Synopsis: Here is the novel that will be forever considered a triumph of the imagination. Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Muad'Dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family--and would bring to fruition humankind's most ancient and unattainable dream. A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics, Dune won the first Nebula Award, shared the Hugo Award, and formed the basis of what it undoubtedly the grandest epic in science fiction.
Brandon says: Dune is one of the most immersive, vivid stories in a book that I have ever read. Since it’s a personal favorite, I have inevitably passed my personal copy of the book around to numerous friends of mine, and the mythos of Dune ended up injecting elements of its own into our shared culture — whereby allusions to the Desert Planet and references to its people flourish in more than a few of our conversations. This book is definitely worth reading for anyone that is interested in the Sci-Fi genre.
Brandon's Past Staff Picks
Furies of Calderon
Synopsis: For a thousand years, the people of Alera have united against the aggressive and threatening races that inhabit the world, using their unique bond with the furies elementals of earth, air, fire, water, wood, and metal. But in the remote Calderon Valley, the boy Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At 15, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light his lamps. Yet as the Alerans’ most savage enemy the Marat horde return to the Valley, Tavi’s courage and resourcefulness will be a power greater than any fury, one that could turn the tides of war
Crystal says: This is a must-read fantasy series! You'll get caught up in nefarious plots, political intrigues, and a young boy's ingenuity. (This is book one in the Codex Alera series.)
Crystal's Past Staff Picks
Synopsis: Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he presents his fashioning of the primeval Norse myths into a novel, which begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds, delves into the exploits of the deities, dwarves, and giants, and culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people. Gaiman stays true to the myths while vividly recreating the characters -- the gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to dupe others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions -- and making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.
Donna says: I highly recommend listening to this book. It is always a pleasure to hear Gaiman read his work. This enjoyable and approachable telling of the Norse myths is perfect for those who can’t get enough of either the book or TV show American Gods.
Donna's Past Staff Picks
The Princess Diarist
Synopsis: With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, The Princess Diarist is Fisher’s intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time and what developed behind the scenes. And today, as she reprises her most iconic role for the latest Star Wars trilogy, Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and endlessly quotable, The Princess Diarist brims with the candor and introspection of a diary while offering shrewd insight into the type of stardom that few will ever experience.
Elizabeth says: A funny and very entertaining memoir about Carrie Fisher’s experience filming the first Star Wars. Recommended fans of Carrie Fisher and Star Wars.
Elizabeth's Past Staff Picks
Synopsis: English anthropologist Andrew Banson has been alone in the field for several years, studying the Kiona river tribe in the Territory of New Guinea. Haunted by the memory of his brothers' deaths and increasingly frustrated and isolated by his research, Bankson is on the verge of suicide when a chance encounter with colleagues, the controversial Nell Stone and her wry and mercurial Australian husband, Fen, pulls him back from the brink. Nell and Fen have just fled the bloodthirsty Mumbanyo and, in spite of Nell's poor health, are hungry for a new discovery. When Bankson finds them a new tribe nearby, the artistic, female-dominated Tam, he ignites an intellectual and romantic firestorm between the three of them that burns out of anyone's control.
Megan says: This is a powerfully written novel that extends deep into the human psyche. It pits the best and worst of humanity against each other resulting in devastating consequences. I could not turn the pages fast enough as I devoured this wonderfully arresting story.
Megan's Past Staff Picks
Broadchurch Seasons One & Two
Synopsis: When the corpse of an 11-year-old British boy, Danny Latimer, is found bloodied and dirty on an idyllic beach, a small Dorset community becomes the focus of a police investigation and media madness. Out-of-town Detective Inspector Alec Hardy gets the point position over Detective Sgt. Ellie Miller who feels the job should have been hers. Now she must engage in an efficient working relationship with taciturn Hardy. Slowly, more members of the community of Broadchurch are drawn into the investigation, with a telephone engineer drawing great attention when he admits to a special connection to the case. While dealing with so much unwelcome attention, Danny's family tries to cope with its grief. When a suspect is named and charged, the ensuing trial sees the defendant promising to expose more of the townspeople's secrets.
Nina says: Your next British mystery fix is here. The excellent cast (David Tenant, Olivia Coleman) and twists will keep you up well past your bedtime. Binge-watch them now (not hard at all); the series-ending season three just started on BBC America. Note: the book by Erin Kelly is adapted from the TV series, not the other way around.
Nina's Past Staff Picks
The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories
Synopsis: A publishing event: Bestselling author Ken Liu selects his award-winning science fiction and fantasy tales for a groundbreaking collection including a brand-new piece exclusive to this volume. With his debut novel, The Grace of Kings, taking the literary world by storm, Ken Liu now shares his finest short fiction in The Paper Menagerie. This mesmerizing collection features all of Ken's award-winning and award-finalist stories, including: "The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary" (Finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, and Theodore Sturgeon Awards), "Mono No Aware" (Hugo Award winner), "The Waves" (Nebula Award finalist), "The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species" (Nebula and Sturgeon award finalists), "All the Flavors" (Nebula award finalist), "The Litigation Master and the Monkey King" (Nebula Award finalist), and the most awarded story in the genre's history, "The Paper Menagerie."
Randall says: This is one of my favorite anthologies of all time and a must-read for fans of science fiction and fantasy. “The Paper Menagerie” is the only story to win the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards. If you enjoy epic fantasy, then be sure to also check out Liu’s The Dandelion Dynasty series.
Randall's Past Staff Picks