If you’re waiting for Inheritance…

>If you’re waiting for Inheritance, the newest Christopher Paolini featuring Eragon and Saphira, you have some choices of other books to read while you wait.

One wonderful series that has been overlooked by many is the Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix. Sabriel, the first book in the series, was published in 1996, two years before the first Harry Potter and before children’s/young adult literature captured popular attention. Sabriel is the daughter of the Abhorsen, a necromancer who puts the dead to rest and prevents the restless Dead from returning to Life. When Sabriel receives a message from him while she is away at school in Ancelstierre (where magic does not work), she must return to the Old Kingdom (where magic works) to take up his duties and try to free him from where he is trapped in Death. Sabriel is followed by Lirael and Abhorsen.

In an Asian-inspired fantasy realm, young Eon is in a fierce competition to apprentice to the Rat Dragon, one of twelve dragons who guard the realm. Twelve-year-old Eon is actually 16-year-old Eona in disguise. Hiding her sex is the only way for Eona to study Dragon magic, a pursuit forbidden to girls. If she is caught, she will face disembowelment. Eona is not chosen by the Rat Dragon, but that is, of course, not the end of the story.  Eon is a fast-paced novel that will have you racing to pick up Eona, the conclusion to this complex and well-crafted story.

Princess Raisa is on the cusp of her sixteenth birthday, when she will be of age to make a politically advantageous arranged marriage. Han is a young man living in poverty and supporting his family through odd jobs after leaving his street gang. The two meet when Raisa is out in disguise investigating discontent in her kingdom and Han is fleeing from the authorities who believe he is guilty of a crime he didn’t commit. Chima weaves together a number of complex story lines in this tale of intrigue and politics. The Demon King is followed by The Exiled Queen and The Gray Wolf Throne. The fourth book in the series, The Crimson Crown, will be released in fall of 2012, according to the author’s website.

And if none of these books look to be to your taste, stop by the young adult section of the library and pick up one of the handouts of suggestions for those who liked Eragon, created by our talented YA librarian.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern


“The circus arrives without warning.”

So begins Erin Morgenstern’s lushly descriptive, beautifully written novel, The Night Circus. The circus is an experience like no other. It opens at nightfall and closes at dawn. The food tastes better than food eaten elsewhere. The smell of caramel and apples permeates the air. The circus and its performers are dressed entirely in black, white, and silver. This background that fills the senses and maintains an air of mystery only adds to the amazing performances and tents contained within the circus. No one ever forgets their time at Le Cirque des Rêves. 
The circus is not simply a masterful and magical place of entertainment for its patrons. It is also the venue for a competition between Celia and Marco, two young illusionists trained by their masters to participate in a “game,” using the circus to demonstrate their skills and imaginations. Celia and Marco have been bound to this “game” by their masters, and the winner is the last person left standing. The two competitors were chosen to compliment and contrast each other, but they are too well matched, and their tale becomes that of star-crossed lovers.
The real treat of this book is the descriptions of the circus. While the characters are compelling, the circus itself is so richly and lovingly described that it is an intense pleasure to read about some of the circus acts and attractions created by Ms. Morgenstern’s characters as part of their competition.
If you’re waiting for a copy of The Night Circus:
For another imaginative, dark story of historical fiction and magic, try Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
An even darker, though atmospheric and ornately told story of love and violence set in the 19th century that might appeal to people who enjoy The Night Circus is Under the Poppy.

If you’re waiting for Mockingjay…

>The Hunger Games trilogy has become a cultural phenomenon over the past couple years, and the final book in the trilogy, Mockingjay, goes on sale tonight at 12:01 AM. Like Harry Potter, there will be midnight release parties for this one. If you’re on the hold list for Mockingjay (or The Hunger Games or Catching Fire, for that matter), below are some other books you’ll find in the library that might appeal to you.

Uglies is the first book in a trilogy by Scott Westerfeld. In this dystopic future, people go through surgery to become “pretties” at 16, a change that enhances similar characteristics and shifts features toward the ideal of beauty. Teens are then free to party and play. Tally is one young Ugly who yearns to become a Pretty, but things get turned upside down when her friend Shay runs away and Tally is told to go spy on her or never be allowed to become a Pretty.

Yelena is convicted of killing a general’s son and sentenced to death by hanging. Granted a reprieve in exchange for becoming a poison taster for the Commander, ruler of Ixia, Yelena is soon caught up in castle politics. She also realizes some people want her dead and Ixia is not a terribly stable country at the moment. Poison Study, with a strong leading female character, complicated political machinations and a riveting romance will suck in readers as surely as The Hunger Games did.

For a more grown-up version of The Hunger Games, Genesis may appeal. In this near-future dystopia, Anax is a young historian living in an island society that is a refuge from the rest of the devastated planet. The island is founded on security and order above freedom, modeled after Plato’s Republic. Anax wants to enter the Academy, and completes her entrance exam paper on Adam Forde, a soldier who rescued a young girl from a raft and was sentenced to work with an advanced robot named Art as his punishment. This short novel is a philosophical work centered on the interaction of humanity, technology and the environment, but it manages to read like a thriller the whole way through.

A few other ideas for books like those in The Hunger Games trilogy include:

Feed by M.T. Anderson
Oryx and Crake and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Naughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman
Jennifer Government by Max Barry
Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden
Neuromancer by William Gibson

You can also check out the display cart that’s in front of the teen zone dedicated to Mockingjay readalikes.

If you’re waiting for Eat, Pray, Love…

>If you’re waiting for Eat, Pray, Love (or enjoyed it), here are some other titles to check out.

If you enjoyed the experience of following along with Elizabeth Gilbert on her journey of self-discovery, you may want to pick up It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, A Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita by Heather Armstrong (author of the blog dooce.com). Having a baby is a life-changing event, a journey chronicled by Armstrong in It Sucked and Then I Cried. Armstrong doesn’t sugar-coat the experience and approaches it with humor as she discusses everything from her relationship with her body during pregnancy to her battle with chronic depression and the joys (and tedium) of caring for a newborn.

If you’re interested in the sense of place and wonderful characters of Eat, Pray, Love, then you might enjoy Extra Virgin: A Young Woman Discovers the Italian Riviera, Where Every Month is Enchanted. This memoir follows a young woman and her sister as they travel to Italy for a summer job and then decide to stay after falling in love with the Italian countryside. They have an immense appreciation for Italian food and a willingness to work hard to succeed in the new home they purchase. Colorful natives and wonderful descriptions of what it’s like to live in a small town in Italy permeate this beautiful narrative.

If you want to read Eat, Pray, Love because you love food, then you may enjoy Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. In this book, Kingsolver chronicles the first year of an experiment her family undertook to eat only food grown locally. This means lots of trips to the farmers’ market and lots of growing their own food. Kingsolver discusses everything from the health (and taste) benefits of eating only foods that are not processed and filled with additives, as well as the environmental and community benefits of supporting local agriculture. This memoir is an interesting and informative look at a movement in which many Americans are getting involved.

If you’re waiting for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

>If you’re waiting for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, you might want to try these other novels that can be found at MPL.

Faceless Killers: a mystery by Henning Mankell
This Swedish crime novel follows Kurt Wallender, a small-town detective, who is trying to solve the gruesom murder of an elderly couple. Johannes Lovgren is found beaten to death and his wife has time to utter only one word, “foreign,” before she slips away. This sparks off anti-immigrant sentiment that turns deadly. Meanwhile, Wallender is trying to address a number of personal problems, from patching things up with his wife to reconnecting with his senile father.

Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg
Smilla is a member of the Eskimo/Greenlander minority in Denmark and an authority on the properties and classification of ice. She is also the friend of a young boy named Isaiah Christiansen who is afraid of heights. When Isaiah falls from a snow-covered roof in Copenhagen, Smilla becomes obsessed with why he was on that rooftop. As she unravels the questions surrounding Isaiah’s fall, she uncovers information about his father’s mysterious death and a conspiracy leading back to WWII.

The Princess of Burundi by Kjell Eriksson
The Princess of Burundi is a Swedish crime novel made spectacular by its elegant character descriptions. Former small-time crook and family man Little John Jonsson is found murdered with evidence of torture. Ola Haver and Ann Liddell of the Uppsala police force investigate the murder, looking into a high-stakes card game Jonsson played before his disappearance and into an embittered sociopath with whom Jonsson attended school.

If you’re looking for more books like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, there is a handout available in the library with more ideas.