I love seeing local authors do well. Even more I love connecting with books that have been written by local authors. At the BYU Bookstore when I say "local read," I am laying claim to:
  • Utah authors and illustrators
  • LDS authors and illustrators as well as
  • BYU alumni that are authors and illustrators

They are all of particular interest here.

Two locals who qualify in more than one of those areas are both Brandons – Brandon Mull and Brandon Sanderson. Both men have the loyalty of the BYU Bookstore. We recommend their books highly and with good success. The success I claim is more important than money; it is customer satisfaction. I theorize that writers who write first because they love to, and then to earn their way, tell a better story. Brandon Mull and Brandon Sanderson are authors who write because they love to. The stories they tell are loved in turn by their readers. They both have multiple new titles worth looking at.

Brandon Mull's Sky Raiders launched March 11. Sixth grader, Cole goes into what he thinks is a haunted house and ends up in the "Outskirts" involved with the Sky Raiders and the problem of how to get himself and his friends home. Don't let the sixth grade age limit your interest. I was thoroughly entertained by this book. It is book 1 of the new Five Kingdoms series. Spirit Animals is a new multiple author series and book 1 is written by Brandon Mull. Wild Born debuted September 2013. Brandon has done a great job of launching the story and the line-up of authors for the rest of the series is stellar. Brandon Mull creates worlds that we jump to believe in.

Brandon Sanderson writes books for young and old with ease. His fans love the books without regard to the target age. He loves to write and he loves his readers. It is a wonderful formula for success. Words of Radiance, book 2 of his Stormlight series launched at a midnight party hosted by BYU Bookstore this month, selling well over 700 books. His recent Young Adult books, Rithmatist and Steelheart are big favorites. I have confessed to a case of fantasy fatigue before I started Rithmatist. I picked it up out of loyalty to Brandon but admittedly in the mood for realism not fantasy. Even with that negative start, he had me enthralled before page 5. A sure cure for fantasy fatigue is well-written fantasy. Steelheart delivers intense action and fast-paced super-hero plotting.

These authors aren't just running with best sellers. They lead the pack.

- Anita

Anita is the Children's Book buyer for the BYU Bookstore and has worked at the BYU Bookstore for over ten years! Anita spreads her love of reading within our Children's Books department and with many local events.

My Name is Asher Lev - Chaim Potok

I have to say that My Name is Asher Lev, by Chaim Potok, is one of the best contemporary novels I have ever read. I don't know what I can say to encourage you to read this one other than the fact that I am normally really picky with my novels and very few of them make it onto my "great" list.

I was required to read this novel for my creative writing class in my first year here at BYU. I had never heard of the book before, nor the author, and my professor was an interesting character so I was a little hesitant to dive straight into reading this one at first.

However, after purchasing My Name is Asher Lev, I had left it on my desk and my roommate saw it. She quickly exclaimed that it was one of the best books she had ever read. So, a little curious, I began to read it.

My Name is Asher Lev is about a young Jewish boy who grows up to become an artist. In this beautifully written novel the author, Chaim Potok, illustrates the internal struggle Asher Lev faces in trying to balance his love for his religion and his love for art. Eventually his obsession with the creative world distances him from his home, his culture, and his family.

Since I am a huge nerd for all things literature and art, I fell in love with Potok's novel quickly. He beautifully explains the clash between cultures, and the struggle of doing what you love versus becoming who your parents expect you to be.

I rarely make this claim but Chaim Potok has woven in a love of writing and a love of stories so incredibly well that My Name is Asher Lev is definitely well worth your time.