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Good Books Hollywood Hasn’t Gotten Its Hooks Into (Yet (But Maybe Should))

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The Elenium series by David Eddings

Sparhawk, Pandion Knight, and Queen’s Champion have returned to Elenia after ten years of exile, only to find young Queen Ehlanda trapped in a block of ensorcelled crystal. As Sparhawk sets out to find a cure for Ehlana, he discovers that only he can defeat the evil plots that threaten her rule….

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch(the world’s only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner.

So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon—both of whom have lived amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle—are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture.

And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist . . .

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Richard Papen, a relatively impoverished student at a New England college, falls in with an exclusive clique of rich, worldly Greek scholars and soon learns the dreadful secret that keeps them together.

The Dark Tower series by Stephen King

In 1978 Stephen King introduced the world to the last Gunslinger, Roland of Gilead. Nothing has been the same since. Over twenty years later the quest for the Dark Tower continues to take readers on a wildly epic ride. Through parallel worlds and across time, Roland must brave desolate wastelands and endless deserts, drifting into the unimaginable and the familiar as the road to the Dark Tower extends beyond its own pages. A classic tale of colossal scope—crossing over terrain fromThe Stand, The Eyes of the Dragon, Insomnia, The Talisman,Black House, Hearts in Atlantis, ‘Salem’s Lot and other familiar King haunts—the adventure takes hold with the turn of each page.

And the tower awaits…

Kindred by Octavia Butler

Dana, a black woman, finds herself repeatedly transported to the antebellum South, where she must make sure that Rufus, the plantation owner’s son, survives to father Dana’s ancestor.

Time and Again by Jack Finney

Simon Morley is selected by a secret government agency to test Einstein’s theory of the past co-existing with the present and is transported back to 1880s New York.

Alice at Heart by Deborah Smith

Shy, charming, peculiar, and web-toed, Alice Riley has suffered for years at the hands of her dead mother’s self-righteous family, while she hides a bevy of secret abilities. When Alice rescues a drowning child, her amazing talents are exposed. Alice can remain underwater for extraordinary periods of time, and she can locate submerged objects through some type of natural sonar ability. Her new fame/notoriety puts Alice in the national news, amidst allegations that she has somehow faked or manipulated the rescue for her own glory. Alice is trapped and desperate until three amazing older women arrive in her hometown. They are the regal and flamboyant Bonavendier sisters–dignified Lilith, acerbic Mara, and whimsical Pearl–of Sainte’s Point Island, their ancestral home off the coast of Georgia. They’ve read Alice’s story in the news and are convinced that she is their long-lost (and much younger) half sister, conceived in a reckless seduction their elderly father confessed to before he died. Like Alice, the Bonavendier sisters have webbed toes and certain amazing abilities, though none of them have Alice’s marked talent for finding things underwater. Alice is no oddity to them. They explain that–like them–she is descended from a mermaid.

The Ballad of Tom Dooley by Sharyn McCrumb

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley…The folk song, made famous by the Kingston Trio, recounts a tragedy in the North Carolina mountains after the Civil War. Laura Foster, a simple country girl, was murdered and her lover Tom Dula was hanged for the crime. The sensational elements in the case attracted national attention: a man and his beautiful, married lover accused of murdering the other-woman; the former governor of North Carolina spearheading the defense; and a noble gesture from the prisoner on the eve of his execution, saving the woman he really loved.

With the help of historians, lawyers, and researchers, Sharyn McCrumb visited the actual sites, studied the legal evidence, and uncovered a missing piece of the story that will shock those who think they already know what happened—and may also bring belated justice to an innocent man. What seemed at first to be a sordid tale of adultery and betrayal was transformed by the new discoveries into an Appalachian Wuthering Heights. Tom Dula and Ann Melton had a profound romance spoiled by the machinations of their servant, Pauline Foster.

Bringing to life the star-crossed lovers of this mountain tragedy, Sharyn McCrumb gifts understanding and compassion to her compelling tales of Appalachia, and solidifies her status as one of today’s great Southern writers.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Harold Fry is convinced that he must deliver a letter to an old love in order to save her, meeting various characters along the way and reminiscing about the events of his past and people he has known, as he tries to find peace and acceptance.

War Brides by Helen Bryan

Alice Osbourne, the stolid daughter of the late vicar, is reeling from the news that Richard Fairfax broke their engagement to marry Evangeline Fontaine, an American girl from the Deep South. Evangeline’s arrival causes a stir in the village but not the chaos that would ensue if they knew her motives for being there. Scrappy Elsie Pigeon is among the poor of London who see the evacuations as a chance to escape a life of destitution. Another new arrival is Tanni Zayman, a young Jewish girl who fled the horrors of Europe and now waits with her newborn son, certain that the rest of her family is safe and bound to show up any day. And then there’s Frances Falconleigh, a madcap, fearless debutante whose father is determined to keep her in the countryside and out of the papers.

Starship Troopers* by Robert Heinlein

The historians can’t seem to settle whether to call this one “The Third Space War” (or the fourth), or whether “The First Interstellar War” fits it better. We just call it “The Bug War.” Everything up to then and still later were “incidents,” “patrols,” or “police actions.” However, you are just as dead if you buy the farm in an “incident” as you are if you buy it in a declared war…

In one of Robert A. Heinlein’s most controversial bestsellers, a recruit of the future goes through the toughest boot camp in the Universe—and into battle with the Terran Mobile Infantry against mankind’s most alarming enemy.

*This one has been made into a movie, but it’s unspeakably awful.

Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well** by Sam Sifton

From one of America’s finest food writers, the former restaurant critic for The New York Times, comes a definitive, timeless guide to Thanksgiving dinner–preparingit, surviving it, and pulling it off in style. From the planning of the meal to the washing of the last plate, Thanksgivingposes more–and more vexing–problems for the home cookthan any other holiday. In this smartly written, beautifully illustrated, recipe-filled book, Sam Sifton, the Times’s resident Thanksgiving expert, delivers a message of great comfort and solace: There is no need for fear. You cancook a great meal on Thanksgiving. You can have a great time. With simple, fool-proof recipes for classicThanksgiving staples, as well as new takes on old standbys, this book will showyou that the fourth Thursday of November does not have to be a day of kitchen stress and family drama, of dry stuffing and sad, cratered pies. You can make a better turkey than anyone has ever served you in your life, and you can serve it with gravy thatis not lumpy or bland but a salty balm, rich in flavor, that transforms all ittouches. Here are recipes for exciting side dishes and robust pies and festive cocktails, instructions for setting the table and setting the mood, as well as cooking techniques and menu ideas that will serve you all year long, whenever you are throwing a big party. Written for novice and experienced cooks alike, Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Wellis your guide to making Thanksgiving the best holiday of the year. It is not fantasy. If you prepare, it will happen. And this book will show you how.

**Hollywood has made more with less…there’s a story to tell here.

Off the Menu by Stacey Ballis

As the executive culinary assistant to Chicago celebrity chef Patrick Conlon, Alana Ostermann works behind the scenes–and that’s just the way she likes it. But with developing recipes for Patrick’s cookbooks, training his sous chefs, picking out the perfect birthday gifts for his ex-mother-in-law, and dealing with the fallout from his romantic escapades, she barely has a personal life, much less time to spend with her combo platter of a mutt, Dumpling. Then a fluke online connection brings her RJ, a transplant from Tennessee, who adds some Southern spice to her life. Suddenly Alana’s priorities shift, and Patrick–and Dumpling–find themselves facing a rival for her time and affection. With RJ in the mix, and with some serious decisions to make about her personal and professional future, Alana must discover the perfect balance of work and play, money and meaning, to bring it all to the table–one delicious dish at a time.

Dark tide: the great Boston molasses flood of 1919 by Stephen Puleo

Shortly after noon on January 15, 1919, a fifty-foot-tall steel tank filled with 2.3 million gallons of molasses collapsed on Boston’s waterfront, disgorging its contents as a fifteen-foot-high wave of molasses that briefly traveled at thirty-five miles per hour. When the tide receded, a section of the city’s North End had been transformed into a war zone. The Great Boston Molasses Flood claimed the lives of twenty-one people and scores of animals, injured 150, and caused widespread destruction.

But the molasses flood was more than an isolated event. Its story overlays America’s story during a tumultuous decade in our history. Tracing the era from the tank’s construction in 1915 through the multiyear lawsuit that followed the tragedy, Dark Tide uses the drama of the flood to examine the sweeping changes brought about by World War I, Prohibition, the Anarchist movement, the Red Scare, immigration, and the role of big business in society.

Bunker 10 by Jan-Andrew Henderson

Something is going terribly wrong at the top secret Pinewood Military Installation, and the teenage geniuses who study and work there are about to discover a horrible truth as they lead a small military force trying to retrieve data and escape before the compound self-destructs.

Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

In an effort to escape the hypocrisies of life at his boarding school, sixteen-year-old Holden Caulfield seeks refuge in New York City.

The Midnighters series by Scott Westerfeld

Upon moving to Bixby, Oklahoma, fifteen-year-old Jessica Day learns that she is one of a group of people who have special abilities that help them fight ancient creatures living in an hour hidden at midnight; creatures that seem determined to destroy Jess.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cath struggles to survive on her own in her first year of college while avoiding a surly roommate, bonding with a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words, and worrying about her fragile father.

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

Though she is from a family of clairvoyants, Blue Sargent’s only gift seems to be that she makes other people’s talents stronger, and when she meets Gansey, one of the RavenBoys from the expensive Aglionby Academy, she discovers that he has talents of his own–and that together their talents are a dangerous mix.

Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce

Eleven-year-old Alanna, who aspires to be a knight even though she is a girl, disguises herself as a boy to become a royal page, learning many hard lessons along her path to high adventure.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

When a twelve-year-old evil genius tries to restore his family fortune by capturing a fairy and demanding a ransom in gold, the fairies fight back with magic, technology, and a particularly nasty troll.

When Charlie McButton Lost Power by Suzanne Collins

A boy who likes nothing but playing computer games is in trouble when the power goes out and his little sister has all of the batteries in the house.

Pie by Sarah Weeks

After the death of Polly Portman, whose award-winning pies put the town of Ipswitch, Pennsylvania, on the map in the 1950s, her devoted niece Alice and Alice’s friend Charlie investigate who is going to extremes to find Aunt Polly’s secret pie crust recipe. Includes fourteen pie recipes.

Sidekicked by John David Anderson

Drew Bean might be a part of a secret organization for the training of superhero sidekicks, but that doesn’t mean that life is all leaping tall buildings in single bounds.Drew is possessed of super senses–his hearing, sight, taste, touch, and smell are the most powerful on the planet–making him literally the most sensitive kid in school. And then there’s his best friend, Jenna–their friendship would be complicated enough if she weren’t able to throw an eighteen-wheeler the length of a city block. Add in trying to keep his sidekick life a secret from everyone, including his parents, and the truth is clear: middle school is pretty much a drag regardless of whether you have superpowers. But this is all before a supervillain long thought dead returns to the city of Justica and Drew’s two identities threaten to crash head-on into each other. Drew has always found it pretty easy to separate right from wrong, good from evil. It’s what a superhero does. But what happens when that line starts to disappear?

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

 Twelve-year-old Kyle gets to stay overnight in the new townlibrary, designed by his hero (the famous gamemaker LuigiLemoncello), with other students but finds that come morning he must work with friends to solve puzzles in order to escape.

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