Kendra Robinson’s Best Reads of 2016

kendraMy name is Kendra Robinson.  My family moved to Evanston five years ago from Chicago because our daughter attends Baker Demonstration School.  My husband and I work in the private aviation industry and spend much of our time working on our fixer-upper house.

1)  The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North (2014)

This is a wonderful twist on a time travel story, with shocking twists and a wonderful main character. Beautifully written and structured.

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Wendy Fink’s Best Reads of 2016

wendyMy name is Wendy Fink.  My husband Matt and I have raised our three children in Evanston (where we have resided for almost 30 years).  I like to read, knit, cook, scrapbook and exercise.  I volunteer at EPL and ETHS regularly.

1)   A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (2014)

I relished the delightful character development of Ove from a depressed bitter man seeking to check out of life into a warm giving grandfather figure in his Swedish community.  The simple narrative style and sparse dialogue work well to mimic Ove himself. Continue reading “Wendy Fink’s Best Reads of 2016”

Chris Skoglund’s Best Reads of 2016

skoglund
Photo by Katie Barthelemy

My name is Chris Skoglund, and I am the librarian at Willard Elementary School in Evanston, where I have worked for almost thirteen years.  I am an avid reader of books for both children and adults (which made picking only five books really difficult), so I consider myself to have the best job in the world!

1)  Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (2016)

An extraordinary mix of historical fiction and science fiction, this novel drew me in and would not let me go.  Full of elegant imagery and characters that will linger in your mind long after the story is finished, each element worked seamlessly together.

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Jay Robinson’s Best Reads of 2016

3_headshot-2016-jayMy name is Jay Robinson.  I am an industrial designer for Robinson Design – my own consultancy firm that creates interiors for private aircraft. Five years ago I moved with my family from Andersonville to Evanston, and I couldn’t be happier to be part of this amazing community. In my spare time I enjoy reading, cooking, listening to podcasts, and obsessing over home improvement projects.

1)  Seveneves by Neal Stephenson (2015)

This is a sprawling, old-school hard-science-fiction novel packed to the gunwales with ideas. Set before and after a freak event creates a cataclysm on Earth, it subjects its characters to a gantlet of perils which they must overcome with wit, determination, and limited resources. A good one for fans of The Martian.

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John Bayldon’s Best Reads of 2014

bayldonMy name is John Bayldon, and I have lived in Evanston for 10 years. I am part of a start-up company developing a 3D printer for carbon fiber reinforced materials. I sail and hang out with my kids (at the library….. not the sailing bit….)

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1) Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (2013)

I always love Kate Atkinson’s clean style, and the intuiting things she does with her books.  This one was fascinating from the very start; I just wanted to know what she changed in each life to move the story forward.

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2014 Hugo Awards

ancillaryAmerican author Ann Leckie is the recipient of this year’s Hugo Award, science fiction’s highest honor, for her debut novel Ancillary Justice. Ms. Leckie’s book, “narrated by the artificial consciousness of a starship”, has won other major sci-fi awards, including the Nebula and Arthur C Clarke awards and the British Science Fiction Association award. NPR’s Genevieve Valentine wrote: “Ancillary Justice is an absorbing thousand-year history, a poignant personal journey, and a welcome addition to the genre.” The Hugo award is named after Hugo Gernsback who founded the science fiction magazine Amazing Stories and coined the word science fiction. Other winners of this year’s award include Equoid by Charles Stross and The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere by John Chu. You can read more about this prestigious award and see the full list of winners here.

Laura

To Boycott, Or Not To Boycott?

ImageEnder’s Game, by Orson Scott Card, is considered one of the classics of science fiction.  It has appeared near the top of any comprehensive list of the best of sci-fi and fantasy since it was originally published, in 1985.  It is the winner of both the Hugo and Nebula awards, the highest honors in the genre.  And yet, the long-delayed release of the film version of Ender’s Game has been accompanied by controversy and threats of boycott.

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Banned Books: Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Symbol Given that science fiction and fantasy books exist to challenge our preconceived notions of reality, it’s no wonder that they are frequently the targets of book-banning efforts.  Many books in these genres revolve around different views of politics, religion,  sex, or sexuality (or all of the above!).  While fans of science fiction and fantasy are often attracted by the mind-bending and challenging nature of books within this genre, others find them disturbing and controversial.  If you are in the mood to celebrate Banned Books Week by disturbing your mind a little, check out this list of Banned Science Fiction & Fantasy Books from Worlds Without End.

– Lorena N.

2013 Hugo Award Winners

John Scalzi wins the 2013 Hugo award for best novel with Redshirts.The winners of this year’s Hugo Awards for science fiction were announced Sunday, September 1st in San Antonio, Texas. The winner for the Best Novel went to Red Shirts: A Novel with Three Codas, by John Scalzi. Other awards went to: The Emperor’s Soul, by Brandon Sanderson, The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi (from Edge of Infinity), by Pat Cadigan, and Mono no Aware (from The Future is Japanese), by Ken Liu. The Hugos, named after the founder of the science fiction magazine Amazing Stories, have been awarded since 1955 and are voted on by the public. You can read more about the ceremony here.

Laura

There’s More Than Crime in Scandinavia

If you’re a connoisseur of fine Scandinavian crime fiction, 2011 has given you plenty more to enjoy.  Back in March, for instance, genre forefather Henning Mankell wrapped up his wildly-popular Kurt Wallander series with The Troubled Man, and a mere two months later rising star Jo Nesbo’s The Snowman finally hit U.S. shores.  Now with Hollywood’s take on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo hitting theaters in just a few short days, crime fiction lovers are likely giddy with their good fortune.  But what if you’re not a fan?  What if you’ve yet to acquire that particular taste for dark Nordic mysteries?  Well worry not, gentle reader, for there’s more than one dish cooking in Scandinavia’s literary kitchen.  Truth be told, the Scandinavian lit scene is a veritable smorgasbord of top-notch sci-fi, satire, historical and literary fiction, horror, and more.  So don’t delay in sampling Scandinavia’s full fiction menu.  The following list will get you started, but there is still plenty more to discover.

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