Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Favorite books this year (so far)

I’m terrible with summaries, so click through for synopses done by better people than I.

Young Adult
Ultraviolet by RJ Anderson. Beautiful, elegant speculative fiction, with a bit of mystery thrown in for good measure. You can read a detailed review on my blog here.
Chime by Frannie Billingsley. An original fairy-tale with a gothic flair. bonus factors: slow burning romance, a dark family secret, and fairy-folk. For fans of Victoria Holt, Jane Eyre, and swooning.
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. There’s a character who spends the entire book with a tray stuck through her head. What else do you need to know? For fans of crazysauce.
The Freak Observer by Blythe Woolston. Woolston’s first novel, a Morris award winner, is tender, funny, and insightful. suitable for fans of John Green’s absorbing and deeply intelligent novels. I’ll be writing a more in-depth exploration of this title soon, but for now be content to know that I highly recommend it.

Middle Grade
Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier. I wrote a little bit about this book and its author (and kittens) here, and even after this blurb I will have more to say about the book soon.
Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool. I just finished this Newbery award winning book and it was a very satisfying, wholesome book, the literary version of a meat and potatoes meal. I grew up in the Midwest and have family in Kansas, so the setting was very familiar and comforting to me, and I greatly enjoyed the story within a story technique employed by Vanderpool.

Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage by Hazel Rowley. I like learning about larger periods of history through the narrow focus of a person’s life. This biography clearly outlined the marriage of Franklin and Eleanor and the unique nature of their partnership with honesty that never veered into sensationalism.

Adult Fiction
The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook. Oh, my; I read this after entering a steampunk phase inspired by Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan. It’s super steampunk goodness and I can’t wait for the next book in the series. I think it would make a good readalike for fans of Game of Thrones.

What are your favorite titles so far this year?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ding, Dong the Book Is Dead!

To anyone who is worried about the survival of the printed book I present this:

Yes, that is Captain Jean Luc Picard, enjoying a hardcover book in the 24th century.

Case closed. Books aren’t going anywhere.


Okay. Fine. So maybe only sexy, refined men will continue to read hardcover books, and the rest of us will make use of paperback books, e-books, audio books…Ugh, I can’t even get worked up about it. We still have movies even with the advent of tv. Some are still in black and white even with color film. Not every movie is in 3D yet. We still have stage plays, for pete’s sake. Although cassettes and 8 tracks are gone, we still have Cds (for the moment) and records (enjoying a new resurgence). Radio is still around, and if you include podcasts its more popular than ever. And while digital books might be taking a larger share of the market, regular ol’ paper books are still being sold, and after everyone figures out their preferred mode of reading, sales will probably even out between the two.

The thing is, I wouldn’t worry about any of our storytelling mediums, because people will always want and need stories, and people will always have preferences for how they want to experience those stories. In Chicago, where I live, I’ve attended a couple of the Moth Storyslams, which is just live storytelling on a theme, and that event sells out every single month. If live storytelling—the oldest form of storytelling there is—still has a home in this world, then the beloved book has absolutely nothing to worry about.

But you don’t have to take MY word for it—check out these other articles for corroboration!,2817,2384785,00.asp