Heist Fantasy: Magic, Action & Adventure

I have realized that some of my favorite recent fantasy reads have featured an elaborate heist adventure at the center of the story. Heist fantasies offer the magic, action and adventure that will keep you turning pages while they also feature characters on the margins of society, grifters and scrappy survivors whose struggles and high-stakes schemes and scrapes propel the narrative. While these fantasies offer characters you will root for, they present the thrill and danger of life lived on a knife’s edge. Here are some examples of heist fantasies I enjoyed:

image of book cover for Six of CrowsLeigh Bardugo’s teen fantasy duology Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom introduce a motley cast of characters led by Kaz, a mysterious young man known as Dirtyhands who masterminds a den of thieves in Ketterdam’s Dregs. While the characters are teens, this is a dark fantasy world of deep class distinctions and the youth in Kaz’s crew have all encountered very adult, traumatic events in their lives. Their mistreatment by the world bonds them as they undergo a suicide mission trying to break out a man with valuable secrets from the most heavily guarded stronghold in the land. Continue reading “Heist Fantasy: Magic, Action & Adventure”

November Literary Holidays

November marks twelve months of literary holidays! So to finish it off, here are three November literary holidays.

The entire month is Picture Book Month, an international initiative to support literacy and encourage the use of picture books. There are blogs dedicated to championing the importance of picture books throughout the month. So in honor of picture books, here are some recommendations for you.

  • Blue Frog by Dianne de la Casas is a fun book of a native Central American legend. How the gods first shared chocolate with humans.
  • A Different Pond by Bao Phi is gorgeous book about a boy who fishes with his father, with context that goes so much deeper. It’s worth sharing with your children.
  • Juna’s Jar by Jane Bahk follows Juna whose friend, Hector, has moved away and she starts to put items in her special kimchi jar to try to find Hector.

Blue Frog A Different Pond Juna's Jar Continue reading “November Literary Holidays”

October Literary Holidays

 October is known for its spooky holiday themes, but the literary holidays are less spooky and a whole lot of fun.

If you are familiar with the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland, then this day might be for you. On October 6th, it is Mad Hatter day due to the number he wears in his hat. It’s a perfect time to explore the world of Wonderland again or check out some books on tea. The Mad Hatter is the host of probably one of the most famous tea parties in the literary world.


Mad Hatters and March Hares 
All new stories from the world
of Alice in Wonderland.

A Literary Tea Party
Tea and books… the perfect pairing.

Continue reading “October Literary Holidays”

John Wyndham’s Work Remains Scary and Thought-provoking

I love discovering authors that were impactful in their era and whose work still holds up today. Wyndham is the kind of writer I truly enjoy–he writes the kind of unfussy, competent prose that is underrated and more supple than it first appears. His writing reminds me of the work of Walter Tevis, Theodore Sturgeon, and James Tiptree, Jr. where the first lines draw you in, and the characters are drawn swiftly in compelling details without overdoing it.

Wyndham wrote short, chilling novels that he called “logical fantasy” and what were alternately and perhaps dismissively called “cosy catastrophes.” He also knew how to draw you in from the first sentence and paragraph.

Here is the first sentence in The Day of the Triffids (1951): “When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like a Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere.” Continue reading “John Wyndham’s Work Remains Scary and Thought-provoking”

September Literary Holidays

September means school’s starting. What better way to get warmed up for school than with a few literary holidays?

National Read a Book Day has been celebrated on September 6th since the early 2000s. To celebrate, I’d like to give you this word: tsundoku. This is a Japanese word for collecting reading material but not reading it. So this is the perfect excuse to grab one of those books you’ve been meaning to read. If that doesn’t strike your interest try one of the following books and feel free to let people know what you are reading by using #ReadABookDay on social media.

An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine follows the story of a woman in Beirut who surrounds herself with books and is gossiped about for being godless, childless, and divorced. Continue reading “September Literary Holidays”