Sci-Shy by Rebecca Howard

One of the guiding principles librarians use when connecting readers to books they will enjoy is that someone should NEVER apologize for his/her reading tastes.  I think, however, that I might also add: “but be willing to stretch.”  It’s just like our parents would explain “You don’t have to like everything, but you do have to try it.”    So, I can say with empirical backing that I don’t care for turnips or Harry Potter.  But, I’m guilty like everyone else of assuming I won’t like something based on its genre or cover. 

If you regularly read this blog, you know that I tend to read a lot of literary, historical, domestic/family, and psychological fiction.  I also read quite a few memoirs and some narrative nonfiction about issues that interest me.  I don’t read as much Science Fiction and Fantasy, but I try to be familiar with popular books in these genres in order to help library customers.  That said, please don’t explain in detail to me every book in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series.  I appreciate your love for it, but it’s just not for me. 

When the Central Library closed on August 30 for a two-year renovation, I left for the unknown realm of Teen Services.  I’m still continuing my adult services responsibilities but am also getting to learn a little bit about tween and teen programming at Zarrow Regional Library.  Not wanting the teens to quickly identify me as the imposter I am, I decided I should probably at least read a few YA staples, including The Hunger Games.  I decided this without an overabundance of joy or enthusiasm, but I was wrong about this trilogy. I actually really enjoyed it.  I loved its social and political satire, its populist slant, and the smart, resourceful, and self-sacrificing Katniss Everdeen.  By the way, the kids still figured out I’m an imposter, but they seem pretty forgiving. 

So, some additional suggestions for those who tend to shy away from Sci-Fi.  I’ve enjoyed these titles over the previous year and hope that you might as well.  Annotations are from NoveList. 

The Hand Maid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
In a future world where the birth rate has declined, fertile women are rounded up, indoctrinated as "handmaids," and forced to bear children to prominent men.

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
When a natural disaster predicted by God's Gardeners leader Adam One obliterates most human life, two survivors trapped inside respective establishments that metaphorically represent paradise and hell wonder if any of their loved ones have survived.

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
In the middle of the 21st century, a young woman in Texas awakens to a nightmarish new life: her skin has been genetically altered, turned bright red as punishment for the crime of having an abortion. Stigmatized and in a hostile and frightening world, Hannah Payne must make a perilous journey northward to safety. 

Matched by Allyson Braithwaite Condie
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her, so when Xander appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows he is her ideal mate--until Ky Markham's face appears for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
The rotation of the earth has begun to slow and the environment is thrown into disarray. Julia is also coping with the fissures in her family, the loss of friends, the hopeful anguish of love and other normal disasters of everyday life.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Immersing himself in a mid-twenty-first-century technological virtual utopia to escape an ugly real world of famine, poverty, and disease, Wade Watts joins an increasingly violent effort to solve a series of puzzles by the virtual world's creator.

And if you need even more reasons to give Sci-Fi a chance, come to the next Novel Talk: “Surviving Utopia –Fear, Hope and Place in Dystopic Science Fiction” at the Hardesty Regional Library on November 13.