Book recommendations

Here is a list of books, graphic novels and zines recommended during the ÅcOnline Book recommendations programme item. The links go mostly to Wikipedia. Enjoy!

Prågram for ÅcOnline 2021

Welcome to ÅcOnline 2021! We will, again, be meeting in Zoom — the link will be sent a few days before the actual event on the 13th of May. Please note the times are Åland times, so UTC+3.

We have some light program for you this year. No GoH appearances this time, since we do want to save something for next year when we will be able to meet again! (Hopefully…). So the main purpose of this gathering is to see each other and to remind ourselves that the Åcon community is very much alive! In addition to the scheduled program, there will be opportunities to just hang out and chat, so grab a beverage and join us!

18.30 “Opening” & informal chat

19—19.45 Book recommendations: For some, the past year has been prime time for reading! We’d like to hear recommendations based on books/comics you’ve read this year! Quick & snappy recommendations, please, so we can hear as many as possible during the time we’ve got! 

20—20.45 Quiz! This year’s Åcon Quiz Covid Online Edition will have a slightly different flavour, not a battle of knowledge on genre fiction and the like, but its fans. Oh yes, dear members, a fandom quiz in the truest sense of the word. Join us for an online zoom-in (pun intended) on the people that make this tiny demilitarized get-together go round!

21—21.45 BotN Discussion about this year’s Book of the Night (Lisa Goldstein: The Red Magician).

Chatting etc

Book of the Night for May 13th

The first programme item for the small online Åconish event on 13 May is here! We will have the traditional Book of the Night discussion, and this year’s litterature of the late hour is Lisa Goldstein’s The Red Magician.

Here you can read a presentation of the book by Sari Polvinen:

Most of Lisa Goldstein’s novels are more in the magical realist tradition than pure secondary world fantasies. She has written, for example,  about surreal artists in Paris (The Dream Years), a dysfunctional western family in a fictional middle-eastern country (Tourists) and personal histories and secret societies (Walking the Labyrinth). While all of her work is worth reading, her most famous work is still her debut novel, The Red Magician, which won the National Book Award in 1982 and got her shortlisted for the Campbell award.

The Red Magician is holocaust fiction, a story about a young Hungarian Jewish girl Kicsi whose conservative village Rabbi refuses to listen to the warnings of a wandering magician Vörös about the impending war and genocide. It is an intriguing and beautifully written mix of fantasy, Jewish traditions and folklore, and a historical novel. As it is what we would now call middle grade/YA fiction, the lessons learned are not too subtle, but the message of healing, hope and overcoming survivor’s guilt are as important as ever.

If you want to participate in the Book of the Night discussion, now is the time to get your hands on a copy of The Red Magician. As the novel has not been reprinted in some time, your best bet is the friendly local library or a second hand book shop of your choice. The book is also easily available as an e-book or an audio book from wherever you purchase such.