Fall might just be the perfect time of year to grab a throw blanket and curl up with a good book. Luckily, our pals over at The Brooklyn Public Library are back with some selects to get you started. Carl Fossum, a librarian at the BPL for over 25 years, culled through his recent faves to share 5 picks for the month. “When I was compiling this list,” Carl says, “I wanted it to reflect the hodgepodge of my own interests; a little fiction, a little non-fiction with some graphic novels to round it out. It also pays homage to the genre that started it all for me back in the 5th grade-Science Fiction.” Enjoy!
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by Karin Tidbeck
A collection of weirdly odd and oddly intriguing stories from the Swedish writer, Karin Tidbeck. These stories lurk in various shadowlands; places where magic and fairy creatures hover in the dark countryside to commingle and confuse, arouse and startle, these tales also dwell in between languages as some were written in Swedish and then translated to English, while some are the reverse. Weird tales with a Nordic bent that will leave readers dazed, disturbed and delightfully enchanted.
Briggs Land Vol 1: State of Grace
by Brian Wood and Mack Chater
Only Brian Wood would write about a mythological independent state located in Upstate NY, filled with separatists, militia and some white supremacist members and get you to care about Grace Briggs as she tries to wrest control of the family crime empire and turn it into something better. Visceral storytelling paired with engaging art to tell a dark tale for our nightmarish reality. Brutal uncompromising and oh so necessary.
Atlas of a Lost World: Travels in Ice Age America
by Craig Childs
A melding of personal travel narrative and a history of migration to (mostly) North America during the Ice Age.
Child’s prose is an amalgam of intensely personal reflection on the connection to nature and the history of mankind’s innate need to travel and explore, coupled with deep research and the ability to convey technical knowledge in an engaging manner without any sacrifice in the level of detail. Crucial to understanding cutting edge research that seems to point towards people moving to the Americas tens of thousands of years earlier than previously thought as well as by myriad ways of access. Atlas can also be read purely as travel adventure as Childs recounts his journey to duplicate some of the routes used to migrate and settle here.
by Ian McDonald
I first ran into McDonald’s work in the pages of Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine back in the early 80’s, I was impressed then and now. In Time Was he manages in 143 scant pages a tale that encompasses time travel, quantum physics, philosophy and the bibliophilic joy of searching for antiquarian books. Tom and Ben are lovers lost throughout time after meeting on a top secret project during World War II. Their only means of communication is to leave each other notes in obscure books of poetry. In present time, Emmett a book dealer and Thorn, whose great grandfather met Tom and Ben, search frantically for texts that may have clues as the fate of the two lovers and where or rather when they may be. These two tales intertwine into a marvelous story of love and humanity beyond time, knit together in the most luminous prose.
by Justina Ireland
One of many YA (Young Adult ) books that are getting great attention with adult readers and with good reason.
Part zombie novel, alternate history, social critique, coming of age and all badass, Dread Nation tells the story of an alternate America where the Civil War was stopped when the dead rose from the battlefields of Gettysburg. In 1880 black girls, by law, must train in combat schools to fight the dead for wealthy whites. Jane Mckeene is having none of it. She longs to return to her mother in Kentucky once school has finished. Due to circumstances beyond her control Jane finds herself stranded in the middle of the country and learns that the living are far more dangerous than the dead. Ireland deftly melds these disparate elements into a fast paced action novel with a strong moral message.
Carl Fossum is a librarian who has worked for BPL for nearly a quarter century. He has also been a church security guard, a writer, a fishmonger, a book store clerk and an SCA Fencer. He enjoys among many things, music, reading, hiking, cycling, dark humor and horribly bad puns. He was born, lives and works in Bay Ridge with his wife and two teenage sons.