Happy Friday, party librarians! It's that time of the week in which we like to share with you what we're currently reading.
Talia's loving THE FAITHFUL EXECUTIONER: Life and Death, Honor and Shame in the Turbulent Sixteenth Century by Joel F. Harrington. In fact, she selected a passage from the beginning of the book for her excerpt pick in our newsletter last week:
"Ultimately he intended to become, like his father, a master in the practice of 'special interrogation' (i.e., torture) and in the art of efficiently dispatching a condemned soul in the manner prescribed by law, using methods that ranged from the common execution with the rope, to the less frequent death by fire or by drowning, to the infamous and exceptionally rare drawing and quartering.
"Today Meister Heinrich was testing Frantz on the most difficult-and most honorable-of all forms of execution, death by the sword, or beheading."
I just started UFO HUNTERS: Book One by William J. Birnes. I've never actually seen the UFO Hunters TV show on HISTORY, but I looove reading about everyday people encountering the unexplainable or, even better, the suspiciously explained. Get whitelisted and download the e-galley of UFO HUNTERS now so we can talk about it.
On Monday I offered to hook up any librarians with a pre-approved NetGalley download link for ALL OUR PRETTY SONGS (one of my Uncharted Pages picks) and the offer still stands! Just e-mail me 1. your title and 2. the e-mail address you use to sign into NetGalley.
What are your #FridayReads?Read more
The second installment of Uncharted Pages, my Speculative Fiction recommendation page, is now live! Go check it out!
To celebrate all of the "featured creatures" recommendations, we're giving away a stack of Macmillan books featuring all sorts of bizarre beings and brutish beasts:
UPDATE: This contest is now over. Congratulations to the winner, Debra Wischmeyer in the Readers' Services/Reference Department of Morton Grove Public Library!
Head over to Uncharted Pages, click the pale blue envelope icon under my picture, and send me an e-mail with your mailing address and your favorite monster by Friday, January 4th. [CONTEST CLOSED]
This sweepstakes is open to librarians in the United States. More eligibility details below.
Today is book-swap day at the Flatiron building. 'Tis a rare and glorious day in which every department clears their shelves of extra and already-read books in order to make room for incoming titles. Then all the employees get to browse through the new-to-you pile!
Mostly it's all recent Macmillan titles, but anything goes. Just look at a few of the gems that I found...Read more
When Talia told me that the brilliant minds at EarlyWord approached her about setting up a blog for Readers' Advisory librarians to learn more about the Science Fiction and Fantasy books coming out of Macmillan I whispered, "mine."
Finally! A place to highlight some of our fantastic fiction for the curious minded!
Each season I'll pick a few titles that I love and tell you a little bit about why I think they're so special. Uncharted Pages will cover a wide range of genres under the speculative fiction umbrella written for teens, adults, and immortals.
Ready to take a peek? Hop on your unicorn/magic carpet/transport zombie and head over to Uncharted Pages!
To celebrate we're giving away one slick, single-shouldered A MEMORY OF LIGHT backpack that we crammed full of finished books!
This contest has ended. Congratulations to our winner: Brianna Glenn, Library Director at De Soto Public Library!
Head over to Uncharted Pages, click the pale blue envelope icon under my picture, and send me an e-mail introducing yourself. Tell me one thing that you or your patrons love about speculative fiction and I'll enter you in the drawing!
This sweepstakes is open to librarians in the United States. More eligibility details below.
Did Prometheus get your patrons back in the mood for some seriously pulse-pounding alien stories? I figured as much! And if they're looking for an epic alien adventure that's new to the shelves, pass them EXISTENCE by Hugo and Nebula Award-winner David Brin.
Gerald Livingston is your typical orbital garbage collector. For a hundred years, people have been abandoning things in space and it's his job to clean it up. When Gerald finds an alien communication device orbiting Earth with the message, "JOIN US," he and the rest of mankind are thrown into a maelstrom of fear, hope, violence, joy, and insatiable curiosity.
"Brin’s thoughtful, multilayered story explores a first contact scenario where every twist reveals greater peril. His longtime fans will especially appreciate that this story could be read as a prequel to 1983’s STARTIDE RISING, while those not familiar with his work will find it an impressive introduction to one of SF’s major talents." -Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Featuring memorable characters and masterly storytelling, Brin’s latest novel provides food for thought and entertainment. Fans of Vernor Vinge and Arthur C. Clarke, as well as Brin’s own sizable fan base, will enjoy this multidimensional story." -Library Journal (starred review)
"Brin's EXISTENCE is bursting with ideas, including near-future tech, first contact with aliens, and the exploration of what it means to be human. It's the sort of novel that runs the risk of being overstuffed — but EXISTENCE pulls it off." -io9
Also GeekWire.com did an interview with David Brin about the state of Science Fiction, new media forms, nonfiction, and EXISTENCE here!Read more
Talia's at the Boston Book Buzz and most of the Academic Marketing Department is out today, so I'm creeping around the 21st floor like a moody sphinx in a defunct labyrinth and/or a manticore demon looking for someone to chat with between circles seven and eight (violence and fraud, respectively) of the Inferno/breakroom.
Won't someone come talk to me about something? ...Anything?! I can make you coffee! I’m better at making up riddles than Bilbo! I have things to say about the weather! Time-sensitive things!!
Do I sound familiar? If you’re smiling and shaking your head right now thinking, "Been there, girl," well then have I got the compendium for you: THE WEIRD edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer!
This anthology of peculiar short stories is here to keep you (and, more urgently, me) occupied over those dreary co-worker-less lunches and solitary afternoon coffee breaks. In the strange company of Franz Kafka, Neil Gaiman, Michael Chabon, Daphne Du Maurier, Algernon Blackwood, George R.R. Martin, and so many more, you may not feel more human, but you will feel less isolated... or will you?!
Seriously, someone come say hi. I'm losing it up here.
Not convinced by my manticorian ramblings? Publishers Weekly gave THE WEIRD a starred review and said,
"Ambitious in the extreme, the Vandermeers’ latest genre-blurring endeavor, which compiles 110 weird stories from the past century, is one of the most far-reaching and inclusive speculative anthologies to ever see print."
They also called it "a deeply affectionate and respectful history of speculative fiction’s blurry edges, and its stunning diversity, excellent quality, and extremely reasonable price point [...] will entice a wide variety of readers—including those who think they don’t like 'weird.'"
And how did the editors pick these delightful tales of strange and dark deeds?
We read over 6 million words in order to select the stories for The Weird. #torchat— Ann VanderMeer (@AnnVanderMeer) May 16, 2012
Whoa! And what was the—how should I put this?—main thread of interior weird?
I have goose bumps already!Read more
It's the future and Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the prestigious Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid. Andrew is thrilled with the assignment... that is, until he discovers that low ranking crew members such as himself have an suspiciously high mortality rate during away missions. If he doesn't figure out what's causing the deaths and stop it, he might be the next to die!
Booklist gave REDSHIRTS a starred review and said, "Scalzi takes the reality-versus-fiction idea in a new and decidedly mind-bending direction. It’s hard to imagine a reader who wouldn’t enjoy this one."
Library Journal called it "humorous and thought-provoking" and said it will "appeal to fans of sf (especially Star Trek devotees) who like a good laugh along with their big ideas and space action."
Sound like something you want to start now? Download the first four chapters for free!Read more
I'm going to do things a little bit differently today. Normally we're all, "Frontlist! Frontlist! Frontlist!" up in here, but I want to make sure that you hear about two of my favorite gems from last year straight from the horse’s mouth (me being the horse, in this case). Paula Brackston’s enchanting debut, THE WITCH’S DAUGHTER, and Jo Walton’s magical semi-memoir, AMONG OTHERS, are both captivating character-driven historicals that celebrate outcast women with a knack for magic.
I read both of these books late in the marketing game (they’re both already out in paperback!), but I’m so glad I did.
From 17th century Wessex to Victorian London to the battlefields of World War I, immortal witch Bess Hawksmith attempts to redeem her soul by saving lives all the while pursued by the evil sorcerer who transformed her from mortal to witch.
Booklist said, “Brackston’s first novel offers well-crafted characters in an absorbing plot and an altogether delicious blend of historical fiction and fantasy.”
And we’ve made it oh-so-easy on book clubs! There’s an excellent reading guide in the paperback version including an interview, an essay, recommended reading, and discussion questions! See the Reading Group Gold guide here.
Read an excerpt from the beginning here on Tor.com!
This book is at once the story of a young boarding school student struggling to escape a troubled childhood, her journey of first encounters with great novels, and the tale of conquering an ancient enchantment.
You know this one’s going to be good because it was just nominated for the 2011 Nebula Award for Best Novel! Nebulas not your thing? Well, in a starred review Publishers Weekly said, “World Fantasy Award–winner Walton turns the magical boarding school story inside out in this compelling coming-of-age tale.” Still not convinced? What if I told you that Nancy Pearl said it’s a gem? Now, we’re talking!Read more
Happy Halloween, oh stewards of spook!
We know there are a few of you out there who relish this time of year in which you recommend the most terror-inducing, nightmare-summoning, fear-saturated horror literature you can get your little claws on.
We added a few scream-soaked reads to the top of this post. And feel free to browse our Horror fiction list for more ideas.
Wishing you much candy and only the friendliest of ghosts,
Talia & Ali