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Unique and refreshing

Illuminae

Title: Illuminae
By: Arnie Kaufman

I get super excited about unique things. I love experiencing something that pushes the boundaries of normal expectations. I love not being willing to put a book down because I want to know not just what will happen next, but how they will tell me about it. And I experienced all that love as I read Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.

An illegal mining colony on the outskirts of explored space is attacked by a competing corporation and the miners and their families have to escape in a hurry. Ezra and Kady are two normal teenagers--he’s into sports, she’s into computers--until the devastating day of the attack. They must survive with all the other refugees as they escape on some friendly spaceships whose warp-drives were crippled in the evacuation to a nearby space station.

Almost like a found-footage movie, the pages of this book are filled with an analyst’s interpretations of security camera recordings from the ships, audio and chat logs between survivors and ship personnel, scanned print communications, and epic graphic word-art imagery. And with each new document the story unfolds of Ezra and Kady’s survival in the ragtag, refugee-filled fleet on their slow and treacherous journey to safety.

The struggle of existing on overpopulated ships, a possibly faulty AI named AIDAN, a horrifying sickness running rampant through one of the ships, and the captains doing their best to prevent fleet-wide panic--and all the while, the possibility of enemy ships attacking--keeps you on the edge of your seat, making every turn of the page exciting! Due to the psychological stress, violence, and horror in this book I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone younger than 15.

But if you want to experience a unique and refreshing way of storytelling, then look no further!

View similarly tagged posts: teen fiction
Posted by augasona on Feb. 26, 2018 at 12:37 p.m.
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A constant joy

Trigger warning

Title: Trigger warning
By: Neil Gaiman

Ever since I picked up the graphic novel series The Sandman and discovered the wonderful creativity of Neil Gaiman, I've been in love. His book Neverwhere saved my life on a terrible camping trip. No other writer has so thoroughly affected my imagination. His words make me laugh, cry, think, hope and generally sit in awe at the stories' beauty and craftsmanship.

Though often dark and thought-provoking, his stories can also be fun and lighthearted. This is the case in his most recent short story and poetry collection,Trigger Warning. Generally, I prefer novels to short stories because I love really getting to know the characters, but Gaiman's ability to leave you totally satisfied after a short story made my experience with this book a constant joy.

I am so glad that I had the chance to listen to the audiobook of this anthology. Listening to Neil Gaiman read his stories was a real treat. You can hear in his voice how much he loves his stories, and lives to tell them. You know that the way he is portraying the characters is the exact way they were meant to be portrayed. It never feels wrong.

If you haven't had the chance to read anything by Neil Gaiman, please do. He has a huge and broad repertoire, including books and comics for children, teens, and adults. He has even written a few Doctor Who episodes! And feel free to start with this collection of stories. I assure you, you won’t be disappointed.

View similarly tagged posts: audiobook
Posted by augasona on Feb. 26, 2018 at 9:46 a.m.
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Angel of death

Killers of the Flower Moon: the Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

Title: Killers of the Flower Moon: the Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
By: David Grann

Many of the Osage would rush to see a gusher when it erupted, scrambling for the best view, making sure not to cause a spark, their eyes following the oil as it shot fifty, sixty, sometimes a hundred feet in the air. With its great black wings of spray, arcing above the rigging, it rose before them like an angel of death.

A series of killings and purported “deaths due to disease” in Osage County, Oklahoma in the early 20th century prompted journalist David Grann’s research for this sobering book. Over several years, Osage landowners were killed, and white men who tried to help landowner families find justice for the victims also were targeted. Grann’s exposition is clear and chilling: these Osage people were killed in order to funnel their land rights (especially their minerals rights) into the hands of a few white men who were pursuing Oklahoma oil strike riches in the most despicable ways you can imagine. Peppered with obstruction, witness intimidation, and ineptitude on the part of some early FBI investigators, it is an eye-opening piece of history that my grandparents would have read about in newspaper headlines in the 1920's.

View similarly tagged posts: non-fiction, history
Posted by April on Oct. 30, 2017 at 8:17 a.m.
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Fortuna is fickle

Golden Hill: a novel of old New York

Title: Golden Hill: a novel of old New York
By: Frances Spufford

He was the one unshackled, as yet unconfined; the one from whom diversion, or news, or any other of the new worlds a stranger may contain, were to be expected. And perhaps desired. For if your fortune at present is not such as pleases you, there is a prospect of mercy, as much as of doom, in the thought that Fortuna is fickle. The goddess’s renown is all in her changeableness, and strangers are her acknowledged messengers.

A lively tale with some curious twists and remarkable turns. A view of the early days of New York, pre-independence, when it was 1/100th the size of London. Young Mr. Smith arrives from London on November 1st, 1746, with a letter of credit so large that the local banker can’t cover it and mistrusts its validity. Since letters travel between the East Coast and Europe by sailing ship, Mr. Smith must manage somehow until further confirmation arrives. His adventures occupy the space of time through December 25th--and I won’t say any more than that, so as not to spoil your enjoyment. I will say that Spufford is an elegant and witty writer who uses period language with a modern sensibility.

View similarly tagged posts: fiction
Posted by April on Oct. 30, 2017 at 8:14 a.m.
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A hilarious journey into first love

I believe in a thing called love

Title: I believe in a thing called love
By: Maureen Goo

Desi Lee has never had a boyfriend. She reasons that this is probably because she has been so busy with school and extracurricular activities. Desi’s friends, however, know that it’s because during times of pressure, she tends to crack. Her friends call these moments flailures. After one particularly spectacular flailure in a crowded school hallway, Desi holes up at home over the weekend watching Korean dramas with her dad. At first, she thinks that these dramas are overblown soap operas, and makes fun of her dad for watching them. But the more she watches, the more she realizes that the romances portrayed in the shows might actually help her come up with a plan to woo the new guy at school.

As with the shows, chaos ensues. Desi’s own “K-Drama” involves over-protective fathers, getting trapped on a boat, a probable love triangle, and art club. Over the course of these misadventures, Desi learns that in real life, feelings tend to get in the way of firmly laid plans.

I Believe in A Thing Called Love takes us on a hilarious journey into first love and that wild world we call high school.

View similarly tagged posts: teen fiction
Posted by pughc on July 29, 2017 at 8:15 a.m.
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