I appreciate the way genre designations can make books easier to find, but I confess that I love the bleeding edges where books shade from one genre into another; my current bailiwick is historical fantasy. I find that it brings the best elements of historical fiction – a strong sense of time, place, and culture – and melds it with the fantastical elements that make anything possible. Here are a few recent titles that I’ve been thrilled to find.
The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson – In 1491, Granada, the last remaining vestige of Muslim Spain, has been surrounded and besieged by the Catholic Spanish forces of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. When a delegation comes inside the walled city to negotiate, young concubine Fatima is charged with welcoming the female delegates, including a member of the Spanish Inquisition. After Fatima accidentally reveals that her friend Hassan, the court’s mapmaker, can draw places he’s never seen and reshape reality, she realizes she has put him in danger. Aided by jinn, Fatima and Hassan flee the city. Continue reading “Historical fantasy – the best of both worlds!”
Coordinated by the American Library Association, each year a group of librarians from across the country form The Reading List Council with the goal to identify the year’s best books across eight genres. Here are the 2019 winners (for books published in 2018) in Adrenaline, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, and Women’s Fiction, plus the short list of runners up in each category. Find new titles in the genre you love, or branch out and find something new to try. You can also find this full list in our library catalog.
Safe Houses by Dan Fesperman
Managing CIA safe houses in 1979 West Berlin, Helen overhears a secret conversation that sends her on the run. Thirty-five years later, a tragedy leads Helen’s daughter to dig into her mother’s secret past, unaware that her mother’s old enemies are still watching. Continue reading “The best of genre reading in 2018”
In early 2017, acclaimed author Rick Riordan, of Percy Jackson fame, announced he would be leading an imprint from Disney, with the goal of publishing “great books by middle grade authors from underrepresented cultures and backgrounds, to let them tell their own stories inspired by the mythology and folklore of their own heritage.”
He had been constantly asked by fans of Percy Jackson or the Kane Chronicles, “Will you ever write about Hindu mythology? What about Native American? What about Chinese?” Riordan could have easily written books about those topics, but instead decided to use his privilege to lift up the voices of those he could have just as easily overshadowed. Rick Riordan Presents leverages his position and experience to help put a spotlight on writers “who are actually from those cultures and know the mythologies better than I do. Let them tell their own stories, and I would do whatever I could to help those books find a wide audience.”
Thus far, two books have been released:
Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
Twelve-year-old Aru Shah lives with her archaeologist mom at the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture in Atlanta. She hangs out in Spider-Man pjs, dreams of spending more time with her always-traveling mom, and really wants to impress her private school classmates. After lighting a supposedly cursed lamp in the museum, Aru frees an ancient demon whose job is to awaken the God of Destruction. People start freezing in place, and things don’t look great for Aru. Clearly in over her head, Aru must locate the other reincarnations of the legendary Pandava brothers, journey into the Kingdom of Death (& Costco), acquire some magical weapons, and eventually save the world! Continue reading “Rick Riordan Presents”
This Spring Thrilling Tales, the library’s popular story time for grown ups, is branching out with new monthly evening events in addition to our regular lunch hour gatherings. Now in its 15th year, the program celebrates the joy of story with live readings of compelling, intriguing, wondrous and suspenseful stories. Here’s what’s coming up in the months ahead.
Continue reading “Le Guin, Allende, Bradbury & More, This Spring at Thrilling Tales!”
Chances are some of you haven’t heard of ALA’s Reading List Council, but trust me on this one: Their annual list of top books in several genres is a book lover’s gem. They pick the best in eight genres — including mystery, science fiction, and adrenaline (read: suspense/heart-thumping-page-turner) for adult readers. Librarians love that the Reading List is selected by readers advisory librarians who offer suggestions for similar titles. Readers love getting a list of genre favorites that includes winners and finalists.
To get you started with your holds, here are the 2018 winners (for books published in 2017). And be sure to check the full Reading List where you’ll find sixty-four (64!) reading recommendations.
Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips
Joan and her four-year-old son, Lincoln, are enjoying an afternoon outing at the zoo when the unthinkable happens–a mass shooting. Trapped and in tremendous danger, Joan must rely on her bravery and survival instincts to make it out alive. This terrifyingly plausible thriller unfolds in real time.
Continue reading “A genre reading list for library insiders”