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Posts Tagged ‘urban fantasy’

Armed with nothing more than a mere paper list and 2 canvas bags, I prepared to do battle in the County Fairgrounds Grange Building, to find hidden treasure at the Annual Library Book Sale.

BookSale2014-AllBooks2

And find treasure I did!!

On my list were several broad categories … first I was looking for a particular chapter book series for my friend’s son, then books on model trains for another friend and particular cookbooks for another friend and myself. But then … I had a list of MG and YA novels and adult fiction strictly for my own reading pleasure. Some of these were Newbery winners or honor books that I’d been trying to find for awhile, others were books gathered from the 100 book bucket lists from an earlier post, some recommended by friends. What would I find?

Book Sale Books3 hours and a terribly aching neck later, I did quite well. Let’s take a closer look.

At left we have the known writers up top and books on my list below. The top 3 are among my favorite authors – Patricia Briggs, fabulous writer of urban fantasy and the Mercy Thompson series with Raven’s Strike, Alice Hoffman with  Incantation which in theme seems to be along the line of recently enjoyed The Dovekeepers, and Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal Dreams which I’ve been wanting to read for some time, and found quite unexpectedly.

Another Jerry Spinelli MG classic, Milkweed, and Almost Home another MG by Joan Bauer of Hope Was Here, plus a healthy kitchen book by another fave of mine, Dr. Andrew Weil, and the only book of Nicholas Evans, of The Horse Whisperer fame, that I haven’t read, The Divide. Below them, books I’ve had on a list for awhile –  YA Schooled by Anisha Lakmani, and MG The Underneath by Kathi Appelt and Crispin, the Cross of Lead by Avi.

I also found the next book after The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls’ Half Broke Horses about her grandmother Smith whom we met in her memoir. I am so impressed by Walls’ writing that I was hoping to find this book and The Silver Star but am real happy about at least getting one of them. The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr is another much-praised memoir, and Water for Elephants also has gotten rave reviews if I can get through what I hear is a fair amount of brutality to the elephants. They could lose me there; we shall see.

BookSale2014-Stack1-2And on to the lucky finds … I was looking for The Giver by Lois Lowry, but found instead Gathering Blue, perhaps dark, but intriguing, as may be the collection of short stories by Neil Gaiman, Smoke and Mirrors. The Te of Piglet is a companion to the Tao of Pooh which I already own and love – a can’t miss for me.  Shanghai Girls by Lisa See seems to have the flavor of Memoir of A Geisha which was outstanding, and The Red Leather Diary is a book I remember reading about being excellent some time ago. A surprise and hopefully another treasure.

I was first introduced to The Whale Rider as a movie about the New Zealand Maori tribe, specifically Kahu, a girl who should receive this sacred honor by lineage but which is only bestowed upon boys and men. It was excellent and I was thrilled to stumble upon the book by Witi Ihimaera. I am trying a sci-fi book by C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet. I am not generally a sci-fi fan, but this sounded great. I also found The Hearts of Horses by Molly Gloss, The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle and Horses and the Mystical Path by three McCormicks, because what would my (reading) life be if not inclusive of animals? (And yes, 2 cookbooks are in that pile, too!)

Today I feel rich, very rich. I didn’t find a bunch of the books on my list, but am more than happy with what will keep me engrossed for quite some time. The ones I couldn’t find? They’re on a new list under a magnet on my fridge, and whenever I am so inspired, I can toddle on over and pick them up from my local library, where I’ll also sit and soak up picture books to feed the writer and illustrator within.

Oh, and not to mention I am waiting for my inter-library loan of Deborah Harkness’ second book The Shadow of Night. Sometimes it seems crazy that something so simple can bring such happiness, but such a good crazy!

 

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EdgarSawtelle-DWroblewski2Does it sadden you to give up on a book? Frustrate you? It does me, and I find it something very difficult to do.

I’ve finally given up the ghost on The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. This book has received such high praise in so many reviews, and I started it with high hopes. The subject and plot seemed like something I would love, and Wroblewski’s writing is beautiful. So why, after reading about 1/4 of the book, am I putting it aside? It’s just not grabbing me. And it’s a very long book.

Why giving up on a book saddens me, I believe, is that I really look forward to a good story; I want it to take me to another place and enrich my life in some way, even if simply fabulous entertainment. I have nothing against a “quiet story,” but it still has to pull me in. I want to feel, sometime during the day, that I am looking forward to delving back into that novel. Is this your experience as well?

I also realize that there are times in our lives when we want a change, where the subject matter or depth of emotion in a novel may be different than what we’ve sought out in the past. Lately I have been drawn to urban fantasy, thanks to my friend’s husband who introduced me to the genre and who has been kind enough to entrust me with a nice selection from his own library. So now I begin An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire, the third in a series.

ArtificialNight-SMcGuire2The main character, October (Toby) Daye is a private investigator and a changeling, half fae and half human, which brings many of its own problems. The stories are a bit on the dark side, but when they take place in the world of faerie, which is most often, you can see that McGuire has thoroughly researched the entire mythological world of the fae, as all the characters are entirely believable and well-developed. There’s mystery, suspense, and a look into a world invisible to the human eye. Works for me.

So Edgar … I’m sorry. Maybe some other time, but for now I’m off to roam the darker side of San Francisco with Toby Daye.

 

 

 

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