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The Otis Library Asks:
Book reviews and best sellers lists are all well and good, but sometimes the best books are those you hear about from word of mouth. With that in mind, the Otis Library asks “What are you reading?” Add their recommendations to your own reading list! Remember to ask at the Information Desk if you need help locating one of these books.
Our reader this month is:
Margo Lanagan, Black Juice. Frost on black earth, blood on snow: stories that elemental. Strange, vivid, and unsettling.
Julie Phillips. James Tiptree, Jr. — military intelligence analyst, perceptual psychologist, explorer, recluse — wrote dazzlingly brilliant science fiction. All of this is true: but he was Alice Bradley Sheldon. A fine biography of a reinvented self.
Some writers I love:
Angela Carter. Earthy, fierce, funny, sacred and profane. I love her dark fairy tales, The Bloody Chamber, and her Saints and Strangers, vivid conjurations of characters from Poe and Baudelaire to Lizzie Borden. Wise Children is Shakespearean screwball comedy.
John Crowley. Cool. Melancholy. Elegant. An architect of dreams. His Little, Big — about a family living on the edge of elsewhere, intermarrying with myth—is fabulous.
Sylvia Townsend Warner. She saw herself as "Frau Noah leaning out of a window with a coffee cup in her hand admiring last night’s flood." Wise-hearted and well-tempered, she began as a scholar of early music, and her prose is formally Baroque. "Her heart was with the hunted always," said her friend William Maxwell. Yet at eighty, when her mortal love had died and she was "tired of the human heart," she wrote on the unkindliness of faerie. Kingdoms of Elfin is a last book as ruthlessly exquisite as a silver frost.
Alan Garner. There is myth indwelling in the fields we know, in smithy, stone, and scythe. In The Owl Service, a girl finds a goddess—owl and flowers—caught in patterns on crazed china; and finds herself caught in that goddess’s story.
Hope Mirrlees. Her world of Lud-in-the-Mist is bright and bustling as a Dutch landscape, yet autumnal, elegiac at its heart: leaves burning in a mist, the smoke of memory and desire. Their country borders on fairyland, which is anathema to them; they fear and crave its exports, which are dreams, lies, poetry: the fruit of ecstasy and death. The Silent Folk are at your threshold. You must let them in.
Kelly Link is like a written René Magritte: a deadpan surrealist. Try Stranger Things Happen, Magic for Beginners, Pretty Monsters.
Anon. I love ballads, blues, cradle rhymes, riddles. The Faber Book of Vernacular Verse is a lovely collection of scraps, the patchwork of the folk imagination.(Click on the book image to go to the catalog listing).