Today, we have Berwyn Library Readers’ Advisory staffer Becky’s favorites of 2012!
Title: Building Stories
Author: Chris Ware
Call #: GRAPHIC NOVEL WARE
In an age where e-books seem to be taking over, Chris Ware has created a story that can only be experienced in print form. Building Stories is one single story told in graphic novel form in 14 distinct parts. Each part is different; for example, some are hardbound books, others are small comic strips, still more are large broadsheets. At the story’s center is an apartment building in Chicago in 2000. The building has 3 floors, with one apartment on each floor. While some pieces follow all of the residents, the main focus of the story is on the life of the young, amputee who lives in the 3rd floor walk-up. The majority of Building Stories follows her both while she lived there and in the decades before and after. We grow attached to her as we see her search for acceptance, love, and fulfillment. As a reader, you make your way through the story as you see fit. Ware does not impose an order on the 14 pieces to his tale. This creates a unique storytelling experience as every reader encounters the story in a different order. Readers familiar with Ware’s drawing style will also notice his trademark large headed characters, the bright color palate, and his use of the entire page to tell the story.
Author: Stephen King
Call #: KING
In a departure from his normal horror laced fare, here King presents a time travel story. Jake Epping, an English teacher in Maine finds a portal to 1958, and with the help of a dying friend, Jake goes back in time to try to save President Kennedy from being assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald. But this is not just another Kennedy assassination book; it is the story of Jake’s trip into the world of 1958 and beyond. As a result, the story is methodically paced because after a fast start, we are mostly waiting, with Jake, for the years to go by. As a result, the majority of the book is a historical piece of Jake’s life during that time but with the suspense and drama of Oswald and his impending date with history. “The Past”, in capital letters is the main villain, more than Oswald, and it is not until after the assassination is stopped that we see the full fury and evil “The Past” can throw at us. “The Past” is constantly after Jake and this adds a chilling and menacing aspect to the novel. This is the perfect read for anyone who enjoys a well told, compelling story full of action, great characters, with a bittersweet tone, and a realistic historical frame.
Title: A Land More Kind Than Home
Author: Wiley Cash
Call #: CASH
This is a beautifully wrought debut novel that at every turn gives you more than you expected. The “plot” involves the killing of a mute child at a prayer “healing” by a creepy preacher. But we know from the first pages that the child will die. Thus, this novel is not about the murder. It is about rural communities and the intimate links between the people who live there. Cash has created a tale that merges the tension of a psychological suspense novel with the lyrical beauty of the Southern Gothic tradition. As a result, I was on the edge of my chair turning the pages with trepidation both wanting, and not wanting, to know what would happen next in this intricately plotted story, but then, right in the middle of all of the unease, I would stop to re-read Cash’s descriptions of the tough landscape [North Carolina Hill Country] and its weathered people. His love for the place is evident despite the bleakness of the story. A Land More Kind Than Home is a novel you experience. In the end this is a story where a drama unfolds, a conflict which has it roots in a previous generation, and once we reach the last page, everything has changed and yet, at the same time, we are back to the way it always was.
Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Call #: CLI
Every once in a while, you read a book that you secretly wish would never end. This is what I experienced when I read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. In one sentence this is a Science Fiction adventure, obsessed with the pop culture of the 1980s, featuring a teen protagonist, set in a near future dystopia, but taking place mostly in a virtual reality world. You will be hearing a lot more about this novel from all of us here at the Berwyn Public Library throughout 2013, but know at its heart Ready Player One is a first person narrated adventure story, with great characters, an amazingly vivid created world, and a heartwarming and satisfying ending. It is a story that can be enjoyed by teens and adults whether they normally like science fiction or not.
Recommended by: Becky