Posts Tagged ‘recognizable’

Don’t Let My Mama Read This: A Southern Fried Memoir

August 13, 2012

Author: Hadjii

Title: Don’t Let My Mama Read This: A Southern Fried Memoir

Genre: African American Biography

Publication Date: 2008

Number of Pages: 219 p.

Geographical Setting: Georgia

Time Period: 1980s and 1990s

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: This fast-paced, character-driven, and humorous autobiography consists of stories from Hadjii’s childhood and teenage years.  Throughout the autobiography, Hadjii covers many interesting situations, like attending a predominantly white school, relating to his traditional parents, going to family parties, visiting church on Sundays, celebrating Christmas, drinking for the first time, taking a test for AIDS, and getting his first job.  In the author’s note, Hadjii admits that some parts of the autobiography are true while others are not although one consistent theme throughout many of the stories is Hadjii’s highlighting of the differences between people who are black and white.  In each chapter, Hadjii’s first-person language and voice are clear.  He is chatty and frank, and he uses this voice to plainly describe and comment on situations and characters from his early years.  Unlike many autobiographies, Hadjii’s story is not tragic or sentimental, but is sarcastic, critical, perceptive, and generally optimistic.  Nonetheless, even though the tone throughout the autobiography is generally light, Hadjii’s sharp observations often present deeper perspectives on issues, especially regarding being a black American growing up in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s.

Subject Headings: African-American Families; African-American Young Men; African-Americans; Family and Relationships; The Eighties (20th Century); The Nineties (20th Century); Southern States – Social Life and Customs; Southern States – Race Relations; Autobiographies (Adult Literature); Humor Writing; Memoirs;

Appeal: fast-paced, candid, contemplative, edgy, exuberant, humorous, introspective, playful, thoughtful, upbeat, closely observed, detailed, eccentric, lifelike, recognizable, and vivid primary and secondary characters, character-centered, episodic, family-centered, issue-oriented, strong language, thought-provoking, evocative, small-town, accessible, chatty, colorful, concise, conversational, descriptive, direct, frank, informal

3 Terms that Best Describe This Book: frank, funny, episodic

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Mama Makes Up Her Mind: And Other Dangers of Southern Living by Bailey White, like Don’t Let My Mama Read This: A Southern Fried Memoir by Hadjii, will appeal to readers who are looking for another character-driven reflection about family and relationships in a small town in Georgia.  Although Bailey White recounts these stories as an adult and does not include an African- American perspective as in Don’t Let My Mama Read This: A Southern Fried Memoir by Hadjii, readers of Mama Makes Up Her Mind: And Other Dangers of Southern Living by Bailey White will appreciate her humorous episodic tales, closely observed and eccentric characters, and conversational dialogue throughout the novel.

Life on the Color Line: The True Story of a White Boy Who Discovered He Was Black by Gregory Howard Williams, like Don’t Let My Mama Read This: A Southern Fried Memoir by Hadjii, will appeal to readers who desire another autobiography that highlights family, relationships, and race relations in the United States.  Even though the tone and style ofLife on the Color Line: The True Story of a White Boy Who Discovered He Was Black by Gregory Howard Williams is far more serious and formal thanDon’t Let My Mama Read This: A Southern Fried Memoir by Hadjii, both autobiographies focus on how race affected their childhood and teenage years.  Another difference, however, is thatLife on the Color Line: The True Story of a White Boy Who Discovered He Was Black by Gregory Howard Williams takes place in Indiana in the 1960s unlike Hadjii’s upbringing in Georgia in the 1980s and 1990s.

How to Be Black by Baratunde Thurston will appeal to readers of Don’t Let My Mama Read This: A Southern Fried Memoir by Hadjii because it too is a satiric memoir that humorously focuses on perceptions and stereotypes that people have about African Americans in the United States.  Similar toDon’t Let My Mama Read This: A Southern Fried Memoir by Hadjii, Thurston tries to present a more nuanced and detailed impression of race relations and his background of growing up and living in America, and like Hadjii, Thurston deemphasizes the need for every black individual to represent his or her entire race.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Betsey Brown by Ntozake Shange will appeal to readers of Don’t Let My Mama Read This: A Southern Fried Memoir by Hadjii in that it is another character-driven novel about an African American, Betsey Brown, growing up in a middle-class family and dealing with race relations in the United States.  Although the novel is set in Missouri in the late 1950s, Betsey is dealing with many of the same family issues as Hadjii inDon’t Let My Mama Read This: A Southern Fried MemoirAlthough Betsey Brown by Ntozake Shange is more poetic and atmospheric thanDon’t Let My Mama Read This: A Southern Fried Memoir by Hadjii too, it also is episodic and frankly humorous in many sections and contains a compelling story.

Life is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper will appeal to readers of Don’t Let My Mama Read This: A Southern Fried Memoir by Hadjii in that it is another character-driven novel about African-American families, friends, and neighbors in a small town.  Although the book is more sentimental in tone and takes place in Oklahoma, as inDon’t Let My Mama Read This: A Southern Fried Memoir by Hadjii,Life is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper contains multiple stories told by humorous main characters in a witty and lyrical style.

The Thang That Ate My Grandaddy’s Dog by John Calvin Rainey will appeal to readers of Don’t Let My Mama Read This: A Southern Fried Memoir by Hadjii in that it is another humorous novel about a young African-American boy, Johnny Woodside, growing up in a small town in Florida.  Like Hadjii, Johnny tells many stories about his adventures and the friends and family that he relates to on a regular basis as he learns many lessons about life.

The Next Always

April 4, 2012

Author: Nora Roberts

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Publication Date: 2011

Number of Pages: 352

Geographical Setting: Boonsboro, Maryland

Time Period: Present

Series (If applicable): Book One of The Inn Boonsboro Trilogy

Plot Summary: Clare is a war widow who has returned to her hometown with her three young sons.  Beckett Montgomery and his brothers are remodeling the Inn BoonsBoro, which happens to be across the street from Clare’s bookshop.  Beckett’s unrequited love for his best friend’s widow may finally have a chance now that Clare’s moved back to their quaint hometown. The author’s richly detailed descriptions of the small town and the remodeling project with a touch of the supernatural nicely frame the budding romance between Clare and Beckett .

Subject Headings: Small towns; Historic buildings – conservation and restoration; Second chances; Architects; Infatuation; Hotels; Single mothers; Widows; Booksellers; Homecomings; Small town life; First loves; Men/women relations.

Appeal: easy, engrossing, descriptive, richly detailed, strong sense of place, leisurely-paced, relaxed, unhurried, atmospheric, comfortable, heartwarming, hopeful, lighthearted, magical, optimistic, romantic, engaging, familiar, realistic, recognizable, series (characters), strong secondary characters, sympathetic, contemporary, detailed setting, small-town, accessible, colloquial, conversational, simple, unembellished, details of small town, details of restoration of old building.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: comfortable; heartwarming; richly detailed.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Under the Tuscan Sun  by Frances Mayes.  Under the Tuscan Sun and The Next Always both evoke strong sense of place using lush descriptions of the small towns where the story takes place and rich details of renovating once magnificent buildings (Mayes a countryside villa and Roberts an Inn).  Both also follow a love story that is framed by the restoration process.

The Reluctant Tuscan by Phil Doran.  Doran amusingly recounts his relocation from LA where he was a TV producer to a tiny Tuscan town where he and his wife embark upon remodeling a 300 year old farmhouse. Doran’s optimism and witty commentary lead up to a happy-ever-after that The Next Always readers will appreciate.

My Boyfriend’s Back: True Stories of Rediscovering Love with a Long-Lost Sweetheart by Donna Hanover.  Beckett’s love for Clare has been unrequited since high school, but he gets a second chance with her in The Next Always.  Like the title suggests, My Boyfriend’s Back explores true stories of first loves rekindled later on in life. Both books will leave readers feeling hopeful about loves from the past.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

The Wedding Dress by Virginia Ellis. This light, heart-warming historical fiction by Ellis (who typically authors romance novels) centers around a Civil War widow and her sisters as they try to find hope in a bleak post-war life by sewing a wedding dress for the youngest sister.  Like The Next Always, The Wedding Dress offers hope, love, a happy ending, and even a ghostly twist.

The Inn at Eagle Point by Sherryl Woods.  This is the heartwarming first book of in the contemporary romance series, Chesapeake Shores.  Like the Inn Boonsboro Trilogy, Chesapeake Shores is about second chances and men/women relations and gives readers a strong sense of place.

Virgin River by Robyn Carr.  Virgin River is a leisurely-paced contemporary romance about a widow looking to start over in a small town.  A strong sense of place and a heartwarming story will appeal to readers who enjoyed The Next Always.

Name: Ally C.

Sag Harbor

April 21, 2010

Author: Colson Whitehead

Title: Sag Harbor

Genre: African-American

Publication Date:2009

Number of Pages 288:

Geographical Setting: Sag Harbor, New York

Time Period:1985

Series (If applicable): n/a

Plot Summary: In the summer of 1985 fifteen year old Benji Cooper and his brother return to the traditional vacation spot for middle class African Americans in New York City, Sag Harbor. This time they get to spend the summer living on their own with their parents visiting only on weekends. The book follows Benji through his summer job, attempts to gain the attention of girls and lots of time hanging out at the beach with his friends. Whitehead provides a detailed view of racial and class divisions against the backdrop of a nostalgic coming of age novel.

Subject Headings:African American, adolescence, 1980’s

Appeal: Closely observed, detailed, evocative, familiar, lifelike, recognizable, character-centered, episodic, family-centered, linear, detailed setting, small-town, humorous, intimate, lighthearted, nostalgic, unpretentious

3 terms that best describe this book: Nostalgic, Engaging, Recognizable

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Philistines at the Hedgerow: Passion and Property in the Hamptons by Steven Gaines

In contrast to the much more down to Earth town of Sag Harbor, this book looks at the nearby towns known as the Hamptons and their super-rich inhabitants.

Places of Their Own: African American Suburbanization in the Twentieth Century (Historical Studies of Urban America) by Andrew Weiss. Explores the phenomenon of African American middle and upper classes moving outward from cities creating uniquely black suburbs.

We beat the street: how a friendship pact helped us succeed by The Three Doctors. A story of three African American teen boys who use their strong friendship to propel themselves out of a troubled neighborhood and though college.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Caucasia by Danzy Senna. Set in the 1970’s a young girl with a Caucasian mother and African-American father is abandoned by her father and is forced to move with her mother to find a new home. Similar to Sag Harbor in its exploration of racial identity and how a children can be placed between

Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem. Like Sag Harbor this book is set in the New York City of the 1980’s and explores racial and class differences among young adults.

The White Boy Shuffle by Paul Beatty. In this coming of age novel author Beatty explores the nature of racial identity. A young African-American boy is forced to adjust as he moves from the predominantly white suburb where he spends his childhood to a town filled with minorities (blacks/Asians/Latinos).

Name:Kris Harrison

Geography Club

April 20, 2010

Author: Brent Hartinger

Title: Geography Club

Genre: LGBTQ

Publication Date: 2003

Number of Pages: 226

Geographical Setting: Robert L. Goodkind High School

Time Period: Present Day

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: Russel Middlebrook thinks that he is the only gay person in his high school. It is not long when he discovers there are a lot more people that he never had expected. Russel finds out that his best friend, Min, and the most popular boy at school, Kevin, are also gay.  The group of gay and lesbian teenagers, who do not think they have anything in common, finds mutual support when they form the “Geography Club” at their high school.

Subject Headings: schools, homosexuality, fiction, clubs, high schools

Appeal: compelling, easy, fast-paced, steady, engaging, familiar, inspiring, intriguing, lifelike, realistic, recognizable, character-centered, complex, gentle, issue-oriented, thought-provoking, dramatic, hopeful, romantic, thoughtful, well-crafted

3 terms that best describes the book: hopeful, realistic, issue-oriented

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan. Takes place in a high school friends who are straight and gay alike hang out and help each other with their relationship problems.

Tale of Two Summers by Brian Sloan. The two best friends in this story grow closer together by communicating about relationships of the summer and their relationship since one of the friends came out.

Band Fags! By Frank Anthony Polito. Two friends go through high school and talk about their relationship and things such as guys and girls that they have crushes on. They learn that even though they want to be “normal,” they will one day have to choose how they want to live.

Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Lesbians and Gays and Sports (Issues in Lesbian and Gay Life) by Perry Deane Young. This Book talks about sports and the reaction that happens for those who are lesbian or gay and play sports.

The New Gay Teenager (Adolescent Lives) by Ritch C. Savin-Williams. This book talks about how adolescents of today deal with their homosexuality.

A Family and Friends Guide to Sexual Orientation: Bridging the Divide between Gay and Straight by Bob Powers & Alan Ellis.  This book is a guide to how to deal when a loved one comes out.

Name: Emily

The Last Song

March 31, 2010

Author: Nicholas Sparks

Title: The Last Song

Genre: Gentle Reads

Publication Date: 2009

Number of Pages: 390

Geographical Setting: New York and Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

Time Period: Present Day

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: Ronnie must leave her New York home to visit her father, who she has not spoken to in three years, who lives in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Ronnie’s father was a concert pianist and teacher before moving down there after the divorce. Ronnie’s mother thinks it would be best if Ronnie and her little brother stayed there the whole summer. There are many times that Ronnie threatens to leave and return back home, that is all until she runs into Will. She becomes attracted to him and they start a romance that makes her feel things that she has never felt before. All the while, she is getting to know her father more and she learns why he left in the first place. Throughout the summer she spends there, she learns more about what is really important in life and learns about love on many different levels.

Subject Headings: Fathers and daughters, Divorce, Love stories, American, Teenage girls, Bildungsromans, Divorced parents, North Carolina, Social life and customs, Death, Children of divorced parents, Domestic fiction

Appeal: engrossing, steady, dramatic, engaging, familiar, inspiring, intriguing, realistic, recognizable, sympathetic, domestic, family-centered, gentle, flashbacks, tragic, intimate, contemporary, bittersweet, emotionally-charged, moody, romantic, complex

3 terms that best describes the book: sad, hopeful, sappy

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. This book deals with a family that has a child that has been diagnosed with cancer.

The Lullaby by Sarah Dessen- The tale of a recent high school graduate and how all her thoughts on love and being unattached to someone changes when a rocker comes into her life.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – Is a story of a man who suffers from chrono displacement disorder. It is about how he never will know when he wakes up where he will be and the love of his wife. This love for his wife is the one thing that is able to keep him anchored while he never knows when he wakes up if he will be in an important time in his past or his future.

Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Protecting Endangered Species in the United States: Biological Needs, Political Realities, Economic Choices by Jason F Shogren (Editor) John Tschirhart (Editor). A collection of papers written by economists, biologists, and political scientists about protecting the endangered species in the United States with regards to the challenges that are presented to society.

Surviving Cancer Emotionally: Learning How to Heal by Roger Garnet.  A guide for patients and their families on how to emotionally handle the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Piano Roles: Three Hundred Years of Life with the Piano by Professor James Parakilas. To celebrate the 300 year birthday of the piano this book takes the reader through all aspects of the piano from the making of a piano to the making of music with pianos and also the history that pianos has have had in cultures of the world.

Name: Emily

Eggsecutive Orders

March 16, 2010

Author: Julie Hyzy

Title: Eggsecutive Orders

Genre: Mystery

Publication Date: 2010

Number of Pages: 352

Geographical Setting: Washington D.C.- The White House

Time Period: Present day

Series (If applicable): A White House Chef Mystery: State of the Onion, Hail to the Chef

Plot Summary: White House Chef Olivia Paras and her staff are preparing for the annual Easter egg hunt on the grounds of the White House (WH).  But before the hunt rolls around, Ollie and her people are under suspicion and suspended from the kitchen when a guest, National Security Agency (NSA) Chief Carl Minkus, dies after eating a dinner they had prepared.  To add to the confusion, Ollie’s family finally is visiting her and had been looking forward to a personal tour of the WH.  The Secret Service tear apart the WH kitchen and delve into the lives of Ollie and her staff.  Who is going to prepare the First Family’s meals?  Will the Easter Egg Roll have food?  Who killed the NSA chief and why?  Ollie steps into the fray to find the murderer and to clear her name.

Subject Headings: White House- Fiction, Washington D.C.-Fiction, Cooking mystery- Fiction, Cooking- Fiction, Women chefs- Fiction, Murder- Investigation- Fiction, Easter egg hunts- Fiction, Olivia Paras- Fiction

Appeal: fast-paced, vivid, character-centered, recognizable, series characters, detailed setting, well-developed, cozy, suspenseful, urban, humorous, appetizing, witty, domestic

3 terms that best describe this book: fun, engrossing, humorous

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

  • The Making of a Chef by Michael Ruhlman

The author takes us on his journey through his studies at the Culinary Institute of America and beyond.  Weaving through kitchens throughout the world, we see food through the eyes of a chef.  Anyone who enjoys food, will enjoy this inspiring story.

  • Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Food Critic by Ruth Reichl

Reichl, a prolific writer of food, writes of how she disguises herself when she goes out to dine as a food critic.  A very humorous account of the various times that Reichl has changed her appearance and persona just to go out and critique a restaurant.  An enjoyable read.

  • Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell

A New York woman decides that she will undertake a new project- to see if she can cook every recipe in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The reader follows Powell through the year sharing in her disasters and triumphs.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

  • Fatally Flaky by Diane Mott Davidson

The latest in the Goldie Schulz series, the Colorado caterer finds herself sleuthing once again. While planning the catering for the reception for the bride from hell, Doc Finn, a friend of Goldie’s dies.  Was it murder and who would want kindly Doc dead? Goldie once again has her hands full trying to run her business and solve a murder. A delightful and humorous mystery.

  • Cooking Up Murder by Miranda Bliss

The first in a series, two kooky friends Annie and Eve, decide they want to learn how to cook.  Together they sign up for a cooking class, meet their hunky teacher, stumble upon a dead body in the parking lot and find themselves trying to solve a mystery.  And who said cooking couldn’t be fun?

  • Wormwood by Susan Albert Wittig

Book # 17 in the China Bayles mystery series has China, an herbalist, travels out of Pecan Springs to a Shaker Village in Kentucky. Visiting a friend at the village, China finds herself trying to find a killer.  In the process, China also unveils a mystery from the past.  A different twist on the China Bayles series.

Name: Noreen

Size 12 is Not Fat

November 4, 2009


Author: Meg Cabot
Size 12 is Not Fat
Publication Date:
Number of Pages:
Women’s Lives and Relationships, Mystery, Chick Lit
Geographical Setting:
Manhattan, New York City, New York
Time Period:
Heather Wells mysteries, 1

Plot Summary: Former pop star Heather Wells (of “Sugar Rush” fame) has left behind her fans and her old record label for a new gig as an assistant dorm (sorry, residence hall) director, but when residents start turning up dead, she finds herself turning into a plucky girl detective.  With her landlord/crush/private investigator Cooper Cartwright by her side, who just happens to be the brother of her ex-fiancee, former Easy Street member Jordan Cartwright, life is anything but typical for this bombshell who is “the size of the average American woman!”

Subject Headings: Educational guidance
Dorm life
Self-esteem in women

Universities and colleges

Campus murders


Self-reliance in women

Wells, Heather

New York City

Mystery stories

Humorous stories
Chick lit

Appeal: breakneck, easy, fast-paced, dramatic, intriguing, quirky, realistic, recognizable, character-centered, plot twists, investigative, contemporary, urban, details of residence hall administration/college administration, hopeful, intimate, suspenseful, frank, smart

Three terms that best describe this book: Mystery, Page-turner, Heroine

Similar Authors and Works (Fiction): The Perfectly True Tales of a Perfect Size 12 by Robin Gold (similar heroine working in spotlight, mystery)

Death by Chick Lit by Lynn Harris (mystery with female protagonist who is chick lit author)

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich (first Stephanie Plum novel; zany insecure female detective)

Similar Authors and Works (Nonfiction): The Making of a Detective by Harvey Rachlin (an actual NYPD homicide detective tells about his career)

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession by Allison Hoover Bartlett (true story of a mystery of bibliophilia, like obsessive character in Size 12)

Street Stories: The World of Police Detectives by Robert Jackall (going inside the actual detective process)

Name: Anne

The Fourth Bear

June 10, 2009

The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde
Author: Jasper Fforde
Title: The Fourth Bear
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publication Date: 2006
Number of Pages: 378
Geographical Setting: Reading, England
Time Period: 2004
Series: Nursery Crime Division

Plot Summary: This is the second book in the Nursery Crimes Division series by Jasper Fforde. Detective Jack Spratt heads the agency that specializes in those cases that have a nursery related twist. He is accompanied by Sergeant Mary Mary and Constable Ashley, who is a binary fluent alien. The story mostly follows Detective Spratt as the plot unfolds. The reader is immersed in his world of talking bears, nursery characters (or PDRs, Persons of Dubious Reality) come to life, and murderous cookies (or cakes). The literary references are usually obvious, but every so often one will sneak up and surprise you. The literary references, characters, and puns humorously weave together an entertaining detective mystery.

Subject Headings: Nursery rhymes—Adaptations; Fiction—England; Humor—Fiction; Mystery; Fantasy; Police; Detectives; Murder

Appeal: Compelling; fast-paced; detailed; recognizable; layered; literary references; multiple plot lines; contemporary; humorous; playful; conversational; smart; witty

Three terms that best describe this book: Tongue-in-cheek, surprising, fun

Relevant Fiction:

  • Fables by Bill Willingham (The first is Legends in Exile; fairy tale and storybook characters live along side humans; reformed Big Bad Wolf is the sheriff, Snow White is the deputy mayor under King Cole, although she’s really in charge; many of the same characters from The Fourth Bear appear in this series, even though it’s a graphic novel)
  • Jack, the Giant-Killer by Charles de Lint (Based on Jack and the Beanstalk and Jack the Giant Killer; fantasy novel; faeries, gnomes, and bikers)
  • Wicked by Gregory Maguire (the Wizard of Oz, as told by the Wicked Witch of the West; familiar story told from a different view point / side; fantasy as well)

Relevant Nonfiction:

  • Heavy Words Lightly Thrown: The Reason Behind the Rhyme by Chris Roberts (the history and reasoning behind nursery rhymes, written by a British librarian and tour guide)
  • Bears: A Brief History by Bernd Brunner (history of the relationship between man and bear)
  • Otherwise Normal People: Inside the Thorny World of Competitive Rose Gardening by Aurelia Scott (a journalist’s peek inside the cutthroat world of competitive gardening)

Name: Jill Chouinard

Michael Tolliver Lives by Armistead Maupin

April 13, 2009

Author: Armistead Maupin

Title: Michael Tolliver Lives

Genre: Gay and Lesbian

Publication Date: 2007

Number of Pages: 277

Geographical Setting: San Francisco, California

Time Period: Present Day


Plot Summary: Michael Tolliver is a character from earlier works, Tales of the City, More Tales of the City, and Further Tales of the City. He is an HIV positive gay man living with his husband Ben in San Francisco (their marriage is no longer legal). He is older now, and has lost friends and lovers to AIDS. He has come close to dying himself. He owns a landscaping business and interacts with both straight and gay people. His mother is dying and Michael is who she turns to in the end (although up to this point she has been completely disapproving of Michael’s life, as she is firmly rooted in Christianity).


Subject Headings: Gay men—San Francisco, California—Fiction; Middle-aged gay men—Fiction; HIV positive men—Fiction; Gay couples—California—Fiction; Young men—relationships with older men—Fiction; Gay communities—San Francisco, California—Fiction; Gay culture—San Francisco, California—Fiction; Gay fathers—Family relationships—Fiction; Sexuality—Social aspects—Fiction.


Appeal: engrossing, relaxed, engaging, evocative, lifelike, realistic, recognizable, series, sympathetic, vivid, character-centered, domestic, family-centered, issue-oriented, layered, resolved ending, sexually explicit, steamy, strong language, thought-provoking, contemporary, details of gay culture, bittersweet, candid, humorous, introspective, thoughtful, accessible, colorful, direct, frank.


Similar Fiction Authors and Works: Almost Like Being in Love by Steve Kluger, engaging, humorous, character-centered, issue-oriented.

Half-Life by Aaron Krach, character-centered, issue-oriented, humorous, thought-provoking.

A Seahorse Year by Stacey D’Erasmo, character-centered, issue-oriented, thought-provoking.


Relevant Non-Fiction Authors and Works: Wild Animals I Have Known: Polk Street Diaries and After by Kevin Bentley.  Kevin Bentley writes about his experiences as a gay man in San Francisco in the 1970’s.

Wide-Open Town: A History of Queer San Francisco to 1965 by Nan Boyd, a Women’s Studies professor chronicles the history of gay culture in San Francisco up to 1965.

The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family by Dan Savage. Dan Savage talks about marriage and how it affects the gay community, especially how it affects him personally as he explores marriage for himself as a gay man.


The Quilter’s Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini

April 1, 2009

Author: Jennifer Chiaverini

Title: The Quilter’s Apprentice (first in a series, Elm Creek Quilts)

Genre: Gentle Read

Publication Date: 1999

Number of Pages: 271

Geographical Setting: Waterford, Pennsylvania

Time Period: Present Day

Plot Summary: Sarah and her husband Matt move because Matt has a new job, working for a landscaping company. Sarah has difficulty finding a new job herself. She accompanies Matt to visit one of his clients, Sylvia Compson. Sylvia is an elderly lady who lives in a huge house by herself. Sylvia’s sister Claudia has died, and Sylvia has returned to the family estate to get it ready for sale. Sylvia and her sister have been estranged because both of their husbands enlisted to fight in World War II, and only one husband came back (Claudia’s husband has returned, and Sylvia’s husband James was killed). James died trying to save Sylvia and Claudia’s brother, Richard, while Claudia’s husband froze in fear. Sylvia is strong-minded, opinionated, and rude to Sarah on the first meeting. Sylvia has hired Matt’s landscaping company because she wants to sell her house and move to a smaller property that she owns. She hires Sarah to help her clean up the inside of the house and get it ready for sale. Sarah accepts the position while she looks for a full-time job. Sarah discovers that Sylvia makes beautiful quilts, and learns how to make quilts from her. They eventually become friends through the quilt making lessons, and Sarah starts to realize that she needs to work on her relationship with her mother.

Subject Headings: Women–Friendship—Fiction; Quilt makers—Pennsylvania—Waterford—Fiction; Waterford—Pennsylvania—Fiction; Intergenerational friendship—Fiction; Senior women—Fiction; Domestic—Fiction; Historical—Fiction, American; Forgiveness in women—Fiction

Appeal: easy, relaxed, engaging, familiar, insightful, lifelike, realistic, recognizable, series, strong secondary characters, sympathetic, vivid, well-developed, character-centered, domestic, family-centered, gentle, folksy, historical details, intimate, small-town, comfortable, heartwarming, homespun, hopeful, humorous, lighthearted, optimistic, accessible, conversational, natural, simple, unaffected

Similar Fiction Authors and Works:

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs, easy, relaxed, engaging, familiar, realistic, character-driven

Brown Eyes Blue by Carolyn Meyer, engaging, character-driven, vivid, small-town, humorous

Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry (Port William Series #14), gentle, comfortable, small-town, character-driven

Relevant Non-Fiction Authors and Works:

The Art of Classic Quilt making by Harriet Hargrave and Sharyn Craig, 2 teachers present various projects that can be created.

Masters: Art Quilts: Major Works by Leading Artists by Martha Sielman, a look at quilts as art, with numerous examples of each artist.

The Fabric of Friendship: Celebrating the Joys, Mending the Tears in Women’s Relationships by Joy Carol, tells how important the relationship between mothers and daughters is, how to create and develop lasting friendships between women.