Lovers of books and libraries might be interested in a relatively new publishing trend – fantasies set in bookstores and libraries. Librarian Becky Aderman recommends a few popular titles from this trend.
One of the most popular books right now is The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe, there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of a person's life as it is, along with another book for the other life they could have lived if they had made a different choice at any point in their life. While everyone wonders how their lives might have been, what if someone had the chance to go to the library and see for himself? Would any of these other lives indeed be better? Would you have done anything differently if you had the chance to undo your regrets? Nora finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.
In The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman, collecting books can be a dangerous prospect. One thing any Librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction. Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it's already been stolen. London's underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do. If you like this one, you’re in for a treat – there are seven so far in this series.
The Library of the Unwritten: a Novel from Hell's Library by A.J. Hackwith explores books that their authors don't finish - they reside in the Library of the Unwritten in Hell. When restless characters who emerge from those unfinished stories escape, it is up to the Librarian to track them down and keep the collection complete. Many years ago, Claire was named head librarian of the Unwritten Wing--a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. Her job consists mainly of repairing and organizing books and keeping an eye on restless stories that risk materializing as characters and escaping the Library. When a hero escapes from his book and searches for its author, Claire must track and capture him. Second in the series is The Archive of the Forgotten: a Novel from Hell's Library .
The OG in this trend is probably The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. There is another 1985, somewhere in the could-have-been, where dodos are regenerated in home-cloning kits and everyone is disappointed by the ending of Jane Eyre. But in this world there are policemen who can travel across time, a Welsh republic - and a woman called Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection. When someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature and plucks Jane Eyre from the pages of Bronte’s novel, Thursday is faced with the challenge of her career. There are seven in this series, also.
To get personal reading recommendations based on your preferences, try our new Your Next 5 Reads service.
by Becky Aderman,
Adult Services Librarian, Culture & AV Division