Norman Public Library
This month's 'Staff Selections' guest columnist is Tim, a circulation clerk at the Norman Public Library. He was born in Edmond, OK and holds bachelor's and master's degrees in Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma. Tim has worked at the Norman Public Library since June 2012.
“Although many of my favorite books are science-fiction or mysteries, I’m interested in any writing that shows either strong understanding of plot structure or the ability to smartly deviate from it," says Tim. "Anything which can combine or blur the lines between literature and genre fiction is right up my alley.”
Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
Tim says: "Chabon’s dedication to character research and ability to replicate many diverse personalities is on full display here, as he brings an Oakland community to life to tell the story of an independent jazz record store struggling to stay open when a big box rival opens on their street. With obscure references to 1980s Marvel Comics, a cameo by then-Senator Barack Obama, and chapter-length diatribes on Quentin Tarantino movies, Telegraph Avenue is likely to please both literature enthusiasts and genre fans."
Mr Vertigo by Paul Auster
Tim says: "The tall tale of Walt, a young orphan from the 1920’s American south who is taken on as the apprentice of a mysterious sideshow organizer who intends to teach Walt how to fly. The plot is compelling and characters develop interestingly to reveal previously unseen layers of their personalities. Auster’s insistence on constantly being inventive in his style and plot decisions may frustrate some readers, but should never bore them."
Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis
Tim says: "Transmetropolitan protagonist Spider Jerusalem is a Hunter S. Thompson clone for the 23rd century. Blackmailed out of his hermit-like retirement by his long-time editor, Jerusalem is forced to reengage with the futures of both technology and politics, solving mysteries and investigating scandals to find the material for his column. Ellis combines Isaac Asimov’s flair for conceiving speculative technology with Thompson’s bombastic personality and trademark cynicism, creating a story as viscerally entertaining as it is thought-provoking."
Ubik by Philip K. Dick
Tim says: "Ubik is a fast-paced mash-up of several dynamic science-fiction ideas (telepaths, anti-telepaths, communication with the dead, time travel, and many more) which somehow blend into a one coherent and captivating plot. A surreal and unsettling science-fiction adventure, Ubik will have readers questioning everything and will keep them guessing even after the last page has been read.
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
Tim says: "Often considered one the classics of science fiction, Stranger in a Strange Land is as unique and provocative today as it was when first published in 1961. Following the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human who was raised on Mars and is now being reintroduced to Earth life, the action morphs seamlessly between escape adventure, romance, legal drama, and science fiction. The scope of the work and breadth of topics covered guarantee that this is one book which has something to teach everyone."
Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
Tim says: "A master of many styles, Vonnegut has the ability to make readers laugh out loud with silliness just before sending a chill down their spine with biting social commentary. Cat’s Cradle makes extravagant yet pointed mockery of warfare, business, religion, and technology, while at the same time providing a fast-paced apocalyptic thriller, and constantly keeping the reader guessing."