Nightstand Reads with author Sara Donati

Where the Light Enters is the latest from Sara Donati, a bestselling author known for her riveting and well-researched historical novels. We asked her to share her own reading list with us:

I read a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction out of personal interest and professional necessity. My novels are deeply researched, so I spend a lot of time reading medical texts and government reports written before 1890.  But I also read contemporary and historical fiction of all stripes, from noir crime to romance to short story collections. Ancient Rome, modern-day Detroit, Victorian England, WWII China are all welcome.

If I continue thinking about a book long after I’ve finished it, I consider it time well spent. Here are some of my recent discoveries.

Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger
by Rebecca Traister
There is a lot to be angry about. Traister’s book came out just after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified, and it reminded me that women’s anger, once focused, is hugely powerful. It has launched movements and revolutions that have changed the world for the better. Continue reading “Nightstand Reads with author Sara Donati”

Historical fantasy – the best of both worlds!

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.

Book cover image for The Bird KingThe 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!”

The best of genre reading in 2018

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.

Adrenaline

Book cover image for Safe HousesSafe 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”

#BookBingoNW2018: History — and historical fiction

Still trying to fill that “history” square on your Book Bingo card?  If you are like me, you learn a lot of your history from historical fiction. So the historical details and events that provide such a rich background for these novels had better be accurate!

Following are some of my favorite titles that incorporate meticulously researched history into their compelling stories:

The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani
This novel features a grim plot (a young woman faces a series of calamities following her father’s death), but I was won over by the fascinating setting of 17th century Persia, and its flourishing community of carpet-weavers. Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2018: History — and historical fiction”

A genre reading list for library insiders

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.

Adrenaline

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”