Sci-Fi/Fantasy 2014 Roundup!

KjZNJ62

The year is almost over, and the time has come to look back on our favorite books of 2014. This list focuses on the worlds of imagination; visions of the future, and different realms where anything is possible. Here they are, my favorite science fiction and fantasy books of the year! (This list is in the order of release date.)

The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley is the first book in a new fantasy series. The Emperor of the Annurian Empire has been murdered, and his three (adult) children must unravel the conspiracy behind his death. Hearing the news in separate corners of the land, they must face their own intrigues and challenges to avenge their father and inherit the throne.

The Martian by Andy Weir is the near-future, hard science fiction tale of an astronaut left stranded on Mars. As NASA astronauts carry out the second manned mission to the red planet, a sandstorm separates Mark Watney from the rest of his crew. Forced to survive alone in a completely inhospitable environment, Watney’s tale is told through his harrowing, yet hilarious, journal entries.

Influx by Daniel Suarez asks the question, “Are smart phones really humanity’s most significant innovation since the moon landings?” A powerful shadow organization is keeping the world in an artificial dark age, in order to prevent the societal upheaval that new advanced technology could bring. When one scientist is imprisoned for inventing a gravity device, he must try to find a way to defeat this organization and help bring humanity to the future.

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson is the massive sequel to the equally enormous first book, The Way of Kings. Describing this story in a paragraph is impossible. It is set on the world of Roshar, a world both alien and magical, where gigantic hurricane-like storms scour the surface every few days and life has adapted accordingly. Roshar is shared by humans and the enigmatic, humanoid Parshendi, with whom they are at war. The story of this war and the characters embroiled in it continues in this amazing book.

Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence is the start of a new series by the author who brought you the Broken Empire Trilogy. Through a series of fantastical events of courtly intrigue, a cursed minor royal, tenth in line for the throne, must go on a journey with a Norse warrior. On the way, they encounter grave dangers, willing women, and the eventual realization that they are nothing but pawns in a game that is leading to war.

Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb starts at the end, or what should have been the end. After many years of peaceful “retirement”, a former assassin must leave his cozy life when his past comes erupting back into the picture. A messenger comes seeking the assassin, but dies violently before he can reach him. Who killed the messenger? What was the message? These questions lead to a new adventure for an old adventurer.

The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley steamrolls through from chapter one, promising to become one of the best fantasy series in years. A war is raging on the eve of a cataclysmic event that is known to change entire worlds. As the dark star of the cataclysm rises, an illegitimate ruler is tasked with holding together a country fractured by civil war, a precocious young fighter is asked to betray his family and a general must choose between the eradication of her father’s people or loyalty to her alien Empress.

Lock In by John Scalzi tells the story of a virus pandemic, taking place fifteen years from today. The virus causes approximately 1% of the world to become “locked in”, fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. As society adapts to the fact that millions of people are locked in, a virtual reality world is created for these victims to interact with other humans, both locked-in and not. It is also discovered that certain people have brains that are receptive to control, and the locked-in can “ride” them, controlling their bodies for a time.

Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie continues the story that began in 2013’s Ancillary Justice. The story follows a soldier known as Breq. Breq was once Justice of Toren – a spaceship artificial intelligence, but an act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with one fragile human body, unanswered questions, and a burning desire for vengeance.

The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin brings the award-winning writing of China’s most beloved science fiction author to English readers for the first time. A secret Chinese military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion.

Stop by the Southfield Public Library to inquire about these titles, and many more  in our science fiction section!

Veterans Day reading list

vetpos87

We observe Veterans Day on November 11, the anniversary of the armistice that ended the hostilities of World War I. As we thank our veterans for their service to the United States, it is also a good time to reflect upon and learn more about what they did for us. Here is a list of a few books to read, keeping in mind the sacrifices our veterans made!

Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose  tells of the men in Easy Company, 506th Airborne Division, US Army. Men who fought, went hungry, froze & died, a company that took 150% casualties & considered the Purple Heart a badge of office.

Flags of Our Fathers by James D. Bradley is the story of the men who were immortalized on the Marine Corps War Memorial. It is a powerful account of six very different young men who came together in a moment that will live forever.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand tells the story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic athlete and US Airman, and the journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien is a profound study of men at war that illuminates the capacity, and the limits, of the human heart and soul. For additional reading on the Vietnam War try these titles: A Rumor Of War by Philip Caputo –and– We Were Soldiers Once… and Young by Harold G. Moore, Joseph L. Galloway

Generation Kill by Evan Wright is the funny, frightening, and profane firsthand account of the USMC First Recon Battalion, of the personal toll of victory, and of the randomness, brutality, and camaraderie of a new American war.

Chill Out!

While this latest heat wave is almost over, we’ve still got a lot of summer to go! Here are some books set in cold climates to take your mind off that ever rising thermometer…..

 

Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell is set in the bitter cold of an Ozark winter. Rees Dolly, a girl of 17, must find her no-account father before she and her younger siblings are evicted.  It’s also a great movie.

Smilla’s Sense Of Snow by Peter Hoeg finds Smilla, a detective in Copenhagen, trying to solve a murder.

Game Of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. creates a new world in this first of a very popular series and  a very long winter is coming.  You can also watch the HBO adaptation.

Something Red by Douglas Nichols finds a small troupe trying to cross the mountains before the snows set in… but something more than bears are prowling about.

Snow Falling On Cedars by David Guterson is a story of star-crossed lovers , prejudice and justice set among the snowy woods of Washington. The movie version is also available.

A Fatal Grace by Lousie Penny finds Inspector Gamache up in Three Pines, Quebec , trying to solve the murder of woman along side the curling rink.

Winter’s Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher takes the reader to a snowy Christmas time in the hills of Scotland.

Books Into Movies – The Summer Edition…..

 

There’s a whole lot of sequel-ing going on in movie theaters this summer, but there are also some movies that are based on books. Give one of these a try and you decide which is better…. the movie or the book!

Leonardo DiCaprio stars in the screen version of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, a novel of class, money, excess, identity, friendship and love.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is based on  a book by Rick Riordan. You might have met Percy before in both movie and book form… this version finds Percy fighting all sorts of monsters in the Bermuda Triangle.

World War Z by Max Brooks chronicles an attack on civilization by zombies created by a virus… Brad Pitt puts his spin on it in the movie version.

Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume tells the tale of young girl who needs to work through her grief over her father’s death. Can the movie live up to the book?

Paranoia takes you into the world of corporate espionage. Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson are two of the stars of the movie based on the book by Joseph Finder.

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare is given a modern twist by Joss Whedon.. two sets of star-crossed lovers finally find their happiness fulfilled.

Under the Dome is actually a television series based on a book by Stephen King. You know he can’t be contained in a two hour movie! A town in Maine finds itself isolated under a mysterious dome…

Mortal Instruments is another teen book turned movie. It’s based on the book called City of Bones by Cassandra Clare and full of Shadowhunters and demons and vampires and all sorts of otherwordly creatures.

So, enjoy those movies, read those books and let us know which you preferred!

Ah, Summertime!

Ah, sunshine, blue skies, summertime! And, back again at the library is the Summer Reading For Grown-Ups program.  Stop at the 2nd floor Fiction Desk for details and to sign up!

oh the places

Our theme this year is OH THE PLACES YOU WILL GO – WHEN YOU READ!

Those places could be another city, another state, another country, another planet, another time …

To get you started on a journey, try one of these…

O Pioneers! by Willa Cather is an oldie but goodie, where she recreates the world of immigrants on the Nebraska frontier of the late 19th century.

Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan is set in Berlin and Paris in the late 1930’s. Here, a troupe of ex-pat African Americans have made it big as jazz musicians, but are now facing the threat of the rise of the Nazi party.

The Known World by Edward P. Jones transports the reader back to pre-Civil War days in Virginia and explores the lives of slaves, under the ownership of both white and black masters.

The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard Morais tells the takes you on a delicious journey from Bombay to Paris with Hassan, a man who loves to feed people.

Shantaram is an epic novel written by Gregory Roberts. In it, an escaped Australian convict finds freedom in the slums of Bombay. The author shares with the reader the sights and the sounds and the smells and the beauty of that crowded city, as well as creating a rousing adventurous tale.

The Last Crossing by Guy Vanderhaeghe is a sweeping novel, set in the western states and provinces of the U.S. and Canada in the late 1800’s. There, a band of searchers join together to find a lost brother, a sister’s killer, a place in the world and much more.

Memorial Day 2013

poppies veterans

Memorial Day is coming up on May 24th and while it is the unofficial kick off for summer for many of us, it’s also a day to honor the men and women who have given their lives for their country.

 Try picking up one of these books to get a sense of what those heroes  go through.  Some of them may be echoes from your high school English classes, but I think they are worth another read.

Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane tells the tale of a young boy fighting in the Civil War.

War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk is the first of a trilogy, following the Henry family as they fight in World War II.

Ernest Hemingway’s novels, A Farewell To Arms covers the life of a soldier in World War I, while For Whom The Bell Tolls explores the Spanish Civil War in the 1930’s.

And If I Perish by Evelyn Mohahan is the true story of World War II army nurses and the dangers they faced.

Alexander Jefferson’s autobiography, Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free, relates the story of one of the Tuskegee airmen.

Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose follows one regiment of soldiers, starting with the invasion of Normandy on D-Day.

Miracle at St. Anna by James McBride is a novel detailing the experiences of a group of Buffalo Soldiers fighting in Italy in World War II

Jarhead by Anthony Swofford tells a Marine’s perspective on the Gulf War.

The novel Yellow Birds by Kevin Power brings light to a soldier’s life in the Iraq War.

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller is a satirical look at the insanity of war.

Slaughterhouse 5, a novel by Kurt Vonnegut is based on the author’s own experiences in World War II. 

There are so many other titles for you to choose from – stop at the Fiction Desk and we’ll help you find one.

As always, Happy Reading and Happy Summer!

 

Witches are the new zombies…..

According to an Entertainment Weekly article, there’s a “coven craze” coming to to movies and television. (Summer Movie Double Issue, 2013).

They’ve listed movies such as Oz The Great And Powerful, The Lords of Salem and Seventh Son as proof.

There have been a fair amount of new book titles with witches as central characters. Here’s a few that are sure to charm you!

Deborah Harkness has the first two parts of her trilogy ready to read.
A Discovery of Witches is the first and Shadow of Night follows.  In them, Diana Bishop, the last of a line of powerful witches, prefers academia over magic but she soon finds herself entangled in a war between witches, daemons and vampires!

Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz is the first in a series, as well.  A mother and her two daughters are living a quiet life on Long Island but they harbor a secret… they are witches, banned from using their powers.  But when strange things start plaguing their town, they know they have to use those powers to keep the town safe.

Circle of Five by Dolores Riccio introduces us to a group of women  with special powers.  But, in their attempt to solve and prevent murders, they find themselves in danger.  A bit of humor lightens the creepy feel of this book, according to reviews.

The After Wife by Lexi Davis finds Nia trying to find love, but everytime she comes close to it, strange things happen to drive Mr. Right away.  The problem is that Nia is not an ordinary girl but a powerful witch’s daughter pledged to a demon!

Janet Evanovich’s contribution to this witchy world is a series that begins with  Wicked Appetite.   Lizzy Tucker has a bakery in Salem, Massachusetts but soon finds herself caught up in a frenzied hunt for ancient relics.

Happy Reading!