After Alice by Gregory Maguire
Synopsis: We all know the story of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Alice’s adventures have been depicted for over 100 years. The story that we are not so familiar with is the story of Ada, Alice’s friend. One day Ada decides to visit Alice as she grows tired of dealing with her drunk mother and ever preaching father. When she arrives at Alice’s home she discovers that Alice has disappeared. Upon looking for Alice, Ada accidentally takes a wrong step and fall into the infamous Rabbit Hole. Ada and Siam (the boy who also falls into Wonderland begin there adventure looking for Alice and eventually run into well known characters such as the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat while the community “above”in 1860’s England eventually realize that children are missing.
Appeals: This story takes place in the real world as well as Wonderland. The reader is able to see how people are reacting to Ada and Alice’s disappearances. The author does a great job in describing class structure, adolescence, and the Victorian world in itself. Our protagonist, Ada, is a very different character than Alice as she is clever and less likely to be bewildered by the characters who live in Wonderland.
Publication Date: October 27th, 2015
Pages: 288 pages
- The author mixes fantasy with science as the character of Charles Darwin is in the story.
- The story is told from two different point of views. We see what is happening in Wonderland and in the real world.
- There are more “real” characters in this story than the original Alice in Wonderland.
- Novel contains rather challenging vocabulary.
- Never Never by Briana Shrum
- Letters to Zell by Camille Griep
- Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix
- Wendy Darling: Stars by Colleen Oakes
The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell
Synopsis: A young boy from Northern England is living a decent life as the son of a village leader. Suddenly he finds his father dead and his village overrun by Vikings. The boy, Young Uhtred, falls under the control of Viking warrior Ragnar the Fearless when the Dane wipes out Uhtred’s Northumberland family. Orphaned Uthred is then taken in by Ragnar and taught the Viking ways. Yet Uhtred’s fate is bound up with Alfred, King of Wessex, who rules over the last English kingdom when the Danes have overrun Northumbria, Mercia and East Anglia. Uhtred’s affection for Ragnar as a surrogate father grows, and he surpasses the conqueror’s blood sons in valor. When father and adopted son arrive in Wessex (Southern England) with intentions to conquer and enjoy the spoils of war, the Danes meet unexpected resistance and Uhtred faces personal and familial challenges, as well as a crisis of national allegiance.
Appeals: This story makes for a thrilling adventure and also contains a decent amount of drama. Cornwell’s depiction of 9th century England allows the reader to envison how life, people, and battles were like in Medieval England. The historical figures, places, and battles are mostly based from historical writings and documents which makes this story a true work of historical fiction. There is also a fair amount of adult content (violence and sex) which may appeal to most adult readers.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: January 25th, 2005
Pages: 352 pages
- Story is told solely told from the point of view of the protagonist, Uthred.
- Loyalty and survival of the fittest are major themes seen in the story.
- There are a number of characters that the reader is introduced to.
- Bernard Cornwell does a great job with character development which makes the story and the characters more believable.
- The White Raven by Robert Low
- Bones of the Hills by Conn Iggulden
- Fire in the East by Harry Sidebottom
- Sworn Sword by James Aitcheson
I am not exactly sure how I feel about the use of audio books or e-books yet as I have not really given them much of a chance and have not used them frequently. I have always preferred a hard print,but I do realize that all mediums have their benefits and it is evident that e-books and audio books are preferred by many.
I did not know a whole lot about e-books until I started working in libraries nearly three years ago. It was then that I had to know how to assist patrons in downloading e-books and how to use the program Overdrive. Library staff needed to know how to download e-books on a variety of types of tablets including Kindles, I-Pads, Nooks, etc. After playing around with these tablets that the library owned for staff use, I would say I knew my way around a tablet and the e-books program pretty well. Ironically I did not own a tablet until about 3 months ago when Amazon was selling Kindle Fires for 30 dollars. I currently use my Kindle Fire to play games, surf the web, and listen to music. I tried reading an e-book on my tablet and it did not go too well. I soon discovered that after working all day (which consists of being on a computer majority of the time) my eyes just could not take looking at a screen for an extended time. I wanted to look at something other than a screen! This only happened once and I never went back. I went back to my old faithful hard copies. I realize e-books have their benefits but it is just not for me. The list of benefits goes on and on for e-books.
- e-books are delivered instantaneously.
- No trees are needed to make e-books.
- They take up less space.
- You do not need a light to read.
- Fonts can be resized for people with bad eyesight
Audiobooks are another medium that I have not used much at all, but they are definitely beneficial to those who use them. We have several older patrons at my library whose eyes just do not work like they use to so using audiobooks allows them to still enjoy their favorite authors. We also have many people who travel for work check out audios. I am more than happy that our patrons can enjoy these audios but they are not for me. For one thing, I am afraid if I listen to an audiobook while driving I will be distracted and not pay attention to the road! My other concern is if I am listening to an audiobook at home I will fall asleep after a couple of minutes and forget where I left off in the story. Especially if the narrator has a soft voice or tone. Zzzzzzzz.
Overall, I do believe that e-books and audio books appeal to a number of people for different reasons, they also help libraries promote their overall appeal. These different mediums attract different patrons to the library and that is great!
Thanks for Reading.
I have been running my own morning book club out of the library I work at for about 7 months now and it has been an interesting experience to say the least. We meet at 10:15AM every first Wednesday of the month. Since I have taken over the club we have about 8-10 people show up for every meeting. We receive the books we are reading from Indiana Humanities and I usually make sure the book we are reading has at least a dozen copies otherwise I have to find copies elsewhere.
There is another lady that I share “leader” duties with as we usually come up with questions about the book the ask the other participants. For the most part the meetings are very informal. It is more of a relaxing atmosphere than anything. Many times people will come to the meetings after reading only half the book. Usually because they did not like it or they just did not have time. When this occurs, I am totally fine with it. I really feel like the more the more people the better. Many times our conversations will drift away from the story but towards different themes that stem from the book, therefore it is not totally necessary to read the whole book before the meeting. Me and the other lady that run the club usually will take turns asking coming up with questions to ask the others. She will do one month and I will do the next. Some of the other participants will come with questions as well. We “the leaders” will usually let the others answer the questions and we may respond or move on to the next question. Many of the questions that we ask are open ended. For example,” How did you feel about that event occuring?” would be something that would be asked.
The majority of the attendees will participate. We have had some new members come lately so they will understandably be somewhat quiet, but for the most part many of the ladies like to get in their opinion.:) We have had one lady that comes in from time to time and she will talk for 10 minutes straight so I sometimes have to cut in and ask another question or divert her in some form.
Our meetings are held in a conference room that seats 12 people around a table.As i stated before the atmosphere is laid back. The community that our library is in is a small rural town so many of the participants in book club know each other. So there is a lot of humor going on and much of it is directed towards me considering I am the youngest in the group…by FAR. We also serve coffee, cappuccino and in some cases doughnuts.
Since i have taken over the club I try my best to find books that appeal to everyone. Lately i have been sticking to historical fiction and mystery because i know they enjoy those genres. I usually ask the members what authors they like or what titles they have enjoyed lately in order to make good selections.
Overall, the whole book club experience has been great. I enjoy choosing novels and even enjoy it more when my members like the books and we have good conversations during the meetings. If you have any recommendations, send them my way!
Thanks for reading!
My special topics paper focused on historical fiction with time travel as a sub-genre. We are seeing time travel in fiction more and more in contemporary times.Many say that the genre popularized with H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine in 1895. Not only are we seeing the genre in literature, but other types of media as well such as games and film. The literature is also inspiring adapted screenplays. For example, Outlander has its own television series and Michael Crichton’s Timeline was made into a motion picture. The popular video game Assassins’ Creed has been made into novels, graphic novels, and an online mini-series. These adaptations and other forms of media ,rather than just literature, make it evident that this sub-genre is very popular.
There are also several ways that libraries can promote this sub-genre. Brochures, displays, and programs,such as book club, can encourage patrons to try the genre out. I thought a time line such as the one below would make for a nice display. You could display the bookcovers with the time period in which the novel is set in.
I also found that authors and readers alike find the genre fascinating and enjoyable. Author Connie Willis stated in an interview that, “You can change history or not change history, you can go as an observer, you can go where you actually become part of the past and help fulfill history, it’s pretty limitless.”
Overall, it was fun looking into this sub-genre. I did not realize how much work of fiction was out there that used time travel as a theme. This assignment also influenced me to start the Outlander series!
Thanks for reading!
Promise Not To Tell
By Jennifer Mcmahon
Recently read this one for a book club and I can honestly say this one kept my attention more than any other book I have read lately. This suspense/thriller/ even some paranormal/ was a good read.
Forty-one-year-old school nurse Kate Cypher has returned home to rural Vermont to care for her mother who’s afflicted with Alzheimer’s. On the night she arrives, a young girl is murdered—a horrific crime that eerily mirrors another from Kate’s childhood. Three decades earlier, her dirt-poor friend Del—shunned and derided by classmates as “Potato Girl”—was brutally slain. Del’s killer was never found, while the victim has since achieved immortality in local legends and ghost stories. Now, as this new murder investigation draws Kate irresistibly in, her past and present collide in terrifying, unexpected ways. Because nothing is quite what it seems . . . and the grim specters of her youth are far from forgotten. (Amazon.com)