Posts Tagged ‘wry’

Gil’s All Fright Diner

July 19, 2012

Gil’s All Fright Diner

Author: A. Lee Martinez

Title: Gil’s All Fright Diner

Genre: Fantasy

Publication Date: 2005

Number of Pages: 268

Geographical Setting: The fictional county of Rockwood in Texas.

Time Period: Contemporary.

Series: Standalone

A vampire and a werewolf are driving down a road and come across a diner where the owner is facing a major problem.   It seems that the dead from a nearby cemetery are rising.  The diner, as it turns out, is the target of a vicious plot to start an all-out Armageddon, and it is up to Earl, Duke, and Loretta to put a stop to the evil shenanigans.

Subject Headings: Zombies – Fiction; Vampires — Fiction; Werewolves – Fiction; Magic – Fiction; Ghosts – Fiction; Restauranteurs – Fiction; Diners (Restaurants) – Fiction; Horror Fiction; Humorous Fiction

Appeal: Quirky, fantastic voyage of the mind, clever, rooting for the heroes, hilarious, tongue- in-cheek look at supernatural, weirdness abounds, wry, thrilling, strong atmospheric western setting, warped, and gonzo.

Three appeal terms:  action filled, buddy adventure, odd phenomena.

Three read-alikes:

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Waitress Sookie Stackhouse gets involved with Bill Compton, a vampire, who is a suspect for the murders occurring around the small town of Bon Temps.  Will it lead to her demise?  This snappy, southern flavored tale of vampire love introduces a beloved series of mystery and romantic mayhem.

Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett

King Verence makes the mistake of inviting a band of vampires to a ceremony and they’re determined to stay.  The witches of Lancre must wage war if they ever want to regain their peaceful home, and the poor officiating Reverend Mightily Oats is entrenched in the feud.

Lullabye by Chuck Palahniuk

Carl Streator has stumbled across a ‘culling song’, which was created to kill whoever listens to it.  Now he and his unlikely posse, which includes hard-edged realtor Helen Hoover Boyle, her Wiccan secretary Mona and Mona’s slacker boyfriend Oyster, are traveling together with the goal to gather all the copies of the song and destroy them – and try not to kill anyone along the way.

Three related nonfiction titles:

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream by Hunter S. Thompson

To the hitchhiker he and his pal pick up in the desert, Hunter S. Thompson confides, “I want you to know that we’re on the way to Las Vegas to find the American Dream.” (6) Thus encapsulates the incredible drugged odyssey of reporter Hunter S. Thompson and his Samoan attorney on a very important assignment.

Weird Texas: Your Travel Guide to Texas’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets by Wesley Treat, Heather Shade, and Rob Riggs.

You don’t need a constant supply of hallucinogens to find that the west is indeed a bizarre place.  This compendium contains tales of alien abductions, ghost sightings, and quirky roadside attractions, all submitted through the channels of local folklore.   Stories range from the Donkey Lady by San Antonio to the mysterious Marfa lights to Texas’s own Eiffel Tower and Stonehenge II, and some of the illustrations are downright chilling.

Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, by Mary Roach

Is the soul a physical substance, and, if so, what is it made of?  What is ectoplasm?  What would ghosts be capable of and how would they influence the living?  Mary Roach examines these questions without agenda or preconceived notions, applying a scientific mind to what happens after someone dies.

— Kate Jelinski

The Graveyard Book

August 10, 2011

Author: Gaiman, Neil

Title:  The Graveyard Book

Genre: Fantasy, Suspense

Publication Date: 2008

Number of Pages: 336

Geographical Setting: A graveyard in England

Time Period: Current times

Series:  N/A

Format:  Audio

Plot Summary:  “There was a hand in the darkness and it held a knife.”  So begins the extraordinary story of a boy, a toddler really, who was made an orphan on that fateful night.  The knife held by the man Jack takes the lives of the boy’s father, mother and sister and would also have taken the boy’s had he not tumbled out of his crib and escaped into the darkness.  He wanders into an abandoned graveyard where the forgotten souls residing there agree to take him in as one of their own.  He is named Nobody Owens, (“Bod”) for protection, and in honor of his of his adoptive parents, Mr. and Mrs. Owens, a ghostly but genial couple.  The mysterious Silas, who is neither dead nor alive, is his guardian,  bringing  him food and ensuring  that he is educated in the ways of the dead and the living.  The book follows Bod’s life in the graveyard with each chapter set in a different year.  Throughout this time however, there is still the man Jack, searching for Bod so that he may finish his work.  When Bod turns fifteen, he is ready to leave the graveyard and resume a life of his own among the living, but first he must confront the evil that has been stalking him for so long.  Bod’s final showdown with the man Jack provides a dramatic and satisfying conclusion to this unusual story.  This is a fast-paced book with magical and creepy moments.   Gaiman’s storytelling skills are brilliantly inventive, particularly in relating Bod’s adventures with the visiting ghouls and his rescue by the talented Miss Lupescu.   However, what makes this book a standout, is that along with the witty plot, odd characters and unusual setting, the author also creates the poignant story of an orphan boy  learning the skills needed to survive in the world.   The audio version of The Graveyard Book, read by Neil Gaiman himself, completely sets the tone, beginning with a beautifully performed rendition of “The Danse Macabre” on banjo.  This music selection immediately alerts the listener that this will be a sinister, perhaps quirky book, but not necessarily scary.   Gaiman is the perfect reader, using different accents for different characters and able to mimic precisely the indescribable call of a night-gaunt.   His understated reading of the text, in particular the opening chapter with its gruesome murders , is reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock at his best.

Subject Headings:  Cemeteries, Ghosts, Supernatural, Werewolves, Vampires, Assassins, Orphan Boys

Appeal:  attention grabbing, witty, enthralling, scary, suspenseful, sinister, creepy, wild, well crafted, bittersweet, smart, wry, original, imaginative, clever, poignant, foreshadowing, quirky

3 Terms That Best Describe This Book: original, suspenseful, bittersweet

Similar Authors and Works

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Stories in Stone: The Complete Guide to Cemetery Symbolism by Douglas Keister, engraved symbols used on tombstones  tell a very detailed story about  the person buried there; The Other Side:  A Teen’s Guide to Ghost Hunting and the Paranormal by Marley Gibson, an informative look at  the technical aspects of ghost hunting as a hobby; Encyclopedia Horrifica:  The Terrifying Truth About Vampires, Ghosts,Monsters and More by Joshua Gee, geared to young adults, this is a paranormal reference book  described as “hilariously horrifying.”

3 Revelant Fiction Works and Authors:

  Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz, about a boy who can see ghosts, is certainly more of an adult book, but it shares the same darkly humorous tone.  The graphic novel version, In Odd We Trust might be less intense.   Christopher Moore, A Dirty Job,   another adult book about a new father who can see ghosts is described as “dizzyingly inventive and hypnotically engaging”,  similar to The Graveyard Book.  Skellig by David Almond, is a young adult novel that tells the story of a strange creature living in a shed behind a young man’s house and has the same eerie, magical feel.

Name:  Chris M.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

June 8, 2009

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Author: Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Title: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Genre: Bestseller, Fantasy, Parody
Publication Date: 2009
Number of Pages: 319p
Geographical Setting: England, The Lake District
Time Period: mid-1800s

Plot Summary: England has been stricken with a strange and unavoidable plague.  The five daughters of the Bennett family, who are trained in the fine art of slaying the unmentionables, would like to find love in the village of Meryton.  Pride and Prejudice and Zombies takes Jane Austen’s story of love, deception and honor, and throws in, well, zombies, to give the story a whole new doomsday twist.  Elizabeth Bennett is put off by Mr. Darcy’s snobbery and arrogant attitude towards the Bennett’s, even as they slay zombies at Mr. Bingley’s dinner party.  The Bingley family, the Bennetts, and the Darcy’s continue to meet at society events throughout the country and the quarantined city of London; upon Darcy’s unexpected wedding proposal, Elizabeth must practice her ninja training skills to defend her honor.  Grahame-Smith adds the undead to Ms. Austen’s classic, taking a fresh (or not so fresh) look at Regent society.

Subject Headings: Bennett, Elizabeth (Fictitious Character), Darcy, Fitzwilliam (Fictitious Character), Zombies—Fiction, Young Women—England, Social Classes—England, Family—England, Sisters, Courtship, England, Parodies

Parody, humor, dark, classical, emotional, action-packed, absurd, witty, fast-paced, wry, satire, romantic.

3 terms that best describe this book:
Brisk, satirical, fun

Similar Authors and Works :
3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:
Jane Austen for Dummies by Joan Elizabeth Kingel Ray (Describes the world of Austen)
The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection From the Living Dead by Max Brooks (parody survival guide for zombie attacks)
The Black Death: A Chronicle of the Plague by Johannes Nohl (the effects of the plague on Europe)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors
Austenland by Shannon Hale (young woman retreats to an “Austen resort” to fulfill her love of Mr. Darcy)
World War Z by Max Brooks (An account of the world after zombies take over)
The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore (Dickensian parody of a Christmas mystery)

Name: Katy A. Hite

Sick Puppy

June 1, 2009

Sick Puppy

Author: Carl Hiaasen

Sick Puppy

Genre: Humorous Suspense

Publication Date:

Number of Pages:
353 pp

Geographical Setting:
Southern Florida

Time Period:
Present Day

Plot Summary: Twilly Spree, veteran of anger management classes, and unwillingly the recipient of a million dollar inheritance that came from dirty Florida real estate money, likes to teach litterbugs a lesson.  He is the definition of the eco-terrorist.  Palmer Stoat, corrupt lobbyist, who appreciates the finer things in life, isn’t getting Spree’s message.  Things start off small with a load of garbage in the BMW, and dung beetles in the polluting SUV, but Twilly hits home when he takes the Stoat family dog.  Palmer realizes things are serious and begins wheeling and dealing to get the dog back, and Spree (along with Palmer’s wife) continue to spread their message across Southern Florida.  With a bright collection of secondary characters, Hiaasen takes readers on a breakneck tour of how the other half lives: cigar bars, call girls surgically altered to fulfill a Barbie Doll fetish, and a bounty hunter who listens to 911 tapes for fun.

Subject Headings: Eco-terrorists—Florida; Dognapping—Florida; Labrador Retrievers; Greed—Florida; Real Estate Developers—Florida; Lobbyists—Florida; Anger in Men—Florida; Canned Hunting—Florida; Hunting; Florida.

Appeal: Fast-paced, detailed, eccentric, character-centered, wry, graphic, contemporary, political, candid, humorous, colorful, witty, compelling.

3 terms that best describe this book: Darkly comic, compelling, colorful characters.

Non-Fiction Works and Authors:
Labrador Retrievers (Complete Pet Owner’s Manual) Kerry Kern (colorfully illustrated with photos of labs, tips on buying, training, and caring for labs)
Confessions of an Eco-Warrior by Dave Foreman (Foreman recounts the necessary measures to maintain the planet’s ecological resources and admonishes the administration that is destroying it)
Priceless Florida:  Natural Ecosystems and  Native Species by Eleanor Noss Whitney et. Al (ecological field guide of Florida’s mainland and wetlands, good sense of location).

3 Relevant Fiction Authors:
Randy Wayne Wright (eco-centered, Florida based spy)
Elmore Leonard (rich characters, dark humor)
Richard Grant (off-beat characters, eco-themed and humorous)

Name: Katy A. Hite