Tag Archives: Librarians Recommend
Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.
Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. Manx and his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith who likes to transport children to the astonishing — and terrifying–“Christmasland.” That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.
Come for the characters, stay for the plot; Hill is not afraid to write flawed, yet compelling characters and woo boy does Vic have flaws. But then, so does Lou, the geeky, overweight biker who finds Vic by the side of the road and takes her to safety. Or Maggie, the baddass, stuttering librarian who helps Vic find her son. And Wayne, of course, who has inherited his mother’s survival instincts and world class stubbornness, good traits to have when you’ve been kidnapped by… whatever Manx is.
Each character feels like someone you could meet around town, which is what makes Hill’s horror work so well. You get so dang attached to these people. Couple this with Hill’s subtle, down-to-earth writing style and you have a book that’s hard to forget. Five years after reading I can still hear the visceral sounds the text conjured for a struggle in the book, in which Wayne watches Manx and Vic brawl. That snap literally made me gasp in surprise.
This book has a lot going on; it spans pretty much Vic’s whole life, with chapters from the point of view of every character listed above, and then some. Everything interweaves so tightly, though, that it never feels bloated, repetitive, or overwrought. Complex though the narrative is, Hill somehow manages to make it simple to follow from start to finish and beyond.
This book is a great gateway into horror books (it was one of my very first forays into the genre), and if you’re already a fan, there are all manner of Easter Eggs from Hill’s other work, as well as references to locales like Pennywise’s Circus and Shawshank Prison. If you’re looking for a book to get you into the Halloween Spirit, look no further than N0S4A2. It certainly won’t disappoint.
Arthur Pepper comes from the same kind of world as Harold Fry and the Man from Ove; every day he wears his grey slacks and mustard sweater vest and waters his fern. Everything’s fine until he discovers a gold charm bracelet as he’s going through his wife’s things a year after his death and it leads him on a journey to discover the story behind each charm.
Such a comforting book with a sweet story that’s just so nice and hopeful. I liked that this crotchety old man was finally coming out of his shell after so long mourning, and how the bracelet charms made him view his wife in such a different light because of what he learned from them. I like stories where older characters aren’t just crotchety up until they die, but where they can still grow and change and learn–this book is such a wonderful example of that.
Dawn Recommends: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.
I absolutely loved this book and how we got to follow this old, curmudgeon of a man who just made you wonder why anyone would put up with him, from completely unlikeable to someone you could understand and even sympathize with. It was such a lovely read.
Katie recommends Sabriel by Garth Nix
Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?
Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him.
The description sounds gothic and scary, but really Sabriel reads like a cousin to the Narnia books, complete with talking cats, lost princes, and magical bells. Don’t let the talk of death scare you off–this feminist tale sells every bit of its carefully crafted world, from British boarding school to mystical showdown with the forces of darkness.
“Nature keeps alive a childlike wonder and enables us to see the world anew through fresh eyes.“
Carol Ruckdeschel is the wildest woman in America. She eats road kill, wrestles alligators, rides horses bareback, and lives in a ramshackle cabin that she built herself in an island wilderness. She’s had three husbands and many lovers, one of whom she shot and killed in self-defense. A combination of Henry David Thoreau and Jane Goodall, Carol is a self-taught scientist who has become a tireless defender of sea turtles on Cumberland Island, a national park off the coast of Georgia.
This book is so wild, and it’s non-fiction! In the very first scene Carol strips all her clothes off and rides a sea turtle into the ocean. She builds a whole wardrobe just from cast offs, builds chicken coops out of scrap lumber, and just makes everything she needs. For years she watched the animals around her, wild horses and turtles and other animals, and gets to know each one for generations and generations. She is at one with her environment, and her story is just stunning.
I would especially recommend it to anyone who loves adult non-fiction and people who like science and adventure stories.