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urban fantasy

Reaching A Supernatural Crossroads

I first discovered Charlaine Harris’ acclaimed Southern Vampire Mysteries (aka the Sookie Stackhouse series) while in college.  At the time, I worked two jobs while finishing my bachelor’s degree, and I needed a vacation from the dense, academic drivel that consumed my evenings.

Following a recommendation from my mom, who is an avid mystery reader, I became immediately enraptured by Sookie’s paranormal world.  It served as the perfect escape from my never ending to-do lists, beckoning deadlines and helped me fall in love with recreational reading all over again. I not only devoured each of the books published at that point, but I also started my long-term relationship with the Urban Fantasy genre. Read More..

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..

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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