Ask A Librarian: A Brief and Incomplete History of the Middle East

Recently, a friend asked me for books, preferably fiction, to help her understand the history of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. I don’t think I can adequately cover that subject (ever, it’s just so big), but I can offer some suggestions regarding Israel, Palestine, Syria, and the changing face of the Middle East. I do want to offer a caveat that I had a hard time finding books by Arab authors, but I tried to include what I could. I also wanted to try to avoid books that came off as rabidly pro– or anti–Israel. I couldn’t find any fiction, but I did find some non–fiction that can hopefully offer some insight into what’s going on in an area that’s often misunderstood or underestimated. Continue reading Ask A Librarian: A Brief and Incomplete History of the Middle East

Ask a Librarian: Decks and Drinks Books

Last Saturday was gorgeous here – in the 80s and sunny, the perfect weather for putting a chair (or, if you’re as lazy as I can be, an air mattress) on the deck, propping your feet up, pouring a cold drink, and falling into a book. On sunny summer days, I don’t want my usual fantasy or romance, but I also don’t want something “literary.” For me, summer days call for a specific kind of literature, the kind with lots of money, long-range revenge schemes, constant fashion name-dropping, and sex between beautiful people. In short, summer calls for trashy fun. Continue reading Ask a Librarian: Decks and Drinks Books

Ask A Librarian: Fantasy Books Featuring Unicorns

At the request of one of our illustrious editors, I decided to compile a list of books featuring unicorns. As a former horsey girl, I understand the attraction. But how can fiction feature a unicorn without it feeling played out? Here are some of the better unicorn books I’ve found. Continue reading Ask A Librarian: Fantasy Books Featuring Unicorns

Ask A Librarian: Bring Me Your Finest Histories, Real or Alternate

Hello, readers! It’s a gorgeous day outside in Seattle, but I am going to be inside, as being employed at the library means far too much time thinking up titles to request. I thought I had seven holds yesterday and walked out with sixteen items. I finished Hold Me Closer Necromancer last night, and I re-started Karen Marie Moning’s Iced this morning. What are you reading? What do you want to read? Bring it on! Continue reading Ask A Librarian: Bring Me Your Finest Histories, Real or Alternate

Ask A Librarian: Funny, Funny, Funny

I really enjoy fiction books that are humorous, fantastical and absurd, with lots of interesting details and great world building, like everything by Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Eoin Colfer and Walter Moers (although he isn’t that well known in the non-German speaking world, I believe), as well as things like Harry Potter, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede and the Howl’s Moving Castle series. I recently started reading The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde and am liking it so far, too. Continue reading Ask A Librarian: Funny, Funny, Funny

Ask a Librarian: 4/18/13

Spring always gets me in the mood for romance, but I often have a hard time finding romantic novels that feel smart, funny, and well-plotted. (I’m bored to death with Janet Evanovich’s series, and Sophie Kinsella’s books make me cringe.) I like some of Jennifer Crusie’s novels (Faking It, Agnes and the Hitman), most of Elizabeth Peters’ books, and paranormal novels with romance and humor mixed in (like Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series). Any ideas? Continue reading Ask a Librarian: 4/18/13

Ask A Librarian: What Should I Read?

Hello, darling readers! Welcome to Persephone’s new readers’ advisory column. I’m a state-certified librarian, an inveterate bookworm, and I learned reader’s advisory from arguably the most famous reader’s advisor of all, Nancy Pearl. Continue reading Ask A Librarian: What Should I Read?