We Recommend…The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian
Andy Weir
Crown Publishing, 2014

The MartianAstronaut Mark Watney – stranded alone on Mars, 140 million miles from earth. Read his daily logs and learn how he is surviving on Mars, then discover what’s happening on earth once NASA realizes he survived the accident that everyone thought had killed him. You will be amazed at Watney’s tenaciousness and ingenuity as he tackles one problem after another with grit and humor. You’ll identify with the people on earth, as they are all pulling for him to not only survive his ordeal but to be returned safely home…to earth.

8 Tips for Surviving on Mars from Andy Weir
So you want to live on Mars. Perhaps it’s the rugged terrain, beautiful scenery, or vast natural landscape that appeals to you. Or maybe you’re just a lunatic who wants to survive in a lifeless barren wasteland. Whatever your reasons, there are a few things you should know:

1: You’re going to need a pressure vessel.
Mars’s atmospheric pressure is less than one percent of Earth’s. So basically, it’s nothing. Being on the surface of Mars is almost the same as being in deep space. You better bring a nice, sturdy container to hold air in. By the way, this will be your home forever. So try to make it as big as you can.

2: You’re going to need oxygen.
You probably plan to breathe during your stay, so you’ll need to have something in that pressure vessel. Fortunately, you can get this from Mars itself. The atmosphere is very thin, but it is present and it’s almost entirely carbon dioxide. There are lots of ways to strip the carbon off carbon dioxide and liberate the oxygen. You could have complex mechanical oxygenators or you could just grow some plants…

For more of Andy’s tips on how to survive on Mars, go to Crown Publishing

On the web:
Andy Weir
Science Friday: Interview with Andy Weir
Book Trailer
Wall Street Journal: A Survival Guide To Mars

Book Reviews:
Kirkus Reviews
Booklist Online
Publisher’s Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
International Business Times: Book/Movie review

Mary Roach: Packing for Mars
Geoffrey Landis: Mars Crossing
Gregory Benford: The Martian Race
Kim Stanley Robinson‘s Mars trilogy (begin with Red Mars)
Iain Banks‘ Culture series (begin with Consider Phlebas)
Ben Bova: Mars Life
Joe W Haldeman: Marsbound

The Movie opened October 2, 2015

Movie Trailer:

We Recommend…Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Naomi Novik
Del Rey, 2015

UprootedUprooted, Naomi Novik’s newest novel, is based on Polish folklore and is reminiscent of a Grimm fairy tale. Agnieszka, the daughter of a woodcutter, finds herself unexpectedly taken from the security of her home in the village and thrust into a world she never imagined existed. Lush descriptions will draw you inexorably into a world of magic that is both despised and revered. A world comprised of villages living in fear of the Wood yet helpless to defend themselves. And a world driven by politics that are shaped in part by the Wood and the desperate fear it generates. Allow yourself to luxuriate in the complex world of Uprooted, where the ordinary becomes extraordinary, and the bonds of friendship, love and loyalty can never be taken for granted.

On the Web:
Naomi Novik
Author Interview
Publisher’s Weekly

Robin McKinley: Spindle’s End, Beauty, Rose Daughter, The Blue Sword, and The Hero and the Crown
Juliet Marillier: Heart’s Blood
Catherynne Valente: Deathless
Kate Elliott: Cold Magic

Other Resources:
Folklore and Mythology
American Folktales
SurLaLune Fairy Tales
English Fairy Tales: Audio recordings of 43 fairy tales in the public domain.

Video book trailer

Fifty Shades Readalikes

There’s no escaping E.L. James’ fan-fiction-to-self-published-bestselling series Fifty Shades. The cat-and-mouse game between innocent, clumsy Ana and billionaire philanthropist Christian Grey has captured the world’s attention and whether you love it or hate it, it looks like it’s here to stay. The movie, based on the first book in the series, will be released on Friday, February 13, 2015. Have you already read the Fifty Shades trilogy and want to read something similar while waiting for the movie? Then below are a few titles that might be of interest. Would you rather listen than read? The Fifty Shades trilogy is also available as a downloadable audiobook from OneClick Digital!

If you enjoyed Fifty Shades, try…

From around the web:

Visit the Pinal County Library District’s website to search the library’s catalog, find help with our digital products and to learn more about what’s happening at public libraries around the county!

Book Club Kit: Close Your Eyes

Close Your Eyes cover imageClose Your Eyes
by Amanda Eyre Ward
First Published: 2011
10 Copies & Reading Guide

For most of her life, Lauren Mahdian has been certain of two things: that her mother is dead, and that her father is a murderer. Before the horrific tragedy, Lauren led a sheltered life on the banks of Long Island Sound, a haven of luxurious homes and seemingly perfect families. But one morning, eight-year-old Lauren and her older brother awoke to discover their mother’s body and their beloved father arrested for the murder.

Years later, Lauren is surrounded by uncertainty. Startling revelations force her to peek under the floorboards of her carefully constructed memories, put aside the version of history that she has clung to so fiercely, and search for the truth of what really happened that fateful night long ago.

Reader’s Guide:

Random House – Includes a Summary, Author Bio, Brief Reviews, and Discussion Questions

Reviews & Articles:
Kirkus Reviews
Publisher’s Weekly

You Also Might Like:
The End of Everything by Megan Abbott
The Winters in Bloom by Lisa Tucker
The Sisters by Nancy Jensen

Did your book club read Close Your Eyes? Tell us what you thought by leaving a comment or join us over at Goodreads!

Book Club Kit: The Sandcastle Girls

Sandcastle Girls cover imageThe Sandcastle Girls
By Chris Bohjalian
First Published 2012
10 Copies & Reading Guide

When Elizabeth Endicott arrives in Aleppo, Syria, she has a diploma from Mount Holyoke, a crash course in nursing, and only the most basic grasp of the Armenian language. It’s 1915, and Elizabeth has volunteered to help deliver food and medical aid to refugees of the Armenian Genocide during the First World War. There she meets Armen, a young Armenian engineer who has already lost his wife and infant daughter. After leaving Aleppo and traveling into Egypt to join the British Army, he begins to write Elizabeth letters, realizing that he has fallen in love with the wealthy young American.

Years later, their American granddaughter, Laura, embarks on a journey back through her family’s history, uncovering a story of love, loss—and a wrenching secret that has been buried for generations.

Reader’s Guide:
Random House

Reviews & Articles:
The Washington Post – “Chris Bohjalian’s ‘The Sandcastle Girls’ Relives the Armenian Genocide” by Eugenia Zukerman
The Armenian Weekly – “The Kernel That Led to the Novel, The Sandcastle Girls” by Chris Bohjalian
Lonely Planetmap of Armenia

Author’s Website: http://www.chrisbohjalian.com

You Might Also Like:
Toby’s Room by Pat Barker
Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd
The Burning Tigris by Peter Balakian

Did your book club read The Sandcastle Girls? Tell us what you thought by leaving a comment or join us over at Goodreads!

Book Club Kit: Wild From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Wild cover imageWild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
By Cheryl Strayed
First Published: 2012
10 Copies & Reading Guide

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered, and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

Reading Guide:
Random House – Includes a Summary, Author Bio, Brief Reviews, and Discussion Questions

NPR – “A Walk on the Wild Side” by Michael Schaub
New York Times – “The High Road Wild, a Hiking Memoir” by Dani Shapiro

Author’s Website: http://www.cherylstrayed.com

You Also Might Like:
Home is a Roof Over a Pig by Aminta Arrington
The Old Ways: A Journey on foot by Robert MacFarlane
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Book Club Kit: The Shoemaker’s Wife

The Shoemakers Wife cover imageThe Shoemaker’s Wife
By Adriana Trigiani
First Published: 2012
10 Copies & Reading Guide

The majestic beauty of the Italian Alps at the turn of the twentieth century is the setting of the first meeting of Enza, a practical beauty, and Ciro, a strapping mountain boy. When Ciro catches the local priest in a scandal, he is banished and sent to hide in America. Soon Enza’s family faces disaster and she, too, is forced to go to America.

Unbeknownst to one another, they both build fledgling lives in America. Ciro masters shoemaking and Enza takes a factory job until fate intervenes and reunites them. But it is too late: Ciro has volunteered to serve in World War I as Enza begins her impressive career as a seamstress at the Metropolitan Opera House. Over time, these star-crossed lovers meet and separate, until the power of their love changes both of their lives forever.

Inspired by Adriana Trigiani’s own family history and the love of tradition, The Shoemaker’s Wife defines an era with operatic scope that will live on in the imaginations of readers for years to come.

Reading Guide:
Harper Collins – Includes a Summary, Author Bio, and Discussion Questions

Publisher’s Weekly
Kirkus Review

You Might Also Like:
A Good American by Alex George
Elizabeth Street: a Novel Based on True Events by Laurie Fabiano
May the Road Rise Up to Meet You by Peter Troy

Book Club Kit: The Hour I First Believed

Hour I First BelievedThe Hour I First Believed
By Wally Lamb
First Published: 2008
10 Copies & Reading Guide

When high school teacher Caelum Quirk and his wife, Maureen, a school nurse, move to Littleton, Colorado, they both get jobs at Columbine High School. In April 1999, while Caelum is away, Maureen finds herself in the library at Columbine, cowering in a cabinet and expecting to be killed. Miraculously, she survives, but at a cost: she is unable to recover from the trauma. When Caelum and Maureen flee to an illusion of safety on the Quirk family’s Connecticut farm, they discover that the effects of chaos are not easily put right, and further tragedy ensues.

Reading Guide:
Harper Collins – Includes a Summary, Author Bio, and Discussion Questions

BooklistReview by Joanne Wilkinson
Kirkus ReviewReview

You Might Also Like:
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Columbine by David Cullen
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Book Club Kit: Before I Fall

Before I Fall cover imageBefore I Fall
by Lauren Oliver
First Published 2010
10 Copies & Reading Guide

Friday, February 12 is a big day for Samantha Kingston: It’s Cupid Day, when all the kids at school will count the roses they receive to see just how popular they are. It’s the day of Kent McFreaky’s party. It’s the day Sam plans to lose her virginity to her boyfriend, Rob. It’s also the day she dies . . . sort of. Sam is killed in a car crash on Friday, February 12, but she wakes the next morning to that same day, again and again. While living her last day on repeat, Sam discovers that she has a chance to do things over—to do things better. So what does it take to go from being a popular girl who can inflict a dozen small cruelties in a given day to being someone who will be remembered well in her own right? Samantha Kingston is about to find out.

Reading Guide:
ReadingGroupGuides – Includes a Book Description and Discussion Questions

The Hub – Review by Annie Schutte
Booklist Review by Krista Hutley

Author’s Website:

You Might Also Like:

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
November Blues by Sharon M. Draper
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Stephanie Plum Readalikes

The next Stephanie Plum novel, Notorious Nineteen, hits shelves November 20th, but the holds list is already long! While you wait to see if Stephanie is with Morelli or Ranger, check out a few similar reads. New to the series? Start at the beginning with One for the Money!

Do you enjoy Stephanie Plum for the humor and mysteries? Try…

The Izzy Spellman Series by Lisa Lutz

  1. The Spellman Files
  2. Curse of the Spellmans
  3. Revenge of the Spellmans
  4. The Spellmans Strike Again
  5. Trail of the Spellmans

The Heather Wells Mysteries by Meg Cabot

  1. Size 12 is Not Fat
  2. Size 14 is Not Fat Either
  3. Big Boned
  4. Size 12 and Ready to Rock

Do you like the supernatural elements in the Between-the-Numbers novellas? Try…

The Lizzy and Diesel Series by Janet Evanovich

  1. Wicked Appetite
  2. Wicked Business

The Undead Novels by MaryJanice Davidson

  1. Undead and Unwed
  2. Undead and Unemployed
  3. Undead and Unappreciated
  4. Undead and Unreturnable
  5. Undead and Unpopular
  6. A complete series list is available on the author’s website.

You also might like…

For even more Stephanie Plum readalikes, check out this guide (you can even print it out if you want).

What’s your favorite Plum novel? Tell us in the comments.