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Karen Ostertag's blog

Popping the Word Balloon: Graphic Novels for Adults

For me, the season of summer reading brings with it an opportunity to try new things, to read out of my comfort zone.  Speculative fiction is already out of a lot of readers' comfort zones.  When I tell someone I read speculative fiction, the most common response I get (after "What's that?") is "I'm not really into those sorts of books."  (The most entertaining reaction by far was a horrified "But... you're a librarian!")  I'm used to taking flak for what I read (hey, I read romance, too), but it still bothers me.  Speculative fiction encompasses such a broad panoply of styles, themes, philosophies, and yes, talents, that it's utterly unfair to dismiss the entire genre out of hand.  But there's a whole medium of literature on our library shelves that carries an even deeper stigma: comic books.

New Romance Fiction for June 2011

In paperback:

Hush by Cherry Adair (1, Lodestone trilogy) C, M, S
Midnight's Wild Passion by Anna Campbell H
Ripe for Pleasure by Isobel Carr (1, League of Second Sons) H, M
Darkfire Kiss by Deborah Cooke (6, Dragonfire) C, F, S
Summer at Seaside Cove by Jacqui D'Alessandro (1, Seaside Cove) C
Laid Bare by Lauren Dane (1, Brown Family) C
Coming Undone by Lauren Dane (2, Brown Family) C
SEALed Forever by Mary Margret Daughtridge (4, SEALed) C, M
When You Dare by Lori Foster (2, Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor) C, M

New Speculative Fiction for June 2011

New to our shelves:

The Great Night by Chris Adrian F, R
Conviction by Aaron Allston (7, Star Wars: The Fate of the Jedi) SF
Nebula Awards Showcase 2011 by Kevin J. Anderson (Nebula Awards Showcase) SF (SF Nebula)
Enemy Within by Marcella Burnard (1, Enemy) SF, R, M
Enemy Games by Michelle Burnard (2, Enemy) SF, R, M
Dreadnaught by Jack Campbell (1, The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier) SF
The Rogue by Trudi Canavan (2, Traitor Spy trilogy) F, M
Shivers VI by Richard Chizmar, ed. (6, Shivers) H (Horror Shivers)
The Meowmorphosis by Coleridge Cook & Franz Kafka H, F (Horror Cook)

Mating Season, Part Two

"Howard... I need that wedding.  I need some beauty and some music and some placecards before I die. It's like heroin." - Mrs. Brackett, "In & Out"

Many of you may have satisfied your veil-and-cake imperatives on a certain modest little British ceremony back in April.  For those who haven't, don't panic-- June is just over the holiday weekend horizon!  For some, June is the time to focus on dads and grads, but it's also the traditional month for another kind of happy ending: weddings.

CLASSY SF

"A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read." - Mark Twain

I've spent the last couple months working on one of the more difficult aspects of my job: weeding.  Weeding (or "deaccessioning," to use the formal term) is the process of removing outdated, damaged, or significantly underused materials from the collection to make room for newer, more useful (and hopefully more appealing) titles.  The first of couple categories are usually pretty easy to deal with-- no one's going to be checking out a title on exciting new computing careers from 1987, or a book that's been chewed on and smells like old gym socks.  It's the last category where weeding gets painful for me, particularly in speculative fiction.

New Romance Fiction for May 2011

In paperback:

Captured by a Rogue Lord by Katharine Ashe (2, Rogues of the Sea) H
An Affair without End by Candace Camp (3, Willowmere trilogy) H, M
Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase (3, Scoundrels) H
Secrets of a Proper Countess by Lecia Cornwall H, M
The Secret of Cypriere Bayou by Jana DeLeon (Harlequin Intrigue: Shivers) C, M, S
Taken by the Prince by Christina Dodd (9, Governess Brides) H, M
Never a Gentleman by Eileen Dreyer (2, Drake's Rakes) H, M
My Irresistible Earl by Gaelen Foley (3, Inferno Club) H, M
Seduce Me in Dreams by Jacquelyn Frank (1, Three Worlds) SF, S

New Speculative Fiction for May 2011

New to our shelves:

The Dragon's Path by Daniel Abraham (1, Dagger and the Coin) F
Brave New Worlds by John Joseph Adams, ed. SF, A (SF Brave)
The Way of the Wizard by John Joseph Adams, ed. F (Fantasy Way)
The Winds of Khalakovo by Bradley P. Beaulieu F, M
The Company Man by Robert Jackson Bennett H
Dark Jenny by Alex Bledsoe (3, Eddie LaCrosse) F, M
Tiassa by Steven Brust (13, Vlad Taltos) F, M
There Is No Year by Blake Butler H
The Scar-crow Men by Mark Chadbourn (2, Swords of Albion) F, M
Betrayer by C. J. Cherryh (3, Foreigner 4) SF

Mating Season

It's springtime!  Days are warming and flowers are bursting into bloom.  If you're like me, the signs of spring engender a desire to get the gardening tools out of storage and break out the heavy-duty allergy medication.  My fuzzier neighbors, however, are dealing with desires of a different sort.  All over my backyard, critters are chasing through the underbrush in pursuit of their romantic destinies.  Last week I could barely go out the back door without getting dive-bombed by a love-crazed songbird.  They're all doing it-- the birds, the bees, the rabbits, the skunks (ugh!), the werejaguars.... hold on.  WEREJAGUARS?  That's right, it's mating season in romantic fiction, too!  (Okay, okay... technically, It's always mating season in romantic fiction.)  Given the, ahem, effusion of Nature going on all around us, I thought this would be the perfect time to talk about a specific category of supernatural romance: shapeshifters.  If you're ready for a real walk on the wild side, read on! 

New Romance Fiction for April 2011

In paperback:

Hidden Away by Maya Banks (3, KGI) C, M
Never Again by Michele Bardsley (1, Wizards of Nevermore) C, F, S
An Unlikely Countess by Jo Beverley (11, The Mallorens) H
Swept Off Her Feet by Hester Browne C
Pleasure Me by Monica Burns H
Living on the Edge by Shannon K. Butcher (1, Edge) C, M
Accidentally Catty by Dakota Cassidy (5, Accidental Friends) C, S
Dreams of a Dark Warrior by Kresley Cole (11, Immortals after Dark) C, S, A
It Happened One Bite by Lydia Dare (1, Gentleman Vampires) H, S
Deadly Lies by Cynthia Eden (3, Deadly) C, M

New Speculative Fiction for April 2011

New to our shelves:

The Alchemist by Paolo Bacigalupi (1, Khaim) F
Daybreak Zero by John Barnes (2, Directive 51) SF, A
Sleight of Hand by Peter S. Beagle F
The White City by Elizabeth Bear F, H, SF, M
The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston F, H
River Marked by Patricia Briggs (6, Mercy Thompson) F, H, R
The Enterprise of Death by Jesse Bullington F, H
The Crippled God by Steven Erikson (10, Malazan: Book of the Fallen) F
Hidden Cities by Daniel Fox (3, Moshui, The Books of Stone and Water) F
The Neon Court, or, The Betrayal of Matthew Swift by Kate Griffin (3, Matthew Swift) F, H

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