“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.”
― Mason Cooley
Escapist Literature Picks
by Brandon Priddy, Public Services Librarian
My favorite library memory was biking to the nearest library as a teen during Summer vacation and checking out a stack of books. While I can’t read a book a day anymore due to real life getting in the way; I do still enjoy being transported into a fictional world far away from reality. Sometimes you’ve just had enough and want to read about slaying monsters in a cool fantasy setting. Here are some of the recent fantasy favorites I’ve been enjoying this Summer (and one suggestion from a friend).
If you’re a Harry Potter or magic fan, I recommend Carry On by Rainbow Rowell because I adored it. The books are a very meta homage to the genre. I’m not even a Harry Potter fan, but I still enjoyed them immensely: “Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen. That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right. Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face…A ghost story, a love story, and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you'd expect from a Rainbow Rowell novel — but far, far more monsters.” There’s also a sequel called Wayward Son. You can borrow the audiobook version on Hoopla or grab them from OverDrive.
I’ve been revisiting comfort TV from my youth and recommend the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series if you want a great dose of campy and witty 90’s fun. Buffy excels at using monsters as metaphors for the growing pains of adolescence. Creator Joss Whedon was tired of pretty girls constantly being the damsel in distress and wanted a new empowered heroine to kick monster butt for once. While the Library doesn't have the Buffy TV series in a streaming service, we do have a few dozen Buffy comics, including the recent reboot, on free Library service Hoopla. I strongly encourage you to check out the TV series if you get a chance to watch it. A show should get a lot of bonus points for featuring a librarian as a main character and setting a lot of scenes in a library! Plus the series name is intentionally silly.
The Iron Druid Chronicles is another great series of urban fantasy by Kevin Hearne. “The series is set in our world where supernatural creatures exist…includ[ing] witches, vampires, werewolves, demons, elementals, as well as various deities from many mythologies. Told by ancient druid Atticus O'Sullivan (aka. Siodhachan O Suileabhain), owner of the occult bookshop Third Eye Books and Herbs, as he becomes embroiled in the day-to-day struggle of gods, goddesses, and other supernatural creatures.” You can borrow the Iron Druid Chronicles from OverDrive in both eBook and audiobook format.
Finally, my friend Margaret swears by the Heralds of Valdemar series (or any book) by Mercedes Lackey, which “follows the adventures of Talia as she trains to become a Herald of Valdemar. Talia, once a runaway, has now become a trainee Herald, destined to become one of the Queen’s own elite guard. But as Talia struggles to master her unique abilities, time is running out. For conspiracy is brewing in Valdemar, a deadly treason that could destroy Queen and kingdom.” You can enjoy her books on OverDrive and Hoopla. So kick back and enjoy a far out fantasy today!