Posts Tagged ‘Well-written’

The Paternity Test

November 27, 2012

Author: Lowenthal, Michael

Title: The Paternity Test

Genre: GLBT Fiction

Publication Date: 2012

Number of Pages: 277

 Geographical Setting: Manhattan (NY), CapeCode (MA)

Time Period: Modern Day

 Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Michael’s Lowenthal The Paternity Test is an incredibly realistic and engrossing story of a gay couple who after almost a decade of their relationship is trying to have a baby through surrogacy. The storyline seems difficult but quite ordinary nowadays, yet because of its complex and deep characters, it quickly becomes a page-turner with multilayered issues of love, parenthood, trust and betrayal. Stu and Patrick are in a long-term relationship. They move from Manhattan’s night life to quiet and peaceful CapeCab, where Stu, a freelance writer hopes to start a family with his partner Pat, an airline pilot. In spite of their love, they used to keep their relationship open; therefore, the leading motivation of having a baby and reconnecting again stays relevant to all couples, gay and straight: does a baby save a marriage? This old cliché is universal for so many couples. However, the dynamics between the characters will never be the same after a decision is made. Consequently, the Brazilian surrogate, beautiful and friendly Debora, has her own obstacles to overcome, and she becomes Pat’s closest confidant. Pat’s family is also very complex characters with straightforward and often conventional, based on their Jewish faith, way of thinking. This novel will take the reader by surprise. The added complications to the couple’s own relationship occurs when one looks for validation and the other for stability and everlasting love,  which makes the story and its rather abrupt ending an eye-opener while exposing our own fears and unexpected life’s twists.

 Subject Heading: Gay couples, Gay and Lesbian Parents, Fatherhood, Surrogate Mothers, Conflict in Marriage, Adult Relationships, Parenthood, Loyalty.

 Appeal: emotional; provoking; realistic and complex characters; multilayered plot; gay community; commitment; contemporary setting; thoughtful; inspirational.

 Three Terms for Book: thoughtful and beautiful portrayal of love; complex and realistic characters, and provoking page-turner.

 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

 1. Lynn,      E. Harris, I Say a Little Prayer – The      new look on the difficulties of homosexuality and faith in      African-American church. The story of a successful      businessman in contemporary Atlanta      and his struggle with his own identity, betrayal, and passion for music.

2. Schwab,      Rochelle Hollander, A Departure From      the Script – The story of traditional Jewish parents who find out that      their 25 year old daughter is a lesbian. Their refusal for her wedding and      denial of her sexual identity is only beginning of this compelling story,      and parents who learn how to accept their child’s choices.

3. Trumble,      J. H., Don’t Let Me Go – written      with a beautiful style story of a teenage love. Two young men are inseparable      since their high school years, despite their sudden separation while one      is seeking an education in distant state. A remarkable novel about genuine      love, but also loss, and hate. Library       School Journal named      it a great addition to GLBT collection “for teens      that are looking for a gay love story that explores a relationship in the      same way that straight love stories do.”


 Relevant Nonfiction Works and Authors:

 1. Griswold, Sara, Surrogacy Was the Way: Twenty Intended Mothers Tell Their Stories – Intended mothers is a term used to describe ‘mothers to be’ by the surrogacy. This extremely sensitive and quite difficult subject is a choice for many women nowadays. They provide information and new perspectives through individual stories of mothers as an option to become a parent.

2. Huegel, Kelly, GLBTQ: the Survival Guide for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Teens – The book was published for the first time in 2003 and reedited several times, and is answering questions among teenagers seeking guidance, information, and support while making choices about their own sexual identity.

3. Rauch, Jonathan, Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America – Since gay marriage became legal for the first time in 2004 in Massachusetts, it is still perpetual and controversial matter in many other U.S. states. The author explains by a range of logical, wise arguments the importance of same-sex marriage in the country.



Vampire God: The Allure of the Undead in Western Culture

August 22, 2012

Vampire God: The Allure of the Undead in Western Culture

August 20, 2012

Vampire God: The Allure of the Undead in Western Culture

Author: Mary Y. Hallab

Title: Vampire God: The Allure of the Undead in Western Culture

Genre: non-fiction

Publication Date: 2009

Number of Pages: 180

Geographical Setting: Multiple Locations and Time Periods

Time Period: Ancient to Modern Times

Plot Summary: This is a non-fiction work. It delves into the myths and lore that surround vampires throughout history. Moreover, the book studies why the vampire myth has endured for so long and why it is embedded in popular culture today. The book also looks at the various literature and film concerning vampires.

Subject Headings: Nonfiction – Vampire; Nonfiction — Myth; Nonfiction– Popular Culture; Nonfiction – Vampire Culture

Appeal: Humorous, Engaging, Honest, Insightful, Detailed, Engrossing, Complex, Realistic, Mythical, Thought-Provoking, Well-Researched, Well-Written

Three appeal terms:  Engaging, Insightful, Mythical

Three fiction read-alikes:

The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice

This book follows Lestat from his mortal years to that of a Vampire. Not wanting to live the life a hidden vampire, he decides to become a rock-star. Lestat also looks into how his species came into being.


Bram Stocker’s Dracula: The Graphic Novel by Gary Reed

This is a graphic novel based on Bram Stocker’s Dracula. Follows the story of Dracula leader of the undead.Wonderful art is on every page bringing the lord of the night into reality. A wonderful adaptation of a classic work.


Salem’s Lot by Stephen King


This story follows Ben Mears, a writer, who returns home after twenty-five years to write about the old Marsten House. When all of a sudden it seems there is a vampire outbreak in the town. A very gripping and suspenseful horror story told by the master of horror Stephen King.


Three related non-fiction titles:

Vampires, Burial, and Death: Folklore and Reality by Paul Barber

This is a non-fiction book that looks at the ancient folklore and myths of vampires. The book also looks at what might have been behind these ancient legends.

Dracula the Price with Many Faces: His Life and Times by Radu R Florescu and Raymond T. McNally

This book is the true account of Vlad Dracula king of Romania. He was nicknamed the Impaler, because he would impale his enemies alive and leave them as a warning to other would-be enemies. One of the cruelest rulers ever to be king in Europe, but honored by his country-men.

The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead by J. Gordon Melton

This encyclopedia of Vampires covers the lore of the legendary creature. It goes in depth on the Vampire’s history, as well as, its influence in literature, and modern incarnations of the Vampire myth.

– Charles Ford

The Known World

September 30, 2009

Author: Edward P. Jones
Title: The Known World
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 2003
Number of Pages: 400
Geographical Setting: Manchester County VA.
Time Period: 20 years before the Civil War
Series: No
Plot Summary:
One tiny line on the Manchester Co. historical registry about an African American freed male slave who owned his wife, their children, and two house servants inspires the Pulitzer prize winning tale of the Townsend family, and the residents of Manchester County VA and their very ugly history.  The epic multi generational and character rich tale starts with Augustus Townsend, the family patriarch, who buys his freedom as well as his wife and their son.  Much to the shock of the reader the story continues with the son Henry Townsend, starting a small plantation and purchasing slaves for himself.  At times it seems that after all Henry’s father has done for him he still views their former owner, Mr. Robbins as a mentor father figure. The plot weaves back and forth from Henry’s death bed, his childhood, and continues after his death.  The point of view changes as the story continues from family to family and generation to generation. The book ends with Henry’s wife, Caledonia’s final thoughts on the entangled life that her husband has created for them.  The entire story leads up to Mrs. Townsend’s life changing decision on whether or not to free their slaves or keep them to run the plantation.
12 Appeal: Well-written, character-centered, bitter sweet, introspective, historical details, thought-provoking, engaging, detailed setting, complex, small town, reflective
Subject Heading: African American slave holders, plantation life, 19th century, Historical Fiction, Virginia, Generational.
3 terms describing the book: Introspective, Controversial, Unpopular History.

Three relevant fiction books & why:
My Jim: A Novel by Nancy Rawles
(Sadie tells her story, after her husband decided to run away with a white boy named Huck Finn)
Cane River by Lalita Tademy
(An isolated 19th century community of free slaves, and white French creoles living in perfect harmony unbeknownst to the rest of the world)
Clotel, or, The president’s daughter: a narrative of slave life in the United States by William Wells Brown (The fictional story of Thomas Jefferson’s illegitimate biracial daughter)
Three relevant non-fiction books & why:
Master of Mahogany: Tom Day free black cabinet maker by Mary E. Lyons
(The story of a free, educated, African American cabinet maker living in the south)
Runaway and Freed Missouri Slaves and Those Who Helped Them by Harriet C. Frazier
(The true story of life after slavery)
Remembering slavery: African Americans talk about their personal experiences of slavery and freedom edited by Ira Berlin, Marc Favreau, and Steven F. Miller
(True accounts of slavery survivors)
Name: Laura Bartnik