Saturday, January 18, 2014

Book Review Friday: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Yes, I know it's Saturday.

Lately, most of Neil Gaiman's books end up in the Children's Department of the library.  Though The Ocean at the End of the Lane tells the story of a man remembering his childhood this is a story for grown ups.  At 178 pages long, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is really a novella.  But each page is packed with Gaiman's magic touch.  The narrator is a middle-aged man returning to his home town for a funeral.  He finds himself driving through the old neighborhood somewhat aimlessly, until he arrives at the end of the lane and the Hempstock's farm and he starts to remember.   What he remembers is a fantastic, magical, impossible experience he had when he was seven years old and first met eleven year old Lettie Hempstock and her mother and grandmother.

If you get a chance to listen to the audio book narrated by Gaiman himself, I highly recommend the experience.  But not necessarily while you're driving.  I found the story and Gaiman's narration so engrossing that I became a hazard on the highways and, for the safety of myself and my fellow commuters, I opted to read instead of listen.

For more by Neil Gaiman try:

Fragile Things
Anansi Boys
American Gods
Smoke and Mirrors
Good Omens

The Graveyard Book
M is for Magic
Odd and the Frost Giants
Crazy Hair
Blueberry Girl
The Dangerous Alphabet
The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish
The Wolves in the Walls

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Favorite Things: Fantastic Fiction

Life at the Reference/Adult Services Desk can get hectic.  And sometimes we just need a little help finding the right answers. When it comes to answering: "Can you tell me if this is the first book in the series?"  Or "What else has this author written?"  Fantastic Fiction is one of my go-to resources.  With listings for over 30,000 authors and 350,000 books and counting, if it's in the library catalog, it's probably in here, too.

Search by author to find a list of everything they've published listed in series order.  It's easy to print out a list for a fan.  Search by book title and click on the link for a synopsis and Amazon purchasing info (of course).  At the bottom of an author page there may be recommendations from the author and you'll find a list of "people who searched for this author also searched for ..."  a great way to find readalikes for that "Oh, I've read all of those" patron.

You can also browse authors alphabetically or by genre or search for new listings in hardback, paperback, audio, or Kindle.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Book Review Friday: Darkwalker


 "Vengeance never forgets a debt ...."

Darkwalker by E. L. Tettensor is a paranormal mystery set in a Victorianesque world where magic, mystery, and the supernatural collide.
Nicolas Lenoir is a police inspector.  Once the best and the brightest he is now jaded and apathetic.  Investigating a case of grave robbing Lenoir is just going through the motions and earning the disdain of his protege, Sergeant Bran Kody.  When Lenoir's nine-year-old informant, Zach goes missing it looks like the two cases might have something in common and Lenoir finally has something to live for.  but that might not be easy, he has reason to believe that the green-eyed man who haunts his memories and his nightmares is involved, too.  Lenoir escaped the Darkwalker once, but he would be a fool to think he could do it again, but to save Zach's life he's going to have to try.
Dark and atmospheric with just a hint of magic.  Add a supernatural spirit who relentlessly stalks his prey and a kidnapping/murder mystery.  Toss in some well-turned phrases and a fast-paced, page-turning narrative,  Mix in a brooding anti-hero that you'll learn to like in spite of yourself and a few well-drawn secondary characters you'll want to know better.   Darkwalker has it all and ends with the promises of sequels to come. 
Darkwalker is E. L. Tettensor's first novel.

I'm at a loss to provide readalikes for this book.  I haven't read anything else quite like it.

Here's a list of Best Supernatural Mysteries from GoodReads.

Other books with a Victorian atmospheric flavor include:

Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn

Drood by Dan Simmons
The Yard by Alex Grecian

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2014 Goals

Well, 2013 was a wild ride!  The cats are exhausted.  Time to strap in for the new year and set a few goals down in writing ... just to keep me honest.  So for 2014 I'd like to ...

Read 50 books cover to cover, according to Shelfari I made it 36 this year.  I know there were a few I didn't post there, so for 2013 I'll give myself 40. Fifty should be doable.

Create a file of annotations to use for Reader's Advisory and bibliographies. 

Be more consistent about posting book reviews on the blog every Friday.

Post something every Tuesday: tech tips, interesting articles, observations, who knows.  And yes, I realize today is Wednesday, this is a goal to strive for, and I've got some work to do in the organization department, too.

Read more industry literature: Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, books from our professional development collection, etc.  I've been a little sporadic about that sort of thing.  The only thing I read consistently every month is AudioFile, but then I do order the audio books for the adult department at my library.

Rack up at least 20 hours of professional development: Webinars, MOOCs, conferences, in-service training, etc.  I've recorded 29.5 for 2013.

Keep working on the ARRT Popular Fiction List.  I've found it is a valuable tool for helping me become more familiar with authors and genres I don't always read.  Reading something from the list every month gets me out of my comfort zone and makes me a better reader's adviser.  

So that's the plan for 2014.  We'll see how it goes.
Happy New Year!