APRIL 2021 RECOMMENDATIONS
Birthright by Joshua Williamson and Andrei Bressen
The Rhodes family is devastated after their youngest son, Mikey, goes missing. After a few years of disappearance, Mikey returns. But he’s become a fully-grown man and is on a quest to kill the mages on Earth and stop the evil God King Lore from invading. The story follows the Rhodes family as Mikey’s quest unfolds and his stories on the fantasy world of Teranos are slowly revealed. But Mikey isn’t letting his family in on the whole truth as people from his life on Teranos catch up with him and his family hears other sides of the stories. If you’re looking for a grim comic book Narnia with a mystery spin, Birthright has you covered.
Volumes One through Nine of the Birthright series are available digitally on Hoopla.
The Dirty South by John Connolly
A prequel to John Connolly’s Charlie Parker series, The Dirty South takes place in Burdon County, Arkansas in 1997. After the murder of his own family, Charlie Parker quit the NYPD and set out to find the killer. That eventually led him to Cargill, Arkansas, where the murders of young women are being swept under the rug in order to sustain outside investment. Reluctantly, Parker is drawn into the investigation.
The Dirty South is available in print at the Farmville Library.
This award winning 2019 South Korean film – directed by Bong-joon Ho and starring Kang-ho Song, Lee Sun-kyun, and Cho Yeo-jeong – centers around the Kims, a struggling family that has resorted to folding pizza boxes as their main source of income. The son, Kim Ki-woo is recommended for a tutoring position with an upper-class family, the Parks. Sensing an opportunity, Kim Ki-woo devises a plan to infiltrate the Park’s lifestyle. Eventually, with some creative deception, the entire family is employed by the Parks. As the two households, separated by their class and wealth, merge together, it becomes clear that there are many complexities living below the surface. By the end of the movie, you’ll ask – who is the real parasite?
Parasite is available at the Farmville Library.
House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
House in the Cerulean Sea is the most heartwarming book I have read in a long time. A story about finding family in unlikely places, it is filled with a sweet and charming cast of magical children and a relatable protagonist named Linus who made me feel so at home in their world. I will be re-reading this again and again.
House in the Cerulean Sea is available in print at the Farmville Library, as well as digitally on Libby.
Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a short, character-driven collection of stories about a café that holds the power for customers to travel back in time. But there is a catch, like there always is: customers can not leave the café once they go back in time, and must return to the present before their cup of coffee gets cold. Kawaguchi tells a different kind of time travel story: traveling back is not about someone on a grand adventure to set events right, but as a way to reflect, heal from the past, and make things right within themselves. The stories are brief, but carry a lot of weight as the address the differing ways in which we perceive time and experience loss.
Before the Coffee Gets Cold is available digitally on Hoopla.
Deadman Wonderland by Jinsei Kataoka
Deadman Wonderland is a thirteen volume manga series set in Tokyo ten years after a great earthquake destroyed much of the city. The main character, Ganta Igarashi, is a young boy who survived the earthquake and seems to live a normal life until one day a person dressed in crimson armor arrives at his school. The Red Man, as Ganta calls him, proceeds to kill all of Ganta’s classmates – leaving only the young boy alive. Ganta is framed for the murder of his friends and is sentenced to death at Deadman Wonderland, a private prison that doubles as a theme park where spectators can come and watch inmates compete against each other in cruel games of survival. Ganta vows to survive in order to find and defeat The Red Man to avenge his friends’ deaths. But The Red Man is closer to Ganta than he realizes. This series is considered to be both horror and post-apocalyptic and is not recommended for those who are averse to violence.
The entire Deadman Wonderland series is available in print at the Farmville Library.
Dread Nation: Rise Up by Justina Ireland
Imagine zombies, called “shamblers” in the novel, being present at the Battle of Gettysburg. More than fifty thousand souls rising and attacking both sides of the American Civil War. Throughout the story, the shamblers confront people of all races and social classes. The author presents readers The author presents readers with moral choices. What is fair? What is just? What is human? What is compassion? What is equality? Once you finish Dread Nation: Rise Up, if you found the writing entertaining, I recommend that you also read its sequel, Deathless Divide.
Dread Nation: Rise Up is available in print at the Farmville Library, as well as digitally on Hoopla and Libby.
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
The inspiration for Francis For Coppola’s 1979 film, Apocalypse Now, Heart of Darkness opens aboard the Nellie, where a man named Charlie Marlow begins to regale his shipmates with the story of his time as the leader of an expedition into the heart of the Belgian Congo. Accompanied by a crew of sixty, Marlow set out for the Company’s Central Station, only to find the steamboat he was to captain at the bottom of the river. During the time he spent waiting for the steamer to be repaired, Marlow became fascinated with a Mr. Kurtz, one of the Company’s most highly regarded agents. Fifty miles upriver of the Inner Station, Marlow and his crew came upon an abandoned hut and a large stack of firewood. With the firewood was a note that read “Wood for you. Hurry up. Approach cautiously.” A mile and a half upriver of the Inner Station, Marlow and his crew came under attack, during which the helmsman was killed. After the attack ended, Marlow and his crew were waved ashore by a Russian trader who had strayed into Kurtz’s camp. Through conversation with the Russian, Marlow learned that the locals had come to worship Kurtz, who was in fact in extremely poor health. The next morning, with Kurtz aboard the steamer, Marlow and his crew departed the Inner Station. On the way back upriver, with his health having failed, Kurtz died. Shortly after Kurtz’s death, Marlow fell ill, but recovered after coming perilously close to his own death. After returning to Europe, Marlow developed a bitterness toward the “civilized world”, leading him to give Kurtz’s papers to a reporter rather than giving them to the Company or to his family.
Heart of Darkness is available in print at both the Farmville and Buckingham Libraries, as well as digitally on both Hoopla and Libby.