SJPL Recommendation News: January 2024

Welcome, or welcome back, to SJPL's Rec News, an occasional publication featuring recreational and recommended reading from our SJPL Librarians. Last month, we had contrasting genre lists to wrap up the year: Realistic fiction picks and Fantasy fiction picks. Now that the shortest day of the year has passed, we can look forward to more daylight as we move into the new year. We can also look forward to more reading, and new book recommendations.

This is the time of year that we typically set some goals, and for many of us that will include the goal to read more. To help you along with any reading goals we have booklists for teens and adults that feature duologies, trilogies, and series. I encourage everyone to include a reading resolution (or listening, for audiobook fans) among their goals this year. This librarian will aim to read 18 books this year.

If you're looking to dive into a new hobby in the new year, we've also updated our Start a Hobby booklists for kids and adults, with new reads on trendy and timeless hobbies.

Yet, our featured lists this month are in honor of an unofficial day celebrating a beloved genre - Science fiction. January 2 is celebrated, unofficially, as Science Fiction Day. This day was chosen as it corresponds with the birthday celebration of legendary sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov. Asimov was a prolific author, having written or edited more than 500 books in his lifetime. Originally a biochemist, he also wrote on many scientific subjects and even a textbook in addition to his fiction. Asimov has had several things named after him including literary awards, an asteroid, a crater on Mars, and an elementary school.

Science Fiction Picks

Cover page of Boomi's BoomboxCover of Grace Needs SpaceCover of the School for WhatnotsCover of Stars, Hide Your FiresCover of Another Dimension of UsCover of Swift the Storm, Fierce the FlameCover of the Deep SkyCover of the Surviving SkyCover of Translation State

Science fiction, or more colloquially sci-fi, is a Speculative genre, as are Fantasy and Horror. Speculative genres do as their name suggests, they speculate. Their stories depart from reality and introduce elements like magic, supernatural entities, and in the case of Science fiction, imagined technological advancements. Science fiction also has many subgenres falling under its umbrella, such as Dystopian fiction, Apocalyptic fiction, and Alternate Histories. Hard Science fiction focuses more on grounding the technology with real technological advancements, bringing an air of 'accuracy' to the writing, whereas Space Operas, another subgenre of sci-fi, revolves around spacefaring folk, intergalactic warfare, and melodrama (StarWars is generally considered to fall under the Space Opera heading). The lists below will have a great cross-section of different kinds of sci-fi, but we do also have some niche lists such as Space Operas with LGBTQIA+ representation, or Science Fantasy (which will have both technological advancements and magical twists).

SJPL Picks: Quick Links

If this month's featured reads aren't quite what you're in the mood for, or you're looking to expand your browsing further, try checking out any and all of the lists from our librarians on our SJPL Picks team. All our lists will be labeled "SJPL Picks" or "SJPL Recommends".

SJPL 5forU

If you're looking for further recommendations and aren't in the mood to browse, let us do the browsing for you! San José Public Library's 5forU team offers personalized recommendations via email. We'd love to find you something to read, but you can also fill in the profile on someone else's behalf and we can find just the right titles - perfect for caregivers looking to recommend books to their children, for book clubs stumped on what to discuss next meeting, or if you're hoping to give the gift of literature. Just fill in the profile and we'll do the rest - and remember, the more information you give us in the profile, the better and more tailored your recommendations will be! Hearing exactly why you love or hate a book gives us more clues to find your new favorite- it just so happens to be what we love to talk about, too, so don't hold back. Ready to begin your 5forU journey?

Start your 5forU Request!