Posts Tagged ‘rural’

Where the River Runs

September 26, 2012

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Author: Richard S. Wheeler

Title: Where the River Runs

Genre: Western

Publication Date: 1990

Number of Pages: 180

Geographical Setting: The West (United States)

Time Period: 1840s

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: Jedediah (Jed) Owen leads a group of twelve men on a mission to bring peace to the Indian nations. After leaving from Fort Leavenworth and traveling through the Missouri River to Fort Union on the American Fur Company steamboat, they disappear. Jed’s journey in the wilderness includes viewing the deaths of all of the other members of his group, surviving the trip and dealing with Indians along the way. Several months pass by; not hearing from Jedd, his fiancée Susannah St. George goes on a mission to find him. Susannah hires Jean Gallant, who works for the American Fur Company; to help find her fiancée. She knows that he is somewhere out there. The book explores the journeys of Jedd and Susannah in this book about love in the Wild West.

Subject Headings: missing persons; wilderness survival; Indians of North American; scouting (reconnaissance), Piegan Indians; pioneer women; the forties (19th century); nineteenth century

Appeal: colloquial, descriptive, detailed setting, dramatic, fast-paced, homespun, investigative, menacing atmosphere, multiple points of view, nostalgic, romantic, rural

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: menacing atmosphere; nostalgic; romantic

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

-De Voto, Bernard Augustine, 1897-1955, Across the Wide Missouri (fur trade in middle 1800s, information on the American Fur Company)

-Dary, David, The Oregon Trail: an American saga (describes the difficult travels and lives of groups of people traveling through the Wild   West)

-DeLay, Brain 1971- War of a thousand deserts: Indian raids and the U.S.-Mexican War (describes tension between Americans and Indians in 1840s, explains the economic and societal state U.S. in 1840s)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

-Zollinger, Norman, Meridian: A Novel of Kit’s Carson’s West (set in 1840s, conquest of the west)

-Blevins, Winfred, So wild a dream (adventure to the west in frontier west)

-Compton, Ralph, The Shadow of a noose (brothers have mission looking for sister, brothers get into trouble on the way)

Name: Samantha Biegel

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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.

Salvage the Bones

August 14, 2012

Author: Jesmyn Ward

Title: Salvage the Bones

Genre: African American

Publication Date: 2011

Number of Pages: 258

Geographical Setting: Rural Mississppi

Time Period: 2005 (Hurricane Katrina)

Plot Summary: In the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina, Esch, fifteen, finds out she is pregnant. She and her brothers are leading a hard-scrabble life in rural Mississippi. Randall hopes to get a basketball scholarship and Skeetah is breeding his prize fighting pit bull. Things come to a dramatic conclusion as the Hurricane hits.

Subject Headings: African American teenage girls-fiction; Motherless families-fiction; Brothers and sisters-fiction; Rural poor-Mississippi-fiction; Hurricane Katrina 2005-fiction.

Appeal: descriptive, gritty, flawed characters, sympathetic characters, realistic, bleak, poignant, sexually explicit, profanity, earthy, rural.

3 terms that best describe this book: realistic, gritty, rural setting.

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:
Hurricane Katrina: The Mississippi Story by James Patterson Smith. Tells of the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, including the devastation of sixty five thousand homes and the precarious days of food and water shortages that followed.

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
A true-life story of one man’s ordeal in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Mr.Zeitoun was allegedly mistaken for a terrorist and detained for over 20 days without ever standing trial.

Breach of Faith: Hurricane Katrina and the Near Death of a great American City by Jed Horne
An editor of New Orleans’ Times-Picayune presents victims’ tales and the politics behind the disastrous relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove, an African-American girl in an America whose love for blonde, blue-eyed children can devastate all others, prays for her eyes to turn blue, so that she will be beautiful, people will notice her, and her world will be different. Literary, character-driven, bleak, haunting, lyrical.

Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison
Semi-autobiographical novel of a childhood in 1950s-60s South Carolina. The protagonist, nicknamed Bone, is a victim of poverty and physical abuse, including sexual abuse. Her family, like Esch’s, are poor, loving, and protective.

Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat
Set in Haiti’s impoverished villages and in New York’s Haitian community, this is the story of Sophie Caco, who was conceived in an act of violence, abandoned by her mother and then summoned to America.

Name: Sonia Reppe

Brimstone

August 8, 2012

Author: Robert B. Parker, Audiobook read by Titus Welliver

Title: Brimstone (3rd book in Appaloosa trilogy)

Genre: Western

Publication Date: May 5, 2009

Number of Pages: 304 (Paperback), 4. 5 Hours (Audio Book)

Geographical Setting: The West (United States), New Mexico, Texas

Time Period: Old West: Early to Mid 1800’s

Series: Book 3 of Western Appaloosa Trilogy

Plot Summary: In this follow up to Parker’s Appaloosa and Resolution, we meet up with Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, two gun-slinging old friends who have a reputation for cleaning up towns as lawmen-for-hire. In this adventure, Virgil seeks to find the woman who stole his heart in the town of Appaloosa, Allie French. Moving across New Mexico and Texas, Cole and Hitch find Allie and the three try to start over in Brimstone. Things are not that easy as too much has happened between Allie and Virgil. The town of Brimstone also has its problems which Cole and Hitch are hired to solve as town deputies. Tricky solutions are their specialty one of which ties together the book wonderfully. The dialogue and friendship between Cole and Hitch makes this story more character-driven and along with the gun-slinging showdowns, mysterious murders, and fast-paced action, makes for a wonderful western.

Subject Headings: Western stories; Friendship — men; Small town life – The West (United States); Gunfights; Murder; Redemption

Appeal: Character-driven, Exciting, Suspenseful, Fast-paced, Multiple plot lines, Atmospheric, Series characters, Descriptive, Detailed setting, Rural, Friendship story, Well-drawn characters

3 Terms that best describe this book: Fast-paced, Exciting, Character-driven western

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1) Encyclopedia of Western Gunfighters by Bill O’Neal

True facts and stories as well as myths and folklore about 225 well known gun-slingers and those all but forgotten. A book for those wondering what it was really like to be a gunslinger in the Wild West like Virgil and Everett.

2) Son of the Morning Star: Custer and The Little Bighorn by Evan S. Connell

For those readers looking for more information on the historical events of the Wild West in a form which reads more like a novel, this non-fiction story of Custer’s demise at Little Bighorn fills the reader with facts as well as a glimpse into Native American life and the characters involved in the battle.

3) The Solace of Open Spaces by Gretel Ehrlich

A book of essays about her experience moving from a city in the east to very empty Wyoming, Ehrlich captures what it must have been like to live in the West during the time of Virgil and Everett and what it might take the reader to adjust to cowboy life, wide open spaces and the harshest of winters.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1)  Black Powder, White Smoke by Loren D. Elsteman

This is a story about the adventures of a freed slave and white bandit who eventually cross paths and team up as they are pursued by the law for different reasons, and their fates and lives intertwine. This book is for readers who liked the fast-paced adventure and atmosphere of the West evident in Brimstone.

2)  The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard by Elmore Leonard

A collection of atmospheric, and gritty Western short stories written by Leonard over 50 years, including 3:10 to Yuma, this is for those readers who appreciated Brimstone for its rich characterizations, plot twists and fast pace.

3) The Big Sky by A.B. Guthrie, Jr.

Touted to be one of the books which shaped the Western fiction genre, this classic novel from more than fifty years ago tells the story of the adventures and travels three frontiersmen who live in and long for big open spaces. A good pick for those who want to try earlier works of the genre and who enjoy the relationship between Virgil and Everett in Brimstone.

Name: Bridget Optholt

Gone Girl

August 8, 2012

Author: Gillian Flynn

Title: Gone Girl

Genre: Psychological Suspense

Publication Date: 2012

Number of Pages: 415

Geographical Setting: North Carthage, Missouri and the Missouri Ozarks

Time Period: Present Day

Series:  No

Plot Summary: BrilliantAmy and handsome Nick are anything but the ideal couple they appear to be. After losing their jobs and moving from New York City to North Carthage, Missouri to care for Nick’s ailing parents, Nick and Amy find nothing rewarding in this rural and provincial burg. On their fifth anniversary, Amy vanishes . . . or does she? Resentment and jealously shatters their world and explodes into a game where people’s lives are the chess pieces. Alternating voices, told in first person, reflect Nick and Amy’s particular points of view. The story moves at a brisk pace, conveying a dark and disturbing tone. There are so many twists and turns in Nick and Amy’s version of events that the reader doesn’t know whom to believe.  The unpredictable accounts recorded by these unreliable narrators produce a feeling of unease adding to the suspense.  This is a riveting and spine tingling story from beginning to end.

Subject Headings: Murder suspects – Fiction, Missing women – Fiction, Conflict in marriage – Fiction, Husband and wife – Fiction, Married people – Fiction, Crimes against women – Fiction, Deception – Fiction, Secrets – Fiction

Appeal: builds in intensity, deliberate, engrossing, creepy, disturbing, suspenseful, emotionally-charged, menacing, paranoid, detailed, multiple points of view, intricately plotted, character driven, episodic, layered, strong language, rural, contemporary, journals, clever, pretentious

3 terms that best describe this book: builds in intensity, character driven, suspenseful

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Howatch, Susan. The High Flyer; Carter Graham, a successful lawyer, is married to Kim Betz, also a lawyer, who fits into her plans perfectly. Carter feels that everything is just perfect for her when Sophie, Kim’s first wife, reveals some disturbing secrets about Kim making Carter realize that she doesn’t know her husband at all. Full of suspense, this is a character-driven story where Howatch weaves together stories involving the occult, blackmail and murder. This is a suspenseful and compelling read.

Walters, Minette. The Breaker; The mysterious death of a young woman found on a beach and a seemingly drugged and wandering child lead the police of Dorset into a tangled web of lies, trying to discover who brutally killed Kate Hill-Sumner, yet let her young daughter go free. Suspense builds in intensity and deliberately in this intricately plotted and character-driven nail biter.

Watson, S.J. Before I Go to Sleep; This fast-paced yet chilling story tells of a woman who has an impaired memory and can’t make sense of the divergent tales told to her by the man she thinks is her husband and the journal she has kept, but can’t remember. The story is filled with psychological suspense, crammed with twists and turns leading to an unpredictable outcome.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Covington, Dennis. Cleaving: The Story of a Marriage; Presented using alternate voices, the couple recounts the struggles they encountered in their twenty year marriage and their search for spiritual redemption. This book provides a constructive counterpoint to the chilling game playing of Amy and Nick.

Flook, Maria. Invisible Eden: A Story of Love and Murder on Cape Cod; This edgy true-crime story imparts the unsolved murder of fashion writer Christa Worthington in her Cape Cod home in 2002. According to one attorney, “The more the police investigate her life, the uglier she gets.” People and secrets are revealed in a deliberate yet nonjudgmental way, presenting clear characterizations of the individuals involved. This is a chilling tale of suspense.

Gottman, John Mordechai. Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage: America’s Love Lab Experts Share Their Strategies for Strengthening Your Relationship; This primer offers ten principles to help couples examine their relationship. The author conveys thoughtful and practical advice for couples to use in a variety of situations, before those problems escalate.

Name: Patty Daniel

What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day

August 1, 2012

Author: Pearl Cleage

Title: What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day

Genre: Women’s Lives and Relationships

Publication Date: 1997

Number of Pages: 244

Geographical Setting: Idlewild, Michigan

Time Period: The 1990s

Series:  No

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

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

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

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

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

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

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

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

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

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

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

Name: Patty Daniel

The Body in the Library

July 30, 2012

Author: Christie, Agatha

Title: The Body in the Library

Genre:  Mystery

Publication Date: 1941

Number of Pages: 220

Geographical Setting:  St. Mary’s Mead and Danemouth, England

Time Period: 1920s

Series (If applicable):  Miss Marple series #3

Plot Summary:  A body is discovered in Colonel and Mrs. Banrdry’s home library.  Mrs. Bandry instantly knows she needs to bring in her good friend and amateur sleuth, Miss Jane Marple.  By linking people and situations from her town of St. Mary’s Mead to the people and situations of the murder, Miss Marple is able to unravel the mystery a step ahead of the police.

Subject Headings:  Mystery—Fiction, England—Fiction, Women Detectives

Appeal:  Builds in Intensity, Easy to Read, Humorous, Engaging Characters, Intriguing, Multiple Points of View, Series (Characters), Conclusive, Investigative, Plot Twists, Rural, Classic, Clever

3 terms that best describe this book:  Clever, Investigative, Plot Twists

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective by Kate Summerscale (2008)

This book provides an account of the murder that started the modern fascination with detection and nearly ruined the career of one of Scotland Yard’s best inspectors, Jonathan Wincher.

Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks by John Curran (2009)

A look into the notebooks, letters, and drafts that Christie’s daughter, Rosalind kept after her mother’s death.  The book includes two unpublished Poirot short stories.

An Autobiography by Agatha Christie (1977)

Agatha Christie’s autobiography tells the story of how she became one of the most celebrated detective writers of all time.  The book delves into her life from childhood until her 70s.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (1998)

Mma Precious Ramotswe is a local sleuth in her town in Botswana.  If Miss Marple were fat, jolly, and African, she and Precious would be nearly identical.  Precious solves small cases that mirror human nature.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1892)

If Miss Marple is the most famous female detective, then surely Sherlock Holmes is the most famous male.  He can deduce just about anything about anyone.  This collection has some of his most famous cases, all chronicled by Dr. John Watson.

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (2003)

After World War I, Maisie Dobbs becomes a private investigator.  Her first case seems to be one of infidelity, but soon she begins to uncover much darker secrets about the war and herself.

Name: Erin Sloan

Lonigan

July 16, 2012

   Author:  Louis L’Amour

   Title:  Lonigan

   Genre:  Western, Short Stories

   Publication Date:  1988

   Number of Pages: 177

   Geographical Setting:  The West (United States)

    Time Period:  Old West (late 19th century)

Series:  n/a

Plot Summary:  This book contains six separate short stories about the Wild West.  Each centers around one character as they come up against challenges and strive to do what is right according to the way of the West.  It features pioneer life, ranches and outlaws.

Subject Headings:  Frontier and pioneer life – The West (United States), Outlaws, Ranches, Gunfights.

Appeal:  fast paced, adventurous, sentimental, romantic, dangerous, historical details, detailed setting, rural, gritty, menacing atmosphere, strong secondary characters, flawed characters, criminal behavior, justice.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book:  adventurous, rural, ranches.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Growing up western: recollections edited by Clarus Backes.  Seven old writers of the West reminisce about their growing-up years, how their rural upbringings shaped their lives.  Growing up western will appeal to readers who want to learn first-hand how living in the Wild West was in the early 20th century.

Historic ranches of the Old West by Bill O’Neal.  A number of ranch headquarters still serve their original function; others are museums or guest ranches.  This book offers a visit back to a romantic and fascinating era.

The Real Wild West: The 101 Ranch and the Creation of the American West by Michael Willis.  This book chronicles the history of the 101 Ranch and discusses how the ranch’s traveling show embodied the spirit of the American frontier.  The book will appear to readers who want to learn about a ranch life.  This features a ranch in Oklahoma.

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

Best stories of the American West, vol. 1 edited by Marc Jaffe- This book features contemporary short stories set in the American West.  Like Lonigan, Best Stories of the American West is full of over twenty stories, featuring the pioneering life, relationships and adventure.

Ghost brand of the wishbones: a western trio by Peter Dawson.  This book contains a trio of short stories set against the backdrop of the Old West.  It features a story about an elderly lawman, a range war and a robbery of an entire cattle train.  This book features fast paced adventure about pioneer life.

On dangerous ground: stories of western noir edited by Ed Gorman  This book features short stories that are character driven but in a more bleak, moody atmosphere.  Like Lonigan, this book features short stories of the Wild West, looking at the dark tones of living out in the elements.

Name:  Olivia Button

True Believer

April 4, 2012

Author: Nicolas Sparks

Title: True Believer

Genre: Gentle Read

Publication Date: April 2005

Number of Pages: 322

Geographical Setting: Boone Creek, North Carolina

Time Period: Present

Series: Sequel: At first sight

Plot Summary: New Yorker Jeremy Marsh finds himself in Boone Creek, North Carolina to write a story about a cemetery haunted by ghosts. Marsh is a science writer who has made a name for himself by disproving psychic and paranormal phenomena. In Boone Creek he meets the beautiful but guarded town librarian Lexie whom he quickly finds himself drawn to. The leisurely novel creates a character-centered, heartwarming story that explores opposites attracting despite all odds.

Subject Headings: Men/women relations, Skeptics, Belief and doubt, Journalists, Librarians, Women psychics, Ghosts, Paranormal phenomena, Small town life-North Carolina

Appeal: heartwarming, homespun, bittersweet, conversational, easy, relaxed pace, nostalgic, character-centered, sentimental, rural, gentle

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: heartwarming, character-centered, homespun

Relevant Nonfiction Works and Authors:

Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, by Mary Roach.

Readers interested in Jeremy’s investigation of the supposed spirits haunting the cemetery might enjoy this accessible, engaging science writing exploring the possibility of an afterlife. Roach’s ability to make science palatable to the everyday reader is akin to the science writing the protagonist does in True Believer.

Knee High by the Fourth of July: More Stories of Growing Up in and Around Small Towns in the Midwest, by Jean Tennant.

Readers who enjoyed the detail of small town life in the South and the bittersweet exploration of domestic life may enjoy Tennant’s collection of stories about growing up in small towns in the Midwest. The stories are heartwarming and nostalgic, featuring a wide variety of tones.

The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers: An Unconventional Memoir, by Josh Kilmer-Purcell.

Marsh is a New Yorker who has some culture shock to adjust to when he travels to Boone Creek, North Carolina. This true story follows a gay couple as they decide to integrate themselves into the country despite their urban background. Humorous but poignant, the couple ends up overcoming the odds to create a successful farm business.

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Call Me Irresistible, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Phillips’s book is another tale of an outsider finding unexpected love. Protagonist Meg is stuck in a hostile, small town in Texas after disrupting her best friend’s wedding when she finds the man of her dreams. Readers who do not mind a more humorous take on a similar plot might enjoy Call Me Irresistible.

The Sunflower, by Richard Paul Evans

After her fiancé calls off the marriage a week before their wedding, Christine decides to volunteer in Peru where she meets an American doctor. Heartwarming and hopeful, Christine’s journey is similar in Lexie’s as she most overcome old wounds to give a new love a chance.

Finding the Way Home, by Sarah Byrd

Byrd’s book is another heartwarming tale of a character picking up and moving to a village setting and finding love and redemption in the process of interacting with a few different secondary characters. Fans of the gentle romance in True Believer may appreciate the more inspirational love story presented in Finding the Way Home.

When Calls the Heart

November 16, 2011

Author: Janette Oke

Title: When Calls the Heart

Genre: Inspirational, Gentle Reads, Romance

Publication Date: 1983

Number of Pages: 220

Geographical Setting: Toronto, Ontario; Calgary, Alberta; Lacombe, Alberta; Pine Springs, Alberta

Time Period: Early 20th century

Series (If applicable): Canadian West series

Plot Summary:  Elizabeth Thatcher has a wonderful life in Toronto with as a school teacher living with her God-fearing, close knit family.  However, when a letter from her older half-brother living across the country in Calgary comes suggesting that Elizabeth might like to teach out West and visit with her family there, she decides to go.  Through a series of mishaps, Elizabeth ends up in a small town with a new school over a hundred miles away from her brother and his family.  Here, she must adjust to life in the small town, start a school, and live on her own for the first time.  Although she did not move across country to find a husband, and in fact had decided that she was not necessarily looking for marriage at all, her plans get turned on their head when she meets Wynn Delaney, a friend of her half-brother’s and a member of the North West Mounted Police.  Through her attraction towards Wynn, her newfound independence, and her new situation, Elizabeth grows in faith, love and confidence in this sweet novel.

Subject Headings: Canada; Toronto; Calgary; Pioneers; North West Mounted Police; Teachers; Rural Life

 Appeal: Sentimental, leisurely-paced, rural, domestic, sweet, inspirational, gentle, heartwarming, homespun, hopeful, romantic, faithful characters, series characters, folksy, details of Canadian pioneers, accessible, straightforward, unpretentious

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Sentimental, leisurely-paced, rural

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

One-Room Schools of the Middle West: An Illustrated History by Wayne E. Fuller

This title gives the history of one-room schools in the Midwest, including photographs.  Although Elizabeth Thatcher’s school is in Alberta, Canada, this book will give background on how such a school works and shows what her school could have looked like.

Forging the Prairie West  by John Herd Thompson

This title, as part of the Illustrated History of Canada series, discusses the West of Canada where Elizabeth Thatcher goes to live with her brother and his family.  This book should give background on the history of the area and what happened in the time after which Elizabeth’s story is set.

Looking North: Royal Canadian Mounted Police Illustrations: The Potlatch Collection by Karal Ann Marling

This illustrated title provides artwork featuring the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or Mounties.  In When Calls the Heart, Wynn Delaney works as a Mountie.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Christy by Catherine Marshall

This classic title tells the story of a young girl who goes into the Appalachian mountains as a missionary school teacher.  This romantic, inspirational tale does not gloss over some of the more gritty aspects of living in the area in the early 20th century.  Christy’s work with her school children, romantic interests, and Christian beliefs should interest those who enjoy When Calls the Heart.

A Place Called Bliss by Ruth Glover

This novel, which takes place in the Canadian frontier, tells the story of two women of different social classes who move to the area to start a new life with their husbands.  This book along with the rest in the series should interest those who enjoy the setting and inspirational Christian nature of Janette Oke’s Canadian West series.

Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery

This classic series should interest fans of When Calls the Heart for a variety of reasons.  A more rural Canadian setting is featured in most of these books along with a strong family life, going to class and teaching in one-room schoolhouses, and the funny, heartwarming and romantic situations that Anne Shirley finds herself in throughout the entire series.

Name: Christi H.