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!

We Recommend… Woman with a Gun by Phillip Margolin

woman with a gunWoman With A Gun is the newest novel by Phillip Margolin.  This is a murder mystery, plain and simple.  Well, not so simple since there are numerous suspects and the original murder is not solved until the very end of the book.  The photograph of the woman with a gun on the front cover is a photograph that the author saw in a restaurant, and he was so taken with it that he bought it and wrote this novel around it.  There are a number of main characters, one of whom is the young woman novelist who sees the photograph at the Museum of Modern Art and is so excited by it that she wants to write a novel about it.  Yes, just like Margolin!  We are taken back in years to the original murder when the photograph was taken, and then the author dips into the lives of the different characters here and there through the years, finally returning to the young writer who probes in just the right places to solve everything.   This novel is well written and totally engrossing and the photograph really is begging to tell a story.

Post by Eileen Jaffe, Cataloger, Pinal County Library District

2015 Reading Challenge – How to find the right book

An interesting reading challenge by PopSugar is making the rounds on social media, and the Pinal County Library District office is pretty excited about it! Some of the librarians are considering tackling the challenge as a New Year’s Resolution. Reading in and of itself is a good time, but finding books to match each of the challenge criteria is also a lot of fun. Some of the categories can feel like a puzzle waiting to be solved! Scroll down for some suggestions that may make finding the right book a little easier. As always, you can also contact your local librarian for book recommendations, or write us here.

If you’re interested in trying out the 2015 Reading Challenge, you can download a handy Word version here. Reading Challenge How to find:

“A Book set in a different country”

This is a great way to take a vacation without ever leaving home. Begin your search for that perfect getaway by perusing Ann Morgan’s blog, “A Year of Reading the World: 196 countries, countless stories

For more suggestions, try GoodReads extensive list of books in different settings or Fantastic Fiction.

Fantastic Fiction’s homepage has links to Awards, Countries, Series and Years. Click on Countries, select a country, then click on any author. You may need to read the book’s summary to determine the setting.

“A Pulitzer Prize winning book” AND a “Play”

Visit the Pulitzer Prize website and knock out two categories at the same time. This may not be strictly “legal” but I won’t tell if you won’t.  On the right side of the page you will see their “Letters, Drama, and Music” categories. Click on Drama to find a list of award winning plays.

“A Book more than 100 years old”

Project Gutenberg has thousands of free out-of-copyright books to choose from. Browse their catalog by category, or search by author or title. I recently discovered some mystery books written by Burton Egbert Stevenson that are quite good. Download these free books to your computer, tablet or smart phone, or create a list then borrow a copy from your local library.

“A Book with antonyms in the title”

This is an intriguing category but it’s not as easy as you might think to come up with a list of antonyms and then find books you might actually want to read. A good place to start is the Opposite Word website where you can browse or search for antonyms.

Create a list of antonyms, such as odd/even or before/after, then go to our catalog and do a keyword search using each pair of antonyms. Be sure to Search By Title to find your antonyms in the title of the book and not in the summary. If you’re not finding titles of interest in our catalog then you might want to try the same search at your favorite online bookstore.

“A Book that came out the year you were born”

To find the number one New York Times Best Sellers in fiction and non-fiction for the year you were born, go to Hawes Publications site.

If none of the number one titles appeal to you, the Hawes website also has a complete week-by-week list of fiction and non-fiction New York Times Best Sellers. To see these lists, type http://www.hawes.com followed by the year you were born in the address bar of your web browser (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc.) If you were born in 1990 go to http://www.hawes.com/1990/1990

Here are some more examples:

Additionally, Krueger Books has list of Publisher’s Weekly Top Ten bestsellers.

“A Book with bad reviews”

Why would you want to read a book with a bad review? There are too many good books, and not enough time to read them, to waste time reading books with bad reviews. But after taking a look at BuzzFeed’s list of “11 Beloved Books with Shockingly Bad Reviews”, you may change your mind. You will be surprised at the reviews some of these well known books received at the time of publication.

You might also want to take a look at “15 Scathing Early Reviews of Classic Novels” from FlavorWire.

“A book that makes you cry”

This is a tricky category. What makes me cry might not affect you at all. And how do you know if a book will make you cry in advance? You could end up reading a lot of books before you find the one that makes you cry.

If the thought of searching for a book in this category makes you feel like crying, then take a look at LifeHack’s “20 Books that Are Guaranteed to Make You Cry” . Or FlavorWire’s “10 Books guaranteed to Make You Cry”.

“A Book written by an author with your same initials”

While it’s easy to find books written by authors that share your same first or last name, it’s not so easy to ones that with your same initials. A good resource for finding books in this category is Fantastic Fiction. There are two methods for finding authors with your initials:

1. Do an author search using your first name then scroll through the alphabetical list until you find authors whose last name starts with the same letter as yours.

2. Click on Top Authors, then click on the letter of your last name. Scroll through the results, looking for authors whose first name starts with the same letter as your own.

Want to stick to something classic? See if there’s any authors with you initials on the Classic Lit Authors A-to-Z About.com page.

“Banned Books”

The American Library Association compiles lists of challenged/banned books in order to inform the public of censorship efforts that affect libraries and schools. Visit ALA’s website for lists of books in this category but brace yourself, you may be surprised at some of the titles that have made the list.

Post by Shirley, Outreach Librarian for Pinal County Library District

New Year’s Resolution eBooks

Now that the holidays are over, your thoughts may be turning towards that anticipated (and sometimes dreaded) New Year’s Resolution. Your local public library has a large selection of books and DVDs on diet and exercise but I wanted to highlight a few eBooks from our 3M Cloud Library collection: The Paleo Diet is more popular than ever. Here are some titles to inspire you:

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Living Paleo for Dummies by Melissa Joulwan

Paleo Cookbook for Dummies by Kellyann Petrucci Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry by Elana Amsterdam

Going Vegetarian? These titles will help you started:

GFL_cover.indd Living Vegan 9781440552670cvr.indd Food and Healing
Green For Life by Victoria Boutenko Living Vegan for Dummies by Alexandra Jamieson The $5 a Meal College Vegetarian Cookbook by Nicole Cormier Food and Healing by Annemarie Colbin

Peruse these titles if you want to get up off the couch and start moving, but remember reading about exercise isn’t the same as doing it!

You are your own gym Make the cut Anatomy for Runners Stretching

You Are Your Own Gym by Mark Lauren

Making the Cut: The 30-Day Diet and Fitness Plan for the Strongest, Sexiest You by Jillian Michaels

Anatomy for Runners by Jay Dicharry Stretching for Dummies by LaReine Chabut

Are you new to eBooks? Then visit our website for help with the 3M Cloud Library and all of Pinal County’s digital products. http://bit.ly/pcelibrary Good luck with whatever you decide to tackle in 2015! Post by Shirley, Outreach Librarian, Pinal County Library District

We Recommend… Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin

Neil Shubin’s Shubin Inner fishbook, Your Inner Fish: A Journey in the 3.5-Million-Year History of the Human Body, was published in 2009 and in 2014 he hosted a three-part series by the same title on PBS. Prof. Shubin, a paleontologist and professor of anatomy, tells the story of evolution by tracing the various parts of the human body back millions years. One example that I found fascinating was that the structure of our hands resembles that of fish fins.

You don’t need to be a scientist to read his book or to enjoy the PBS series, and the story of his discoveries is both exciting and thought provoking. Reviewer Oliver Sacks calls Shubin’s work “an exhilarating and compelling scientific adventure story that will change forever how you understand what it means to be human” and I agree.

Review by Shirley, Pinal County Library District Outreach Librarian

Find it at your library!
Book
eBook
DVD

Learn more:
Your Inner Fish on PBS

Other Reviews:
Kirkus
Publisher’s Weekly

More by Neil Shubin:
The Universe Within

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) 2014

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November is National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo.
Librarians are great advocates and participants of this challenge because it supports our goals of literacy, a love of creative fiction & reading, and it’s just plain fun!

Below you’ll find a compilation of NaNoWriMo resources, as well as a number of other helpful links to get you started on the path toward writing your novel.
Pinal County residents will find noteworthy the links to locally-oriented web forums, events, and meet-ups.

NaNoWriMo Resources

 Writing Resources

We Recommend… Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little

Dear Daughterdear daughter
by Elizabeth Little

Dear Daughter is the first novel by Elizabeth Little, and it definitely hits the mark.  It opens with the release of Janie Jenkins on a technicality after ten years in prison for killing her mother.  Did she do it?  She really can’t remember, but what little she does remember from that night causes her to doubt her own guilt, and go on a search for the real murderer.  Not that she got along with her mother, but … could she have killed her?  Add to all of this the fact that she is a celebrity living in Beverly Hills, so when she gets out of prison, everyone is looking for her, some want to kill her, almost everyone still thinks she was guilty of her mother’s murder.  So Janie sets off on her search, in disguise, and tells no one where she is going.  She discovers her mother’s background and in the process makes many more discoveries about who her mother was, and who she is, herself.  She is funny, and determined and a very resourceful character.  The story has many twists and turns and by the end, there is one last surprise.  This is an engrossing mystery that many will find hard to put down.

Post by Eileen Jaffe, Pinal County Library District Cataloger 

We Recommend…. the Amelia Peabody Series

The Amelia Peabody Seriesegyptcov
by Elizabeth Peters

If you’re like me, sometimes you like to re-read old favorites. Right now I’m re-reading the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters. These  historical mystery novels are set in turn-of-the-twentieth-century Egypt and focus on the exploits of Amelia Peabody and her archaeologist husband Emerson. Elizabeth Peters was a pen name for archaeologist Barbara Mertz so not only will you be reading a witty and entertaining mystery but you will learn a lot about the monuments, people, and culture of Egypt. She also wrote a companion book to the series, “Amelia Peabody’s Egypt: A Compendium,” which is full of old photos, anecdotes, and additional information about the region.

It’s best to begin with first book in the series, “Crocodile on the Sandbank.” For the most part, the books were written and published in chronological order however two were out of sequence. Having read the series in both publication and chronological order, I can tell you that both reading orders work equally well and make little difference in the development of the storyline or characters. Barbara Mertz died on August 8, 2013 and, as far as I can determine, there will be no more books in this series. This quote, which was posted on her website after her death, is particularly meaningful after having read the series:

“In the end the clouds will blow away and the falcon will fly through the portal of the dawn.”
– The Falcon at the Portal

The Amelia Peabody series is available in a variety of formats including large print, audiobook and eBook. The “Crocodile on the Sandbank” audiobook is also available for download through OneClickDigital audio books.

On the Web:
Author’s Website
Publisher’s Website
Wikipedia
Series – in Publication Order
Series – in Chronological Order

Biographies:
Author Bio
Wikipedia

To find similar titles, try NoveList Plus.

You can find more information about Elizabeth Peters in the Gale database, “Books & Authors“.

Post by Shirley, Pinal County Library District Outreach Librarian

We Recommend… How Jesus Became God by Bart D. Ehrman

How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacherhow jesus became god
By Bart D. Ehrman

Have you ever asked yourself just how did Jesus become God? I admit this isn’t something I’ve thought much about but I became increasingly fascinated by the question as Professor Ehrman lead me through the various paths to divinity that were commonly present in the ancient world.  According to Booklist, “Ehrman writes very personally, especially in the beginning, and this approach draws the reader into a subject that is littered with curves and contradictions… This fascinating discussion will engage—and provoke—a wide audience.” I agree with this assessment. The book is both well written and well documented yet is completely accessible to the average person.

Book Reviews:
Harper Collins
Catholic Answers
The Catholic Humanist

On the Web:
Author’s Website
Excerpt on NPR

Post by Shirley, Pinal County Library District Outreach Librarian

We Recommend… The Last Policeman

The Lathe last policemanst Policeman
By Ben H. Winters

The Last Policeman is the first book in a pre-apocalyptic trilogy. Detective Hank Palace is a newly appointed detective trying to solve a murder against incredible odds. Palace is confronted with some hard questions as, in the course of his investigation, he runs into plenty of obstacles and a lot of unexpected twists and turns. Discover magazine calls his book “darkly intriguing” and I completely agree. This novel will appeal to mystery readers who appreciate a good police procedural as well as fans of apocalyptic literature. And it will also appeal to those who enjoy pondering some of life’s deeper questions such as “What is the meaning of Life?” and “What would I do?” This book is sure to start a lively conversation and would be a great book club read.

Reading Guides:
Quirk Books
Includes Reader’s Group Guide, Excerpt and Book Trailer & Book Groupies’ Bucket List

Other reviews:
Slate
Kirkus

On the Web:
Author’s website

Post by Shirley, Pinal County Library District Outreach Librarian