Posts filed under 'Genre Notes'
Horror comes in so many flavors. There is psychological horror that doesn’t involve the supernatural or the occult (The Silence of the Lambs). There is the horror that provokes terror and deals with the monsters of our nightmares (The Shining). There is is dark fantasy, which is not as violent or frightening (American Gods), and there is splatterpunk, which focuses on extreme violence with a gross-out factor (Books of Blood). This week, I’m focusing on your typical haunted house type of supernatural horror. These are the ghosts that go bump in the night, the poltergeists who upset the household along with the furniture, and the spirits who remain as guardians of their property. Here are some of my favorite haunted house novels:
Due, Tananarive. The Good House
Girardi, Robert. Madeleine’s Ghost
Hill, Joe. Heart-Shaped Box
King, Stephen. Bag of Bones
Monahan, Brent. The Bell Witch
Niffenegger, Audrey. Her Fearful Symmetry
Siddons, Anne Rivers. The House Next Door
Straub, Peter. Ghost Story
October 28th, 2010
Steig Larsson has whetted many a reader’s appetite for mysteries that take place in Scandinavia, and has brought a whole new meaning to the term “cold case”. Read alikes for Larsson are difficult to pinpoint. Does the reader like the characters, the setting, the pacing, or the language? All of these factor in when we recommend similar types of mysteries. If you’re looking for something to read now that you’ve finished Larsson, and you enjoyed his setting, here are some mysteries you might want to try:
Dahl, K.O. Police detective Frank Frolich series (Norway)
Edwardson, Ake. Erik Winter series (Sweden)
Erikkson, Kjell. Ann Lindell series (Sweden)
Fossum, Karin. Inspector Seier mysteries (Norway)
Indridason, Arnaldur. Erlendur Sveinsson, detective inspector (Iceland)
Larsson, Asa. Rebecka Martinsson series (Sweden)
Nesbo, Jo. Detective Henry Hole series (Norway)
Thompson, James. Snow Angels (Finland)
July 26th, 2010
It’s nearly Independence Day and I thought you might enjoy a few novels dealing with that period in our nation’s history:
Carter, Jimmy. The Hornet’s Nest
Clark, Mary Higgins. Mount Vernon Love Story: a novel of George and Martha Washington
Cooper, James Fenimore. The Spy
Cornwell, Bernard. Redcoat
Edmonds, Walter Dumaux. Drums Along the Mohawk
Fast, Howard. April Morning and Citizen Tom Paine
Gingrich, Newt. To Try Men’s Souls: a novel of George Washington and the fight for American freedom.
Gunning, Sally. The Rebellion of Jane Clarke
Kurtz, Katherine. Two Crowns for America
Liss, David. The Whiskey Rebels
McGrath, Patrick. Martha Peake: a novel of the revolution
Morgan, Robert. Brave Enemies: a novel
Shaara, Jeff. Rise to Rebellion and The Glorious Cause
However you celebrate July 4th, make it safe and happy!
June 28th, 2010
It’s that time again! I love it when beach reading season rolls around. It’s time to give up reading assignments, serious literature for which one must work to discern meaning, and the reading directed toward our betterment and get down to reading for the sheer entertainment of it.
Beach reading is in the eye of the beholder and you’ll find shore-bound readers toting pure fluff (The Carrie Diaries, by Candace Bushnell, for example), books about the beach (The Last Summer of You and Me, by Ann Brashares), and southern dramas like Rebecca Wells’
The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder.
For mystery lovers there is Chris Grabenstein’s Jersey Shore series (starting with Tilt a Whirl) and Tim Dorsey’s humorous Florida-based series (Florida Roadkill is the first). Thriller readers may want to pick up Lee Vance’s Restitution , a corporate thriller, Richard North Patterson’s The Spire, now in paperback, or Scott Turow’s latest, Innocent (sequel to Presumed Innocent).
For adventure, you might try Bernard Cornwell’s Grail Quest series starting with The Archer’s Tale, or James Rollins’ Altar of Eden. Finally, there’s nothing like fantasy titles for pure escapism. Try Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb, or Julian Comstock by Robert Charles Wilson.
Whatever your escape reading choice might be, take time to enjoy!
June 16th, 2010
We talk frequently enough about literary classics, but I wonder why we often exclude mysteries from these discussions. It’s not as if the mystery genre is a recent phenomenon. In fact, the early forerunners of the contemporary mystery were written around 1800. Authors such as Poe, Hawthorne, and Melville wrote mysteries. In honor of our classic mystery authors, I’m presenting you with a list of mystery classics for your enjoyment:
Dickens, Charles. Bleak House (1852)
Collins, Wilkie. The Woman in White (1859)
Braddon, Mary Elizabeth. Lady Audley’s Secret (1861)
Doyle, Arthur Conan. A Study in Scarlet (1887)
Rhinehart, Mary Roberts. The Circular Staircase (1907)
Christie, Agatha. The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920)
Sayers, Dorothy. Whose Body? (1923)
Hammett, Dashiell. Red Harvest (1927)
Queen, Ellery. The Tragedy of X (1932)
Marsh, Ngaio. Died in the Wool (1935)
Stout, Rex. Too Many Cooks (1938)
May 21st, 2010
There’s nothing like a good thriller for your summer vacation reading and there’s quite a lineup of thrillers set to be released in the next few months. Take a look at what’s coming up:
Brown, Dale. Executive Intent– May
Child, Lee. 61 Hours (Jack Reacher) — May
French, Nicci. The Other Side of the Door — May
Sandford John. Storm Prey — May
Turow, Scott. Innocent (Sequel to Presumed Innocent)– May
Cussler, Clive. The Spy (Isaac Bell) — June
Deaver, Jeffery. The Burning Wire (Lincoln Rhyme) — June
Furst, Alan. Spies of the Balkans — June
Lustbader, Eric. The Bourne Objective — June
Patterson, Richard North. In The Name of Honor — June
Sigler, Scott. Ancestor — June
May 7th, 2010
It’s that time of year again when we focus on tales of horror. Here are a few newer titles you might be interested in to add some spookiness to your Halloween:
Taylor, Terence. Bite Marks
Stoker, Dacre. Dracula the un-dead
Saul, John. House of Reckoning
Crouch, Blake. Abandon
Stubblefield, Jerry. Homunculus
Waters, Sarah. The Little Stranger
Thrasher, Travis. Ghostwriter
Clark, Simon. Vengeance Child
King, Stephen. Just After Sunset
Gregory, Daryl. Pandemonium
October 26th, 2009
We often get asked for funny books. People say they’re tired of all the heavy, dramatic stuff being published lately and want something on the lighter side. It can be hard to think of good funny titles sometimes, even for us! So here are some of my personal favorite books on the lighter side of lit. You may not laugh out loud because humor is subjective, of course, but here’s hoping you at least get a chuckle out of them!
“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams
“An Uncommon Reader” by Alan Bennett
“The Eyre Affair” by Jasper Fforde
“Good Omens” by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” by Seth Grahame-Smith
“Gil’s All-Fright Diner” by A. Lee Martinez
“Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story” by Christopher Moore
“Gods Behaving Badly” by Marie Philips
“The Color of Magic” by Terry Pratchett
“If At Faust You Don’t Succeed” by Roger Zelazny
September 12th, 2009
Many travelogue fans are also intrigued by stories of exploration and extreme places. There are plenty of good exploration narratives in our collection, including those of early explorers and travelers such as Marco Polo and Magellan. Here’s a list of a some of my favorites:
Alexander, Caroline. Endurance: Shackleton’s legendary Antarctic expedition
Bergreen, Lawrence. Over the Edge of the World: Magellan’s terrifying circumnavigation of the globe
Breashears, David. Last Climb: The legendary Everest expeditions of George Mallory
Cookman, Scott. Ice Blink: The tragic fate of Sir John Franklin’s lost polar expedition
Dugard, Martin. Into Africa: The epic adventures of Stanley and Livingstone
Gascoigne, John. Captain Cook: Voyager between worlds
Grann, David. The Lost City of Z: A tale of deadly obsession
Millard, Candace. River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s darkest journey
Schneider, Paul. Brutal Journey: The epic story of the first crossing of North America
Whitaker, Robert. The Mapmaker’s Wife: A true tale of love, murder and survival in the Amazon
June 1st, 2009
This is sort of a tough area to tackle because humor doesn’t always translate well from one reader to another. Lots of readers consider Janet Evanovich’s bounty hunter Stephanie Plum to be wildly funny. Some love Donald Westlake’s Dortmunder, who tries really hard to get things right, but generally his situation gets absurdly out of hand. Carl Hiaasen’s forte’ is Florida-based thriller fiction featuring humorous characters who often forget the obvious and blunder into the unimaginable. Then there’s Tim Dorsey’s pill-popping Serge Storms, also located in Florida. Serge can handle things while on his medication, but strange things begin to happen if he forgets and criminals generally suffer in creative ways as a result. G.M. Ford (I love that name!) has his Leo Waterman series. Leo is more of a traditional wisecracking private eye. There are the funny cat mysteries of Lilian Jackson Braun, and Eric Garcia’s Vince Rubio, a detective who also happens to be a dinosaur. Whatever your brand of humor, you’re likely to find a mystery author to match it.
April 16th, 2009
“The Housekeeper and The Professor: A Novel” by Yoko Ogawa is a delight in every way imaginable. The Housekeeper, a young woman with a ten year old son, cares for The Professor, a mathematician, still brilliant at mathematics, but suffering from a memory loss condition. His memory stops in 1975 and any new memory since then lasts precisely eighty minutes. Themes include mathematics in all its complexity and beauty, the human mind and memory, human relationships and caring, as well as love of children and baseball. This short book, translated from the Japanese, and praised by such authors as Paul Auster and Kenzaburo Oe, is truly a treat for the mind.
Reading this book, led me back to other fiction in which mathematics is a featured theme. Also wonderful reads and each very different in style and theme are:
“The Indian Clerk: A Novel” by David Leavitt is a lengthy and detailed fictional account of the life of the famous Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan and his years at Cambridge University working with the famous British mathematician G.H. Hardy. Other themes in this long and well researched historical novel include the negative effects of World War I, the conflict between scientific thought and religious tradition, the varied ways of loving, and the frailty of human relationships. This novel is written in David Leavitt’s usual poetic prose style, every sentence wonderfully crafted.
“The Parrot’s Theorem: A Novel” by Denis Guedj is not as contemplative as those by Ogawa and Leavitt. It is a novel of mystery and self discovery. A reclusive Parisian bookseller, Pierre Ruche, inherits a large library of mathematical history books. Twelve year old Max saves a Sidney, a talkative parrot, with math skills, from two thugs at a flea market. Other characters who embark on this mathematical adventure include Max’s mother and twin siblings. Quite a mixture of knowledge and playfulness!
Personally, I consider myself mathematically challenged, but these are some of my favorite books. Do you know of any others to share with me?
March 19th, 2009
I met several mystery writers last week at a conference, and have been looking through their business cards and ads for their new mystery series. Here are a few series or standalones that have launched in the past year or two that you may have missed:
Rosemary Harris - Dirty Business Mysteries
Patrick McManus - Sheriff Bo Tully Mysteries
Spencer Quinn - Chet and Bernie Mysteries
Meredith Cole - Posed for Murder
Evelyn David - Sullivan Investigations Mysteries
Deb Baker - Dolls to Die for Mysteries
You’ll find these novels or series in either our mystery or our browsing paperback mystery section.
February 23rd, 2009