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8 Magical Books Like His Dark Materials

8 Magical Books Like His Dark Materials

By Books Like This One

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About the list

Friendspire created this based on a list by Books Like This One on 25 January 2021.

Have you ever thought about why you like to read? What makes you so interested in reading books vs just "watching" a book? I mean the "Harry Potter" books and movies are about the same, right? (The answer to that question is no. Dear God, the answer is definitely no.) Well then, what makes you a bibliophile? Is it that smell of paperback novel
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Arcadia

2012 | Lauren Groff

From the bestselling author of The Monsters of Templeton comes a lyrical and gripping story of a great American dream. In the fields of western New York State in the 1970s, a few dozen idealists set out to live off the land, founding what would become a commune centered on the grounds of a decaying mansion called Arcadia House. Arcadia follows this romantic, rollicking, and tragic utopian dream from its hopeful start through its heyday and after. Arcadia's inhabitants include Handy, a musician and the group's charismatic leader; Astrid, a midwife; Abe, a master carpenter; Hannah, a baker and historian; and Abe and Hannah's only child, the book's protagonist, Bit, who is born soon after the commune is created. While Arcadia rises and falls, Bit, too, ages and changes. If he remains in love with the peaceful agrarian life in Arcadia and deeply attached to its residents--including Handy and Astrid's lithe and deeply troubled daughter, Helle--how can Bit become his own man? How will he make his way through life and the world outside of Arcadia where he must eventually live? With Arcadia, her first novel since her lauded debut, The Monsters of Templeton, Lauren Groff establishes herself not only as one of the most gifted young fiction writers at work today but also as one of our most accomplished literary artists. Praise for Arcadia: "[Lauren Groff] has taken a quaint, easily caricatured community and given it true universality...And a book that might have been small, dated and insular winds up feeling timeless and vast...The raw beauty of Ms. Groff's prose is one of the best things about Arcadia. But it is by no means this book's only kind of splendor." --Janet Maslin, The New York Times "Groff's beautiful prose make this an unforgettable read." --Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) "I was constantly torn between wanting to gulp down this book or savor its lines. Even the most incidental details vibrate with life... Arcadia wends a harrowing path back to a fragile, lovely place you can believe in." --Ron Charles, The Washington Post "****" --People "A moving look at the value of human connection in a scary, chaotic world." --Entertainment Weekly "Lauren Groff's dazzling new novel brings the flawed visions of a '60s commune to life... At a moment when so much floating anger struggles for articulation, it's Groff's essential human empathy that gives her work its urgency." --Vogue "One of our best young novelists brings a lost Eden of hippiedom freshly to life... Groff's prismatic prose style lends itself to the darker currents that run beneath the Arcadian dream... both poetic and ambitious." --Elle "[A] beautifully crafted novel... [it] gives full rein to [Groff's] formidable descriptive powers, as she summons both the beauty of striving for perfection and the inevitable devastation of failing so miserably to achieve it." --STARRED Booklist "An astonishing novel, both in ambition and achievement." --STARRED Kirkus Reviews "Arcadia feels true, as do the characters who populate this extraordinary novel." --Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief "It's not possible to write any better without showing off." --Richard Russo, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Empire Falls "Groff is one of our most talented writers, and Arcadia one of the most revelatory, magical, and ambitious novels I've read in years." --Kate Walbert, author of the New York Times bestselling novel A Short History of Women

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Doomsday Book

1993 | Connie Willis

Five years in the writing by one of science fiction's most honored authors, Doomsday Book is a storytelling triumph. Connie Willis draws upon her understanding of the universalities of human nature to explore the ageless issues of evil, suffering and the indomitable will of the human spirit. For Kivrin, preparing an on-site study of one of the deadliest eras in humanity's history was as simple as receiving inoculations against the diseases of the fourteenth century and inventing an alibi for a woman traveling alone. For her instructors in the twenty-first century, it meant painstaking calculations and careful monitoring of the rendezvous location where Kivrin would be received. But a crisis strangely linking past and future strands Kivrin in a bygone age as her fellows try desperately to rescue her. In a time of superstition and fear, Kivrin--barely of age herself--finds she has become an unlikely angel of hope during one of history's darkest hours. Praise for Doomsday Book "A stunning novel that encompasses both suffering and hope. . . . The best work yet from one of science fiction's best writers."--The Denver Post "Splendid work--brutal, gripping and genuinely harrowing, the product of diligent research, fine writing and well-honed instincts, that should appeal far beyond the normal science-fiction constituency."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "The world of 1348 burns in the mind's eye, and every character alive that year is a fully recognized being. . . . It becomes possible to feel . . . that Connie Willis did, in fact, over the five years Doomsday Book took her to write, open a window to another world, and that she saw something there."--The Washington Post Book World

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A Wrinkle in Time Movie Tie-In Edition

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2017 | Madeleine L'Engle

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A movie tie-in edition to the upcoming major motion picture, now including an introduction by director Ava DuVernay. In 1962, Madeleine L’Engle debuted her novel A Wrinkle in Time, which would go on to win the 1963 Newbery Medal. Bridging science and fantasy, darkness and light, fear and friendship, the story became a classic of children’s literature and is beloved around the world. Now Disney is taking it to the silver screen! With an all-star cast that includes Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, and newcomer Storm Reid, the major motion picture bring the world of Wrinkle to life for a new generation of fans. This movie tie-in edition of the timeless novel features the complete, unabridged original text; an introduction by the film’s director, Ava DuVernay (Selma); and eight pages of photos from the movie. This title has Common Core connections. Praise for A Wrinkle in Time: "One of America’s most beloved stories." —Andrew Liptak in Kirkus “A coming of age fantasy story that sympathizes with typical teen girl awkwardness and insecurity, highlighting courage, resourcefulness and the importance of family ties as key to overcoming them.” —Carol Platt Liebau, author, in the New York Post “An exhilarating experience.” —Kirkus Reviews “This imaginative book will be read for a long time into the future.” —Children's Literature “A Wrinkle in Time is one of my favorite books of all time. I've read it so often, I know it by heart. Meg Murry was my hero growing up. I wanted glasses and braces and my parents to stick me in an attic bedroom. And I so wanted to save Charles Wallace from IT.” —Meg Cabot “A book that every young person should read, a book that provides a road map for seeking knowledge and compassion even at the worst of times, a book to make the world a better place.” —Cory Doctorow “[L'Engle's] work is one of the things that made me a writer, a science fiction and fantasy fan, an avid reader. Hers were the first books I read that mixed math and magic, the quest and the quantum.” —Scott Westerfeld “A Wrinkle in Time taught me that you can tackle even the deepest and most slippery concepts of physics and philosophy in fiction for young readers. It's a great lesson for all writers, and a tough tesseract to follow.” —David Lubar

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