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Molly Wetta

Dragons, Deserts, and Shakespearean Cheerleaders

What I find most exciting about young adult literature is that the books in this category are often not confined to any one genre. They blend elements from many, subvert tropes, and defy conventions. Because readers of young adult fiction are more willing to explore a variety of genres, authors of young adult fiction often have success writing in a variety of genres.

One such author is E.K. Johnston, who spun a tale about carbon eating dragons in her award-winning debut and reimagined the tale of Scheherazade in this fall’s release. Her latest book, due out this spring, subverts stereotypes of cheerleaders in an incisive critique of rape culture. Though vastly different, each novel focuses on the relationships between characters (though none contain a romance), have a rhythm and cadence to the story, and a strong sense of place, whether it’s a rural Canadian town built to withstand attacks from dragons, a sweeping desert, or a cheerleading camp.  Read More..

Going Gonzo

This weekend I had the chance to visit the Lawrence Arts Center’s exhibit curated by Daniel Joseph Watkins that explores Hunter S. Thompson’s bid for Mayor of Aspen in 1970 through art, writing, and ephemera.  The exhibit transported me to Budig Hall on the University of Kansas campus, where I spent a semester my Freshman year of college ignoring my Journalism 101 lectures and instead reading the collected works of the Gonzo journalist.

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Get Over Your Guilt

Confession: I used to be kind of a book snob. It started in high school, when I developed an interest in philosophy (my first dog was named Rawls, after John Rawls, author of A Theory of Justice). I had a subscription to the The Economist.

Luckily for me, I had an existential (reading) crisis halfway through grad school and discovered vampires (in fiction).

And after years of reading academic texts and dense journal articles, I discovered that reading could be fun when I randomly picked up a mass market paperback of the first Sookie Stackhouse book, and I’ve never looked back. Now, I read a balanced diet of all genres, try new formats, and sample the flavors of diverse writers.

Some might characterize the genre fiction I love as guilty pleasure reading, but I don’t feel guilty about it at all. I’ve read enough urban fantasy to know what kind I like (humor! action! romantic tension!), so when I’m in the mood for what I characterize as “junk food reading” I know what to look for in a book (strong heroine, unique world-building, a dash of snark). Just like my favorite food is broccoli, my typical reading diet is heavy on thoughtful, literary fiction, but that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally indulge my reading sweet tooth with a little urban fantasy and a side of ice cream. Read More..

Superhero Fiction for Grown Ups

If you visited the library over the weekend or yesterday, you might have noticed lots of superheroes wandering the stacks! This year, our summer reading theme is Every Hero Has a Story, so we’ve got lots of fun programs for kids and teens about superheroes, and of course, lots of superhero fiction for them to check out.

But what about adults?

Here are seven superhero novels written for grown ups! They run the gamut from fun and campy to more literary and thought-provoking. Read More..

Like, Try, Why: Fantasy

Last week, we shared some suggested pairings for fans of urban fantasy, where the magical or supernatural elements exist in a world similar to that of our own. This week, we’ve got suggestions for epic fantasy!  Read More..

Like, Try, Why: Magical or Supernatural Stories

While fantasy is often thought of as high or epic, like wizards and orcs and elves and hobbits having an “epic” battle,  there’s a lot more variety within various subgenres. The largest fantasy sub-genre is urban fantasy, which has its own section in the fiction loop at Lawrence Public Library.

Urban fantasy is just that, a blend of the magic and the mundane, where the reader encounters the supernatural in a real-world (usually) urban setting. The line between fantasy and urban fantasy is not always black and white, and some readers will enjoy books from both.

While all fantasy titles have some element of magic or the supernatural, they can fall all over the map otherwise, with some highly literary titles and others that are just fast-paced fun. Some have heavy romance subplots, some are all action and adventure. It’s an eclectic genre worth dipping your toes into if you’ve never tried it! Whether a dedicated fan or an urban fantasy newbie, one of these titles might interest you.

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Like, Try, Why: Books for Fans of BBC TV Shows

If you love watching BBC television shows, our latest like, try, why is for you! Whether your a fan of historical shows, sci-fi, or mysteries, there’s a book on here for you to check out. There’s a mix of memoirs, nonfiction, graphic novels, young adult fiction, and novels — something for everyone!  Read More..

Like Try Why: Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin is the 2014 recipient of the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Her novels transcend the (artificial) division between literary and genre fiction. If you’ve never read Le Guin, this guide will give you a place to start, and if you’re already a fan, hopefully you’ll find a new book.  Read More..

Like, Try, Why: New Literary Fiction

If you are the reader who is always on the look out for the best in new literary fiction, we’ve got suggestions based on some of last year’s most popular literary fiction.  Read More..

Girls Gone Graphic!

I bought my first comic seven years ago.

Feeling unsure and out of place, I ventured up the steps to Lawrence’s local comic shop, Astro Kitty, to buy Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8. As a longtime devotee of Joss Whedon’s TV show, I was thrilled when I learned it was going to continue in comic form, even if I didn’t have any experience with the format and had grown up thinking that it was just superhero stories that were really meant for boys who didn’t like to read (oh, how naive my younger self was). Read More..