Posts Tagged ‘spare’


October 24, 2012


Author: Marjane Satrapi

Genre: Graphic Novels; Autobiographical stories; Women’s Lives

Publication Date: 2005

Number of Pages: unpaged

Geographical Setting: Iran (present day)


Plot Summary:  A multi-generational group of Iranian women gathers after a meal to share a cup of tea and raunchy stories.  In this book, Marjane Satrapi reveals a glimpse into the world of the women in her life.  These compelling stories of sexual exploits range from humorous to sad.  Despite the fact these women come from an exotic country, the stories are accessible, engaging and full of issues that arise in the lives of most women, regardless of era, country, and culture.

Subject Headings: Family; Friendship; Marriage; Women; Sexuality; Interpersonal relationships;

Appeal:  Thought-provoking; Humorous; Reflective; Character-driven; Accessible; Conversational; Engaging; Spare; Nostalgic; Issue-oriented; Exotic; Introspective;Realistic; Bleak

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Exotic; Humorous; Realistic;

Three fiction read-alikes:

Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea (Islamic county, Women’s lives, Sexuality)

Four young women navigate the complex line between today’s modern culture and the more traditional one of their parents and their land.

Laughable loves by Milan Kundera (Character-driven; Spare; Exotic)

A collection of short-stories revolving around the sexual games and fantasies of middle-class Central Europeans.

Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros (Character-driven, Spare, Reflective)

Family secrets unfold and sibling rivalries flare during intergenerational vacations involving road trips from Chicago to visit relatives in Mexico.

Three related non-fiction titles:

 Unlikely by Jeffrey Brown (Graphic novel, Interpersonal relationships, Autobiographical)

In this autobiographical graphic novel, Jeffrey Brown bravely shares the compelling story of his first sexual relationship and eventual breakup.

 Reading Lolita in Tehran: a memoir in books by Azar Nafisi (Iran, Women)

This is a compelling true story of a group of women in Iran, who risk their lives for the love of literature.

Passionate uprisings: Iran’s sexual revolution by Pardis Mahdavi (Iran, Sexuality)

Told from the unique point of view of a Westerner born of Iranian parents, this book explores the sexual revolution and extreme risks taking place in Iran today.

Name: Shira

Man in the dark

October 17, 2012

Book JacketAuthor: Paul Auster

Title: Man in the Dark

Genre: Literary Fiction

Publication Date: 2008

Number of Pages: 180

Geographical Setting: Vermont

Time Period: 2008

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: August Brill spends his days watching movies with his granddaughter, Katya and his nights creating stories when he cannot fall asleep. Man in the dark is a bleak novel about August Brill’s stories of the alternative history of modern day America. The alternative America that August Brill comes up with is that America is in a war with itself and individual states have become their own republic. August Brill envisions this thought provoking story through the eyes of Owen Brick in which he is brought to kill the man in charge of the war. August Brill’s fictional story about the modern day civil war reflects his own life and the family surrounding him. August was never able to fight in the war, he recently lost his own wife, got into a car accident and had to go live with his daughter Miriam. Also, his granddaughter lost her boyfriend Titus in a terrible accident. Man in the dark is a spare, stylistically complex and descriptive written novel in which it has a lot of plot and detail for a shorter book. The main question is how does his story of the modern day civil war relate to his own life?

Subject Headings: Memories; imaginary wars and battles; senior men; imagination; father and adult daughter; married women – death; murder victims; former critics; forgiveness; civil war; violence

Appeal: bleak; contemporary; descriptive; disturbing; experimental; gritty; flawed; intricately plotted; leisurely-paced; melancholy; reflective; spare; stylistically complex; thought provoking

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: bleak; spare; stylistically complex

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

– Butler, Blake, Nothing: a portrait of insomnia (true story of a man who has insomnia and creates stories that based on his past experiences)

– Cowley, Robert, What if?: the world’s foremost military historians imagine what might have been: essays (historians look at how wars could have ended different if something different happened)

– Foote, Shelby, The Civil War: a narrative (describes the real civil war between 1862-1864)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

– Banville, John, The Sea (stylistically complex, reflective, dealing with family after wife died)

– Evaristo, Bernardine, 1959-, Blonde roots (alternative history about the United States)

– Updike, John, Toward the end of time (creates stories about fictional wars in the U.S. with China, bleak, descriptive)

Name: Samantha Biegel

Phonogram: Rue Britannia

April 18, 2012

Author: Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

Title: Phonogram: Rue Britannia

Genre: graphic novel, urban fantasy

Publication Date: 2007

Number of pages: 152

Geographical Setting: England

Time Period: 2006

Series (if applicable): one sequel

Plot Summary: David Kohl is an aging hip kid, completely self-absorbed and only interested in drinking, smoking and going home with a pretty girl at the end of a concert. He is also a phonomancer, which is a type of magician who works arcane spells through music to find their true meaning. Baptized in the early-90’s by Britannia, the goddess of British guitar pop, he learned how to use magic through the genre of music known as Britpop, defined by bands such as Pulp, Suede, Blur and Elastica. He turned his back on Britannia when everybody started worshipping her, and she has since been long dead. Although he left her many years ago, when he discovers that her corpse is being tampered with he knows he has to save her, since his past is rooted with her. If the enemy succeeds in reviving a dead goddess, his entire past could change, and he could become a Kula Shaker fan with no magical powers. Phonogram is about the magic of music, and not ever letting go of it, but learning to move on when the time comes. Britpop fans will squeal over the many inside references to songs and bands, and for those whose knowledge of Britpop begins and ends with Oasis, there is a handy glossary in the back that defines every single reference made.

Subject Headings: British music, fantasy, magic, England.

Appeal: character-driven, complex, contemplative, humorous, magical, intriguing, flawed, strong secondary characters, well-developed, explicitly violent, detailed setting, journalistic, smart, spare, witty.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: character-driven, magical, smart.

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

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1. Britpop!: Cool Britannia And The Spectacular Demise Of English Rock by John Harriss
The heyday of Britpop (1994-1998) began as a reaction against American grunge. In the past bands such as the Smiths and Joy Division were contemptuous of mainstream success, the bands in the 90’s sought it out, with Blur and Oasis competing for the top spot in the charts. It ended in the usual way, with drugs, infighting and egotism. Harris makes the rise and fall of a music movement a fun read.

2. A Version of Reason: In Search of Richey Edwards by Rob Jovanovic

A subplot of Phonogram is the ghost of a memory of David’s ex-stalker who is still haunting the roof of the club they used to hang out at, mourning Richey Edwards. In 1995, the guitarist of the Manic Street Preachers disappeared without a trace. His car was found abandoned on the Severn Bridge and it looked like suicide, but a body was never found. This drove the already-fervid Manics fans into near religious worship. Jovanovic attempts to piece together what might have happened that day.

3. Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft (Llewellyn’s Practical Magick) by Raymond Buckland

Buckland’s is one of the definitive books for serious students of magic. Whether you take magic seriously or not, this is one of the books that a fantasy writer would research in order to get the details right for a story. If you’d like to know more about rituals, history, covens and spellwork, this is the book to turn to.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1. Sandman by Neil Gaiman

Without Sandman, there could be no Phonogram. Gaiman changed what people thought graphic novels could do with this series about Dream, part of the Endless, consisting of Death, Desire, Delirium, Destiny and Destruction. Gods, goddesses, demons and magic abound in this series.

2. Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley

Scott Pilgrim is a clueless slacker while David Kohl is knowingly selfish, and the music is indie while in Phonogram it’s Britpop, and the super powers are based on video games instead of magic, but anyone who learned to love David in Phonogram will be smitten with Scott Pilgrim.

3. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill

The inside references are fast and furious in this series by Alan Moore, but it’s about brit lit instead of brit pop. Captain Nemo, The Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Allan Quartermain, and Mina Harker team up to fight evil. Packed with action/adventure and literary allusions, this will make any book nerd’s heart beat faster.


Name: Jessica

House on Mango Street

April 11, 2012

Author: Sandra Cisneros

Title: The House on Mango Street

Genre: Coming of age stories; Mexican-American women’s fiction; Novels in verse

Publication Date: 1994

Number of pages: 134

Geographical Setting: Chicago

Time Period: Contemporary

Series (if applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: This novel, written by a poet, is a series of short vignettes told by 12-year-old Esperanza, which weave into an over-arching story. Esperanza’s family has just moved to Mango Street, in Chicago’s Hispanic district. Although they now live in a house instead of an apartment, it still isn’t the kind of house Esperanza’s parents have always promised, with bedrooms for everyone and stairs that aren’t just hallway stairs. All four children and two parents still have to sleep all in one room. Through Esperanza’s eyes we get short character sketches of her family, her annoying sister, Nenny, her new friends, and all her neighbors, both beautiful and eccentric. Esperanza longs to leave the neighborhood and someday have a beautiful house of all her own, but she is reminded not to forget where she comes from.

Appeal:character-driven, moving, reflective, strong sense of place, spare, stylistically complex, compelling, engaging, lyrical, bittersweet, introspective, thought provoking

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: character-driven, strong sense of place, stylistically complex

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?): 3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1.) When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago This memoir chronicles a young girl’s childhood in Puerto Rico, and the jarring experience of moving to New York as an adolescent. Written in a lyrical prose, this book echoes the poetry that Cisneros is famous for.

2.) Chicanas of 18th Street: Narratives of a Movement from Latino Chicago by Leonard G. Ramirez, Yenelli Flores, Maria Gamboa and Isaura Gonzalez Following six different women who are active in their communities, Chicana’s of 18th Street illustrates the desire to raise one’s community and fight for gender, race and class equality.

3.) Mexican Chicago (Images of America) by Rita Arias Jirasek This book documents the Mexican community in Chicago from 1900 to present day, and explores neighborhoods such as Pilsen, Little Village and South Deering. Told from a first person voice and studded with photographs from family archives, museums and university collections, the stories of Mexican-Americans comes alive for the reader.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1.) Girl by Blake Nelson Although this book is different in that it’s a coming of age story about a girl growing up in the lily-white suburbs of Portland, 16-year-old Andrea still feels the pull to experience something outside of her narrow community, and uses the burgeoning music scene to escape. Like Mango Street, this book is much more about the language it is written in than it is about the plot.

2.) How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez Four sisters from the Dominican Republic come of age in New York. What makes this book a little different is that the girls grow down instead of up…it starts when they are adult and continues backward in time until they are small girls in the Dominican Republic.

3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie Like Esperanza, Junior also longs to leave the reservation and make something better of himself. He begins this journey by transferring from the high school on the rez to the local white high school, where he is the only Indian. Beautifully illustrated by Ellen Forney, this story also deals with the struggle of wanting to leave the community you grew up in, but not wanting to forget where you came from.

Name: Jessica


February 15, 2012

Author: Robert B. Parker

Title: Appaloosa

Genre: Western

Publication Date: 2005

Number of Pages: 276

Geographical Setting: “untamed territories of the West”

Time Period: 1800s

Series (If applicable): 1st of the Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch Series

Plot Summary: Renegade rancher Randall Bragg and his men have been living off the citizens of the small Western mining town of Appaloosa “like coyotes live off a buffalo carcass.” After Bragg kills the last marshal and deputy, Appaloosa’s aldermen hire town tamers Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch to restore order in the town. Things seem OK after Bragg’s trial, but some twists, turns, and deception threaten the peace Cole and Hitch have brought to Appaloosa.

Subject Headings: Deputy marshals; Wanderers and wandering; Honor in Men; Ranchers Men – Friendship; Fugitives; Escaped convicts; Gunfighters; Outlaws; Small town life – The West (United States); Gunfights; Manipulation by women; Men/women relations; Cole, Virgil; Hitch, Everett

Appeal: Fast-paced, Atmospheric, Strong sense of place, Gritty, Hard-edged, Well-drawn characters, Familiar, Cinematic, plot-centered, Details of old West, Spare, Homespun,Witty

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Fast-paced; Atmospheric; Gritty.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Wallis, Michael. Billy the Kid: The Endless Ride. “Both the facts and the legend pick up in 1877, when Henry—already known to some under the alias Kid—shot a man who was bullying him and began a life on the run. Wallis’s reconstruction of the Kid’s exploits is engrossing. But even more, Wallis (Route 66 ) shows Billy the Kid as a product of his era, one of profound social dislocation. Billy the Kid was, indeed, only the most legendary of a generation of ‘desperate men’ who knew how to handle a gun. Wallis, the host of PBS’s new American Roads , writes clean prose, occasionally enlivened by a particularly lovely turn of phrase (“the liquid rustle of cottonwood leaves”). The writing style of Billy the Kid may appeal to reader’s who enjoyed Appaloosa‘s spare but witty dialogue.

Guinn, Jeff.  The Last Gunfight: the real story of the shootout at the O.K. Corral—and how it changed the America West. “Describing the many social, political and other forces that set the stage for the gunfight (including new edicts regarding arrests and carrying guns), Guinn details the historic events of the cold afternoon of Oct. 26, 1881: drunken outlaw Ike Clanton’s wild threats against Wyatt Earp and Holliday; Virgil’s attempt (together with his brothers and Doc) to disarm Ike and his cowboy buddies; and the 30-second exchange of gunfire that left three cowboys dead. Just the facts—and still a great story” (Kirkus).  Like Appaloosa, The Last Gunfight is a fast-paced and compelling read that looks at lawmen who make laws and decisions that may straddle the line between right and wrong.

Tefertiller, Casey. Wyatt Earp: The Life Behind the Legend.  “Using a wide variety of primary sources, Tefertiller manages to summon up a human, complex figure and, while not omitting flaws, to persuasively demonstrate that Earp believed in the law and did his best in hard times to defend it. A great adventure story, and solid history” (Kirkus). Though fictional, Cole and Hitch also believe in and do their best to uphold the law, though all three are flawed characters.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Estelemen, Loren – Aces and Eights is the “dramatic account of the death of gunfighter Wild Bill Hickok and the trial of Jack McCall, the man hanged for the murder of Deadwood’s legendary marshal” (NoveList). Like Appaloosa, Aces and Eights is a fast-paced, atmospheric Western that revolves around a murdered marshal.

Leonard, Elmore.  Hombre features “John Russell, a young man nicknamed Hombre by the Apaches who raised him, has a deadly confrontation with a determined gang of stagecoach robbers” (book description).  Leonard and Parker both write Mysteries and fast-paced, atmospheric and gritty Westerns with a darker mood.

Kelton, Elmer – Texas Standoff: a novel of the Texas Rangers. “Newly married Texas Ranger Andy Pickard and his new partner, Logan Daggett, investigate a series of murders and cattle thefts in central Texas, a task complicated by a gang of masked vigilantes and the appearance of a notorious gunman” (NoveList). Both Appaloosa and Texas Standoff are fast-paced and atmospheric with a strong sense of place that center around two lawmen partners.

Ally C.


July 25, 2011

Author:  Robert B. Parker

Title:  Appaloosa

Genre:  Western

Publication Date:  2005

Number of Pages:  276

Geographical Setting:  The town of Appaloosa, western United States

Time Period:  late 1800’s

Series:  Book 1 in the Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch series

Plot Summary:  In the lawless Old West town of Appaloosa, ranch owner Randall Bragg and his ranch hands take and do pretty much whatever they please.  Sharpshooters and guns for hire Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch are called in to tame Bragg and his hands.  West Point graduate Hitch and the mysterious Cole set up shop as town marshals and quickly establish a reputation as men not to be messed with, attracting the interest of manipulative town newcomer Allie French.  Just as Cole and Hitch seem to have everything under control, Bragg kidnaps Allie French and uses her to get under the skin of the usually calm and collected Cole.  The conflict between Cole, Hitch and Bragg culminates in an action that speaks to the nature of true friendship.  In Appaloosa, well-known mystery writer Parker crafts a gritty and action-packed look into the Old West, complete with cowboys, Indians, and showdowns.

Subject Headings:  Western fiction; frontier and pioneer life; ranchers; peace officers; outlaws

Appeal:  fast-paced, gritty, plot-driven, atmospheric, dramatic, dialect-rich, spare, concise, unembellished, vivid, recognizable characters, stereotypical characters

3 terms that best describe this book: fast-paced, gritty, spare

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors: 

Draw: The Greatest Gunfights of the American West by James Reasoner: Readers who like tales of lawmen versus outlaws will enjoy Reasoner’s fast-paced and engaging look at famous shoot-outs.

Famous Gunfighters of the Western Frontier: Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Luke Shot and Others by W.B. Masterson: A collection of vivid mini-biographies on adventurous and well-known Old West personalities that were originally published as magazine articles in 1907.

Tough Towns: True Tales from the Gritty Streets of the Old West by Col. Robert Barr Smith: If readers enjoyed the lawless setting in Appaloosa, they might enjoy reading these accounts of small towns that fought back against gangsters and renegade gunslingers.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Crossfire Trail by Louis L’Amour:  Wanderer Rafe Caradec promised dying rancher Charles Rodney that his property would be left to his daughter, but when Caradec reaches the Wyoming ranch, he finds that other greedy ranchers have sent their sights on the land.  Crossfire Trail is a fast-paced, dialect-rich and action-packed story.

The Gunfighter’s Apprentice by Jerry S. Drake (Book 1 in the Tom Patterson series):  After killing the brother of a deadly gang leader in an act of self-defense, Matt McKay’s father hires a former gunfighter by the name of Tom Patterson to teach him how to
properly handle a weapon.  As Matt and Tom’s student/mentor relationship strengthens, they prepare for the final showdown.  Readers who appreciated Parker’s atmospheric and gritty western will enjoy The Gunfighter’s Apprentice.

The Lawman by Lyle Brandt (Book 1 in the Lawman western series): Gambler Jack Slade returns to Oklahoma to investigate the mysterious death of his estranged brother.  During his search, Slade is recruited as a deputy marshal and as a result, grapples between justice and revenge as the pieces fall into place.  Spare and fast-paced, this book will appeal to first-time and veteran
western readers.

Name:  Mieko Fujiura

The Sisters Brothers

July 22, 2011

Author: deWitt, Patrick

Title: The Sisters Brothers

Genre: Western, Literary Fiction

Publication Date: 2011

Number of Pages: 325

Geographical Setting: American West, California and Oregon

Time Period: 1850s

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: Eli and Charlie Sisters have led a violent life. As “opposite of the law”, the brothers ride through the Gold Rush period West, terrorizing, looting and murdering, mostly at the command of the infamous Commodore. Younger and more introspective Eli narrates as the brothers leave Oregon City in search of a gold prospector, Hermman Kermit Warm. Encountering a range of comical, haunting and desperate characters, the Sisters Brothers navigate the Old West, their disturbing career and their own changing relationship. Gritty and straight to the point language add to the richly atmospheric setting and the brisk pace keeps this novel moving along at a galloping clip. Highly enjoyable for readers of Westerns or for those looking for a haunting read.

Subject Headings: Western stories; Gunfighters; Brothers-fiction; Gold Rush-fiction; Gold Prospectors

Appeal: Gritty, fast paced, atmospheric, darkly humorous, violent, thought-provoking, cinematic, compelling, character-driven, grimy, haunting, spare

3 terms that best describe this book: Gritty, fast paced, atmospheric

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors: Richards, Rand Mud, Blood and Gold: San Francisco in 1849 (California setting, and Gold Rush history);  

Etulain, Richard W. and Glenda Riley, eds. With Badges & Bullets: Lawman and Outlaws in the Old West (depicts various villians and lawmen of the Old West);

Scott, Richard Eyewitness to the Old West: first-hand accounts of exploration, adventure, and peril (good background information about the every day people of Old West)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors: Sayles, John A Moment In the Sun (Atmospheric setting, set during the Yukon Gold Rush);

Portis, Charles True Grit (atmospheric, darkly comic, about revenge killing);

Doctorow, E.L. Welcome To Hard Times (similar sparse and gritty language, atmospheric of the Old West)

-Meg Cichantk

The House on Mango Street

November 18, 2009

Author: Cisneros, Sandra

Title: The House on Mango Street

Genre: multicultural fiction

Publication Date: 1984

Geographical Setting: Chicago

Time Period: 1980s

Series: no

Plot Summary: Esperanza Cordero is an 11-year-old Mexican American girl growing up in a shabby apartment in the barrio of Chicago. She dreams of someday moving to an actual house with a yard – her version of the American dream. But first she must escape the oppressive environment around her, full of poverty, violence, fear, and disregard for women. She watches as a beloved aunt dies from illness, friends are married off before they reach eighth grade, and others stay trapped in their homes because they cannot speak English or they cannot go outside without their husband’s permission. Her only hope is to work hard in school and stay out of trouble. As a friend’s aunt reminds her, however, “When you leave, you must remember to come back for the others… you can’t erase what you know. You can’t forget who you are.”

The book is made up of short stories and lyrical prose that tell an overall story. Written in first person, the narration is childlike, telling the stories of Esperanza’s friends, family, and neighbors through her 11-year-old eyes. Cisneros writes thoughtful descriptions of Esperanza’s colorful neighborhood and the people who live in it. The stories are told like memories—not following a linear plot. Instead, readers get an inside look at what it is like to grow up poor and Hispanic in a big city. The mood is earnest, sad, yet hopeful, with an unresolved ending that you hope turns out well.

Appeal Terms: personal, nuanced, spare, simple, nonlinear, first person narration, moving, poetic, lyrical, vivid, innocent, coming of age story, character centered, intergenerational, descriptive, urban, unpretentious, colorful, serious, thoughtful, female empowerment in a male dominated culture, inspiring, Mexican American immigrant experience, violent, set in Chicago, unresolved ending

Subject Headings: Mexican American fiction – immigrant experiencehome – memories – family and relationships – poverty – physical abuse – rape – short stories – adolescence – Latino neighborhoods of Chicago – female empowerment

Three Terms that Best Describe the Book: vivid imagery, coming-of-age story, immigrant experience

Three Nonfiction Titles:

Barrio: Photographs from Chicago’s Pilsen and Little Village by Paul D’Amato
– A collection of 90 images taken of life on the streets and in the homes of the Mexican American communities of Pilsen and Little Village.

Home: The Blueprint of Our Lives edited by John Edwards
– A collection of brief, evocative personal essays and photographs from 60 contributors—some famous, some not—about the houses they remember and family relationships.

The Latin Deli: Telling the Lives of Barrio Women by Judith Ortiz Cofer
– An autobiographical assortment of essays and poems

Three Fiction Titles:

How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez
– The story of four sisters who must adjust to life in America after having to flee from the Dominican Republic

Flight and Other Stories by Jose Skinner
– Realistic stories about Latinos living in the American Southwest

Migrations and Other Stories by Lisa Hernandez
– Short stories present the life, loves, and predicaments of very different Chicana women in America.


October 28, 2009

Chuck Palahniuk
Publication Date:
Number of Pages:
289, numbered backwards
Literary Fiction, Psychological Fiction
Geographical Setting:
a plane about to crash into Australia, various other locations throughout the US and the world via flashback
Time Period:
present-day/alternate reality of present-day

Plot Summary: Tender Branson, the last surviving member of the so-called “Creedish Death Cult”, dictates his life story into the recorder of a plane about to crash into the Australian outback.  From his childhood in the Creedish Church District, to his years of work for a family he never sees, to his meeting and subsequent sort-of romance with the elusive Fertility Hollis, to his encounters with his older brother, Adam, this is a twisted but darkly funny look at cults and post-cult life, as seen through Tender’s eyes.

Subject Headings: Cults
Religion — Commercialization


Suicide victims


Airplane accidents

Mass media

Popular culture
Black humor
Psychological fiction

Satirical fiction
Pacific Northwest literature

Appeal: relentless, steady, detailed, eccentric, intriguing, quirky, vivid, cinematic, strong language, open-ended, layered, thought-provoking, contemporary, evocative, darker, gritty, hard-edged, unpretentious, psychological, edgy, candid, spare, witty

Three terms that best describe this book: Eccentric, Psychological, Edgy

Similar Authors and Works (Fiction): The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil by George Saunders (psychological fiction, ambitious and power-hungry people)

Rushing to Paradise by J.G. Ballard (attempt at utopian community gone horribly awry)

Home Land: A Novel by Sam Lipsyte (hilarious confession of a “failure”)

Similar Authors and Works (Nonfiction): Evil Harvest: The True Story of Cult Murder in the American Heartland by Rod Colvin (the impact of cults and cult leaders)

Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions in American History by Philip Jenkins (a history of cults in America)

Why Waco? Cults and the Battle for Religious Freedom in America
by James D. Tabor and Eugene V. Gallagher (an in-depth look at a specific cult, and other cults throughout America)

Name: Anne

At Risk

February 25, 2009

Author: Patricia Cornwell

Title: At Risk

Genre: Mystery

Publication Date: 2006

Number of Pages: 212

Geographical Setting: Boston, MA and Knoxville, TN

Time Period: 2006

Series: Win Garano series (only 2 books as of 2008, the other title is The Front)

Plot Summary: Winston “Win” Garano, an investigator for the Massachusetts District Attorney’s office, has just been called back to Boston from Knoxville, Tennessee. The D.A., Monique Lamont, is assigning him to a twenty-year-old cold case in Knoxville in a bid to gain publicity for her forensics laboratory. It is all part of her “At Risk” program that aims to reduce violent crime in Boston while improving chances of becoming governor in an upcoming election. Win refuses to take the case, especially after receiving threats from a mysterious man in red. However, everything changes when he discovers Lamont has been violently assaulted in her own home. He convinces a colleague to start pursuing the case in Knoxville while he investigates Lamont’s attack in Boston. He must now investigate both crimes to determine whether the two cases are linked.

Subject Headings: Forensic Pathology – Fiction; Massachusetts – Fiction; Public Prosecutors – Massachusetts – Fiction; DNA Fingerprinting – Fiction; Criminal Investigation – Fiction; Tennessee – Fiction; Mystery Fiction; Cold Cases (Criminal Investigation) – Tennessee – Fiction; Murder – Investigation – Tennessee – Knoxville – Fiction; Forensic Sciences – Fiction; DNA – Fiction;

Appeal: fast-paced, distant, eccentric, interior, multiple points of view, realistic, strong secondary characters, action-oriented, cinematic, conclusive, investigative, layered, linear, multiple plot lines, plot-centered, plot twists, resolved ending, contemporary, political, rural, small-town, urban, austere, dramatic, moody, sophisticated, unaffected, uneasy, accessible, candid, concise, conversational, dialect, direct, jargon, natural, spare, unembellished, details of forensic investigation, explicit, violent

Red Flags: Graphic descriptions of death, autopsy, and human decomposition. Descriptions of violence and rape are less graphic but may disturb sensitive readers.

Similar Authors and Works (Fiction):

Echo Park by Michael Connelly. Connelly’s 12th Harry Bosch novel, in which Bosch solves a cold case mired in political conspiracy.

Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs. A forensic scientist suspects a recent murder may be the work of a serial killer.

Shadows by Edna Buchanan. The Cold Case squad of detectives must solve a 1961 murder before the crime scene is demolished to make way for new condominiums.

Similar Authors and Works (Non-Fiction):

Cracking Cases: the Science of Solving Crimes by Henry C. Lee. This title focuses on the forensics used to investigate murder cases.

Death’s Acre: Inside the Legendary Forensic Lab the Body Farm Where the Dead Do Tell Tales by Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson. This is the memoir of a forensic anthropologist and his work at the Body Farm at the University of Tennessee.

The Restless Sleep: Inside New York City’s Cold Case Squad by Stacy Horn. This title examines how Cold Case detectives investigate four unsolved murders.

Name: Tori