SJPL Recommendation News: October 2023

Welcome, or welcome back, to SJPL's Rec News, an occasional publication featuring recreational and recommended reading from our SJPL Librarians. Last month, we took a look at some curated lists to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, which spans the first half of October in addition to the last two weeks of September; as well as several lists featuring collections of Short Stories to build excitement and help find inspiration for the Fall Into Fiction contest. We will get to read the winners of the Fall Into Fiction contest later in October, but until then we have a number of reads to keep you busy.

October marks several more month-long observances. It's Filipino American History Month in October, which this year is marked by the Pinoytown Rising: Filipino Americans in Santa Clara Valley exhibit; if you follow that link, there are also several reading recommendations listed to complement a visit. San José Public Library's California Room and local historian Robert Ragsac collaborated to bring this exhibit to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 5th floor. While on display from September 8 - November 30, there will also be a special event on October 14 featuring descendants of local pioneer Filipino families, who will share stories of their families and growing up Filipino American. Can't make it to the King Library for this exhibit? There's a virtual tour, as well.

Being a librarian, I do of course want to mention that October is also National Book Month - a celebration of all things reading and writing, of which we have some lists of author's making their debut to celebrate. Yet, despite the myriad monthly celebrations in October, October is the month where many of us dust off our witches hats, cut holes in our sheets, put our hands in hidden bowls of peeled grapes, and purchase anatomically incorrect creature skeletons. Yes, I'm talking about Halloween, so never fear (or, actually, do fear, in the spirit of the holiday), we have plenty of recommendations to help you get "sbooky" this month, as well. Plus, as always, the library will celebrate Halloween in style with a variety of events, including the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library's annual tradition, the Halloween Program & Costume Parade, which this year falls on Friday, October 27, 2023, at 4:00pm.

Picks for Halloween

Witch & Wombat book coverThe Boo Crew Needs You! book coverHaru, Zombie Dog Hero book coverThe Horrible Bag of Terrible Things book coverThe Dark Place book coverThe Infested book coverVampires of el Norte book coverMaeve Fly book cover

Halloween conjures images of colorful costumes and candy for many, but the true heart of Halloween is rooted in a haunting atmosphere. For example, do you know why people started to wear costumes for Halloween? The origin of this tradition comes from the Gaelic tradition of Samhain (pronounced SAW-in or SOWn). Marking the end of the harvest, they considered this time of year to be when the barrier between our world and that of the spirits was thinnest; ghouls and ghosts could enter our plane of existence. The costumes, then, would rather confuse these spirits and ward them off, or allow the wearer to blend in among them. While we don't take this so seriously these days as our costumes are often not near as frightening as those of the past, this tradition continues and allows for folks to celebrate regardless of if they're chasing fun or freak-outs.

For those looking for fun, check out our collection of Halloween picture books, featuring witches, ghosts, skeletons, and more classic spooky characters. Chasing freak-outs? We've quite the collection of horror at San José Public Library, and our Horror books lists have a selection of scary reads sure to suit cravings for creepy.

Debut Fiction

Shark Heart book coverMedusa's Sistersthe Deep Sky book coverEvery Rising Sun book coverBanyan Moon book coverGoddess Crown book coverTheir Vicious Games book coverGive Me a Sign book coverI'd Rather Burn Than Bloom book coverStars, Hide Your Fires book cover

With National Book Month falling in October and calling for a celebration of all things reading and writing, what better way to honor the month than by honoring up-and-coming authors keeping the craft alive, well, and by all measures thriving? The novels in these lists are their authors' firsts, and from what we've read, it is very likely we will see these names come up again. Discover a new favorite author at the beginning of their illustrious career with these stand-out debut works of fiction.

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!