Alexandra Duncan

Science Fiction. Fantasy. Feminism.

AUTUMN LITERARY ROUNDUP

There are so many exciting things happening in the next few weeks. Here's what I'm looking forward to:

Lola and the Boy Next Door Release Party
7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24th at Malaprop's Bookstore in downtown Asheville, N.C.

My friend Stephanie Perkins's second book, Lola and the Boy Next Door, comes out this weekend! I love Stephanie's books. They're like sitting down to eat cookies with your hilarious best friend. All the early reviews have been fantastic, even the ones from Kirkus where, as I have mentioned before, they do not mess around. If you're outside the Asheville area, the wide release date is Sept. 29th, but you can order copies on Malaprop's web site. Come support an amazing author and an amazing independent book store, all at once.

More Fall Books!
I've actually started marking the release dates for the books I'm most excited about in my day planner. (What? You don't do that?) In addition to Lola, I'm waiting with barely contained fangirl enthusiasm for . . .

Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor (Release date: Sept. 27)
Stephanie turned me on to Laini Taylor, and I can never thank her enough. Her story collection, Lips Touch Three Times, was truly amazing, despite having one of the worst and most misleading covers in the history of books. I heard some of the early buzz about Daughter of Smoke and Bone and was interested, but then I read Lips Touch, and this book automatically became a must-read. I don't know a lot about it beyond the fact that it's set in Prague and involves mysterious black handprints and supernatural beings with a desire for human teeth, but if that isn't enough to sell you on it, I don't know what is.

The Name of the Star, by Maureen Johnson (Release date: Sept. 29)
Maureen Johnson has been around the Y.A. market for years, but I've only just started reading her books. She was one of those authors I knew of, but hadn't read. Then I picked up Devilish a few weeks ago and fell in love with her. She did a great job of blending contemporary characters with supernatural elements and managed that strange alchemy that allows humor and suspense to exist side by side in Devilish, so I'm excited to see what she does with a modern mystery involving Jack the Ripper and a London boarding school.

The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater (Release date: Oct. 18)
Unlike the other two authors I've mentioned, I haven't read anything by Maggie Stiefvater before. However, the premise of The Scorpio Races -- a modern-day island nation captures and races the man-eating horse-like creatures that rise out of the surf -- intrigues me, and the book itself has gotten good reviews. I think it's definitely worth a look.

Then, of course, I have to wait even longer for Black Heart, by Holly Black, and Spell Bound, by Rachel Hawkins, both of which won't come out until next year. Gah! But at least I still have A Dance of Dragons and all of these other fabulous books to keep me busy until then, plus the oeuvres of Laini Taylor and Maureen Johnson to finish off. I think I'll be okay.

National Storytelling Festival
Oct. 7 through 9th in Jonesborough, TN

I've been to the National Storytelling Festival twice before, once as a child, and once three years ago. It's an amazing experience: acres of tents housing storytellers from every conceivable background, telling hilarious, sad, moving stories from all around the world. They tell all day long and into the night, cut only by the scream of the train that passes through the middle of the town around midday. If it weren't so expensive, I'd go all weekend this year. But, alas, a day pass is $105. And even though the rich variety of storytellers performing at the festival are completely worth that price, I don't have the money. I can, however, afford to go to the outdoor Ghost Story Concert, which profoundly affected me as a child and gave me a lifelong aversion to sloths (it's a long story), and the Midnight Cabaret.

Fall is going to be awesome!

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