The Magicians by Lev Grossman

>At age 17, Quentin has gone through the Brooklyn school system, sorted and separated by smarts into the “nerdiest of the nerds” group, and is unenthusiastically headed for Princeton when he finds himself taking an entrance exam for an entirely different kind of post-secondary education—at a school of magic.
A secret lover of the children’s series about the magical land of Fillory (a Narnia-like place that human children can only find at the most unexpected times), Quentin knows all the stories by heart but never expected to find real magic existing in the world, hidden from all but the most gifted and singled-out of humans.
The Magicians by Lev Grossman (author of The Codex) is the perfect novel for anyone who, like Quentin, ever wished as a child that magic was real and is, still, maybe even a little disappointed not to have been the one selected to go through the looking-glass, to travel to the land inside the wardrobe, or to find the Indian in the cupboard. But be forewarned. The Magicians is no light-hearted frolic into fantasy, a la Terry Pratchett or Jasper Fforde. Talented Quentin Coldwater has a depressive streak that even his wildest dream coming true doesn’t erase, and so does this novel.
Readers of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke should enjoy this completely different take on magicians.

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

A creepy one for October, Joe Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box is one you won’t want to sit up alone at night reading. When an aging heavy-metal star makes the impulsive online purchase of a ghost to add to his collection of oddities and perversities, he gets more than a dead man’s suit in a heart-shaped box. Instead of getting ripped off as he expected, he gets well and truly haunted, as his past comes homes to roost.
The son of horror master Stephen King, Joe Hill inherited his father’s talent for telling a scary story. The New York Times called Heart-Shaped Box “a valentine from hell.”

Blame by Michele Huneven

>BlameMichele Huneven‘s third novel — grips you with its guilt-laden plausibility, especially if you’ve ever known a smart, capable addict whose self-destructive behavior seems unstoppable.
Patsy MacLemoore is a smart, functioning alcoholic — a professor at Hallen College in Altadena, California — known for loud, lascivious behavior at faculty parties and for missing the occasional class after a night of drinking and pills. She plays the odds, partying when she knows she shouldn’t, until her luck runs out. Patsy, who has a suspended license, is arrested and jailed for killing a mother and daughter – Jehovah’s Witnesses — in her own driveway. She remembers nothing about the accident, but has to live with the guilt and remorse, facing the bereft husband and brother in court.
The hard, manual labor and indignities of almost two years in jail come as a relief to Patsy, but the desire for a drink never leaves her.
If you like literary novels by authors like Sue Miller or Ian McEwan, you should discover Michele Huneven ASAP.
Michele Huneven talks with Publishers’ Weekly here:

Suggestions from a Massachusetts Librarian


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