A Magical Summer

It was a dark and stormy morning, and the fans of the AUM Library were eagerly awaiting the latest update on the Summer of Reading Series… This week’s selections are truly magical, so be sure to check them out! It wouldn’t be a magical summer without Harry Potter and fans are in for a treat with the theatrical release of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” on July 15th, 2009. If you like magic and libraries, then you’ll enjoy reading “Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft”. Speaking of storms, the “Tempest” is sure to thrill and enchant readers with it’s enchanted island and political intrigue. Any history buffs out there? Well then, you might enjoy reading “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell”, which is set during the Napoleonic wars and is full of magical intrigue. Check out the reviews below and then check them out of your local library!


“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” By J.K. Rowling
A darker book than any in the series thus far with a level of sophistication belying its genre, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince moves the series into murkier waters and marks the arrival of Rowling onto the adult literary scene. While she has long been praised for her cleverness and wit, the strength of Book 6 lies in her subtle development of key characters, as well as her carefully nuanced depiction of a community at war. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, no one and nothing is safe, including preconceived notions of good and evil and of right and wrong. With each book in her increasingly remarkable series, fans have nervously watched J.K. Rowling raise the stakes; gone are the simple delights of butterbeer and enchanted candy, and days when the worst ailment could be cured by a bite of chocolate. A series that began as a colorful lark full of magic and discovery has become a dark and deadly war zone. But this should not come as a shock to loyal readers. Rowling readied fans with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by killing off popular characters and engaging the young students in battle. Ready or not, the tremendous ending of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince will leave stunned fans wondering what great and terrible events await in Book 7 if this sinister darkness is meant to light the way.
Source: Source: http://www.amazon.com/Harry-Potter-Half-Blood-Prince-Book/dp/0439784549


“Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” By Susanna Clarke
It’s 1808 and that Corsican upstart Napoleon is battering the English army and navy. Enter Mr. Norrell, a fusty but ambitious scholar from the Yorkshire countryside and the first practical magician in hundreds of years. What better way to demonstrate his revival of British magic than to change the course of the Napoleonic wars? Susanna Clarke’s ingenious first novel, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, has the cleverness and lightness of touch of the Harry Potter series, but is less a fairy tale of good versus evil than a fantastic comedy of manners, complete with elaborate false footnotes, occasional period spellings, and a dense, lively mythology teeming beneath the narrative. Mr. Norrell moves to London to establish his influence in government circles, devising such powerful illusions as an 11-day blockade of French ports by English ships fabricated from rainwater. But however skillful his magic, his vanity provides an Achilles heel, and the differing ambitions of his more glamorous apprentice, Jonathan Strange, threaten to topple all that Mr. Norrell has achieved. A sparkling debut from Susanna Clarke–and it’s not all fairy dust.
Source: http://www.amazon.com/Jonathan-Strange-Mr-Norrell-Novel/dp/1582344167


“The Tempest” By William Shakespeare
The most poetic and magical of Shakespeare’s comedies, this play contrasts lyrical fantasy surrounding the spirit Ariel and the savage Calaban, with a tale of political intrigue focused around Prospero, the banished Duke of Milan, now a wizard living on a remote island.
This joyous play, the last comedy of Shakespeare’s career, sums up his stagecraft with a display of seemingly effortless skill. Prospero, exiled Duke of Milan, living on an enchanted island, has the opportunity to punish and forgive his enemies when he raises a tempest that drives them ashore—as well as to forestall a rebellion, to arrange the meeting of his daughter, Miranda, with an eminently suitable young prince, and, more important, to relinquish his magic powers in recognition of his advancing age. Richly filled with music and magic, romance and comedy, the play’s theme of love and reconciliation offers a splendid feast for the senses and the heart.
Source: http://www.librarything.com/work/5500/descriptions


“Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft” By Mindy Klasky
Jane Madison, a somewhat timid, fashion-challenged librarian living in Washington, D.C., is none too pleased when she learns her salary is being cut by a quarter. Her supervisor eases the blow by offering to let Jane live rent-free in a small cottage on the library’s property. Jane gets more than she bargained for when she discovers a hidden key that unlocks the door to the basement, which is filled with a wide array of witchcraft books. Jane is even more surprised when she recites a spell and it works, calling forth a familiar in the form of a handsome, cheeky gay man and bringing a stern but sexy warder, David, to her door, intent on helping her harness and moderate her newfound powers. Fans of Shanna Swendson’s Enchanted, Inc. series will find much to love in Klasky’s zesty blend of fantasy and romance as well as in her winsome heroine. Enchanted readers will also be pleased to learn that a sequel is already in the works
Source: http://www.amazon.com/Girls-Guide-Witchcraft-Red-Dress/dp/0373896077