The Big Read: after you read A wizard of Earthsea, what next?

    One of the great things about this year's Big Read selection, A wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin, is that there are three more books, equally enthralling, in the Earthsea series, plus Le Guin has written dozens of other wonderful books. If you have read this book with your children, there are numerous other authors in the children's section that both children and adults will enjoy. (Believe me--I read them myself, and most of them I shared with my children.) I won't cover the obvious picks, such as Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings.  Mostly because I have covered those before.
     The first children's book is also first in a series.  Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey is part of the Harper Hall trilogy, set on the world of Pern.  McCaffrey is world-renowned for her multiple series, but especially for the ones which focus on the world of Pern. If you secretly long to fly or if you have a special bond with an animal, these books will likely charm you as they have millions of others, with their beautiful dragons and unspoiled world. The Harper Hall books don't deal directly with the dragons, but instead tell  the stories of three musical children living in a world of guild halls, social changes and drastic peril. Please be aware that the other Pern books are for adults and contain adult situations.
     Most teen readers will recognize the name Tamora Pierce.  For adults, hers may be a brand new recommendation. Tamora Pierce is equally well-known for many books in a number of different series.  But her newest books, the Legend of Bekah Cooper series, have special appeal for adults with their adult settings and Bekah's experiences as a rookie cop, called a "puppy" by the veteran law enforcement Provost's Guard, or Dogs. The first book, Terrier, is a fascinating blend of thriller, murder mystery, and police procedural with some fantasy elements.  Bekah has strange abilities she doesn't really understand but which she develops throughout the books--these skills, to talk to ghosts and whirlwinds, become indispensable in her work as a detective. Pierce's skills have become well-honed, and this series excels in every way.
    Among adult books, one of my favorite titles is Anansi boys by Neil Gaiman. This hilarious read takes the Anansi tales, from West Africa, and places them into a contemporary setting with Anansi's one son, Spider, up to the typical antics one finds in the old tales, to the chagrin, discomfort and building fear of the other son, Charles "Fat Charlie" Nancy. This book is filled with a love of jazz, women, and offbeat humor. The influence and portrayals of the old women are quite fascinating, although sometimes they are pretty scary.
    Poison study by Maria V. Snyder is an intriguing read that leads into a series taking place on a sword and sorcery world. This first book, also written for an adult audience, is a combination of noble conspiracies and spies mixed with a romance found where least wanted or expected.  The main character, Yelena, has committed the ultimate crime and must die--unless she chooses to take on the royal position of food and beverage taster.  The job seems a cinch, offering a chance for escape, but Yelena finds that there are real, gruesome dangers in the job and no possibility of escape. The  intense nature of the poison studies and her handler, Valek, as well as Yelena's own grim focus on survival create a powerful book that will appeal to most action and adventure fans as well as fantasy readers.
    There are many, many other authors and books that could be recommended in this popular genre.  For more information, try the JDL database Novelist or talk to Tessa in the Reference Department.