Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

Thirteen Reasons Why

October 3, 2012

Author: Jay Asher

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why

Genre: YA; Psychological Suspense

Publication Date: January 2008

Number of Pages: 288 pages

Geographical Setting: Most likely a small town in the USA

Time Period: Present Day

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: Clay Jenkins comes home from school one day to a box full of tapes. As he listens to them he hears the voice of Hannah Barker, the girl who took her life a few weeks back. On the tapes are thirteen people who played a role in Hannah’s decision to take her life and she wants them to know why. Each person on Hannah’s list will receive these tapes and have to listen to her story and their role in it. Clay is distraught and can’t believe he is on these tapes, he shouldn’t be on them, he liked Hannah and even had a crush on her. Throughout the book Clay walks the streets of his town to places Hannah mentions on the tapes and listens to the events that lead up to her suicide. Suspensefully written and full of emotions and detailed characters, this book gives you a look at high school life for teenagers, the struggles they face and the real life decisions some teens make.

Subject Headings: Suicide Victims, Rape, Emotions in teenagers, guilt, suicide, interpersonal relations, tapes, high schools, schools, teenage boys

Appeal: Suicide, Relationships, Dual Narratives, High School, Suspense, Realistic Fiction, Drama, Character Driven, Emotional, Present Day, Fast-Paced, Small Towns

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Suicide, Suspense, High School

Three Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1.Dear bully: Seventy authors tell their stories (Sep 2011)

For anyone interested in hearing more stories about bulling and how it affects others. These authors of teen and young adult literature share their own stories about bullying from all sides of the issue.

2. Secrets girls keep: What girls hide (& why) and how to break the stress of silence (Nov 2009) by Carrie Silver-Stock

Thirteen Reasons Why centered around Hannah Bakers’ decision to take her own life and the stresses faced by teenage girls. In this book, teenage girls can find answers to questions about daily life as a teen. Topics covered in this book include; drug use, Internet, making friends, boyfriends, school and grades, depression and more.

3. Teen Suicide (Aug 2011) By Lorena Huddle

The main subject of Thirteen Reasons Why was teenage suicide. In this book we get an overview of the causes, risks, prevention, intervention and how to cope with a suicide.

Three Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1. Looking for Alaska (Mar 2005) by John Green

Like Thirteen Reasons Why, this book tell of a young boy who falls for a girl whose death will leave unanswered questions. Throughout the book, one main character searches for answers dealing with life and death.

2. Why we broke up (Dec 2011) By Daniel Handler

For anyone looking for answers as to why something happened, check out Why we broke up. Why we broke up tells the story of a 16 year old girl who writes a letter to her ex-boyfriend explaining why they broke up. Along with the letter she includes a box of items that will help tell the story and why the relationship ended. In Thirteen Reasons Why, Hannah gives tapes to the people who played a part in her decision to take her life. She tells her story and reasons why through the tapes.

3. Hate List (Sep 2009) By Jennifer Brown

After the school shooting by her boyfriend, Valerie realizes that the people targeted during the shooting were on the Hate list. A list she helped create with her boyfriend. Now she is struggling with the last year of high school and her relationships with those around her as she tries to deal with feelings of guilt and her role in the shooting. Like Thirteen Reasons Why, there was a list and the people on this list played a role in the decision to take a life.

Name: Madison Gailus

Boy Meets Boy

April 11, 2012

Author: David Levithan

Title: Boy Meets Boy

Genre: Young Adult, GLBTQ

Publication Date: 2003

Number of Pages: 192

Geographical Setting: small town in United States

Time Period: Contemporary

Series (If applicable):

Plot Summary: Paul, a gay sophomore in High-School, has several friends including a drag queen football quarter back. When a new boy Noah moves to his small town, Paul is immediately attracted and the two being a relationship. In a world where being gay is difficult, Livithan creates a place where being gay is normal. Although there is the typical romance of discovering your first love, fighting with your best friend and learning to be accepted among your peers, this whimsical novel shares the ups and downs of a protagonist everyone will be rooting for.

Subject Headings:  Magical Realism, Male Friendship, High-School, Gay Teenagers, Teenage Boys

Appeal: Funny, Engaging, Character Driven, Gay Relationships, Cheerful, Charming, Wacky, Artistic, Love, Relationships, Whimsical, Small Town, Contemporary

3 appeal terms that best describe this book:  Homosexuality, Relationships and Humorous

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

The Meaning of Matthew: my son’s murder in Laramie, and a world transformed by Judy Shepard. The mother of Matthew Shepard shares her heartbreaking story of the loss of her son discussing her thoughts and feelings immediately following his murder. Through her son’s brutal massacre the world was turned upside down hearing about this crime. Judy shares intimate moments about Matthew before his death and her life work becoming an activist to support gay and lesbian causes.

The Give Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman. Everyone comes in various sizes as does their personal expressions of love. This book discusses five ways to help your relationship become a stronger one by showing your affection through words of affirmation, receiving gifts, acts of services, physical touch and quality time. A great self-help book for couples that need to repair communication between one another.

GLTBQ: the survival guide for Queer and Questioning Teens by Kelly Huegel. For gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender questioning teens, this novel helps take the challenges of prejudice and discrimination that may come with figuring out their true identity. It provides experiences from other teens who have ‘come out’ to parents, family and friends and also describes possible responses of parents after their teen has told them that he/she is gay. It also lists possible ways to respond to those who may be less accepting to the information. This is a great resource for teens.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Weetzie Bat– Francesca Lia Block- This poetic and lyrical novel discuses the life of Weetzie, a girl who lives in LA with her friend Dirk whose gay. In this intricate book, Block combines modern day chaos with mystical occurrences when Weetzie is granted three wishes by a genie and the ever-changing love triangles. This is a novel discusses homosexuality, single parenthood and you’re not so traditional family that it’s bound to be a topic of discussion among a wide variety of readers.

Far From Xanadu by Julie Anne Peters. Set in a small town in Kansas, Mike (born Mary- Elizabeth) has a troubling family after her father commits suicide and her mother feels that she is falling into a deep depression. Suddenly things look up when Xanadu a new girl who visits her town, becomes infatuated with her. The problem is that Xanadu is not attracted to Mike. This novel brings out the true emotions and honesty that teenagers have when they are unsure of what sex they prefer. Peters weaves in difficult situations but always leaves the reader rooting for Mike in this uplifting tale.

Luna by Julie Ann Peters. This young adult novel deals specifically with transgender issues. Reagan’s brother, Liam, is a woman trapped in a man’s body. Reagan tries to protect her brother and his secret from his friends and family until Liam decides that he wants to expose “Luna” to his parents and unleash her to the world.

A Home at the End of the World

August 17, 2011

Author: Michael Cunningham

Title: A Home at the End of the World

Genre:  Gay/Lesbian

Publication Date:  November 1998

Number of Pages: 352

Geographical Setting: Cleveland, New York City, Upstate New York, Arizona

Time Period: 1990’s

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Jonathan and Bobby have been friends since the age of thirteen. The boys live out this time in their lives in Cleveland and eventually end up in New York. Clare comes into the picture and the relationships become complicated. The three of them try to become a family and live their lives together.

Subject Headings: Family, Relationships, Gay Men,

Appeal: bittersweet, thoughtful, leisurely paced, insightful, well-developed, issue-oriented, engaging, moody, hopeful, realistic, detailed setting, cinematic

3 terms that best describe this book:

bittersweet, hopeful, well-developed

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

1.         Leaving Mother Lake: a girlhood at the edge of the world – by Namu Yang. A young girl who is Chinese tells the story of life in Moso country in the Himalayas. She lives in a society led by women and after enduring conflicts with her mother decides to leave. This story is also about growing up and finding ones way in the world.

2.         The invisible wall: a love story that broke barriers- by Harry Berstein

Here is another tale about growing up and discovering one’s own path. Harry Bernstein grew up in a small English town. The town seemed like every other small town except for the invisible but real line that divided the Christian families from the Jewish families. Life gets further complicated when Harry’s older sister falls in love with a Christian boy.

3.         Falling Through the Earth -by Danielle Trussoni

Family problems and dysfunction is the theme of this book. This book follows the author’s life growing up with a Vietnam veteran. Her father is haunted by the war and both have to deal with the outrageous behavior and the damage that it caused.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

1.         The Memory of Running-Rom McLarty

While working in a toy factory in Rhode Island, the main character finds himself without friends and battling alcoholism. Suddenly after a tragic event he decides to bike cross-country.

2.         Carry Me Home- Sandra Kring

Earl always depended on his older brother. His older brother is sent to war and returns three years later but not as the same person. Earl finds himself in the position of protector instead of the one who is being protected.

3.         The Song of Names-Norman Lebrecht

Two close friends Martin and Dovidl, a violin prodigy, live in London in the 1930s and at the end of World War II. All is well unitl Dovidl disappears on the night before his first performance.


Name: Juanita Fisher

South of Broad

April 14, 2010

April 13, 2010 by Jane

Author:  Pat Conroy, narrated by Mark Deakins

Title: South of Broad

Genre:  Audio Book.  Literary Fiction

Publication Date: August 2009

Number of Discs: 16,  20 hours (Unabriged)

Geographical Setting:  South Carolina

Time Period: 1960s – 1980s

Series: N/A

Plot Summary:  Set against the impressive background of Charleston, South Carolina, South of Broad is an epic saga of the lives of a group of friends who meet during their senior year of high school and remain friends all their lives. The story is told in the first person by Leopold Bloom King,  named for the hero in James Joyce’s Ulysees.  Leo is a shy, introspective young boy who is coping with discovering the body of  his thirteen year old brother who committed suicide. His brother is the favorite son of his mother, and after his brother’s death Leo struggles to find some meaning to his life.  Leo spends time in a mental institution and upon his return to high school gets caught with drugs in his possesion. He is given community service doing a paper round and his mother, who is his high school principal, enlists his help in looking after the new students. These new students become his life long friends and one of them becomes his wife. They are a cast of colorful characters; the twins Sheba and Trevor Poe who are constantly moving to get away from their psychotic father. Sheba becomes a famous hollywood actress and Tevor moves to San Fransisco and becomes part of the gay community, later dealing with AIDS.  Orphans Niles and Starla, are from the North Carolina mountains, and Charleston socialite Molly Huger and her boyfriend Chadworth Rutledge X are among Charleston’s oldest families.

The journey follows the lives of these friends, their families, and the issues of racism in the South in the sixties and the emergence of AIDS in the 1980s. There are times when their friendships are put to the test and maybe the last test is more than their friendship can endure.

The audio book is narrated by Mark Deakins who easily transposes between the characters. His voice has an ease about it which makes listening to the book give the listener a sense of the old south. He delivers just the right pitch when he is being the flamboyant Trevor or the practical Leo. The pace of the book is unhurried, yet the reader is anxious to move onto the next chapter. The story builds slowly, gaining momentum and the poignancy of the story is heard through the voice of Mark Deakins.

Subject Headings: Charleston, South Carolina; San Francisco, California; Race Relations; Family Relationshps; Social Classes; The Sixties (20th century); The Eighties (20th century).

Appeal: Steady-paced, lyrical style, descriptive, evocative, engrossing, historical details, character centered, suicide, Catholicism, relationships, family secrets, enduring friendships, southern fiction.

3 terms that best describe this book: Frame, lyrical language, intricate characters.

Similar Authors and Works


Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison. This book deals with family relationships, and the differences between the social classes of Greenville County, South Carolina. Ruth Anne Boatwright is the illegitimate daughter of Anney.  Anney raises Ruth Anne to the best of her abilities, eventually marrying and having another daughter.  Life seems to have reached a turning point for Anney and her family until everything changes one summer afternoon.

Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler. Like Conroy, Tyler’s books are full of rich characters and setting is an essential part of the story. The setting for Ladder Years is Baltimore and follows the story of the Grinstead family, but in particular Celia Grinstead, who feels unnoticed by her family.  During a family vacation Celia wanders off to start a new life in a small town. But was that the right decision?

Dead Man’s Walk by Larry McMurtry. McMurtry’s unhurried pace and well-developed characters compliment Conroy’s style. Dead Man Walking is a prequel to McMurtry’s best-seller Lonesome Dove and follows young Texas rangers Woodrow Call and Gus McCrae as they join the Texas Rangers bound for the new frontiers of the Wild West. The journey is full of dangers and challenges, especially when they have to cross Jornada del Muerto, or Dead Man’s Walk.


Peninsula of Lies: A True Story of  Mysterious Birth and Taboo Love by Edward Ball.  This non-fiction mystery set in Charleston, South Carolina is the story of Gordon Langley Hall, later Dawn Langley Simmons. Gordon Hall was born in England, the son of servants of Sissinghurst Castle. In his early twenties he moved to New York where he befriended society ladies. He inherited a small fortune which he used to buy and decorate a mansion house in Charleston.  However, in 1968 Gordon became Dawn, undergoing one of the first sexual changes, scandalizing the Charleston community, not once, but twice when a few months later she married a young black mechanic and gave birth to a daughter.

Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. “I am sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a dumpster.” This begins the autobiography of Jeanette Walls, a regular contributor to and now married and living in New York.  Walls chronicles the life of her family as they deal with their father’s alcoholism and their mother’s self-proclaimed addiction to excitement. “Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever”.  After travelling through fifteen states the family finally settled down in New York. Walls describes a life of hardship, but through it all the love for  her family is unconditional.

The Pat Conroy Cookbook: Recipes and Stories of My Life by Pat Conroy. A delightful coobook with recipes from the Deep South and other countries around the world. Conroy not ony shares his passion for cooking, but also the colorful characters and interesting places he has visited.

Name; Jane

How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

April 13, 2010

Author:  Julia Alvarez

Title:  How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

Genre:  Latino, Audio Book

Publication Date: 1991; Audio 2006

Number of Pages: 8 Compact Discs/ 9.5 hours

Geographical Setting: Bronx, New York

Time Period: Early 1970‘s to the late 1980’s

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: The Garcia family, consisting of four sisters and their parents, flee from political turmoil in the Dominican Republic to New York.  As the four sisters become more Americanized, they grow further apart not only from each other, but from their parents and their traditional ways.  Brought up in a lavish lifestyle, the family needs to learn how to endure life as the middle-class and find that all immigrants are defined in one category no matter where they come from.  Their story is told in reverse chronological order and we are taken through a journey of the sexuality of each of the sisters, their various experiences with drugs, racism, romantic relationships and differing personalities.  The tale of a clash of cultures, dreams and challenges for a family trying to fit in.

Subject Headings:  Sisters- Fiction, Dominican Americans- Fiction, Bronx- Fiction, Audiobooks, Cultural Identity- Fiction

Appeal: family epic, relationships, conflict, sexuality, cultural readjustment, several points of view, narrative, tension, crisis, tone, identity, measured, complex, introspective

3 terms that best describe this book: Coming of age, issue oriented, unembellished

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Latina Self-Portraits: Interviews with Contemporary Women Writers by Bridget Kevane and Juanita Heredia
Ten interviews with authors of Latina literature.  The writers talk about their influences, life, art and politics and their goals.  These interviews enrich a readers’ understanding of Latina literature and how it has grown over the years
English is Broken Here: Notes on Cultural Fusion in the Americas by Coco Fusco
Fusco, in a series of essays, examines the works of Latina artists that have been born in the U.S. and how they relate to their culture versus their American identity.
When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago
A memoir of a Puerto Rican childhood. Santiago reflects on her life, growing up in poverty in Puerto Rico.  The story continues as Santiago’s mother moves her brood of eleven children to New York where they start a new life and Santiago goes on to fulfill her dreams.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia
The story of three generations of Cuban women, who like the Garcia girls, find
themselves in exile during the 70’s and 80’s.  Narratives, monologues and love letters
tell the story of these women.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
The story of a young Mexican-American girl, Esperanza, and her life on Mango Street
in Chicago.  Esperanza vows that one day she will leave this home and have a nice
home of her own.  The story follows her life as she grows up, finds her sexuality
and new ways of expressing herself.

Love in the Time of Chlorea by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
This well-known novel revolves around a Latina character and the idea that love is
ever enduring.  Love is looked at by Garcia Marquez as a disease compared only to
the malady of cholrea.

Name: Noreen

Fun Home

November 18, 2009

Author:  Alison Bechdel

Title:  Fun Home: a family tragicomic

Genre:  Gay/Lesbian

Publication Date:  2006

Number of Pages:  240

Geographical Setting:  Beech Creek, Pennsylvania

Time Period: 1960 – 1980

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: A non-fiction account of the author’s life that describes growing up living in Beech Creek, Pennsylvania with her closeted homosexual father, a distant mother and two brothers.  The family ran the local funeral parlor part time and her father was also an English teacher at the local high school. Her father is killed in an accident that may or may not have been a suicide. The book talks about what it was like to grow up in a family like this as well as the author’s realization that she, too, is gay.  She also works through her relationship with her father in hindsight as she learns the facts of his life and also in relation to the accident and his death.  The story is told in a graphic novel format.

Subject Headings:  Bechdel, Alison, 1960-Comic books, strips, etc., Father and daughterComic books, strips, etc., Closet gayComic books, strips, etc., Lesbian teenagersComing outComic books, strips, etc., BrothersComic books, strips, etc., English language teachersComic books, strips, etc., Gay menComic books, strips, etc., Undertakers and undertakingComic books, strips, etc., Parent and childComic books, strips, etc., Children of divorced parentsComic books, strips, etc., Funeral homesComic books, strips, etc., Teacher-student relationshipsComic books, strips, etc., DivorceComic books, strips, etc., DeathComic books, strips, etc., Historic preservationComic books, strips, etc., CartoonistsUnited StatesComic books, strips, etc., Autobiographical comic books, strips, etc., Autobiographies (Adult literature) Comic books, strips, etc., Graphic novels (Nonfiction)

Appeal:  Non-fiction, Memoir, Graphic Novel, Graphic, Gay/Lesbian, Intellectual, Literary, Realistic, Frank, Humorous, Ironic, Books, Authors, Past, Childhood, Sad, Fast paced, Emotional, Historical, Award Winner, Accessible, Artistic, Relatable, Discovery, Father/Daughter, Mother/Daughter, Family, Relationships, Coming Out.

Three terms that best describe this book: Intellectual, Literary, Relatable.

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

3 Non-fiction

Loving Ourselves: The Gay and Lesbian Guide to Self-Esteem by Dr. Kimeron Hardin – This book talks about self-esteem and self-worth for those in the gay community.  Written by a licensed clinical psychologist.

The Way Out: The Gay Man’s Guide to Freedom No Matter if You’re in Denial, Closeted, Half In, Half Out, Just Out or Been Around the Block by Chris Nutter – A book to help men deal with their homosexuality and to be a more authentic person living a true and authentic life.

The Other Side of the Closet: The Coming-Out Crisis for Straight Spouses and Families, Revised and Expanded Edition by Amity Pierce Buxton – Insights and coping strategies for straight spouses and their families to cope with a homosexual partner and parent.

3 Fiction

My Heartbeat by Garret Freyman-Weyr – The story of a young girl, Ellen, who has a crush on her brother’s best friend, James.  When some kids at school ask her if her brother and his friend are in love, she doesn’t understand, but wants to find out what was meant.  When she asks her brother, Link about this, he refuses to discuss it.  James and Link have a falling out because of the secrets they share and Ellen, who loves them both, tries to help them repair their friendship and learn and understand the truth.

Lessons by Kim Pritekel – A girl goes off to college more so to escape her controlling parents than to choose a course of study.  She doesn’t really know herself yet. She finds friendship and maybe love with her Psych 101 TA who used to be her childhood babysitter.

David Inside Out by Lee Bantle – The story of David whose friend comes out to him but he doesn’t want to seem “gay by association” even though he has the same feelings.  The coming of age story of a boy trying to deal with his homosexuality.

Name:  Chris S.

Mercury In Retrograde

November 4, 2009

Author:  Paula Froelich

Title:  Mercury in Retrograde

Genre:  Women’s Lives and Relationships

Publication Date:  June 2009

Number of Pages:  272

Geographical Setting: New York

Time Period: Present Day

Series (if applicable):  NA

Plot Summary:  Penelope, a reporter, Lena, a socialite magazine editor, and Dana, a high- powered attorney are all having a bad day.  Mercury is in retrograde and it is wreaking havoc on their lives.  Penelope is fired from her job after setting the photo studio on fire and throwing up on her boss.  Lena has been cut off from her wealthy parents and evicted from the apartment they own because she is spending too much.  Dana’s divorce is final and she now finds out that her husband’s new wife is having the baby she so desperately wanted while they were married.  Circumstances help them all become neighbors in a SoHo apartment building and then friends.  Through friends in common they help each other to make it on their own and to find happiness and hopefully love in their lives.

Subject Headings:  Single women, New York City Socialites,  New York City Women Journalists, New York City Women Lawyers, New York City Women Friendship, New York City Life change events, SoHo, New York City, Chick lit

Appeal: Funny, Astrology, New York City, Page-Turner, Multiple Points-of-View, Romance, Fashion, Famous People, High Society, Friendships, Gentle Read, Relationships, Optimistic, Female Protagonists, Happy Ending, Contemporary Setting, Conversational Writing Style, Unusual Format – Horoscopes, Family, Friends, Well Developed Secondary Characters, Upbeat

3 Terms that best describe this book:  Funny, Upbeat, and Contemporary

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?)

3 Non-Fiction Works

New York: The Big City and Its Little Neighborhoods by Naomi Fertitta – More than 20 neighborhoods are covered in detail including history, maps, photos and more.

Rock Your Stars: Your Astrological Guide to Getting it All by Holiday Mathis – Humorously written contemporary advice on how to live your life with the help of astrology.

Mercury Retrograde: Your Survival Guide to Astrology’s Most Precarious Time of Year by Chrissie Blaze – Describes ways to use Mercury in retrograde to your advantage instead of getting caught in its disasters.

3 Fiction Works

Prospect Park West: A Novel by Amy Sohn – The story of four Park Slope, New York married women whose lives are commingled and the neighborhood they live in.

Lipstick Jungle by Candace Bushnell – This book describes the lives and careers of three friends in New York City.

Girls’ night out by Roz Bailey – The story of three New York City girls who go on a reality dating show and race to find love and win a million dollars.

Name: Chris S.

Swapping Lives

October 21, 2009

Author: Green, Jane

Title: Swapping Lives

Genre: Chick Lit/Audiobook

Publication Date: 2005

Geographical Setting: Highfield, Connecticut & London

Time Period: present day

Series: no

Plot Summary: Vicky Townsley is a 35-year-old editor at a popular women’s magazine in London who is convinced that her real life can only begin once she is married with children. But first she needs to find a man who is ready for commitment. Amber Winslow is a wealthy wife and mother in Connecticut with a mansion, a gardener, and a full-time nanny. She loves her husband and children but feels as though her life has become a meaningless competition. When Amber and Vicky trade lives for a month as part of a magazine contest, both women get a chance to live the life they think they want. But both women come to realize that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.

This audiobook, narrated by British actress Rosalyn Landor using many different voices and accents, features plenty of dialogue, a contemporary plot that is character-centered but engaging, and an intriguing concept of switching lives. Although the two main characters seem perfect on the outside, the author relates their inner struggles in detail. Secondary characters are easily recognizable but fun: the supportive friend, the ladies man boyfriend, the catty “friends” at the fundraisers. The settings—both London and a wealthy suburb in Connecticut—provide a peek at glamorous jobs and lifestyles, with plenty of descriptions of fabulous homes and designer fashions. The dialogue and plot get a bit racy at times, with plenty of talk of “shagging” and some strong language. Despite the sometimes melodramatic introspective musings of the two main characters, this book is basically a light read, with a happy ending for all involved.

Appeal Terms: humorous, romantic, chick lit, detailed, inner dialogue, glamorous, motherhood, relationships, light read, self discovery, British customs, romance, happy ending, Connecticut, London, marital problems, fresh starts, suburban, quick read, role reversal, identity crisis, fashion-centered, familiar characters, introspective, multiple points of view, sympathetic, character-centered, domestic, multiple plot lines, racy, rich and famous, strong language, contemporary, emotionally charged, melodramatic

Subject Headings: women’s magazines (fiction), London (fiction), role reversal (fiction), housewives (fiction), Connecticut (fiction), women and dating (fiction), marriage (fiction), suburban living (fiction), motherhood (fiction), identity

Three Terms that Best Describe the Book: glamorous, identity crisis, character-centered

Three Nonfiction Titles:

The Handbag: An Illustrated History by Caroline Cox
– Examines the history of handbag design within the context of changing society and women’s roles in it

Little Black Book of London by Vesna Neskow
– This travel guide features insider recommendations and full-color neighborhood maps that pinpoint landmarks, museums, entertainment, pubs, clubs, and hotels in London

Queen Bees & Wannabees: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence by Rosalind Wiseman
– The characters in Swapping Lives could learn a few things from this book about cliques and social climbing girls

Three Fiction Titles:

Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes
– Depicts the lives of three women in the fashion magazine industry, exploring the trials and tribulations as well as the happiness and joy of true friends in the fast-paced world of love and career.

I Don’t Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother by Allison Pearson
– Kate Reddy, a hedge fund manager and mother of two, struggles to juggle her professional and personal lives and to balance work and home.

Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner
– A celebrity gossip reporter turned suburban Connecticut housewife sets out to solve the mystery of a super mom found dead on the floor of kitchen in this light mystery.


October 20, 2009

Title: Maus: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History (mid1930s to Winter 1944)

Author: Art Spiegelman

Publication Date: 1986

Number of Pages: 159

Genre: Graphic Novel/Historical/Biography/Memoir

Geographical Setting: New York, and World War II Poland

Time Period: The Present, 1930’s and 1940’s

Series: Part 1 of 2

Plot Summary: Art Spiegelman tells the events of his parents’ last years as survivors of the Holocaust, and the effect it has had on him. Art, who was born after the war, is visiting his father, Vladek, to record his experiences in Nazi-occupied Poland. The Nazis, portrayed as cats, gradually introduce increasingly repressive measures, until the Jews, drawn as mice, are systematically hunted and herded toward the Final Solution. Vladek saves himself and his wife by a combination of luck and wits, all the time enduring the torment of hunted outcast. Each scene begins at Spiegelman’s father’s home in New York. An important theme emerges as the reader grasps that fact that Art has had an extremely difficult time adjusting to his own life, due to the burdens he bears regarding his parents’ experiences. As both author and artist, Spiegelman portrays a very realistic view of the difficulties his family has faced as first and second generation Holocaust survivors in this graphic novel format. Readers won’t want to miss the second part of the story in Maus: A Survivor’s Tale II: And Here My Troubles Began.

Subject Headings: Holocaust, Memoirs, Jewish history, Hitler, Europe, War survivors, Comic books, Children of Holocaust survivors, Father and son, Jewish-American men, Jewish-Americans, Biography, Graphic Novels (nonfiction), History, Wars, World War II, Concentration Camps, Anti-Semitism, The 1930s, The 1940s, The 1970s, Auschwitz survivors, Nazi prison camps, Genocide, Suicide, Wartime Poland, Contemporary New York, Brutality, Deprivation, Gas Chambers, Judaism, Jewish, Politics, Genocide, Polish Army, Old Eastern Europe, Stereotypes

Appeal: engaging, stimulating, compelling, realistic, relatable, struggle, survival, dark, intense, visual, historical, heart-wrenching, family, relationships, fathers and sons, symbolism, heroism, ominous, tormenting, complex, chilling realism, suffering, humor, mesmerizing, colorful, flawed

Three terms that best describe this book: Fast-paced, Intense,Visual

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Berlin: A City of Stones (2001) by Jason Lutes This graphic novel takes place in Berlin during the time period between the two World Wars. It uses black and white art, but it is not a gentle read. This novel shows some of the political changes that were, including the rise of the Nazi party and the increasing discrimination of the Jews. Readers should be aware that this book involves scenes which include sexual content and sexual orientation. Berlin was originally published in comic book form, 1-8.

A Jew in Communist Prague: Loss of Innocence (1997) by Vittorio Giardino — The first book in a series, recounts the childhood of Jonas Finkel, whose father is mysteriously taken by police in 1950 Communist Prague. Young Finkel is victimized by anti-Semitism, removed from school, forced to work as an errand boy, and isolated from his peers. The story ends hopefully as Jonas and his mother learn that his father is alive and being held in a prison camp.

A Generation of Wrath (1984) by Elio Romano – The story reads like a memoir, but the author considers it to be a work of fiction. It is an account of the author’s survival of five years in 11 different Nazi concentration camps in Germany and Occupied Poland. Elio Romano was 15-years-old, a member of an Orthodox Jewish family living in the quiet Polish town of Oswiecim, (or Auschwitz), when the German poured across the border. After he tried to escape to the Middle East, Romano was captured and dragged back to Poland, forced to help build the camp which soon became Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was liberated by the Americans in April of 1945, one of only 36 survivors of a last-minute German massacre.

Relevant Non-fiction Works and Authors:

Mendel’s Daughter: A Memoir (2006) by Martin Lemelman – This graphic novel is a true story about the life of a Jewish girl growing up in Poland during the 1940s, describing how the Nazi persecution led to the deaths of her parents and other members of her family, while she and her brothers survived the war by hiding in the neighboring forest. The story is in the form of a “memoir” told in the voice of Lemelman’s mother, Gusta, a holocaust survivor. Lemelman’s charcoal drawings and photographs give the story a very subdued, historical point of view.

Night (1960) by Elie Wiesel Night is an amazing autobiographical narrative, in which the author describes his experiences in Nazi concentration camps. One of four children, Wiesel was the only one in his family to survive the holocaust. Translated from the French, the English version of this book captures the author’s youthfulness. Wiesel’s autobiography is easily an equal comparison to The Diary of Anne Frank due to the suffering shared, and the emotional and spiritual journey the author must deal with as a young boy.

Fax From Sarajevo (1996) by Joe Kubert — This graphic novel details the true account of artist Ervin Rustemagic who was trapped during the Serbian seige of Sarajevo. The only way Ervin could keep in touch with the outside world was to send faxes to various people he knew. Joe Kubert is an American friend of Ervin’s and he received faxes, which he turned into this book. Ervin and his family (his wife Edina and two children, Maja and Edvin) were forced to stay in war-torn Sarajevo as the Serbs continued to attack the city. This book won an Eisner Award for best new graphic album and it won a Harvey Award for best graphic album of original work.

Name: Maurine