Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Recommended Reading: Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

Book Description: 

In an unnamed Middle Eastern security state, a young Arab-Indian hacker shields his clients—dissidents, outlaws, Islamists, and other watched groups—from surveillance and tries to stay out of trouble. He goes by Alif—the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, and a convenient handle to hide behind. The aristocratic woman Alif loves has jilted him for a prince chosen by her parents, and his computer has just been breached by the State’s electronic security force, putting his clients and his own neck on the line. Then it turns out his lover’s new fiancĂ© is the head of State security, and his henchmen come after Alif, driving him underground. When Alif discovers The Thousand and One Days, the secret book of the jinn, which both he and the Hand suspect may unleash a new level of information technology, the stakes are raised and Alif must struggle for life or death, aided by forces seen and unseen. With shades of Neal Stephenson, Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman, and The Thousand and One Nights, Alif the Unseen is a tour de force debut—a sophisticated melting pot of ideas, philosophy, religion, technology and spirituality smuggled inside an irresistible page-turner.

Alif the Unseen is a brilliant debut novel published in 2012. The setting is engrossing, drawing on Middle Eastern lore and combining it with the world of modern computer hackers. That level of creativity makes for a satisfying story on many levels, with enough personal drama for literary fiction and enough magic for a fantasy novel. Aladdin's genie even makes a cameo! The characters are wonderfully varied -- petty, noble, cowardly, and one-of-a-kind -- and each person is fully realized. Wilson avoids stereotypes by including plenty of female characters and people from many different backgrounds, with many different levels of piety. You can find Alif the Unseen in the adult fiction section, but it would hold equal appeal in YA!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Summer Reading is over and a new school year is just a few days away. If you've got little ones heading off to school for the first time make sure to stop by and check out some of our back to school picture books.

The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School by Deborah Diesen
Amelia Bedelia's First Day of School by Herman Parish
Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
Yoko by Rosemary Wells
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney
Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? by Audrey Vernick
How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? by Jane Yolen
Jessica by Kevin Henkes
The Teacher from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler