4 Feb

Books to read if you think girls should be taken more seriously

The­se books fea­ture strong wom­en, young and not young, who change the world in a big way even though peo­ple thing they’re ‘just a girl’.




blue sword





4 Jan

Books to read if you want to eat healthy for some reason.


The­se books have some great things to say about REAL food for your REAL body. 


food rules





15 Jul

Comics You Should Read Right Away

The life of a comic book nerd is not easy.  Mis­un­der­stood, dis­missed, and much maligned, the graph­ic novel/comic medi­um is in real­i­ty just as com­plex and var­ied as is tra­di­tion­al fic­tion, it just hap­pens to include freak­in’ awe­some illus­tra­tions.  If you’re some­one who has, in the past, dis­missed comics because you thought they were all about super­heroes with ono­matopo­et­ic sound effects like ‘biff’ or if you’re some­one who’s nev­er even con­sid­ered div­ing into the rich and won­der­ful world of the graph­ic nov­el, give the­se books a try.  You’ll be pleas­ant­ly sur­prised!


Bat­man, R.I.P.: What it’s about: Bat­man, obvi­ous­ly.  He dies in this one! (May­be…)

Why you should read it:  Bat­man R.I.P. is pret­ty much the cul­mi­na­tion of Grant Morrison’s (aka, the Leo Tol­stoy of graph­ic nov­els) work with the Bat­man char­ac­ter.  It’s huge, com­plex, and chal­leng­ing.  Not your run of the mill super­hero comic.




Lucifer:  What it’s about:  Yes, that Lucifer.  In the DC uni­verse, the char­ac­ter of Lucifer appears in many sto­ries, most notably in Neil Gaiman’s Sand­man series, which is where the stand alone Lucifer series got its start.

Why you should read it:  Sor­ry, did I not men­tion the part where it’s about the dev­il and that the stand alone series is a spin-off from Sand­man.  Addi­tion­al­ly, because re-vamps of the tra­di­tion­al dev­il char­ac­ter are fas­ci­nat­ing.  And final­ly because Lucifer is just an incred­i­bly cool char­ac­ter.  He’s got it going on, is what I’m say­ing.


The Filth:  What it’s about: A weird, crazy romp through post-mod­ern inter­pre­ta­tions of the sta­tus quo!

Why you should read it:  Anoth­er piece from the genius mind of Grant Mor­rison, The Filth is one of those things that you just have to see to believe.  If you’re into media that looks at the line between appro­pri­ate and inap­pro­pri­ate and then prompt­ly oblit­er­ates it, The Filth is for you.




John Con­stan­ti­ne: Hell­blaz­er:  What it’s about: One of DC’s longest run­ning char­ac­ters, anti­hero magi­cian, chain-smok­er, and pro-lev­el snark fac­to­ry John Con­stan­ti­ne and all his super­nat­u­ral adven­tures.

Why you should read it:  It’s a fan­tas­tic explo­ration of the human­ist anti­hero.  If mis­an­thropes who are com­mit­ted to doing some­thing good are your thing, look up my man John.


Swamp Thing Book One Cover

Saga of the Swamp Thing:  What it’s about:  Pret­ty self-explana­to­ry, actu­al­ly.  He’s a Thing.  That lives in a Swamp.  Loves plants and the envi­ron­ment and stuff.

Why you should read it:  Self-explana­tora­bil­i­ty notwith­stand­ing, it’s actu­al­ly real­ly cool!  A glob­al envi­ron­men­tal­ly aware comic book char­ac­ter is a fab­u­lous pro­tag­o­nist.  For real.



A Game of Thrones:  I don’t need to tell you what it’s about because you’ve prob­a­bly seen the show.  I hope.

Why you should read it:  Again, feel like I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but I will say that the graph­ic nov­el­iza­tion of ASOIAF is like a real­ly incred­i­ble mash-up of the show and the books, which is baller.



100 Bul­lets:  What it’s about: It’s basi­cal­ly every­thing fan­tas­tic about noir, pulp, and revenge thrillers all rolled into one styl­ized, metaphor-rich cre­ation.

Why you should read it:  See above.  It’s like the break­fast bur­ri­to of the crime sto­ry world.

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13 Jul

Books I’ve Been Meaning to Read

Full dis­clo­sure:  As you can tell from the title, I per­son­al­ly have not yet read any of the­se books.  I rec­om­mend them to you based pure­ly on the fact that I want to read them (and the great reviews.  Obvi­ous­ly.)


The Sto­ry-Telling Ani­mal by Jonathan Gottschall:  “Like the mag­nif­i­cent sto­ry­tellers past and present who fur­nish him here with exam­ples and inspi­ra­tion, Jonathan Gottschall takes a time­ly and fas­ci­nat­ing but pos­si­bly for­bid­ding sub­ject — the new brain sci­ence and what it can tell us about the human sto­ry-mak­ing impulse — and makes of it an extra­or­di­nary and absorbing intel­lec­tu­al nar­ra­tive. The scrupu­lous syn­the­sis of art and sci­ence here is mas­ter­ful; the real-world stakes high; the rewards for the read­er numer­ous, exhil­a­rat­ing, mind-expand­ing.”  Ter­ry Castle, Wal­ter A. Haas Pro­fes­sor in the Human­i­ties, Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty

This is a work of pop­u­lar phi­los­o­phy and social the­o­ry writ­ten by an obvi­ous­ly bril­liant under­grad­u­ate teacher. The gift for the exam­ple is every­where. A punchy line appears on almost every page.”  -The San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle


Amer­i­can Arti­sanal by Rebec­ca Gray:  “We love this book; we had been parcel­ing it out in chap­ter-sized bits at bed­time but we raced through at the end. Read this! It’s fas­ci­nat­ing and inspir­ing. Who knows — you may be the next Amer­i­can arti­san.” -Faith Durand

If you’re remote­ly inter­est­ed in food — either cook­ing it or eat­ing it — then Amer­i­can Arti­sanal ought to be your guide.  Any­time Becky Gray gets around cook­ing, trust me: some­thing mag­i­cal is going to hap­pen.” -Win­ston Groom


gun seller

The Gun Sell­er by Hugh Lau­rie:  First of all, every per­son should want to read this book based pure­ly on the fact that it was writ­ten by con­tem­po­rary poly­math Hugh Lau­rie.  Any for­ay of his into dif­fer­ent gen­res has piqued my inter­est.  Also:  “This is a gen­uine­ly wit­ty and sophis­ti­cat­ed enter­tain­ment.” - Christo­pher Buck­ley in the NY Times Book Review

The Gun Sell­er is fast, top­i­cal, wry, sus­pense­ful, hilar­i­ous, wit­ty, sur­pris­ing, ridicu­lous, and pret­ty won­der­ful. 
And you don’t need a per­mit to buy it…A delight­ful nov­el.” — The Wash­ing­ton Post Book Review




The Fault in Our Stars by John Green:  Yes, I’m a lit­tle tardy to the par­ty on this one, but I do intend to get to it even­tu­al­ly.

Green writes books for young adults, but his voice is so com­pul­sive­ly read­able that it defies cat­e­go­riza­tion. He writes for youth, rather than to them, and the dif­fer­ence is pal­pa­ble.” — Rachel Syme, NPR Books

This is a book that breaks your heart—not by wear­ing it down, but by mak­ing it big­ger until it bursts.”  The Atlantic



City of Dream­ing Books by Wal­ter Moers:  I’ll be hon­est, I most­ly just want to read this book because of the title and the fact that the cov­er art is a struc­ture built of books.  But the reviews are good as well.

Moers’ cre­ative mind is like J. K. Rowling’s on Ecsta­sy” — Detroit Evening News

A yarn of drollery, deep­er mean­ing and sheer luna­cy” - Rolling Stone




Aun­tie Mame by Patrick Den­nis:  This one I want to read because I love love love the movie.  And since books are gen­er­al­ly bet­ter than movie ver­sions…

I reread and study Aun­tie Mame like a hilar­i­ous, glam­orous bible where, among oth­er wise lessons, one learns that true sophis­ti­ca­tion and inno­cence are two halves of the same glit­ter­ing coin.”  –Charles Busch, author of The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife and Vam­pire Les­bians of Sodom

Aun­tie Mame is a unique lit­er­ary achieve­ment a bril­liant nov­el dis­guised as a light­weight piece of fluff. Every page sparkles with wit, style and though Mame would cringe at the thought high moral pur­pose. Let’s hope Patrick Den­nis is final­ly rec­og­nized for what he is: One of the great comedic writ­ers of the 20th cen­tu­ry.”  –Robert Plun­ket, author of Love Junkie




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9 Jul

Classic Books You’re Guaranteed to Love if You ARE A Psychopath!

I wor­ried a bit about our last Sum­mer Read­ing post, since it was slight­ly dis­crim­i­na­to­ry to psy­chopaths.  It was keep­ing me up last night, but then I real­ized that I could address the prob­lem by sim­ply tai­lor­ing a post to the speci­fic lit­er­ary needs of psy­chopaths!  Bravo, me!  So with­out fur­ther ado, here are some books you should look into if the non-psy­cho books aren’t your cup of tea or oth­er pre­ferred bev­er­age.  (No one’s say­ing blood!  But, may­be blood.)


Clas­sics such as Drac­u­laFranken­stein, and the works of Edgar Allan Poe:  There was a time, back in the day, when creepy mon­ster sto­ries were all the rage.  That time is pret­ty much all the time, so sure, there are mod­ern tales of mon­strous vil­lains and their vic­tims, but Stok­er, Shel­ley, and Poe were some of the sem­i­nal writ­ers in this gen­re.  More refined than the gory hor­ror of lat­er days, the ten­sion, uncer­tain­ty, and fear are what set the­se clas­sics apart.





The Call of Cthul­hu by H.P. Love­craft:  If there’s any­thing more hor­ri­ble than Lovecraft’s con­vic­tion that human­i­ty would lit­er­al­ly be dri­ven insane if forced to acknowl­edge its own insignif­i­cance, I’m not sure what it is.  That plus slum­ber­ing primeval mon­sters and jab­ber­ing cultists is what I call a good time!

[The Call of Cthul­hu is] a mas­ter­piece, which I am sure will live as one of the high­est achieve­ments of lit­er­a­ture.… Mr. Love­craft holds a unique posi­tion in the lit­er­ary world; he has grasped, to all intents, the worlds out­side our pal­try ken.” -Robert E. Howard (the cre­ator of Conan)



The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thomp­son:  Per­haps one of the most dis­turbing books to come out of the Amer­i­can Noir gen­re, Thompson’s first per­son nar­ra­tion forces the read­er, in true noir style, to be com­plic­it in the crimes of a sadis­tic, psy­cho­pathic killer.

Prob­a­bly the most chill­ing and believ­able first-per­son sto­ry of a crim­i­nal­ly warped mind I have ever encoun­tered.” —Stan­ley Kubrick





Hell’s Angels by Hunter S. Thomp­son:  The book that launched the crazy gonzo reporter’s career as a writer, Hell’s Angels is an in-depth, inside look at one of the most famous Motor­cy­cle Clubs in the coun­try and was also his first attempt at writ­ing a “non-fic­tion nov­el.”

Hunter Thomp­son has pre­sent­ed us with a close view of a world most of us would nev­er dare encoun­ter, yet one with which we should be famil­iar. He has brought on stage men who have lost all options and are not rec­on­ciled to the loss.” — NY Times review by Leo Lit­wak, 1967 



The Big Sleep by Ray­mond Chan­dler:  A clas­sic, hard­boiled crime sto­ry!  Chan­dler intro­duces his icon­ic inves­ti­ga­tor of sev­er­al sto­ries, Philip Mar­lowe, and sets a dark tone that per­vades the set­tings and char­ac­ters of the sto­ry.

As a study in deprav­i­ty, the sto­ry is excel­lent, with Mar­lowe stand­ing out as almost the only fun­da­men­tal­ly decent per­son in it.” — NY Times review by Isaac Ander­son, 1939




Doc­tor Sleep by Stephen King:  Stephen King is one of those authors whose fans always have some­thing to keep them enter­tained.  Last year’s Doc­tor Sleep is def­i­nite­ly no excep­tion.  Long await­ed sequel to one of King’s most famous and beloved books, The Shin­ingDoc­tor Sleep is a book to pick up if you’re into King’s speci­fic brand of crazy.

Wild ecto­plas­mic part­ly decayed vam­pire hors­es would not tear from me the sto­ry of what hap­pens next, but let me assure you King is a pro: by the end of this book your fin­gers will be mere stubs of their for­mer selves, and you will be look­ing askance at the peo­ple in the super­mar­ket line, because if they turn around they might have metal­lic eyes.” — NY Times review (by Mar­garet Atwood!), 2013

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7 Jul

Classic Books You’re Guaranteed to Love, Unless You’re a Psychopath

I think we can all agree that there are some books out there that, if you don’t like them, it’s a good indi­ca­tion that you are an evil alien come to this plan­et to enslave human­i­ty and turn Earth into one giant human-being-oper­at­ed bat­tery for your space­ship.  Like, seri­ous­ly.  If you don’t like Pride and Prej­u­dice just don’t even talk to me.  We aren’t friends and nev­er will be.  Here are some oth­er books that you’ll love or your mon­ey back.*


Emma by Jane Austen:  Austen is one of my favorite authors.  Her books are full to the brim of wit and are extreme­ly fun­ny.  Her abil­i­ty to write char­ac­ters three-dimen­sion­al­ly, espe­cial­ly when her sub­ject mat­ter is pret­ty restrict­ed to love sto­ries among the land­ed gen­try of Geor­gian Eng­land, is phe­nom­e­nal.  Emma is a great choice of book if you’ve nev­er read any Austen or if you’re already a fan of any of her oth­er books.





Big Fish by Daniel Wal­lace:  Though pub­lished in 1998, Big Fish def­i­nite­ly has a place among great lit­er­ary clas­sics.  A fusion of Homer’s Odyssey, Joyce’s Ulysses (anoth­er book which bor­rows exten­sive­ly from The Odyssey, obvi­ous­ly), and Amer­i­can Tall Tales, Big Fish is a sto­ry for the ages.  Fol­low William Bloom as he tries to dis­cov­er the truth of his father’s strange and fan­tas­ti­cal life.  If you love the idea of read­ing Homer but are daunt­ed by the lan­guage and the sheer girth of The Odyssey, give this book a try.




One Hun­dred Years of Soli­tude by Gabriel Gar­cia Mar­quez:  Man.  This book.  It’s a giant.  In terms of influ­ence, sig­nif­i­cance, and impor­tance, this book is almost beyond com­pare.  The sev­en gen­er­a­tions of the Buen­dia fam­i­ly that pop­u­late this epic nov­el are both more fan­tas­tic and more real than real life.  Also, nam­ing a char­ac­ter Aure­liano Buen­dia pret­ty much guar­an­tees suc­cess.





Jane Eyre by Char­lot­te Bron­te:  Ahead of its time in a vari­ety of ways, Jane Eyre is the book to read if pro­to-fem­i­nism, pre­cur­sors to mod­ernist prose, or incred­i­bly mov­ing sto­ries of per­son­al growth and love are things you like.  Can’ t say it fair­er than that.





gone with the wind

Gone with the Wind by Mar­garet Mitchell:  This book is a huge time com­mit­ment.  Though it’s been tout­ed as com­pul­sive­ly read­able since it was first pub­lished in 1936, there’s no deny­ing that GwtW is not for the faint of heart and/or biceps.  Sure, may­be Mitchell’s char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of South­ern­ers and African Amer­i­cans is slight­ly (or more than slight­ly) con­tro­ver­sial, but GwtW is a book that has endured and been pop­u­lar for almost a cen­tu­ry, so she must have done some­thing right.  (Also, Vivien Leigh is super pret­ty.  Not a fac­tor in appre­ci­at­ing the nov­el, I know, but if you cheat and just watch the movie, you’re in for a treat.)




The Adven­tures of Sher­lock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle:  Sher­lock is par­tic­u­lar­ly great for sum­mer read­ing for a vari­ety of rea­sons.  First is that the sto­ries are com­plete­ly riv­et­ing and are way too much fun to even con­sid­er putting down for an instant once you get into one.  Sec­ond is that, because the Holmes sto­ries are a col­lec­tion of short sto­ries, not a sin­gle, long nov­el, it’s easy enough to fin­ish one quick­ly and be able to take a short beach break or pop­si­cle break or what have you.



Hap­py read­ing!  And stay tuned for more KU Sum­mer Read­ing lists com­ing soon to a com­put­er near you!


*Just kid­ding.  We do not give refunds under any cir­cum­stances.  Sor­ry.  I will bet you ten bucks that you’ll like any book on this list, though.  Come in, buy a copy, and shake on it.  You come back and tell me you didn’t like it, I’ll pay up. 

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23 Jun

13 Books About Children Who Stumble Through Magical Portals Into Alternate Realms

The title says it all!  Per­haps a com­mon trope in fic­tion, but no less fun.  Chil­dren have been los­ing them­selves in make-believe lands since Alice first tum­bled into Won­der­land, jour­ney­ing through fairy­tale forests and fields of pop­pies, befriend­ing all man­ner of strange and mar­velous crea­tures, and, per­haps, grow­ing up just a teen­sy-ween­sy bit in the process.

(1) The Phan­tom Toll­booth by Nor­ton Juster


(2) The Chron­i­cles of Nar­nia by C.S. Lewis


(3) Un Lun Dun by Chi­na Mieville


(4) Cora­line by Neil Gaiman

coraline cover

(5) The Won­der­ful Wiz­ard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

wiz of oz

(6) His Dark Mate­ri­als Tril­o­gy (The Gold­en Com­pass, The Sub­tle Knife, The Amber Spy­glass) by Philip Pull­man


(7) The Book of Lost Things by John Con­nol­ly


(8) Alice In Won­der­land by Lewis Car­roll

alice in wonderland

(9) The Inkworld Tril­o­gy (Ink­heart, Inkspell, Inkdeath) by Cor­nelia Funke

inkdeath cover

(10) Reck­less, also by Cor­nelia Funke

Reckless cover

(11) The Nev­erend­ing Sto­ry by Michael Ende

neverending story cover

(12) A Wrin­kle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle

wrinkle in time hardcover

(13) The Girl Who Cir­cum­nav­i­gat­ed Fairy­land In a Ship of Her Own Mak­ing by Cathryn­ne M. Valen­te


26 Oct

Top 10 Horror Books for Halloween

Hal­loween is just around the cor­ner, and if you are any­thing like me you are watch­ing scary movies and read­ing scary books. Obvi­ous­ly, scary movies are great, but I find hor­ror books to be much more fright­en­ing. Movies have it easy, with make­up and spe­cial effects. Demon faces pop up out of nowhere and give you that heart attack feel­ing, but to me those are cheap thrills. Not that there is any­thing wrong with that. Hor­ror books don’t leap out at you cov­ered in fake gore. They take your hand and lead your down a dark alley to inevitable doom, allow­ing you to visu­al­ize the details from your own per­son­al set of fears. The slow, creepy pro­gress of a hor­ror book is what keeps me up late at night, read­ing under the cov­ers with a flash­light. Most of the­se books have been adapt­ed into movies, which is prob­a­bly where you know them from. As with most book-based movies, the books are way bet­ter.

Here is a list of some of our favorite hor­ror books and hope­ful­ly the weeks lead­ing up to Hal­loween will find you under your own cov­ers with a flash­light, read­ing wide-eyed all night.

Click READ MORE to read the list. Read more »

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