Genna’s January Recommendation

The Book of Strange New Things by Michael Faber

the book of strange new thingsGenna says:  “If you are in the mood for a literary, metaphysical, sci-fi novel, this is for you. It’s been twelve years since author Michael Faber published his last book, so he had plenty of time to craft this novel, and it shows.
Many times while reading this, I said out loud – ‘Wow, this is such a great book!’
Peter is a married minster who is chosen for a mission with a corporation called USIC, located on another planet. Everyone has a job to do, and Peter’s is to teach the Bible to the inhabitants of the planet – aliens. Peter exchanges heartfelt messages with his wife, who is struggling through their separation and also because of the disasters happening on earth – tsunamis and food shortages. The landscape of Peter’s new world is very different from earth – a hot desert that rains often and produces a plant called whiteflower. Peter is shocked to find that the drinking water is green-colored and tastes like honeydew, the apartment he stays in has no lock on the door, and the pastor who came before him went missing in action. The book really is a great way of understanding pastoral work in action – Peter begins to build a church and teaches the aliens from the Bible, or what they refer to it as: ‘The Book of Strange New Things.’
This book was so vivid and descriptive that it reminded me of several movies. It had the gentleness of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial combined with the gut-wrenching sadness of separation of space exploration that drives the new Interstellar movie.”
Does this sound interesting?  Click here for a sample!
3 Similar Reads
Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle
Strange Bodies by Marcel Theroux

Anna’s March Recommendation

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

annihilation“A creeping, simmering thriller–what lies in Area X is told to us in the first-hand account of a woman known to the reader only as The Biologist. She and her fellow nameless explorers, The Psychologist, The Surveyor, and The Anthropologist, have been sent by the military to discover what they can about this area and report back. They instead discover that not only is Area X not what it seems, but that one of them has come over with an alternate set of orders than the rest…”- Anna
Note from Genna: “I also read this, and if you like H.P. Lovecraft works, J.J. Abrams’ Lost show, or Jurassic Park, you might also like this book. It is the first of a trilogy with planned release dates of May and September for the last two titles.”
3 Similar Reads
Ancestor by Scott Sigler
Starfish by Peter Watts
One Second After by William Forstchen

Ted + Victoria’s February Recommendation

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman

these_broken_stars“It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.” – publisher summary

3 Similar Titles

The 100 by Kass Morgan

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Ashes of Twilight by Kassy Tayler


Jonathan’s September Recommendation

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

the windup girlThis adult sci-fi book is recommended for readers interested in far-future dystopias, ecological and technological disasters, artificial lifeforms, and Southeast Asian cultures.


What happens when bio-terrorism becomes a tool for corporate profits? And what happens when this forces humanity to the cusp of post-human evolution? This is a tale of Bangkok struggling for survival in a post-oil era of rising sea levels and out-of-control mutation.

3 Similar Titles: 

Seed by Rob Ziegler

Scattered Suns by Kevin J Anderson

On the Razor’s Edge by Michael Flynn

Genna’s April Recommendation

Wool by Hugh Howey

woolI highly recommend this book to all who love science fiction and dystopian novels. The author originally released five separate e-books online and when it gained so much popularity, it was bought and published as one novel.

The story is set in the distant future, where the air has become poisonous and what’s left of the human population lives inside a silo. The silo has many different levels of workers – the IT department, the mechanics, the farmers, and at the top, the mayor. The silo has windows at the top, but they become grimy every few years from the poisonous  dirty air. As punishment, if any citizen says they want to be free from the silo, they are released into the toxic air wearing a body suit that will only keep them alive long enough to clean the dirty windows with a piece of wool. A heroine Juliette emerges to fight for justice after becoming aware of the tangled, political mess that rules the world of the silo.

3 similar reads
The Passage by Justin Cronin
Pure by Julianna Baggott
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Ellen’s March Recommendation

Little BrotherLittle Brother by Cory Doctorow

“Teens and adults alike will enjoy (and question) this book, set in San Francisco in the near future. Teen techno-geek Marcus, mistakenly detained for 6 days after a terrorist attack, fights back against an increasingly invasive and restrictive system. He and other tech-savvy teens find ways to disable the constant surveillance (gait recognition software, RFIDs, constant filming… ) and stage a online-managed revolution. Marcus is a very well-developed, complex character one easily feels for.  Doctorow’s tensely written work addresses social justice and civil liberties issues, and made me feel uncomfortably squirmy about the broad powers granted to Homeland Security and by the Patriot Act.  Some of the technology ( with explanations, for those of us who appreciate them), is currently used, some has been developed and is being tested, and some is in the future… maybe. I hope this book isn’t scarily prescient. I both loved it and was troubled by it.”

3 Similar Reads (YA Fiction)

Tomorrow, when the war began by John Marsden

Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz

Shade’s Children by Garth Nix

Weekly Spotlight On…2013 Books into Movies

movie reelSeveral of the most popular movies this year were based off of a book (Les Miserables, Silver Linings Playbook, Life of Pi, The Hobbit, Cloud Atlas and so many more).  There is something about a well-told story that compels people to put the images they see in their heads up for all to see on the big screen.  While the movie occasionally outdoes the novel, I believe that this is rarely the case.  Take, for example, 2012’s movie version of Cloud Atlas.  The movie was considered to be a flop for American audiences, but the 2004 novel of the same name by David Mitchell rose to the top of the bestseller list when the movie was released.  According to an article found on Squidoo, on average, Hollywood releases more than two dozen movies based on books a year.  In 2013, read the book before you see the movie.  Here is a selected list of upcoming movies based on books:

John Dies at the EndJohn Dies at the End (Release Date: January 25th, 2013)

This was originally a 2009 novel of the same name written by David Wong.  A gross–out horror book infused with humor (which actually manages to increase the terror of the reader), Paul Giamatti makes an appearance in this movie most likely to appeal to lovers of cheesy sci-fi or horror movies.  Fans of last year’s Cabin in the Woods won’t want to miss this one.

warm bodiesWarm Bodies (Release Date: February 1st, 2013)

Based on the 2011 novel of the same name written by Isaac Marion, this movie will put a new twist on the romantic comedy by using one of most popular trends in American culture today: zombies.  The story is fairly simple, focusing on a single zombie, R, who yearns for a better life and ends up falling in love with a human girl.  Hijinks ensue.  This one will most likely appeal to the teen demographic.

admissionAdmission (Release Date: March 22nd, 2013)

This comedy, starring comedic heavyweights Tina Fey and Paul Rudd, is based on a 2009 novel of the same name by Jean Hanff Korelitz.  Tina Fey plays a Princeton admissions officer who is up for promotion when she takes a professional risk after she meets a college-bound alternative school kid who just might be the son she gave up years ago in a secret adoption.  The book was very well received when it came out, being hailed as, “Strongly plotted, crowded with full-bodied characters and as thoughtful about ‘this national hysteria over college admissions’ as it is about the protagonist’s complex personality.  A fine, moving example of traditional realistic fiction.” (Kirkus Reviews).

the company you keepThe Company You Keep (Release Date: April 5th, 2013 (limited release))

This thriller directed by and starring Robert Redford is based on the 2003 novel of the same name by Neil Gordon.  The story is centered on centered on a former Weather Underground activist who goes on the run from a journalist who has discovered his identity.  The film has a lot of big names attached to it, including Shia LaBeouf, Susan Sarandon, Julie Christie, Chris Cooper, Stanley Tucci, Terrence Howard, Nick Nolte, and Sam Elliott.  Library Journal calls the book an “upscale literary thriller” and it was a 2003 New York Times notable book.

the great gatsbyThe Great Gatsby (Release Date: May 10th, 2013)

This Baz Luhrmann adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel was originally scheduled to be released in the winter of 2012.  While it is usually not a great sign when a movie’s release date is pushed back, Luhrmann’s directorial vision, as demonstrated in films such as Moulin Rouge! and Strictly Ballroom, will at least ensure it’s originality and daring.  The cast, which includes Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as the heart-breaker Daisy Buchanan, and Tobey Maguire as the narrator Nick Carraway, is also promising.  But everyone should still try the book first.

world war zWorld War Z (Release Date: June 13th, 2013)

Continuing in the zombie trend, Brad Pitt will star in this movie based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Max Brooks.  While the previews make the movie look like a fun ride (if you’re into the zombie thing), the book is a worthwhile read not necessarily for the zombie fun but for the humorous way Brooks approaches contemporary politics, politicians, and foreign policy.  The novel is ultimately an alternate history that asks the question: how would the world really react to a zombie outbreak?  Hopefully the movie didn’t miss this mark.

carrieCarrie (Release Date: October 18th, 2013)

Did Stephen King know when he wrote his very first novel that it would continue to engage audiences far into the future?  Perhaps not, but Carrie has withstood the test of time and there is something about a Stephen King story that begs to be represented visually (again…and again…and again).  Skeptics abound concerning this remake, but it does have promising elements: directed by Kimberly Pierce (Boys Don’t Cry) and starring Chloe Grace Moretz (Let Me In) as Carrie and Julianne Moore as her psychotic, controlling mother, this has enough promise in it to get me to the movie theaters come Halloween.

ender's gameEnder’s Game (Release Date: November 1st, 2013)

Based on the classic science fiction novel of the same name by Orson Scott Card, this movie stars Harrison Ford, Abigail Breslin, and Asa Butterfiel (Hugo) as Ender.  70 years after a horrific alien war, an unusually gifted child is sent to an advanced military school in space to prepare for a future invasion.  The book is the winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards and has withstood the test of time–it is still one of the bestselling science fiction books in the world today.  The novel is great reading for adults and for teens, especially younger boys.

Publisher’s Weekly also recently came out with a great list of the 10 Most Anticipated Movies From Books. Another great resource to find out what movies are coming out based on books is EarlyWord.  This site gives a comprehensive list instead a few select titles.  Enjoy, and stay tuned for more Weekly Spotlights and staff recommendations!