Posts Tagged ‘provocative’

The Help

November 28, 2012


Title: The Help
Author: Stockett, Kathryn
Publication Date:2009
Pages:464 pages
Geographical Setting: Jackson, Mississippi
Time Period: The Sixties (20th century)
Genre:Historical fiction
Series: N/A

Plot Summary:
The author tells a sombre story using three women’s perspective as they share their experiences in Jackson, Mississippi in the mid 60’s. Aibileen and Minny are African American women working as maids in white holds. Aibileen, though has had her own share of personal tragedies, however she is dutiful, loyal and loves the white children she takes care of. Minny on the other hand is sour, resentful and does not hesitate to speak her mind. Skeeter, a young white graduate has an inner struggle about finding who she is and settling down like all of her friends. As the story develops, Skeeter an aspiring writer, feels compassion for the plight of these black maids as they are mistreated while working for these families. She tries to convince the maids to tell their story about how it feels to cook, clean and take care of these white children under such degrading circumstances. As we learn about these women’s lives, we also get an insight into the racial prejudice and discrimination in the the south during the mid 1960‘s. The story moves very fast urging you to follow the characters they develop to find out what eventually happens.
Despite the evocation of sadness and melancholy in the story, the occasional interjections of humor help liven up the overall tone of the book.

Subject Headings: African-American women, Civil Rights Movement, College graduates,
Domestic workers, Housekeepers, Interracial friendship, Race relations, The Sixties (20th century)

Three Appeal Terms: Fast-paced, Compelling, Thought Provoking,

Appeal: Touching, thought-provoking, humorous and compelling, provocative, lively, dialect-rich, upbeat, moving, strong sense of place, engrossing, captivating, Fascinating

Fiction Read-Alikes:

The healing by Odell, Jonathan
A historical fiction – a personal account of a former slave’s experiences during pre civil rights movements in the south. This is a great read alike for those who truly enjoyed The Help and are curious about the lives of the slaves and how they coped.

We are all welcome here by Berg, Elizabeth
Here again, like the The Help we find three women but facing different types of struggles and survival – a bedridden mother, a teenager looking for freedom and an African American caregiver. The author portrays the relationship between race and class during the civil rights movements. This book would appeal to those interested in women’s quest for survival under grave circumstances, but with a lighter tone than in The Help.

Roots: the saga of an American family by Alex Haley
This award winning novel takes you right into the authentic story of slavery portrayed by this African American family. You follow the protagonist Kunte Kinte directly from capture in Africa, his resistance and eventual arrival and forced into slavery. This story spans seven generations of this family recounting their history through work in plantation, civil war and reconstruction period.

Non-Fiction Read-Alikes:

Song in a weary throat: an American pilgrimage by Murray, Paulie
Find a real personal account of Pauli Murray on the civil rights movement, women rights and advocacy. This will appeal to those who would like to learn more about race integration and major works on women’s rights.

Civil rights movement: people and perspectives by Michael, Ezra
For those who are interested in civil rights movements and its effect on the nation, this is a great resource. The book is comprehensive and gives various perspectives on the events of the civil rights era.

W.E.B. DuBois: biography of a race, 1868-1919 by David Levering Lewis
The biography of DuBois is an intelligent and detailed work. It is a great resource with in-depth account and analysis of the history of racism, civil war and civil rights movements. A well researched book and a credible source. Those intrigued by the level of racism and prejudice as portrayed in The Help would appreciate this resource.

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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.

Sacred Stone

February 23, 2012

Author: Clive Cussler (and Craig Dirgo)

Title: Sacred Stone

Genre: Adventure

Publication Date: 2004

Number of Pages: 406

Geographical Setting: Greenland, Iceland, United States, Europe, High Seas

Time Period: Contemporary

Series (If applicable): The Oregon Files

Plot Summary:  A 50,000 year-old radioactive meteorite has just been unearthed in the remotest reaches of Greenland by a clandestine archeological team.  When the team is murdered and the meteorite goes missing, it’s time to call the Corporation.  Headed up by the enigmatic and fearless Juan Cabrillo, the Corporation is made up of two dozen or so of the most highly skilled individuals ever to have come out of the military, intelligence, and special-ops communities.  Disguised as a rusty cargo ship, the Oregon serves as the super high-tech floating command center for the group.  When governments around the globe encounter threats too advanced or sinister for their own people to handle, much less their citizenry to ever find out about, it’s the Corporation that gets the call.  In tracking down the meteorite, Cabrillo and his crew discover and must attempt to thwart not only a plot to reduce Western cities to radioactive rubble, but also a scheme to eradicate Islam from the face of the earth by way of poisoned prayer rugs.  A breakneck race against the clock ensues as the Corporation must call upon their every resource, as well as every bit of luck, in order to stop annihilation on a global scale.

Subject Headings: Terrorism – Prevention; Relics; Mercenary troops; Ship captains; Meteorites; Greenland; Suspense fiction; Erik the Red; Elton John.

Appeal: colorful, concise, straightforward, fast-paced, dangerous, dramatic, earnest, foreboding, menacing, intense, action-oriented, layered, conclusive, violent, contemporary, provocative, confident, confrontational, clandestine, energetic, swaggering, tense, urgent, volatile.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: action-oriented,

straightforward, fast-paced.

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

 

Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know by Ranulph Fiennes.

Fiennes “recounts his exploits as an explorer-adventurer, including traveling the Nile in a Hovercraft, four thousand miles of wild river journey in Alaska and Canada, and an overland trek to the North Pole” (Novelist), and that’s just a warm-up in a remarkable life filled with a remarkable number of near death escapes.  This work would do well with the reader enamored by the self-sufficient and ever resourceful adventurer character Cussler seems fond of placing in his novels (and probably thinks himself along those lines as well).

Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA’s Spytechs from Communism to Al-Qaeda by Robert Wallace H. Keith Melton, Henry R. Schlesinger and George J. Tenet.

This title is a collection of some of the harrowing and clandestine operations embarked upon by the CIA since the beginning of the Cold War, and also of the high-tech espionage tools and weapons invented to help agents to live to spy another day.  Spycraft would have wide appeal for any Adventure fan but especially with Cussler’s legions, what with his love of Bond-ish high-tech gadgetry.

SEAL Team Six by Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin.

These are the guys who killed Bin Laden, rescued those people from the Somali pirates, and seem to be the go-to guys anytime the US government needs anyone saved, dead, or captured.  Wasdin was a Team Six sniper and gives a rare insider’s view into the grueling training and harrowing and deadly missions of this elite squad.  If Juan Cabrillo and the Corporation were real (and hopefully they aren’t) they would be rife with former Team Six people.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

By Order of the President by W.E.B. Griffin

At the behest of the President, Special Forces Major Carlos Castillo assembles a secret team of operatives to investigate a missing airliner in this terse, fast-paced action thriller.  Big appeal is here for the reader who enjoyed the more militaristic aspects and machinations of the Corporation and Sacred Stone.  Fans of the Dirty Dozen/Magnificent Seven archetype of every person in the gang having a special skill (like the Corporation) would like this as well.  This is the first book in a series.

Jaws by Peter Benchley

As Cussler’s novels all seem to be water-bourn in some manner, it would seem a natural choice to suggest the granddaddy of aquatic adventure and danger and his masterwork.

The Lion by Nelson DeMille

Former NYPD detective John Corey is now a special agent for the Anti-Terrorist Task Force and must track down a notorious Libyan terrorist hell-bent on murder and destruction.  Another natural choice for Cussler fans, this time in line more with the anti-terrorism aspects of Sacred Stone.  This is also part of a series.

Name: Bill S.

The Adventures of Unemployed Man

August 10, 2011

Author: Erich Origen and Gan Golan

Title: The Adventures of Unemployed Man

Genre: Science Fiction/Graphic Novels

Publication Date: 2010

Number of Pages: unpaged

Geographical Setting:

Time Period: Present day

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: Follow the amazing adventures of Unemployed Man, formerly known as The Ultimatum until good intentions and a stand against The Man got him The Boot. Shrewd, witty commentary on the state of the economy and the roots of our nation’s fiscal woes inform the action in this cleverly written, beautifully illustrated graphic novel. The parody is ripped straight from today’s headlines—supervillains like Cobra (he’ll cover your insurance after being laid off, only $200 a month!) and Kollectus (he comes after outstanding debts and takes everything) show up alongside heroes such as perpetual grad student Master of Degrees, fix-it-with-tape Ducto, pain-shrinking therapist Good Grief, and Wonder Mother (she built her invisible jet from pieces of the glass ceiling), all presented in a dead-on tribute to many classic comic book styles. Nods to noted comics illustrators such as Jack Kirby and others are just some of the sharp, wonderful little details crammed into every page. The parody is not limited to the characters, however; the book itself is organized as a parody of a comic book, right down to the inclusion of phony ads for products and a wickedly funny section titled Fantastic Facts. Origen and Golan back up their stylistic accomplishments with an insightful, provocative story, made all the more effect for its presentation in such a fun, familiar and nostalgic format. This would be a good book for fans of graphic novels or superheroes with a twist, or patrons looking for an interesting presentation of basic socioeconomics in an easy to follow format.

Subject Headings: Unemployed; Graphic novels; Humorous stories; U.S. economic conditions; 21st century; Superheroes

Appeal: Witty, satirical, humorous, smart, shrewd, Swiftian, clever, sophisticated, retro, hopeful, classic, illustrated, insightful, provocative, social commentary, parody

3 terms that best describe this book: Shrewd, provocative, witty

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

SuperFreakonomics, Illustrated edition: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (Expanded edition of the fascinating, humorous and poignant look at modern economics; new graphs, photos and drawings further add to the impact of these astonishing discussions)

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, by Michael Lewis (An inside look at the build-up of the housing and credit bubble during the 2000s and the resulting economic downturn)

The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker, by Steven Greenhouse (Bleak picture of the current environment for the American worker, emphasis on the role corporations play)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Inside Straight, edited by George R.R. Martin (From the classic Wild Cards series, this mosaic novel sometimes humorously, sometimes matter-of-factly presents a universe where extranormal abilities are an accepted fact, with characters competing to win a new reality show, American Hero)

Superheroes, edited by John Varley (Collection of superhero-themed stories with an ironic, antihero twist)

The Pursuit of Other Interests: A Novel, by Jim Kokoris (Chicago ad exec suddenly loses his job, and with the help of assorted colorful new friends gains a new perspective on his life through a series of unfamiliar challenges)

-Joe

Outliers

August 10, 2011

Author: Malcolm Gladwell

Title: Outliers: The Story of Success

Genre: Non-Fiction

Publication Date: November 2008

Number of Pages: 336

Geographical Setting: N/A

Time Period: N/A

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: In this intriguing book, the author Malcolm Gladwell asks how successful people, such as celebrities and sports figures have achieved such greatness. Is it pure luck or hard work and determination? Some are born with high IQ’s and innate abilities, but others must spend the proverbial 10,000 practicing a task in order to conquer it and be successful.

Subject Headings: success, achievement, social environment, famous persons, successful people.

Appeal: provocative, insightful, inspiring, fascinating, intriguing, useful, smart, interesting.

3 terms that best describe this book: .

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?)

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else by Geoff Colvin. (Author Geoff Colvin asserts in this book that no talent is innate and that all greatness comes from hard work and practice alone.)

Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande. (Atul Gawande takes the reader into the stressful lives of doctors and explores the consequences they must face while attempting to be their best at all times.)

Bounce by Matthew Syed. (This book focuses on greatness and asks if everyone has the innate ability to become truly talented.)
3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. (A young Maya and her little brother must adjust to a new life with their grandmother, cope with prejudice, and Maya must allow herself to feel free and content within her won skin.)

This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff. (This memoir tells the story of Toby, a boy who must deal with a difficult upbringing and learn to achieve success all on his own.)

Push by Sapphire. (In this novel, the protagonist is a 16-year-old pregnant girl who must learn to overcome a hard life and adversity with the help of a teacher.)

Name: Mindy Foote

An Affair of Sorcerers

August 1, 2011

Author: George Chesbro

 

Title: An Affair of Sorcerers

 

Genre:  Paranormal Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

 

Publication Date: 1979

 

Number of Pages: 265

 

Geographical Setting: New York

 

Time Period: Present day

 

Series (If applicable): The Mongo Mysteries

 

Plot Summary: Three separate cases—a nun trying to save a faith healer accused of a murder he didn’t commit, a university dean with a professor mixed up in something sinister, and a dying little girl with a desperate need for answers—suddenly connect by threads leading straight to New York’s occult underground, and the only person capable of unraveling them is Dr. Robert “Mongo” Frederickson, former circus tumbler and karate black-belt turned criminologist/private investigator. This third entry in the Mongo Mysteries series finds Chesbro’s shrewd, diminutive detective going up against the forces of the occult to save a little girl’s life, and discover the secrets behind her father’s death. Faithful sidekick and brother Garth (himself an NYPD detective) returns to provide muscle for Mongo’s more thoughtful (and agile) investigative style. Some language and situations in Affair reflect the grittiness of urban crime, and readers sensitive to the presence of mild violence and mature themes should make note. The swift pace will keep pages turning all the way up to the stark, dramatic ending.

 

 

Subject Headings: Private investigators; New York (State); Criminologists; Dwarves; Martial arts; Witchcraft; Occult; Supernatural

Appeal: Suspenseful, swiftly-paced, intricately-plotted, offbeat, spooky, gritty, darkly humorous, wry tone, quirky characters, paranormal elements, occult themes, provocative, dark

 

3 terms that best describe this book:  Suspenseful, intricately-plotted, quirky characters

 

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

 

The Ultimate Evil: The Truth about the Cult Murders: Son of Sam and Beyond, by Maury Terry (occult murder, suspenseful, true crime)

 

A Cop’s Guide To Occult Investigations: Understanding Satanism, Santeria, Wicca, and Other Alternative Religions, by Tony M. Kail (occult criminal investigation)

 

Occult Murders (True Crime Series), by John Dunning (true crime accounts of occult murder investigations)

 

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

 

The Immortals, by J.T. Ellison (occult murder, gritty, criminal investigation)

 

The Skeptic: An Occult Thriller, by Aaron Niz (occult elements, sinister tone, intricate plot)

 

Tengu: The Mountain Goblin, by John Donohue (martial arts, mystery, suspenseful)

 

-Joe Collier

Stuck Rubber Baby

June 23, 2010
Stuck Rubber Baby

Author: Howard Cruse;  Art by Howard Cruse

Title: Stuck Rubber Baby

Genre: Gay/Lesbian, African-American, Graphic Novel

Publication Date: 1995

Number of Pages: 210

Geographical Setting: Southern United States

Time Period: 1960’s

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary:

While not a strictly autobiographical story, Stuck Rubber Baby nonetheless explores much of what author and artist Howard Cruse went through while growing up as a gay man in the South.

The story follows Toland Polk, a young white man living in the Southern town of Clayfield during the 1960s and the civil rights movement.  While unrest between blacks and whites (and whites and homosexuals) rages all around him, Toland must also deal with his inner turmoil about his own sexuality.  He begins the story in denial but eventually realizes who is and embraces it.

An older and wiser Toland “narrates”, appearing at the beginning of certain chapters with his present day partner.  We see them doing somewhat mundane things such as preparing dinner.  These small vignettes remind the reader that the story is being recalled and also let the reader know that Toland did emerge from all the chaos and become true to himself.

The black and white art is busy at times but highly detailed.  Various degrees of shading and crosshatching are used to distinguish black characters from white characters and though most of the faces sport unusually pointy chins, they all have defining characteristics that set them apart from each other.  This is important since there is quite a large cast surrounding Toland for the reader to keep track of throughout the story.

Touching, poignant and often funny, Stuck Rubber Baby is a moving story that resonates with themes both universal and personal.

Subject Headings:

Gay men – Comic books, strips, etc; Race relations; Civil rights; Graphic novels

Appeal:

ambitious, thoughtful, hostile, bleak, menacing, wistful, melancholy, hopeful, complex, angst-ridden, turmoil, provocative, poignant, courageous, potent, cynical, sardonic

3 terms that best describe this book: Challenging; Provocative; Rebellious

Similar Authors and Works:

Fiction

Strangers In Paradise: Pocket Book 1 by Terry Moore

Slice of life tale of three friends who weather the storms of relationships with people outside their circle (or triangle) as well as with each other.

Similarities:  graphic novel format, gay/lesbian relationships, self discovery, cynical

Max and Sven by Tom Bouden

The story of Max who has a crush on his best friend Sven.  Sven however, is straight.

Similarities: graphic novel format, gay character, self discovery, angst

Blankets: An Illustrated Novel by Craig Thompson

A memoir of Thompson’s religious upbringing and how he began to discover his true self after finding and falling in love with a girl at his bible camp.

Similarities:  graphic novel format, relationships, family, self discovery

Non-Fiction

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Alison Bechdel recalls growing up in a funeral home with her father, a high school English teacher and closeted homosexual.

Similarities:  graphic novel format, gay relationships, families

Freedom Riders: John Lewis And Jim Zwerg On The Front Lines Of The Civil Rights Movement by Ann Bausum ; forewords by Freedom Riders Congressman John Lewis and Jim Zwerg

Two young men, one white and one black, recount their experiences during the Civil Rights era when they took part in the freedom rides.

Similarities:  civil rights, race relations, courage

The Wrong Side Of Murder Creek: A White Southerner In The Freedom Movement by Bob Zellner, with Constance Curry

Another memoir, this one dealing with the author’s experiences as a civil rights activist in the 1960s.  Like Toland in Stuck Rubber Baby, Bob Zellner was born in the South and participated in demonstrations against racial discrimination.

Similarities:  racial tension, civil rights, rebelliousness, courage

Name: Valerie Kyriakopoulos

Pride of Baghdad

June 21, 2010

https://i2.wp.com/media.comicvine.com/uploads/0/443/98273-18253-106892-1-pride-of-baghdad_super.jpg

Author: Brian K. Vaughan;  Art by Niko Henrichon

Title: Pride of Baghdad

Genre: Graphic Novel (Adventure)

Publication Date: 2006

Number of Pages: 136

Geographical Setting: Baghdad, Iraq

Time Period: 2003

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary:

During a bombing raid in Iraq in 2003, four lions escape from the Baghdad Zoo after it is destroyed.  Now that their wish to be free has been granted, the pride must navigate the ruined streets of the city, searching for food and shelter, things that were previously taken for granted.  As they continue their journey, it becomes apparent that the real meaning of freedom is perhaps not as concrete as the lions once imagined.

In this graphic novel that was inspired by a true event, the voices of Brian K. Vaughan’s pride are enhanced by the art of Niko Henrichon.  Using primarily oranges and greens, Henrichon presents the streets of Baghdad as both a bombed out ruin and a wild jungle.  Throughout the city, the lions encounter a horse stampede, bombs and tanks, as well as an angry bear taking refuge in a once opulent mansion.

The personalities of the lions and other creatures are heightened by the art and their dialogue is matched by their expressions and mannerisms.  The backgrounds also add to the overall feel of the story, giving a dreamlike touch to the proceedings.  A two page spread of two lions gazing at the sunset from a building rooftop is both a breathtaking and surreal sight.

Subject Headings:

Lions; Animal liberation; Independence (Personal quality); Freedom; Captive wild animals; Iraq War, 2003; Survival; Iraq – History – 2003; Graphic novels; Comic books, strips, etc.

Appeal:

thoughtful, sorrowful, emotional, cerebral, turbulent, philosophical, ironic, provocative, intense, visceral, surreal, lush, visually stimulating, elegant, bittersweet

3 terms that best describe this book: Bittersweet; Profound; Powerful

Similar Authors and Works:

Fiction

1)      Shooting War by Anthony Lappe and Dan Goldman

Anti-corporate blogger Jimmy Burns travels to Iraq to become a war correspondent who tell it like it is after he captures a terrorist bombing and posts it online.  He soon discovers that he may not be equipped to handle the realities of the situation in Iraq.

Similarities:  graphic novel, Iraq, influence of war, turbulent

2)      War Fix by Steve Olexa and David Axe

Journalist David Axe tells of his experiences in Iraq and the addiction of being in the thick of the battle in this pseudo-autobiographical story.

Similarities:  graphic novel, Iraq, influence of war, intense

3)      We3 by Grant Morrison

Animals used as experimental weapons escape their creators and have trouble adapting to their new found freedom.  Intense, thought-provoking and emotionally charged, this graphic novel also packs a punch visually, depicting the horrors committed by both the experimenters and the animals themselves, sometimes subtly and often graphically.

Similarities:  graphic novel, animals in peril, meaning of freedom, bittersweet

Non-Fiction

1)      A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld

A tale of survival amidst chaos.

Similarities:  graphic novel, profound and powerful, depicts stories of the struggle for survival

2)      Babylon’s Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo by Lawrence Anthony and Graham Spence

The real life events that inspired Brian K. Vaughan to write Pride of Baghdad.

Similarities:  animals in peril, war in Iraq, influence of war

3)      From Baghdad with Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava by Jay Kopelman and Melinda Roth

Focuses on the suffering of ordinary Iraqis during the war and how one marine tried to save a stray dog named Lava by sending him to the United States.

Similarities:  animals in peril, influence of war, Iraq and Iraqi culture

Name: Valerie Kyriakopoulos

The Road

March 17, 2010

Author: Cormac McCarthy

Title: The Road

Genre: Science Fiction

Publication Date: 2006

Number of Pages: Audio book

Geographical Setting: United States

Time Period: Present

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: The man and the boy are good guys.  They carry the fire.  Ash hangs in the air over a post-apocalyptic landscape.  Without knowing what they’ll find when they get there, father and son trudge to the sea.  Along the way, they encounter other survivors on the road both benign and vile.  What they survived remains a mystery, as does how they will continue on a dead planet.  The boy is too young to remember a time before the earth scorching event, relying upon the man for details and context among the ruin.  And the man relies upon the boy for a moral compass, an anchor of humanity in this barren stage fit for cannibals and thieves.  As father and son rely upon one another for survival, they learn what is necessary to endure and what must be left behind.

Subject Headings: Father and son, survival (after nuclear warfare), familial love, hunger, cannibalism, futurism, disasters, catastrophism, ethics, personal conduct, United States, apocalyptic fiction, literary fiction

Appeal: arresting, brutal, apocalyptic, character centered, engrossing, evocative, frightening, haunting, compelling, provocative, tender, dark

Three terms that best describe the book: hypnotic, heart-breaking, focused

Similar authors and works:

Nonfiction
Succeed in a post-apocalyptic world (and entertain the boy) by mastering essential skills from Conn and Hal Iggulden’s The Dangerous Book For Boys.

The easiest way to survive the apocalypse is avoiding it altogether with Apocalyse Never:  Forging a Path to a Nuclear Weapon-Free World by Tad Daley.

Publisher’s Weekly credits Lawrence E. Joseph’s Apocalypse 2012 as being reasonably light on the “kookery”.  Lawrence examines, with a scientific sensibility, the end that Mayan astronomers calculated as taking place December 2012.

Fiction
Margaret Atwood provides a chilling vision of a near-future society in The Handmaid’s Tale.

Good guys are in short supply in Richard Matheson’s influential end-of-the-world tale in I Am Legend.

A man attempts to steer his family away from a poison cloud that resulted from a “toxic event” in Don Delillo’s White Noise.  Family dynamics and consumer comforts are explored.

Zach

Y: The Last Man – Safeword

June 8, 2009

safeword

Author:  Brian K. Vaughn, Pia Guerra (illustrator)

Title:  Y: The Last Man—Safeword

Genre:  Graphic Novel

Publication Date:  2004

Pages:  141

Geographic Setting:  Colorado, Arizona

Time Period:  Alternate 2003

Series:  Y: The Last Man (Volume 4)

Plot Summary:  About a year and a half after a mysterious plague has wiped out the men of earth, Yorick Brown—the last surviving human male—continues his trip across the country.  He is accompanied by cloning expert Dr. Allison Mann, government agent 355, and the only other male on the planet, his pet monkey Ampersand.  During a stop in Colorado, Yorick finds that there is more than just rest stop in store for him—he encounters a “therapy” that forces him to examine his death wish as well as his sexuality.  Then, in Arizona, he and his fellow travelers encounter further danger as they face a pack of survivalist extremists.  This violent, sometimes lurid tale is intense, yet grounded with a modest humor.

Subject Headings:  apocalypse, plague, men/women relationships, women geneticists, women government agents, feminism

Appeal:  compelling, fast-paced, cinematic, series (characters), sympathetic, explicitly violent, sexually explicit, flashbacks, strong language, stark, candid, dangerous, humorous, unpretentious, direct, provocative

Three terms that best describe this book:  unlikely hero, humorous yet provocative, compelling

Relevant Fiction:

Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O’Malley—the first in its series, a graphic novel with a slacker hero who must battle his new girlfriend’s former boyfriends.

When the Wind Blows by Raymond Briggs—humorous yet dark, this post-apocalyptic graphic novel chronicles the affect of nuclear war on an ordinary elderly couple.

The Postman by David Brin—in post-nuclear holocaust America, a vagrant dons a postman’s jacket and becomes a symbol of hope for survivors, eventually becoming the hero he pretended to be.

Relevant Nonfiction:

Bringing Up Ziggy by Andrea Campbell—the author, a primatologist, tells the heartwarming story of raising (and letting go) Ziggy, a capuchin monkey.

A Slight Epidemic…: The Government Cover-up of Bubonic Plague in a Major American City : What Happened and Why It Matters by Frank Feldinger—a passionately and plainly written account of a 1920s outbreak of the plague in Los Angeles.

The Hard Way:  Stories of Danger, Survival, and the Soul of Adventure by Mark Jenkins—a collection of true stories of people who have survived dire political, geographic, and weather conditions.

Name:  Elizabeth Ludemann