What are we reading? Staff recommended reads for February

Are you looking for a good book to read and an escape from your studies for a short while?  Libraries and bookstores have thousands of books that might fit the bill. Staff have selected a few choice ones to highlight for the month of February.

Do you enjoy fantasy? Education & Instructional Design Librarian Michelle Costello recommends Magic’s Price by Mercedes Lackey:

magic priceThis is the last book in Lackey’s The Last Herald Mage trilogy and is definitely the strongest and most interesting of the three. The last installment tells the tale of Vanyel Ashkevron and his journey towards becoming a Herald Mage and legend. Magic’s Price focuses on Vanyel’s plight to defeat a dark mage who is trying to overthrow the Kingdom of Valdemar. Vanyel begins the Last Herald Mage trilogy as a brat and a coward (making the first book a bit difficult to get through), but becomes a true hero and thus a very likeable character by the third book. If you enjoy fantasy literature and novels that demonstrate strong character development, I would highly recommend this book.

How about mysteries? Reference & Instruction Librarian Sue Ann Brainard recommends The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino (translated from the Japanese by Alexander O. Smith):

suspect xThe third book in the Detective Galileo series, this novel begins with an attempted extortion and death of the extorter in his ex-wife’s apartment under mysterious circumstances. The woman’s neighbor, a mathematics teacher named Ishigami, offers to help dispose of the body. When the body turns up and is identified, Detective Kusanagi gets the case and the ex-wife becomes the prime suspect. The detective, suspicious but unable to find any evidence of the woman’s guilt, calls in his friend,  Dr. Manabu Yukawa, a physicist and frequent partner in crime solving. Coincidentally, “Professor Galileo”, as he is commonly known, attended college with the mathematics teacher, Ishigami, and suspects the man had something to do with the  murder. What ensues is a high stakes, cat and mouse game, as Ishigami tries to protect his neighbor and Professor Galileo tries to out think the suspect and prove his guilt.
Maybe you’re more of a contemporary fiction fan?  Then Kate Pitcher suggests the recent novel, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan:
penumbraClay Jannon is a laid-off web designer and technology worker.  Living in San Francisco, Clay needs to find a job and wanders into a dusty, ancient-looking used bookstore one night, literally called “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” as it is indeed open 24 hours a day.  Hired as the night-time bookstore clerk, Clay has questions about the mysterious activities and strange visitors to the bookstore.  People visit the bookstore in the middle of night, never buying anything, but borrowing books from the depths of the bookstore and returning them once they have been read.  Paying customers might only be passers-by who wander in out of curiosity and this is how Clay meets Kat Potente, a Google programmer.  Clay is a curious, ambitious man and his technology skills play a major role in uncovering the true purpose behind the origins of the bookstore and its reason for being.  The novel is a true blend of “book love”, a sort of ode to the book as object, but also as a novel about the possibilities and limitations of our obsession with social media, technology and data.  Clay, Kat and a cast of several other quirky characters discover a mysterious organization called the Unbroken Spine and race across the country and through cyberspace to solve the mystery of the bookstore.  The New York Times‘ review states that the novel “…dexterously tackles the intersection between old technologies and new with a novel that is part love letter to books, part technological meditation, part thrilling adventure, part requiem.”
Have you read any good books lately? Are you willing to share a review? Let us know – submit your review to Kate Pitcher at [email protected] for next month’s post.
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