Blasphemy includes some of Sherman Alexie’s classic short stories along with newer tales. The stories challenge the reader’s comfort zones with plots exploring race and ethnicity, culture, stereotypes, alcoholism, diabetes, and personal identity. The settings are in the Pacific Northwest with Native American protagonists. The expertly crafted stories are personal, revealing the characters for who they are and what influenced their lives, making them seem real and reflecting life as it truly is for many.
Check It Out Category: Picks by Larry
Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin is set in1970’s San Francisco, a place where you could let your hair down and be yourself! But, it wasn’t always a bed of roses and life has a way of bringing you face-to-face with reality. Also a PBS series.
Larry from Fiction/AV/Teen Services suggests Communion: A True Story by Whitley Strieber
Whitley Strieber, better known for his fiction with paranormal, science fiction, and horror themes, wrote a nonfiction book about what he experienced when he was abducted by aliens from outer space. In Communion: A True Story, the author tells of his haunting and unsettling feelings of lost time and flashback recollections of encounters with strange beings. Seeking help through medical treatment and hypnosis, he decides that he was recalling what he came to believe were real interactions with extraterrestrials that chose him to be an object of their research. This book reads like fiction with its well-crafted storytelling, descriptive scenes, and suspenseful tones. So, is the story really true or just another tale from an imaginative fiction writer? Read the book and decide for yourself.
Interested in Communion? Try these other stories concerning aliens!
Chariots of the Gods?: Unsolved Mysteries of the Past by Erich von Daniken
When this nonfiction book was published, it stimulated public interest in the possibility that we are not alone in the universe. The author presents his theory that Earth was visited by extraterrestrials that helped ancient civilizations build their magnificent structures and establish their culture.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney
Mill Valley was a peaceful place before some of the townspeople began to act in ways other than themselves. As the town’s doctor sees that these distinct but subtle changes in personality are spreading, he realizes that something sinister is happening that will forever change life in the valley.
War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
One of the groundbreaking authors of science fiction presents a story of Mars’ invasion of Earth. Fine storytelling with action and suspense presents a tale of clashing forces and the fight for survival.
With the peaceful arrival of spaceships from another planet, Roy Neary becomes obsessed with the newcomers from outer space and searches for meaning in this event.
A group of senior citizens living a mundane life find rejuvenation when visitors with other-worldly powers from a distant galaxy befriends them.
Resurrection Day by Brendan DuBois is a thriller set in alternative history in 1972, after the Cuban missile crisis ended in a full-blown war. A journalist reporting on an unremarkable homicide discovers a conspiracy of amazing proportions involving the events of ten years earlier.
The oldest son of an eccentric family wants to escape the looming responsibilities of adult life and so he climbs a guava tree and lives there hoping to find peace. It gets complicated when the townspeople start to see him as a holy man. With characters including inept bureaucrats, a spy for the atheist society, and a herd of monkeys, Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard by Kiran Desai will be a delight to read.
Ever wonder how rural Illinoisans traveled and shipped products when a single narrow bumpy strip of concrete with crushed rock alongside was considered a state-of-the-art highway? This documentary will tell you how. Illinois Terminal: A Traction Time Machine is a window to a long gone way of travel when the country was more rural and driving a car, if you had one, was not the convenient way to go.
Ever wonder how your body digests the food you eat? Or why when you smell food you can also taste it? Or what really goes on in your stomach and gut? Then this book is for you. In Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, author Mary Roach explains the entire process of eating and digesting in great detail. Sounds gross? It’s not at all. The author’s witty writing style along with the use of layman’s language in a smooth flowing (no pun intended) narrative makes the book both a fun and fascinating read. Did you know we produce two types of saliva? And what exactly are gastric juices? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? This book will answer these questions and more.
Looking for more books featuring stories of the human body? Try…
Cecilia is talented but depressed and unsure of what to do with her life. As she struggles with questioning her worth, abilities, and purpose she befriends a homeless, runaway teenager that conned her out of sixty dollars. The well-crafted plot with its twists, secrets, and steady build-up to the end makes the book a page turner along with finely developed characters. With its warmth and satisfying outcome, Warming Up by Mary Hutchings Reed is a pleasure to read.
David Margolick describes the lives of two girls in the famous photograph from Little Rock Central High School’s desegregation in 1957: a stoic African-American girl walking on the first day of school followed by a white girl, her face distorted as she screams racial epithets. Elizabeth and Hazel is a thought provoking and memorable exploration of how this experience affected their lives in attempts to reconcile the painful, traumatic experience within themselves and with each other.
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth is a readable discussion of the historical and social context of a time in Palestine that nurtured and gave rise to many prophets, preachers, and self-proclaimed messiahs. Jesus, who was born in this milieu, is discussed as a life shaped, developed, and affected by the world around him. Reza Aslan’s fascinating book provides a greater understanding of how Jesus’ life and ministry fits into the historical time and was sustained to this day.