Posts Tagged ‘relaxed’

The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie

August 15, 2012

Author: McClure, Wendy

Title: The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie

Genre: Nonfiction

Publication Date: 2011

Number of Pages: 336 p.

Geographical Setting: Multiple locations throughout the United States

Time Period: Contemporary

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Author and children’s book editor, Wendy McClure, takes readers on a humorous, reflective, and contemporary journey to revisit her favorite children’s books, the series of Little House on the Prairie.  In each chapter, McClure shares with readers her research into the history of the books along with her visits to several of the historical sites in the United States where Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of Little House on the Prairie, lived.  McClure even goes to festivals dedicated to the books and tries to camp out and cook as in the 19th century.  However, what adds even more depth to this novel is that McClure learns as much about herself throughout this journey as she does about her favorite series.  McClure leads this novel with a relatable, introspective, and self-deprecating voice. She describes situations and characters in a detailed, vivid, and generally sympathetic style with accessible and conversational language.  Also, while much of the novel is character-centered and informative, numerous funny adventures occur during the course of McClure’s trips.  This novel is an engaging and thought-provoking novel about one person’s relationship with the books that she loves.

Subject Headings: Books and Reading; Arts and Entertainment; Frontier and Pioneer Life; Frontier and Pioneer Life in Literature; Home; Women’s Studies; Wilder, Laura Ingalls, 1867-1957 – Appreciation; Wilder, Laura Ingalls, 1867-1957 – Homes and Haunts; Wilder, Laura Ingalls, 1867-1957 – Little House on the Prairie; 19th Century; Autobiographies (Adult Literature); Humor Writing;

Appeal: leisurely-paced, relaxed, steady, bittersweet, candid, contemplative, gentle, humorous, introspective, moving, nostalgic, poignant, unpretentious, closely observed, detailed, engaging, familiar, quirky, realistic, and vivid primary and secondary characters, authentic, character-centered, episodic, layered, literary references, thought-provoking, accurate, contemporary, historical details, rural, academic, accessible, conversational, descriptive, engaging, informal, informative, thoughtful, well-researched

3 Terms that Best Describe This Book: humorous, bittersweet, historical details

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated by Alison Arngrimwill appeal to readers ofThe Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure in that it is another autobiographical novel that highlights a different perspective ofLittle House on the PrairieSimilar toThe Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure,Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated by Alison Arngrim is a funny, character-centered, conversational, and contemporary book about how her real life differed from the mean character that she played on the famous television show.  UnlikeThe Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure, Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated by Alison Arngrim is more about the life of the actress beyond the series while McClure’s novel is a nostalgic and academic return to the past.

Forty Acres and a Fool: How to Live in the Country and Still Keep Your Sanity by Roger Welsch will appeal to readers ofThe Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure in that it is another humorous novel about a man who tries to live a simpler life in the country and discovers it is more difficult than he initially expected.  Similar to The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure, Forty Acres and a Fool: How to Live in the Country and Still Keep Your Sanity by Roger Welsch is a character-centered, chatty, and contemporary book, but unlike McClure, Welsch’s adventures take place in Nebraska.  Also, he continues to live in rural areas despite its hardships.

Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell will appeal to readers ofThe Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure in that itis another autobiographical story about a woman, who reads a book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, and decides to change her contemporary life and relationships because of it.  Like McClure, Powell describes the challenges and triumphs of trying to replicate recipes from a famous book in a reflective, conversational, and engaging style.  UnlikeThe Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure, Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell is set in New York and focuses solely on cooking while McClure’s journey is in multiple locations and involves many different types of 19th century activities.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

The Night Journal by Elizabeth Crook will appeal to readers ofThe Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure in that it is anotherhistorical novel about a strong woman, Meg Mambry, who is investigating the truth regarding a diary from her great-grandmother in the 19th century. UnlikeThe Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure,The Night Journal by Elizabeth Crook is more serious and psychological in tone and takes place in New Mexico.  However, like The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure, The Night Journal by Elizabeth Crook has humorous moments and focuses on women’s lives and relationships.

Fine Just the Way It Is: Wyoming Stories 3 by Annie Proulx will appeal to readers ofThe Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure in that it is another compilation of stories that include subjects, such as homesteading and living on the frontier.  UnlikeThe Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure, Fine Just the Way It Is: Wyoming Stories 3 by Annie Proulx is set in Wyoming and contains more serious and dark stories in a more literary style.  Nonetheless, likeThe Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure, Fine Just the Way It Is: Wyoming Stories 3 by Annie Proulx has humorous moments and focuses on family relationships as well.

An Ordinary Woman: A Dramatized Biography of Nancy Kelsey by Cecelia Holland will appeal to readers ofThe Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure in that it is another historical novel based on the true story of Nancy Kelsey who is the first woman to travel to California in the 19th century.  UnlikeThe Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure,An Ordinary Woman: A Dramatized Biography of Nancy Kelsey by Cecelia Holland is a more serious adventure story of survival.  However, likeThe Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure, An Ordinary Woman: A Dramatized Biography of Nancy Kelsey by Cecelia Holland has well-researched historical details and focuses on strong women.

The Alchemist

August 13, 2012

Author: Paulo Coehlo; audiobook narrated by Jeremy Irons

Title: The Alchemist

Genre: Inspirational; Spiritual Fiction; Literary Fiction; Fables

Publication Date: 1993

Number of Pages: 177

Geographical Setting: Spain; Egypt

Time Period: Not specified

Series: Not applicable

Plot Summary: Santiago’s reoccurring dream leads him on a quest to Egypt to find treasure and to also discover his personal legend or destiny. Along his journey, Santiago’s commitment to his personal legend is tested on multiple occasions, but he continues to keep choosing his quest. The Alchemist becomes Santiago’s guide through the dessert and his teacher about how to follow his heart and his dreams in the hope that, unlike so many people, Santiago will fulfill his destiny. This is a philosophical and spiritual journey for Santiago and his readers. The Alchemist is a thought-provoking and powerful novel that will cause you to question how your life and actions can impact and change yours and other peoples lives. This book will draw literary fiction, inspirational, and folk tale readers and undoubtedly, will cause all who read it to feel inspired to seek out their own personal legends.

Subject Headings: Alchemists — Fiction. Shepherds — Spain — Andalusia — Fiction. Andalusia (Spain) — Fiction. Fables.

Appeal: mystical, character-centered, gentle, thought-provoking, exotic, detailed setting, literary, thoughtful, lyrical

3 terms that best describes this book: relaxed, philosophical, inspiring

3 Nonfiction Read-a-likes:

The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz.

Don Miguel Ruiz discusses and explicates the paths and steps to take to personal freedom, peace, and unconditional love. A great read-a-like for readers who were inspired by themes in The Alchemist of filling your life with love and peace that will help readers know spiritual enlightenment.

The Awakening Course: the Secret to Solving All Problems, Joe Vitale

This book offers a step-by-step approach to changing your personal and professional transcendence. A thought-provoking, spiritual transformation that will help readers of The Alchemist be able to take their own inspirational journey to help achieve their lives goals.

Andalusia, Eliane Faure

 Andalusia is an illustrated guide to this part of Spain. This book offers a visual understanding to one of the exotic landscape of The Alchemist. You can explore Andalusia customs, the landscape, the major regions, and more.

 3 Fiction Read-a-likes:

Siddhartha, Herman Hesse.

Brahmin or Siddhartha abandons his aristocratic life to embark on a spiritual journey to better understand Indian spirituality. Siddhartha is another inspirational, mystical, though-provoking piece of literary fiction for the reader who enjoys spiritual journeys like in The Alchemist.

The Five People You Will Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom

After Eddie dies in a tragic accident, Eddie reflects upon his life in heaven feeling that his life was uninspired, but five people he knew in life explains the meaning of his life.  The Five People You Will Meet in Heaven is an inspiring, philosophical tale about appreciating and realizing ones purpose in life.

The Tale of the Unknown Island, Jose Saramago

A philosophical fable about a man who knocks on a king’s petitioner’s door to ask him for a boat to use on his voyage. Like the king, the man sparks curiosity and desire in the reader to find out where it is he is journeying too. The Tale of the Unknown Island is a spiritual journey similar to The Alchemist in the sense that both stories are character centered, literary, and inspires readers to explore their relationship to the world.

Name: Alison Kulczak

Maybe This Time

August 1, 2012

Author:  Jennifer Cruise

Title: Maybe This Time

Genre:  Romance

Publication Date:  2010

Number of Pages:  342

Geographical Setting:  Ohio

Time Period:  1992

Series (If applicable):

Plot Summary:  When Andie Miller’s ex-husband, North Archer, asks her to drive down to southern Ohio and take care of two children of whom he has recently become guardian, she is a bit reluctant.  She decides to go for a month, take the money that he offers and then be free to marry her new fiancé, Will.  When she gets down there she finds two uninterested children, one lazy housekeeper and a home full of ghosts.  With the help of several other family members Andie gets through to the children and discovers that the romance between her and her ex may not be dead after all.

Subject Headings: Nannies-Fiction, Haunted houses- Fiction, Domestic-Fiction, Divorce- Fiction, Paranormal- Fiction, Romance.

Appeal:  easy pacing, relaxed, character centered, domestic, quirky characters, sexy, light, heartwarming, humorous, upbeat, candid, colorful.

3 terms that best describe this book:

easy pacing, quirky characters, humorous

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Spook:  Science Tackles the Afterlife- Mary Roach

In an attempt to find out what happens when people die, Roach brings in the opinions of an array of contemporary and historical soul-searchers: scientists, schemers, engineers, mediums, all trying to prove (or disprove) that there is an afterlife.  Readers interested in ghosts and the afterlife will enjoy this book.

Baking– James Peterson

The craft of baking is based on good technique. Learn the fundamentals well, and you can bake perfect cakes, cookies, tarts, breads, and pastries each and every time. That’s the premise of Baking, revered cooking teacher James Peterson’s master course in baking fundamentals. In more than 350 recipes and techniques, accompanied by step-by-step photographs, Peterson lays the foundation for lifelong baking success.  Readers inspired by Andie’s baking lessons with Alice will enjoy this guide to baking.

Getting it Right This Time:  How to Create a Loving and Lasting Marriage– Barry W McCarthy and Emily J McCarthy

Although divorce is common, it often holds negative associations. Husband and wife team Barry and Emily McCarthy view divorce and remarriage with optimism, showing it to be a courageous choice and a positive step towards a better life. In Getting it Right This Time, they zoom in on remarriage issues and identify the factors that led to the end of a marriage, using that information to help you learn from past mistakes and start over.  The themes of divorce and starting over are a strong part of Maybe This Time.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Summer by the Sea- Susan Wiggs

Rosa Capoletti runs an award-winning restaurant that is one of the most romantic in town.  She herself has not had a real romance since her love affair with Alexander Montgomery ended suddenly a decade ago. But Rosa’s life takes an unexpected turn when Alexander arrives back in town and asks for her help sorting through his late mother’s affairs. Reunited at the beach house where they first met and fell in love, Rosa and Alexander discuss the past and try to decide if their love can have a second chance.  “Maybe This Time and Summer by the Sea are character-driven, funny, and witty contemporary romances about second chances.”- Novelist

Eat Cake- Jeanne Ray

Ruth has always found baking cakes to be a source of relief from the stresses of life. And now-as her husband loses his job; her parents arrive for an extended stay, and her teenage daughter perfects the art of sulking-Ruth is going to have to save the day. Readers who enjoy the upbeat tone and well developed characters of Maybe This Time will enjoy this book.

Demon Hunting in Dixie– Lexi George

Addy Corwin is a florist with an attitude, who knows there’s not many men to choose from in Hannah, AL. Until one day Brand Dalvahni shows up.  He’s a supernaturally sexy, breathtakingly well-built warrior from another dimension.  Brand claims he’s here to rescue Addy from a demon, which she thinks is insane!  But right after Brand shows up, strange things start to happen and Addy knows she wants to keep Brand close.  This supernatural romance will appeal to readers of Maybe This Time who enjoyed the light and funny paranormal aspects of the story.

Name:  Becky Ozinga

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

July 30, 2012

https://ra763.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/1-no-1-ladies-detective-agency-450h.jpg?w=194  Author:  Alexander McCall Smith

  Title:  The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

  Genre:  Mystery, Gentle Read

  Publication Date:  1998

  Number of Pages: 235

  Geographical Setting:  Bostwana

  Time Period:  Contemporary

  Series:  The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

Plot Summary:  Sleuth Precious Ramotswe opens the first and only detective agency in Bostwana.  Mma Ramotswe is for hire and investigates a variety of cases, from a father who thinks his daughter has a boyfriend to a case of a clinic doctor with different personalities, depending on the day of the week.  The story’s main mystery involves a missing boy.  It is up to Mma Ramotswe to find him.

Subject Headings:  Ramotswe, Precious (Fictitious character) – Fiction, Women private investigators – Fiction, Bostwana – Fiction, No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (Imaginary organization) – Fiction.

Appeal:  atmospheric, leisurely-paced, character-centered, compelling, relaxed, hopeful, insightful, engaging, multiple plot lines, folksy, gentle, clever, warm tone.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book:  character-centered, hopeful, gentle.

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors (why they are similar):

Mark of the Lion by Suzanne Middendorf Arruda.  This is a woman detective series featuring the character Jade del Cameron.  The first book is about brave, stubborn Jade del Cameron, who after the Great War, leaves New Mexico to come to Africa to help fulfill a man’s dying wish, meeting murder and mystery along the way.   This book is similar because of the African setting, mystery and character-driven with historical details.

Mrs. Pollifax and the lion killer by Dorothy Gilman.  Mrs. Pollifax accompanies her young friend Kadi Hopkirk to the African country of Ubangiba, where Kadi’s childhood friend, Sammat, is soon to be crowned king.  This book was chosen because it features a series character, Mrs. Pollifax and mystery and women spies.  This book of the series takes Mrs. Pollifax to Africa.

Marriage bureau for rich people by Farahad Zama.  Mr. Ali is persuaded to open a marriage bureau after driving his wife crazy during his retirement.  His business because a success so he hires, Aruna, who is hiding a tragic past.  While this is not a mystery, it shares enjoyable characters and warm tone.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

King Peggy by Peggielene Bartels.  This is the real-life fairy tale about an American secretary who discovers she has been chosen king, of an impoverished fishing village on the coast of West Africa.  American Peggy, while trying to please her ancestors struggles to turn this impoverish village around.  This would be a good suggestion because it is a warm story and is about life in an African village.  It gives the readers hope.  Author of No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency praised the book, “This is an astonishing and wonderful book about a real life Mma Ramotswe.  It is an utter joy.”

Whatever You Do, Don’t Run: confessions of a Botswana safari guide by Peter Allison.  This book is about the tales of a safari guide and his encounters with big cats, elephants, hippos and other unpredictable animals.  This book gives a more detailed look at the beautiful country of Bostwana and its inhabitants.

Lineage of despotism and development: British colonialism and state power by Matthew Lange.  Author Matthew Lange argues against the assumption that past imperialism hinders future development prospects of colonized nations.  Book contains stats and analyzes what effects of colonial rule had on African countries. There are some case studies on Guyana and Bostwana.  There is mention of Botswana becoming independent from Great Britain in the book so this book is to explore the history of the country.

Name:  Olivia Button

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.

The Heroin Diaries

November 16, 2011

nullAuthor: Nikki Sixx

Title:  The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star

Genre: Arts and Entertainment; Autobiographies (Adult literature); Biography; Memoirs; True Crime

Publication Date: 2007

Number of Pages: 413

Geographical Setting: California

Time Period: Early 1980’s – Present

Plot Summary:  When Mötley Crüe was at the height of its fame, there wasn’t any drug Nikki Sixx wouldn’t do. He spent days, sometimes alone, sometimes with other addicts, friends, and lovers, in a coke and heroin-fueled daze. The highs were high, and Nikki’s journal entries reveal some euphoria and joy. But the lows were lower, often ending with Nikki in his closet, surrounded by drug paraphernalia and wrapped in paranoid delusions.  Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx shares mesmerizing diary entries from the year he spiraled out of control in a haze of heroin and cocaine, presented alongside riveting commentary from people who were there at the time, and from Nikki himself.

Subject Headings: Sixx, Nikki, 1958-, Motley Crue, Rock musicians — United States – Biography, Drug addicts – Biography, Heroin addicts, Rock music, Drug addiction, heroin addiction

Appeal: Reflective, Candid, relaxed, bittersweet, uncomfortable, edgy, gritty, humorous, introspective, moody, paranoid, sobering, eccentric, insightful, realistic, character-centered, conversational

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Reflective, Candid, humorous

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Everyone loves you when you’re dead: journeys into fame and madness by Neil Strauss

Neil Strauss considers it his job to hang around celebrities, rock gods, porn queens, up-and-coming starlets, and iconic superstars long enough, whether it takes moments or months, to find that minute, the one when the curtain finally falls away and the real person is revealed.  This collection of stories about those moments would be good for any fan of candid memoirs like The Heroin Diaries

Tommyland by Tommy Lee

Co-written with Anthony Bozza, Tommyland is a quick, enjoyable romp through the life of rocker Tommy Lee that sucks you in from the first page.  Anyone interested in the wild times of Motley Crue from a different perspective should pick this up.

The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Neil Strauss

This is the life of Mötley Crüe, the heaviest drinking, hardest fighting, most oversexed and arrogant band in the world. Their unbelievable exploits are the stuff of rock ‘n’ roll legend.  The full story of Motley Crue from their beginnings to present day, a must have for rock biography fans.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Glass by Ellen Hopkins

Kristina thinks she can control it. Now with a baby to care for, she’s determined to be the one deciding when and how much, the one calling the shots. But the monster is too strong, and before she knows it, Kristina is back in its grips. She needs the monster to keep going, to face the pressures of day-to-day life. She needs it to feel alive.  The 2nd in a series, a gripping look at one person’s struggle with heroin, a good series for fans of heroin diaries.

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

This groundbreaking classic is more compelling than ever for today’s readers. A sensation when it was first published and a perennial bestseller ever since, this real-life diary charts an anonymous teenage girl’s struggle with the seductive, and often fatal, world of drugs.   Another diary style book about the struggles with drugs and what a person goes through to shake the demons.

A hero ain’t nothin’ but a sandwich by Alice Childress

Dope. Smack. Junk. Heroin. No matter what you call it, you can’t change the fact that 13-year-old Benjie is on it. Oh no … he’s not hooked, though. He could stop anytime … really. But why is a young kid like Benjie using at all? A riveting novel about drug abuse, fans of The Heroin Diaries will enjoy this.

Name: Jason Rock

No-No Boy

August 17, 2011

Author: John Okada

Title: No-No Boy

Genre: Multi-cultural, Asian-American

Publication Date: 1957

Number of Pages: 260

Geographical Setting: Seattle, WA

Time Period: 1945, just following World War II

Series: n/a

Plot Summary: 25 year old Ichiro grew up in Seattle, but for four years sat captive, experiencing the horrors of internment camps and prisons. The United States punished Ichiro, as they did countless Japanese-Americans, because he resembled the enemy. Ichiro was a no-no boy, a Japanese-American who refused to fight in WWII. Now, the country he loved and viewed as a beacon of hope has turned its back on him because he did not have the heart to fight a war. Following the end of WWII and his release from prison, Ichiro constantly struggles with shame and regret for his decision. Although Ichiro’s parents represent his biggest supporters, home offers little comfort; Ichiro’s mother believes Japan has won the war and awaits the arrival of Japanese ships to bring the family home. Meanwhile, Ichiro’s internal struggles alter his once bright personality and strong ambition. The only chance for Ichiro to regain his lost identity is through friendship and self-acceptance.
Okada, a Japanese-American, respectfully and accurately depicts the struggles of Japanese-Americans following World War II. The author examines key issues related to immigration including profound conflicts of culture and racism. Okada does so in a detailed and accessible manner. The themes and writing style render this book a timeless resource for any one living, or curious about, the immigrant experience in the United States.

Subject Headings: Japanese-Americans; Japanese-Americans—Mass Internment, 1942-1945; Immigrants–United States; Racism–United States; Post World War II; Japanese-Americans–Family Relations; Suicide; Conflicts of Culture–United States

Appeal: Relaxed, Emotionally-charged, Poignant, Sympathetic, Evocative, Introspective, Issue oriented, Thought-provoking, Character-centered, Historical Details, Accurate, Timeless, Accessible, Intimate, Dialect, Detailed, Flashbacks

Three Terms that Best Describe this Book: Character-centered, Emotionally-charged, Timeless

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:
Farewell to Manzanar: A True Story of Japanese American Experience During and After the World War II Internment by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
(This memoir offers an emotionally-charged account of Japanese-American internment during WWII and the experience of Japanese-Americans following the war. Like No-No Boy, this book offers the perspective of a young Japanese-American during WWII who experiences racism, imprisonment, and culture conflicts.)

Paper Daughter by Elaine M. Mar
(Although the frame of this book differs slightly from No-No Boy because it involves Chinese immigrants in a more contemporary setting, this autobiography manages to accurately and emotionally convey the immigrant experience in the United States. A distinct similarity between the books involves the account of the struggles between an immigrant mother who denies American values and a child who embraces them,)

Looking like the Enemy: My Story of Imprisonment in Japanese-American Internment Camps by Mary Matsuda Gruenewald
(Gruenewald offers an emotionally-charged and accurate description of life in internment camps during WWII. The Japanese-American author offers numerous historical details in an accessible manner. The result is a timeless book about racism, immigration, overcoming adversity, and self-acceptance.)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
(This novel revolves around the tumultuous life of a Japanese-American who has just returned to the Pacific Northwest after being held captive in an internment camp. The novel appears character-driven, issue oriented, and presented at a relaxed pace. Racism represents one of the most thought-provoking issues tackled in the book.)

Color of the Sea by John Hamamura
(This story details the experiences of a Japanese-American man who is torn away from his loved ones after they are placed in an internment camp. The main character deals with a major conflict of culture as he enlists in the US army to carry out a secret mission upon Japan. This issue-oriented and character-centered book offers a timeless account of prejudice and racism. The writing style accessible and detailed.)

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
(This thought-provoking and issue-oriented classic tackles racism, stereotype, and prejudice within a single US community. The plot revolves around the trial of a black man accused of raping a white woman. This is a timeless, coming-of-age story told through the prospective of a young protagonist. The storyline is character-driven.)

When You Are Engulfed In Flames

August 10, 2011

when-you-are-engulfed-in-flames.jpg

 Author: David Sedaris

 Title: When You Are Engulfed In Flames

 Genre: Essay collection, Humor

 Publication Date: 2008

 Number of Pages: 336

Audio Player Running Time: 9   hours

 Geographical Setting: North Carolina/  France/New York

 Time Period: Contemporary

Plot Summary:  This is Sedaris’ sixth essay collection, and like the others it offers a humorous and absurd look into his life and the world around him.  He takes ordinary situations like making coffee and picking out a tie and makes them into hilarious stories that go far beyond the topic at hand.  Listening to Sedaris read his essays is even more satisfying than reading them.  His delivery is spot on and his timing and cadence add to the hilariousness and quirkiness of each essay.  Four of the recordings are live, which draws the listener in even more as Sedaris has to pause for the audience’s laughter to subside.  On a side note, some pieces do have strong language, but it is not gratuitous.

Subject Headings:  Essayists, Humorists, Memoir, Satirists, American culture, GLBTQ

Appeal:  humorous, witty, quirky, engaging, compelling, conversational, relaxed, candid, satirical, strong language, authentic, intimate

 3 terms that best describe this book: humorous, satirical, authentic

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works

Fierce Pajamas: an Anthology of Humor Writing from the New Yorker David Remnick and Henry Finder (eds.)

This is a collection of articles from The New Yorker that has over 70 contributors.  Comic writers like Ogden Nash, Woody Allen, Steve Martin and Groucho Marx are just some of the humorous literary writers you will find.  It is the humorous literary style that I think will appeal to Sedaris fans.

Possible Side Effects by Augusten Burroughs (audio 9 hours)

Like Sedaris, Burroughs also writes collections of memoir essays.  His essays are funny, irreverent and eccentric, but can also be racy and edgy.  His essays run the gamut from his childhood, love life, career, and battle with alcoholism.  Burroughs‘ reading of his work adds to the humor and realness of the stories.

Who’s to Say What’s Obscene by Paul Krassner

This collection of essays has the same satirical humor of Sedaris’ work, but is definitely edgier.  Readers may wonder if some pieces are more offensive than funny, but all will definitely make the reader think about today’s society and the hypocrisy that is often found surrounding it.

 3 Relevant Fiction Works                                                                                              

Bear v. Shark by Chris Bachelder

This quirky satirical novel about a fighting match between a mechanical shark and a mechanical bear sounds like something Sedaris would write about if he had a chance to experience it.

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Those enjoying the satirical and humorous elements of Sedaris’ work may enjoy those same element’s in Toole’s novel.

Everything is Illuminated: A Novel  by Jonathan Safran Foer

The witty writing style and humor mixed with the bittersweet in Everything is Illuminated may appeal to fans of Sedaris’ essay collections.

Katie

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

August 3, 2011

 

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Author:Helen Simonson

Title:  Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand: A Novel                                   

Publication Date:   2010                                                                   

Pages:  355

Genre:  Romance

Geographical Setting:  Edgecombe St. Mary, England

Time Period:  2010

Subject Headings: Romance, English Culture, Pakistani Women

Appeal:  leisurely-paced, relaxed, emotionally-charged, humorous, romantic, lifelike, character-centered, resolved ending, intimate, small-town, breezy, witty

Plot Summary:  Widower Major Pettigrew develops an expected friendship with a Pakistani woman, which causes a stir in the small town.  Their racism causes the Major to view his friends and family in a different manner.  This breezy novel about the decline of English gentility is charming and humorous with an unmistakable undercurrent of social intolerance.         

Three terms that best describe this book:  leisurely-paced, romantic, humorous

Similar authors and fiction works:

The Widower’s Tale by Julie Glass

Seventy-year-old Percy Darling’s life changes when he allows a preschool to use his old barn.  The story takes place in contemporary Boston.  densely written, character-centered, breezy

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear   

In post-World War I England, Maisie Dobbs starts her own business as a private investigator.  Her first case uncovers much more than proof of infidelity leading her into a dark web of secrets.  She realizes she must face the truth about her lost love.  This is first in a series and National Bestseller.  unhurried, historical details, flashbacks

A Place to Call Home by Deborah Smith

This is a love story about a young girl and her boyfriend that lives across the tracks.  After a tragedy separates them, they reunite twenty years later leading to a rediscovery of their feelings.  emotionally-charged, humorous, character-centered

Similar authors and non-fiction works:

Me: Stories of My Life by Katharine Hepburn

This is an autobiography written by Katharine Hepburn that discusses her movie career,   relationships and 27-year love affair with Spencer Tracy.  introspective, rich and famous, straightforward

The Wrong Side of an Illness: A Doctor’s Love Story by Owen Surman

The sobering story of a psychiatrist who’s life changes when his wife battles ovarian cancer. candid, authentic, intimate

Dear Bess: The Letters from Harry to Bess Truman, 1910-1959 edited by Robert H. Ferrell

An intimate look into Harry Truman’s love for his wife.  historical details, dramatic, nostalgic

 

Name:  Debbie

Telegraph Days

July 25, 2011

 

Author:  Larry McMurtry

Title:  Telegraph Days

Genre:  Western Stories : Humorous stories

Publication Date:  2006

Number of Pages:  289

Geographical Setting:  Rita Blanca, Dodge City, Oklahoma Panhandle

Time Period:  1876-1916

Series (If applicable):

Plot Summary:

Marie Antoinette Courtright, better know as Nellie, is a flirtatious, take charge girl who moves with her brother to Rita Blanca after the death of her father.  In one day, she gets her brother appointed to deputy and becomes the telegrapher of the town.  Her brother makes the town famous by killing the six Yazee brothers by pure luck.  With her quick thinking and entrepreneurial sense, she writes a dime magazine that puts Rita Blanca on the map and allows for the introduction of famous characters of the Old West such as the Wyatt brothers, Buffalo Bill, and Jesse James to name a few.  Nellie encounters multiple gunfights and has many sexual romps with whoever meets her fancy and lives to write about and sensationalize the West in movies.

Subject Headings:  Buffalo Bill, Wyatt Earp, Small Town life- the West, Telegraph-19th century, Outlaws

Appeal:

Character-driven, gritty, descriptive, relaxed, humorous, easy, romp, historical details, strong sense of place, dialect rich, small town life, flawed

3 terms that best describe this book:

Character-driven, gritty, descriptive

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Buffalo Bill’s America Louis S. Warren (Buffalo Bill, main character in the novel)

The Victorian Internet: the remarkable story of the telegraph and the

            nineteenth century on line pioneers Tom Standage (History of the telegraph)

Hurray for my new free country Leon Charles Fouquet (First person view of living on the plains)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Ghost Town Robert Coover (Humorous, story of a small town and outlaws)

End of the drive Louis L’Amour (Stories of men/ women relationships, humorous, stories of the old West)

The adventures of Johnny Vermillion Loren D. Estleman (Story of outlaws, set in a humorous tone)Leaving Missouri Ellen Recknor (strong female character, coming of age in West)

Name:  Sara Bartels