Book Buzz: African Magical Realism, Monstrous YA, and Ozark Reminiscences

Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For October, we’re looking at a family epic tinged with magical realism, a YA novel perfect for Halloween, and a good-natured memoir about life on the Lake of the Ozarks in the 1960s.

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Exploring Other Worlds in Literature

Other Worlds

The Great American Read‘s most wide-ranging episode is undoubtedly its October 16th “Other Worlds” episode. The selections include historical fiction, fantasy, dystopian fiction, and science fiction.

In the process, it asks viewers what is their favorite type of “other world” to escape into through literature. Do you prefer to dive into the past with historical fiction or travel to foreign countries or venture into outer space or even transport yourself to other worlds entirely?

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Book Buzz: Alice in Wonderland Fan Fiction, Small-Town Olympic Glory, and Intergalactic Adventures

Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For March, we’re looking at a fantasy anthology that celebrates a classic work, a profile of a small Vermont town that generates an unusually high number of Olympians, and a coming-of-age science fiction trilogy.

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Book Buzz: Literary Noir, (Allegedly) Fraudulent Ghosts, and Crooked Saints

Happy New Year! We’re ringing in 2018 with a new feature — “Book Buzz.” We’ll be regularly profiling recent releases that have been getting attention or deserve to be getting more attention. This week, we’re looking at a unique historical novel, a nonfiction tale of fraud and (maybe) ghosts, and a young adult fantasy.

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Oddly Specific Genres: The More, The Merrier

Some writers spend years working painstakingly on one book. Other authors, meanwhile, seem to effortlessly churn out several a year.

For readers, waiting years for the next book can be agonizing, but it can also be frustrating to read something that seems hastily thrown together. For that reason, every reader (and writer, for that matter) definitely has their preference, with some militantly spurning series and others who think that, well, the more, the merrier. (Personally, I’m in the middle. I enjoy a good series, but I’m also not much of one for the seemingly never-ending ones, with a couple of notable exceptions, because I quickly lose interest.)

This month at the library, we’re celebrating those merrier writers, those with long-running series, by highlighting their holiday entries.  The good news . . . if you like what you read, there’s plenty more!

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Oddly Specific Genres: Campus Confidential

Everyone’s going back to school this month, so we figured we would too, with these books set in boarding schools and residential colleges.

I’m not sure what it is about boarding school stories, but they seem to really resonate with American readers, despite most Americans never having attended one. Perhaps that fact is the very thing that makes them so exotic and appealing.

I certainly am not immune! I strongly suspect that I would not have liked boarding school, but that didn’t stop me from working my way through and enjoying many a tale of rich people–or not-so rich people with a scholarship–having awkward adolescent experiences far from home.

“Campus confidential” is the oddly specific genre we are going for so be forewarned!

Thanks to Mary-Esther for helping me research this post!

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Discussion Thread: Fantasy Worlds

fantasy world

I feel like asking someone what their favorite fantasy world is is a loaded question. Oh I don ‘t doubt that people do have their favorite fictional worlds, but I really don’t think that anyone, when it comes right down to it, would want to live in these worlds.

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Oddly-Specific Genres: Imagining a Better World

You may have heard, we’re Building a Better World at libraries all over the country this summer.  We’re trying to build one here in Berryville too.  But before you build it, you’ve got to dream it!  So dreaming of new and better worlds is what we’re all about this June.

Fantasy authors have been building imaginary new worlds in their writing for years.  Read on and you may just find a new world worth exploring!  Or at least ideas of things we may want to start doing (or avoid doing) in our real world. . . .

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My Year in Reading

What was your year in reading like?

I know a lot of my bookish friends tend to describe their year in reading by how many books they read — and I do that too — but that still doesn’t say much about your year in reading, like what you were actually reading in those 10, 25, 50, 75, 100, etc. books you read over the course of 2016.

And, so to that end, I thought I’d recap my year in reading –a lot of which did not end up on the blog — and you could share your year in reading in the comments.

Note: not all of the books I mention are available in the library, but we can certainly try to get them for you through ILL if you’re interested!

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2016 Library Challenge: A Book with Magic

Magic — yay or nay?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from working in a library, it’s that people tend to have very strong feelings one way or another on whether they like books with magic or just fantasy in general. Even with our tween book club, for which the average age is ten, most of our members already have pretty firm opinions on the subject, with some really enjoying escaping into another world entirely and others strongly preferring that their fiction is rooted in realism.

If you’re in the first group, you probably won’t have any problem finding a book for this challenge. But if you’re in the latter and are still stumped for something to read or if you just are looking for something to read in general and don’t mind a walk on the fantastical side, here are some suggestions for you!

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