Monday, November 24, 2014

Victorian England

This fall I've found myself turning to books set in Victorian England. But just because they have similar settings doesn't mean these stories are all the same!
The Quick by Lauren Owen might be my favorite adult fiction of the year so far. Most of the publicity for the book has kept major information about the plot a secret, but here’s what I can tell you without spoiling anything (although  for me, that information was what made me pick the book up in the first place). In London in 1892, the young poet James Norbury is befriended by Christopher, a young aristocrat who introduces him to high society. When James vanishes, his older sister Charlotte searches for him, a quest which takes her among both the wealthiest and poorest parts of the city. Part historical literary novel and part genre novel, The Quick examines power and class structure of Victorian London, but doesn't skimp on terror or adventure.

The Asylum by John Harwood is a straight up novel of suspense. A young woman, Georgina Ferrars, wakes up in a private asylum with no memory of the past few weeks, and is told that she arrived there the day before under the name Lucy Ashton, then suffered a seizure. When he doctor telegrams her uncle back in London, the reply is that Georgina Ferrars is in London, so the woman must be an imposter. True to gothic storytelling, we get a glimpse into Georgina’s diary and letters as she struggles to find out what led her to the asylum—and what will lead her out of it. This book is ideal for fans of The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins.

The Illusionists by Rosie Thomas takes us into the strange and compelling world of theatrical performers. The charismatic and ambitious stage magician Devil Wix partners with a dwarf named Carlo to create an illusion called The Execution of the Philosopher at a newly reopened theater called the Palmyra. As their illusion increases in popularity, the two men align themselves with others such as Heinrich Bayer and his disturbingly lifelike automata, waxworker and artist Jasper Button, and the beautiful Eliza Dunlop. As the motley group struggles to make their shows at the Palmyra more and more successful, they face jealousies, romances, and even physical danger.

Do you have any favorite books set in Victorian England? Or does a different historical setting call out to you?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Fairytale Retellings

I love fairytale retellings. It’s amazing how creative authors can be, weaving bits of a story I already know into a completely new tale. The characters are old favorites, but the journey is completely different. Recently, I've enjoyed reading Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles series. She takes fairytale favorites and puts them in a futuristic high-tech world, while weaving their individual stories into an intertwined saga. The first three books are:

Linh Cinder is a cyborg from New Beijing who falls in love with a prince. When Scarlet Beniot’s grandmother goes missing, she enlists the help of a street fighter named Wolf to find her. Cress is a hacker who’s been confined to a satellite since her childhood, but now has the chance to escape.

The last two books are:

Queen Levana just wants to rule and be the fairest of them all. Fairest comes out January 2015. And then there’s the mysterious Winter, which doesn't come out until November 2015.

Will Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter prevail? Or will the future be in the hands of the evil queen?

Friday, November 7, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Do you know what NaNoWriMo is? It's National Novel Writing Month! People all over the country (and the world!) spend the month of November WRITING A BOOK! It's a really fun program, and a way for any of you budding novelists to get inspiration, support, and at least a good head start on getting that idea for a novel you've had for years written down.

Even if you're not up to committing to writing 50,000 words in one month (!!), you can still drop by the library and get inspiration for your writing life. Library Assistant Katie has put up a great little display near Reference at the Cartersville branch of books about writing. Here are a few:

Stephen King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Terry Brooks' Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons From a Writing Life
Suzanne Strempek Shea's Shelf Life: Romance, Mystery, Drama, and Other Page-Turning Adventures From a Year In a Bookstore

And if you need a little bit of a writing community to get you going, stop by our adult writing group, Writer's Block, on November 20th! Bring yourself, pen and paper, and be ready to get some writing done!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Library Reads

Have you heard of Library Reads? It's a great program that's been around for just over a year -- librarians around the country vote on their favorite books being published every month! Certainly you can always rely on the best seller lists for new books to read, but wouldn't you trust a librarian, too? Lots of great title selections from all kinds of genres. Check out the November list today! We also try to keep the current list at the Reference Desk at the Cartersville branch, so stop by and ask us for a reading suggestion! Be "in the know" about great new books coming to the library!

October's list has some great suggestions, too. Definitely check out As You Wish by Cary Elwes, about the making of the film The Princess Bride! It's so delightful. And Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver is great for Agatha Christie fans.