Every month, the members of our Popular Services department get together for a “genre study” discussion. We go through book genres, like crime or historical fiction, pick representative authors, and then discuss their books. It’s not like a staff book club, though: we review the books with an eye toward recommending them to our patrons. Who would like this book? Why would they like it? Which authors write in a similar style? We often read books we wouldn’t normally choose, but we do it so that we can serve our community (i.e. you!) better.
We’ve been doing this study for three years now, so I thought it was time to share a few of our favorite titles. There’s almost always difference of opinion on whether we like a book. But in this month’s discussion, our book was unanimously loved — which almost never happens. This “magical” book was Alice Hoffman’s latest, The Rules of Magic, the sequel to her best-selling 1995 debut, Practical Magic. (That book was made into a movie in 1998. Not one of us could remember anything about it, though. Maybe not the best film.) With a great story about the bonds of family, a touch of magic and romance, and a plot that moves quickly, this book is a satisfying read.
Here are some other titles we’d recommend:
Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea
This tells the story of Mexican teens who leave their small town to come to the United States, not to emigrate, but to bring back their young men, who have left Mexico for better opportunities. Cinematic, funny, and hopeful, this is a book that will appeal to almost everyone!
The Fireman by Joe Hill
A terrific supernatural thriller by the son of Stephen King. A plague is spreading across the United States, causing its victims to develop black and gold marks on their bodies, then to explode into flames. Nurse Harper Grayson’s small New England community collapses in terror, and as she flees the epidemic, she meets a mysterious stranger who may have the key to survival. It’s a suspenseful page-turner with a touch of humor and a bit of romance.
Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley
Mosley is one of America’s best-known crime writers, and this book is the first in his Easy Rawlins series, a set of gritty noir novels that tell the story of black postwar Los Angeles through the eyes of an African-American detective. His atmospheric books are infused with social commentary, dark humor, and a strong sense of the times we live in.
There are lots more we could recommend, so if you want more titles, please let me know in the Contacts section below. I’m happy to share more! Happy Thanksgiving reading!