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.
Happy New Year! We’re ringing in 2018 with a new feature — “Books Abuzz.” 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.
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!
Dreams of bigger, better worlds don’t have to be so great that you can’t have a little bit of fun. Enter Jasper Fforde’s The Last Dragonslayer.
Jennifer Strange has her hands full overseeing a talent management company for magicians. Even when the fifteen-year-old orphan isn’t fulfilling her apprenticeship in magical management by booking wizards for plumbing jobs and magic carpet riders for food delivery, as well as soothing ruffled egos, there’s also the whole issue of magical energy becoming weaker. Strange herself doesn’t have much power, but even her once skillful clients are feeling the effects. What happens if magic runs out? How are they going to keep a roof over their heads? Where did her boss disappear to months ago when he didn’t come back home? And on top of that, there are rumors that the Last Dragonslayer is supposed to kill the last dragon in a few days. Complications ensue.
So . . . perhaps you read our Exploring the Fjord Side post and thought, “That Scandinavian crime fiction sure sounds bleak. I don’t know that I want to read something that snowy and brooding.”
In that particular case, perhaps Jennifer Lynn Barnes’s The Naturals, a gripping but decidedly less brooding (and non-snowy) YA mystery would be a little more to your liking.
This is it. Believe it or not, you have made it to the last post of the 2016 Library Challenge.
If you’ve been participating in the challenge or following along with the blog, you know we have taken quite the journey this year, working our way through a range of interesting challenges, everything from romance to nonfiction to badly-reviewed books.
The only one left is a book published in the last year. So, without further ado, let’s take our last romp of the year with a round-up of some recent releases that have received positive reviews.
As always, if you’re interested, please visit our online library catalog for more information on any of the books.
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!