Posts Tagged ‘racy’

Just Too Good to be True

August 13, 2012

Author:  E Lynn Harris

Title: Just Too Good to be True

Genre:  Multi-cultural

Publication Date:  2003

Number of Pages:  336 (audio: 9 hours, 52 minutes)

Geographical Setting:  Georgia

Time Period:  Present

Series (If applicable):

Plot Summary:  Brady Bledsoe is the only son of single mother Carmyn Bledsoe and the star senior on his college football team.  They are very close and Carmyn is proud of the fact that Brady has been involved in their church and is part of the “Celibacy Circle”.  As his final football season ends changes start building between the two.  Brady gets his first serious girlfriend; aggressive sports agents start knocking, and secrets about Carmyn’s past and Brady’s father start coming out.  The relationship between mother and son is tested in ways it never has been before.

One interesting thing about the audio book is that three different readers read each point of view. 

Subject Headings: Mothers and Sons- Fiction, African-American college athletes-Fiction, Family Secrets- Fiction, Celibacy- Fiction, Football- Fiction

Appeal:  compelling, deliberate pacing, dramatic, multiple points of view, character centered, episodic, layered, strong language, racy, hard edged, candid, colorful

3 terms that best describe this book:  character centered, candid, multiple points of view

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Fifty Years of College Football- Bob Boyles and Paul Guido

Jam-packed with information about college football, the book is perfect for the reader looking up a fact or in search of a good read.  As the ultimate college football reference book, it is a must-read for true fans.  Readers who enjoyed the college football aspect of Just Too Good to be True and want to know more about the sport will enjoy this book.

License to Deal:  A Season on the Run with a Maverick Baseball Agent by Jerry Crasnick

During baseball’s evolution from national pastime to a $3.6 billion business, the game’s agents have played a pivotal role in driving the sport.  License to Deal follows Matt Sosnick as he deals with up-and-coming clients while trying to keep his love of baseball and his integrity.  The integrity of sports agents is a big subject in Just To Good to be True and this book examines one sports agent and his quest to keep his honor in this profession.

Raising Sons Without Fathers: A Woman’s Guide to Parenting Strong, Successful Boys by Leif Turdel and Patricia Kennedy

Dr. Leif Terdal and Patricia Kennedy describe the problems faced by sons without fathers and advise single mothers about how to raise more self-reliant young men. Providing practical, hands-on advice, the authors offer solutions to a variety of problems, including but not limited to, raising a boy’s self-esteem; discipline from preschool to adolescence; helping a boy get the best education he can; and how mothers can survive alone.  Readers who appreciate the dynamic between Carmyn and Brady will enjoy this non-fiction parenting book.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

The Preacher’s Son by Carl Weber

Bishop T.K. Wilson, popular pastor of the largest African American church in Queens, New York, has decided to run for borough president. In public, his wife and two children are a shining example of respectability. Yet privately, the Wilson kids are giving in to the same temptations as any other young adults. And their parents have no idea what’s going on behind closed doors.  This page-turner also deals with the way family dynamics can change when secrets come to light.

Mothers & Sons by Jill M Morgan, Diana Gabaldon, and others

This book is an anthology of memoirs and fictional stories about relationships between mothers and their sons.  Some stories are wonderfully sweet, while some are painfully sad.  Readers who enjoyed the dynamic between Brady and Carmen in Just Too Good to be True will appreciate this collection of stories about mothers and sons.

Romancing the Zone by Kenna White

Liz Elliott is a business woman and single mother to nineteen-year-old daughter, Becca. Becca is a freshman at Ashton College and a star of the basketball team, like her mother was years ago. But in those early days, a dirty little secret collapsed Liz’s world.  When Liz accepts Becca’s challenge to return to college and complete her degree as well as play her last year of basketball eligibility, she is met with resistance from the new head coach. Coach Sheridan Ross has no patience for babysitting an over-the-hill athlete, but sparks soon begin to fly. This is another sports fiction book that deals with family secrets.  Romancing the Zone is similar to Just Too Good to be True, but with GLBTQ themes.

Name:  Becky Ozinga

What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day

August 1, 2012

Author: Pearl Cleage

Title: What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day

Genre: Women’s Lives and Relationships

Publication Date: 1997

Number of Pages: 244

Geographical Setting: Idlewild, Michigan

Time Period: The 1990s

Series:  No

Plot Summary: After an event filled life in Atlanta, Ava Johnson finds that she is HIV positive. On her move to San Francisco, Ava decides to make a stopover in her childhood town of Idlewild, Michigan to visit her widowed sister Joyce Mitchell. Idlewild was once an idyllic lakeside getaway for African-American families in northern Michigan, but now resembles a rundown rural town crushed by the big city troubles of drugs, crime, abuse and teen pregnancies. Ever positive and upbeat, action oriented Joyce sweeps Ava along with her as they work to turn the fortunes of Idlewild around. The writing reflects an authentic and warm relationship between Ava and Joyce. Using humor and straightforward language, the characters are well-drawn and the events are realistic. Some profanity and sexual situations are part of the story, but also reflect the reality of the grim situations depicted. This is a disquieting yet hopeful account of how strong and positive relationships between friends and family can change things for the better.

Subject Headings: African American Women – Fiction, AIDS (Disease) – Patients – Michigan – Fiction, City and town life – Michigan – Fiction, Michigan – Fiction

Appeal: deliberate, measured pacing, dramatic, evocative, hopeful, humor, romantic, sobering, thoughtful, character-driven, flawed, issue-oriented, racy, strong language, contemporary, rural, accessible, conversational, profanity, candid

3 terms that best describe this book: Candid, character-driven, hopeful

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Austin, Lynn N. A Woman’s Place; This is a character-driven issue-oriented story that revolves around the lives of four disparate women who work at the Seneca Shipyards in Michigan during WWII.Virginia, Helen, Rosa, and Jean form an enduring bond of support and encouragement during challenging times, just as Joyce and Ava do.

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God; This character-driven narrative conveys the story of Janie Crawford, a young southern African American woman living in the 1930s. Her journey echoes the lives of Ava and Joyce who come to understand that life is best lived when time is taken to listen and learn from both the good and the bad choices people have made.

McMillan, Terry. The Interruption of Everything; Girlfriends and family come together to rally around Marilyn Grimes, a 44 year-old African-American mother of three college age children and one boring husband. This group of strong women encourage and support each other as they grapple with contemporary issues using humor and hope.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Apter, Terri. SisterKnot: Why We Fight, Why We’re Jealous, and Why We’ll Love Each Other No Matter What; This authoritative and insightful book explores the relationships between sisters and female friends reflecting much of the history and evolution that Ava and Joyce experience.

Millner, Denene. The Angry Black Woman’s Guide to Life; This book tackles issues facing  contemporary African-American women with humor and insight, not unlike the Statement of Purpose composed by Joyce and Ava that lists the 10 things every free woman should know.

Sherman, Charlotte Watson, (Ed). Sisterfire: Black Womanist Fiction and Poetry; A collection of 50 poems and short stories about African-American women written by notable African-American writers. The text explores, often in vivid detail and graphic language, many contemporary issues facing African-American women today echoing many of the issues faced by characters in What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day.

Name: Patty Daniel

The Heat Seekers by Zane

November 16, 2011

Author: Zane

Title: The Heat Seekers

Genre: Urban Fiction /African American

Publication Date: 2002

Number of Pages: 320

Geographical Setting: Washington, D.C.

Time Period: Contemporary

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: In addition to the witty dialogue and steamy sex that Zane is known for, The Heat Seekers is also a saga of two strong women who face some serious issues and manage to overcome them. Best friends Janessa and Tempest have all but given up on finding straight, single, good-looking men who are not “freaks.” Out to have some fun one night, they go to a local club to “get their groove on.” As chance would have it, they end up meeting two eligible men who are also best friends. Geren is handsome, available, seemingly perfect, and is very interested in Tempest. Dvonte is a cute and charming “playa” who nonetheless wins Janessa’s heart. Erotic tension builds for Tempest and Geren as they wait to consummate their love, while Janessa and Dvonte are not ashamed to express their desires. As each couple embarks on their different relationships, the drama builds as each confront issues that could threaten their fairy tale romances. Despite the focus on sexual love, at the heart of this novel is the caring relationship these two women have with each other, and their ability to help each other through rough times. This is an entertaining, thought provoking novel that encourages readers to reflect on their own lives and accomplishments. It also has enough humor and steamy sex scenes to satisfy any reader.

Subject Headings: African American, Urban Fiction, Erotic Fiction, Unwanted Pregnancy, Contemporary Romance Appeal: candid, emotionally charged, dramatic, compassionate, humorous, romantic, sensual, erotic, playful, sympathetic characters, well developed characters, evocative, insightful, character centered, steamy, issue oriented, racy, resolved ending, strong language, sexually explicit, steamy, thought provoking, contemporary, urban, accessible, conversational

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: steamy, thought provoking, humorous

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

How Stella Got her Groove Back by Terry McMillan. Like The Heat Seekers, this book features a strong, African American protagonist who embarks on a passionate love affair and provides the reader with a fairy tale ending.

Sweeter than Honey by Mary B Morrison. This is a steamy, urban tale. Like The Heat Seekers, it features a strong female African American protagonist who encounters drama and has to overcome adversity. It also deals with complex, thought-provoking issues.

True to the Game by Teri Woods. This gritty, urban tale is grittier than The Heat Seekers, yet it provides readers with a similar steamy love affair between passionate African American characters. Like The heat Seekers, this novel deals with some of the serious issues facing contemporary young people.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors In Good Conscience: a Practical, Emotional, and Spiritual Guide to Deciding Whether to Have an Abortion by Anna Runkle. Multiple characters in The Heat Seekers deal with unwanted pregnancy, all in different ways. One character deals with a very difficult abortion. This guide will help readers who may be facing the same situation to think their pregnancy through before making a decision.

Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: a Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether To Stay in or Get Out of your Relationship by Mira Kirshenbaum. In The Heat Seekers, Janessa stays in a bad relationship with Dvonte. Readers who are dealing with a similar situation in their lives may find help in this chatty, sympathetic relationship guide.

 Men, Love & Sex: the Complete User’s Guide for Women by David Zinczenko with Ted Spiker. The relationships in The Heat Seekers are complicated and the men sometimes seem like they are from another planet. At the same time, the characters are all having satisfying sexual adventures. This book would be great for readers who want to understand the other sex a little more or simply put some spark into their sex lives.

Name: Meghan Maleski

His Wicked Sins

October 24, 2011

Author: Eve Silver

Title: His Wicked Sins

Genre: Romance, Suspense

Publication Date: 2008

Number of Pages: 343

Geographical Setting: Yorkshire and London, England

Time Period: 19th century

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary:  When Elizabeth Canham accepts a teaching position at Burndale Academy in Yorkshire, in order to help out her impoverished family, she does not realize the kind of danger she will face.  A serial killer stalks the school, seeking women with curly blonde hair that he can bury alive, scalp, and eventually kill.  Two teachers before Beth have died and a third girl, a maid, is missing.  All seem to be connected to Griffin Fairfax, a charming widower with a reclusive child who Beth befriends.  As Beth gets pulled into Griffin’s seductive ways, and battles claustrophobia and a fear of the dark from a traumatic childhood experience, she begins to feel as though she is being watched.  Her survival, ultimately, depends on whether or not she can trust Griffin Fairfax to not be the man she fears seeks to kill her.

Subject Headings: Serial killers, Yorkshire, England, London, England, boarding school, claustrophobia, childhood trauma, romance

 Appeal: Seductive, atmospheric, fast-paced, romantic, suspenseful, sweet, familiar characters, multiple points of view, cinematic, plot twists, racy, sexually explicit, small-town, straightforward language

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Seductive, atmospheric, romantic

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper by Maxim Jakubowski

This title includes essays about 19th century London serial killer Jack the Ripper and speculations on his real identity.  Each essay is written by a different expert with a different point of view on this hundred year old mystery.

Educating Women: Schooling and Identity in England and France, 1800-1867 by Christina de Bellaique

This scholarly volume discusses the education of girls in boarding schools in both England and France during the early 1800s, and the female school teachers who taught them.

Too Scared to Cry: Psychic Trauma in Childhood by Lenore Terr

This title discusses childhood trauma and how it affects the children who experience it.  The author discusses this in the context of a 1976 abduction of a group of children and her work with them as they continued to heal from the experience.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

This classic novel tells the story of a young orphan girl as she becomes a governess, falls in love with her brooding, villainous employer, and discovers the secrets that exist in her new home.  Fans of His Wicked Sins may enjoy it due to the similarities between Jane Eyre and Elizabeth Canham and their love interests despite Bronte’s more literary style of writing.

Rules of Surrender by Christina Dodd

This historical romance features a governess who is hired by a woman who wants instruction for her grandchildren and training in manners for her son.  As expected, however, the son, Wynter Ruskin, has other ulterior motives for the governess.  Suggested for those who enjoy historical romances about teachers or governesses and their somewhat dangerous lovers.

A Kiss to Die For by Claudia Dain

This historical romance novel takes place in the American West and features a bounty hunter, Jack Scullard, on the trail of a serial killer targeting young women.  Anne Ross, a woman he meets while on the trail, disdains the idea of ever getting married even though she is being courted by the man that Jack believes to be his strongest suspect.  Suggested for those who enjoy romances where the female lead is being stalked by a serial killer.

Name: Christi H.

The Other Boleyn Girl

July 25, 2011

Author: Philippa Gregory

Title: The Other Boleyn Girl

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pub. Date: 2002

Number of Pages: 664

Geographical Setting: England

Time Period: 16th century

Plot Summary: Two sisters become rivals in this story of love, lust and betrayal. Mary Boleyn wins the affections of King Henry VIII but her sister Anne is intent on becoming Queen and maneuvers herself into the role causing her Mary to be tossed aside. When Anne has difficulty giving the king a male heir, things begin to fall apart. This fast paced romantic story will have you eager to learn more of the love, sex, ambition, and intrigue that drives these two women.

Subject Headings: Boleyn, Mary, 1508-1543 Fiction.
Henry VIII, King of England, 1491-1547 Fiction.
Great Britain History 1509-1547 Fiction.

Appeal: fast-paced, dramatic, emotionally-charged, romantic, racy, historical details, colorful, vivid, claustrophobic, intrigue, melodramatic, dangerous

Three terms that best describe this book: fast-paced, historical details, emotionally-charged

Three Relevant Fiction Works and Authors
The Reluctant Queen by Jean Plaidy – Lady Ann Neville is set to marry the future king but is in love with his brother.

The Innocent by Posie Graeme-Evans – Born a peasant, Anne beauty and knowledge of healing herbs lead her to happiness and a king.

To Dance with Kings by Rosalind Laker – The story of several generations of two families set at Versailles.

Three Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors
Scandalous Women : The Lives and Loves of History’s Most Notorious Women by Elizabeth Kerri Mahon – The stories of thirty five famous and infamous woman are told.

Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII by David Starkey – Information on the six different wives of Henry VIII.

The Tudor Housewife by Alison Sim – A look at marriage, childbirth, the upbringing of children, washing and cleaning, food and drink, the housewife as doctor, women and business, and women and religion for a 16th century woman.

Mama Dearest by E. Lynn Harris

April 20, 2011

Author: E. Lynn Harris

Title: Mama Dearest

Genre: African-American fiction

Publication Date: 2009

Number of Pages: 387

Geographical Setting: New York City, NY; Miama, FL

Time Period: 21st century

Plot Summary: Yancey Braxton Harrington has seen better days. Performing in a traveling production of Dreamgirls, Yancey needs a comeback to keep her Upper East Side townhouse and to restore her to the life she was once accustomed. Though a beautiful talented singer and actress, Yancey is indeed past her prime and jealously guards her diminishing fame. It is in Miami that she meets S. Marcus Pinkston, worldly, wealthy, and well-connected, and he thinks a reality television show is just what Yancey needs to return to the spotlight. Feeling better than she has in years, Yancey returns to New York only to discover her mother, Ava Middlebrooks, has been released early from prison. Reluctantly Yancey allows Ava to stay temporarily. Ava also dreams of the good life she too had once known, and will do anything to get it back. Yancey, in a moment of shock, reveals to Ava that a young rising Disney star is the daughter Yancey gave up for adoption while still in college. Marcus is not all that he seems, Ava is hiding something, and Yancey is going to need all the help she can get. In this tale of mothers and daughters, betrayal, and intrigue, love and redemption will heal old wounds.

Subject Headings: African American women singers Fiction; African American actresses Fiction; Mothers and daughters Fiction.

Appeal: fast-paced, suspenseful, flawed, multiple plot lines, racy, rich and famous, conversational, intricately plotted, character-driven, engaging, dramatic, details of entertainment industry

3 terms that best describe this book: intricately plotted, dramatic, engaging

Similar Authors and Works

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors
Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin (humor, entertainment industry, autobiography)
Friends by Angela Bassett (arts and entertainment, African American film actors and actresses, memoirs)
Chicken Soup for the Mother Daughter Soul: Stories to Warm the Heart and Inspire the Spirit (family and relationships, inspiration, moving)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors
Envy by Sandra Brown (intricately plotted, details of publishing industry, betrayal, revenge)
Babylon Sisters by Pearl Cleage (African-American fiction, family relationships, redemption)
What I Did For Love by Susan Elizabeth Philips (fast-paced, celebrities, engaging)

Name: Sasha Neri

Black Hole by Charles Burns

April 13, 2011

Author: Burns, Charles

Title: Black Hole

Genre: Graphic Novel

Publication Date: 2005

Number of Pages: 368 Pages.

Geographical Setting: Seattle, Washington

Time Period: 1970s

Series: Collection of separately issued comic books

Plot Summary: High school students in Seattle in the 1970s have normal lives, except for the “bug.” This sexually transmitted disease begins to spread among many of the teens, resulting in disfiguring mutations appearing on the affected teens’ bodies. Though not all are visible, the infected teens that begin to show mutations they cannot cover up are treated as outcasts and resort to living in the wilderness and depending on each other for survival. Unfortunately for them, the recluses begin to disappear, and the teens’ concern for their acceptance by society turns into the necessity to survive.

The frightening black-on-white drawings of the graphics further emphasize the foreboding tone of the book, and aid the fast-paced plot.

Subject Headings: Teenagers — Sexuality; Hallucinations and illusions; Sexually transmitted diseases; Homeless teenagers; Disfigured teenagers; Alienation (Social psychology); Sick persons;
Misfits (Persons); Plague; Dreams; Mutants; Mutation (Biology); The Seventies (20th century).

Appeal: Engrossing, fast-paced, evocative, introspective, multiple points of view, vivid, flashbacks, issue-oriented, layered, plot twists, racy, sexually explicit, strong language, thought-provoking, tragic, stark, bleak, dramatic, intimate, uneasy, earthy, unusual.

3 Terms that Best Describe this Book: Character-centered, haunting, chilling.

Similar Fiction Authors and Works:

Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese: Introspective, multiple points of view, character-centered; an examination of identity, race, and social acceptance.

Daniel Clowes’ Ghost World: Urban, evocative, raunchy; an interconnected story of eight teens and their sexual actions.

Dash Shaw’s BodyWorld: Dystopic, comedic, emotional; a small-town group of teenagers discover a mysterious plant with telepathic results.

Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

David Small’s Stitches: Introspective, haunting, intimate; Small’s memoir of growing up, a story of true self-discovery.

David B.’s Epileptic: Introspective, hallucinatory, shady; a memoir of B.’s youth, focusing on his epileptic brother and the family relationships.

Art Spiegelman’s Maus: Haunting, layered, bleak; a personal look into the horrors of the Holocaust and its effects.

Annotation by Carlen

Smoke Screen

May 26, 2010

Author: Sandra Brown

Title: Smoke Screen
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publication Date: 2008
Number of Pages: 398
Geographical Setting: Charleston, SC
Time Period: Present Day
Series: No
Plot Summary: In this gripping romantic thriller, local newswoman Britt Shelley wakes up to find her friend and occasional lover Jay Burgess dead. Authorities suspect foul play, and Britt suddenly turns from news star into news story. Raley Gannon is Jay’s childhood best friend whose life was derailed in a circumstance similar to Britt’s, when he was found in bed with a dead woman five years before Jay’s death.  The two find themselves in a race to find out what happened to Jay, and just what, if anything, the two deaths have to do with a devastating fire at the Charleston Police Department. Romance and suspense blend together as Raley and Britt encounter a slew of nefarious characters and a major twist that will shock even astute readers.
Subject Headings: Murder, Police Investigations, Charleston, SC, Romantic Suspense, Relationships
Appeal: Plot-centered, fast paced, romantic, suspenseful, action-oriented, racy, edgy, direct, tense, quirky secondary characters, plot twists, conversational style.
Three Terms that Best Describe this Book: fast paced, suspense, racy
Similar Works:
Amber Beach, Elizabeth Lowell (suspense, contemporary romance, adventure scenes)
Mercy, Julie Garwood (suspense, contemporary romance, fast-paced, female protagonist, Southern setting)
Raven on the Wing, Kay Hooper (romantic suspense, contemporary setting, strong female protagonist)
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, John Berendt (murder, Southern setting, eccentric secondary characters)
Devil in the White City, Erik Larson (suspense, murder, fast paced)
My Horizontal Life, Chelsea Handler (racy, adventures, strong female protagonist)

Barrel Fever

April 21, 2010

Author:  David Sedaris

TitleBarrel Fever

Genre:  Nonfiction, GLBTQ

Publication Date:  1994

Number of Pages: 196

Geographical Setting: Many different locations: from the Santa land at Macy’s to a young girl’s funeral

Time Period:  A range of time periods, but predominantly between the 1970s up to the early 1990s

Plot Summary: In Sedaris’s first published novel, he collects a group of short stories and essays that embody his unusual dead-pan wit and satirical look at the world.  From the story of a man who is loved too much by his celebrity boyfriends (such manly figures as Bruce Springsteen, Charlton Heston, and Mike Tyson) to a girl who attempts to cause the deaths of her ex-boyfriend and former best friend by committing suicide and leaving a scathing letter to be read (and possibly incite violence) at her funeral, Sedaris has a writing style not for the faint of heart.  Sedaris plays off of traditional societal norms and turns them on their head; for example, he has a mother practically confess to infanticide through her annual Christmas card family update.  He explores the question we all wonder at Christmas: how can some people be so upbeat (or use so many exclamation points) when giving truly terrible news? Sedaris pleasures in turning conventional stories into something the reader would never expect, and does not shy away from taboo subjects like homosexuality, sex, murder, suicide, religion, and erotic fantasy.  The book culminates in one of Sedaris’s most recognizable essays, The Santaland Diaries, chronicling his stint as a Macy’s Christmas elf.  Never ashamed of who he is and what he has to say, Sedaris’s frank tone and matter-of-fact writing lend to the overall theme of the collection: nothing is sacred, and everything is better when you throw in something completely unexpected.

Subject Headings:  Humor Writing — General; Essays; Short stories, American — 20th century

Appeal: engrossing, fast-paced, compelling, eccentric, engaging, evocative, well-developed, vivid, episodic, racy, romp, sexually explicit, steamy, urban, edgy, flamboyant, humorous, sophisticated, colorful, direct, concise, showy, smart, unusual, witty

3 terms that best describe this book: Dead-pan wit, satire on cultural norms, humorous

Similar Authors and Works:


Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, by Chuck Klosterman: For a pop-culture aficionado who enjoys Sedaris’s cutting humor, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs offers a collection of essays examining some of the important issues in life, including MTV’s The Real World, Pamela Anderson, and how John Cusack ruined relationships for an entire generation.

Magical Thinking: True Stories, by Augusten Borroughs: A collection of short essays that tell the story of Borroughs’s unconventional childhood and grown-up experiences through the lens of humor and self-deprecation.  Those who enjoy the personal moments of Sedaris’s short essays will appreciate the insight into this quirky author’s life.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, by Dave Eggers: For a more serious and stripped-down look at how even the most unconventional of families shapes who you are, Eggers provides a memoir that is both funny and emotional.


The Diaries of Adam and Eve, by Mark Twain: Twain takes a satirical look into the lives of the first man and woman through his mock diary of their experience on Earth.  A more serious-toned novel for Twain, those who enjoy Sedaris’s irreverent look into controversial subjects will like Twain’s take on the relationship between the scientific Eve and the less-intelligent Adam.

A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving: Quirky characters and questioning a life guided by fate characterize Irving’s novel.  Readers who appreciate Sedaris’s ability to create engaging, unusual characters and meaningful interactions will find the same themes in Irving’s work.

The Extra Man, by Jonathan Ames: Exploring some of the more taboo subjects, such as cross-dressing and the transvestite culture in New York City, Ames creates a novel with colorful characters who explore sexuality and romance in a funny and witty way.


April 21, 2010


Author: Octavia Butler

Title: Fledgling

Genre: African American Lit

Publication Date: 2005

Number of Pages: 317

Geographical Setting: New Orleans

Time Period: Present Day

Series: N/A

Plot Summary:  A girl awakens, starving, injured, and near death with an overwhelming thirst for blood.  As she recovers, she becomes aware that she has lost her memory and doesn’t know who she is or where her family has gone.  She appears to be a nine year old girl but she begins to wonder if she is actually human.  After a few days of confusion, Shori is found by her father and learns she isn’t human, but Ina, an alien race that forms symbiotic relationships with humans.  As Shori learns about her people, she realizes that her family is under attack by unknown assailants.  Fleeing for her life, Shori must use her wits and her newfound abilities to combat those who seek to kill her and her allies.  Before long, it becomes clear that she is being targeted by members of her family who disapprove of the genetic experiments which created her.   Despite this book’s fantastical frame, it deals with very modern and realistic issues of race.  It is a story that entertains while provoking thoughts about racial equality.

Subject Headings:  Genetic research; Women vampires; Racism; Miscegenation; African-American vampires; Vampires; African-American girls; Amnesiacs; African-American women; Families of murder victims; Sexuality; Experiments; Horror stories

Appeal:  compelling, deliberate, engrossing, detailed, dramatic, evocative, intriguing, lifelike, realistic, vivid, complex, explicitly violent, layered, racy, strong language, detailed setting, dangerous, thoughtful

3 terms that best describe this book:  racy, thoughtful, dramatic

Similar Works/Authors:


3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Vampires: The Occult Truth by Konstantinos: This book examines vampire folklore and the modern vampire subculture.  This book provides an all inclusive look at vampire history, legend, and reality.

The Subject of Race in American Science Fiction by Sharon DeGraw:  This book examines the science fiction genre and its tradition of examining racial issues.  DeGraw argues that speculative fiction has a lot to add to the modern discussion of race and racism.

Human Genetic Engineering: A Guide for Activists, Skeptics, and the Very Perplexed:  This introductory text provides a summary of this complex and controversial science.  This is a great way for the curious reader of Fledgling to become more familiar with this increasingly important topic.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: This speculative novel uses a dystopian future to examine issues of women’s rights and feminism.  Readers who appreciate Butler’s unique handling of sensitive topics will appreciate Atwood’s similar style.

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin: In this book a space traveler must overcome societal prejudices and obstacles to complete his mission.  Le Guin’s exploration of the outsider will remind readers of Shori’s feelings of alienation in her society.

My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due:  If you enjoyed the horror elements of Fledgling than this novel of an African American family under attack by supernatural powers will thrill and satisfy.

Name:  Bethany Bates