by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on December 27th, 2015
In past years, we combined our picks for the best mystery books of the year with our best science fiction books. This year, however, we’re following the Library’s catalog system, which groups science fiction and fantasy books together.
We have no idea why this didn’t occur to us sooner. We’d say it was a mystery, but we already shared one groan-worthy mystery joke yesterday. It would be wrong to go for two.
ICPL’s BEST SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY OF 2015
- Uprooted by Naomi Novik
- Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
- Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs
- Voyage of the Basilisk: A Memoir by Lady Trent (A Natural History of Dragons) by Marie Brennan
- Of Noble Family by Mary Robinette Kowal
by Mimi Blankenship Coupland on June 23rd, 2015
It’s officially summer and that means lovely weather and longer days! Such conditions are favorable for reading these enthralling books. “Just one more page” actually translates into missing my bus stop and an unexpected hike home.
The first culprit was Ready Player One by Ernest Cline in the summer of 2011. To escape his awful Real Life, Wade Watts spends a lot of his time immersed in an online world called OASIS. His goal is to locate an Easter Egg, an object much like Charlie’s Golden Ticket, that upon redemption will make him the heir to the eccentric founder’s estate. After discovering the first key he must battle enemies, real and virtual, to claim the prize. Although this novel is written by a self-proclaimed gamer geek, the pop culture references and intense action appeals to a diverse readership.
Each book in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer feature a well-known fairy tale character with a science fiction twist. For example, Cinder (2012) is a 16-year-old girl with an evil stepmother and a life of drudgery. . . and part cyborg. She lives in New Beijing where she meets Prince Kai when he patronizes her mechanical repairs stall. The second book introduces Scarlet (2013) who lives on the other side of the world. How do their stories intertwine? When will they meet? How do I get to my house from here? Needless to say, the third installment Cress (2014) was read safely at home.
Lastly, Loop (2014) by Karen Akins is not a run-of-the-mill time travel book. In the 23rd century, the ability to move through time is biological and regulated. Bree Bennis is a clumsy 16-year-old Shifter who, during an ordinary mid-term exam, accidentally takes a 14-year-old boy hostage. When she goes back to try to fix the blunder, she doesn’t go far enough. Finn is now 17 and “totally hot”. To compound the situation, he then follows her back into the future. Naturally, this messes up the time-space continuum and they must work together to save their worlds.
I suggest reading these addicting novels featuring debut authors and imaginative stories tucked away in a cozy place; if not, the friendly bus drivers give excellent girl directions!
by Mimi Blankenship Coupland on April 28th, 2015
What if Colors were nouns instead of adjectives? These three trilogies explore the wondrous possibilities. In the first two listed below, colors are used as rankings in a social hierarchy. The last one has colors manifest as weather events affecting moods.
In 2009, Jasper Fforde stepped away from his Thursday Next series to write Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron. Eddie Russet is a lowly Red who can only see color in that spectrum, reminiscent of the Kim Anderson photographs so popular a while back. On the other end of the spectrum are the Purples, a royal color that surely means they are “destined to lead”.
I thought this book was outstanding as it was the first one I’d read to treat the rainbow in such a fashion. Every year I’ve anxiously awaited a sequel and, according to Goodreads, the next book in the Shades of Grey trilogy [AKA the Chromatacia novels] will be published next year.
- Shades of Grey (2009)
- Painting by Numbers (expected publication 2016)
- Gordini Protocols (2017)
The Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown also uses colors to define a person’s place in the universe, primarily through occupations. It follows Darrow, a Red miner on Mars, who discovers that he and others are being suppressed. Upon his “transmutation” into Gold, he realizes it is even more brutal at the top.
- Red Rising (2014)
- Golden Son (2015)
- Morning Star (05 January 2016)
The Colours of Madeleine trilogy by Jaclyn Moriarty treats colors a little differently. In these refreshing books, colors are whimsical but still have a material effect. The plot bounces back and forth between two separate realities: Elliott Baranski in Bonfire, the Farms, the Kingdom of Cello and Madeleine Tully in Cambridge, England, the World.
- A Corner of White (2013)
- The Cracks in the Kingdom (2014)
- Unknown as not yet listed on either Goodreads or her website
I invite you to enter these fantastic worlds where color means much more than just what shirt you wear. In them, you can imagine what color you’d like to be and discover which one you really are.
by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on April 4th, 2015
At the beginning of March, 128 books (64 titles in two brackets: Children’s, and Teens & Adults) were vying for ICPL’s 2015 Book Madness champion title.
Your votes have narrowed that vast field of classic literature, childhood favorites, and pop culture must-reads to four books: Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale; The Lord of the Rings by J.R. R. Tolkien; Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series; and the Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems.
Now it is time to choose which books will be named the 2015 Book Madness Champion in their bracket.
2015 BOOK MADNESS: ADULTS & TEENS
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
2015 BOOK MADNESS: CHILDREN’S
Percy Jackson (series by Rick Riordan)
Elephant and Piggie (series by Mo Willems)
Voting begins now and will continue until we close Monday night. We will announce our winning Book Madness titles Tuesday and will contact our contest winners soon after. Remember, you can vote by visiting the Library. You can also vote online on our Facebook page or send a tweet to @ICPL using the #ICPLBookMadness hashtag! We’ll accept social media votes until 9 p.m. Monday.
You can find the list of all books in this year’s Book Madness literary competition here.
by Morgan Reeves on August 25th, 2014
The Search for WondLa has been on my “To Read” list for awhile now, since it was published in 2010. But having learned a valuable lesson in series anticipation from Harry Potter, I put off starting this trilogy until the last book was published. This May the final book was published, The Battle for WondLa, and the time was ripe to start this series.
DiTerlizzi has mixed a good bit of science fiction into his fantasy to create a fascinating world. Eva Nine is a human girl being cared for and trained by Muthr, a humanoid, multifunctional robot. They live in an isolated Sanctuary with no contact with other humans. Eva longs to go outside and venture into the real world, but up until now Muthr has prevented this, deeming it safer to stay inside. But when their home comes under attack from an outside force, Eva is forced to flee on her own. Outside, her encyclopedic Omnidroid cannot identify any of the strange creatures she encounters. Feeling increasingly unprepared for life on the surface, Eva is captured by the strange hunter Besteel, but is able to escape and free his other captives at the same time. Thus, she has made her first friends, Rovender Kitt, a tall blue alien, and Otto, an enormous water bear.
Rovender has some news for Eva, instead of being on Earth as she had assumed, they are on a planet known as Orbona. To help make sense of this new world, she insists on rescuing Muthr from the ruins of their home. Reunited, the group sets off in search of other humans using Eva’s most prized possesion, a photo of a girl, robot and book with only the letters “Wond L a” still visible. Along their journey they encounter both kindness and cruelty from the natives. Eva and Muthr soon realize that they are oddities that no one has seen before, and thus valued for their rarity. The mystery of their origins is left unanswered for most of the book, with the only tantalizing hints coming at the end. Told in four parts with short chapters, this a fairly quick read accompanied by DiTerlizzi’s sylistic illustrations. An interesting tale that leaves you wanting to more, a demand that can gladly met by the sequel, A Hero for WondLa.