For some reason, I have always leaned more heavily towards science fiction/fantasy, and I've never stopped to wonder why that is. Perhaps with all of the disappointing, depressing things going on in the real world, I enjoy escaping to a new one.
By far my all time favorite place to loose myself is in the miraculous world of Harry Potter.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a 22 year old Harry Potter fanatic. I've read all of the books three times, and I wouldn't put it past me to start them up again this summer.
Before I started working at The Booksellers at Laurelwood, I didn't think I would ever find another book that would captivate me like J.K. Rowling's work. But throughout my time in this amazing store, and from all of the knowledgeable recommendations from amazing coworkers such as Karen Tallant, Becca Newhouse, Ashely Dacus, Nicole Yasinky, and Scott Graves (just to name a few!) I have come across some incredible books that are just as worthy.
So for all of my fellow adult Harry Potter fans:As we eagerly await Ms. Rowling's new novel in September (and pray that it's just as amazing as the work she's known for) I'd like to share just a few titles that could easily become your new novel obsession.
For Those Enchanted by J.K. Rowling's Magical World
"The Magicians" by: Lev Grossman
A senior in high school, Quentin Coldwater is brilliant, but miserable. Almost an adult, he still finds himself obsessing over the fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a world called Fillory. To his surprise, Quentin is unexpectedly accepted into a university not of the scholarly nature, but magical pursuits. As he learns of modern sorcery, he's also taught the lessons of friendship, alcohol, love, sex, and apathy. But magic doesn't bring him the happiness he imagined in his fantasies. Upon graduating and finding disdain in the real world, Quentin and his friends make yet another shocking discovery: Fillory is real. However, the place of his fantasies turns out to be much darker and dangerous than Quentin imagined, and a world of his childhood dreams quickly turns into his nightmare.
Why You'll Like It:
Unlike Harry Potter, this is a fantasy series written for adults. Even though there are many fantastical elements, you'll find that this book explores many deep themes. But as you follow Quentin to the magical school of Brakebills, you'll find reminiscences of Hogwarts, X-Men's School for Gifted Youngsters, as well as your own college experience at the same time. You'll also find that Grossman is just as successful as J.K. Rowling in creating and communicating a world of magic with great detail and imagination. While you won't find the heroic Harry Potter, or the genius Hermione Granger in "The Magicians, you will find easy to relate to characters that will have you eagerly following their journey.
What Others Are Saying:
"I liked The Magicians because it lays out the lives of teenagers in a credible manner, then asks the question: What are the differences between the ability to get everything you want in life and actually getting everything you need to make a meaningful, well-balance life? Some have called it a Harry Potter for adults, but I think that description is only partially true. HP is a metaphor for courage in a mythic setting. Magicians is a pointed extrapolation springing from reality, with obvious comparisons to the dangers of a life of extreme privilege."
- Karen (One of the Experts at The Booksellers, SciFi/Horror Genre Extraordinaire, and One Amazing Woman)
Visit Karen's blog about our store and the book world here!
For Those Who Loved the Reading Experience of Harry Potter
"The Night Circus" by: Erin Morgenstern
Summary (from GoodReads):
Why You'll Like It:
Like "The Magicians," "The Night Circus" is written for a mature audience. You'll find it clever and complex, full of brilliant metaphors and lovely symbolism throughout Morgenstern's masterful writing style (and this is just her debut novel!). Becca was insistent that I mention it is "the magic of Harry Potter with beautiful prose of "The Princess Bride."" One of the reasons you'll enjoy this reading experience, is author's ability to create an abundant cast of richly developed characters. And the expert descriptions of Morgenstern's imagination will actually transport you to her magical world, much like the J.K. Rowling.
What Others Are Saying:
"Erin Morgenstern’s Night Circus is an unlikely favorite for me because 1.) it’s adjective heavy, carefully describing all the ways the magic has manifested, and 2.) it’s one of those slow-to-develop love stories. Despite – or maybe because of – Morgenstern’s methods, I couldn’t put it down! She masterfully creates an amazing world, jetting back and forth in time, weaving her enormous cast of characters’ stories into a beautiful denouement. The tension is electric, Celia and Marco are lovely, and I never wanted to leave the Night Circus. I can’t recommend it enough – one of my favorite books of 2011"
- Ashley (Avid Reader, The Fairest of All The Booksellers, and Master of Jingles)
For Those Looking for an Adventure Worthy of Harry Potter
"The Name of the Wind" by: Patrick Rothfuss
At the unassuming and immaculate inn just out of town, you’d never expect to find a contemporary legend in the quiet, red-haired, green-eyed innkeeper. But he is Kvothe, and when he finally tells his true story for the first time, it is one of love and loss, childhood inquisitiveness and hard-knock-life resilience, boarding school pranks and events that will change the course of the world. You don’t believe in magic? You’ve never heard Kvothe tell his own story.
Why You'll Like It:
Someone once told me that if J.K. Rowling and G.R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones) had a love child, this would be it. I couldn't think of a better way to describe this book! Except, Becca (you can read her first book review guest blog here) sums it up beautifully bellow!
What Others Are Saying:"So. The Name of the Wind. When Macon first asked me to do a review on this book I thought “Of course! I love that book!” however, I am finding it much harder to write this review than I originally anticipated. How can you sum up a book such as this in only one paragraph? Should I take the easy way out and liken it to an adult Harry Potter? It is, after all, a story about a boy learning magic. Or shall I compare it to something with more of a coming of age feel? For the main character’s parents are brutally killed in the beginning leaving him to figure out life on his own.
Nay, though it is all of these things, brief and flowery descriptions do the tale of Kvothe and his life no justice. This book is a quick ride through the early life of a man who has always been just a bit different. A bit smarter, and little more industrious, and slightly more determined than the average person, Kvothe is a man who doesn’t take no for an answer and utilizes his intense drive in ways a lesser man could not. His story, like all the greats, tells a tale of loss and love, but it also spins a legend- that of an unusually adept boy set adrift in a world full of magic, desperately trying to figure out where he fits in to it all."
- Becca (Frequent Guest Blogger, Expert in ALL Things Literary, and The Fastest Reader I've Ever Met!)
All of these books can be found at my store, The Booksellers at Laurelwood, in the Laurelwood Shopping Center off of Poplar and Perkins Extended. Memphians! Support your local bookstore! We are #29 on 100 Places You Need to Go in Memphis at the I♥Memphis blog after all!
And don't forget to vote for us as your favorite local bookstore in the Commercial Appeal's Memphis Most here!