Their Books Live On: Authors In Memoriam 2019, Part 2

Our second post (see part one here) looking back at the authors we lost in 2019, with suggested titles from our catalog.

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  • Charles McCarryThis great spy novelist is often praised as the American John Le Carre. Check out his classic rendition of the JFK assassination, The Tears of Autumn.
  • Vonda McIntyreAn American science fiction writer known for her complex world-building and attention to scientific detail: Try her Nebula Award winning The Moon and the Sun.
  • W S Merwin. This prolific poet and translator’s Buddhist and deep ecological concerns can be fully experienced in The Essential W.S. Merwin.
  • Edmund Morris. Author of definitive biographies of Teddy Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and – most recently – Thomas Edison.
  • Toni Morrison. A towering figure in twentieth century literature and one of a handful of American Nobel laureates in that field; Beloved is generally acknowledged to be her masterpiece.
  • Les Murray. Sample this leading Australian poet’s startling wit and invention via his New Selected Poems.
  • Mary Oliver. Easily America’s bestselling and most beloved poet of the past quarter century. Readers new to Oliver should check out Devotions: The Selected Poems.
  • Molly O’Neill. Few food writers can lay claim to a true culinary epic, but O’Neill’s One Big Table: A Portrait of American Cooking is just that.
  • Anne Rivers Siddons. Popular writer known for evocative portrayals of Southern women examining their lives and roles in a society with often limited choices. Try Colony.
  • Elizabeth Spencer. A masterful observer of human passions and foibles. Check out her 2014 story collection Starting Over.
  • Gene Wolfe. This prolific fantasy and science-fiction author wrote challenging and imaginative stories that reward attentive readers with their depth and insight, such as his genre-bending 2013 novel The Land Across.
  • Herman Wouk. In a career spanning seventy years, Wouk told epic tales of men and war, love and fate. Check out his Pulitzer Prize winning classic The Caine Mutiny.

Continue reading “Their Books Live On: Authors In Memoriam 2019, Part 2”

Their Books Live On: Authors In Memoriam 2019, part 1

As 2019 draws to a close, we pause to remember authors (listed alphabetically) who died over the past year, with suggested reading from the library. Our list concludes tomorrow.

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Continue reading “Their Books Live On: Authors In Memoriam 2019, part 1”

(NOT) The Ten Best Books of 2019

That time of year has rolled around again when all the “Best Of” lists begin to appear, those tempting listicles claiming to reveal the best books of the year, decade, and century. We all click on them: they’re irresistible.

I’m kind of over these “best of” lists. The premise that something so magnificently multivariate as books can fall into a neat qualitative queue just seems silly to me. As I watch fellow readers agonizing over what will make their own ten best cut, and taking serious issue with others’ rankings, I’m thinking no: I don’t need to add to the hubbub. So here is my own list of ten from 2019 that are definitely not the best books of the year. Just a fairly arbitrary sampling of some things this reader found interesting and worthwhile.

Mars: Stories, by Asja Bakic. With wry prose and skewed humor, Bosnian writer Asja Baki explores 21st century promises of knowledge, freedom, and power. “Bakic takes an off-kilter look at sexuality, death, and the power of literature … bizarre and often inscrutable…” – Kirkus.

Night Boat to Tangier, by Kevin Barry. Two Irish drug-smuggling partners reevaluate a career marked by violence and betrayal during a vigil in a sketchy ferry terminal. “Barry adds an exceptional chapter to the literary history of a country that inspires cruelty and comedy and uncommon writing.” – Kirkus.

Diary of a Dead Man on Leave, by David Downing. Stumbling across the hidden diary of a boarder who had been a father figure to him, Walter discovers the man’s undercover work as an anti-Nazi Moscow spy. “Downing has never been better than in this moving and elegiac thriller framed as a diary…” – Publisher’s Weekly. Continue reading “(NOT) The Ten Best Books of 2019”

Top 10 Noteworthy 2019 Speculative Fiction Books Part 2

A continuation of our favorite speculative fiction works this year! So far…

The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz. Annalee Newitz just won a Hugo Award for the Our Opinions Are Correct podcast with their partner Charlie Jane Anders and is a writer of both science and science fiction. TFOAT is a fiercely feminist queer punk rock time travel novel that follows Tess, a time traveling geologist and her cohort of time travelers who are orchestrating a fine-tuned fight against a group of men hell-bent on stopping women’s rights from ever advancing. It’s the kind of science fiction that reminds us about how the future is happening right now and it’s up to us to collectively work towards better futures. Continue reading “Top 10 Noteworthy 2019 Speculative Fiction Books Part 2”

Top 10 Noteworthy 2019 Speculative Fiction Books Part 1

Even though it’s only October and there are still two more months left for publishing and reading in 2019 we are already assembling our “best lists”.

Here are some of our favorite speculative fiction works this year (so far):

The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders. This is a science fiction novel steeped in the politics and prose of relationships. Humanity has arrived on a cold, tidally-locked planet, January, with searing sun rays on one side and constructed societies of survival in different pockets on the dark side of the planet with different rules and regulations. Sophie and Bianca, and the itinerant Mouth narrate the novel. Sophie is spellbound by Bianca, a beautiful girl from the ruling class with bold ideas about how to change the society they are in, intoxicating with out-sized personality and revolutionary dreams. This is a story of ecological consequences, humanity’s push and pull for control and freedom, our need to have someone to believe in, how our idea of the person we love may be quite different from the person they truly are, and how it is so hard to admit when we have been betrayed by a person we thought worthy of our trust. Continue reading “Top 10 Noteworthy 2019 Speculative Fiction Books Part 1”