Roach, M. (2003). Stiff: the curious lives of human Cadavers. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.
Readers' Annotation: A look at what really happens to human's physical bodies after they die.
Summary: Author, Mary Roach, explores what happens to human cadavers in a variety of environments. She recounts the real history of body snatching and what really happens at a training conference for plastic surgeons along with so much more. Each chapter looks at a different aspect of the physical life after death for a human body.
Evaluation: For me this book really changed what I think should happen to me after I die. Roach writes a thought provoking, darkly humorous, non-fiction book on our society's customs relating to the human body after death. Readers' interested in science as it relates to American culture will be interested in this book. Readers' will be amazed at all the possibilities for their body's life after death.
- Popular Non-Fiction
If you liked Stiff try...
- The Hot Zone by Richard Preston
- The Undead by Dick Teresi
Readers' Annotation: As a six-year-old genius, Ender must save Earth from aliens.
Summary: Ender is a genius, his whole family is, but only he is able harness his talents for the good of the world. Ender goes away to school to train for war games, and he ends up having to fight for real.
Evaluation: Adults and children alike will appreciate Orson Scott Card's novel based on one of his short stories. Adult readers will appreciate the thought provoking world in which Ender and his family live. Card raises thought provoking topics on human survival and child workers. At times the details of the side stories stop the flow of the novel, but most readers will look beyond. The narrators of the audiobook do a wonderful job of bringing Ender's world to life. This audiobook edition includes an interview with Card reflecting on the twenty years since the original publication of Ender's Game.
- Science Fiction
Series: Ender Wiggin
- Ender's Game (1985)
- Speaker of the Dead (1986)
- Xenocide (1992)
- Children of the Mind (1996)
- A War of Gifts (2007)
- Ender in Exile (2008)
Related: First meetings in the Enderverse (2003) - Collection of four novellas; Ender's Game: War of Gifts (2010)
Readers' Annotation: Abraham Lincoln's secret life as a vampire hunter is revealed.
Summary: The story begins during present time, with an unsuccessful writer given the gift of a lifetime--the secret, personal journals of Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. Early in Lincoln's life, he realizes the bad things that have occured can be traced back to a vampire. He vows to kill all the vampires in the country. On his quest Lincoln encounters a vampire, Henry, that has a similar goal--to kill vampires. Like humans, there are good vampires as well as bad. Henry shares the weaknesses of vampires with Lincoln to train him to overcome the vampires' excessive strength. Lincoln remains true to his vow until he has a family, but he is drawn back into vampire hunting when the tensions between the North and South heat up.
Evaluation: Seth Grahame-Smith weaves together the real life of Abraham Lincoln with Graham-Smith's imagined one flawlessly. On more then one occassion, I had to remind myself I was reading a work of fiction. The author's writing style reinforced the feeling of a non-fiction book. I appreciated how much fact Graham-Smith intertwined within the fiction. Readers who weren't interested in the life Abraham Lincoln prior to reading this book may be inspired to read more on the real man. I think this book will draw historical fiction fans that want something a bit different as well as those drawn to the supernatural elements.
- Fantasy - Supernatural
- Horror - Supernatural
- Historical Fiction - Alternative History
If you like Abaham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter try...
- Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith
- The Secret History of Elizabeth Tudor, Vampire Slayer by Lucy Weston
- The Stake by Richard Laymon
Readers' Annotation: Spencer Davis and his family work the land of Wyoming.
Summary: Spencer Davis grew up in Wyoming where he meets his wife Elizabeth who is visiting on a family vacation. Spencer moves east for school to be closer to Elizabeth. Eventually they return to Wyoming where they raise their three sons.
Evaluation: A sparce and haunting story of the men of the Davis family. Readers will be left wanting more; however, they will be strangely satisfied. It is the story of a love for one another and the land they work to survive. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. The author did an amazing job conveying emotion and a strong sense of setting with out using a lot of words.
- Historical Fiction
Readers' Annotation: Thursday Next, a literary detective, must save Jane Eyre from being erased from her own novel.
Summary: Thursday Next moves back to her hometown after a tramatic even in which she almost dies. Her future self suggests she take position with the Special Operative LiteraTec Department. Thursday must travel in and out of literature and through time to save some of the great pieces of classic literature from being changed by villians like Acheron Hades. Hades possesses fantastical powers, which have allowed him allude death for years. He has finally met his match in Thursday. She has vowed to take him down and save Jane Eyre from extinction.
Evaluation: Prior to reading The Eyre Affair, I was dreading it. I love to be proven wrong. I couldn't put it down; I wanted to know what happen next. With that said, I did have some issues with it that I believe will also deter other readers. If readers are unfamiliar with Jane Eyre and even other classic British literature they may find it a bit confusing. Fforde employes an army of characters to tell the story, and I often found myself looking back to figure out who was who. I think the novel will appeal to many readers because it has a bit of everything in it: humor, romance, time travel, mystery and more.
Series: Thursday Next Novels
- The Eyre Affair (2002)
- Lost in a Good Book (2003)
- The Well of Lost Plots (2004)
- Something Rotten (2004)
- Thursday Next (2007)
- One of Our Thursdays is Missing (2011)