Spice It Up With Korean Cookbooks!

I am a cookbook addict.

It’s a good thing that Douglas County Libraries (DCL) has such an amazing selection of cookbooks, otherwise I’d need to buy another bookshelf. One of my favorite things to do is immerse myself in a new cuisine for a while. This winter I’m doing Korean. Luckily, Aurora is chock full of Asian markets that stock more exotic-sounding ingredients. I’ve made many a trip to H Mart and Pacific Ocean Market. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend a visit — especially on the weekends when they have free samples. I had my first-ever persimmon the other day! (It was delicious, even though it basically looked like a tomato.)

These are some cookbooks I’ve checked out from DCL. I enjoyed them so much I bought my own copies. You can check out these and more of our Korean cookbooks here.

 

KFood

by Da-Hae and Gareth West
KFood has solid recipes. The dish shown is a type of Korean stew called jjigae. I knew I had to cook it myself after tasting the amazingly delicious version at Tofu House in Aurora. I may not be at Tofu House’s level yet, but KFood’s recipe was a hit with my friends on my first try! Another dish everyone loves is the gochujang meatloaf. I altered the recipe a little bit by using a plucot habanero jam, rather than the apricot version it asked for, in the glaze. (I’d bought the jam at the Parker Farmers Market and just had to use it!) I think this book excels with its Korean-American fusion recipes.

Seoul Food

by Naomi Imatome-Yun
Though Seoul Food covers all manner of dishes, I’ve been primarily trying the side dishes and anju, which is basically bar food. These tasty dishes are great for get-togethers. The dish I posted above is goguma mattang. It’s a dish of steamed and crisped sweet potatoes tossed with chopped walnuts and a honey-sugar glaze, then sprinkled with toasted black sesame seeds. It is incredibly simple to make and oh-so-tasty. The other sides have been just as easy to make, and they really add a special zing to the ordinary meals I pair them with.

Cook Korean!

by Robin Ha
This one was a new concept for me — a cookbook that is also a comic book! My favorite cookbooks have plenty of photos, usually showing step-by-step instructions. The drawings in this book are just as useful. The format allows interesting facts about Korean culture and food to pop up, as well. The dish above is a simple steamed egg dish that was delicious and easily customizable. And I learned an interesting cooking technique. The egg was steamed in that bowl in a larger pot, so that made for fewer dishes to clean!

Koreatown

by Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard

I’ll end with Koreatown. It has the infamous kimchi white chocolate snickerdoodle recipe that intrigued half my co-workers and horrified the others. I did get compliments on them! (And I ate too many myself.) Who knew that spicy fermented cabbage would work so well with a mellowing white chocolate? This cookbook not only has a great blend of traditional and fusion recipes, but it also includes compelling, personal tales about Korean food in America.

Graphic Novels: Animal Characters

I noticed that the graphic novel category in last year’s DCL Reading Challenge created new fans of this format. Many were surprised to find that graphic novels are more than just superhero comic books, which makes me think it would be useful to talk about other kinds of graphic novels you can find at Douglas County Libraries.

In particular, I want to highlight stories with animal characters. These can range from the cotton-candy sweet fluffiness of Chi’s Sweet Home to the powerful Holocaust memoir Maus. Sometimes the animals get to just be animals. Other times they are allegories for real world issues — a lot of these deal with war and conflict.

In no particular order, here are five notable graphic novels to check out. More suggestions can be found on this reading list.

Beasts of Burden

by Evan Dorkin
Did you ever read Bunnicula as a child? This could be the adult version. The dogs of Burden Hill — and one cat — are entangled in supernatural threats to their owners, their homes, and their lives. As the series progresses, they learn how to join the fight. The illustrations can be cute, but the story is not aimed at children. There will be blood, and not everyone will survive.

Pride of Baghdad

by Brian K. Vaughan
Here’s a small warning: This tale is based on a true story from the American bombing of Baghdad. It’s important to mention this because this isn’t a light read. There is tragedy. There is violence. There are politics. Each animal serves as an allegory for human viewpoints about war.

Blacksad

by Juan Diaz Canales
This is a hardboiled, 50’s-style noir murder mystery … with a cat PI in a world of animals. He has the trench coat, the cynicism, the doomed loves — the plot here revolves around the death of a past lover. There are also cameos of real-world people in animal form.

We3

by Grant Morrison
Three animals are part of a government military experiment. Despite being deadly weapons, they want only to escape and be normal again. The story avoids becoming preachy, but it is devastating. One of its most interesting aspects is that the animals think as animals during the journey.

Sidekicks

by Dan Santat
Wait, wait! It’s not technically a superhero story. These are wannabe sidekicks. The illustrations are amazing, and the story is so sweet that it’s a good book to end this list with. The pets of a superhero plan to compete with humans possessing powers to become the sidekick of their superhero owner — without him figuring out who they are.

Colorado Kills

There’s a special joy that comes from reading about familiar places. Sometimes it’s seeing characters enjoy one of our favorite haunts. Other times, their journeys take them to nearby places we’ve never heard of — but must visit right now. Or maybe it’s the fun of being in the know and nitpicking author mistakes. (My recent head shakes include an author placing an isolated cabin in the middle of Anchorage and another talking about how flat Oklahoma is — when describing a town that is bordered by the Ozarks.)

So in that spirit, check out these mysteries set in Colorado. Do they capture our state, or do they fall prey to stereotypes and clichés?

Wilderness Areas

Rocky Mountain National Park seems to be one of the most popular Colorado settings. We have everyone from Nevada Barr with Hard Truth to Graham Scott’s Mountain Rampage. Both of these books are parts of larger series whose detectives find mayhem in national parks around the country. Antler Dust by Mark Stevens takes us to the beautiful Flat Tops Wilderness instead. The next three murders and novels also take place there. The Flat Tops now fall into my “must visit right now” category, preferably with fewer dead bodies.

Fictional Colorado

Christine Goff takes us back to Rocky Mountain National Park with A Rant of Ravens, though her bird-watching detective is based out of the fictional Colorado town of Elk Park. Another mystery set in a fictional Colorado town is Maggie Sefton’s Knit One, Kill Two. It’s the first of a 14-book cozy series based on knitting. While Fort Connor isn’t real, the knitting shop featured in the story is. Lambspun of Colorado is located in Fort Collins.

The Big City

Denver is also a popular setting. For instance, why not check out Gary Reilly’s humorous mystery, The Asphalt Warrior? Fans love reading about this cab driver navigating familiar streets and picking up fares at businesses we all know. There’s also Body Slam by Rex Burns, which tackles pro wrestling in the metro area. Other well-known Colorado cities take the stage in Privileged Information by Stephen White and Swift Justice by Laura DiSilverioThey are a Boulder-based psychological thriller and a Colorado Springs romantic romp, respectively. Less known, but in Douglas County, is Crestview, the setting for Leslie Cain’s cozy mystery, Death by Inferior Design.
You can easily place a hold on any or all of these titles by visiting our Colorado Mysteries list.

Lessons Learned: Why We Read

What are you reading? That’s the question bestselling author Will Schwalbe asks everyone he meets, and it’s one I ask as well. Schwalbe is on a book tour for Books for Living, his latest title. He is best known for the memoir The End of Your Life Book Club, which covers book discussions he and his mother had during her chemotherapy treatments. Books for Living focuses more on why we read and the lessons we learn.

In Books for Living, Schwalbe includes books that speak to challenges we all face. Some of the books he chose include: Gift From the Sea (challenge: recharging); Stuart Little (challenge: searching); and Rebecca (challenge: betrayal). Whether you read his selections or not, Schwalbe urges readers to find their own.

Recent Reads & What I Learned

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Pachinko

by Min Jin Lee
A brilliant story of resilience, integrity, determination and love. Seventeen-year-old Sunja and her mother are running a boarding house in Korea in the early 1900s. Sunja is seduced and left pregnant. A traveling minister offers to marry her and raise the child as his own. She accepts and they immigrate to Japan. They encounter racism, poverty, war, hunger, love, tragedy and loss, but they never give up. It’s an engaging, thought-provoking and relevant read. Learn more about the author and this book here.

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The Stolen Child

by Lisa Carey
This story about the belief in things unseen, strength, and determination will keep you up until the wee hours! This magical, powerful story takes place on St. Brigid, a remote island off the coast of Ireland. It’s 1959, but islanders still believe in the old ways — curses, fairy folk, and St. Brigid’s miracles. The sea is their survival or their death. Sisters Rose and Emer are different as day and night. Emer is touched by the old world and has gifts that people fear, though she fears for her son’s health and survival. When Brigid, an American, moves to the island, love and friendship give way to deceit. This unforgettable story includes an amazing array of female characters.

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Her Every Fear

by Peter Swanson
Monsters are real! Kate Priddy is neurotic and suffers from severe anxiety and panic attacks. When the suggestion is made that she swap apartments with an American cousin she’s never met, she heads to Boston. Jet-lagged and alone, she soon discovers that her cousin’s next-door neighbor has been murdered. When the police come knocking on Kate’s door for answers about her cousin, she has none. Fans of Hitchcock’s Rear Window will enjoy the overwhelming creepiness in this psychological thriller.

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In Sunlight or in Shadow

Edited by Lawrence Block
This collection of short stories — inspired by the paintings of 20th century American artist Edward Hopper — offers a sense of moodiness, stark loneliness, and grit. I could almost smell the cigarette smoke and stale liquor while reading Robert Olen Butler’s “Soir Bleu.” I was swept into a violent, voyeuristic world by Joyce Carol Oates’ story based on “The Woman in the Window.” Other contributors include: Stephen King, Michael Connelly, Megan Abbott, Craig Ferguson, Nicholas Christopher, Joe R. Lansdale, and Lee Child. Hopper was known for his use of light and shadow. Learn more about him here.

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News of the World

by Paulette Jiles
This gem from the author of The Color of Lightning will steal your heart as trust and bonds are forged. It’s 1870. Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd makes his living giving newspaper readings to paying audiences. He meets an old military acquaintance who offers him a $50 gold piece to deliver a 10-year-old girl who had been a captive of the Kiowa for several years back to her relatives. But Johanna does not wish to leave the Kiowa, the only family she remembers. This makes for a fiery relationship between Kidd and the girl during their treacherous 400-mile journey. The audiobook is excellent!

You can find the complete list of books that speak to various challenges here.

My Favorite Reader: Scott Brick

The Grammy Awards were recently handed out, but you probably missed the award for Best Spoken Word Album. It’s not surprising; it’s an often overlooked category. And that’s why I’m calling attention to it. Nominees and winners for this award have run the gamut, from Barack Obama to Betty White to Elvis Costello. And while my favorite reader, Scott Brick, has not won this award, I want to introduce you to him.

Brick is one of the most prolific readers in the industry, reading the works of many bestselling authors, such as Steve Berry, David Baldacci, Clive Cussler, Douglas Preston and Harlen Coben. But it is his breadth of reading that I admire most. I’ve enjoyed listening to titles that I otherwise wouldn’t have selected except for wanting to hear his mellifluous voice while driving in my car. Learn more about Scott Brick here, and check out these audio titles featuring his voice.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

by Gabrielle Zevin

This was the audio that started it all for me! Brick’s voice will always be that of A.J. Fikry, a book-loving curmudgeon who is coming around to the fact that he will spend his days in the quiet bookstore he owns on a quiet island. That is, until the day his life takes a drastic turn. A heartwarming, funny, sad book about books, and love, and what’s important in life.

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

by Nathaniel Philbrick
Philbrick has become one of my favorite nonfiction writers, but I only listened to this because Scott Brick was the reader. Brick relates the story of the whaleship Essex, which was rammed and sunk by a whale. What follows is a story of survival and endurance, decisions made both good and bad, and, ultimately, a movie that was not as good as the book, Chris Hemsworth notwithstanding.

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Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

by Erik Larson
Erik Larson is another one of my favorite authors. His writing is chock full of information, and he goes off on many tangents but then expertly brings everything together. In Dead Wake, Larson writes of the Lusitania and the lives of the people on board, as well as those who bring about its destruction. Brick’s reading makes the density of this book a lot more palatable.

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A Lowcountry Heart: Reflections on a Writing Life

by Pat Conroy
We lost Conroy last year, but his writing lives on in this compilation of his blogs and letters and a wonderful introduction by his widow, writer Cassandra King. Listening to his writing is like listening to a song — and it makes me miss him all the more. He’s buried in Saint Helena Memorial Gardens in his beloved Beaufort, South Carolina. The cemetery is owned by the Brick Baptist Church, and he was interred there even though he was not African-American or a Baptist — a lesson on inclusion and acceptance we could all learn from.

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In Cold Blood

by Truman Capote
I always thought this story was creepy, and listening to Brick’s narration makes it that much more creepy. The wonderful prose of Capote makes unsettlingly real the murder of a family in a small Kansas town and the investigation, trials and executions that followed. The movie Capote, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, covers much of what the author writes in the book and the aftermath.
I think you’ll find some enjoyable listening with these titles. And you can find more of Brick’s work in this list or by searching our catalog.

The Life-Changing Magic of Trying to Tidy Up (My Life)

Sigh … January 2017 is already in the rearview mirror and most of my New Year’s resolutions have been left in the dust! To be honest, I’ve never been good about resolutions, except one. A few years ago I decided my life was filled with too much material and mental clutter, so I set about trying to simplify and tidy up. I’m not perfect, and I’m definitely not a neat freak (just ask my wife), but along the way I’ve come across a few books that helped me organize, simplify and declutter. Maybe one or two of these will work for you.

 

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Zen Habits – Handbook for Life: Hundreds of Tips for Simplicity, Happiness and Productivity
by Leo Babauta

Babauta got me moving toward a less-cluttered life. He writes about finding simplicity and mindfulness in the daily chaos of life in his blog Zen Habits. He took many of the best tips from the blog and put them in this book. He’s written other books on simplicity, organization and mindfulness — they are all on his blog, and a number of them are available from Douglas County Libraries.

 

 

 

 

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
by Marie Kondo

The big book in the world of decluttering is this tiny book by Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo (and it was also DCL’s most checked-out nonfiction book in 2016). This New York Times bestseller highlights her KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing and storing. I picked a few choice methods from the book instead of subscribing to the entire method, and I still fold socks and t-shirts as prescribed in this video as my little bit of life-changing magic.

If you want more KonMari tips, read Kondo’s follow-up release Spark Joy.

 

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New Order: A Decluttering Handbook for Creative Folks (and Everyone Else)
by Fay Wolf

In less than 180 pages, New Order covers physical and digital decluttering, organization, productivity and collaboration, and provides a bunch of resources on how and where to donate and recycle all the stuff you’ve tossed. It’s an informative, quick read!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Unf*ck Your Habitat: You’re Better Than Your Mess
by Rachel Hoffman

This book is a new entry (2017) in the organization/simplification scene. It’s written for those of us who don’t have the time to follow a complex system of organization. Designed to develop better habits in your habitat, the book has a simple goal: “Not everyone will have a showcase of a home, but whatever your habitat, you deserve for it to bring you happiness, not stress.” You don’t need to be perfect and have tons of time to follow the advice in the book — you just need to start!

 

 

 

 

 

The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload
by Daniel Levitin

For those more interested in the “why” than the “how-to,” Levitin’s book looks at organization in the 21st-century human by examining brain science, and how “new research into the cognitive neuroscience of attention and memory can be applied to the challenges of our daily lives.” Although a bit dry at times, The Organized Mind is an interesting read filled with illuminating examples and a little how-to as well, and it’s a good match for those who like reading Malcolm Gladwell.

 

 

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The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck
by Sarah Knight

On the opposite end of the spectrum and subtitled How to Stop Spending Time You Don’t Have With People You Don’t Like Doing Things You Don’t Want to Do, this book is written as part parody and part remedy to complex organization-overload manuals. The book talks of finding ways to better enjoy your life by focusing on the things that matter to you, instead of worrying about what others think. It’s R-rated and funny, but also filled with practical advice.

 

 

 

 

 

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High Fidelity
by Nick Hornby

Huh? If you’ve gotten this far, you are probably wondering why High Fidelity is on this list. One reason is that I really like the book (and the movie as well). But I also think it fits — at its core, it’s a story of a guy trying to organize and declutter his past relationships so he can move forward. And isn’t that what simplification/organization/decluttering projects are all about? Let’s stop living in the past, holding on to stuff we don’t need anymore, and let’s look to the future!

 

Best of luck in the rest of 2017 — may it be simpler, less cluttered, and more enjoyable!

Grumpy Pants

Sometimes I wake up grumpy. Other days, I let him sleep in. This is the only joke that I seem to be able to remember. But with the increased amount of mumblings and grumblings of friends and co-workers around me, it also reminded me that there are a lot of great books where the main character is a bit on the grumpy side. So if you’re feeling just a little bit edgy these days, check out these wonderful titles and you’ll be in good company.

 

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Is there anyone grumpier than Mr. Darcy? Despite his wealth and position in Victorian society, he certainly behaves like he sucks on lemons daily. If you haven’t read this classic, now is the time! Then just for fun, watch the movie Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Grumpy + zombies = pure entertainment!


Storied Life of AJ Fikry

 

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

A.J. Fikry’s life is not what he had planned. He didn’t plan on becoming a bookstore owner, he didn’t plan on losing his wife, he didn’t plan on having his rare book of Edgar Allan Poe poems stolen, and he definitely didn’t plan on discovering a 2-year-old girl in his children’s section with a note from her mother asking Fikry to take care of her because, “I want Maya to grow up in a place with books and among people who care about such kinds of things.”

 

 

 

 

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

While many readers might relate to Harry Potter, there are those who love Severus Snape, and no one does grumpy like Snape. Of course, he has good reason to be moody. This series is one of the best for fantasy readers of all ages.

 

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

This was the first novel written by Backman and it was a bestseller across Europe. Ove is a curmudgeon who spends his days inspecting his community and criticizing others. He thinks he’s surrounded by idiots, and don’t even get him started on BMW drivers! Yet, somehow, the people around Ove slowly weave themselves into his life, and this book becomes a thoughtful reflection on loss, love and community.

 

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

Backman created another unforgettable character with Britt-Marie. It’s not so much that Britt-Marie is grumpy, it’s just she likes things to be done a certain way and she can be pretty brusque when things are done differently. While it’s certainly not her intention to be offensive, she struggles with social interactions on every level. What will happen when she moves to a new town and becomes the coach of the local children’s soccer team? Is there a place that Britt-Marie can finally feel at home?

 

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The Widower’s Tale by Julia Glass

Percy Darling is similar to other “grumpy” characters — he is opinionated and cantankerous. He is extremely unhappy about the changes in libraries with all the new technology. At 70 years of age he feels pretty certain that each day is going to be constant: He will never leave his house, he will be a widower until he dies, and his grandson who is attending Harvard will do great things. But surprises soon come knocking on Percy’s door. Relationships are never that simple — especially with family.

 

 

 

 

 

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Grumpy Cat by Grumpy Cat

Grumpy Cat helps you celebrate the grouch in everyone, yet puts a smile on your face. While it’s not fiction, this book teaches the fine art of grumpiness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And last but not least, if you want to shed your grumpiness, follow the solution found in Grumpy Pants by Claire Messer — a very fun picture book.

 

7 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Picks for 2017

A great new year means great new books. And in the realm of science fiction and fantasy, it will be a bountiful year, regardless of whether George R.R. Martin’s or Patrick Rothfuss’ newest installments actually make it to print. (You guys know what I mean!)

These are the seven books that I’ll be saving room for on my sci-fi/fantasy bookshelf this year.

1. Iron Gold by Pierce Brown (August 2017)

All you fans of the Red Rising trilogy should have this one on your radar. Word is, Brown’s spinoff series will pick up where Morning Star left off, introducing new characters, as well as revisiting old favorites. Want to know what happens after? We’ll be watching the new bookshelf in August to find out.

Haven’t read Pierce Brown’s debut trilogy, Red Rising? It’s a must-read for anyone who’d enjoy an adult read-alike for Harry Potter or The Hunger Games, but with more action, adventure and mayhem!

Find the first book here. It’s also available in e-book and audiobook formats.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor2. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (March 2017)

The first in a brand-new series by the author of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, this book is highly anticipated by rabid Taylor fans. With a new publication date (it was pushed out from the end of 2016), readers are buzzing.

Based on her past works, Taylor brings a meld of the classic fantasy with modern, edgy characters that appeal to teen and adult readers alike. Expect adventure, play on the concept of good vs. evil, powerful friendships (and enemies), and a good dose of humor.

Preview Strange the Dreamer on Entertainment Weekly’s website. If you’re like me, you’ll be hooked!

 

3. The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi (March 2017)

Author John Scalzi is best known for his Old Man’s War series, which contemplates how age might be an asset in space travel and intergalactic feuding.

Scalzi is more traditional in his science fiction because of his focus on the possibilities of science, rather than simply setting novels in the future or in space. What makes his offerings strong and unique is that he’s fond of finding an angle on the science that makes you think!

His new novel looks to be a stand-alone offering that contemplates space travel via extradimensional means. Get on the request list here.

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

4. A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab (February 2017)

Schwab hit upon a magical combination when she started the Darker Shade of Magic trilogy. Sword and sorcery? Check. Witty dialogue and fantastic characters? Check. Masked balls? Check. Pirates? Check!

The world-building in this alternate, magically inclined Georgian-era London is fantastic. With characters who resonate as real, despite their fantastical setting, Schwab’s trilogy is dark, light, and everything in-between.

Add A Conjuring of Light to your request list today.

5. The RelThe Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durstuctant Queen by Sarah Beth Durst (July 2017)

This is book two in Durst’s Queens of Renthia series, following The Queen of Blood. The book covers may look sweet, but the nature spirits of Renthia are definitely not. In fact, the spirits prefer to live in a world without humans, but they are held in check by the powerful human queen who controls them. Our young hero has the potential to one day take on this role, and book two promises to continue unfolding her powerful story.

Durst creates a complex and seamless landscape, taking us along for the ride as politics, destiny and magic clash. Get started on the first book in preparation for book two’s July release!

6. Star’s End by Cassandra Rose Clarke (March 2017)

In this work of speculative fiction, Clarke takes family drama to new horizons. Esme is poised to take over her father’s business empire, but the closer she gets to her new role, the more she learns about her father’s more dubious ventures. And her three sisters’ estrangement from the family. Sounds like a typical TV drama, right? But this business empire spans multiple planets. And the dubious ventures might involve alien DNA.

Star’s End promises to be a rousing space drama, and Clarke is just the master storyteller to take it on! Check the author’s website for the full book blurb.

7. In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle (February 2017)

The author of one of the most beloved unicorn tales of all time, The Last Unicorn, is back in 2017 with a new unicorn-focused novel. Beagle’s work is charming and heartwarming with its exploration of love, friendship, and the possibilities of everyday magic.

Add In Calabria to your request list today.

unicornAnd while you wait, take time to reacquaint yourself with his classic work in either its traditional format or one of the adapted versions. Added bonus: The beautiful animated film is family-friendly!

 

Are there any sci-fi or fantasy novels that you’re excited about reading in 2017? Share your bookshelf picks with us in the comments!

Survival Stories

One of my favorite things to do on a snow day is curl up with a good survival story. Sometimes I want to read about a fictional character surviving on bark and berries. Other times, I want to read how real people pulled through difficulty and persevered.

With that second preference in mind, I’ve put together a short list of titles written about or inspired by real-life survival situations.

Junior Fiction

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A Long Walk to Water: A Novel Based on a True Story
by Linda Sue Park

The story alternates between Nya, in 2008 Sudan, and Salva, in 1985. Nya must walk two hours each way, twice a day, to collect water. Salva is one of 17,000 Sudanese boys who fled hundreds of miles across the desert to Ethiopia during the Second Sudanese Civil War. The two characters’ stories eventually intersect.

 

 

 

 

 

Young Adult Fiction

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Fever, 1793
by Laurie Halse Anderson

This historical fiction read is based on the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 that killed over 5,000 people. A teenage girl is left on her own when her mother falls ill with the fever, and she must find a way to persevere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Trapped
by Michael Northrop

Seven high school students are stranded in their high school during a weeklong blizzard in New England. This read is loosely based on the Northeastern United States blizzard of 1978 that struck New England, injuring and stranding thousands of people and killing 100.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adult Nonfiction

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Blind Descent: Surviving Alone and Blind on Mount Everest
by Brian Dickinson

Dickinson decides to summit Everest even after his Sherpa falls ill and turns back. At the top, he is struck with snow blindness and must find his way down alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Ledge
by Jim Davidson

A tragic accident on Mount Rainier in Washington sparks a harrowing survival experience for Davidson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Adrift: Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea (e-book)
by Steven Callahan

Callahan’s boat capsizes and he is left alone on an inflatable raft to fight for his survival.

 

Books That Satisfy Those Podcast Cravings

Recently, Wired magazine talked about the rise of modern fictional podcasts. The article immediately caught my attention because I have listened to — and loved — half the shows it mentioned. The other half I finished afterward. It’s incredibly easy to binge on an excellent podcast, and now I’m back to where I started: impatiently waiting for the next episode!

Luckily, I’m in a library full of books to tide me over until the next one is released. In case you’re in the same situation as me, I’ve put together a list of books to tide you over.


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Welcome to Night Vale has its own spinoff novel (even available in audiobook!), but it could also be compared to Mira Grant’s Feed because of the unique narrator. Cecil is Night Vale’s radio journalist who investigates his surreal community. Feed follows news bloggers during the zombie apocalypse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Bright Sessions follows a therapist for people with supernatural powers. The first book to recommend for this has to be We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory. It also uses therapy as a starting point, but for survivors of supernatural events, bringing them together and then pulling out their stories and thrusting them into a new adventure. The Humans by Matt Haig could also work, as it humorously follows the point of view of an alien trying to understand human thought processes.

 

 

 

 

 


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The Deep Vault seems much easier to compare to something like Fallout 4, but since we’re sticking to books, perhaps S.A. Bodeen’s The Compound. It doesn’t have robots or monsters, but it does have the creepy bunker that the protagonist can’t escape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

annihilation

 

The Black Tapes has a huge X-Files feel to it. Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation matches the horror and the scientific feel, but the supernatural and episodic aspects pair well with an urban fantasy series like Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson books. The first one is Moon Called.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14-novel

 

Archive 81 is a spooky podcast that revolves around a mysterious apartment building and the incredibly strange people who live there. The book that immediately comes to mind is 14 by Peter Clines. It also centers on a strange apartment building, though these residents band together to discover why every apartment has a secret. Messages are hidden in the walls, there’s a room that attracts death, a locked door is strangely cold — so much mystery, and the tension levels are perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

horrorstor

 

I want to get Alice Isn’t Dead perfectly right. It’s my favorite podcast. Maybe try Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix for the creepiness that exists in seemingly ordinary places — a haunted furniture store instead of Alice’s creepy highways. I’m about to try The Brotherhood of the Wheel by R.S. Belcher because I’m hoping this trucker battling supernatural horrors on the road can tide me over until Alice rides back onto the  airwaves for season two.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let me know if you’ve got recommendations of your own — either book read-alikes or new fictional podcasts. Listening to all of these makes me wonder if one will be produced in our own Recording Studio, located at the new Douglas County Libraries in Parker.

~ mg