More Book Summaries Picks
The children's book "Kitchen Dance" by Mauie J. Manning is a simple story celebrating family, love and affection.
In one of his most graphic and haunting novels to date, John Grisham's "A Time to Kill" questions whether or not murder is ever completely justified. Tackling themes such as race and class, "A Time to Kill" offers a snapshot of the changing social and political landscape of Mississippi in the late 1970s through early 1990s. The book became a bestseller and was later made into 1996 movie with Matthew McConaughey and Samuel L. Jackson in the main roles.
If you've ever dreamed about being stuck in a giant peach or lost in a magical candy factory, you've been affected by the imagination and writings of Roald Dahl. Dahl was an author perhaps best known for children's books such as "James and the Giant Peach" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." He also published two memoirs about his life, with the second one entitled "Going Solo."
Eric Walters' novel "House Party" offers a cautionary tale to would-be youthful partiers when mom and dad are out of town. Published in 2007, the 102-page story by this best-selling young-adult author shows what happens when a shy girl determined to make some new friends makes a bad decision and must pay the consequences. Ultimately, the character learns a valuable lesson about pretending to be someone that she's not.
"To Dance with the White Dog" is an award-winning 1990 novel by Terry Kay. At its center is a mysterious white dog that appears after Sam Peek's beloved wife of 57 years has died. This novel will appeal to readers who love a poetic use of language and to fans of Southern literature as well as to those who have had or lost a great love or worry too much about an aging parent. The book has parts that will make some readers laugh aloud but also will provoke tears for some.
"Song of the Hummingbird" by Graciela Limon is a 1996 novel about the fall of the Aztecs at the hands of Cortes and the Spanish conquerors, told from the point of view of an indigenous old woman named Huitzitzilin, or "Hummingbird." It is 1582 when she recounts her story to a young monk from Spain who finds that her version of events does not match what he learned in school. His transcription of her story is the device of the book.
If someone came up to you on the street and said "Did you know that the Chronicles of Narnia books end with bloody Armageddon," you'd probably give them a very funny look. That funny look would be unwarranted, however, because that is exactly the subject of "The Last Battle," the eighth and final book in C.S. Lewis' "Chronicles of Narnia" series.
J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit; or There and Back Again," originally published in 1937, serves as an introduction and background story to his later 1950s trilogy, "The Lord of the Rings." "The Hobbit" centers on an unlikely and reluctant hero, Bilbo Baggins, who must suffer trolls, dragons and elves to find his fortune. Spoilers follow.
"The Almost Moon," by Alice Sebold, is a brooding gothic novel about Helen Knightly, who after suffering 49 years of abuse by her mother, Clair, is pushed over the edge and kills her. She drags her mother's corpse to the basement and calls her ex-husband to confess her crimes. Then, as impulsively as she killed her mother, she sleeps with her best friend's 30-year-old son. Helen's actions are explained throughout the rest of the novel.
"Voyage on the Great Titanic: The Diary of Margaret Ann Brady" is a 1998 novel by Ellen Emerson White. It is part of the "Dear America" series of books, which are novels featuring young girls during significant periods in history; they are aimed at young adult readers.
To fans of Clive Cussler, another book featuring the heroes Dirk Pitt and Al Giordino promises a high level of action and suspense. Author Cussler has developed a story formula which never gets old, and this time the author has his cast of characters attempting to divert a manmade disaster and save themselves in the process.
Parents dealing with over-confident and unruly children might benefit from "The Strong Willed Child." Author Dr. James Dobson published the book as a manual for parents raising difficult children. The author revised the book in 2005 and released "The New Strong Willed Child." The book covers a number of scenarios encountered by parents, including ADHD.
In "The Beet Fields: Memories of a Sixteenth Summer," by beloved and acclaimed young-adult author Gary Paulsen, a 16-year-old boy runs away. His first summer on his own leads to experiences both shocking and disturbing. After his first job working in the beet fields of North Dakota, where he learns from the migrant workers he hoes alongside, the boy goes from bad to worse, yet continually finds ways to survive circumstances, and the grueling yet inspiring story ends on what seems to be a positive note.
"The Glory Field" uses six teenage characters to tell the history of one black American family from the arrival of an ancestor on a slave ship in 1753 through modern times. It touches on many social themes and introduces aspects of American history to students through a compelling story.
"The Titan of Twilight" is the third novel in the "Twilight Giants" trilogy penned by best-selling author Troy Denning. Published in 2005, the Forgotten Realms fantasy novel -- aimed at a young teen audience -- finishes up the story Denning started with "The Ogre's Pact" and "The Giant Among Us."
"Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod" is a memoir written by Gary Paulsen that tells of his experience in the Alaskan Iditarod, a dog sledding race. The book covers his journey from beginning to end, from the moment he began training to the moment he finished the race.
"Wanted!" is a fictional action, thriller and suspense book that was published in 1997 by Scholastic, Inc. The 192-page paperback is intended for a young adult audience. It's authored by Caroline B. Cooney, who also penned other well-known books such as "The Face on the Milk Carton." An intriguing plot, interesting main character and surprise twists make "Wanted!" a popular choice for teen readers.
Gary Paulsen has written more than 175 books, mostly for young adults, although he also has written for children and adults. He has received Newbery Honors for his books "Hatchet," "Dogsong" and "The Winter Room." In 2005, Paulsen published a short science fiction story called "The Time Hackers."
"The Year in San Fernando," first published in 1965, is a coming-of-age novel by Caribbean-born writer Michael Anthony. Its deceptively simple prose subtly traces the emotional, sexual and psychological changes that take place in a young boy, separated from his family and living among strangers by whom he is initially treated as little more than a servant.
British novelist Nick Stone penned his debut, "Mr. Clarinet," in 2006; it is the first of his Max Mingus series. The noirish, supernatural thriller -- set in Haiti -- revolves around a Miami-based private detective searching for a missing child at the behest of a local billionaire. Will Stone's hero be able to wrest the child away from the dark spirits of the night? Critics have raved about this hard-boiled novel, evoking the likes of the legendary Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett when praising Stone's dark, sinewy prose.