[Book Review] In which I re-evaluate my bias against magic libraries

 

Book Review: The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Canaries, this is the book I was looking for when I had my ill-fated encounter with The Eyre Affair in 2017 and swore off all book-themed fantasy novels. Little did I know that The Invisible Library was out there.

Two years later, here I am, eating my words. Fantasy books about books can be excellent.

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman (and the rest of the series) combines the high stakes of a spy thriller with the shenannigans of fantasy novel, populated with colorful characters, an intriguing and competent main lead, and several series level mysteries that kept me hooked. Continue reading

[Small Chirp] Four Famous Fictional Libraries

Authors, I’m sure, are no strangers to their local libraries. What better place to gather inspiration for their own stories than the homes of thousands of others? It’s not surprising that now and then, authors like to pay homage to libraries by writing one into their books.

This week, April 8-14, is National Library Week! To celebrate this literary week, I composed a list of four famous fictional libraries.

1. The Hogwarts Library, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

The Hogwarts Library, infamous for its Restricted Section, is the key element to solving Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s mystery of the philosopher’s stone.

This magnificent library has thousands of books upon thousands of shelves, with each book being protected by both special charms and the indefatigable Hogwarts librarian, Madam Pince. Continue reading

I Just Finished Book X: Now What?

So you’ve just finished The Hunger Games, or Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, or the very last of the Discworld novels. What’s next?

To the library, of course! Besides being an obvious (and free!) source of reading material, libraries have more resources than ever to help book lovers find the next great novel (or memoir, or graphic novel…)

In celebration of National Library Week, I turned to my own local library, the Woodlawn branch of the fantastic Baltimore County Public Library system (BCPL, for those in the know) and talked with Nancy Cadigan, one of the librarians on staff. Here are the top three ways to find that next book to rave about: Continue reading

Small Chirp: The Book as Artifact

From the desk of Melissa, the Library Canary:

There’s so much talk about the future of books lately. As readers turn increasingly to electronic alternatives to paper and the internet book-trade, the usual fingernail-nibbling questions emerge. What will happen to the book?  What will happen to brick-and-mortar libraries and bookstores?

Maybe books will become our bricks and mortar.

A recent trip to Vancouver, BC had me pondering the idea of the book as artifact. In Vancouver, book-oracles seemed to whisper from every street corner, prophesying the destinies of our discarded, unwanted and remaindered books. Here is what they showed me:

The Book Beyond Art:

An art installation at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at the University of British Columbia suggests one possibility. Continue reading