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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Have You Listened Lately?

We have recently posted podcast interviews between library director Sam Clay and Michelle Singletary, Gary Noesner, Todd Kashdan, Garth Stein and Pete Earley. Visit the BookCast page to listen to the interviews. BookCast is sponsored by Dominion Resources through the Fairfax Library Foundation.

Mary Mulrenan
Fairfax County Public Library

Friday, July 23, 2010

Horror Fiction

They could be considered a subgenre of fantasy or sci-fi, but horror novels – as any aficionado knows – are a class onto themselves. Masters of the form – such as Stephen King – have passionate followings.

Each year the Horror Writers Association bestows the Bram Stoker Award – named for the author of Dracula – for Superior Achievement in various categories. Recent winners include:

Audrey’s Door by Sarah Langan

Duma Key by Stephen King

Creepers by David Morrell

The Hour Before Dark by Douglas Clegg

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Friday, July 16, 2010

Romantic Suspense

As a subgenre of the romance novel, romantic suspense usually contains an element of mystery and intrigue. Unlike gothic romances which feature windswept moors and haunted houses, romantic suspense deals with more contemporary plots involving drug dealing, serial murders, smuggling or other complications.

Some of the more well-known authors of romantic suspense include Catherine Coulter, Linda Howard, Sandra Brown, Jayne Ann Krentz, Susan Andersen, Tami Hoag and Iris Johansen among others.

As with regency romance mentioned in last week’s posting, romantic suspense is also popular enough to merit a category in the Romance Writers of America annual RITA awards. Here are some past winners:

Take No Prisoners by Cindy Gerard

Ice Blue by Anne Stuart

Survivor in Death by J.D. Robb

I’m Watching You by Karen Rose

Three Fates by Nora Roberts

Friday, July 09, 2010

Regency Romance

Anyone familiar with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility understands the regency romance novel. A popular subgenre of historical romance, regency novels usually involve a comedy of manners and are set in early 19th-century England between about 1810-1820. The novels occur normally during the reign of George IV and William IV after George III was declared insane by Parliament’s Regency Act. His son was then declared acting king.

Regency romance is so popular that the Romance Writers of America bestow annual RITA award each year in the category. Here are some past winners:

My Lord and Spymaster by Joanna Bourne

The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn

A Reputable Rake by Diane Gaston

Much Obliged by Jessica Benson

Friday, July 02, 2010

Romance Fiction

Even more than science fiction, the subgenres of romance fiction are plentiful. One article lists 15 (Romance Subgenres by Lee Masterson) ranging from glitz or glamour romance to regency, pirate, western or other historical romance subgenres.

To be considered a romance, a novel must meet two criteria. First, it must have a love story as a central plot. Two people meet, struggle with their relationship and ultimately find love. Second, it must have a happy ending. The good guys win; the bad guys get their just rewards.

Contemporary romance is one of the most popular subgenres. Visitors to voted the novels below among the “best ever contemporary romance books.”

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

Nobody’s Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas

Paradise by Judith McNaught