Publication Date: 2014-12-18
Ryan's friend and author Paul Neslusan has created the city of Solypse that exists behind a waterfall, full of political intrigue and savory as well as unsavory characters. This first effort is just the beginning; Ryan said that book two in the series is in the final edits. Here's more from Amazon: "With a temple unable to help, and a council unwilling to save its own people, it is up to an exiled dwarf, a reluctant assassin, and a failed acolyte to save the city from total annihilation."
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Publication Date: 1999-06-28
Ryan grew up in Oklahoma and his appreciation for the South includes this book which many readers don't realize is not a work of fiction. This centers on Savannah, Georgia with observations about "colorful Southern neighbors, including a jazz-playing real estate shark; a sexually adventurous art student; the Lady Chablis; ... the gossipy Married Woman's Card Club; and an assortment of aging Southern belles. The book is also about the wealthy international antiques dealer Jim Williams, who played an active role in the historic city's restoration--and would also be tried four times for the 1981 shooting death of 21-year-old Danny Handsford, his high-energy, self-destructive house helper." [Publisher's Weekly]
The Cat in the Hat
Publication Date: 1957-03-12
Another classic of an entirely different kind, Ryan picked this as his favorite book from his favorite children's author (second choice would be Green Eggs and Ham). Surely everyone knows this story so let's learn a little more about Theodor Geisel instead: his books have been translated into thirty languages and among his many awards are a Caldecott Honor medal, Pulitzer Prize, and eight honorary doctoral degrees. Works based on his original stories have won three Oscars, three Emmys, and three Grammy awards. Oh, the places Dr. Seuss went!
Stranger in a Strange Land
Publication Date: 1991-10-01
Always the rebel, Ryan broke the "rule" of no science fiction and did his AP capstone project on this sci fi classic. From Amazon: "Stranger in a Strange Land, winner of the 1962 Hugo Award, is the story of Valentine Michael Smith, born during, and the only survivor of, the first manned mission to Mars. Michael is raised by Martians, and he arrives on Earth as a true innocent: he has never seen a woman and has no knowledge of Earth's cultures or religions. But he brings turmoil with him, as he is the legal heir to an enormous financial empire, not to mention de facto owner of the planet Mars. With the irascible popular author Jubal Harshaw to protect him, Michael explores human morality and the meanings of love."
Publication Date: 2014-02-04
Ryan enjoys wandering around bookstores and picked this up due to a staff member's recommendation. Although it's pitched as a "gripping fantasy thriller", Ryan emphasized that it is not a light read. From Booklist: "An expedition of four women is sent into an unknown region called Area X, beyond the borders of humanity: a psychologist, a surveyor, an anthropologist, and our narrator, a biologist. The purpose of the mission is to collect data about Area X and report back to the government, the Southern Reach, but circumstances begin to change when the group discovers a tower (or tunnel) that was previously unmarked on the map. Inside the structure, strange writing scrawls across the walls, and a spiral staircase descends downward, beckoning the members to follow."
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Publication Date: 2004-05-18
If you missed this intriguing first novel when it was published in 2004, consider that Ryan recommends it instead of A Spot of Bother, also by the same author. This is the story of Christopher Boone, an autistic teenager who is mathematically gifted. "When his neighbor's poodle is killed and Christopher is falsely accused of the crime, he decides that he will take a page from Sherlock Holmes (one of his favorite characters) and track down the killer. As the mystery leads him to the secrets of his parents' broken marriage and then into an odyssey to find his place in the world, he must fall back on deductive logic to navigate the emotional complexities of a social world that remains a closed book to him." [Booklist]
Publication Date: 2004-03-17
This title is a good illustration of the kind of nonfiction that Ryan reads. From Booklist: "Unlike professional football and basketball, Major League Baseball has no cap on the amount of money a team can spend on its players, which makes it nearly impossible for "small market" clubs to compete with the behemoths in Gotham and L.A. On the other hand, as Lewis shows us in his engaging saga of the Oakland Athletics, there are always ways to win on the cheap. The hero of Lewis' tale is Oakland General Manager Billy Beane, a bust as a player but a deft judge of talent. Lewis was granted what appears to be unlimited access--he often found himself in the Oakland executive offices when a big trade was going down--and his book reads like it."