Autumn

The fall season is finally here, and just like you shove your sandals to the back of your closet for more appropriate footwear once temperatures start dropping, it’s time to make room for some books that will put you in a fall mood. Warm and cozy like a hot tea, or a little spooky and mysterious, these different reads match the crackly leaves and foggy mornings of fall.  

9.30 The Wren HuntTHE WREN HUNT
By Mary Watson
(2018) 

Hardened by years of being hunted each St. Stephen's Day in tiny Kilshamble, Ireland, seventeen-year-old Wren, an Augur, is sent as a spy to the home of the most powerful Judge to try to regain control of the ancient, powerful magic her people once held. 

 

9.30 We Have Always Lived in the CastleWE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE
By Shirley Jackson
(1962) 

Delving deep into a labyrinth of dark neurosis, We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a deliciously unsettling novel about a perverse, isolated, and possibly murderous family and the struggle that ensues when outside forces disrupt their delicate balance of life. 

 

9.30 Letters to the LostLETTERS TO THE LOST
By Brigid Kemmerer
(2017)

Juliet Young has always written letters to her mother, a world famous photojournalist--even after her mother's death, she leaves letters at her grave. When Declan finds a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can't resist the urge to write back. Soon, he is sharing his pain with a perfect stranger. When real life interferes with their secret life of letters, Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart. 

 

9.30 The Rules of MagicTHE RULES OF MAGIC
By Alice Hoffman
(2017) 

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man. Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair; shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people's thoughts; and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk. From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic, and – most importantly – never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse. The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. 

 

9.30 A Gentleman in MoscowA GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW
By Amor Towles
(2016) 

Sentenced to house arrest in Moscow's Metropol Hotel by a Bolshevik tribunal for writing a "revolutionist" poem, Count Alexander Rostov must adjust to life as a "former person". For the next 30 years, from his shabby attic room, he strives to maintain a daily routine, explores the nooks and crannies of the hotel, bonds with the staff, and forms a relationship with a spirited young girl named Nina, which deepens and strengthens throughout his sentence. His conduct, his resolve, and his commitment to his home and to the hotel guests and staff form a triumph of the human spirit. As Moscow undergoes vast political and countless social upheavals, Rostov remains, implacably and unceasingly, a gentleman. 

 

9.30 Raven BoysTHE RAVEN BOYS
By Maggie Stiefvater
(2012) 

For as long as she can remember, clairvoyant Blue Sargent has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys led by Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school, she's not so sure anymore. 

 

9.30 In the House in the Dark of the WoodsIN THE HOUSE IN THE DARK OF THE WOODS
By Laird Hunt
(2018) 

A Puritan woman goes missing deep in the woods of colonial New England, and soon must face the supernatural horrors that her people had only imagined up until then.

 

 Novella

Attention Sci-fi/Fantasy readers: it's time to refresh your reading life!

I’m willing to confess a dirty little secret that I’m sure at least some of you reading-junkies sympathize with: when I sit down on a Saturday, finally free from errands and school-work, the idea of picking up a large novel is rather daunting. Sometimes I want something a bit shorter, a bit less commitment.

Well if you have this problem, perhaps you should consider picking up a novella.

Novella may be a new word for you. Yet I promise you have seen one, even if you didn’t know at the time. A novella is simply defined an intermediary between a short story and a full length novel, usually about 20,000 to 40,000 words. Since they are so short, the pacing is usually faster than a novel, the plot is clearer, and the ending often contains an interesting twist.  

Many classics are considered novellas, such as Animal Farm, but recently there has been a new push to get novellas on the market, especially in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres. If you are interested in finding more novellas, search for those winning a Hugo, Nebula, or Locus award, as these are some of the most prestigious awards for a speculative novella to receive.

9.20 DragonflightDRAGONFLIGHT
By Anne McCaffrey
(1991)

Composed of two novellas, Weyr Search and Dragonrider, this collection allowed McCaffrey was the first woman to win the Hugo and Nebula for best novella. Although I have never read Dragonflight myself, it is currently on the top on my “to read” list because of the love this book, and all of the Dragonriders of Pern books that follow, holds in the realms of my father’s heart. The book revolves around a planet that has become colonized by humans named Pern which is inhabited by dragons. This novella connects many central ideas of science fiction lovers, including space travel and aliens, along with fantasy, with dragons and a complex magic system.

 

9.20 All Systems RedALL SYSTEMS RED
By Martha Wells
(2017)

This sci-fi novella won the 2018 Nebula and Hugo awards for best novella and was nominated for the 2017 Phillip K. Dick award. On an alien planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Told from this “Murderbot’s” perspective, the narrative follows a robot who’s greatest desire to understand who it is. Celebrated fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss remarks, “I've never felt an emotional connection to the protagonist of a book like this before…Try it. Try it. Try it.”

 

9.20 LegionLEGION: THE MANY LIVES OF STEPHEN LEEDS
By Brandon Sanderson
(2018)

Ok guys, I admit I am a self-proclaimed Sanderson fan girl, but I hesitated to put this on here because there are other authors out there who I could spotlight. However, here is the method to my madness: although I bet many of you Stormlight fans, it would be a shame if you ignored Sanderson’s shorter works .. In Legion, we follow the adventures of Stephen Leeds and his many hallucinations, all of who give him advice or expertise in their particular fields. When a mystery is presented to him­— a camera that appears to be able to take pictures of the past— Stephen finds himself on an adventure with his hallucinations and perhaps must keep discovering the true nature of his abilities.

 

9.20 The Ballad of Black TomTHE BALLAD OF BLACK TOM
By Victor LaValle
(2016)

This urban and horror fantasy novella plays on the short story “The Horror at Red Hook” by H.P. Lovecraft and won the Shirley Jackson award for best novella and was a finalist for the 2016 Nebula award, the 2017 Hugo award, and 2017 British Fantasy Award. Along with this, AMC announced a plan for a TV adaptation of the novella with LaValle as an executive-producer.  This piece serves as both a retelling of the short story and also a critique as it is considered one of Lovecraft’s worst pieces. Set in 1924 Harlem, the narrative follows Tommy Tester, a small-time hustler whose regular guise as a street musician brings him in contact with reclusive millionaire Robert Suydam, who wants him to participate in a nefarious scheme involving the Great Old Ones.

 

9.18 Books for Brandon Sanderson Fans 

It is a great time to be reading Fantasy. One of my favorite writers is Brandon Sanderson, a prolific writer and always seems to have a new book or series coming out. But, if you are like me and are waiting for the next book in the Stormlight Archive, which is scheduled for 2020, the wait can seem pretty long.

Have no fear! There are plenty of Fantasy series to read in the meantime. If you love Brandon Sanderson, you may like one of the following series:

The Shadowfell Series

9.18 ShadowfellSHADOWFELL
By Juliet Marillier
(2012)

Neryn is only fifteen when she sets out for Shadowfell, a training ground for a rebel group of magic practitioners. The land of Alban has seen dark times and those with magical strengths are being rounded up and captured. When Neryn meets a fellow traveler who is a soldier and then the Good Folk, they tell her that it is she, and she alone, that can save Alban from its oppressive king.

 

The Name of the Wind Series

9.18 Name of the WindNAME OF THE WIND
By Patrick Rothfuss
(2007)

A hero named Kvothe, now living under an assumed name as the humble proprietor of an inn, recounts his transformation from a magically gifted young man into the most notorious wizard, musician, thief, and assassin in his world.

 

Throne of Glass Series

9.18 Throne of GlassTHRONE OF GLASS
By Sarah J. Maas
(2012)

Celaena Sardothien has served her time. She is eighteen and has already served a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes. But when Crown Prince Dorian offers her freedom on the condition that she act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin, she starts down a path that will change her life forever.

 

The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan 

9.18 The Eye of the WorldTHE EYE OF THE WORLD
By Robert Jordan
(1993)

Emond’s Field is a sleepy little village of no importance. But when the fields are attacked by the savage troll-like followers of the Dark One, the villagers realize that the war in the western lands is closer than they think. Three young men, sheepherder Rand, blacksmith Perrin, and prankster Mat must face their destiny and The Breaking of the World.

Brandon Sanderson famously finished this series after Jordan's death, so chances are you've already read it if you're a Sanderson fan. If you haven't, though, now's the time!

 

The Belgariad

9.18 Pawn of ProphecyPAWN OF PROPHECY
By David Eddings
(1982)

The Belgariad is an epic fantasy of immense scope, telling the tale of struggles between ancient Gods and mighty Kings, and of men in strange lands facing fated events, all bound by a prophecy that must be fulfilled. Garion is just a simple farm boy being raised by his impressive Aunt Pol on a small farm holding. But when the old magician comes to the farm, Garion’s life changes forever.  

 

Toddler Brain Development

It’s time for another child brain development blog! Today we'll cover preschool-age children, or those 3-5 years of age. If you are new to this series, check out our other posts on infants and toddlers. If you’ve been following along, you are probably tired of hearing this, but:

What are the best things we can do for our children’s brain development?

Read, sing, and talk to them!

Where’s a great place to get help with that?

The library!

I probably sound like a broken record, but here at the library we have a great program called Story Time where our fantastic storytellers do all three of our favorite activities with your children: read, sing, and talk. They also get your children moving and interacting, which is great for their social development.

During the school year we have a special Story Time for preschoolers in the Story Room, which looks like a castle and has a special child-sized entrance. Children are locked in for their safety and get some time with other children without their parents. During the summer we instead have Story Time on the lawn and at various parks around Provo, so they can get some fresh air.

As you might expect from the name, our Preschool Play time is specifically geared towards children this age. We bring out different age-appropriate toys from dress up clothes to wooden trucks for your children to play with. We also have puzzles available all day long which are a great resource for stimulating child brain development at this age.

For library resources you can use at home, look for books with repetition and rhyming, which is beneficial for your child’s language development. As you read, ask open ended and who/what/where/why questions to stimulate your child’s engagement with the books. Here are some classic options:

9.16 Brown Bear Brown BearBROWN BEAR, BROWN BEAR, WHAT DO YOU SEE?
By Bill Martin
(1983)

This children’s classic is beautifully illustrated and filled with rhyming. 

 

9.16 Hop on PopHOP ON POP
By Dr. Seuss
(1987)

Dr. Seuss is one of the most recognizable children’s book authors for a reason! His repetitive rhymes are a great way to get your child learning and reading at a higher level. 

 

9.16 The Giving TreeTHE GIVING TREE
By Shel Silverstein
(1964)

All of Shel Silverstein’s poetry books are whacky and fun – which is just what kids love! Along the way, they are interacting with valuable literary elements to help them learn, too. 

 

You can also check out our Discovery Kits (the full size ones, now), which include books, toys, and activities to explore a specific topic. Some great ones are Shapes, which has great puzzles; Multicultural, which has memory matching; and All About Me, which teaches children to recognize emotions.

For more information on how to help with your preschooler’s brain development, see the book below. If you have older children, be sure to follow along with the blog for upcoming brain development posts! 

9.16 The Whole Brain ChildTHE WHOLE-BRAIN CHILD
By Daniel Siegel
(2011)

This book offers much more than I can say on the topic of child brain development and how to guide them in their growth.

 

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