I opened my eyes in deepest night, a faint glow haunting my bedchamber. There was a curious tightness in my chest, as though a weight was upon me. As my vision adapted to the dim light, I saw, to my horror, that there was a crouched form looming above me, shrouded in black and breathing heavily. “Covey the Younger,” it hissed, and, though the voice was rasped and sounded as though far away, I recognized it as that of our editor, The Contrarian himself. “Covey the Younger, you must post! You will post! Remember the contract, upon which you did sign your name. Post, sir, or I shall be back for your soul!”
“Fine, Casey, for fuck’s sake!” I shouted. “I’ll put something up tomorrow!” And with that, the light was gone, and I was alone.
(Note: please don’t ask why I’m smiling. I had hoped it would look like I was scared when it was upside down, but it didn’t. Cut me a break, will you?)
Well then. I’m home sick with a nasty head cold, so instead of working at the library, I’ll give you a brief update from the library world.
Library Journal recently published their annual job placement and salary survey issue, which was quite frightening this year. A notable stat: Last year, Indiana University — where I got my masters and one of the better programs in the country — graduated 251 students from their School of Library and Information Science. 66 found jobs in the field.
That’s depressing, though, and I’m not going to linger on the point. Instead, I’ll turn to one of the aspects of my job that I have illustrated the least in this series: Reader’s Advisory. Now, true RA involves matching a patron with a book he or she didn’t know about, based on what they tell you they enjoy. This is one of the fun parts of the gig, and a skill that really can’t be taught, like sneaking into people’s bedchambers and sitting on their chests without them noticing. (But not like adding faces into a famous painting for comedic effect.) That, for better or worse, can be taught fairly quickly.
But I digress.
Today I thought I’d would comment on some of the books people are talking about right now, or that I have read recently and enjoyed. Winter is coming, after all, and it is getting to be time when good books are required to fight off the cold and the dark. Or add to them, if that should be your preference.
Fiction: One of this fall’s most intriguing titles, which I have not yet had opportunity to read, is Emma Donoghue‘s Room. The novel is about a young boy whose entire world is a single room, the only room he has ever known. He and his mother have been kept captive his whole life, and he is about to learn that there more to the world than he suspected. Fellow Irish author Tana French, whose previous novels In the Woods and The Likeness set a new standard for beautiful prose in a mystery novel, has returned with the third in her series, Faithful Place. French’s novels are extraordinary realistic, and her theatrical background has given her a clear understanding of people and the motivation. Faithful Place is easily the most predictable of her books, but that doesn’t take away from the experience. As the film versions of Stieg Larsson‘s Millennium Trilogy are released, attention is again being drawn to those wonderful tales. They are the notable literary phenomenon of the last few years, and I highly recommend them.
I also recently reread Aldous Huxley‘s Brave New World, and the ending has lost none of its power.
Non-fiction: One title I’ve been hearing a lot about is The Wave by Susan Casey. A study of giant waves and the surfers who attempt to ride them, The Wave appears to have a far broader audience than I initially expected. In case anyone is interested, my library has only had one request for Susan Boyle‘s autobiography The Woman I Was Born to Be. We decided not to purchase the work.
Young Adult: I have a personal fondness for Lauren Baratz-Logsted‘s Sisters 8 series. A set of octuplets, each with a cat to match, is quite shocked when their parents suddenly go missing. One month at a time, they make their way through a series of mishaps and challenges as they attempt to hide their parents’ absence and figure out what has happened. Short, funny and perfect for the 8-10 crowd. I also just enjoyed Daily Show writer Josh Lieb‘s debut YA novel I Am An Evil Genius And I Want To Be Your Class President, though it did not quite deliver on the expectation of nonstop hilariousness. Being currently capable of little more than lying around watching my cat sleep, I started listening to the audiobook of Magyk, the first book of Angie Sage‘s Septimus Heap series. So far I have found it surprising, suspenseful and entertaining.
Graphic Novels: I recently suggested James Robinson‘s Starman comics to a graphics fan who doesn’t like superhero books. He was almost immediately hooked, and I plan to start him on a few other non-traditional series, such as Warren Ellis‘ Planetary. Not long ago, a friend sent me a bunch of graphics for the library, and I had a chance to read Mercury by Hope Larson. This was a very interesting book, featuring interwoven stories from two time periods.
Alright. My mind is going. I need a nap. Be good, readers, return your books on time, and don’t forget to vote for increased funding for your local library!