Tag Archives: Genres

The Romance Garden!

Did you know that August is “Read A Romance Month”?  Neither did we!  But it is, so we are more than happy to celebrate anything and everything book related.

RARM 2016 square
Via http://www.readaromancemonth.com/about-read-a-romance-month-2/

Read A Romance Month” was conceived and launched in 2013 by freelance writer and romance advocate Bobbi Dumas, after she realized there was no one place where the community celebrated romance all together, at one time, in a concentrated way.  So why not enjoy these sweltering, sizzling summer days with a few good, steamy romance?  Check out the display in the Main Library for some titles, and be sure to check out our genre experts monthly selections below!

Bridget: The Bride Who Got Lucky by Janna McGregor

This is one of those rare books that are almost betrayed by their descriptions, because, while the plot of this book is interesting, the real joy comes from the interactions between the protagonists between the action.  Their chemistry is tangible, and I adored the way their connection helped them evolve and redeem themselves, and each other.

Lady Emma Cavensham is on a mission, determined to prove that her beloved friend’s death came at the hands of her ruthless husband.  Naturally, because this is a romance, her quest is foiled by a compromising moment with a long-time acquaintance…who may just be the perfect partner for all her live’s adventures.  Nicholas St. Mauer learned the hard way not to put faith in any relationship.  Having been raised by a genuinely unloving and unlovable father, Nick doesn’t know how to be lovable, or how to properly show love to others, even though Emma once tried.  Now that their names and reputations have been linked inextricably together, Nick realizes that he has no choice but to make Emma his bride.  But can he ever make her happy?  And how on earth can he keep her safe in the bargain?

As I mentioned, McGregor is a master of the little details, and this book is proof.  Emma’s relationship with Nick grows through small shared moments of laughter and honest that make the bond between them something unique and wonderfully powerful.  I loved how she and Nick found healing and acceptance together, and gave each other hope that their future together would be better than their pasts alone.  I was also generally impressed with the way Emma’s quest turned out.  This isn’t a simple comparison where the hero and villain are identical foils to each other, and the result is a thought-provoking plot line that adds, rather than distracts from the romance between Emma and Nick.  While this is the second book in the Cavensham Heiress series, new readers won’t have any trouble jumping into this series from here.

Gladiolus is one of August’s birthday flower. Image Credit: Eden Brothers

Kelley: Born to be Wilde by Eloisa James

When I’m looking for a romance that I know without question will be a good one, Eloisa James is one of my go-to authors. Her story lines are unique, her characters both main and secondary are people worth getting to know, and she always manages to slip in some Shakespeare references for good measure. Born to be Wilde is the third in James’ “The WIldes of Lindow Castle” series, and it’s every bit as good as the first two books.

The eccentric Wilde family is as much a force of nature as the bog that abuts their castle. Alaric is a world adventurer and writer who inspired the prints that made the family into reluctant celebrities; North is a former dandy turned rakish war veteran; and Parth Sterling, the hero of this book, is the honorary Wilde, the brother adopted when his parents died in India and the one who is now the most successful and wealthy bachelor in England. The brothers are lovingly guided by their stubborn and big-hearted Aunt Knowe who helped their father raise them after their mother died, and Lindow Castle is also full of energetic younger Wildes from the dukes second marriage.

As a cousin to North’s fiance, Diana, and close friend of Alaric’s wife, WIlla, Lavinia Gray finds herself a part of the boisterous Wilde clan frequently. Lavinia is smart, fashionable, and gets along well with everyone. With the exception of Parth. When Parth and Lavinia come together, every conversation turns to needling and ends in an argument, but when Lavinia finds that her mother has entirely lost her dowry and their fortune, she is forced to propose marriage to the man she has called “Appalling Parth” for years. More mortifying still, he says no. Protective by nature and a top-notch problem solver, although Parth refuses to marry Lavinia, he does agree to help her find a husband. But once he does, can he live with the idea of Lavinia marrying another man? It could just turn out that the sparks that fly between them might be something more.

Lavinia’s character is one of the greatest strengths of this book. Watching her come to respect and love the things that she once condemned about herself, and then to settle for no less than a man who will do the same, will have readers cheering for her. Eloisa James has done it again. Happy reading, romance lovers!

 

Until next month, beloved patrons–we hope you find plenty of romances to enjoy for “Read a Romance Month”!

Resolve to Read 2018: A Mystery By a Person of Color or LGBTQ+ Author

As we mentioned here previously, we here at the Library are Resolving to Read (more…different….) in 2018, and tackling both Book Riot’s and Scholastic’s 2018 Reading Challenges.  In the hopes of encouraging you to broader your literary horizons along with us, here are some suggestions for books that fall within the categories of the various challenges.

Today’s Challenge: Book Riot 2018 Read Harder Challenge
Category: A Mystery By a Person of Color of LGBTQ+ Author 

This is one of those great aspects of the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge that actually makes you think…we all love and respect the #WeNeedDiverseBooks, which helps us recognize and celebrate diversity in children’s literature–but how diverse are the grown-up books I am reading?  Whose books are getting promoted in ads and book displays?  What can I do to change that?

You can start here, by trying out some of the sensational mysteries in this category of the Book Riot challenge.

The neat thing about these mysteries is the way they challenge their genres, by rethinking commonly-held assumptions, perceiving of characters and their relationships in new ways, and presenting a different view on the world than you might otherwise find in books that are more “mainstream” (“mainstream” in this case meaning “books that are readily advertised and often indistinguishable from their fellows based on premise and cover design alone).  So this is one of those challenges that helps you expand your literary and personal horizons by doing that which we all know you already love to do–read!  Here are just a few titles to get you started on your quest, but we’re always here to help you find more!

Wife of the Gods by Kwei J. Quartey:Detective Inspector Darko Dawson is a dedicated family man, a rebel in the office and an ace in the field.  When we first meet Dawson, he’s been ordered by his cantankerous boss to leave behind his loving wife and young son in Ghana’s capital city to lead a murder investigation: In a shady grove outside the small town of Ketanu, a young woman—a promising medical student—has been found dead under suspicious circumstances. Dawson is fluent in Ketanu’s indigenous language, so he’s the right man for the job, but the local police are less than thrilled with an outsider’s interference.  But Dawson’s past is also waiting for him in Ketanu in the form of the family he left behind twenty-five years earlier after his mother’s mysterious disappearance.  And in Delving deeper into the student’s haunting death, Dawson will uncover long-buried secrets that, to his surprise, hit much too close to home.  Quartey’s books are funny, insightful, and expertly-crafted, and offer the chance for armchair travelers everywhere to visit places in Africa that are not featured on any prime time specials.  Readers who enjoy this book will be delighted to hear that there is a whole series feature D.I. Dawson for you to enjoy!

Murder in G Major by Alexia Gordon: With few other options, African-American classical musician Gethsemane Brown accepts a less-than-ideal position turning a group of rowdy schoolboys into an award-winning orchestra. Stranded without luggage or money in the Irish countryside, she figures any job is better than none. The perk? Housesitting a lovely cliffside cottage. The catch? The ghost of the cottage’s murdered owner haunts the place. Falsely accused of killing his wife (and himself), he begs Gethsemane to clear his name so he can rest in peace. Gethsemane’s reluctant investigation provokes a dormant killer and she soon finds herself in grave danger. As Gethsemane races to prevent a deadly encore, will she uncover the truth or star in her own farewell performance?   This is a terrific book about fishes-out-of-water, cultural clashes, music, and ghosts that, thankfully, is also the beginning of a winning series that continues Gethsemane’s adventures (misadventures?) in Ireland.

The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan: This is a book that delves deeply into real-world atrocities, even as it spins a moving tale about trust, belonging, and truth-telling that makes for a hard-to-forget read.  Despite their many differences, Detective Rachel Getty trusts her boss, Esa Khattak, implicitly. But she’s still uneasy at Khattak’s tight-lipped secrecy when he asks her to look into Christopher Drayton’s death. Drayton’s apparently accidental fall from a cliff doesn’t seem to warrant a police investigation, particularly not from Rachel and Khattak’s team, which handles minority-sensitive cases. But when she learns that Drayton may have been living under an assumed name, Rachel begins to understand why Khattak is tip-toeing around this case. It soon comes to light that Drayton may have been a war criminal with ties to the Srebrenica massacre of 1995.  Khan holds a Ph.D. in International Human Rights Law, and uses actual eyewitness testimony to the massacre at Srebrenica  throughout the book, making for difficult, but vitally necessary reading.  This is also the first book in a series, so readers who find this hybrid kind of mystery will have plenty of fodder for further reading.

The Arnifour Affair by Gregory Harris: Those of you looking for a historical mystery, have no fear–Colin Pendragon’s adventures are sure to keep you enthralled.  When a carriage bearing the Arnifour family crest–a vulture devouring a slaughtered lamb–arrives at the Kensington home of Colin Pendragon, it is an ominous beginning to a perplexing new case. Lady Arnifour’s husband has been beaten to death and her niece, Elsbeth, left in a coma. Is the motive passion, revenge, or something even more sinister? Police suspicions have fallen on the groundskeeper and his son, yet the Earl’s widow is convinced of their innocence. Even as Colin and his partner Ethan Pruitt delve into the muddy history of the Arnifour family, a young street urchin begs their help in finding his missing sister. Ethan, regrettably familiar with London’s underbelly, urges caution, yet Colin’s interest is piqued.  The links between the two cases seems extraordinary, and yet, as Colin and Ethan journey across Regency London, from the slums to the highest echelons of society, they begin to unravel a secret larger and more complex than they ever imagined.  There is an air of Sherlock Holmes to these mysteries, but Harris revels in the complexities of his characters and their relationships far more than Doyle ever did, making this book (also, no surprise, the beginning of a series) a layered, complex, and wholly engaging one.

Until next time, dear readers, keep on keeping on, and enjoy your Resolution to Read!

The Romance Garden!

Romance is everywhere, dear readers.  Love stories can be found everywhere–not only in romance novels.  We’re not just talking about “some of the characters are married or getting married” plot lines.  We’re talking about the kind of slow-burning, evolving, enriching love stories that romance readers know and love.  They just take place on the pages of a book that is shelved in mystery, perhaps.  Or science fiction.  Or thriller.   Indeed, there are a number of established romance authors who work across genres, and bring their skills in crafting relationships to any number of different books, stories, and genres.

So, perhaps you are a reader who would like more romance in your life, but aren’t really in the mood for a full-on romance?  Or perhaps the romances are your favorite part of other genre installments?  Here are a few suggestions for you from our genre experts for “Romance in non-romance genres”.  We hope you find some inspiration for your next romantic read!

Murder on Black Swan Lane: The author of this intriguing series, Andrea Penrose, also writes historical romance novels under the name of Cara Elliott, and she brings the same nuanced character development, insight, and chemistry to this tale of murder, international intrigue and…well…chemistry.  The Earl of   (fans of Elliott’s work will remember this name!) has been plagued by the satirical cartoons of A.J. Quill, an artist as brilliant as he in ruthless in skewering the hypocrisy and debauchery of the aristocracy.  But then the clergyman is found slain in a church—his face burned by chemicals, his throat slashed ear to ear—and Wrexford finds himself the chief suspect.  Charlotte Sloan has been using her deceased husband’s pseudonym, A.J. Quill, drawing cartoons in order to keep poverty from the door.  Having anyone discover her secret would be disastrous–until Wrexford discovers her.  Instead of revealing her, however, he offers her a deal—use her sources to unveil the clergyman’s clandestine involvement in questionable scientific practices, and unmask the real murderer.  This is a pair unlike in temperament, class, and outlook, but they work together beautifully, and Penrose expertly crafts the bond between them that will keep readers spellbound even as the mystery they investigate grows ever deadlier.  If you enjoy this book, be sure to check out the second–Murder at Half Moon Gate.  It’s even better, believe me!

What Angels Fear: If historical mysteries are your cup of tea, I cannot recommend C.S. Harris’ series featuring Sebastian St. Cyr more highly.  These mysteries are expertly crafted, the danger is real, and the history is delightful.  But at the heart of this series is a hero who has had his heart broken too many times, and has a huge amount of emotional growing-up to do.  And Harris makes him do it.  As a result, the long plot arcs in this series, featuring St. Cyr’s family drama, clandestine romances, and finally finding a real true love, are unpredictable, daring, and wonderfully fulfilling.  These stories have a bit more mystery in them than Penrose’s, but the romance, the angst, and the true love, are critically important, too!  In this first book in the series, St. Cyr is the prime suspect in a the brutal rape and murder of a young woman whose body is left in an ancient church.  Desperate to save his own skin, and ever-ready to settle old debts, St. Cyr sets out to find the true culprit–and nearly upends the reign of the Prince Regent in the process.

 

SecurityGina Wohlsdorf’s debut was by far and away one of the most unexpected, unpredictable, and strangely moving books I’ve read in a long time.  On the surface, this is a book about a hotel–the most secure, technologically-advanced, luxurious hotel ever built.  Security cameras, sound-recording devices, and a wealth of other high-tech devices have been installed to ensure that guests enjoy the ultimate in comfort, privacy, and security.  But when the security system is hacked, allowing a band of unknown, vicious killers into the building, the Manderly Resort becomes a slaughter-house.  Beneath the surface, however, this is a story about human relationships–specifically, the relationship between hotel manager Tessa and the man who has come to visit her.  And the security guard who watches it all.  To tell you anymore would be to ruin the surprise of this book, but if you are in the mood for something that will, quite seriously, provide you with All The Feelings, from fear to passion, from creeping terror to jubilation, this is the book for you!

 

WeA classic science-fiction/dystopian novel, Yevgeny Zamyatin’s 1921 novel (inspired by his own experiences during the Russian Revolution and Civil War) predates George Orwell and Aldous Huxley, and does it will chilling insight and stunning imagery.  But even as this book tells the story of a “world at harmony” in a totalitarian state where no one has names or individual identities, it’s also a love story.  Like all other citizens of One State, D-503 lives in a glass apartment building and is carefully watched by the secret police, or Bureau of Guardians. D-503’s lover, O-90, has been assigned by One State to visit him on certain nights.  But then, D-503 meets I-330, and his whole life is turned upside down.  And not only his life–1-330 is the leader of a revolutionary group determined to bring humanity and bird song back to the city in which she lives.  Though the results of this book aren’t specifically happy, this is a book that validates and celebrates the power of love in all its forms over and over again.  And in that way, it’s a truly powerful love story.

 

Until next month, beloved patrons–may you love all that you read!

The 2018 Hugo Award Nominees!

The Hugo Award is the the longest running prize for science fiction or fantasy works, having been established in 1953.  Up until 1992, the award was known simply as the Science Fiction Achievement Awards, but was subsequently named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories.  Gernsback was also responsible for creating the idea of a ‘fandom’, to describe a group of people who share a cultural bond over their love of a particular genre–in this case, weird/science fiction.   When readers wrote into Amazing Stories, their addresses were published along with their letters.  As a result readers began to become aware of themselves as fans, and to recognize their collective identity as devotees of the science fiction genre–not bad for 1926.

Since 1993,  Worldcon committees have had the option of awarding Retrospective Hugo Awards for past Worldcon years (1939 onwards) where they had not been presented.  This year, the retrospective awards for 1943 were also announced, which you can read here.

The Hugo Award Trophy, via The Hugo Awards

We’ve discussed at length the problems inherent in the awarding of the Hugos, and several attempts over the last few years to sabotage the process by the groups known as the “Sad Puppies” and the “Rabid Puppies.”  However, as we also noted, saner heads prevailed, the Hugos produced an optimistically diverse and inclusive group of winners last year.  It’s a trend we can only hope will continue, as access to as many types of stories, by as diverse a group of humans as possible can only benefit us, and our imaginations.

So, without further ado, here is a curated list of Hugo Award nominees, with links to the titles available at the Library.  You can read the full list here.

Best Novel

Best Series

Best Graphic Story

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

  • Blade Runner 2049, written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, directed by Denis Villeneuve
  • Get Out, written and directed by Jordan Peele
  • The Shape of Water, written by Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, directed by Guillermo del Toro
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi, written and directed by Rian Johnson
  • Thor: Ragnarok, written by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher Yost; directed by Taika Waititi
  • Wonder Woman, screenplay by Allan Heinberg, story by Zack Snyder & Allan Heinberg and Jason Fuchs, directed by Patty Jenkins

There are two other Awards administered by Worldcon 76 that are not Hugo Awards:

Award for Best Young Adult Book

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

Congratulations to all the Hugo Award Nominees!  We’ll check back in when the winners are announced

The Romance Garden!

Well, you wouldn’t know it from looking out the window, beloved patrons, but it is most certainly calendar Spring, even if it’s not actually Spring outside.  But that is just another reason why our literary garden, filled with books about true love and changing fortunes and changing lives, intrigue and romance, is so terrific.  So join us as our genre aficionados offer you their picks for the month, and we hope you’ll find a new book (or a new genre entirely?) to savor until the warmth of the sun gets the real flowers to growing again!

Bridget: A Good Day to Marry a Duke by Betina Krahn

It isn’t often that books make me giggle out loud, but Betina Krahn’s outlandish sense of humor, and utterly delightful characters had me snickering from the first scene right up to the heartwarming finale.

Daisy Bumgarten’s disastrous debut among New York’s privileged set meant that her chances of finding a husband close to home were ruined.  So, determined to help and provide for her sisters, the plucky Nevada native sets sail to England, hoping to make a good a match as possible across the pond.  Once there, everything seems to be going to plan, and Daisy is taken under a countess’ wing and offered comprehensive lessons for a duchess-to-be.  But when the notorious Lord Ashton Graham, a distraction of the most dangerous kind, determines that Daisy’s feisty façade hides devious plans, and determines to reveal every one of them.  The two butt heads in the most dramatic–and unexpected–fashion, but when a plot threatens to show up Daisy as unworthy of the aristocracy, will Ashton be her worst detractor? Or the nobleman she needs most of all?

As much as I loved the arch humor in this book, I also loved the characters.  There were plenty of opportunities to make either Daisy or Ashton into caricatures, but they remained three-dimensional, wholly empathetic characters throughout this story.  And I adored that Daisy wasn’t afraid to call out macho posturing and covert misogyny whenever it appeared.  All in all, this was a sensational opening to Krahn’s Sin and Sensibility series, and I for one can’t wait for more!

Kelley: Hello Stranger by Lisa Kleypas

If you’re looking for a historical romance that offers something different from the norm, Lisa Kleypas’ latest entry in the “Ravenels” series is a good choice. Dr. Garrett Gibson is the only female doctor in London, and Ethan Ransom is is a former Scotland Yard detective now rumored to be involved in darker work. The two come together just as Ethan finds himself involved in an extremely risky assignment that could endanger them both. Right away, we know this book isn’t about dukes and duchesses, or earls and countesses. Instead of balls, mansions, trips to the modiste, and lives of leisure, Garrett and Ethan give readers a glimpse into a London that has dark alleys, street food, flats, and meaningful work.

Garrett believed so fully in her calling that, knowing English medical programs would not accept female students, she went to France to earn her medical degree, even though she knew that attracting patients and overcoming skepticism would be an uphill battle when she returned to London. Her profession and education lead her to live a life more typical to a man than a woman, and Ethan Ranson is drawn immediately to her courage, smarts, and individuality. Both characters are independent and deeply dedicated to their careers, but where Garrett is science-minded and practical, Ethan is passionate and poetic, and those differences prove to be the things that make them stronger together than apart.

If you’ve read previous “Ravenels” books you’ll recognize some of the supporting characters in this story, but despite their appearances in the book, Hello Stranger has a very different feel than other entries in the series. As always, Kleypas offers characters with real depth, and a story line that keeps the pages turning. Happy reading!

Until next month, dear readers, enjoy!

Resolve to Read 2018: A Book of True Crime

As we mentioned here previously, we here at the Library are Resolving to Read (more…different….) in 2018, and tackling both Book Riot’s and Scholastic’s 2018 Reading Challenges.  In the hopes of encouraging you to broader your literary horizons along with us, here are some suggestions for books that fall within the categories of the various challenges.

Today’s Challenge: Book Riot 2018 Read Harder Challenge
Category: A Book of True Crime

“True Crime” is a rich and diverse genre, that taps into some of our most basic human tendencies: creating narratives to explain how things happened, providing closure to questions and events, and helping us understand what makes other people tick, and why they do what they do.  The lurid details that many of them provide only add to the appeal of these books that often combine superlative research and analysis with visceral violence.

The neat thing about true crime is how wide a scope it covers in terms of its material.  Fans of Law and Order or CSI might feel instantly at home in this genre, but there is room for a surprisingly wide array of interesting.  History, science, government, economics…all can form the basis of a sensational true crime book.  So even if you’re not a dedicated scholar of jurisprudence or police work, there is still a wealth of books for you to savor within this genre!

Via TED Talks

True crime is also a genre that is maturing and evolving constantly, and, as Book Riot points out in their list, is a field that is getting better as a result of more diversity among the authors and subject matter they cover.  So here are some of our picks for some sensational reads for your 2018 Resolution.  We made a point to select books that both represented the diversity in the genre, as well as the many different angles that true crime can take!

Truevine : two brothers, a kidnapping, and a mother’s quest : a true story of the Jim Crow SouthAt the heart of Beth Macy’s enormously wide-ranging book is the kidnapping of two young boys from the tobacco farm on which they lived and worked in 1899.  George and Willie Muse, both albino Blacks, ended up being sold to the circus, performing in sideshows around the United States, as well as in Buckingham Palace and Madison Square Garden.  Their popularity was a result of their skin color and the outlandish performances that were staged for them, presenting them as everything from cannibals from remote jungles to martians.  But even as Macy shares George and Willie’s remarkable story, she also tells the story of their mother’s quest to find them again.  This is a book that was decades in the researching and making, and is jam-packed full of details, not only about the Muse family and their incredible life stories, but also the history of the circus in the United States, the realities of Jim Crow policies and laws in the American South, and the travel narrative of Macy’s research, all of which combines to create haunting and memorable story.

The Fact of a Body : A Murder and a Memoir:  Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich’s genre-bending book was highlighted by many as one of the best of 2017…and for good person.  Intensely personal, unflinching in its dedication, and absolutely gripping, this is both the story of a child murderer named Rickey Langley and the Marzano-Lesnevich’s personal history.  On her first day at work for a New Orleans defense firm, Marzano-Lesnevich was shown a video of Langley.  Though staunchly opposed to the death penalty, watching that tape, she explains, she wanted to see this man dead.  As a victim of child abuse herself, the reaction in an understandable one.  But as Marzano-Lesnevich wades deeper into her own story, trying to navigate her sense of betrayal, not only at the family member who perpetrated the abuse, but the family members who did nothing concrete to stop it.  This book succeeds best when Marzano-Lesnevich deals with personal issues.  Her exploration of Langley isn’t quite as searing, but this is still a book that will hold the interest of devoted true crime readers and those readers who love memoirs and family dramas, as well.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer: For more than ten years, an unknown predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he committed ten murders. The person then disappeared, and has eluded capture even since.  Three decades later, true crime journalist Michelle McNamara, resolved to discover the identity of the person she called “the Golden State Killer.” Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.  Her research is staggering in its depth and insight, and the energy that she invested in this case brings her story to life.  Michelle, sadly, passed away while writing this book, and it was completed in her memory by her lead researcher.  Though there isn’t the closure of a perpetrator at the end of this story, it’s almost more memorable for being open-ended.  This is a book that forces the reader to reckon with the aftermath of violent crimes, and to peer into the lives of people who are forever defined–and forever damaged–by their involvement with this case.  This is a book that is already being hailed as a classic in the true crime genre, and offers plenty of goodies for readers who revel in clues and conspiracies.  The introduction by Gillian Flynn only adds to the appeal.

Midnight in Peking: Paul French’s riveting book focuses on the unsolved murder of a British schoolgirl in January 1937.  The mutilated body of Pamela Werner was found at the base of the Fox Tower–a place that, in local superstition, is home to the maliciously seductive fox spirits As British detective Dennis and Chinese detective Han investigate the mystery only deepens and in a city on the verge of invasion rumor and superstition run rampant.  This is not only the story of a single investigation, but of on an extraordinary time: In 1937, a clash between Chinese and Japanese troops outside Beiping triggered the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War, and would lead to Peking being renamed Beijing.  This is a story of the last chaotic days before the outbreak of that war, and the way that international journalists covered not only the murder of Pamela Werner, but also the land in which she was killed.  French is and analyst and commentator on China and North Korea, and that expertise shines through in this book that is as much a political history as it is a true crime tale.

The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan: A Boy Avenger, a Nazi Diplomat, and a Murder in ParisOn the morning of November 7, 1938, Herschel Grynszpan, a desperate seventeen-year-old Jewish refugee, walked into the German embassy in Paris and shot Ernst vom Rath, a Nazi diplomat. Two days later vom Rath lay dead, and the Third Reich exploited the murder to unleash Kristallnacht in a bizarre concatenation of events that would rapidly involve Ribbentrop, Goebbels, and Hitler himself. But was Grynszpan a crazed lone gunman or agent provocateur of the Gestapo? Was he motivated by a desire to avenge Jewish people, or did his act of violence speak to an intimate connection between the assassin and his target, as Grynszpan later claimed? Jonathan Kirsch’s book is part true-crime legal drama, and part historical detective work that digs to the roots of a nearly-forgotten story that has huge implications for our understanding of the Holocaust and Nazi occupation of Europe.  His concluding meditations on the nature of resistance (which may or may not be relevant to this story–you’ll have to decide for yourself) are really thought-provoking, and add another dimension to an already compelling book.

 

Until next time, beloved patrons–good luck with those resolutions!

Awards Season: The Bram Stoker Awards!

It’s awards season this year, and we at the Library are thrilled to bring you all the winners–not just from last night’s Academy Awards, but from this year’s Bram Stoker Awards, which were handed out this weekend in Providence Rhode Island!

Each year, the Horror Writer’s Association presents the Bram Stoker Awards for Superior Achievement, named in honor of Bram Stoker, author of the horror novel to beat all horror novels (and Free For All favorite), Dracula. The Bram Stoker Awards were instituted immediately after the organization’s incorporation in 1987.  The first awards were presented in 1988 (for works published in 1987), and they have been presented every year since. The award itself, designed by sculptor Steven Kirk, is a stunning haunted house, with a door that opens to reveal a brass plaque engraved with the name of the winning work and its author.

How amazing is this?!

The Stoker Awards specifically avoid the word “best”, because it recognizes that horror itself is a genre that is constantly moving, changing, and pushing its own boundaries (and can often be very specific to a place, or a generation).  Instead, it uses the words “Superior Achievement”.  The categories of award have changed over the years, as well, as the genre has evolved, but since 2011, the eleven Bram Stoker Award categories are: Novel, First Novel, Short Fiction, Long Fiction, Young Adult, Fiction Collection, Poetry Collection, Anthology, Screenplay, Graphic Novel and Non-Fiction.

We’ll have some more information regarding Stokercon, the annual meeting of the Horror Writers of America from one of our library staff who attended part of convention, but for now, let’s celebrate the winners (and maybe find some new books to enjoy?)!

Here is a selection of the nominees and winners of the 2017 Bram Stoker Awards, with links to the Library Catalog in the title of each book where applicable:

Superior Achievement in a Novel

Winner: Ararat by Christopher Golden

Also nominated:

Sleeping Beauties by Stephen & Owen King

Black Mad Wheel by Josh Malerman

I Wish I Was Like You by S.P. Miskowski (access this title via ComCat–check with your friendly reference staff!)

Ubo by Steve Rasnic Tem

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

Winner: Cold Cuts by Robert Payne Cabeen

Also nominated:

In the Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson

What Do Monsters Fear? by Matt Hayward

The Boulevard Monster by Jeremy Hepler (access this title via ComCat–check with your friendly reference staff!)

Kill Creek by Scott Thomas

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

Winner: The Last Harvest by Kim Liggett

Also nominated:

The Door to January by Gillian French

Hellworld by Tom Leveen

The Ravenous  by Amy Lukavics

When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

Winner: Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Damian Duffy and Octavia E. Butler

Also nominated:

Darkness Visible by Mike Carey and Ethan David Arvind

My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris

The Black Monday Murders by Jonathan Hickman (access this title via ComCat–check with your friendly reference staff!)

Monstress Volume 2 by Marjorie Liu

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

Winner: Get Out by Jordan Peele

Also nominated:

The Shape of Water by Guillermo Del Toro and Vanessa Taylor

Stranger Things: MadMax (Episode 2:01) by Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer (Season 2 isn’t available yet, but once it is, we’ll have it for you!)

Twin Peaks, Part 8 by Mark Frost and David Lynch

It by Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, and Gary Dauberman

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

Winner: Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of the ’70’s and ’80’s Horror Fiction by Grady Hendrix

Also nominated:

Horror in Space: Critical Essays on a Film Subgenre by Michele Brittany (access this title via ComCat–check with your friendly reference staff!)

Searching for Sycorax: Black Women’s Hauntings of Contemporary Horror by Kinitra D. Brooks

The Art of Horror Movies: An Illustrated History by Stephen Jones (access this title via ComCat–check with your friendly reference staff!)

Where Nightmares Come From: The Art of Storytelling in the Horror Genre edited by Joe Mynhardt and Eugene Johnson

 

Check out all the winners of the 2017 Bram Stoker Awards here!