A Galaxy of Possibilities

by Britney

By Britney

One glance around my office will tell you that I am a shameless Star Wars nerd. A variety of books, action figures, and posters decorate my counters and shelves.  Since I was a small child I have been fascinated by the characters who populate the Star Wars galaxy, the adventures and intrigue, and the stories themselves. With the new additions to the film and TV world of Star Wars, I have been excited to see all the new material from a galaxy far, far away.

But, as a hard-core Star Wars fan, one of the greatest discoveries I ever made was the world of Star Wars print media. Yes, friends, there are Star Wars books. Many, many books. And comics. And graphic novels. Books for all ages that open up a whole new world. Or universe. Or, I guess I should say, galaxy.

The world of Star Wars novels started with the OG George Lucas’ three original stories, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. These were adapted into novels by Lucas, Donald F. Glut, and James Kahn, respectively. And the phenomenon just grew from there. As fans consumed each new book, more were written. Currently, there are more than 500 Star Wars books in print. Yes, you read that right, more than 500. There is a wealth of material out there for people who want to experience more adventures with our galactic heroes.

But, in honor of the new TV series that released last week, today I’d like to introduce you to my favorite books written about my favorite Star Wars character, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray – This book, published in 2019, focuses on the relationship between Obi-Wan Kenobi and his master, Qui-Gon Jinn and how they learn to trust and respect each other. Set against the backdrop of an assassination attempt, Jinn and Kenobi travel to the royal court of Pijal for what may be their final mission together. There is tremendous character development in this book, and readers get to see Kenobi come into his own. The scenes between Jinn and Kenobi are beautifully written, and Gray weaves important character moments into the action. This is a definite must-read for anyone who wants to learn more about a young Kenobi.

Brotherhood by Mike Chen – Just published this year, this book is set at the beginning of the Clone Wars, and has Kenobi in the role of detective, trying to get to the truth about a bombing that takes place on Cato Neimoidia. Enemies of the Jedi, Count Dooku and Asajj Ventress, are on site and are blaming the Republic for the bombing and loss of life. As always, though, something goes wrong, and Kenobi finds himself in danger only his former padawan, Anakin Skywalker can help him escape. There is political intrigue, betrayal, and some really exciting Jedi action, which is great, but more importantly, the character building of both Kenobi and Skywalker is masterful. I definitely recommend this book for anyone who is a fan of Kenobi or of Anakin Skywalker.

Some other great Star Wars books I recommend:

Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View – tells the original Star Wars story from the perspectives of supporting characters.

Star Wars: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig – takes place directly after the Battle of Endor and deals with the fallout.

Dark Disciple by Christie Golden – follows Jedi Quinlan Vos and Sith acolyte Asajj Ventress on a joint mission.

A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller – introduces Kanan Jarrus and Hera of the Ghost crew in their first meeting and heist.

Honor Among Thieves by James S. A. Corey – follows the OG trio of Han, Leia, and Luke as they rescue a rebel agent from the Empire’s clutches.

Alphabet Squadron by Alexander Freed – follows a squad of misfit New Republic pilots as they hunt down a deadly Empire TIE fighter squadron.

And, if you’re a graphic novel fan, I definitely recommend Darth Vader by Charles Soule, and Doctor Aphra by Kieron Gillen. Soule’s stories add rich layers and history to the character of Darth Vader; Gillen’s stories introduce audiences to space archaeologist Dr. Chellie Lona Aphra.

Check out these and so. many. more. Star Wars books at the library!

The NEW Bread and Butter Authors

by Kelly

How diversified would you say that you are in your fiction reading? What authors do you tend to gravitate to, and, is it time for you to shake up your bookshelf and invite some newcomers in? While the fiction bestselling market is still being upheld by some old-time greats (Grisham, Evanovich, Baldacci, to name a few), it’s time to step aside James Patterson, there’s a line of authors behind you waiting to be read.

There’s no denying that our usual bread and butter fiction authors still got game, but, it’s time to let some of today’s up-and-comers take the stage, authors who are consistently releasing great reads in many fiction genres. Many of these you may not yet be familiar with. Here is a short list of the new bread and butter authors you should be reaching for:

RILEY SAGER: first published in 2017, if it’s a thrill ride you are looking for, this author will have your adrenaline pumping with edge-of-your seat plots and a storyline that will keep you reading all night until you finish. Since his debut novel Final Girls, Sager has been thrilling and chilling readers in a slasher style fancy with twists and turns and not-so-predictable endings. To date, Sager has five novels flying off our shelves, with a new title to be released in June.  

EMMA STRAUB: first published in 2012, Straub’s novels are gaining momentum. Filed under the category of general fiction/literary fiction, Straub’s stories take a different path than those of her famous father, horror and suspense writer Peter Straub. To date, her four published works have been described as “literary sunshine” with consistently bright and straightforward writing combined with warm and generous characters. Straub has a new title set to release in May.

LUCY FOLEY: with six titles under her belt since 2015, this British author is making her name on the bestseller list. Filled with gripping and twisted plots, Foley’s titles will keep you guessing (and guessing wrong) until the very end. Covering several genres including general fiction, mystery, historical fiction, and suspense, Foley’s novels will appeal to many.

FIONA DAVIS: first published in 2016, Davis’s six historical fiction publications, including recently released The Magnolia Palace are all set in some of New York City’s most iconic buildings. Taking readers to many different periods in time, Davis’s works are character-driven stories woven around the buildings that shaped their lives.

ADRIAN TCHAIKOVSKY: though Tchaikovsky has been published since 2008, this science fiction author has hit the genre hard in the past seven years, releasing multiple titles (17 in total) from multiple series lines ranging from high fantasy to space opera. Readers review his works as enthralling, epic, full of life and highly intelligent. With three new releases in 2022 alone, this author is not one to miss.

GREGG HURWITZ: since releasing the Orphan X series in 2016, Hurwitz has created a thrilling series with seven titles, the latest released earlier this year, filled with non-stop action and high-tech gadgetry. Fans of old greats Lee Child and David Baldacci will want this series on their home bookshelf. David Baldacci himself gives this author praise for his work by stating “read this book, you will thank me later”.

All of these titles can be found on the shelves at ANBL or digitally through our Hoopla or Libby apps. Visit the website Fantasticfiction.com to learn more about the authors and see their titles in order.

Our Friend Earth

by Kelly

April 22, 2022 marks the 52nd birth of the modern environmental movement known as Earth Day, a nationwide celebration created to inspire the people in America to draw their focus to the importance of creating a healthy place to live. It is a call for all of us to invest in our planet and its well-being. Alvah N. Belding Library not only has resources for you to learn about eco-conscious living, sustainability, and other earth-friendly practices, but also in itself practices and promotes the following healthy planet behaviors:

Borrow Instead of Buy- Loaning items is the core of every library’s existence. On average, the Alvah N. Belding Library circulates to our community (and beyond) over 65,000 items per year, and in its lifetime, a bestselling author’s book can be checked out to over 100 people. If each of those 100 people shopped for every bestselling book every time one was released, the amount of books that would stack up would be incredible. Libraries help reduce unnecessary waste by circulating items instead, saving people money AND saving our landfills from filling up. And, at ANBL we circulate more than just books. Our patrons can borrow non-tradition items like board games, yoga mats, tablets, lawn games, golf clubs, birdwatching kits, and more!

Grow Your Own Food- In another form of non-traditional lending, our seed library is another way that the library helps take care of mother earth. We have in our collection a large variety of vegetable, herb, and flower seeds that patrons can take home for free to plant in their own yards and gardens. Once the plants have grown and bloomed, seeds can be collected and saved to plant again and again, creating a sustainable source of eco-friendly plants, as well as a source of energy.

Reduce/Reuse/Recycle-Aside from loaning items, another great way that our library applies the actions of reduce/reuse/and recycle is through our annual book sales. We actually have one going on right now, HOORAY! SHOP APRIL 20-22 DURING OUR REGULAR LIBRARY HOURS. For our book sales, we collect gently-used books that our patrons no longer want (saving them from going in a landfill), and we sell them at a greatly reduced cost, which makes it a win-win-win for our patrons and the environment. In addition to our book sales, the library creates crafts and other programming around items that we scavenge and recycle, repurposing them into something fun and creative for you. And speaking of recycle, all of our boxes, old newspapers, and other related items are saved and go out for pickup by our recycle service twice each month.

There are many ways in which we can help our planet. The library is doing our part in the best ways that we can. If you have additional suggestions or ideas that are earth-friendly this Earth Day, let us know! And, be sure to visit our Spring Book Sale and stock up on gently-used books that you can keep, trade, or pass on to someone else when you are through.

Virginia, the Great

by Kelly

February 1 – March 1 marks Black History Month in America, and there’s no better time or place to share the accolades and achievements of America’s most distinguished author of children’s books, Virginia Hamilton.

Who was Virginia Hamilton? Born in 1934, Hamilton was raised in Ohio, where her family had settled in the late 1850s where her own grandfather was brought into the state as in infant on the Underground Railroad. She graduated at the top of her class and majored in literature and creative writing, while pursuing a dream of becoming a fiction writer.

In her lifetime, Virginia Hamilton wrote and published 41 books in multiple genres that spanned from picture books and folktales, mysteries and science fiction, to realistic novels and biographies. Hamilton weaves into her writing a deep concern with memory, tradition, and generational legacy, especially as they helped define the lives of African Americans. Hamilton described her work as “Liberation Literature.”

 Hamilton won every major award in youth literature, including the historic honor she received as the first black writer to receive the Newberry Medal, in 1975.  From the Hans Christian Anderson award to the Edgar Allen Poe award, and the MacArthur Fellowship “Genius Award”, Hamilton has won them all. To see a full list of her awards and the years in which she won them, click HERE

The following titles of her published works can be found on the shelf at ANBL or can be checked out through our digital collections:

M.C. Higgins, The Great. This YA book earned Hamilton the Newberry Medal in 1975, and is a coming-of-age novel about a boy who dreams of leaving his home in the mountains of Kentucky when the mining of the mountain threatens his family’s home. Reader reviews of this book on Goodreads are harsh. Not many like it, which makes it just intriguing enough for me to want to judge for myself.

The Planet of Junior Brown. Junior Brown is an overweight musical prodigy who loses touch with the world around him and is absorbed into a fantasy world filled with stars, planets, and music. Junior befriends a pal named Buddy and the story tackles the tough subjects of obesity, homelessness, and mental illness. Written in 1971, this book was made into a 1997 movie titled “Junior’s Groove”.

Her Stories, African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales. This book is a collection of 19 magical and wondrous stories of black women retold by Hamilton. Published in 1995, this collected works received two awards, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award in 1995, and the Coretta Scott King Award in 1996.

The Bells of Christmas. This picture book tells the story of the Bell family as they anticipate the coming of Christmas in 1890. Well-researched and written with historical accuracy, this story details many of the traditions and preparations for the holiday from the home of a middle-class black family in Ohio.

Your Doorway Awaits

by Kelly

Every cover of every book you open is a doorway that leads the way into a new world. A world that is designed to awe, inspire, entertain, and connect with something inside of you. But… what makes a good book? The infamous librarian Nancy Pearl stated in her 2012 TED Talk that a good book is simply “a book that you like”. Each of us has our own unique ideas for what we believe makes what we read unforgettable, or eager to forget, and it’s all based upon the doorways we enter.

There are four reading doorways, as defined by Pearl, which she discovered are the main appeal to why every reader likes the books that they like. The story, setting, characters, and language are what draws us into a book and either keeps us hooked or gives us a reason to take a trip to the library to trade our book out for something different.

Read on to discover which doorway appeals to you.

STORY- Books with story doorways are very plot-focused. The action in the book is what drives the story forward and what keeps the reader going. The pace of the story can be fast or slow, but it is the action that is the main appeal. These kinds of books are often referred to as page-turners and make you want to know what happens next.

SETTING- Books with a setting doorway are very detailed in the description of the surroundings in which the story takes place. The setting could be an entire countryside as in The Lord of the Rings, or it could be as contained as the single building found in The Fall of the House of Usher. From castles, to countries, to other planets, the environment in which the story takes place will play a large role in stories with a setting doorway.

LANGUAGE- Books with a language doorway are very descriptive. The appeal of a language doorway is largely based on the written words and dialogue that is used. Words, phrases, accents, dialects, and just the richness of the way the author describes everything are essential pieces of the language appeal. A language doorway keeps you wanting to read more just to hear the words that are being said.

CHARACTER- Books with a character doorway rely on a cast of characters, large or small, as the main appeal.  We are drawn in to the story to learn about the lives of the characters who live within the book, and we are focused and invested on what happens to them. Many character stories are epic in scope, following the lives of the characters through many generations.

Think about the four doorways before you choose your next read, or reflect upon the books that you have already read to determine which doorway most appeals to you. I am drawn in to stories that are fast-paced and story-driven, and I also lean toward character-driven stories-bonus for me if the book I am reading combines both.

Use a simple google search to discover your next doorway book, or visit the Michigan Electronic Library’s NoveList database to make use of their “appeal generator” feature; you tell the generator what you like in a book, and it will give you a list of titles. NoveList can be found at mel.org.

Pick up an ADULT WINTER READING CHALLENGE packet at the library for the month of February and track your reading using the appeal terms word search to connect your book with the appeals it contains. Prizes awarded to all who finish.

Coming to You in 2022

by Kelly

The New Year is almost upon us and the library team has been brainstorming, planning, and preparing for a full year of new programs and events to educate and entertain you in 2022. We are proud to provide a variety of hands-on programs and crafts to stimulate all minds, as well as bringing in guest presenters and entertainers to enrich your life. Here’s a sneak peek into what is coming to you in the coming months at Alvah N. Belding Library.

One Stop Book Shop, a get-ready-to-read in 2022 workshop designed to get you excited to try new authors and genres, help you set and establish your personal reading goals, and will show you where and how to track you reading over the course of the year. Share in the discussion and get ready to read. January 10, 2022 at 4 pm.

Small Business Social Network Monthly Lunch, are you a beginning small business owner or budding entrepreneur? Join us for this lunch-time social and share valuable tips and tricks of starting and running your own small business. From start-up planning, to marketing and finance, join us and help each other find the tools and resources needed to get your vision off the ground. Monthly, third Thursday at 12 pm. Lunch will be sourced from a local business and will be provided by the library.

“Naval Battles of the Great Lakes”, with The Restless Viking and his partner Poppins, who discuss Great Lakes history via their blog and Youtube Channel, will be on hand to share historical insight into the battles that took place on Michigan’s own Great Lakes, including stories about “Roaring” Dan Seavey, local legend Pirate. Check out The Restless Viking’s recent adventures and video logs through the website https://www.restless-viking.com/. February 2, 2022 at 6 pm.

Flipbook Making Workshop for Tweens, a hands-on program for youth in grades 5-8. Learn the basics for making your own flip story book and craft your own mini book during this workshop. All supplies provided by the library. March 10 at 3:30 pm.

Genealogy Group, back by popular demand, the library will be home to its own network of local family researchers of all ages and levels of knowledge. Just beginning? No problem! Come mingle and learn in this lively and informative roundtable to discuss all of the ins and outs of family history research. Learn about the valuable tools, websites, and organizational tricks to keeping your research on track. Monthly, last Friday of each month from 10 am to 12 pm.

This sneak peek is just a sample of what the library has to offer in the upcoming year. Regular youth programs like Story Time and Tasty Tuesday will continue, as well as Family Night and Teen Night activities. Like our Facebook page to stay notified of events, and visit the library calendar on our website https://www.alvahnbeldinglibrary.org/ for a list of all of our upcoming events.

The Honest Gift-Giving Guide

by Kelly

Books make the best gifts. They really do. When you give a person the gift of a book you are showing them that you care about enriching their mind, opening their imagination, and possibly even introducing them to a whole new world. A book is a gift that can travel with you wherever you go, busts boredom, or even gives you an excuse to escape the commotion and retreat into your own quiet place.

Unsure about what book to give? Here is a sure-bet list of suggestions for readers of all ages.

Babies: Think Color. Shapes. Sounds. Touch. For this age group, it isn’t as much about the content of the story as it is familiarizing young ones with the concept of a book, itself. Books that will catch their eye and encourage them to touch, feel, and drool all over, because you know they will put that thing straight into their mouths. Board books are ideal for this group. Portable. Sturdy. You can’t go wrong. Pick out one with bright colors. Big shapes and objects. And features they can touch and feel. Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt and Press Here by Herve Tullet are two of my personal favorites.

Pre-K: Emerging readers. This group is pretty easy to please. Dogs. Dinosaurs. Princesses. Unicorns. Boom.

Grade School: This age group needs a book with a flashy, over-the-top cover or a catchy title. Bonus for you if it has both. Extra bonus if the title has the word fart or booger in it, or if it’s a combination of something completely outrageous like dinosaurs eating tacos in outer space.

Tween: This is the beginning of the know-it-all stage, so arm them with books that are a mixture of fact and fiction to really give them something to outsmart you with. The I Survived series of books and graphic novels will fill them in on the historical facts that you have likely been sheltering them from up until this point in life and spark their interest in reading, while teaching them that life isn’t as rosy as they once believed it to be. Who’s the smarty now?

Teen: Just get them a gift card for Barnes and Noble or Amazon and slide it under their bedroom door.

Adult: Adults. Definitely the most difficult to know what they have or haven’t read or like by this stage in life, so go with one of two choices. Classics and Birds. Chances are the adult you are buying for does not already own a classic, and even if they do, there are so many editions being printed with beautiful covers and illustrations, sure to make a lovely addition to any home and raise their bookshelf IQ by 100 points. It’s a win win. Bird books are great for this time of year with the winter birds making their way to birdfeeders everywhere and adults refusing to go outside once the second snowfall hits. A bird watching book will give them something to combat their cabin fever for the next six months. Another win win.

Seriously, though. A book makes a great gift, no matter the age or reading level, and a book that comes from the heart is never a wrong choice. Check out our NEW shelves for gift-giving ideas, or stop in to shop our book store for a selection of gently-used fiction and non-fiction titles.

Frightful Fiction

by Kelly

Ah, October. A time to plug in the pumpkin spice and revel in everything ghoulish, gruesome, and ghastly that this season evokes. Set the tone with these suggested reads, or discover your own spooky story through our library catalog, available in print or for you to download.

ADULT
Who better to lead the way in the adult realm of reading than the master of macabre? Given the moniker as the Father of Gothic Literature, Edgar Allan Poe’s tales of horror conjure images of morgues, murderers, and madmen, and the mystery surrounding his own untimely death continues to plague the minds of Poe fans and fanatics, evermore.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.

Edgar Allen Poe “The Raven”.

Fall into madness with the repetitive cadence and imagery found in Poe’s classic poem “The Raven“, as the unnamed protagonist laments the loss of his love. Enter “The Fall of the House of Usher” and experience the vague and mysterious influences that plague the mind of Roderick Usher and ultimately cause his unraveling. And, let the anticipation build inside of you as “The Tell-Tale Heart” beats louder, and louder, and louder, within the mind of a killer. You really can’t go wrong with whichever story you choose to slice into.

TEEN

Readers will get a thrill while trying to figure out the circumstances that surround November Adley at the Academy Absconditi, as someone is trying to kill her. Written by direct descendant of the infamous Cotton Mather, instigator of the Salem Witch Trials, Adriana Mather is not only a talented writer of young adult thrilling fiction, she is one of the most personable and down-to-earth authors around, befriending and engaging with multitudes on various social media outlets.

If Killing November is up your reading alley, continue the series with Hunting November, a dark and intriguing universe designed to keep you on the edge of a knife and your seat.

YOUTH

Oh. My. Goonies. Raise your hand if you are a member of the Goonies fan club. You know the Goonies, the set of misfit friends who discover a treasure map and go on a quest for riches to save the home of one of their pals.

Well, guess what? This classic 1985 family adventure film starring big names of the day like Sean Astin, Corey Feldman, and Josh Brolin is now a children’s book. That’s right, you can now read your way through 48 illustrated pages of treasure-hunting, booby trapped, pirate-ship adventure in this storybook adapted by Brooke Vitale and illustrated by Teo Skaffa. While this story isn’t entirely on the Halloween scale, there are enough thrills and chills to make it count. Also look for other movie adapted storybooks like E.T., Back the the Future, and The Karate Kid.

Visit the library catalog online or download the Lakeland Library app to begin your browsing, and install the Hoopla and Libby apps to read, watch, or listen you way through this Halloween.


Fall Fiction Drop

by Kelly

Fall is officially here, which means now is the perfect time to grab a great book to read while you are waiting for your kids while they are at practice, download a title to accompany you on your daily commute, or have one at home to retreat to at the end of the day. Not sure what to read? Why not celebrate the season and grab a title with fall in the title, here are a few to get you started.


ADULT TITLES:
The Fall by Guillermo Del Tore and Chuck Hogan. Fans of The Strain, an original series on FX, will want to pick up this horror thrill ride dubbed on its cover as “Bram Stoker meets Stephen King meets Michael Crichton.” A Vampire tale for the modern-day masses, this story is gripping and terrifying. But, you might want to pick up The Strain to go along with this one, as this is number two in a trilogy.

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett. Sticking with trilogies, this epic novel is the first in “The Century Trilogy,” a sweeping series set around five intertwined families of complex characters spanning several decades and living through stories of social and political nature as we have not heard them before. Follett is the master of creating captivating and engrossing characters, writing them into moments in history that make us feel as though we are living it ourselves.

TEEN TITLES:
The Upside of Falling Down by Rebekah Crane. This plot-driven character novel follows the story of Clementine, the lone survivor of a plane crash who awakes in a foreign country with complete amnesia. Assuming a new identity and hiding out as she tries to recover the memories of her life, Clementine discovers there is an upside to the life she once knew that has since fallen apart.

The Upside of Falling by Alex Light. This 2020 Wattpad publication is a first-time novel from the author who began writing on online communities. Along the lines of one of my favorite 80’s movies Can’t Buy Me Love, this book follows the pattern of two people pretending to be a fake relationship for the sake of saving their own pride, but when sparks begin to fly, is it real or just make-believe?

YOUTH TITLES:

Falling In by Frances O’Roark Dowell. An enchanting story that takes the main character into an alternate universe is an imaginative and humorous adventure written especially for the dreamers of the world. Quirky and likeable, this middle grade story would be particularly good for classrooms or discussion groups.

Hocus Pocus, It’s Fall by Anne Sibley O’Brien. Fall is a season for change, and this book combines beautiful fall-colored illustrations with a rhyming look at the changing season that will appeal to ages 3-5 and their caregivers. A magic-filled look at what happens when fall begins to set in.

Retro Reads

by Kelly

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the books that I read during my teenage years that influenced me in a big way. During this age, my reading territory was expanding to cover new genres. I was branching out from my beloved Trixie Belden mysteries into new worlds of mind-bending science fiction, dystopian terror, magical fantasy lands, and heart-pounding thrillers, genres that are still in my go-to arsenal of reading choices.

Want to see the books that influenced me? Let’s take a trip back in time…

Outside by Andre Norton. First, and favorite on my list of retro reads, this YA book was published in 1976 and read by about ten years later. This book was unlike anything I had previously read, and was my first dip into Science Fiction. Set within a dome (move over, Stephen King) a society of children, the only survivors of an ecological disaster fight for survival under the dome and seek answers to the questions of what happened to the old world before them. Here’s the scoop. I read this. I loved it. I got rid of it and then searched for it for 30 years but could not remember the title. Thanks to a helpful coworker and the power of google, I am the proud owner of this book, once again. My life feels complete.

Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O’Brien. This YA book was originally published in 1974, the year I was born, but I didn’t get around to reading it until I was in sixth or seventh grade. Definitely after I read Outside, because in the years since, I have a tendency to combine the two books in my mind. This book was my first dive into dystopian fiction, and I remember feeling weird, thrilled, and terrified when reading it. Set after a post-disaster world, the main character thinks she is the only survivor left on earth, until a mysterious man shows up on her farm. A thrilling, scary, fascinating tale of survival. A great starter book into the world of dystopia.

Castle Roogna by Piers Anthony. I read this one in 1990 and gave a book report on it to my tenth grade English class. This particular title is book number three in a series of a million (actually only 35 or so), and it was my FAVORITE. The Xanth Series from where this book belongs, was my first foray into the world of magic and fantasy and I was smitten. In this story, the main characters use special magic to walk on the clouds, they invent a handshake language to communicate while imprisoned, and they team up with other odd magical beings to overthrow the bad guy. It’s described on Amazon as “a mind trip that is full of idioms wrapped in puns, which are enveloped in irony.” Definitely awesome.

Where Are the Children by Mary Higgins Clark. I vividly recall reading this book in the summer of 1991 in one fell swoop that kept me up half the night. My mom had likely picked this gem up from a garage sale and I was emerging into the world of adult reading, so I read it. Thrilling, Intense. Memorable. It is only now as I write this review that I learned that the events of this novel are based on a real-life crime that took place ten years prior, and it was the novel that launched the author’s career. Very cool.

What book has had the most impact on you? Let us know in the comments.