The Reading List 2013 (ALA RUSA)

Established in 2007 by the CODES section of Reference and User Services Association (RUSA, a division of the American Library Association), The Reading List seeks to highlight outstanding genre fiction that merit special attention by general adult readers and the librarians who work with them.

The 2013 List in 8 categories. What sets this list apart from all the other awards is the short listed honor titles, and the thoughtful readalikes.

Adrenaline
Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn
It’s her fifth wedding anniversary: where’s Amy? Assumptions are dangerous in this chilling psychological thriller. The dark and twisty plot, unbearable levels of tension, and merciless pacing will rivet readers.

Fantasy
The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
When Myfanwy wakes up with no memory, surrounded by corpses, she must immediately impersonate herself in order to unravel the conspiracy at the heart of a secret supernatural intelligence agency. This offbeat debut combines the fast pacing and suspense of a thriller with the gritty, detailed world-building of urban fantasy.

Historical Fiction
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
Ambitious royal advisor Thomas Cromwell is at the pinnacle of his power and uses it to subtly engineer the downfall of his enemies, including the Queen, Anne Boleyn, and her inner circle. This intricately plotted character study presents a fresh perspective on the ever popular Tudor Court.

Horror
The Ritual by Adam Nevill
In the remote forests of Sweden, the friendship between four men disintegrates when they wander off the hiking trail and find themselves stalked by an unseen and increasingly violent menace. “Blair Witch” meets black metal in this dark and suspenseful horror novel.

Mystery
The Gods of Gotham
by Lyndsay Faye
The discovery of a mass grave of child prostitutes spurs “copper star” Timothy Wilde to hunt a killer through the seamy underbelly of 1840s New York City. Colorful period slang enlivens this carefully researched story about the dawn of modern policing.

Romance
Firelight by Kristen Callihan
Bartered as a bride to the masked nobleman Benjamin Archer, Miranda Ellis – a woman with a supernatural secret – becomes his only defender when he is accused of a series of murders. This is a dark and smoldering Victorian paranormal where love redeems two complex and damaged characters.

Science Fiction
Caliban’s War by James S. A. Corey
One wants control; one wants vindication; one wants his daughter back; and one wants revenge (and maybe a new suit). The shifting points of view of these four distinctive characters, an electrifying pace, and the threat of an evolving alien protomolecule propel readers through this grand space adventure.

Women’s Fiction
The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway
Galilee Garner’s carefully managed routine of teaching, rose breeding, and kidney dialysis is disrupted when her teenage niece moves in. Readers will root for the growth of this prickly character as she discovers the importance of cultivating human connections.

An Audiobook for Young Harry Potter Fans

Fans of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series and especially fans of the audiobooks narrated by Jim Dale may be interested to learn about The Worst Witch audiobook by Jill Murphy.

Like the Harry Potter series, The Worst Witch takes place at a school for young witches (though no young wizards here), complete with broomstick lessons, potion tests and uniforms with house colors. At Miss Cackle's Academy, we meet Mildred Hubble, dubbed the worst witch at the school because of her talent for getting into trouble. What kind of trouble? How about turning a rude classmate into a pig! (She meant to turn her into a toad, you see.) It's a short but magical story -- and very funny too.

Oh, yes, and did I mention that it's narrated by Miriam Margoyles, whom you may remember as Professor Sprout in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets?

The audiobook series continues with The Worst Witch Strikes Again and The Worst Witch All at Sea.

Locus Magazine Announces Winners of Poll for Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels

At the end of November, Locus Magazine polled its readers to determine the best science fiction and fantasy novels of the 20th century as well as the best of the 21st century so far. As of this week, the results are in. Unsurprisingly, old favorites like Tolkien, Asimov, and Ursula K. Le Guin took top slots, sharing the spotlight with George R.R. Martin's wildly popular Game of Thrones novels as well as up-and-coming writers like Paolo Bacigalupi.

Check out the top books in our catalog, and visit Locus for the full results. Science fiction and fantasy are more popular than ever right now, and you can also find the film or television adaptations of many of these books in our collections!

Best Science Fiction of the 20th Century:
1. Frank Herbert, Dune (1965)
2. Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game (1985)
3. Isaac Asimov, The Foundation Trilogy (1953)
4. Dan Simmons, Hyperion (1989)
5. Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness (1969)

Best Fantasy of the 20th Century:
1. J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings (1955)
2. George R. R. Martin, A Game of Thrones (1996)
3. J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit (1937)
4. Ursula K. Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea (1968)
5. Roger Zelazny, Nine Princes in Amber (1970)

Best Science Fiction of the 21st Century:
1. John Scalzi, Old Man's War (2005)
2. Neal Stephenson, Anathem (2008)
3. Paolo Bacigalupi, The Windup Girl (2009)
4. Robert Charles Wilson, Spin (2005)
5. Peter Watts, Blindsight (2006)

Best Fantasy of the 21st Century:
1. Neil Gaiman, American Gods (2001)
2. Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (2004)
3. Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind (2007)
4. China Mieville, The Scar (2002)
5. George R. R. Martin, A Feast For Crows (2005)

For lesser-known reads that made the lists (but don't have holds queues yet!), check out Cory Doctorow's Little Brother, Tim Powers' The Anubis Gates, or Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's Roadside Picnic.

The Magic of Hearing a Story Aloud

There is no denying the magic of a story read aloud. If you’re looking for a little extra magic in your audiobooks, then these fairy-tale titles may just do the trick:

The Frog Princess by E. D. Baker; read by Kathleen Kellgren (5 hours, 30 minutes)
After reluctantly kissing a frog, an awkward, fourteen-year-old princess suddenly finds herself turned into a frog, too, and sets off with the prince to seek the means – and self-confidence – to become human again. A hilarious fractured fairy tale.

The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley; read by L. J. Ganser (6 hours,15 minutes)
Orphans Sabrina and Daphne Grimm are sent to live with an eccentric grandmother that they have always believed to be dead. The first in the series of fairy-tale inspired mysteries.

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale; read by Cynthia Bishop and the Full Cast Family (10 hours)
Princess Anidori, on her way to marry a prince she has never met, is betrayed by her guards and her lady-in-waiting and must become a goose girl to survive until she can reveal her true identity and reclaim the crown that is rightfully hers. Adapted from the Grimms’ fairy tale.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine; read by Eden Riegel (5 hours, 42 minutes)
In this novel based on the story of Cinderella, Ella struggles against the childhood curse that forces her to obey any order given to her. Winner of the 1998 Newbery Honor medal.

On This Day in History--January 3rd: J.R.R. Tolkien was born in 1892


Author of the incredibly popular Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien was born on January 3rd, 1892 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. He died in Bournemouth, England on September 2nd, 1973.

While many other authors had published works of fantasy before Tolkien, the great success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings led directly to a popular resurgence of the genre. Tolkien's works painted detailed, colorful images for his readers and his dedication to detailed imagery and his extensive imagination led him to create an entirely new world, now famously known as Middle-Earth. He also constructed fictional histories, detailed legends and intricate languages for his world.Tolkien, who has won countless awards throughout and after his lifetime, was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 1972. In 2008, The Times newspaper ranked him sixth on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945" and Forbes magazine ranked him the 5th top-earning dead celebrity in 2009.

Tolkien Week, an annual event that celebrates the works and legacy of J.R.R. Tolkien, will take place from September 22nd to September 28th in 2013. The Lord of the Rings series was later adapted into three popular films: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of The King. More recently, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, was released as the first of a new three-part film trilogy. Follow the links, and you'll find many of Tolkien's books and films in AADL's collection!

Related Posts:
Tolkien and Dickens Join Forces for New Books
The Hobbit Is Back Again
Locus Magazine Announces Winners of Poll for Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #371

O.K. I will admit it. When my copy of City of Dark Magic arrived in the mail, I was more intrigued by the fact that they claimed to know nothing about the author Magnus Flyte. He appeared to have operated under several identities, and may have ties to one or more intelligence organizations, including the CIA, the Mossad, and a radical group of Antarctic separatists. They also claimed that the manuscript came manually typed on Marrakesh's Hotel La Mamounia stationary, and mailed to offices of Penguin Books in New York in January 2012.

But almost immediately, I was hooked, hooked by the story, the mystery, the fantasy, the alchemy, the romance, the music, and the old world charm that is Prague - home to emperors, alchemists, astronomers, and, as it's whispered, hell portals.

When impoverish grad student Sarah Weston lands a summer job at Prague Castle cataloging Beethoven's manuscripts, she has no idea how dangerous her life is about to become. Upon arrival, she learns that her mentor, who was working at the castle, may not have committed suicide, and the cryptic notes he left could be warnings.

What reviewers called "a rom-com paranormal suspense" could simply be one of the most entertaining novels of the year. Will appeal to fans of Deborah Harkness and Beatriz Williams.

It turns out Magnus Flyte is a pseudonym for the writing duo of Meg Howrey (see FFF blog) and Christina Lynch. Howrey was with the Joffrey Ballet and winner of the Ovation Award. Lynch is a television writer and former Milan correspondent for W magazine.

Wonderful New Picture Book: 'Waking Dragons'

When illustrator-author Derek Anderson visited the Malletts Creek Branch of the AADL in October, I watched as Ann Arbor children and adults fell under his spell. Sketching shapes looked like such fun! Anderson even talked a bit about his life and career. Afterwards I was drawn to buy his book, Waking Dragons and to have it signed for my son. I took the book home, read it, and stole it back for myself.

This picture book, written by master storyteller Jane Yolen, is beautiful and magical, and brought to life by Anderson's gold-washed paintings. After the dragons "bumble" and "tumble" out of bed, the determined boy-knight who is in charge of them prepares a delicious breakfast of waffles -- served from a catapult -- in time for the dragons to fly the boy off to Knight School. As you read the rhymes, don't miss the humor, such as the sign on the fire extinguisher, "In Case of Dragon Breath."

Anderson probably is best known for his Little Quack books, but I'm also a fan of Gladys Goes Out to Lunch. For more good reading for adults, go to Derek's web page, and read "In the Studio: A Creative Journal." Fascinating.

December's Books to Film

Lay the Favorite (MPAA Rating: R) , Rebecca Hall, Bruce Willis, Vince Vaughn star in this adaptation of Beth Raymer's Lay the favorite: a memoir of gambling who transforms from a stripper in Tallahassee to gambler's assistant in Las Vegas,working for Dink, one of the most successful sports gamblers in the business.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (MPAA Rating: PG-13), yet another adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit : or, There and back again. Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage star in this adventure of Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug.

Jack Reacher (MPAA Rating: PG-13) is based on Lee Child popular thriller series featuring Jack Reacher, a drifter and a former US Army Police major with authority issues. This feature film is adapted from the novel One Shot. The selection of Tom Cruise to play Reacher has been highly controversial, and you don't want to know what I think.

When a gunman takes five lives with six shots, all evidence points to the suspect in custody. On interrogation, the suspect offers up a single note: "Get Jack Reacher!" So begins an extraordinary chase for the truth, pitting Jack Reacher against an unexpected enemy, with a skill for violence and a secret to keep.

Needing no introduction is the highly anticipated release of Les Misérables (MPAA Rating: PG-13) based on Victor Hugo's novel. Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, it tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption --- a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Hugh Jackman plays ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (Russell Crowe) after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine's (Anne Hathaway) young daughter, Cosette (Amanda Seyfried), their lives change forever.

The Hobbit Is Back Again

Are you ready?! J.R.R. Tolkein’s epic tale of The Hobbit is being released as a feature film trilogy, and this Friday the first part, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, opens in theaters. It’s amazing to think that The Hobbit was released in book form in 1937!

For some this means preparing by rereading the book, or watching film versions of the 3 books that followed The Hobbit known as The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, which includes The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and Return of the King. Those 3 films were directed by Peter Jackson, and he’s back to direct The Hobbit Trilogy as well. It’s been a decade since Jackson last had us watching Tolkein on the big screen, so the new films have been highly anticipated. This film also features new technology! Films have been shot at 24 frames per second for 90 years, and now we have a mainstream film that at select theaters will be shown at the high frame rate (HFR) of 48 frames per second, and in 3D. There's debate over the quality of this format and as to whether or not it is actually a more complete film experience. I personally plan to see it the plain old-fashioned way of 24fps and in 2D.

What are we talking about? The Hobbit, Or There and Back Again is the story of a conservative hobbit named Bilbo Baggins who heads off on an epic quest to reclaim Lonely Mountain and its treasure from the dragon Smaug. Along the way is high adventure and many encounters with other creatures, namely the band of dwarves that he travels with. It is on this journey that Bilbo meets the creature Gollum, and where he first lays hands on “the one ring” that changes his life, and that of Middle Earth, for all time.

For the super fans there are some new informational books that accompany the film, including:

The hobbit: An unexpected journey : official movie guide
The hobbit : An unexpected journey : the movie storybook
The hobbit: The unexpected journey : the world of the hobbits
The hobbit: An unexpected journey : visual companion

2012 Teen NBA Winner Announced

NBA winner medalNBA winner medal

Goblin Secrets has received the 2012 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Rownie, the youngest in Graba the witchworker's household of stray children, escapes and goes looking for his missing brother. Along the way he falls in with a troupe of theatrical goblins and learns the secret origins of masks. Now Graba's birds are hunting him in the Southside of Zombay, the Lord Mayor's guards are searching for him in Northside, and the River between them is getting angry. The city needs saving—and only the goblins know how. Don’t miss Goblin Secrets!

Author William Alexander studied theater and folklore at Oberlin College and English at the University of Vermont. He currently lives, writes, and teaches in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His short stories have been published in many magazines and anthologies, including Weird Tales, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, Interfictions 2, and Fantasy: The Best of the Year 2008. Catch an interview with William on The Enchanted Inkpot.

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