Posts Tagged ‘vibrant’

Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes: The Authorized Adaptation by Ron Wimberly

August 3, 2011

Author: Ron Wimberly

Title: Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes: The Authorized Adaptation

Genre: Horror, Graphic Novel

Publication Date: July 19, 2011

Number of Pages: 130

Geographical Setting: Green Town, Illinois

Time Period: Late October in the 1920’s

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Something Wicked This Way Comes is about two 13-year-old boys, Jim Nightshade and William Halloway, who have a harrowing experience with a nightmarish traveling carnival that comes to their Midwestern town one October. The carnival’s leader is the mysterious “Mr. Dark” who bears a tattoo for each person who, lured by the offer to live out his secret fantasies, has become bound in service to the carnival. Mr. Dark’s malevolent presence is countered by that of Will’s father, Charles Halloway, who harbors his own secret desire to regain his youth. Jim and Will recognize the dark magic at work and have to come up with a plan to stop this ancient evil. As a graphic novel, the addition of dark/light pages and detailed illustration add to the ambiance of the story.

Subject Headings: carnival, boys, fathers and sons, magic, male friendship, the Illustrated Man, good vs. evil.

Appeal: fantastical, nostalgic, vibrant, classic, creepy, suspenseful, imaginative, entertaining, dark.

3 terms that best describe this book: mysterious, disturbing, phantasmagorical.

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?)

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

American Sideshow by Marc Hartzman. (A fascinating look into the history of the American sideshow and its performers. Learn what’s real, what’s fake, and what’s just downright bizarre.)

Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth by Peter Kelder. (Offers practical instructions for the Tibetan Rites of Rejuvenation, which resemble yoga postures.)

The Fortune Telling Book: Reading Crystal Balls, Tea Leaves, Playing Cards, and Everyday Omens of Love and Luck by Gillian Kemp. (Filled with practical advice, gypsy folklore, and both ancient and modern divinations, this lavishly illustrated primer reveals the future to all those who believe and shows how to employ crystal balls, tea leaves, and playing cards to predict the future.)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Bloody Carnival by Matt Kurtz, Darren W. Pearce, Neal Levin, and Mindy MacKay, etc. (Freak shows, rusted rides, demonic ring mistresses, demented clowns, melting beauty queens, flesh-eating fun-seekers, ghosts, gremlins and other terrors haunt the pages of this bloody collection of thirty-four short stories.)

The Dreaming Jewels by Theodore Sturgeon. (A eight-year-old boy runs away and joins the carnival only to realize that a threat far greater than his cruel father inhabits the carnival and has been searching for him longer than he has been alive.)

The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. (Odd and creepy with dark secrets. This is another graphic novel that features a carnival, in this case a mini one, a traveling Punch & Judy show.)

Midnight Robber, by Nalo Hopkinson

April 20, 2011

0446675601.01._SX220_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg (220×344)Author: Nalo Hopkinson

Title: Midnight Robber

Genre: multicultural science fiction

Publication Date: 2000

Number of Pages: 329

Geographical Setting: The fictional planets of Toussaint and New Half-Way Tree

Time Period: distant future

Series (If applicable): n/a

Plot Summary: On the utopian, Caribbean-colonized planet of Toussaint, violent criminals are exiled to the brutal world of New Half-Way Tree.  Innocent young Tan-Tan is unjustly thrust into exile there when her convicted father, Antonio, drags her along.  Antonio’s selfish actions continue to add additional layers of misery onto a life already made difficult for Tan-Tan by the harsh realities of New Half-Way Tree.  As a child, Tan-Tan loved to play the role of the legendary Robber Queen; after a horrendous trauma inflicted by her father, the role of the Robber Queen becomes reality for Tan-Tan, whose struggle for survival in New Half-Way Tree is also a struggle to reconcile the various parts of her identity.  Along the way, Tan-Tan meets aliens, dangerous beasts, and a vengeful stepmother.  Hopkinson’s rendering of the future mixes the idea of nanotechnology with Caribbean legends, to create an unconventional and fascinating science fiction experience.

Subject Headings: Abuse; Aliens; Caribbean culture; Carnival; Exile;  Fathers and daughters; Legends; Nanotechnology

Appeal: character-centered, descriptive, detailed setting, dangerous, folksy, imaginative, hard-edged, homespun language, imaginative, mythic, moving, poetic dialect, vibrant, violent, vivid characters, well-crafted, world-building

3 terms that best describe this book: imaginative, poetic, vivid characters

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Our Caribbean: A Gathering of Lesbian and Gay Writing from the Antilles, edited by Thomas Glave – Homosexuality is common and accepted by the Caribbeans in Midnight Robber. Readers who enjoyed that aspect of the novel may enjoy this collection, which like Midnight Robber also features some patois.

Carnival: Culture in Action – The Trinidad Experience, edited by Milla Cozart Riggio – Carnival plays a major role in Midnight Robber. Those who enjoyed the colorful descriptions of Carnival customs and pageantry may enjoy this book, which includes both text and photo essays.

The Kiss: A Memoir, by Kathryn Harrison – Like Midnight Robber, a book about an incestuous father-daughter relationship, and the daughter’s attempt to reclaim her life.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Woman on the Edge of Time, by Marge Piercy –  like Midnight Robber, this is a work of moving, character-driven, feminist science fiction that features a utopian future and its dystopian alternative.

Riddley Walker, by Russell Hoban – Readers who enjoyed the creativity of the language in Midnight Robber may appreciate this classic in the science fiction genre; like Midnight Robber, it was also written with an invented dialect.

The Girl with the Golden Shoes, by Colin Channer –  A young, Caribbean girl is exiled from her community; the book also features poetic patois.

-Noelle Nightingale

Empress of the Splendid Season

April 14, 2009

Title: Empress of the Splendid Season

Author: Hijuelos, Oscar

Publication Date: 1999

Number of Pages: 342

Genre: Latino/a

Geographical Setting: Cuba; New York City

Time Period: 1940s-1980s

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Lydia España was the daughter of a mayor in a small town in Cuba who lived a life of privilege before Castro’s rise to power. Everything changes for the spoiled and pampered Lydia when she exiled from her homeland by her father for a sexual indiscretion that casts shame upon her family. Lydia immigrates to the United States and connects with other Cuban immigrants in New York’s Spanish Harlem. Lydia meets her husband Raul, a Cuban waiter, who nicknames her “Empress of the Splendid Season” because of her beauty and sophistication. In order to provide for her husband and their two children, Rico and Alicia, Lydia works as a cleaning woman for upper class New Yorkers much better off than herself. Lydia struggles to maintain her Cuban upbringing and recapture the life she was forced to abandon in Cuba, but is met with challenges, which make that dream nearly impossible. Through it all, Lydia never loses her dignity or her dream of a life as the “Empress of the Splendid Season.”

Subject Headings: Cuban-American women – New York City; Cuban-Americans – New York City; Cuban-American domestic workers – New York City; Women immigrants – New York City; Cuban immigrants – New York City; New York City; Cuban-American fiction – 20th century

Appeal: leisurely paced, measured, unhurried, detailed, introspective, like life, realistic, vivid, well developed, well drawn, character centered, family centered, intergenerational, inspirational, vibrant, though-provoking, bittersweet, sensual, detailed setting, melodramatic, episodic, nostalgic, cinematic, candid, elegant, frank, polished, cinematic, thoughtful

Similar Authors and Works (Fiction): Dubus, Andre – House of Sand and Fog (immigrant experience, melodramatic, nostalgic, tragic, realistic, cinematic) Kim, Nancy – Chinhominey’s Secret (intergenerational, immigrant experience, complex relationships, insightful) Perez, Loida Martiza – Geographies of Home (intergenerational; immigrant experience, complex family relationships, haunting, inspirational, character-centered)

Similar Authors and Works (Nonfiction): Diaz, GuarioneThe Cuban American Experience: Issues, Perceptions, and Realities (comprehensive analysis of Cuban Americans in the United States) James, Ian Michael – Ninety Miles: Cuban Journeys in the Age of Castro (stories of three Cuban immigrants and their individual reasons for leaving Cuba for the United States) Carlson, Lori Marie and Hijuelos, Oscar (editors) Burnt Sugar (Caña Quemada) Contemporary Cuban Poetry in English and Spanish (collection of poems about love and longing for Cuba written by Cubans living in Cuba and abroad)

Name: Joanna