Great Reads

Bradbury, Ray. Pleasure to Burn

Bradbury’s 1953 novel “Fahrenheit 451,” a dystopian tale of a grim future in which all intellectual expression and individuality is frowned upon and firemen burn books rather than putting out fires, is rightly considered a classic of the sci-fi genre. In this collection, 16 tales are culled from Bradbury’s own archive, tracing the progression of his work on the themes contained in his masterwork.  Some of the tales are lesser known, such as “Bright Phoenix.” Others, like “The Pedestrian” and “The Mad Wizards of Mars,” will be more familiar. Also included are “Long After Midnight,” featuring an early version of the events and characters of “Fahrenheit 451;” and “The Fireman,” the novella Bradbury used as a base for the novel. This collection serves as an essential companion piece to the novel. Highly recommended. 

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Just a Thought: Readalikes for Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith, perhaps best known for his “No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” series, is an author who is difficult to categorize. His characters are fully rounded, though often quirky. His settings are often small towns or villages, but range geographically from Scotland to Africa. His storylines deal with real, very serious issues, but maintain a light and whimsical touch as they do so. Light, but literary, and always engaging, there is little wonder that his books are so very popular. Because of this popularity, we are often asked for suggestions for similar authors. But because of his unique style, it can be very difficult to find authors with the same mix of reality and whimsy. Here are some of the suggestions we’ve been collecting!


Bradley, Alan. “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie”

Drayson, Nicholas. “A Guide to the Birds of East Africa”

Edgerton, Clyde. “Lunch at the Piccidilly”

Flagg, Fannie. “Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven”

Narayan, R.K. “The Guide”

Owens, Sharon. “The Tea House on Mulberry Street”

Parkin, Gaile. “Baking Cakes in Kigali”

Simonson, Helen. “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand”

Smith, D.L. “The Miracles of Santo Fico”

Solomons, Natasha.  “Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English”

Zama, Farahad. “The Marriage Bureau for Rich People 

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Teen/Adult Summer Reading Week Eight: World War Z

There's no denying it.  The zombie apocalypse is upon us--at least judging by this recent crop of zombie books.  Our final challenge is to read a book about zombies.  It can be funny or scary, but it's finally time to face them.

How long would you survive the zombie apocalypse?


Ajvide Lindqvist, John. Handling the Undead (F)

Beamer, Amelia. The Loving Dead (F)

Brallier, Max. Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse?

Brooks, Max. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War (F)

Littlefield, Sophie. Aftertime (NEW F)

Roff, Don. Zombies: A Record of the Year of Infection (F)

Schlozman, Steven C. The Zombie Autopsies: Secret Notebooks from the Apocalypse (NEW F)

Tripp, Ben. Rise Again (F)


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Harris, Charlaine. Dead Reckoning

The long-awaited latest Sookie Stackhouse book was published early in May. In it, Sookie deals with the fallout from the fae war, has a big change in her relationship status, discovers great-uncle Dermot has a knack for home improvements, and is happy to see Bubba back from an extended trip.  Sookie’s friends and family never have a dull moment as excitement and trouble happen wherever Sookie goes. 

This is one of those series you really need to read from book one.  If it catches your fancy, you’ll find yourself quickly devouring the rest of the series. Fans won’t want to miss this latest. 

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Stevens, Taylor. The Informationist

Vanessa Monroe, or Michael as she is known by her clients,  is a young woman who has had a tough life.  Leaving her missionary parents at the age of fourteen and living by her wits among gun runners in Africa, Michael developed the skills she needed to find out useful information, to defend herself, and to use her abilities to sell this information and make a comfortable, if sometimes dangerous living for herself.  When she takes on an unusual but lucrative assignment, to find out what happened to an oil executive’s daughter who disappeared in Africa four years earlier, she nearly finds herself in over her head.  As her past catches up with her, Michael works frantically to find the missing girl while keeping herself safe from enemies, both old and new.

This thriller has been a long time coming.  It features a brilliant and fearless protagonist who also happens to be a young woman.  The pacing is excellent, the story compelling, the setting is exotic, and the character is fully developed.  Highly recommended for suspense fiction fans looking for something a little different. 

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