LIBRARY NOTES – October 2006

By Gloria Carlson

Fantasy! It is a genre that has captured the imagination, the hearts and the minds of young and old readers.  The roots of modern day fantasy stories are found in the ancient myths of the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Vikings and the early Britons, Welsh and Scots. There you’ll find stories of gods and goddesses, horrible monsters, dragons, powerful beings, heroes and heroines. The fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm and the French writer Charles Perrault are also forerunners of the modern fantasy genre. There you’ll find stories of witches, brave boys and girls, and fairy godmothers (both evil and good).

Today, readers and moviegoers are very familiar with J. R. Tolkien’s marvelous and well-loved fantasy series, The Lord of the Rings. In reading those books, you are completely taken to a magical world filled with strange creatures, wizards, dragons, elves, evil lords, and powerful princes.

In the Andes Public Library’s Young Adult Room (the Norie Jackson Room), you will find a collection of some of the best of today’s fantasy writers. While these books may be found in our “teen age” section, they are by no means limited to young readers. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books have totally captured the hearts of the young and the young at heart. We are all waiting impatiently for the seventh and last book in her amazing series. If you have not yet entered the magical world of Hogwarts School for Wizards, don’t wait! You’ll find them all at the library.

At the library you will also find Phillip Pullman’s extraordinary fantasy collection called His Dark Materials. The three books in this series include The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. These books are about two young people on a perilous quest and are masterworks of storytelling and suspense. I highly recommend them to all readers.

Christopher Paolini wrote his debut novel Eragon when he was fifteen. This tale of  Eragon, a young dragon rider and his beloved dragon Saphira, captures the reader’s imagination as the young partners struggle against the evil forces of a mighty king. The story is continued in the sequel Eldest and will be concluded in a forthcoming third book. I can’t wait!

Cornelia Funke is a well known writer of magical stories set in mythical places.  In Dragon Rider, her two young heroes and their beloved dragon Firedrake set out on an arduous quest to save the race of dragons by finding them a home where they can live in peace. This is a well written adventure for readers of all ages.

Diana Wynne Jones wrote the four books of the Dalemark Quartet in the 1970’s, but they are still enormously popular today. In this collection about the mythical realm of Dalemark, four extraordinary young people and the mysterious gods of Dalemark try to bring peace to a land torn apart by violence.

These are just some of the marvelous fantasy books that you can find in the Andes Public Library. So come and take one out, let your imagination soar, travel through space and time, and go on a magical quest to far-flung mythical kingdoms all captured in the pages of a book! We look forward to seeing you at the Andes Library!