Here are this month’s five great recommendations from staff member Christopher Jennings Penders! Click on a title to place a hold. To find previous Chris Picks just click on the “what to read” link at the bottom of this page or type “Chris Picks” into the search bar on our home page.
Graham Joyce is a speculative fiction author I’ve read many times. He is well worth a look. Sadly, Graham Joyce passed in 2014. His legacy lives on through the many books he has written. I’ve read quite a few of his books and have enjoyed each one.
- Some Kind of Fairy Tale
For twenty years, Tara Martin has been missing. Her family has given up all hope of ever seeing her again. Then one Christmas day, she reappears looking not a day older than the day she vanished.
- Dark Sister
Maggie, a mother and housewife, discovers an herbalist’s journal while cleaning. The journal, it turns out, belonged to a powerful witch, and as Maggie delves deeper into the book she too begins to realize that she possesses the same power to heal and harm those around her.
- The Silent Land
Caught in a blinding snowstorm and avalanche while skiing in Switzerland, married couple Jake and Zoe dig themselves out and look for help. What they find is a deserted town. No one is left. They go into a hotel expecting to see some sign of life, but just like the town itself, the hotel is completely devoid of guests as well as workers.
- Indigo is another book I thoroughly enjoyed.
Jonathan Carroll is my favorite author and if I’ve mentioned him here before I apologize. If anyone has read Alice Hoffman, another favorite of mine, I’ve concluded that the best way to describe Mr. Carroll is that he’s Alice Hoffman on LSD. Carroll has written a sort of trilogy with White Apples being the first and Glass Soup the conclusion. In Bathing the Lion, one of the main entities in the first two books appears for a final time. I have yet to find a Carroll book that I haven’t adored. Teaching the Dog to Read and The Ghost in Love are two more standouts.
What I like about Charles DeLint is that he has created a fictional town in Canada called Newford and he populates the town with the same characters that show up in each of his books. This way, the reader becomes familiar with everyone in the town. Sometimes one or two characters play a leading role. In another book, someone else may play the lead, but every book DeLint has written takes place in Newford so there is continuity throughout his series.
I first heard of Suzanne Palmieri when I read The Witch of Little Italy. So much of what Suzanne wrote in that book aligns with my worldview. After reading The Witch of Little Italy, I shared my thoughts on the book online and Suzanne responded:
“I know we have not met. I know I was thrilled that you were interested in reading my book. But now? I know we have met…And out of all the amazing (and truly unexpected) reactions of people connecting with this novel…Yours has moved me the most. I am so honored. Really.”
Suzanne and I have continued to correspond, and we’ve become friends now as well.
As mentioned above, Alice Hoffman is another slipstream writer I enjoy. Even after all these years and the many books I’ve read, River King remains my favorite. Ms. Hoffman, like Jonathan Carroll, has yet to disappoint me. She has an entire catalog of books to choose from and I don’t think you can go wrong with anything you choose to read.