Amazing Mondays; Amazing Reads!

It's Amazing Monday! Here is a list of amazing reads created by Sutherland Library Service Outreach Team Leader, Jacinta Craine. Don't forget to fill in your Summer Reading Club entry form for each book you have borrowed and read from the library, for your chance to win some great prizes.

1. Weaveworld by Clive Barker. If you are after a truly amazing read then this is the novel for you. It revolves around the world of the Fugue, a magical world which lies woven within a rug. It is a mix of fantasy, horror, erotica, mythology and spirituality. One is thrown from the imaginary world to the real and back until the two are impossible to unweave.

2. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett Set in 12th century England it is a grand scale story of the building a of Cathedral. Based around three men and their family’s fortunes. It details the minutiae of daily life and the influence of the church over the general population. One gets caught up in the magnificence of the building and the methods employed to do it, which are truly amazing.

3. Mordants Need by Stephen Donaldson It tells the story of a woman named Terisa who travels from our modern world to a medieval setting where political and military struggles are entwined with the power of Imagery, a form of magic based on mirrors. The books deal with themes of reality, power, inaction and love in the context of a fantasy adventure.

4. The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood The image from this book which stays with me is the birthing of a child by the ‘handmaid’. I t typifies the extraordinary lengths to which the society has gone to try and normalise a very abnormal situation. It awakened me to the way those in power will rationalise what they do to others in order to save themselves.

5. Seventh Son by Orson Scott Card This is an alternative history/fantasy story set in the US where everyone has an ‘knack’, everyone is good at something, even if they don’t know it. Seventh sons have strong knacks, but Alvin is the seventh son of a seventh son and this means he is a Maker. There has only ever been one other and it’s a long time since He walked on water. This is the beginning of a great series, for those who like their stories to (almost) never end.

6. The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield The Celestine Prophecy is not a literary masterpiece by any measure, but it does offer a number of interesting (and sometimes common-sense) insights into how people think. A bestseller in the seventies it is an entertaining, easy read peppered with observations that caused me to pause and think about my actions toward others, and myself. As Redfield states, it's meant to be more of a parable, a thought-jogger for readers of all ilks to take in and use in their own lives.

7. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller This story is about an American pilot in WWII and his attempts to finish his service and get back home. It is not an easy read, but has some very funny moments and it gave me an insight into the arbitrariness of military life. It also very clearly explained the phrase, ‘it’s a Catch-22 “ used when an impossible situation reared it’s head, where no matter what you do, the outcome can’t be changed.

8. The Dark Tower (series of 7) by Stephen KingFans of Stephen King would know him as a horror writer and so may be caught by surprise with this one. It fits more into the fantasy genre than any of his others, but to fully appreciate it one should really have read most of his other works. It weaves a tale full of suspense which incorporates elements form his other stories and even features himself. This tale is his only series, which he wrote sporadically and so it was many long years before it came to a conclusion. But the ending was well worth the wait. It tells of the need to do the right thing at the right time.

9. The Lord of the Rings by JRR TolkeinI nearly wasn’t going to put this one in, as I thought everyone knows it from the movies, if they haven’t already read the book. Then I started to think about it and realised some of my favourite bits were left out of the movies as they were not central to the story. It is often the small inconsequential parts of a story that did not ‘need’ to be told that make the tale a truly amazing read. Therefore, if you enjoyed the movies and have not read the books, you really should take the time to do so.

10. The Circle and the Cross by Caiseal Mor I have read many fantasy stories loosely based on Celtic mythologies and practices. This is the best!! The author has extensively researched his base material, written histories and oral traditions to produce a story which feels like it accurately describes the peaceful coming of Christianity to Ireland and then the violent beginnings of ‘The Church’, leading to the demise of the druid culture. Much of what is described fits in with

11.The Life And Death Of A Druid Prince : The Story Of An Archaeological Sensation Anne Ross And Don Robins which is my bonus amazing read. What the forensic scientists were able to piece together about the person who’s body had been preserved in the bog and marry with the knowledge of the historians, was truly amazing!