Posts Tagged ‘sentimental’

Angels & Demons

July 23, 2012

Author:  Dan Brown

Title:  Angels & Demons

Genre:  Adventure

Publication Date:  2000

Number of Pages: 569

Geographical Setting:  Vatican City, Rome

Time Period:  Contemporary

Series:  Robert Langdon

Plot Summary:  This fast-paced book follows world renowned Harvard symbologist Rorbert Langdon when he is unexpectedly summoned to the Vatican City where there was a murder and the victim had the name of an ancient society, the Illumni burned into the body.  Robert is tasked with uncovering clues that point to the resurgence of an ancient secret society that has issued a vendetta against the Catholic Church.

Subject Headings:  Secret societies, popes – election, signs and symbols, Vatican City, Illuminati, Vendetta.

Appeal:  fast paced, adventurous, sentimental, dangerous, historical details, detailed setting, suspenseful, intricately plotted, engaging characters, plot-driven, descriptive writing style, atmospheric.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book:  detailed setting, suspenseful, plot-driven.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Truth and fiction in The Da Vinci Code: a historian reveals what we really know about Jesus, Mary Magdalene and Constantine by Bart Ehrman.   A biblical historian examines the history of the early Christian church, pointing out inaccuracies in The Da Vinci Code and providing an introduction to biblical scholarship.

Cracking the symbol code: revealing the secret heretical messages within Church and Renaissance art by Tim Wallace-Murphy.   This non-fiction book gives the real history of Christianity, as revealed in the hidden symbols used by such heretical groups as the The Knights Templar and the Freemasons to preserve true spiritual knowledge.

The conclave: A sometimes secret and occasionally bloody history of papal elections by Michael Walsh.  This book explores how popes are chosen, revealing a history of vendettas, bribery, family feuds and political intrigue that sometimes ended in the death of voters.

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

The Atlantis Code by Charles Brokaw. When the ancient ruins of Atlantis are discovered along the Spanish coast, linguist and archaeologist Thomas Lourds joins a violent competition to be the first to gain entry into the lost civilization.

Map of Bones by James Rollins.  This book centers around a group of parishioners that are burned to death in a German cathedral, the U.S. sends in the SIGMA force to investigate.   This is more than a case of arson when it is revealed that a priceless treasure, the bones of the biblical Magi is stolen.  

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum.   This is the first book of the Jason Bourne series where Jason is dragged from the sea, with a face altered by plastic surgery and no memory of how he got there. Now he is running for his life, the target of assassins, and at the center of a deadly puzzle.  

Name:  Olivia Button


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.

Time and Again

July 25, 2011

Author: Jack Finney

Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fiction

Publication Date: 1970 (pbk 1995)

Number of Pages: 399

Geographical Setting: New York City

Time Period: late 1960s(?), 1882

Series (If applicable): Finney wrote one sequel, From Time to Time

Plot Summary: Simon “Si” Morley is an illustrator in late 1960s(?) New York, not quite unhappy but wondering if there could be more to his satisfactory, if mundane, life. Then Si is recruited by a shadowy, unofficial government group secretly working on a project to send agents back in time to observe—and possibly alter—history. In 1882 New York, Si tries to discover the circumstances behind the curious suicide of a prominent businessman, while falling in love with fellow boarder Julia. This meticulously researched novel straddles fantasy and historical fiction, using an uncomplicated time-travel plot device to stage detailed historical descriptions. The author’s use of illustrations, paintings and photographs is cleverly incorporated into the plot, adding an unusual but interesting twist on the first-person narrative. While the book takes its time establishing the context and method for time travel, the leisurely pace picks up as romantic and other mystery-related developments begin to drive the plot. Ideal for readers who enjoy love stories with a historical and or fantasy bent, or a particular interest in historical New York.

Subject Headings: Nineteenth century; New York (N.Y.)—History—1865-1898—Fiction; Time travel—Fiction; Illustrators; Government conspiracies; Love stories; Architecture

Appeal: Nostalgic, sentimental, historical details, New York history, leisurely-paced, detailed settings, romantic, love stories, mild intrigue, mild suspense, plot-integrated illustrations and photographs, social commentary, soft science fiction, introspective, contemplative, broadly-drawn secondary characters, first-person perspective

3 terms that best describe this book: Historical details, mild suspense, nostalgic

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Lady with a Torch: How the Statue of Liberty Was Born, by Eleanor Coerr, drawings by Oscar de Mejo (The story behind French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty; New York history, figures prominently in plot)

Arsenic and Clam Chowder: Murder in Gilded Age New York, by James D. Livingston (Recounts the 1896 murder trial of Mary Alice Livingston; historical New York setting, intrigue, social commentary)

New York by Gaslight: A Work Descriptive of the Great American Metropolis, by James D. McCabe, Jr. (Reissue of an 1882 guide to New York City with more than 90 original illustrations and descriptions of points of interest in old New York)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Bid Time Return, by Richard Matheson (Sentimental tale of a man who falls in love with a 19th century actress, time-travel elements)

Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon (A nurse is accidentally transported back in time to 18th century Scotland and falls in love; historical details, adventurous, romantic)

Chasing the Wolf, by Nathan Singer (A young New York artist falls asleep in 2005 and wakes up in 1938 Mississippi to meet the love of his life; diary narrative, social commentary, historical details)

Joe Collier

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

June 8, 2009

Product Details

Author: Marjane Satrapi

Title: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

Genre: Graphic Novel: Non-fiction

Publisher: Pantheon, 2004

Pages: 160p

Geographical Setting:  Iran, during Islamic Revolution

Time Period: 1979-83

Series: Sequel to Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return

Plot Summary: Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s wise, funny, and heartbreaking memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Marji is nine when the fundamentalist rebels overthrow the Shah. She is the intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors. Her parents, especially her free-thinking mother, modeled a strong belief in freedom and equality. Her Marxist-inclined family initially favored the overthrow of the Shah, but soon realized that the new regime was more restrictive and unfair than the last. The girl’s independence, which made her parents both proud and fearful, causes them to take action. This autobiography, told in graphic format with simple, but expressive, black-and-white illustrations, combines the normal rebelliousness of an intelligent adolescent with the horrors of war and totalitarianism.

Subject Headings: Satrapi, Marjane, 1969,

Comic Book Strips,

Nine Year Old Girls-Iran-


Children and War—Iran—

Iran-Iraq War—1980-1988—20th Century


Graphic Novels—non-fiction

Coming of Age
Autobiographical Comic Book Strip

Appeal: timeless, radical, minimal, madness, sentimental, powerful, emotional, expressive, witty, horrific, restrictive, autonomous, extraordinary.

Three terms that best describe Persepolis: Powerful, Historical, Coming of Age

Relevant Non-fiction:

Maus: a survivor’s tale: — my father bleeds history (mid-1930s to Winter 1944) by Art Spiegelman,  The author-illustrator traces his father’s imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp through a series of disarming and unusual cartoons arranged to tell the story as a novel.

Pyongyang: a journey in North Koreaby Guy Delisle ; [translated by Helge Dascher], One of the few Westerners granted access to North Korea documents his observations of the secretive society in this graphic travelogue that depicts the cultural alienation, boredom, and desires of ordinary North Koreans.

We are on Our Own: a Memoir– by Miriam Katin, A full-length illustrated graphic memoir about the author and her mother’s escape on foot from the Nazi invasion of Budapest recounts how they faked their deaths, abandoned their belongings and loved ones, and fled in disguise with German troops close behind.

Relevant Fiction:

In the Time of the Butterflies, by Julia Alvarez, A fictional account of the young lives of Mirabal sisters Patria, Minerva, and Maria Teresa, otherwise known in the Dominican Republic as Las Mariposas, describes their suffering and martyrdom in the last days of the Trujillo dictatorship.

The Kite Rider, by Geraldine McCaughrean, In thirteenth-century China, after trying to save his widowed mother from a horrendous second marriage, twelve-year-old Haoyou has life-changing adventures when he takes to the sky as a circus kite rider and ends up meeting the great Mongol ruler Kublai Khan.

One Hundred Demons- by Lynda Barry, A collection of twenty comic strips celebrates the Buddhist challenge to overcome one hundred demons in a lifetime with such offerings as “Dancing”, “Dogs”, and “Magic”, which follow the author’s misadventures with adolescence, family, and relationships.

By Allison Robins


The Five People You Meet in Heaven

April 15, 2009

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

Author: Albom, Mitch

Title: The Five People You Meet in Heaven

Genre: Inspirational fiction      

Publication Date: 2003

Number of Pages:  196 (hardcover edition)

Geographical Setting: United States; an amusement park town near “a great gray ocean”; The Philippines; heaven 

Time Period: early 21st century

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: The only time Eddie’s life makes headlines is when he dies on his 83rd birthday, attempting to rescue an 8-year-old girl from the crush of an amusement park ride at the seaside carnival where he works as a maintenance man. It is his death that opens this brief novel, which contains a series of life lessons that Eddie learns after reaching heaven. Eddie believes his life didn’t matter: he didn’t accomplish anything “big”; he spent most of his life maintaining the amusement rides at Ruby Pier after being wounded in the war; and he doesn’t think he belongs in heaven. But in heaven he meets five spirits—some of whose lives he barely intersected while alive–who help him understand that all lives have meaning as well as other truisms. Heaven, as one of the spirits tells him, is for “understanding your life on earth.” Like It’s a Wonderful Life, the protagonist comes to understand that his life has meaning and the interconnectedness of life—the way one life touches and changes another. A quick read that aims for the heart, this novel should appeal to those who like inspirational stories with life lessons.

Subject Headings: Accident victims; Afterlife; Amusement parks; Death; Fiction; Future life; Heaven; Inspirational fiction; Life lessons; Older men;

Appeal: accessible; consoling; direct; earnest; elegiac; emotional; heartwarming; hopeful; mystical; life-affirming; quasi-philosophical; sentimental; simple; spiritual; sympathetic; thought-provoking; timeless;

Relevant Fiction: Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol. (The meaning of life, life lessons, an older man’s life seen in retrospect, sentimental, lessons learned from spirits.) Sebold, Alice. The Lovely Bones. (Heaven, the afterlife, sympathetic protagonist, the interconnectedness of life, but more literary.)  Coelho, Paulo. The Alchemist. (Truisms, fable-like, simple, direct, life lessons, spiritual messengers, inspirational.)

Relevant Nonfiction: Chopra, Deepak. Life After Death. (Death as part of journey,  the afterlife, comforting.) Pausch, Randy. The Last Lecture. (Inspirational, life lessons, how to live, life-affirming, elegiac.) Schwartz, Morrie. Morrie: In His Own Words. (The subject of Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie on death, the meaning of life, mortality. Inspirational, an older man’s life in retrospect, direct.)

Name: Laura