What WPL is reading in July

The voracious readers at WPL are enjoying some great WPL reads.  As we’ve done for the past few months, we’re sharing our monthly reads to help you find some new books.  We’ve got a variety of opinions and tastes, so maybe there’s something here for you?

As an aside, I just wanted to say thank you to all those who helped with the E-book drive last month.  We didn’t quite make it unfortunately, but we were extremely close.


Here’s what we’re reading this month:


The Magicians by Lev Grossman

The Magicians is a tale featuring magic realism which seemed like a Narniaesque world as if it were written by George R.R. Martin or Stephen King.  Whereas Rowling had a kid friendly world, Grossman’s is darker and full of the aspects which characterize the real world.  In this book, magic is a potentially deadly force which is learned tediously with sometimes curious results.  It provides a lens from which to analyze our own world via Quentin, a top performing student pining for more in life and obsessed with Fillory – a Narniasque land which may be more real than the characters previously thought.  The characters are engaging and real, and Quentin’s journey is worth following.  Some may find some aspects a touch bizarre, though I won’t spoil anything. Where Harry Potter’s characters were valiant and provided some great life lessons, the Magicians features some skilled students getting through school and facing the challenges of the real world as flawed and corruptible human beings.


The Enchanted. by Rene Denfeld.

An aging prison is the setting for this psychological drama.  The warden, the chaplain, the woman who seeks to find reasons to overturn the death sentences of convicted murderers, and the damaged men who are the murderers, each in their own way are trying to find peace with their lives.

For those who enjoy magical realism:  The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.

Don Tillman is a researcher and professor of genetics at an Australian university.  He is a man of simple requirements, rational actions and meticulous schedules — schedules designed to keep his life orderly and efficient. When subtleties of social interaction confuse him, friends Gene and Claudia (husband and wife, both psychologists) can be called on for interpretation and advice.

But then Don undertakes `The Wife Project`, and life becomes complicated.  For readers of romantic comedies and fans of the TV series `Big Bang Theory`.


Margot by Jillian Cantor.  (Also available in Large Print.)

Everyone is familiar with Anne Frank and her famous diary, but she did not go through her horrific ordeal alone. Anne had an older sister who suffered the same indignities but is usually forgotten by historians and the public. Jillian Cantor imagines another version of Margot Frank’s story with a very different ending. Characters are fully explored and most readers will be amazed at the depth of emotions conveyed and the resilience of the human spirit during the Holocaust and beyond.

Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan

Nancy Horan (Loving Frank)again delves into recent history with meticulous research to fictionalize another real-life  sensational love story. This time the extraordinary couple is Robert Louis Stevenson and his diminutive, but determined, American paramour, soul mate and eventual wife Fannie Osbourne. The novel follows their incredible and fascinating relationship, both together and apart, over a quarter century, as they travel from Europe to America and to the SamoanIslands. During this period Stevenson is inspired to produce classics such as Treasure Island and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, despite his poor health but with a supportive partner at his side.


 Steelheart – Reckoners, #1 by Brandon Sanderson (Available from WPL as a book and ebook)

A decade ago, the world changed. Calamity appeared in the sky – no one knows why or how. A year after that, some people began to show super powers – invisibility, super healing, the ability to create illusions, and other powers right out of a comic book. People named them Epics. Unfortunately, the people transformed have not become superheroes – they are supervillains. At the beginning, some held out hope that superhero Epics would appear and save the day, but now, ten years later, most have given up that hope. Entire cities are kept under the thumb of Epics. Chicago, now called Newcago, is one such city, and it is the setting of this novel.

Steelheart is an Epic who transformed Chicago entirely into steel Newcago ten years ago. He rules the city with a steel fist, a team of Epics backing him up, randomly murdering people and causing destruction whenever they see fit. Steelheart is all but invincible. No one dares to stand against him, not even other Epics.

The novel follows David, who was there the day Steelheart transformed Chicago. He saw his father murdered by Steelheart, and has dedicated the last decade of his life to taking revenge on him. Like Superman’s Kryptonite, David knows each Epic has a weakness, and he is determined to find Steelheart’s. He wants to join the Reckoners – a shadowy force who has been taking down Epics one by one.

This was a very fast paced novel and I read it in a day. I’m not normally a fan of superheroes but I have enjoyed everything I’ve read by Sanderson, so I thought I would give this a try. I thought it was great and I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series, Firefight, due out early next year. I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of comic books, graphic novels, the show Heroes, or who just likes a fast paced action novel with an interesting story.


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