Chris’s Top Five Books for January

Five great recommendations from staff member Christopher Jennings Penders. Click on a title to place a hold!

Slipstream/Fantasy Authors

Jonathan Carroll
Carroll is my favorite writer. He writes sparsely. In other words, not frequently. But when he does produce, his words are magic. A few themes that run through his books are talking dogs, childhood memories, magic in its many forms. He may not be everyone’s taste for literature, but I implore everyone to give him a try. Many people have asked me what he writes like, and the best description I can make is he is Alice Hoffman on LSD, meaning they have a similar writing style and touch on some of the same themes, but Jonathan Carroll goes a few steps beyond.

These three Carroll novels are some of my favorites, and this is the order in which to read them:
1. White Apples
2. Glass Soup
3. Bathing the Lion

Teaching the Dog to Read
The Ghost in Love

Alice Hoffman
The first book I ever read by Alice Hoffman was Second Nature about a young woman who brings home a man raised in the woods. From then on, I have devoured each succeeding book. In July 2001, Ms. Hoffman wrote The River King. That book continues to be my favorite by her even after twenty years. She has written a plethora of others and you really can’t go wrong with anything you choose.

Suzanne Palmieri
I was introduced to Ms. Palmieri with the book The Witch of Little Italy. Like Alice Hoffman, Suzanne Palmieri touches on the same themes of love, magic, the importance of family Palmieri has written a series of “Witch” stories, with The Witch of Little Italy being the first.

Graham Joyce
Joyce unfortunately is no longer with us. He has left behind a map of his life through the books he has written, and I have traveled most of the roads he has taken. The last book he left us with, Some Kind of Fairy Tale left a lasting impression on me. It is my favorite book by Joyce. Twenty years previous, a young girl, Tara Martin vanishes from her home, and now on Christmas Day twenty years later, she reappears at her family home looking no older than the day she disappeared. Where has she been and why hasn’t she aged?

Other great books in his catalog:

Dark Sister

The Silent Land
The Facts of Life

He is another writer that doesn’t get the recognition her deserves because he writes slipstream/fantasy.

Neil Gaiman
Gaiman is another one of my favorites. Of all the books I’ve read by him, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is my favorite. A man returning home after decades away is drawn into a mystery from his childhood, part magic, part mystic this short little book will stay with you long after you turn the last page. Following The Ocean… Neverwhere is another favorite. Sometimes I have a hard time deciding which one is my favorite.  Neverwhere follows Richard Mayhew as he tumbles down a rabbit hole of Underground London. Once there, he finds a host of strange characters as they find adventures and danger. Stardust and Coraline are two other books he has written that I enjoyed.

As with all the writers I have mentioned here, you really can’t go wrong with any of their books.

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