Tag Archives: hoboken public library

40 Years of Favorite Part Three: My Favorites From My Thirties

14 Feb

In honor of my milestone 40th birthday I created lists of books I loved as a child/teen and 20 something.  I’m finishing out my 40th year with a look at favorite books in my thirties.

31. Little, Big by John Crowley

little-big

One of the member of the library’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club, recently brought up this work and I remember how much I enjoyed reading it as an enjoyable escape while stuck in bed while recovering from the flu. Little, Big features a charming extended family living in a 19th Century mansion surrounded by a fairy filled forest. The enchanting novel is told from multiple family members perspectives.

32. Stardust by Neil Gaiman

stardust.jpg
I’ve talked in previous posts about my love of Neil Gaiman.  Another of his novels besides American Gods and Neverwhere that I have enjoyed is Stardust, which was adapted as a film in 2007 starring Claire Danes. The novel has a charming fairy tale like quality, with its story about a young man’s search for a fallen star to give to his beloved and is surprised to learn that star has a human form.  You have the option with the novel of the illustrated version or an updated version without illustrations.

33. Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair and 34. Shades of Grey

eyre-affair.jpgshades-grey

Jasper Fforde is one of my favorite authors. His work is uniquely quirky, which I love. His Thursday Next series beginning with The Eyre Affair, is about a literary detective who can literally jump into books and interact with the character there.  She has a pet dodo bird and a relative who travels through time.  For teens and adults who enjoy YA fiction, check out his Last Dragonslayer series.  I am eagerly awaiting the next in the Shades of Grey series, the original book of that name is now subtitled in later editions The Road to High Saffron, imagines a dystopian reality where everyone’s social class is determined by the specific colors they can see.

35. Fantasy Works of Kage Baker

house-stag

I had previously written in another post about one of my favorite Science Fiction series, The Company by Kage Baker, about immortelle cyborg who live forward perpetually in time. Besides that series, Baker also wrote several novels set in a fantasy world including The House of the Stag, The Anvil of the World, and The Bird of the River which can be checked out from BCCLS libraries. Like her science fiction works, the characters in her fantasy novels are complex and the stories thought provoking.

36. Donna Andrew’s Meg Langslow Mystery Series

gone-gull

I love Meg Langslow’s quirky mysteries. Like many in the cozy genre they all have a theme, in this case all in some way involve birds, which is unexpected considering that Meg isn’t an ornithologist, but a blacksmith. I discovered Andrews, after she had written several books in the series and I remember spending one summer reading one book after another.  Andrews had two new books out last year Gone Gull at the beginning of August and How the Finch Stole Christmas at the end of October, both of which I highly enjoyed.

37. Kerry Greenwood’s Mysteries

kerry-greenwood.jpg

Kerry Greenwood is my favorite mystery author so though I have written about her previously, I can’t resist mentioning her again.  Check out her fabulous Phryne Fisher series about a flapper in Australia or her contemporary series about baker Corrina Chapman.  Quirky characters are found throughout both.  Greenwood went on a bit of a writing hiatus, but she is currently working on her next Corrina mystery and fellow Phryne fans can check out her short story “Taking the Waters” in her American Publisher Poisoned Pen Presses 20th anniversary collection Bound by Mystery published last year.

38. Gail Carriger’s Steampunk Series

imprudence.jpg

I’ve probably written more about Gail Carriger’s works than any other author for this blog. I love the humor that infuses her cool supernatural steampunk, which also features a dash of romance. Check out her Parasol Protectorate series, Custard Protocol series, and Finishing School series and see if you agree!  The latest in the Custard Protocol series Competence is scheduled to be released in July.

39. Robin Paige’s Victorian/Edwardian Mystery Series

darling-dahlias

Robin Paige is the pen name of William and Susan Albert Wittig. In one of my first blog posts back in 2013, I discussed Susan Albert Witting’s Darling Dahilia series which is set in the 1930’s. I had discovered the Victorian-Edwardian Mysteries after the series had been completed and was re-released in paperback.  Although it can be sad when you learn there won’t be any more of something you love, it can also be delightful getting to binge on a series that has been completed.  I found the couple at the center of the mysteries charming and there is something sweet about knowing they were brought to life by a married duo of writers.  Part of the reason the series was ended was the amount of research it took the authors to achieve the authenticity of the books and you will come away with interesting knowledge of different aspects of the eras.

40. Jennifer Arena’s 100 Snowmen

100-snowmen

To end this list I decided to pick a recent favorite picture book read that I enjoy sharing with my son, since I know my love of books started early with my mom reading to me as a child and my dad passing on worn copies of his favorite speculative fiction when I was a teenager. My son loves math so much he is even fond of doing addition problems before bed along with me reading to him. Jennifer Arena’s 100 Snowmen combines his love of math with my love of reading as on each page there are simple addition problems to add up the Snowmen doing fun activities from snowball fights to hide and seek.  A fun read to checkout this winter with the kids in your life.

Tell us about some of your favorite reads from the various decades of your life in our comment section!

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

Historical Fantasies with Feisty Heroines by David D. Levine and R.S. Belcher

24 Jan

I’m always a fan of Gaslight Fantasies, Steampunk, and other forms of retro futurism.  Recently I enjoyed two very different takes on the female adventurer/pirate that I hope you want to check out too.  All are available from the Hoboken Public Library and other BCCLS libraries.

Arabella of Mars & Arabella and the Battle of Venus by David D. Levine

arabella-marsarabella-battle-venus.jpg
Arabella of Mars had been on my to-be-read list since it came out last summer so when the sequel Arabella and the Battle of Venus came out this past July, I decided it was time to read both.  Fans of steampunk and quirky, feisty heroines will enjoy this novel which begins in 1812 in a world where Napoleon is causing trouble for not only England and Europe, but other alien inhabited planets.  Arabella Ashby was raised on Mars where she is able to have more freedom and adventures than women typically had on earth, but all that changes when her mother decides to bring her back to England in order to make a lady of her.  However when a beloved family member left behind is threatened Arabella will do anything to get back and save the day.  In Arabella and the Battle of Venus, Arabella must come to the rescue of another loved one, this time being held hostage on Venus.  I found Levine’s writing style enjoyable and I loved the creative quirky retro-futurist details like the whales which swim amongst the stars.  The novels though found in the Adult Fiction section here at the Hoboken Library, would definitely be of interest to teens and tweens as well and won the 2017 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult SF & Fantasy.  Check them out and see why I can’t wait for the next in the series (tentatively titled Arabella and the Winds of Phobos or Arabella the Traitor of Mars according to Levine’s blog).

The Queen of Swords by R.S. Belcher

queen-swords.jpg
The Queen of Swords is the third in R.S. Belcher’s Golgotha series.  Although the series is mainly set in the Weird West, this novel takes place mainly in New England and Africa.  I enjoyed the first in the series The Six Gun Tarot which reminded me a bit of Stephen King’s The Gunslinger merged with HP Lovecraft elder gods, but I enjoyed The Queen of Swords even more because it focuses on my favorite character of the series, Maude Stapleton, a seemingly proper Victorian lady, who is secretly, one of the Daughters of Lilith, an ancient organization seeking to protect humanity.  In this novel it intersperses Maude’s efforts to get her kidnapped daughter back with the story of her ancestor, Anne Bonny, a pirate queen.  Unlike with Like in Levine’s stories both Maude and Anne must contend with being underestimated and oppressed by a society that views them as weak despite their wit and physical abilities.  This series has more violence and adult content than in Levine’s works so are more appropriate for an older audience and it is more a blend of horror/ historic fantasy.  Although there are spoilers for previous books, so you may want to read the first two books in the series first, this entry stands well on its own.

Like these books; then check out my previous posts about Gail Carriger’s Steampunk series, Catherynne M. Valente’s Radiance, and Leanna Renee Heieber’s The Eterna Files, and Liesel Schwarz’s The Chronicles of Light and Shadow for more strong female protagonists in speculative fiction.

Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

%d bloggers like this: