Being the new librarian here at Herrick District Library, I’d like to start off by talking about some of my most enjoyed recent reads. My educational background is in the social sciences (history to be precise), so I have spent a great deal of time pouring over sources that describe in immense, and sometimes tedious, detail the writer’s perspective of past events as they unfolded. Because I have spent so much time reading these types of materials, I always am in search of books that spend time giving me rich details about the surroundings, the characters, and the events going on in in the world of that book. It also means that I lean towards series vs standalone books and more towards fantasy, science fiction, and historical fiction over other genres as well.
With that in mind, here are some of my recent reads that I really enjoyed!
At the top of the list is the final book in Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Stories series entitled War Lord. This book ends a thirteen book journey through the life of Uhtred of Bebbanburg as he and his comrades navigate through the constant turmoil as England becomes a single kingdom. With figures from history books such as Alfred, Edward, Guthrum, and Ubba all making appearances throughout the series as well as plenty of political intrigue, these books are great for anyone caught up in the Viking phenomenon of the last few years or someone who enjoys a different era of historical fiction.
Another book that joins War Lord at the top of my recent reads is Louise Erdrich’s book that won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2020, The Night Watchman. I have read a lot from Louise Erdrich and have loved most everything that she has put out and was ecstatic to see this work recognized for such a prestigious honor. The novel is based on her grandfather’s experiences as a night watchman during the 1950s as Congress attempted to pass Indian termination bills in several places across the United States. The book also centers on several younger characters as they work through the difficulties for indigenous people in the 1950s. Overall, it is a wonderfully written book and speaks to some of the real world struggles that have faced Indigenous people in the United States.
The final book I have really enjoyed recently is The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec. This book takes on a different perspective from the traditional Norse mythology tales as it takes the stance of the witch, Angrboda, as the center of much hatred and outrage from the gods and goddesses. It sheds a different light on some of the main characters that have become popular recently, like Thor and Odin, and shows more of the darker and jealous side as they grapple with Angrboda and her powers. For those that like fantasy and mythology, I think this is one worth reading.