TAB Recommends

Here are some spooky books our TAB members have read and loved in the past few weeks. We’ve included the call number so you can come and get them at Reston Regional Library! All summaries taken from Novelist.

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Lord of the Flies, William Golding – FIC GOL

The classic study of human nature which depicts the degeneration of a group of schoolboys marooned on a desert island.

 

Stalking Jack the Ripper, Kerri Maniscalco – YMYS MAN

A gothic murder mystery set in gritty Victorian-era London, where an intrepid society girl finds herself embroiled in the investigation of a serial killer known as Jack the Ripper.

 

 

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs – YFIC RIG

After a family tragedy, Jacob feels compelled to explore an abandoned orphanage on an island off the coast of Wales, discovering disturbing facts about the children who were kept there.

 

The Last Magician, Lisa Maxwell – YSF MAX

In modern day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are from the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives. Esta is a talented thief. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.

 

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Ghosts By Gaslight: Stories of Steampunk and Supernatural Suspense, ed. Jack Dann and Nick Gevers – FIC 808.83 G

A collection of steampunk and supernatural tales that breathes new life into the Victorian and Edwardian ghost story for a new generation of readers.

 

The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins – FIC HAW

Rachel is a washed-up thirty-something who creates a fantasy about the seemingly perfect couple she sees during her daily train ride into London. When the woman goes missing, Rachel manages to insert herself into the investigation of the woman’s disappearance.

 

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Frankenstein, Mary Shelley – FIC SHE

A monster assembled by a scientist from parts of dead bodies develops a mind of his own as he learns to loathe himself and hate his creator.

 

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women, Kate Moore – 363.1799 M 2017

This is the story of hundreds of young, vibrant women who were sentenced to death by their employers. The so-called “Radium Girls” painted luminescent faces on clock and watch dials using a paint mixture that contained radium. Instructed to “lip-point” their brushes as they painted, they absorbed high doses of radium into their bodies. When the effects of the radium led to horrific disfigurement and pain, the company refused to take responsibility.

 

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy shows a refreshing change to the topic of aliens on Earth. Many of the more popular media show them to be one race of malevolent creatures that are determined to destroy Earth. It shows the readers a different way of thinking about extraterrestrial beings. That, despite many popular depictions of them, not all of them want to bring the downfall of Earth and that, they too, have lives of their own.

Furthermore, reactions from the characters to events in the book are those that the readers can connect with. Arthur Dent’s reaction to the entire experience, whether it is about his house being destroyed or being dragged through the cosmos, is realistic and relatable to the readers. Although the first few chapters are slow and may bore, it picks up when the adventure does.

An intriguing part of the story is that there is no single antagonist that stays for the entire duration of the book. At the begin, it appears like it may be the Vogons. But as the story progresses, it shifts over so that the antagonists are the mice. Although I prefer having one person being the large force against the protagonist throughout the book, this is a welcome difference.

The idea of the story being driven by the very question of life itself is fascinating. It’s made all the better when the answer is but a number and the question isn’t given. It can be humorous as it isn’t simple, even for things as intelligent as a supercomputer, to comprehend the meaning of life. It could be interpreted as sending a message that it could be one of the questions that may never be answered and that we could be content with not knowing at all.

From the Corner of His Eye, Dean Koontz

From The Corner of His Eye provides a compelling view on the way the world works. With the antagonist becoming the evil person that he is due to the loss of the person closest to him, it also tells a story about some of the effects of great loss just like the one that he went through. Although the ways that people deal with this kind of loss differs, the author shows one of the more extreme ways. With the way that some of the characters manipulated the universe, it plays easily with the great unknown that’s present with it and thus helps with this theme of fiction, that may not be so fictitious after all. Especially when there are so many ways that it could be done, it could also leave a little sense of mystery of other ways that characters in the novel could manipulate the universe. Another interesting element was the insight with the prodigal children in the novel. They knew much, and this helped propel the story to the intended destination which would be the antagonist ending up in a bad place thanks to this insight. Many times in fiction, the children are often used as a plot device to point out the obvious or as a way to get a character to the place, but here they’re used as the main force behind the progression of the story. Not only is it an interesting change, but also gives a narrative about how, sometimes, prodigal children can give lessons that even adults don’t learn until much later on in their life.

TAB Recommends

Here are some books our TAB members have read and loved in the past few weeks. We’ve included the call number so you can come and get them at Reston Regional Library! All summaries taken from Novelist.

 

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Odd Thomas, Dean Koontz – FIC KOO

Over the course of two days, Odd Thomas, his soulmate Stormy Llewellyn, and an assortment of allies make their way through a dark, terrifying world in which past and present, and life and death collide as they try to avert a cataclysm.

 

The Rest of Us Just Live Here, Patrick Ness – YFIC NES

The best friend of a kid with superhuman qualities endeavors to have a life of his own that is both normal and extraordinary in the face of constant world-shaking challenges, threats against his school, and an elusive pretty girl.

 

The Age of Miracles, Karen Thompson Walker – FIC WAL

The rotation of the earth has begun to slow and the environment is thrown into disarray. Julia is also coping with the fissures in her family, the loss of friends, the hopeful anguish of love and other normal disasters of everyday life.

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Salt to the Sea, Ruta Sepetys – YFIC SEP

Titanic. Lusitania. Wilhelm Gustloff. All major maritime disasters, yet the last is virtually unknown. Ruta Sepetys changes that in her gripping historical novel. Told in short snippets, Salt to the Sea rotates between four narrators attempting to escape various tragedies in 1945 Europe.

 

Ready Player One, Ernest Cline – SF CLI

Immersing himself in a mid-twenty-first-century technological virtual utopia to escape an ugly real world of famine, poverty, and disease, Wade Watts joins an increasingly violent effort to solve a series of puzzles by the virtual world’s creator.

 

A Stolen Kiss, Kelsey Keating – YFIC KEA

A stolen kiss. An unstable curse. One big mess in the making. Derric Harver never expected to amount to anything more than the palace stableboy, but when Princess Maria’s curse keeps her from accepting a prince’s proposal, she turns to him for help, and he doesn’t dare refuse.

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Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Salman Rushdie – FIC RUS

This is the story of Haroun, a 12-year-old boy whose father Rashid is the greatest storyteller in a city so sad that it has forgotten its name. When the gift of gab suddenly deserts Rashid, Haroun sets out on an adventure to rescue his parent.

 

The Blue Castle, LM Montgomery – FIC MON

In early 1920s Canada, drastic circumstances give Valancy, a twenty-nine-year-old unmarried woman resigned to being an “old maid,” the courage to defy her controlling family and escape to a life of her own choosing.

 

The Books of Magic -Book review

By Ashley Huang

51w7qi1mkcl-_sx343_bo1204203200_Are you tired of reading Harry Potter for the umpteenth time? Craving a new story of another young British boy who discovers he possesses magic power? Look no further! In The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman, 12-year old Timothy Hunter meets a mysterious man who takes Tim on a journey through the past, present and future. Through this journey, Tim learns that he is destined to be a powerful lord in the realm of magic with potent and forceful powers. My most favorite part of the book, however, is the art style. Which each part of the graphic novel, the art style changes dramatically, which plays well with the flow of the story. From splotches of watercolor paint to outlined, whimsical and comical characters, this graphic novel has nearly every type of art style to choose from. If you’re the kind to stare at displays at an art museum for hours on end, I recommend you read this novel!

Mosquitoland -Book review

By Ashley Huang

16-year old Mim Malonedownload.jpg has gone through a lot in her life. She’s blind in one eye from looking into a solar eclipse, she vomits uncontrollably due to a “misplaced epiglottis,” her parents are divorced, and she has an unclear psychiatric diagnosis, according to her therapist. Could it get any worse?

When Mim hears that her mother is sick, she runs away from her father and stepmother’s house to make an epic journey from Mississippi to Cleveland, where her mother is. Through the journey, Mim survives an exploding bus, befriends a sweet old lady, and feasts on cans of ham. It’s not until she meets a homeless boy with Down Syndrome and a handsome college dropout named Beck, when Mim realizes the power of love and loyalty which will ultimately spur her on to finish her journey.

The Plain Janes -Book Review

By Ashley Huang

51ytawntclGraphic novel lovers, unite! The Plain Janes is a quick read which took me about an hour to finish. Short, sweet, and simple. Jane is forced to move from the city to the suburbs, which turns her universe upside down. Everything she’s ever known – gone. What group will she fit in? The popular girls? The jocks? The nerds? Turns out, Jane finds herself surrounded by the “rejects.” Three other Janes, each with their own unique personality that makes them stick out. Main Jane befriends and convinces the Janes to team up and, and together they begin to express their feelings through art. The Jane tribe begins to “attack” the neighborhood with sculptures, garden plant creations and positive notes. Throughout the journey, the tribe meets a shy guy, a popular girl with a soft side, and the only gay student at school. While the characters were diverse, accepting, and celebrated differences, I found the plot to be generic, and it barely any character development. Every piece of the plot happened before I realized it, which meant to me that nothing actually contributed to the big idea of the book – there was no building up of tension. But, in a quick read like The Plain Janes, the visuals of the graphic novel were most appealing, and I really love the incredibly diverse characters in the story. If you’re in middle-school and you want to find something “finishable” in a day because longer novels take too much commitment, The Plain Janes would be a great read!