I was all, blah blah blah, I can give science fiction and mystery recommendations, but I am nearly forced to retract that. I haven’t read much science fiction in a few years. I am still reading some fantasy, especially when I’m looking for an escapist couple hours on my porch. With the warning that they are not new, here are my recommendations; as always, lots of plot, minimum of angst and when I can, a skew toward strong female characters.Science fiction/fantasy
I bet lots of you have read Ken Grimwood’s Replay
. The conceit of going back to relive parts of your life with knowledge from the last times you lived through that period is now one of my standard daydreams. I know so many great guys I would scoop up before their current wives or girlfriends.
Everything by Dan Simmons. In fact, I should check if he has released anything recently.
Pat Murphy’s The City, Not Long After
is a beautiful story, set in post pandemic San Francisco. It offers a magic realism take on waging war in which the city itself is a combatant.
The Sword of Mary
and Psalms of Herod
by Esther Friesner. There’s some strong stuff in these, including executions in Sword of Mary
that I have never been able to revisit or forget. Another post-apocalypse setting, Psalms of Herod
is set in a rural country governed by an extreme patriarchal religion. Sword of Mary
is set in a more recognizable city, but then things go wrong. I picked up some other Friesner on the strength of these two books and it was horrible. I think these are a departure for her, so don’t judge them on any other Friesner you’ve read.Mysteries:
These are all solid examples of the genre, but I am not claiming more than that I enjoyed them.
I liked all of Karen Kijewski’s books, and not just because they’re set in Sac.
I like Linda Barnes’ Carlotta Carlyle series. Set in Boston.
Rosemary Edghill wrote an odd trilogy about a New York Wiccan who gets dragged into mysterious happenings. She is funny and skeptical about her freak community, while remaining devout in her beliefs. Speak Daggers To Her
, Book of Moons
, The Bowl of Night
Not-female protagonists:Bangkok 8
and its follow-up, Bangkok Tattoo
, by John Burdett, were fun.
I also liked Eliot Pattison’s Inspector Shan books, set in Tibet. Starts with The Skull Mantra
.Young Adult and children’s books:
All of these are kinda girlie, but I wouldn’t write them up if I didn’t really like them.
Sarah Dessen, This Lullaby
. I’ve found all of Dessen’s books very readable. This one has an especially nice group of female friends and a hot and sweet love interest. Maybe for junior high, high school age readers.
Patrice Kindl, The Woman in the Wall
. This is a peculiar little story about a sister and daughter who decides to live within the walls of her house. It has a couple very funny lines. I re-read it often. Junior high level, I guess.
Carol Plum-Ucci, The She
. Carol Plum-Ucci writes the same story – most people being conventional and nasty, a previously popular protagonist deciding to be a good person, mysterious something that goes unanswered – in all her books. But she does it really well. Mature junior high, high school readers.
Sharon Shinn, Safe-Keeper’s Secret
, Truth-Teller’s Tale
, and the upcoming Dream-Maker’s Magic
. Everything I like. Nicely done fairy tales, and a romantic resolution. Junior high level.
Clare Dunkle, The Hollow Kingdom Trilogy. I’ve got real reservations about the gender dynamics in these books, but I very much like the reversal of the usual elves-good, goblins-bad. And they’re funny. I’d recommend these with a follow-up talk about the patriarchy, but definitely recommend them. Junior high level.
Kate DiCamillo, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
. An early chapter book, but such
a beautiful book. A toy rabbit goes through a succession of owners.
Oh! And The Misadventures of Maude March: Or Trouble Rides a Fast Horse
by Audrey Couloumbis. A great story about a pair of kick-ass young sisters on the American frontier. Fine for early junior high. Or me.
***My earlier recommendations.
Your turn, y’all. What should I read? A shameless good story, no whining.