Episode 9: Rachel and Laura swap book recommendations

On this week's dose of book recommendations, library love, and literary enthusiasm, we continue our conversation with Laura's sister Rachel (from episode 8) by swapping book recommendations. It's a lot of fun! 
Books from today's episode (affiliate link)
The Orion Record series by Jessie Mae Hodsdon: Book 1 & Book 2
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My guest on this episode, who is also my smart and sassy younger sister Rachel! 

Today's episode is a continuation of last week's conversation with my sister Rachel. This week I get to share with you the many books that we recommended that each other read!

Laura's recommendations to Rachel: 

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow:  I recommended this to Rachel based on her appreciation of fantasy.  It is magical, full of secrets, and makes you contemplate how close our world might actually be to other worlds.  First of all, the cover is gorgeous. Furthermore, the story is stunning and interesting and I enjoyed it way more than anticipated. I think she well as well.

Adorning the Dark by Andrew Peterson: Andrew Peterson may be familiar to you because of his musicianship. But this book is for anyone who is creative, wether that be music, art, writing or some other creative pursuit. This book was incredibly insightful and encouraging. I read it on my kindle at night while I wasn't sleeping at the beginning of the pandemic. That was also, incidentally, the time when I was working on making the podcast a reality. His words pushed me in postive directions in this pursuit. I recommended this to Rachel because she is a creative person, and as a bonus one of her professors, Dr. Glyer from Azusa Pacific University, is quoted in the book!

The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson: Peterson also wrote a series of middle grade fantasy books that I recommended to Rachel. I've read the first two and enjoyed them. This series is just getting re-released with a gorgeous set of new covers! Follow the Igiby family as they discover their identity, flee from danger, and go on many adventures. This series consists of On The Edge of The Dark Sea of Darkness (Amazon | Bookshop), North! Or Be Eaten (Amazon | Bookshop), The Monster In The Hollows (Amazon | Bookshop), and The Warden and the Wolf King (Amazon | Bookshop)

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman: Rachel talked about how she likes books that make her think and feel, and also books with fantasy or fairy stories. This book came to mind almost immediately. This story is about a young girl and her grandmother. They have a cannon of fairy stories they share, and it helps the little girl make sense of the world around her. It's funny (the grandmother is a HOT MESS) and also touching and emotional. Readers should be aware that the grandmother passes away as part of the story and that mental illness and loss of loved ones is discussed.

The Eyre Affair (and the rest of the Thursday Next series) by Jasper Fforde: I recommended this to Rachel because of its British and literary ties, but at the risk of it sounding stuffy you need to know that this is one of the weirdest, whackiest, most hilarious series I've read in a while. In the first book, we have a villain trying to steal Jane Eyre out of her book through nefarious use of a stolen prose portal, and a literary detective agent, Thursday Next, trying to prevent this. Add in some time travel, lots of puns, plus a little vampire and werewolf hunting and some odd relatives, and you have one interesting tale. Later in the series we meet the Great Library where every book ever written is housed that is run by the Cat-formerly-known-as-Cheshire (but not any more because the county boundaries were moved!) and many other strange and interesting BookWorld occurrences.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: I recommended this one to Rachel because she said she likes books that make her feel wonder. This book is one of the most atmospheric and glittering books I've read recently. I read it right at the beginning of the pandemic and it drew me in (which is saying something because my attention span was typically about 27 seconds at that point!) and I didn't want to put it down. The Night Circus is the story of two magicians pitted against each other in a contest. Meanwhile, a "night circus" is created, which is all black and white and has many tents with various exhibits such as a contortionist, an illusionist, an ice garden, and a wishing tree.

Rachel's Recommendations to Laura: 

Phantastes by George McDonald: Rachel recommended this to me because she recommends it to everyone. She said, "I think it is one of the most beautiful books I've ever read, and I don't say that lightly." She appreciates its strange, dream-like quality that evokes wonder. C.S. Lewis calls it the book that baptized his imagination. Rachel has told me to read it several times, but I'm actually going to do it! The kindle version is very inexpensive (in fact, this one is free) and there are several print versions available as well.

The Mark of Orion and The Lure of Lemons by Jessie Mae Hodsdon: Rachel read the author's first series, The Xardis Chronicles, several years ago at the recommendation of a friend who knows the author personally. Jessie Mae lives in Ohio, where our family lived for 5 years. Rachel said that one of the scenes in the Orion Records series even takes place at Kenyon College, which is where I had my senior photos done! That first series was written when Jessie Mae was a teenager, and according to Rachel the writing gets better and better as the books progress. This second series is a companion series, which Rachel describes as "excellent" She said it's set in reality but connected with an imaginary world. Our characters include a deaf girl and a boy who is either somewhere on the spectrum or maybe from another planet, a shape shifter, Minotaurs, giant frogs, and tiny luminescent creatures. She describes it as rollicking fantasy with exciting events such as lots of car chases, and a level of technology that would delight a sci-fi nerd. It is around a middle grade or close to YA reading level, with themes of home, belonging, and friendship, which Rachel knows I like finding in my books. I'm excited about this recommendation and plan on reading them soon!

Rachel and I had a delightful time swapping book recommendations with each other. If you have recommendations for either of us, feel free to drop them in the comments below. We'd love to hear what you're reading as well.

Until next time, with lots of literary love from my library to yours, have a wonderful day.


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Library Laura
Laura is an avid reader who is happiest when surrounded by books, tea, blankets and/or friends. Host of the Library Laura Podcast.


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