Shelf Life: Winter is coming, and other excuses to visit the library

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, July 18, 2017

“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge” is probably my favorite quote from the popular television show Game of Thrones, as a librarian and avid reader. I’ve read the first two books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin and watch the show religiously. If you do too, you know that the seventh season premiered on HBO last Sunday.

In honor of this day that devoted fans have been anticipating for over a year, library assistant Martha Nobles created a recommendation list of fantasy novels. I’ve listed a few below that sound particularly awesome, but feel free to pick up the brochure found in our libraries for the full list. Additional suggestions are also available on our website.

Eragon, the first book in Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle series, is one of Martha’s suggestions for fantasy novels geared towards children. The series of four books detail the adventures of boy and dragon rider Eragon and his dragon Saphira as they attempt to save the kingdom of Alagaësia from the evil king Galbatorix.

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One of the young adult fantasy novel recommendations has been on my “to read” list for a while, “Shadow and Bone” by Leigh Bardugo. In this trilogy, teenage orphan Alina Starkov discovers that she has an extraordinary and unique power. Unfortunately for her, this power makes her vulnerable to those who wish to harness it for evil, and she must flee the kingdom of Ravka for her own safety.

“The Way of Kings” by Brandon Sanderson is an epic fantasy novel for adults. The story rotates between the points of view of many different characters including Szeth, a man shunned by his people and ordered to murder the king of a powerful nation; Kaladin, a peasant soldier who discovers that he possesses the surgebinding ability; Shallan, a woman whose family and lands are in danger and hatches a dangerous plot to save them; and Dalinar, the brother of a murdered king who begins to have visions and doubt the things he’s been told his entire life.

Another amazing library staff member, Amelia Hill, designed a Game of Thrones display at the Columbus Library, complete with an iron throne. Check it out next time you come in! We also have all the A Song of Ice and Fire books as well as the first six seasons of Game of Thrones on DVD.

If you’re already all caught up, why not start planning a finale dinner party for August 27? I’ll be preparing dishes from A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Companion Cookbook to a Game of Thrones to enjoy before the last episode of season seven. And remember, fear is for the winter…

Jen Pace Dickenson is the Youth Services Librarian for Polk County Public Libraries. For information about the library’s resources, programs, and other services, visit or call (828) 894-8721.