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Blog Posts by Subject: Science Fiction and Fantasy

Three Underrated Young Adult Fantasy Series

These books are nowhere near as popular as The Hunger Games or The Fault in Our Stars but they are worth a read.Read More ›

Bewitched, Bothered and Betrothed: An Intro to Gaslamp Fantasy

"Gaslamp Fantasy" is essentially a sub-genre of Steampunk Fantasy. But, whereas Steampunk often involves gadgets and mad scientists in an alternate Victorian universe, Gaslamp stories are set in a magical version of the 19th century, think Jane Austen or Charles Dickens meets Harry Potter. The stories can take place at any time between the Regency Era (early 1800s) all the way up to the beginning of WWI (1914). You'll find historical settings, gothic ambience, ballrooms, wit and romance, witches, dark magic, fairies and all manner of supernatural creatures but very little science.Read More ›

Game of Thrones is Back! Now Where is it Going?

(Warning: I tried to eliminate any direct spoilers but links and comments may tell more then casual fans who are following the show's pace want to know. Fans who want to remain surprised can bookmark this post and come back after they have read the books or finished the show.) Read More ›

I Stayed Up Late Reading Cruel Beauty and Why You Should Too

If you want a YA book with demon lovers, fairy tale-Greek mythology mashups, wicked heroines, a castle full of shadowy secrets, and a passionate romance that begins with a murder attempt, look no further.Read More ›

Looking for a Good Book? Try an Award-Winning Read

Each year multiple literary prizes are awarded to recognize the works of great writers. Some of these awards are well known and much anticipated like the prestigious Nobel Prize for Literature, while others are lesser known. Here is a list of some of the more popular literary awards given out this year.

The Nobel Prize for Literature was established in 1901 at the bequest of Alfred Nobel (Swedish chemist, engineer, innovator and inventor of dynamite). It is awarded by the Swedish Academy in 

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Inspired by Jack Finney's Time and Again: A Gilded Age Reading List from 1882 New York

"The great demand is for fiction!"

"Among all classes of people, do you think?"

"Yes, sir."

"Then you mean to say," persisted the reporter, "that the principal portion of the reading public of New York is composed of novel readers."

"That is it exactly, so far as library patrons are concerned," replied the librarian.

—The New York Times, January 22, 1882

Welcome back to the Reader's Den. I hope you enjoyed reading

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What to Read Next: YA Book Recommendations in your Favorite Genres

Finding a good book can be a Herculean task. It seems impossible and even when you think you've found something will it match your expectations or will the ending have you wanting to throw the book across the room? (Something I have done before!) Here I try to take the guess work out of finding a good book in some of your favorite genres.

Dystopia/Science Fiction

Are you fan of books with apocalyptic landscapes? Technology run amok? Villains with evil henchman? A good dystopian fantasy can immerse you in a world gone bad and have you living a character's paranoia 

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Mermaid Parade

I was musing aloud about what the next supernatural fiction trend may be, now that vampires and werewolves have had their day. I jokingly said mermaids/mermen, but it looks like there may be something to that after all. A recent Joss Whedon film (

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June in the Reader's Den: Time and Again by Jack Finney - Part 2, Discussion Questions

"It had become habit, leaving the Dakota, to walk out and back into the winter of 1882."

Welcome back to the Reader's Den! I hope you enjoyed taking a trip to the New York of 1882 along with Si Morley, the protagonist in Jack Finney's classic 1970 novel, Time and Again. If you've been reading the book, why not share your thoughts with us through the comments form at the end of the post? There are some discussion questions (which include a few spoilers!) that can be used as a starting 

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Zombies and Why They Won't Go Away

Zombie Librarian Themed BookmarkAbout a month ago, I was having a conversation with a colleague about the then upcoming film, World War Z. Our discussion turned to pop culture's fascination with zombies. Zombies have shuffled their way into books, films,

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June in the Reader's Den: Time and Again by Jack Finney - Part 1

"So all in all there wasn't anything really wrong with my life. Except that, like most everyone else's I knew about, it had a big gaping hole in it, an enormous emptiness, and I didn't know how to fill it or even know what belonged there."

What would you do to fill a similar existential hole? How does a spot of clandestine, government-sponsored time travel sound? Welcome to June in the Reader's Den! This month we're reading the classic time travel tale and novel of New York, Time and 

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A Dystopian Future With a Cure For Suicide: The Program by Suzanne Young

Sloane lives in a world where teens have to hide their true emotions. If a friend, teacher, or even a family member sees her having an emotional outburst, they could report her and have her taken by force into The Program. That's why she can't risk crying where anyone else can see her. Because while the treatment she would get in The Program would remove her depression, it would also remove her memories. In other words, she might as well be dead.

Suzanne Young's novel The Program 

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Steampunk: An Introduction for Teens

Jon Foster / Cover of Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

What is Steampunk? For a way to explain a fantasy subgenre, Steampunk is not very descriptive. According to The Steampunk Bible (2011), it can be explained most easily by this equation:

Steampunk = Mad Scientist Inventor [invention (steam x airship or metal man/ baroque stylings) x (pseudo) 

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Library Time Travel: Ruminations in Science, Literature and Film

I've always been fascinated by the possibility of traveling backwards and forwards in time, and scientific opinion is still divided on whether or not such a thing is even theoretically possible. Noted physicist Stephen Hawking seems to believe in the possibility of time-travel, but only forward, no backward time travel according to his work

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Back to Bradbury

"I wouldn't want the nursery locked up," said Peter coldly. "Ever."

"Matter of fact, we're thinking of turning the whole house off for about a month. Live sort of a carefree one-for-all existence."

"That sounds dreadful! Would I have to tie my own shoes instead of letting the shoe tier do it? And brush my own teeth and comb my hair and give myself a bath?"

"It would be fun for a change, don't you think?"

"No, it would be horrid. . ."

Ray Bradbury, "The 

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The Call of Cthulhu Turns 85: H.P. Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos

Weird Tales, February 1928. The Call of Cthulhu's first appearance in print.The short stories of H.P. Lovecraft have always been personal favorites of mine. Ever since I read "The Call of Cthulhu" for the first time as a teenager, I have been hooked on Lovecraft's particular brand of supernatural fiction and the sense of cosmic horror his characters evoke.

February marked the 85th 

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A Utopian/Dystopian Adventure: Creating a Book Discussion for Metropolitan Detention Center

While I've been actively working on the Veterans Oral History project, my behind-the-scenes project has been creating a book discussion syllabus for a book group at Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn. 

MDC was opened in the early 1990s and holds about 1,000 inmates who are awaiting trial or are serving brief sentences. This past August, Nick and Brian (another NYPL librarian) started a 15 week book group revolving around American literature after 9/11. Some of their reading included

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Alex Awards 2013 = Adult Books for Teen Readers

Browsing the shelves for a good book to read can be intimidating. There’s thousands of new books published every year and how do you know if a book is good anyway? It’s cover? Haha! Every year the Young Adult Library Association (YALSA) publishes lists of books that have been certified by librarians and readers as excellent reads. One of those annual lists is the Alex Awards. The Alex Awards are given to books that have been written for adults but have special appeal for teen readers. 

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100 Titles for Reading and Sharing 2012: Con Artists, Besotted Toads, and Evil Puppet Masters - The Best in Children's Fantasy

I'm a big fan of the fantasy genre and have been reading it most of my life. So, of course when it comes to our booklist this year, I'm very happy about the Fantasy titles included, and delighted to talk about them. But before I do, I wanted to talk about the nature of the fantasy genre itself.

The best fantasies are real.

I know that sounds all wrong, but it's the truth. The best fantasies reach right into you, make you believe in that world and characters. In the midst of impossibility, readers are suddenly back dealing with very real issues.  

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Predicting the Future, at the Library

Since my early childhood, I loved going to the library. There were so many strange books, some written in other languages, with pictures, diagrams and magazines with glossy photos of people in far-away lands, living exciting lives.

My childhood seemed so problematic, so mundane and regardless of what I thought or did, tomorrow would come and go...

Every day brings us all a little closer, but to what? The books, magazines, movies and television of the day often depict two worlds, two evolving futures.

Often while daydreaming of the future, we can not 

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