshenbaum.

Block has an affair with another woman which serves as a catalyst to opening up her marriage. Kirshenbaum’s book explores why people have affairs and how they can reconcile what they did with what they want for their lives and relationships.

Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage, by Elizabeth Gilbert.

People who enjoy Block’s honest, conversational exploration of what marriage is might also enjoy Committed.  Gilbert is a divorcee who is basically forced to marry her boyfriend in order to keep him from being deported. She interviews people from a number of different cultures about marriage in order to come to a place where she can enter marriage again.

Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships, by Tristan Taormino.

Block has to learn as she goes when it comes to creating an open marriage. For readers who are personally interested in the idea or simply want to read more accounts of how open relationships can thrive, Taormino’s book is a guide to open relationships and descriptions of different open relationships from interviewees.

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Say When, by Elizabeth Berg

Beyond a small afterword by Chris, many readers may wonder about a husband’s perspective when his wife has an affair. Berg’s novel follows a husband whose wife has shocked him by having an affair and asking for a divorce. The novel keeps a light tone while it explores what it means to try and rebuild a marriage after an affair.

Journey to a Woman, by Ann Bannon

A bisexual woman realizes she made the wrong choice marrying her husband and sets out to reunite with the woman who stole her heart years ago. The book is bittersweet and quick-paced, keeping a realistic tone despite being an older entry into the pulp fiction genre.

Between Lovers, by Eric Jerome Dickey

This witty, character-driven novel explores the consequences of a woman requesting an open relationship with her ex-male lover and current girlfriend. The novel explores an open relationship in an honest way as the characters try to make sense of what they are doing.

The Botany of Desire. A Plant’s-Eye View of the World

November 16, 2011

Author: Pollan, Michael

Title:  The Botany of Desire. A Plant’s-Eye View of the World.

Genre:  Nonfiction; Nature Writing; Science Writing; History Writing

Publication Date: 2001

Number of pages: 354 (Large Print)

Geographical Setting: United States; Holland; Ireland

Time period: Contemporary; Historic  Series:  N/A

Plot Summary: In this engaging and thought-provoking collection of essays, Michael Pollan follows the stories of four plans-apple, tulip, marijuana and potato-and discusses how these plants satisfy human desire for sweetness, beauty, intoxication and control, and use humans for their survival. To explain this fluid relationship, the author combines his knowledge of science, history, culture, philosophy, psychology and gardening into an informative, highly readable and intimate micro-history of plants and humans.  Each chapter uses a unique character or an event to emphasize the nature of the relationship. For example, in the chapter on apples, Pollan explores the story of Dionysus-like Johnny Appleseed, who by planting apple seeds contributed to the apple’s diversity and the popularity of apple cider. In the following chapters, Pollan uses an example of the 17th century Holland’s obsession for “perfect” tulip, describes inadvertent results of “the war on drugs” on marijuana, and tells the story of a potato from the perspective of the Irish famine and the present-day drive for a genetically engineered “perfect” potato. The author’s view on the human desire to control and manipulate biodiversity is fairly clear-he is mostly against it-but Pollan avoids sounding preachy by using humorous anecdotes, multiple perspectives and an engaging prose.  The Desire of Botany is a great example of a witty, accessible, yet well-researched, micro-history of codependency between humans and plants.

Subject Headings: Human–Plans Relationships; Plants—Development, Co-Evolution, Men and Nature, Gardening, Micro-history, Apple, Tulip, Marijuana, Potatoes.

Appeal: engaging, accessible, engrossing, witty, reflective, conversational, historic details, descriptive, entertaining, thought-provoking, well-researched, candid, investigative, intriguing, quirky, persuasive.

3 Appeal Terms that Best Describe this Book: engaging, accessible, thought-provoking.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors: 

1) Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: a Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver: This book chronicles the year that Barbara Kingsolver and her family moved to a farm in Virginia and tried to live on home or locally-grown food. Similarly to The Botany of Desire, the book is a light-hearted part-memoir about a relationship between humans and plants.

2) Weed: in Defense of Nature’s Most Unloved Plants by Richard Mabey. The author combines history, science and descriptions of his travels into a story of unholy weeds and how they gained their unflattering position in the world of plants.

3) The Earth Knows my Name: Food, Culture and Sustainability in the Gardens of Ethnic Americans by Patricia Klindienst.  A collection of stories of urban, suburban and rural gardens created by Native American and immigrants who wanted to preserve the connection with the land. The collection is a part microhistory, part  meditation on the relationship between food, land and culture.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1) Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel:  A love story about Tita de la Garza, a heart broken Mexican girl, who finds escape and meaning in her love of cooking. Both, The Botany of Desire and this book, describe the link between certain foods, feelings and desires and use bittersweet wit and engrossing tales to share a story of food and human emotions.

2) The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood:   A lyrical and darkly witty story of a young Toronto woman who finds herself unable to eat, and instead starts to identify with the foods and feel as if she was being consumed, instead. It’s a provocative and entertaining commentary on the consumer culture, gender, identity, and the role of food.

3) Old Herbaceous: A Novel of the Garden by Reginald Arkell. This is a classic British novel that tells a comic life story of Bert Pinnegar, a gardener and a lover of plants. It’s filled with beautiful descriptions of flowers, shrubs and trees but also with thoughtful and philosophical musings on human existence and the social history of England at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.

Megan R.

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

How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

March 30, 2011

How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Author: Dale Carnegie
Title: How to Win Friends & Influence People
Genre: Non-Fiction, Psychology
Publication Date: Original 1936; Revised, 1982
Number of Pages: 260
Geographical Setting: United States
Time Period: 20th Century

Plot Summary: This is the classic “how-to” book for understanding and improving communication between yourself and others, whether it be in the business world, or with a spouse.  Carnegie originally wrote this book at the end of the Great Depression, with intent to help inspire those he felt were bored by other ‘self-improvement’ books, and its last revision was in 1982.  With classic and timeless advice in dealing with difficult people and situations, persuading others with techniques to help you achieve success, the overall theme is reminding us to treat people with respect and courtesy. Carnegie provides countless examples of situations to illustrate his theories and offers real world advice on how people reading the book can use it in their lives.  Different sections include “Fundamental Techniques in Dealing with People,” “Six Ways to Make People Like You,” “How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking,” and “Be a Leader.”  Following each section is a concise recap with key points to consider and remember.  An index at the end of the book allows the reader to quickly look up by name, a particular example.

Subject Headings: NonFiction; Success; Persuasion, Psychology; Leadership; Business Communication

Appeal: fast paced, conversational, practical, introspective, self-improvement, persuasive, inspiring, useful, realistic, communicative, straightforward, influential, educational, earnest, psychology, leadership, classic, timeless

3 terms that best describe this book: communication techniques, business advice, human behavior

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

  • Think Like a Champion by Donald Trump is a collection of Trump’s most profound essays on dealing with business challenges, life struggles and his view on how to achieve success through what is called an “informal education.”
  • Basic Black: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work (and in life) by Cathie Black; Black is the president of the Hearst Magazine empire, and through this motivational book, shares her secrets to success geared towards women in business.  She discusses negotiating and leadership while describing ways to better achieve balance at home and work.
  • Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell, also the author of the bestseller, Blink.  In this book, he identifies the qualities of successful people, posing theories about the cultural, family, and idiosyncratic factors that shape high achievers with examples in business and popular culture.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

  • Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment by Deepak Chopra is a fictional account of the life of the Buddha, written for western readers, traces his spiritual journey while explaining how his experiences and teachings have changed the world and continue to influence every facet of life.
  • Playing With Boys by Alisa Valdes-Rodriquez is a story of three Latin-American women in their late twenties, including an actress, a suburban mother, and a music manager, and the tales of their success and failures of their relationships and business lives in Los Angeles.
  • Company by Max Barry is a fictional and humorous satire of the corporate world told from the perspective of Stephen Jones, who works at the the Zephyr Holding Building, and where he finds a company defined by its lack of clarity, a building numbered in reverse, and an invisible CEO.

–Jennifer Peterson

Nickel and Dimed

April 8, 2009

Author: Ehrenreich, Barbara

Title: Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America

Genre: Nonfiction (Current affairs, investigative reporting)

Publication Date: 2001

Number of Pages: 244 (paperback edition)

Geographical Setting: Key West, FL; Portland, Maine; Minneapolis

Time Period: 1998-2000

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Shortly after telling a magazine editor that someone should go undercover as one of the working poor to expose what it’s like trying to live on the prevailing “unskilled labor” wage of $6 to $7 an hour job, Ehrenreich, then in her late 50s, winds up doing just that. Between 1998 and 2000, she works as a waitress—and for one day a hotel housekeeper—in Key West; as a nursing home aid and a maid in Portland Maine; and as a Wal-Mart “associate” in Minneapolis. Like many of the working poor, she sometimes attempts to work two jobs at once in order to make her rent, and she experiences what she aptly calls a sort of “repetitive injury of the spirit” as she endures callous supervisors, exhaustion, miserly tippers, drug and personality tests, clueless management and the monotony of corporate culture. And she witnesses worse: co-workers living in vans, going without health insurance, working while injured and more. Interspersed with Ehrenreich’s experiences as a wage slave and her compassionate depiction of the those whose work is deemed beneath a living wage—the nameless “benefactor”[s], to everyone else”—are statistics inserted as footnotes. Occasionally leavened by Ehrenreich’s wry humor, this is an insightful, candid, compelling and closely observed portrait of working class America that should be required reading for anyone who has stiffed a waitress or believes that hard work is always rewarded.

Subject Headings: Minimum wage; Unskilled labor; Poverty; Investigative reporting; Working poor; Working class.

Appeal: closely observed; compelling; insightful; compassionate; wryly humorous; telling detail; richly drawn portraits; sympathetic narrator; candid; thoughtful; ruminative; detailed; accurate; recognizable; realistic; thought-provoking; issue-oriented; investigative; moving; persuasive; accessible; engaging; muck-raking.

Relevant Fiction: Boyle, T. C. The Tortilla Curtain. (The working poor—here illegal immigrants—contrasted with yuppies. Unskilled labor, poverty, economic struggle, issue-oriented, compassionate, compelling) O’Nan, Stewart. Last Night at the Lobster. (Detailed portrait of a restaurant on its last day of operation. Restaurant workers, working class issues, economic struggle, detailed, realistic.) Sinclair, Upton. The Jungle. (Expose of working conditions and workers’ lives at the beginning of the 20th century. Poverty, working poor, detailed, realistic, issue-oriented, compassionate, closely observed, muck-raking.)

Relevant Nonfiction: Hamper, Ben. Rivethead. (Memoir of assembly line life at General Motors. Working class issues, exploitative management, wryly humorous, sympathetic narrator, unfulfilling work). Shipler, David K. The Working Poor: Invisible in America. (Another portrait of those struggling to keep afloat, but more reportorial and statistic-laden than Ehrenreich’s “immersion” journalism. Sympathetic author, low wages, obstacles to financial stability, worker exploitation.) Conover, Ted. Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing. (Author goes undercover as a corrections officer/security guard at the infamous, maximum security prison. Immersion journalism, expose, firsthand account, high-stress jobs, insightful.)

Name: Laura