Meaghan's Book Recommendations

Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, The

Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, The

The tale of the relationship between two Jewish boys, American-born Sam Clay and his Czechoslovakian cousin Joe Kavalier, who meet when Joe escapes to New York during World War II and become life-long best friends and collaborators in the creation of numerous comic book characters. Their most famous creation, The Escapist, is an escape artist who battles Hitler. The book is one part fictional history of Kavalier and Clay and their circle of friends, and one part real world history, taking in Czechoslovakia, World War II, New York City, Jewish lore, Harry Houdini, and the golden age of comic books, with several real life figures, from Salvador Dali to Stan Lee, making appearances. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2001.

"A huge book (in length, vastness of subject matter, and greatness) that almost defies description. Extremely highly recommended!"

Meaghan's Rating: GLORIOUS BEYOND GLORY
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Amazing Spider-Man, The

Amazing Spider-Man, The

The first issue was published in 1963. More than 40 years later, the title is still going. The writers and artists have changed many times, but this remains the core book in Marvel's Spider-Man franchise. Published monthly.

"I love Spidey! And this is my favourite Spidey comic for sure. Right now it's being written by J. Michael Straczynski, who is fantastic (even though I have some issues with his plot choices, I always love his writing), and the really old books from the 60's are also a lot of fun to read."

Meaghan's Rating: GLORIOUS BEYOND GLORY
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Astonishing X-Men

Astonishing X-Men

Marvel's flagship X-Men comic, currently being written by Joss Whedon and art by Josh Cassaday.

Meaghan's Rating: Good
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Barney's Version

Barney's Version

When Barney Panofsky's old rival, Terry McIver, publishes his autobiography and makes many accusations against Barney, Barney decides to tell his own version of his life story.

"The last novel Richler published before his death. I was so sad to hear that he'd died because I think this book might be his best and I would have loved to see what he came up with next. Anyway, Barney's story is funny and great to read, and the ending is absolutely fantastic."

Meaghan's Rating: Grointastic Like Whoa
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Captain America

Captain America

The latest incarnation of Marvel's Captain America title which so far has seen Steve Rogers dealing with his memories of World War II as well as some mysterious figures from his past. Issue #1 was published in January 2005 and it continues to appear monthly.

"I haven't read too many of the old Captain America comics but he is one of my favourite current characters (I have just a teensy crush on him). This series is great so far. Ed Brubaker is an awesome writer for Cap and I've loved the way they've been working flashbacks into the story. I look forward to this every month."

Meaghan's Rating: Grointastic
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Fall On Your Knees

Fall On Your Knees

The very dark story of the Piper family of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, which begins with the troubled marriage of James, a Scottish-Canadian, and Materia, a Lebanese-Canadian, and goes on to tell the tragic story of their daughter Kathleen and her sisters.

"Like a lot of literature produced in the Maritimes (must be something in the water), this book is very dark and depressing and filled with strange and twisted family relationships, so it isn't what you'd call a light read. (It's also quite thick.) But it is beautifully written, and despite the woe and pain -- partly because of it -- it's a great read. The story is deeply affecting. Fans of the Brontes will probably enjoy it if only because of the many references to their works (but it does bear some similarities to Wuthering Heights)."

Meaghan's Rating: Grointastic Like Whoa
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Frankenstein

Frankenstein

A scientist named Victor Frankenstein creates a being from dead body parts and uses electricity to bring it to life. Frightened by his creation, he abandons it, and the creature is left to discover the world for itself with grave consequences for Victor and his family. Originally published in 1818.

"One of the most influential stories of all-time. Almost everything in sci-fi and fantasy has stolen from this or referenced it at least once (The X-Files and Buffy did two of the best interpretations, in my opinion). The novel is definitely worth reading, and may surprise even those who think they know the story since most adaptations of it are extremely unfaithful to the original."

Meaghan's Rating: Grointastic Like Whoa
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Fray

Fray

Hundreds of years in the future things have changed so much that people don't even notice monsters walking the streets. Young Melaka Fray makes money by stealing things, believing herself to have no future. She soon finds that not only does she have a future but she is destined for great things.

"Very cool. Any Buffy fan will probably enjoy this."

Meaghan's Rating: Grointastic
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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry's second year at Hogwarts finds him investigating mysteriously pretrified students as well as finding the identity of the Heir of Slytherin.

"This is probably my favourite in the series. I think it's terribly underrated, really, and mark my words: once we've all read the last book, we will be going back to this one and seeing lots and lots of hints of things to come, and everyone will know that I was right to say it was the most important book in the series. Oh yes."

Meaghan's Rating: Grointastic Like Whoa
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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

J.K. Rowling's final chapter in the life of Harry Potter finds him on the search for Horcrux with Ron and Hermione. Meanwhile, the war rages on and their friends are in constant danger. Lord Voldemort is gaining power everywhere and in search of something to help him in his rise to power.

"A fantastic ending to a truly amazing series. J.K. Rowling is a frickin genius."

Meaghan's Rating: GLORIOUS BEYOND GLORY
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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

When Hogwarts plays host to an international wizardry tournament, Harry is unexpectedly selected to compete in it. Meanwhile, the threat of Voldemort's possible return lingers in the background. Fourth book in the series.

"Epic! I think it's the best in the series. The last couple of hundred pages are incredibly suspenseful, and the first four hundred are pretty excellent too. This is where things really start to get dramatic."

Meaghan's Rating: GLORIOUS BEYOND GLORY
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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The wizarding world is now dealing with the return of Lord Voldemort, Ron is asking daily if anyone they know has died or gone missing. Harry gets some unexpected help in Potions and he and Dumbledore explore a complicated past.

"This one is much tighter than the previous volume. I do think there was a bit too much teen melodrama but overall it was excellent. The ending will first shock you in a bad way, then absolutely stun you in a good way."

Meaghan's Rating: Grointastic Like Whoa
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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Tensions are running high as Harry enters his fifth year at Hogwarts. The Ministry of Magic refuses to admit that You-Know-Who has returned and have also placed one of their own at Hogwarts as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.

"Perhaps a little bit in need of an editor, but really it's all good."

Meaghan's Rating: Grointastic
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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Downtrodden orphan Harry Potter discovers through a visit from a giant on his 11th birthday that he's actually a wizard. He enrols at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he makes new friends, learns some magic, and discovers the truth about his parents' death and his own remarkable destiny.

"The book that started it all! Rowling really does a good job at conveying the sense of wonder that comes with Harry's (and our) first introduction to the magical world."

Meaghan's Rating: Grointastic Like Whoa
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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Dangerous murderer Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban and is looking for Harry at Hogwarts. Hagrid is made a teacher and the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher has a connection to Harry's parents.

Meaghan's Rating: Grointastic
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Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, The

Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, The

Four English schoolchildren find their way through the back of a wardrobe into the magic land of Narnia and assist Aslan, the golden lion, to triumph over the White Witch, who has cursed the land with eternal winter. Book 2 in the chronicles, though it was actually the first Lewis wrote.

"This was the first Narnia book I read and it still stands out most in my memory, though I don't know if it's my favourite. It's a beautiful story full of wonderful characters and images."

Meaghan's Rating: Grointastic Like Whoa
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Lovely Bones, The

Lovely Bones, The

When 14-year-old Susie Salmon is murdered, her family and those in her community who have been affected by the tragedy are left with almost no information about what really happened to her. The story is told from Susie's perspective in heaven, watching over the people she knew in life as they deal with the fallout of her mysterious death.

"Though I wasn't a big fan of the last few chapters, I thought this book was absolutely excellent most of the way through. The characters, particularly Susie's father, are exceptionally well-written. It's a really beautiful look at grief and the effect one event can have on seemingly unrelated people."

Meaghan's Rating: Grointastic Like Whoa
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Magician's Nephew, The

Magician's Nephew, The

Digory and Polly meet and become friends one cold, wet summer in London. Their lives burst into adventure when Digory's Uncle Andrew, who thinks he is a magician, sends them hurtling to ... somewhere else. They find their way to Narnia, newborn from the Lion's song, and encounter the evil sorceress Jadis, before they finally return home. First book in the chronicles in terms of the Narnian timeline, but it was actually the second last book that Lewis wrote for the series.

Meaghan's Rating: Good
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Neverwhere

Neverwhere

Richard Mayhew agrees to help a mysterious young woman named Door one day, and the next day he finds that he's apparently been erased from the world. He joins Door on her quest through the secret underworld of London Below and meets many strange characters along the way.

"It's my favourite Neil Gaiman book. I love the idea that there's an entire world based around the London underground. The first time I read this, I literally didn't put it down until I finished."

Meaghan's Rating: Grointastic
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Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice

The story of Elizabeth Bennet, the second eldest daughter of a family on the borderline of respectability. When Elizabeth meets snooty Mr. Darcy, she instantly dislikes him. But as the two continue to meet socially their relationship develops over time. That is a bad summary but this novel is impossible to put into a paragraph.

"Just a wonderful, wonderful story with fantastic characters. It's beautifully written -- I think Austen's prose actually does sparkle -- and very funny. Everyone should read it at least once. A year."

Meaghan's Rating: GLORIOUS BEYOND GLORY
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Sandman, The

Sandman, The

Neil Gaiman's comic book epic centering around The Endless, his pantheon of seven god-like beings. The series mostly takes place in and around the realm of Dream; much like Greek and Roman mythology, the stories focus on humans who interact with these mythical beings as well as the Endless' own rivalries and relationships. The series ran from 1989 to 1996 and the 75 issues have been collected into ten trade paperback volumes.

"Awesome. I'm recommending the entire series since the whole does actually end up being a continuous story, but if you just want to read one volume, my favourites are Brief Lives and probably The Doll's House."

Meaghan's Rating: Grointastic Like Whoa
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Watchmen

Watchmen

Who watches the Watchmen? In 1985, the Comedian is murdered and someone has it out for costumed heroes. Rorschach believes the attacks to be connected and seeks the help from other costumed heroes who have since retired.

"I found this a very interesting take on superheroes. It's one of those things I think can be read many times without ever catching all the details and different meanings."

Meaghan's Rating: Grointastic Like Whoa
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Watership Down

Watership Down

Published in 1972. Watership Down is the story of a group of wild rabbits who set out to find a new warren when their old home is destroyed to make room for a new housing development. They encounter a few other rabbit societies and a lot of challenges on their journey.

"Brilliant! It's like a re-telling of ancient epics like The Odyssey and The Aeneid, but with rabbits as the central characters and a message about conservation. At first I found this book a little boring, but by the end I was reading really fast because I wanted to find out what would happen. There are some really great characters among the rabbits, too, especially Hazel."

Meaghan's Rating: Grointastic Like Whoa
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