Monday, August 27, 2012


I recently finished reading the second book in the All Souls Trilogy: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness.  This was the follow up to the bestselling A Discovery of Witches

I found it to be a great middle book of a trilogy.  You are able to find out more about Diana and Matthew, and the book brings you closer to the finale.  I wish I didn't have to wait for the final book to be published!

While I wait, I thought I'd look into some other fantasy series.  Take a look at the suggestions below.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
1. The Fellowship of the Ring
2. The Two Towers
3. The Return of the King

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
6. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R.R. Martin
1. A Game of Thrones
2. A Clash of Kings
3. A Storm of Swords
4. A Feast for Crows
5. A Dance with Dragons

The First Law Series by Joe Abercrombie
1. The Blade Itself
2. Before They Are Hanged
3. Last Argument of Kings

The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan
1. The Eye of the World
2. The Great Hunt
3. The Dragon Reborn
4. The Shadow Rising
5. The Fires of Heaven
6. Lord of Chaos
7. A Crown of Swords
8. The Path of Daggers
9. Winter's Heart
10. Crossroads of Twilight
11. Knife of Dreams
12. The Gathering Storm
13. Towers of Midnight

The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini
1. Eragon
2. Eldest
3. Brisingr
4. Inheritance

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
1. The Magician's Nephew
2. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
3. The Horse and His Boy
4. Prince Caspian
5. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
6. The Silver Chair
7. The Last Battle

The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud
1. The Amulet of Samarkand
2. The Golem's Eye
3. Ptolemy's Gate

The Books of Beginning Trilogy by John Stephens
1. The Emerald Atlas
2. The Fire Chronicle (out on October 9th)

Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan
1. The Lightning Thief
2. The Sea of Monsters
3. The Titan's Curse
4. The Battle of the Labyrinth
5. The Last Olympian

His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman
1. The Golden Compass
2. The Subtle Knife
3. The Amber Spyglass

The Artemis Fowl Series by Eoin Colfer
1. Artemis Fowl
2. Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident
3. Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code
4. Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception
5. Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony
6. Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox
7. Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex
8. Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian

The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony Diterlizzi and Holly Black
1. The Field Guide
2. The Seeing Stone
3. Lucinda's Secret
4. The Ironwood Tree
5. The Wrath of Mulgarath

The Dresden Files Series by Jim Butcher
1. Storm Front
2. Fool Moon
3. Grave Peril
4. Summer Knight
5. Death Masks
6. Blood Rites
7. Dead Beat
8. Proven Guilty
9. White Night
10. Small Favor
11. Turn Coat
12. Changes
13. Ghost Story

Not looking for a series?  Check out these stand-alone titles:

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl is the story of an orphaned boy living with his two mean and self-centered aunts.  James finds himself a his new family of magically overgrown insects, and they all live aboard a peach the size of a house that takes them across the Atlantic Ocean to New York City.  Follow them on this grand adventure!

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke:  In 19th century England, all is well for Mr. Norrell.  Mr. Norrell has regained some of the power that magician's from the past had lost.  Then we meet Jonathan Strange who becomes Mr. Norrell's pupil.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman introduces the reader to Shadow, a man locked behind bars for three years.  Upon his release, Shadow accepts a job from Mr. Wednesday, a man who knows more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.  As Mr. Wednesday's bodyguard, Shadow joins the battle between the gods of the past and the gods of present day America.

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley shows the reader the adventures of Camelot's court through the eyes of the women behind the king's rise and fall.  The reader follows these women as the Arthurian epic unfolds.

The Once and Future King by T.H. White takes Arthur from his days of youth through the early years to his reign to the years in which his Round Table develops into a search for the Holy Grail and finally to his old age.

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Monday, August 20, 2012


Have you ever read a great book only to watch the movie version and be disappointed, or vice versa?  Have you ever seen a movie that prompted you to read the book? 

This week's entry will provide you with a list of some books that have been turned into films.  You can read the book then watch the movie, you can watch the movie then read the book, you can just watch the movie, or you can just read the book.  You can even form a book/movie club with your friends in which you compare and discuss the two formats.

The books listed below all have movie counterparts.  If there is a title difference between the book and film, I have listed the movie title in parenthesis.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Emma (Clueless) by Jane Austen
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The African Queen by C.S. Forester
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Jaws by Peter Benchley
Psycho by Robert Bloch
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
True Grit by Charlie Portis
War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
A Time to Kill by John Grisham
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
Alice Through the Looking Glass (Alice in Wonderland) by Lewis Carroll
All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
Heart of Darkness (Apocalypse Now) by Joseph Conrad
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
Carrie by Stephen King
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Clear and Present Danger by Tom Clancy
Dances With Wolves by Michael Blake
Shoeless Joe (Field of Dreams) by W.P. Kinsella
Forrest Gump by Winston Groom
The Godfather by Mario Puzo
The Graduate by Charles Webb
The Fellowship of the Ring (Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring) by J.R.R. Tolkien
How Stella Got Her Groove Back by Terry McMillan
Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Roots by Alex Haley
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Schindler's List by John Williams
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
Terms of Endearment by Larry McMurtry
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Runaway Jury by John Grisham
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Keep your eye out for these upcoming films based on books:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a story of passivity versus passion.  Through Charlie, you will see what it is like to grow up, and remember what it was like to grow up, in high school.  This film will be in theaters in September.

The Hobbit introduces you to the well-to-do hobbit Bilbo Baggins as he goes an adventure with a wandering wizard.  See it on the big screen this December.

Anna Karenina is due in theaters this November.  This is the story of the doomed love affair between Anna Karenina and Count Vronsky.

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Monday, August 13, 2012


This past weekend the Perseid Meteor Shower was at its peak.  During the Perseid Meteor Shower's peak, you can see up to 60 meteors in an hour!  Don't worry if you missed it; the meteors have been moving across the sky since the end of July and will still be visible until August 22, 2012. 

The Perseid Meteors consist of debris from the Swift-Tuttle comet, which orbits the sun every 130 years.  In order to see the meteors, look toward the Perseus constellation that lies in the Northeast sky. 

Most meteors are produced by comets.  And if you want to learn more about meteors, check out the resources below!

Adult Nonfiction:

Asteroids, Comets, and Dwarf Planets by Andrew Rivkin
Falling Stars: A Guide to Meteors and Meteorites by Mike D. Reynolds
The Sky is Your Laboratory: Advanced Astronomy Projects for Amateurs by Robert K. Buchheim
National Geographic Encyclopedia of Space compiled by Linda K. Glover

Adult Fiction:

Deception Point by Dan Brown
The Clockwork Rocket by Greg Egan

Children's Nonfiction:

National Audubon Society First Field Guide: Night Sky by Gary Mechler
Meteors by Simon Rose
Asteroids, Meteors, and Comets by Josepha Sherman
Meteors and Comets by Gregory Vogt
Exploring Meteors by Rebecca Olien
Meteors, Meteorites, and Meteoroids by Ray Spangenburg

Children's Fiction:

Attack of the Mutant Meteors by Dan Jolley


The Magic School Bus Space Adventures

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Monday, August 6, 2012


If you live in Wisconsin, chances are you may want to read some local authors.  There are many authors with ties to Wisconsin.  Whether they were born here, raised here, or live here today, they all have ties to the state of Wisconsin.

Here is a list of some works by Wisconsin authors.

Blue Water by A. Manette Ansay follows Meg and Rex Van Dorn who live in Meg's home town on the Wisconsin shore of Lake Michigan.  Their son is killed in a car accident as Meg is driving him to school.  The driver who caused the accident, was Meg's best friend in high school.  Meg and Rex file a civil suit against her, but they drop the suit when they find that bitterness is dominating their lives.  The differences in how Meg and Rex cope with grief begin to pull their marriage apart.  This is a story of transformation.

Lan Samantha Chang's Inheritance takes place in 1930s China.  Two young sisters make a promise never to leave one another upon their mother's death.  The story follows how betrayal seeps down through generations and looks at the difficulties of trust.

Obsessions by Marshall Cook is a mystery that takes place in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.  While at a writers' conference, the headliner of the conference is found dead.  Who killed him and why?

The Turtle Warrior by Mary Relindes Ellis is the story of two brothers, their parents, and their neighbors, who farm in northern Wisconsin.  Ellis takes the reader from America to the battlefields of World War II and Vietnam, weaving a tale of an unforgettable world where the past and present merge.

Kevin Henkes' children's book Penny and Her Song centers on a young girl named Penny.  All Penny wants to do is sing the new song she learned for her parents.  Will she ever get the chance?

Second Nature: A Love Story by Jacquelyn Mitchard  introduces us to Sicily Coyne who was just thirteen when her father was killed in a school fire that left her face disfigured. Years later, a young surgeon, offers her a chance with a new surgery that may give Sicily back what she lost. Raised by an  aunt who taught her to lead a normal life, and engaged to a man who knew her long before the accident, Sicily rejects the offer.  But when a secret surfaces that shatters Sicily's carefully constructed world, she calls off the wedding and agrees to the  procedure in order to start over.  She soon discovers that her new face carries with it risks that no one could have imagined.

Mrs. God by Peter Straub is not your average ghost story.  When Professor William Standish receives the honor of an Esswood Fellowship, and the chance to study Isobel's private manuscripts at close hand, he is thrilled, but something seems slightly off at Esswood House.  He hears faint laughter in the halls, the sound of small feet at night, and strange faces appear in the windows of the library.

Want more?  Here are some other authors to check out:

Stephen Ambrose
Jerold Apps
Robert Bloch
James Campbell
Kelly Cherry
August Derleth
Edna Ferber
Zona Gale
Hamlin Garland
Jane Hamilton
Lori Handeland
Lesley Kagen
David Kherdian
Ellen Kort
Aldo Leopold
Gerda Lerner
Mike Loew
Ben Logan
Joseph McBride
Lorrie Moore
John Muir
Lorine Niedecker
Sterling North
Michael Perry
Margot Peters
Sara Rath
William H. Rehnquist
Craig Rice
Jess Riley
Patrick Rothfuss
Richard Schickel
Clifford Simak
Gladys Bagg Taber
John Toland
Joan D. Vinge
Ronald Wallace
Larry Watson
S. Kay Webet
Glenway Wescott
Thornton Wilder
Betty Ren Wright

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