Things I read and liked in 2015

Holidays are when I catch up on my pleasure reading. I have a big stack of things to read over the next two weeks (and can’t wait to do so). But here are a few of the books I read and enjoyed earlier this year, in no particular order.

Warning: this list is almost certainly incomplete. I should probably start doing periodic lists of stuff I’ve recently enjoyed, if only to keep track of what I’ve been reading for myself….

  • Tales from Rugosa Coven, by Sarah Avery – This book consists of three connected novellas about a group of early 21st century Wiccans in New Jersey, and it is awesome.
  • Last Song Before Night, by Ilana C. Meyer – This is the kind of fantasy that normally would be a little “high” for me, but the world and music sucked me right in.
  • Uprooted, by Naomi Novik – I read this in Warsaw, appropriately enough; it’s got a gorgeous Polish-inspired setting.
  • Serpentine, by Cindy Pon – a beautiful Chinese-inspired tale with female friendship at its core.
  • The Snow Globe, by Jenna Nelson – a young woman from an alternate Victorian London finds herself in a snow globe. Fun fantasy (and dare I say, perfect for the holidays?)
  • The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins (see also the Q&A with Scott, here) – I wrote about this when I first read it back in July, so here I’ll just say I’m a sucker for evil librarian stories.
  • Our Lady of the Ice, by Cassandra Rose Clarke – recently finished this one too. A PI takes on a gangster in an alternate-history Antarctic enclosed world.
  • Trouble is a Friend of Mine, by Stephanie Tromly – Veronica Mars-style caper in the oh-so-aptly named town of River Heights, NY. The whole book is full of nods to those of us who grew up on teenage sleuths – and it is super-fun to boot!
  • Blue Birds, by Caroline Starr Rose – Novel in verse about the Lost Colony. Rose was prescient, it turns out, given recent archaeological news about the Lost Colony
  • A Daughter of No Nation, by A.M. Dellamonica – I loved Child of a Hidden Sea; this is a sequel, and though normally I am not a big fan of sequels I loved this book as much as the first.

Q&A with Scott Hawkins, author of The Library at Mount Char

Last week I posted about reading (and enjoying) The Library at Mount Char. Author Scott Hawkins was kind enough to answer a few questions for me, providing (among other things) some thoughts on fantasy libraries, a recipe I can’t wait to try, and advice for librarians engaged in power struggles at work. Thanks for the great answers, Scott!

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TheLibraryatMountCharI’ve seen The Library at Mount Char described as urban fantasy, as horror, and as speculative fiction. How do you think of it, and why?

I think of it as fantasy, but ‘speculative fiction’ works too.  I was a little surprised to see that some people think of it as ‘horror.’  I mean, that’s fine, think of it however you want, I just wasn’t expecting it.  I knew that there were horror elements, of course, but I miscalculated the degree to which some people found them disturbing.  I thought I had the horror dial turned up to maybe 5 or 6 out of 10, but based on the reactions it seems like it was more a 7 or 8.

Continue reading “Q&A with Scott Hawkins, author of The Library at Mount Char”