anaraine: The word "dreamer" emblazoned across a picture of clouds in a blue sky (for 3W4DW). ([dw] dreamer)
[personal profile] anaraine
Once Upon a Winter's Night by Dennis L. McKiernan

I found this novel about eight years ago in my library and I loved it so much that I actually hunted down a hardback copy for myself. It's an excellent retelling of a fairytale that stuck with the author through his childhood, and the book remains at the top of my "reread pile". It's a sweet fantasy romance that I would recommend for light reading.

From the inside cover:

Once upon a winter's night, a poor crofter's daughter is traded by her family for a lifetime of riches. Golden-haired Camille is sent away from all that she has ever known to marry a man she has never met: Prince Alain of the Summerwood, in the realm of Faery.

Carried to her fate by a huge white bear, Camille enters a land where time holds no sway—and where wonders both marvelous and malevolent abound. And though love blossoms between Camille and her prince, an unknown sadness seems to haunt him and he will never let her see his unmasked face. But then one night, thinking to break whatever curse has been laid upon him, Camille acts on her own—with dreadful results, and all she loves is terribly, magically swept away.

Now, to regain what she has lost, Camille must embark on a desperate quest through the hinterlands of Faery, seeking a mysterious place lying somewhere east of the sun and west of the moon...

ISBN: 0-451-45840-0
Length: 380 pages (hardback)

(And if you like this book, there are apparently sequels! I just discovered this last week, so I haven't read them yet, but I'll be very excited to get my hands on them.)


May. 12th, 2010 07:50 pm
fly_to_dawn: (Stock: Once upon a time...)
[personal profile] fly_to_dawn
Philip Pullman's probably best known for His Dark Materials - well, definitely best known for them. So, I'm here to rec one of his little known children's books: Mossycoat. I first read this book when I was five; it was written for 1998's International Book Year, and I've always been in love with this fairytale. I only discovered that Mossycoat is actually an old English tale yesterday, when I reread the book and noticed the 'as retold by' on the cover. (It's strange when I think about it, because I also bought Jacqueline Wilson's retelling of Rapunzel, and was aware that it was a story that already existed. Mossycoat is just that unknown!) Mossycoat is a story with the classic persecuted heroine, much like Cinderella and other various stories which involve the unfortunate heroine being bullied by others, but getting a happy ending with a nice man (mostly of higher social class). It's attraction lies not in the plot - although it does have its charms - but in Philip Pullman's vivid descriptions and exquisite storytelling. From the exotic dresses to the old hawker to the wit in the language, it's a great read; the best part, of course, is the eponymous 'Mossycoat' - the product of the heroine's mother's love for her daughter. I've loved this book ever since I first read it, and even now, at seventeen, it still has a magic about it. I'd definitely recommend this for young readers and lovers of fairytales alike: here's its page on

Now, go forth and read.

Once upon a time there was a beautiful girl, whose mother made her a magical mossy coat...

vampyreranger: (Default)
[personal profile] vampyreranger
One of the most influential book of my childhood and one that set me on the path to a great love of post-apocalyptic novels is Rodman Philbrick's The Last Book in the Universe. It is a disturbing, thought-provoking, intricately woven tale about a future in which a great earthquake destroyed civilization as we know it and gave way to the urban control of violent gangs and addictive mind-probes which send images and videos directly to the brain (analogous to heavy drugs such as heroin in our society).

The main character is a 14 year old named Spaz who is "allergic" to the mind-probes and longs for the escape they provide others from their harsh reality. The city is divided into "latches" each ruled over by a boss. Spaz goes to rob an old man on the orders of his boss Billy Bizmo. The old man is Ryter, the sole heir of the lost arts of reading and writing. Spaz and Ryter also meet an orphan named Little Face and go on a journey through the latches to find Spaz's adoptive sister Bean, who is very ill. Along the way, they become friends and reach an understanding. There are interesting meditations on the ideas of civilization, family, class, and escapism. It's also heavily implied that Spaz is epileptic, which is why his brain cannot handle the mind-probes.

I've always been a big fan of the post-apocalyptic wasteland and interested in the psychology of the decay of civilization. Philbrick gives the reader an inventive and thought-provoking world in which the dregs live in the Urb and the higher class, the proovs, live in Eden. It's a fantastic commentary on people and society as a whole. I would highly recommend it to anyone.

[personal profile] queer
The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia.

I found this novel by searching for steampunk reads and I was not disappointed. From the back cover:

Mattie, an intelligent automaton skilled in the use of alchemy, finds herself caught in the middle of a conflict between the gargoyles, the Mechanics, and the Alchemists. With the old order quickly giving way to the new, Mattie discovers powerful and dangerous secrets -- secrets that can completely alter the balance of power in the city of Ayona. This doesn't sit well with Loharri, the Mechanic who created Mattie and still has the key to her heart -- literally.

The Alchemy of Stone tackles a multitude of issues -- race, gender, sexuality, socio-economic class, free will, and subjectivity. What I enjoyed most was the way these threads were woven into the subplots without detracting from the overall narrative. While it may be hard to see where Sedia is taking you over the course of the novel, at the end things become a bit more clear. And what an ending! It was one of those endings that stayed with me; I wasn't able to pull myself out of the world Sedia created until an hour after I put the book down.

I highly recommend this book for fantasy/steampunk lovers!

ISBN: 978-1-60701-215-3
Length: 301 pages (paperback, medium type)
fly_to_dawn: (London <3)
[personal profile] fly_to_dawn
From it's page:
Although the Court painter offers a plausible avowal of his own guilt in the murder of the royal art curator, Jane Bee, head housemaid at Windsor Castle, and her majestic employer suspect that the culprit lies closer to home.
Yep, it's Queen Elizabeth II who pairs up with witty Canadian housemaid Jane to solve a juicy murder mystery that has occurred in her favourite royal household, Windsor Castle. Death at Windsor Castle is the third in Benison's Her Majesty Investigates series, but I must admit, I jumped in here because Windsor is my childhood home. Benison captures the tranquil yet somewhat sharp upper-class essence of the town brilliantly, and the location is used to nice effect. What I love most about this book, though, is Jane Bee, who is such a lovable protagonist; sassy, fun-loving, cheeky and kind - and of course, with a lot of curiosity and a keen mind, which inevitably leads her to investigating the murder of the day. It's a really enjoyable read, overall, and I recommend it a lot - I can't wait to go back and read the first two in the series!

merlinpendragon: (Default)
[personal profile] merlinpendragon
Title:  A Severed Head
Author:  Iris Murdoch

ISBN:  0140020039

From the back cover:

As macabre as a Jacobean tragedy, as frivolous as a Restoration comedy, Iris Murdock's fifth novel takes sombre themes - adultry, incest, castration, violence and suicide - and yet succeeds in making of them a book that is brilliantly enjoyable.
merlinpendragon: (Default)
[personal profile] merlinpendragon
by the university library she works in.  It seems to have been donated.

Title:  Bridal Journey
Author:  Dale Van Every

ISBN:  0553231294

From the back cover:

1778 - the rich Ohio wilderness purchased with men's blood and women's tears.  As the wedding party travelled through the trackless forest, the Shawnees fell upon them, butchering and scalping.  But one fanatical warrior kept the golden-haired bride alive as a trophy.  When he finished with her, he would sacrifice her to his god in a long, slow, torturous ritual.  Dale Van Every tells the violent and exciting sotry of the men and women who suffered and fought for the untold riches of the Allegheny frontier.
vampyreranger: (Tombstone)
[personal profile] vampyreranger
I was in eighth grade when I read my first honest-to-God gay novel. It was tucked in the stacks of my ghetto middle school's tiny library, sitting there innocuously as though it wasn't about to blow my mind. I stole it from the library in fear of anyone finding out I was a lesbian from my interest in a "gay book". I pored over it at home and fell in love with its realistic and kind portrayal of teen homosexuality. The novel was Peter by Kate Walker.

Peter is about a a fifteen year old Australian boy aptly named Peter. He struggles with acceptance and tries to find it in a group of rough bikers and by having sex with a girl he isn't even interested in. But all he's really interested in is photography. He meets his brother's college friend, David, and his whole world changes as he realizes he's strongly attracted to him. The rest of the book is about Peter's struggle for acceptance and to find himself. It's a universal story, tenderly written, and wonderfully infused with non-judgment from the authoress. I'd recommend it for anyone and everyone. 

bewize: (Default)
[personal profile] bewize
I thought I'd share five of my favorite children's books.

Some of these I've reread recently, but most I haven't. I was surprised to realize how old all of them were in relation to how old I am (they're a lot older!), so I want to be sure that I leave a caveat that - while I don't remember race!fail or any other fail in the books, I would be surprised if there wasn't some in there somewhere.

Regardless, I read these books until the pages fell apart as child and I loved them. I still think of all of them fondly to this day.

Five of My Most Reread Children's Books )
bratlupa: (Default)
[personal profile] bratlupa
I haven't read a whole lot of books in years as I've gotten really caught up in fanfiction... However years ago I discovered this series called Night World series by L.J. Smith

This series had little bit of everything from witches, vampires, shape shifters, hunters, and the list could go on and it was about finding your soulmate and often times overcoming discrimination and heritage and whatever else you can think of... all for a greater goal of making the world right and normal people for the most part didn't know what was going on... The stories were different with each book and it was just entertaining. As far as I know there are nine books of the series that have been out for years but the final book is being worked on and should be released eventually.

The author is probably best known now for her Vampire Diaries series because of the TV show but the show has kind of made a mockery of it and the books are way better and a lot of people don't know this but the Vampire Diaries books pre-date twilight.... Anyway I would really recommend anything but L.J. Smith
rivenwanderer: (Default)
[personal profile] rivenwanderer
Very Far Away from Anywhere Else is the book that got me through high school. It's by Ursula Le Guin, who's well-known for her feminist sci-fi/fantasy work, but this coming-of-age YA book--novella, really--tends to slip through the cracks. It's about a nerdy, intellectual high-schooler struggling to find direction, and the friendship he develops with a quiet musician.

It's hard to overstate the impact that this book had on my inner development in my teens. Suddenly I had a data point for what might go on inside the head of another nerd. The fumbling-around that one does when trying to connect with other humans--really connect, with heart and mind and barely-understood social skills--became slightly less uncharted territory for me. The second-guessing over opposite-gender friendships, half driven by hormones and half by the pervasive cultural assumption that "man + woman = sex" was especially familiar and relieving to read about.

Has anyone else out there read this book?
littlebutfierce: (Default)
[personal profile] littlebutfierce
This is one of my favorite books, the second novel from gay Filipino American writer Alumit (his first was Letters to Montgomery Clift).

Jory Lalaban is a Filipino mail carrier in California who gets shot by a white supremacist (an obvious reference to the murder of Joseph Ileto).

The novel flashes between this incident (& Jory's hospitalization) & memories of his past, beginning with his youth in the Philippines as an orphan who ended up in the seminary. Eventually Jory rejects Catholicism & turns to a local, pre-colonial pagan religion, for which he becomes a community spiritual leader when he & his wife, Belen, move to Southern California. Belen is convinced she's been cursed by her mother for marrying Jory (& taking him from the church); the biggest supporting evidence for her belief was the tragic death of their oldest son, Jun-Jun, as a child. Emerson, their second child, grows up feeling second best (& also is the recipient of beyond-the-grave telephone calls from Jun-Jun).

Into this narrative also Alumit works in multiracial community politics, tensions between Asian Americans & Asians outside the US, & a sharp critique of the US health care system (though the book, published in 2007, predates the latest debates on this issue).

I adore this novel; I feel like there's so much there, & the first time I reread it I definitely picked up things I hadn't earlier. I am pretty sure that will continue to happen each time I return to this book (& I will!).
tanaqui: Illumiinated letter T (Default)
[personal profile] tanaqui
Title: The Complete Knowledge of Sally Fry
Author: Sylvia Murphy
ISBN: 0552990949/978-0552990943

I picked this up at a second-hand bookstall back when I was a student 20 years ago and I still re-read it regularly because it’s very funny and slyly observant of the foibles of its characters.

The story takes the form of a therapy technique involving "writing your own encyclopaedia": the Complete Knowledge of the title. In this case, it’s being written as a distraction by narrator Sally Fry, a single mother and sociology lecturer trying to finish her PhD by decamping to a cottage in Cornwall to be looked after by her own mother. Naturally, the rest of her family—her two sisters with their apparently "perfect" marriages, their husbands and children—end up descending on her, as does her own teenaged son who has gone off the rails with drugs.

The encyclopaedia framework is used really cleverly to build up the whole picture of Sally’s life and those of her family and academic colleagues, with us getting hints and bits and pieces of the story thrown in early on that are later picked up and elaborated on. There’s some nice digs at academia (and although the novel was published in the mid-80s, I don’t get the impression things have changed much!) and sibling rivalry.

It's currently out of print :( but I heartily recommend it if you can find a copy.
merlinpendragon: (Default)
[personal profile] merlinpendragon
Raising Atlantis
by Thomas Greanias

ISBN:  0-7434-9191-2

From the back cover:

"The truth is down there - buried beneath two miles of ice.

In Antarctica, a glacial earthquake swallows up a team of scientists . . . and exposes a mysterious monument older than the earth itself.

In Peru, archaeologist Dr. Conrad Yeats is apprehended by US Special Forces . . . to unlock the final key to the origins of the human race.

In Rome, the pope (sic) summons environmental activist Dr. Serena Serghetti to the Vatican . . . and reveals a terrifying vision of apocalyptic disaster.

In space, a weather satelite reveals four massive storms forming around the South Pole . . . and three US spy satellites disappear from orbit.

These are the end times, when the legends of a lost civilization and the prophecies of the world's great religions lead a man and a woman to a shattering discovery that will change the fate of humankind.  This is the ultimate voyage, a journey to the center of time, as awe-inspiring as the dawn of man - and as inevitable as doomsday.  This is Raising Atlantis . . ."

merlinpendragon: (Default)
[personal profile] merlinpendragon
My wife and I have had a long, bumpy road on the way to learning to hate the American Medical Association (AMA).  We've both had health problems that were made worse by doctors who were correctly following AMA treatment protocols.

So, I wasn't really surprised by this book's story, so much as I was surprised that the author managed to find a publishing company to print/sell it.

Censured for Curing Cancer
The American Experience of Dr. Max Gerson
by S. J. Haught

ISBN:  0-88268-109-5

This tells the true story of a German (?) trained medical doctor who emigrated to the United States and set up a clinic in New York.  Before he emigrated, he was already well-known throughout Europe for his ability to treat diseases that supposedly couldn't be cured, with only nutritional therapy.  After he arrived in the United States, he continued to successfully treat the problems he'd already established his reputation on, but began to also admit cancer patients.  The cancer patients he agreed to treat were people who were already diagnosed with cancers by other doctors, and who medical orthodoxy had written off as "unable to provide further help" for them.

The thanks he got were . . . . well, you'll just have to read the book.  It strains credibility to just tell you, without the newspaper articles and journal references to support the facts.

Would you believe that this is only one of a dozen (or more) cases of it's type that I know of?
shanaqui: My Habitican mod avatar, featuring me and a pile of books bigger than me. ((Arthur) Prince McSulkypants)
[personal profile] shanaqui
I go to booksales often, and went to one semi-recently where I simply picked up a book called The King Awakes, by Janice Elliott, which looked like YA, mostly on the theory that it would probably be about King Arthur and while it probably wasn't anything amazing, it'd fill a warm summer afternoon, and I do like King Arthur...

Turns out, it is about King Arthur, and it's really quite interesting. There's actually two books in the series, as far as I can tell, but I haven't got hold of the second one yet. It isn't your typical Arthurian story because it's post-apocalyptic and dystopic, which got my attention the minute I realised.

Arthur isn't actually the central character, really, but that's no surprise with Arthurian fiction... He's an important supporting character. I didn't know at first there was a sequel, so at first it seemed a little disappointing, but the idea of a post-apocalyptic dystopic King Arthur story fascinated me. Worth a read, if it fascinates you too. I did a brief review of it here.

(I totally want to write a post-apocalyptic King Arthur story now.)
marny_h96: (read)
[personal profile] marny_h96
I'd really like for this community to become more active and therefor I'm making the following offer:

Anyone who posts here about a little-known book between May 5, 2010 and June 5, 2010 will receive 50 DW points per post.

Happy posting!
merlinpendragon: (Default)
[personal profile] merlinpendragon
I know the author (wink), and he says there hasn't been even 100 sales, so I'd say that it's pretty unknown.

Common Sense for the 21st Century
by Myrddin McGill
(his first name is pronounced Merlin)

marny_h96: (Default)
[personal profile] marny_h96
It's been a couple of years since I've read this book but I liked it well enough to keep it. It is currently #688,443 on the sales rank which, I think, qualifies it as a little-known book. The book was written in 1989 and it's about a painting called 'Landscape of Lies':

Read more... )