Reader name: Rosario
Hometown: El Monte, CA
Favorite genre: Fantasy
Favorite authors: Chaim Potok, Keith Donohue, J.K. Rowling
Favorite books: My Name is Asher Lev, The Stolen Child, the Harry Potter series
Rosario likes fantasy—and based on the books she listed, I’d venture to narrow that down even more to literary fantasy.
My first recommendation for Rosario’s next great read is Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. An epic history about a magical England that, even at 800 pages, seems far too short. This debut novel, published in 2004, is about Gilbert Norrell, the only true magician in England (and also a bore), and Jonathan Strange, Norrell’s pupil and a magical natural. Clarke was influenced by Dickens and Austen, and her novel is a beautifully-crafted delight. Read more about it on BookPage.com.
Up next? Try The Magicians—and then The Magician King (to be published August 9)—by Lev Grossman. As Jillian Quint wrote in BookPage back in August of 2009, “Think J.K. Rowling meets C.S. Lewis meets Donna Tartt.” What more information do you need than that? The Magicians is about Quentin Coldwater, a Brooklyn teen who is admitted into an American institute for budding magicians, and the soon-to-be-released The Magician King continues his suspenseful tale. (Read more in our August issue.)
Finally, for a magical, whimsical adventure story filled with Jewish history (not to mention a wacky premise) try The Frozen Rabbi by Steve Stern, who won the National Jewish Book Award in 2000. The novel is about Eliezer ben Zephyr, a Polish rabbi who is frozen alive in a block of ice in 1890, then thaws out and wakes up in 1999—in Memphis, TN. Then, he goes on a marvelous adventure with a 15-year-old named Bernie. Luckily for readers who haven’t discovered this book, the paperback came out a month ago. Read more on BookPage.com.
One more note for Rosario, and all you Keith Donohue fans: Did you know Donohue published a new novel on May 31? Don’t miss Centuries of June, an “intriguing and ambitious mix of psychological mystery, dark comedy, historical yarn, literary criticism, post-feminist discourse and the supernatural.” (Read the full review here.)
What books do you think Rosario should read, based on her list of favorites?
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