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Fantasy

  • Golem and the Jinni

    The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker.  "Wecker is such a gifted storyteller that I felt like I had been pulled into a child's fairytale when I opened the book.  From Amazon: 'In The Golem and the Jinni, a chance meeting between mythical beings takes readers on a dazzling journey through cultures in turn-of-the-century New York.'"

  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (and all that follow) by JK Rowling. "If you haven't read the Harry Potter books yet -- and I know many women my age who haven't -- now is the time. The last book in the series is due out shortly. If you've seen the movies, you still should read the books. Adults will appreciate the books' allusions to myths, literature, and history; these subtleties are lost in the movies." I agree! And for those of you who have read 1 - 6, enjoy Deathly Hallows!

  • Neverwhere

    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman "If you like weird fantasy, this is the book for you. Honest. I loved it."  From Amazon:  Richard Mayhew is a young man with a good heart and an ordinarylife, which is changed forever when he stops to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London sidewalk. His small act of kindness propels him into a world he never dreamed existed. There are people who fall through the cracks, and Richard has become one of them. And he must learn to survive in this city of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels, if he is ever to return to the London that he knew.

  • Night Circus

    The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  "Not my usual kind of read because of its fanciful and magical nature but now one of my 'must reads.'   The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.   But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, they tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.  True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead."

  • Nose

    The Nose by Nikolai Gogol. “A little fantasy and a lot reality about bureaucrats (not in DC)” " Amazon  "satirical short story by Nikolai Gogol. Written between 1835 and 1836, it tells of a St. Petersburg official whose nose leaves his face and develops a life of its own."

  • Ocean at the end of the Lane

    Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. “Because...it's Neil Gaiman. Nothing more needs to be said about why this is an awesome book. Seriously though - it is a haunting, uplifting, sad, sweet, funny story about a young boy who stumbles upon a neighbor's otherworldly secret and learns about friendship, about sacrifice and about innocence lost.”

  • Red Pyramid

    The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, Book 1) by Rick Riordan. "The first book in the new series by Rick Riordan of Percy Jackson fame . I've always been fascinated with ancient Egypt, so this one is a great fit." This is technically a children's book.

  • River of No Return

    The River of No Return by Bee Ridgeway.  From Amazon: “’You are now a member of the Guild. There is no return.’” Two hundred years after he was about to die on a Napoleonic battlefield, Nick Falcott, soldier and aristocrat, wakes up in a hospital bed in modern London. The Guild, an entity that controls time travel, showers him with life's advantages. But Nick yearns for home and for one brown-eyed girl, lost now down the centuries. Then the Guild asks him to break its own rule. It needs Nick to go back to 1815 to fight the Guild’s enemies and to find something called the Talisman.  In 1815, Julia Percy mourns the death of her beloved grandfather, an earl who could play with time. On his deathbed he whispers in her ear: ‘Pretend!’ Pretend what? When Nick returns home as if from the dead, older than he should be and battle scarred, Julia begins to suspect that her very life depends upon the secrets Grandfather never told her. Soon enough Julia and Nick are caught up in an adventure that stretches up and down the river of time. As their knowledge of the Guild and their feelings for each other grow, the fate of the future itself is hanging in the balance.”

  • Shadow of the Wind

    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Luis Zafon – “Set in Barcelona in the 1950s, this a wonderful, intricate (long) story full of interesting characters, mystery, romance, adventure and fantasy. Terrific story telling!”

  • Tale of Despereaux

    The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo. “A destined-to-be-a-classic children’s story of mouse who saves a princess.” (NB: Since this book made the list, it really DID become a classic).

  • Time Tutor

    The Time Tutor by Bee Ridgway. "Ridgway is a literature professor at Bryn Mawr and the book is chock-full of witty literary references. The Time Tutor is a prequel novella to the River of No Return (also reviewed on this list). It fills in some of the back story of the secondary characters. Which, of course, meant I had to go back and read RONR again!"

  • Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

    Wicked, the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West By Gregory Maguire. “FANTASTIC. Has that Harry Potter kind of feel with a lot of themes about evil, religion, politics, human nature… Long, but fun and good summer reading.”

  • Winter's Tale

    Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin. I am just getting into this book, and admit to having had to really soldier through the first 80 or so pages, despite the interesting characters and absolutely exquisite writing. Now I’m hitting a groove with it. I was going to wait until next year to recommend, but then I though, “why wait?” Read the Amazon reviews. It’s interesting how many people cite this as an “all time favorite.”