Archive | June, 2021

A Thrilling Finale: Ruin and Rising

16 Jun

Previously I had reviewed the first and second book in the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. The third and final book of the first trilogy, Ruin and Rising, we find Alina and our band of heroes preparing for the final confrontation while facing other threats along the way.

Once again Bardugo delivers on the narration of the book, showing the effects the events of the past two book have had on the characters and how they will handle the challenges yet to come.

Of course like with any trilogy, things are also revealed not only about the characters, but within the plot as well. The characters don’t get out of situations easily and some of them are changed in ways we don’t see coming.

Ruin and Rising is a thrilling finale that leaves doors open for a series continuation with an all new adventure. It is available from eLibraryNJ and eBCCLS as an ebook and in print from BCCLS libraries.

Written By:
Lauren Lapinski
Circulation Assistant

Celebrating Trans and Non-Binary Speculative Fiction Authors for LGBTQ Pride Month

9 Jun

We’ve read some great Speculative Fiction works as part of our Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Discussion Group by Trans and Non-Binary (sometimes you may also see Non-Binary individuals referred to as enby because of the letters n and b) authors recently, which had been recommended by group members, and I thought Pride Month would be a perfect time to share them with our larger library community. You can borrow their books from the Hoboken Public Library as print or ebooks from eLibraryNJ or Hoopla. Hopefully their success will be an example for other individuals who have not yet felt comfortable acknowledging their own identities, and their work will stand as compassionate depictions of diversity for all readers.

Annalee Newitz
Author of: The Future of Another Timeline
I had written a previous blog about Robots that included Newitz’s first novel Autonomous, which I enjoyed a lot, but I think I liked their 2019 novel, The Future of Another Timeline even more.  We read it for our November 2020 Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Discussion.  In the novel two groups of time travelers, use time machines that seemed to have always excited in certain geological formations, try and work against each other to make small changes that could have big consequences in the future.  A chunk of the action takes place in the grunge scene of the 90’s that had me nostalgic for my own young adult years.  My favorite scenes, however, were those set during the time of the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, which Newitz brought vividly to life.  I appreciated that they included information at the end of the novel about their real life inspiration for historic characters and the historic events that inspired them.  Newitz identifies as being non-binary (Newitz started using they pronouns in 2019) and there is a touching side story about a couple, one of whom is trans and is purposefully removed at one point from the timeline due to her identity.  There are moments of violence which could be triggering to some, but on the whole I’d recommend the book especially to those looking for science fiction with a strong feminist and/or queer perspective. Both their books are available from elibraryNJ (Hoboken patrons have exclusive access when logging in with their barcodes).

Rin Chupeco
Author of: The Bone Witch
Rin Chupeco identifies as being pansexual and non-binary.  They are of Chinese, Malay, Thai, and Filipino descent, but currently live in and grew up in the Philippines.  We read their book Bone Witch for our July 2020 Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Discussion.  Bone Witch is the first in a YA trilogy followed by The Heart Forger, and Shadowglass.  The group enjoyed the story of Tea who comes from a family of witches, but whose talent for necromancy while making her the most powerful also ostracizes her from those she loves.  Several members remarked that it had elements of Memoirs of a Geisha, but beyond those references there is a larger detailed world populated by interestingly nuanced cultures and traditions in this epic fantasy.  One of the side characters, perhaps my favorite in the book, was depicted as possibly being trans.  In a recent social media post, Chupeco mentioned that they plans to have a focus on nonbinary characters as protagonists in their fiction that they are currently writing. You can borrow the Bone Witch series from Hoopla.

Charlie Jane Anders
Author of: All the Birds in The Sky
Charlie Jane Anders was founder and co-editor, with Annalee Newitz, of the science fiction blog io9 and currently the partners have a podcast, Our Opinions are Correct.  We read All the Birds in The Sky for last month’s book discussion.  It definitely ranks as one of my favorites we have read as part of our book discussion group and several of the other members also agreed.  It merges science fiction and fantasy, with Laurence, a robotics genius, and Patricia, a witch, who become friends as outcasts in middle school only to be torn apart and then meet again as adults.  In an interview with the Huffington Post, Anders said, ““The feeling of alienation and of difference is something that is threaded throughout speculative fiction. My experiences as a trans person always come back in my writing,” particularly “the desperate struggle to claim your identity … an identity that people either don’t understand or are hostile to.”  Both Patricia and Laurence want to save the world, but what that looks like for magic and what that looks like for science are two very different things.  Can two such diverse people come together?  I really enjoyed the humor and creativity in the work.  I look forward to reading more works by Anders in the future (her new YA novel Victories Greater Than Death came out in April). You can borrow All the Birds in the Sky from eLibraryNJ (Hoboken patrons have exclusive access when logging in with their barcodes).

Have a favorite book with a positive depiction of a Trans or Non-Binary character, or a favorite author to read for LGBTQ Pride Month?  Share them in our comment section!

If you are interested in our Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Discussion Group you can email hplwriters@gmail.com for more information and to be added to our mailing lists. We read works by a diverse group of authors, everything from classics of early Science Fiction like Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to contemporary Urban Fantasy like Vivian Shaw’s Strange Practice. You can read some of our past book club blog posts here.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Information and Digital Services

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