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

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. Read More 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? Read More 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. Read More Ask A Librarian: What Should I Read?