~posted by Jenny C.
All the staff favorites we’ve been featuring lead me to want to share my recent favorites with you, too. There may be an excess of enthusiasm in this post, but I’m not going to apologize for that. Great books! Deserve! Enthusiasm!
The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg
This book is awesome! Love the stories, love the art, love the word Britanitarka. A clever reimagining of pre-history and religion and all kinds of other things. There’s a love story, and giants, and feats of escape and mystical occurrences, all brilliantly in counterpoint to the lighthearted, intensely detailed imagery.
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
Chava and Ahmad meet by chance, one dark night. There follows a gripping, seductive, dream-like and philosophical tale of two mythic creatures in unexpected circumstances. A chronicle of religion and dangerous magic and faith; also a portrait of early immigrant New York; also a fairy tale and a love story (or three). Delicious.
Cold Antler Farm by Jenna Wogrinich
Finally Jenna has come out with something like a sequel to Made From Scratch, her excellent first memoir on transitioning into a farming life. Her other books are great resources and lovely contemplations, but this collection of witty and perceptive essays is what I have been waiting for, as she guides us through her year and her unfolding life. Some parts of it made me laugh out loud, some I copied down for future reference, some I merely savored slowly. If you are a fan of the modern farming memoir, this is moving and solid work.
Dangerous by Shannon Hale
Hello, Maisie Danger Brown! What a fantastic heroine! One-handed, super-smart Latina with a love of science wins a cereal box trip to space camp. Enter nefarious plot involving a juggling genius, a compelling/disturbing boyfriend, superpowers and alien invasion. A pulse-pounding page-turning thriller with an excellent best friend and a really great dog. My favorite one of Maisie’s powers? The ability to nickname and have it stick. Read it!
Delicious! By Ruth Reichl
This is the perfect name for a fantastic book. It’s just barely possible that the book is a bit saccharine, but I don’t care, don’t care, don’t care. Wonderfully told story, wonderfully strewn with food and love: descriptions, mysteries, appreciation and tragedies. An absolute delight set in the world of New York City’s gourmet restaurants and its imaginary magazines.
Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson
It’s Bluebeard. You know it’s bluebeard going in, and you keep thinking that the story will end sooner than it does or that it will be predictable — but no — Nickerson does an absolutely splendid, creepy job of stringing us along until the very end. And I love that her books feel magical, feel fairy tale, but really don’t overtly have magical happenings — they have atmospheric magic — they have elements that people have believed in for centuries, but they don’t suddenly bust out in sparkles or flying. This is a masterful retelling with exquisitely rendered characters.