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Fiction: Pride & Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice graphic novel coverJane Austen wrote, “How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book,” and her fans surely agree when it comes to the much-beloved Pride and Prejudice. Perhaps your own devotion has led you to read all the books, watch all the movies, and still it isn’t enough. May we suggest enjoying the story in Marvel comic form? That’s right!  Graphic Novels for Grown-ups Month is the perfect time to sample Pride & Prejudice as adapted by an award-winning romance author and skilled illustrators. Much of Austen’s language and wit are smartly preserved, and the drawings add insight into the characters’ personalities and foibles. This is a delightful way to revisit a favorite, and don’t forget to enter for prizes after you reach the happy ending!

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on November 11, 2013 Categories: Books, Literary, Romance

Horror for Every Appetite

Brood X book coverWant a gritty, dark horror novel? Last Days by Adam Nevill is the leisurely tale of an indie filmmaker shooting a documentary on the cult The Temple of the Last Days, all of whose members were murdered. As the shoot progresses, evil has awoken and people start dying.

How about literary, uncanny short stories? Try Nalo Hopkinson’s anthology of dark fantasy and horror, Mojo: Conjure Stories. Nineteen authors, from Neil Gaiman to Tananarive Due, explore the tricky, powerful, and dangerous nature of magic.
This Book is Full of Spiders cover
What about an unlikely monster? Brood X by Michael Philip Cash shows what happens when cicadas take over the world. Billions of cicadas wreak havoc on the electric grid, wi-fi, food, and water for Seth and his family in this original, fast-paced read.

Finally, how about something funny? This Book is Full of Spiders by David Wong is a small town Armageddon in the form of giant, invisible spiders that only two hopeless, sarcastic heroes can see and fight.

Still not enough horror for you?

Click here for humorous horror novels.
Click here for horror short stories.
Click here for horror comics.
Click here for contemporary horror novels and here for literary horror.

By Readers' Advisor on October 31, 2013 Categories: Books, Horror, Humor, Literary

Ghosts and Gorey

Edward Goreys Haunted Looking Glass book coverGhosts in the graveyard. Knocks at the door when no one is there. Houses cursed with madness. In our experience, horror that is only hinted can be much more terrifying than outright gore. Let the masters add an extra thrill to otherworldly nights with Edward Gorey’s Haunted Looking Glass. Fall under the spell of “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs or of “The Dream Woman” by Wilkie Collins. Stories from none other than Bram Stoker, Charles Dickens, and Robert Louis Stevenson will make you think twice about trusting your own eyes and ears. Each gothic chill is prefaced by one of Edward Gorey’s original creepy-cute illustrations. Whether you prefer the odd or the truly frightening, this collection will satisfy your hunger for spooky.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on October 28, 2013 Categories: Books, Horror, Literary

“A Fantastic Portrayer of Human Beings”

Away from Her book coverThe winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature is Alice Munro, lauded by the Swedish Academy as a “master of the contemporary short story.” She is the first Canadian citizen and only the thirteenth woman to be awarded this honor. Earlier this year Munro stated that Dear Life (2012), her fourteenth collection, would be her last. Many know her story “The Bear Came Over the Mountain,” about a devoted couple’s struggle with Alzheimer’s, through the film adaptation Away from Her. Other successes include The View from Castle Rock (2006) and Too Much Happiness (2009).  Often likened to a modern-day Chekhov, Munro was praised by the Academy’s Permanent Secretary as “a fantastic portrayer of human beings.” What better invitation might a reader need?

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on October 14, 2013 Categories: Awards, Books, Literary

LISTS: Southern Gothic Fiction

Everything That Rises Must Converge book coverSouthern Gothic fiction is sinister and sometimes surreal writing that takes place in the American South. Flannery O’Connor, a leading author in the genre, said, “All my stories are about the action of grace on a character who is not very willing to support it, but most people think of these stories as hard, hopeless, and brutal.”

Click here for  the work of O’Connor and other Southern Gothic writers.

By Readers' Advisor on October 11, 2013 Categories: Books, Lists, Literary

Winking with Proust

How Proust Can Change Your Life audiobook coverYou might think literary heavyweight Marcel Proust has nothing to say to you, but French author Alain de Botton wants you to experience How Proust Can Change Your Life. This book is a unique animal, blending wit, literary biography, and self-help to illustrate the power of reading and life experiences. The short chapters have pithy titles including “How to Be a Good Friend,” “How to Suffer Successfully,” and “How to Be Happy in Love.” The audiobook format best allows you to appreciate the humor, with narrator Nicholas Bell easily bringing out the lightness in the anecdotes and observations. Change your life with one of the books we are reading along with our friends in Sèvres, France.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on September 16, 2013 Categories: Audiobooks, Books, Humor, Literary, Nonfiction

Masters of the PEN

Behind the Beautiful Forevers book coverThe PEN American Center, the U.S. branch of the world’s oldest international literary and human rights organization, has announced the winners of the 2013 PEN Literary Awards. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo, one of the most decorated books of 2012, added yet another well-deserved accolade in the John Kenneth Gailbraith Award for Nonfiction.  Additional highlights include

Literary Science Writing Award: Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior by Leonard Mlodinow

Award for Literary Sports Writing: Like Any Normal Day: A Story of Devotion by Mark Kram, Jr.

Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing: Frank Deford

Award for Biography: The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss

Open Book Award: Gun Dealers’ Daughter by Gina Apostol

Translation Prize: The Island of Second Sight by Albert Vigoleis Thelen, translated from the German by Donald O. White

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on August 28, 2013 Categories: Awards, Books, Historical Fiction, Literary, Nonfiction

A Beautiful Telling of an Ugly Aftermath

Round House audiobook cover

National Book Award winner The Round House is an iron fist in a velvet glove. In this intimate stunner, Joe is a thirteen-year-old living with his parents on a North Dakota reservation. When his mother is raped, he cannot bear to watch her waste away in a self-imposed prison of silence and suffering. Instead, he determines to do what he can to bring peace to his family, even as he struggles with understanding his own place in a complicated intersection of worlds. This powerful tale gains even greater impact in the measured pacing and authentic cadence of performer Gary Farmer. With an eye for detail and an ear for language, author Louise Erdrich masterfully crafts a layered, thoughtful narrative that exposes both beauty and truth.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on June 10, 2013 Categories: Audiobooks, Books, Literary

Best Audiobooks of the Year

Age of Miracles audiobook coverCelebrate June is Audiobook Month by turning a ready ear to the brand new winners of the 2013 Audie Awards. Whether on a sunny walk, a cross-country road trip, or even a daily commute, you will find the journey to be all the better in the company of an expert story. Audiobook listeners can also earn chances for prizes in MPPL’s summer reading program, Have Book, Will Travel, so why not start with one of these?

Science Fiction: The Age of Miracles (Walker) – read by Emily Rankin
Literary Fiction: Bring Up the Bodies (Mantel) – read by Simon Vance
Mystery: The Beautiful Mystery (Penny) – read by Ralph Cosham
Romance: The Witness (Roberts) – read by Julia Whelan
Solo Narration – Female: Katherine Kellgren for The Boy in the Suitcase (Kaaberbøl and Friis)
Solo Narration – Male: Edoardo Ballerini for Beautiful Ruins (Walter)
Teens: The Fault in Our Stars (Green) – read by Kate Rudd
Children’s Title for Ages 8-12: Same Sun Here – written and read by Silas House and Neela Vaswani
Children’s Titles for Ages Up to 8: The Great Cake Mystery: Precious Ramotswe’s Very First Case (McCall Smith) – read by Adjoa Andoh

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on June 1, 2013 Categories: Audiobooks, Awards, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Historical Fiction, Literary, Romance

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

Orphan Master's Son book coverThe U.S. book world uttered a collective sigh of relief when the 2013 Pulitzer committee actually named a Fiction winner.  Still reeling from the unpopular decision to withhold the 2012 Prize, readers have even more reason to celebrate The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson, the worthy recipient of this year’s honor.  Lauded as “an exquisitely crafted novel that carries the reader on an adventuresome journey into the depths of totalitarian North Korea and into the most intimate spaces of the human heart,” The Orphan Master’s Son was selected over fellow finalists What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank by Nathan Englander and The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey.  The Prize is given annually to a work of distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on April 24, 2013 Categories: Awards, Books, Literary