“Chris Picks” February Books

[Here are this month’s great recommendations from staff member Christopher Jennings Penders. Click on a title to place a hold. You can find previous Chris Picks through the “What to read” link at the bottom of this page or type “Chris Picks” into the search bar on our homepage.]

I know. I know. January had us thinking about Spring with our baseball theme. Now we’re back in winter mode. February is the heart of winter, so why not?

The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel
By Katherine Arden
Fantasy is one of my favorite genres, and like Orson Scott Card’s Enchantment and Kim Wilkins’ The Veil of Gold, The Bear and the Nightingale is a folklore tale set in old Russia (the 14th century). Young Vasya joins the Frost King to save her village.

A Winter’s Tale
By Mark Helprin
The New York Times singled out A Winter’s Tale as one of the best works of American fiction published in the late 20th century. It’s not difficult to understand why with its timeless themes of love, the human spirit, and New York City. A theme that caught my interest is the subplot of Peter Lake’s multiple lives, as I firmly believe in past lives.

By John Banville
John Banville has long been one of my go-to writers since I first read The Book of Evidence years ago. It looks like Snow is going to be a new series with Detective John Strafford. Strafford is called to Wexford Ireland to investigate the death of a priest during the middle of a snowstorm. Will he unravel the mystery? Banville is a master (like William Trevor) of intellectual fiction without pretense. Don’t miss out on either writer.

By Alfred Lansing
Endurance is the story of Ernest Shackleton’s plan to cross Antarctica on foot. This is a heart-pounding book.

The Night Circus
By Erin Morgenstern
Some debut novels stay with you long after you have read them, and The Night Circus is a book that continues to resonate in my heart and mind. Filled with my favorite magic, The Night Circus unfolds in a different town every night. Two young magicians take center stage in this story as one competes to better the other. As sometimes happens with two competitors, Celia and Marco develop feelings for each other. This does not bode well.

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