Which YA series finales succeeded—and which failed?
This week's mystery categories include: Which character is more likely to scare you shitless? and Whose world makes you hate reality just a little bit more?
April is the month of warmer weather, budding flowers, and April showers. More importantly, it’s also the birth month of numerous influential authors. As readers, we tend to stick to the genres we feel most comfortable reading. But now that many of us are social-distancing at home, we have an abundance of time on our hands, which is all the more reason to check out some of these works–even if you wouldn’t normally pick them off a shelf. Ranging from rich fantasy to 18th century settings, these books will transport you to a different time–and maybe even a different world.
1. Hans Christen Andersen – April 2, 1805
via fine art america
A Danish writer, Hans Christen Andersen is best known for his 19th century fairy tales, many of which have been adapted to Disney movies modern day. Despite the popularity of his children’s stories today–some of which include “The Little Mermaid,” “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” and “The Ugly Duckling”–many literary critics disapproved of his fairy tales when they were first published in the 19th century, and discouraged him from pursuing the genre. Andersen also published several novels.
Major works to check out: Hans Christensen Andersen’s Complete Fairy Tales
Not into children’s books? Watch these movies based on his works: Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, Fantasia 2000 (inspired by “The Steadfast Tin Soldier”)
2. Washington Irving – April 3, 1783
via interesting literature
Washington Irving is most well-known for his short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” but he also published numerous historical works and biographies about figures like George Washington and Christopher Columbus. Irving is accredited with defining the American short story, as well as encouraging other authors, especially as he became one of the first American authors to gain literary success in Europe.
Major works to check out: “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” “Rip Van Winkle”
Not interested in the short story? (We’re silently judging you. Just kidding–Maybe.) Check out Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow.
3. Maya Angelou – April 4, 1928
via the new york times
A woman of many talents, Maya Angelou is known for her work as a writer, singer, and civil rights activist. Her most influential work is I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, an autobiography about Angelou’s childhood and early teenage years, in which she discusses racism, rape, and what it’s like growing up as a female in a male-centric world. The book has won numerous awards since its release, though was banned from some schools due to its discussions of rape. Since then, it has become a literary classic studied on a multitude of college campuses.
Angelou passed away in 2014, but leaves behind a legacy of influential works and activism.
Major works to check out: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, “On the Pulse of Morning”
4. Leigh Bardugo – April 6, 1975
via leigh bardugo
Since her debut in 2012, Leigh Bardugo has become a household name in the YA industry. Her success is mostly attributed to the Grishaverse, which consists of three series and a book of short stories, all set in the same universe. Anyone looking to dip their feet in the genre will appreciate Bardugo’s strong characters, complex world-building, and creative use of YA tropes. Netflix has recently picked up the series in Shadow and Bone, so now is the perfect time to get reading before the release of the show!
But Bardugo’s work isn’t limited to just Young Adult; her most recent publication is Ninth House, an adult novel following a student at Yale University. If you loved any of her previous works, you’ll love this dark fantasy.
5. William Wordsworth – April 7, 1770
via the new yorker
William Wordsworth, in collaboration with his colleague Samuel Coleridge, is best known for defining the Romantic Age with Lyrical Ballads. This literary age moved away from neoclassicism, which emphasized reason, and focused instead on human emotion and connection with nature. Wordsworth has published numerous poems, including autobiographical The Prelude, a retrospective poem that delves into his personal life and explores human nature.
Major works to check out: The Prelude, Lyrical Ballads, “Lines Composed a Few Miles from Tintern Abbey,” “We are Seven”
6. Henry James – April 15, 1843
via the new yorker
A major transatlantic figure, Henry James held both American and British citizenship after leaving the US to settle in London. James is most known for his literary modernism and is often hailed as one of the best novelists of the English language. Many of his novels feature American protagonists transitioning into, or exploring, British life, delving into the ways identity is often tied to nationality. Despite his major success, James was often criticized by Theodore Roosevelt for moving to Europe and, in Roosevelt’s eyes at least, his lack of masculinity.
7. William Shakespeare – April 1564 (baptized April 26)
While we don’t know Shakespeare’s exact birthday, we do know that he was baptized April 26, 1564, meaning he was born sometime around then. One of the most well-known playwrights (if you haven’t heard of him, I think I can safely say you must live under a rock), Shakespeare is attributed with writing numerous poems and plays. If his name gives you flashbacks of acting out Macbeth in front of your sophomore class–don’t fret! Shakespeare’s plays may seem daunting to read at first, but the drama, humor, and deft use of iambic pentameter will entice more than just English majors.
If reading Shakespeare is really not your thing, check out these movies: Shakespeare in Love (based on his life), West Side Story (based on Romeo and Juliet), 10 Things I Hate About You (based on The Taming of the Shrew)
featured image via the la times
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Each week, Bookstr gives you a look at some of the best novels in a particular genre for your continued reading list.
Today, we’ll be recommending five of the best fear-inducing Crime and Thrillers that’ll get you in the true October spirit with their scariest horrors, from haunted houses to serial killers.
5-The Secret of Cold Hill by Peter James
Image VIa peterjames
To start off this week’s top picks we are going to talk about the author of bestsellers such as the Roy Grace Books and Match Up, Peter James, who is bringing us a sequel to his spine-chilling The Secret of Cold Hill September 9th.
Image Via Amazon
The infamous Cold Hill House has been demolished to make way for a new housing estate, and now an elderly couple has moved into the new estate. But no one who moves into Cold Hill reaches their fortieth birthday, and this couple’s days are numbered.
Publisher’s Weekly notes that “[a]fter an opening scene of gore, the novel takes time to build to its final unavoidable and understated tragedies” and we here at Bookstr warn you that this novel builds and builds and you’ll forget the chilling conclusion, even though you may want to.
4-The Other End of the Line by Andrea Camilleri
Image Via Segmento
A September 19th release from Andrea Camilleri, this Italian author has written, among many others, the infamous Montalbano mystery series. The Montalbano series, set in nineteenth-century Sicily, has been made into the critical darling Italian TV series.
Image Via Amazon
His newest book follows Inspector Montalbano who, among many others, assist the wave of refugees coming in along the Sicilian coast, but while on duty, traged strikes the docks when Elena Biasini, a charming master seamstress, is found brutally slain.
Now Inspector Montalbano delves into the world of garments, discovering how to weave the loose threads of this case together.
As usual, Camilleri delivers an excellent mystery with a rich plot, made all the more intense by the fact that the aging Montalbano growing age is starting to show. A deeply satisfying police procedural, as well as a feast of satire and playful nonsense, this novel is not only a commentary of our times, but also an astounding feat considering Camilleri was blind when he wrote this book with his assistant.
Image Via Book Riot
Leigh Bardugo is the creator of the Grishaverse—a literary universe that consists of the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, the Six of Crows Duology, The Language of Thorns, and King of Scars—and is the author of Wonder Woman: Warbringer.
Her newest novel is much anticipated and, thanks to the wonder of time (it came out October 8th!), is already out!
But what’s the book about?
Image Via Amazon
Raised in Los Angeles by a hippie mom, Galaxy “Alex” Stern dropped out of school early and entered a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse.
By age twenty, Alex is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Now on her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance to rebuild her life and attend one of the world’s most prestigious universities on a full ride.
What’s the catch?
Well, Alex is tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies and she finds herself in a world of occult magic and…death!
A thrilling ride, this novel has gotten praises from the King of Horror himself, Stephen King, who said that, “Ninth House is the best fantasy novel I’ve read in years, because it’s about real people. Bardugo’s imaginative reach is brilliant, and this story―full of shocks and twists―is impossible to put down.”
2-The Guardians by John Grisham
Image Via NPR
A lawyer for years, John Grisham became an author and his name has become synonymous with the modern legal thriller. So how is this October 15th release different from his other novels? Well…
Image Via Amazon
Twenty-two years ago Quincy Miller, a young black man, was arrested for the shooting of young lawyer Keith Russo. For the two decades, Quincy has maintained his innocence. Desperate, he writes a letter to Guardian Ministries, a small nonprofit run by Cullen Post, a lawyer who is also an Episcopal minister.
Cullen Post takes the case but soon discovers there are people who do not want Quincy exonerated. They killed one lawyer twenty-two years ago, and they will kill another without a second thought.
Gripping, exciting, this book may prove to be one of Grisham’s most thrilling, most heart-pounding novel.
1-Curious Toys by Elizabeth Hand
Image Via Twitter
A regular contributor to the Washington Post Book World and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Elizabeth Hand has written Winterlong, Waking the Moon (Tiptree and Mythopoeic Award-Winner), and, among many others, Glimmering. An astounding writer, Elizabeth Hand brings us this October 15th release.
Image Via Amazon
In the summer of 1915, Pin, the fourteen-year-old daughter of a carnival fortune-teller, dresses as a boy and joins a teenage gang that roams the Chicago’s Riverview amusement park, looking for trouble.
She finds it, discovering a ruthless killer who uses the shadows of the dark carnival attractions to conduct his crimes. Witnessing him enter the Hell Gate ride with a young girl, and emerging alone, Pin will be led to iconic outsider artist Henry Darger, a brilliant but seemingly mad man. She’ll have to work with this lunatic to navigate the seedy underbelly of a changing city to uncover a murderer who lurks in the shadow.
Beyond your run-of-the-mill thriller, Kirkus Reviews perfectly notes how “Pin is an engaging, courageous heroine, and her musings on gender identity are both poignant and relevant,” and the novel itself is “Richly imaginative and psychologically complex.”
Featured Image Via Wmra, Book Riot, and Amazon
While we still don’t have a release date for Netflix’s “Shadow and Bone” series, we finally have a cast to shamelessly follow on social media and add to our fan-edits!
Yesterday, Netflix announced its cast for their new series based on Leigh Bardugo’s award-winning “Grishaverse” books. The series is set to adapt both her Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows book series and the casting for characters from both series has left book fans in a frenzy!
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Leading the series as Shadow and Bone protagonist Alina Starkov is Jessie Mei Li (known for her upcoming role in Last Night in Soho). Playing alongside her will be a favorite among fans, Ben Barnes (Westworld, The Punisher, Chronicles of Narnia) as General Kirigan. Also joining the Shadow and Bone portion of the cast is Archie Renaux (Voyagers) as Malyen Oretsev, Sujaya Dasgupta (Press, Guilt) as Zoya Nazyalensky, Simon Sears (Winter Brothers) as Ivan, and Daisy Head (Guilt) as Genya Safin.
Image via wordpress
On the Six of Crows front, Freddy Carter (Pennyworth) will be playing gang-leader Kaz Brekker. Starring alongside him will be Amita Suman (The Outpost) as Inej Ghafa, Kit Young (Endeavour) as Jesper Fahey, and Danielle Galligan (Game of Thrones) as Nina Zenik.
The series is being adapted by showrunner Eric Heisserer known for his work on Arrival and is being directed by Lee Toland of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Bardugo herself is an executive producer on the show and expressed her excitement about the casting announcement. The cast we have so far has definitely made us fans more excited about the show and kept us on our toes for casting to come!
Featured Image Via Polygon