September 6 is National Read a Book Day 2022. Just like last year, I thought I’d offer some suggestions for readers who love science fiction and fantasy — and maybe a little horror.
Something Powerful: Station Eleven, by Emily St John Mandel, published in 2014. Although the author considers this literary fiction, science fiction readers will appreciate it. It’s set after a pandemic has ravaged the world, killing most of the global population. It follows a few key characters who are interconnected by relationships and by a graphic novel titled Station Eleven treasured by Kristen, a member of a traveling theater group in the Great Lakes area. It’s a magnificent novel, one I’d recommend to anyone.
Something New: The Last Stand of Mary Good Crow by Rachel Aaron. This is a fantasy alternate-history Western set in a world where there is a mining rush — not for gold but for crystal, a dangerous and powerful substance with magical properties. A good adventure story with three interesting main characters.
Something in a Great Series: Turns out this isn’t the newest book in the series, but it was new to me! The Queen’s Bargain by Anne Bishop is tenth in the Black Jewels series. If you’ve read any of these you know they are dark, with rich characterizations and complex relationships. (They are also erotic and sometimes violent, definitely not for young readers.) In this one, Warlord Prince Daemon Sadi’s marriage is crumbling, and possibly his mind as well. This one is a little lighter than the original three books in the series, but still intense and a good read for series fans.
Something Recommended by my Daughter: Just like last year, I’m including a recommendation from my daughter! Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas is a New York Times bestseller and a LGBTQIA+ ghost story. In the story, a trans boy with a very traditional Latinx family summons the ghost of his murdered cousin to prove something — and can’t get the ghost to leave. Here’s a link to a review from Kirkus.
Something on my To-Be-Read List: The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity, by David Graeber and David Wengrow. This is an actual tome — 526 pages not including notes — and it is nonfiction. The book looks at human history from a different perspective, arguing that early civilizations had a variety of social and economic structures and reexamining what we think we know about the past. It comes highly recommended (check out the editorial reviews on Amazon), and I can’t help but think it might be a good read especially for writers who engage in world building as part of their work.
Something … by Me! Yes, I’m doing this again, including something by me. In this case it’s an anthology that includes stories by ten different authors. Blood on the Blade is a sword & sorcery anthology (edited by Jim Beard and and John C. Breuning) and winner of the 2022 Imadjinn Award for Best Anthology. My story is “The Sorceress Maiz”, but check out all the stories — there are a number of different takes on the sword & sorcery genre, and it’s a good read.
Whatever you choose to read, it’s a great day to start a new book! Feel free to comment if you have recommendations of your own.