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From the Editor
A Romantic Tragedy Narrowly Averted
Romance and travel are a natural pair, whether you're a lonely single hoping Caribbean sunsets will make it easier to meet someone new or a newlywed enjoying a romantic honeymoon in Paris. And travel has everything to do with my own happy marital state—although neither the beach nor the Eiffel Tower had anything to do with it.
Years ago, my then-girlfriend, Marya, and I were on a long road trip with a morbid theme: visiting sites of modern American tragedies. My adult self cringes at the choice, but, as a 26-year-old, I still loved to be shocking. And although we embarked on a whim, our tour stops (which included the Murrah Federal Building site in Oklahoma City and the Branch Davidian compound outside Waco) were sobering and emotionally moving, providing food for thought and a kind of reflection that I heretofore hadn't associated with travel.
Well, all that tragedy must have inspired me to live every day as though it were my last, and as our trip reached its southern terminus in Austin—where, after viewing the tower Charles Whitman made infamous on the University of Texas campus, we were reclining on the banks of Lady Bird Lake, watching bats fly out from beneath the Congress Street Bridge—I impulsively turned to Marya and asked, "Will you marry me?" After a pause during which I contemplated an extremely awkward 1,800-mile drive home, she smiled and said yes. And I'm pleased to report that our life has been mostly tragedy-free ever since.
I hope you'll enjoy this selection from the September 15, 2013, issue of Booklist, which includes our Spotlights on Travel and Romance. Magazine subscribers who have created a profile can now access the full issue on Booklist Online. Feeling left out? Start a new subscription today!
Spotlight on Romance
By Pamela Morsi
Dorothy Jarrow, aka D.J., leaves her job working for the director from hell to accept a position as director of a small Kansas library.
Top 10 Romance Fiction: 2013
Wit and wise comedy are cherished hallmarks of the romance genre, and humor sharp and tender abounds in the 10 best titles reviewed in Booklist between September 15, 2012, and September 1, 2013, whether set in Regency England or present-day Wyoming.
Duke of Midnight
By Elizabeth Hoyt
Artemis Greaves knows she should thank her lucky stars for her job as a companion to her cousin Penelope Chadwick, but honestly, sometimes it seems Penelope really is all beauty and no brains.
Core Collection: Adult Romances for New Adults
By John Charles
"New adult fiction" is all about "firsts": your first time living on your own, your first serious romance, and your first real job.
Once a Rake
By Eileen Dreyer
The last thing Sarah Clarke needs is another problem. She is already exhausted simply trying to make ends meet at Fairbourne, while keeping her husband's rundown estate out of the hands of his malevolent cousin Martin.
Top 10 Romance Fiction for Youth: 2013
Eleanor + Park. Sam + DeeDee. Rafe + Ben. The best romance novels reviewed in Booklist between September 15, 2012, and September 1, 2013, all introduce memorable, even swoon-worthy, couples.
By Bridie Clark
If you've ever wanted to attend an elite boarding school, go to a decadent Midwinter's Eve party, or choose between a host of attractive boys vying for your attention, here's your chance to live the experience vicariously. That's right—it's a choose your own adventure for teens!
Core Collection: YA Romances for New Adults
By Sarah Hunter
"New adult" may sound new, but Booklist's Michael Cart has been sounding the clarion call of crossover books for years.
Somebody Up There Hates You
By Hollis Seamon
Seventeen-year-old Richard, who calls himself "The Incredible Dying Boy," is a kid with cancer who is a patient on a hospice ward, with, perhaps, a month to live.
Carte Blanche: What Annie Wrought
By Michael Cart
When Nancy Garden's Annie on My Mind was published in 1982, it fomented a quiet revolution in GLBT books for young adults thanks to its expression of the truth that homosexuality is an aspect of love, not simply a soulless form of sexual activity.
Spotlight on Travel
Top 10 Literary Travel Books: 2013
By Brad Hooper
Armchair travel always offers an enticing alternative to the middle seat in coach. We're not advocating abandoning actual travel and substituting it exclusively with travel reading, but there is a time and place for simply sitting back and living vicariously through someone else's adventures.
Empire Antarctica: Ice, Silence, and Emperor Penguins
By Gavin Francis
"How would you like to spend a winter at Halley?" This was the job offer that led medical doctor and author Francis (True North, 2010) to spend 14 months as the doctor at Halley, a British Antarctic Survey station on an ice shelf deep inside the Antarctic Circle.
Best Travel Series of the Year: 2013
By Brad Hooper
Like last year, we've changed the rules a bit, awarding our Best Series statuette to a single guidebook rather than an entire line of guides. But we feel this little guide speaks volumes nonetheless.
Explore Everything: Place-Hacking the City
By Bradley L. Garrett
"Dr. Garrett?" asked the British police officer who boarded the plane as soon as it landed at Heathrow. The American-expat Oxford researcher was about to be arrested for his trespassing exploits. He meant no harm. Quite the opposite.
Fall Travel Guide Roundup: 2013
By Brad Hooper
Conditions continue to disfavor travel but we continue to disregard the drawbacks. Gotta travel and ain't nobody gonna stop me!
Headhunters on My Doorstep: A True Treasure Island Ghost Story
By J. Maarten Troost
It might seem odd that Troost, the Dutch American travel writer, had never read Robert Louis Stevenson's In the South Seas, the chronicle of Stevenson's South Pacific voyage to the Marquesas, Tahiti, and Samoa. But, hey, to Troost's nimble, rather offbeat mind, RLS was "boring. He was stuffy. He was probably English."
By Thomas Pynchon
Pynchon's debut novel, V., appeared 50 years ago, and ever since he's been tracking dubious covert actions and the arc and consequences of technology in novels of labyrinthine complexity, impish wit, and open-armed compassion.
A Permanent Member of the Family
By Russell Banks
After his darkly magnificent and compassionate novel, Lost Memory of Skin (2011), a Carnegie Medal finalist, Banks brings out his first story collection since The Angel on the Roof (2000).
By Sherrilyn Kenyon
As the best-selling Dark-Hunter series about the centuries-spanning adventures of the immortal warriors of Atlantis enters its second decade, international phenom Kenyon extends the story of her most popular character, Acheron (Acheron, 2008), to include his identical twin, Styxx.
The Valley of Amazement
By Amy Tan
Lulu, an American, is the only white woman running a first-class courtesan house in Shanghai in 1905. Burdened with secret anguish and loss, she relies on her loyal associate, Golden Dove, to help her create an enclave of confidentiality, courtly seduction, and voluptuous pleasure for the city's most influential men.
Books for Youth
By Lauren DeStefano
Morgan Stockhour, along with her family and friends, lives in Internment, a city that floats in the sky. It's surrounded by a train line; go beyond the trains and you come to the edge.
By Sean Williams
Best-selling sf author Williams borrows elements of the world he created for his adult novel The Resurrected Man (2005) in his YA debut.