This is the first in a long series featuring Sebastian St. Cyr, son of an earl who becomes a sleuth when he finds himself the prime suspect in a horrible murder. Set against the backdrop of 1811 London society, this well-researched historical fiction does have some violence, but is also filled with suspense, mystery and a bit of romance.
Readers of history will enjoy this page-turning memoir about generations of a German family torn apart during the Cold War. “It really helped me better understand my own family’s experience regarding the Berlin Wall and a divided Germany.”
Looking for something cheery and charming to read? Try my new go-to remedy: picture books! Now, I realize that some people have ample exposure to picture books thanks to children, or grandchildren or perhaps even your occupation. But some of us don’t cross paths with picture books as often and yet when I do, I usually find myself engrossed in the story AND the art. I also often find myself reading them aloud to enjoy the wonderful sense of rhythm and wordplay. They cover the gamut from whimsical to serious, but all will add a little inspiration into your day!
For obvious reasons, this is the time of year readers who might not normally read horror find themselves ready to try out a frightening book. That said, there are still those (like me) who don’t mind trying something a little scary – but we definitely can’t handle anything too dark or violent!
When I was getting my Library Degree (shout out to the MLIS program at Dominican University!) I took a “Readers Advisory” class that included a section on horror. I was SO worried about what I would have to read, but happily my instructor suggested a great book that she called “horror light.” I ended up really enjoying it, and since then I’ve passed it along as a suggestion to many others.
The book is Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, the story of Richard Mayhew, a young London businessman with a good heart and an ordinary life, which is changed forever when he is plunged through the cracks of reality into a malevolent world of shadows and darkness “under” the city.
It’s dark and atmospheric and creepy without being something that made me stay up all night with the lights on! In fact, several years ago I learned BBC Radio 4 had turned it into a radio play and made an effort to listen to the live broadcast online. (Note: sadly it isn’t currently available to listen to for free, but you can check out the cast and some clips on the BBC Radio website).
Looking for another “horror light” idea? Then I would also suggest trying the classic tale The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. Not all modern day readers feel it is scary in the least, but I loved the slowly building creep factor and the many questions I simply could not answer as to who or what was truly haunted. By the way, if you would rather watch the story, make sure to get the 1963 film adaptation starring Julie Harris, titled The Haunting. (The 1999 movie is said to be truly terrible by anyone who has tried it!)
If you have a title suggestion for “horror light” please share it!
Looking for a new book to try? Here are three titles our patrons have enjoyed – so much so that they stopped by the Reader Services Desk to tell me about it!
If you enjoy mysteries filled with interesting details, Artifacts by Mary Anna Evans is the first in a “fascinating” series featuring an archeologist.
When it came out in 2003, Booklist said, “Evans introduces a strong female sleuth in this extremely promising debut, and she makes excellent use of her archaeological subject matter, weaving past and present together in a multilayered, compelling plot.” Readers must agree as last year the ninth title in the series was published!
Many people are familiar with the Star Wars movies, but did you know there’s an entire universe (heh) of books that have been written, too? A patron says Scoundrels adds “a new twist to the story we know” about Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Lando Calrissian.
For those who really know their Star Wars timeline, this takes place during the Rebellion Era (five years within the events of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope).
Posted onMay 12, 2016|Comments Off on Award News for Mystery Lovers
In case you missed it, the Edgar Allan Poe Awards were announced last week and I am always fascinated by the nominee and winner lists as they often serve up hidden gems (in fact, two of the three pictured below are currently on the shelf!). Click the link above to see the entire list.
It’s also nice to see that Walter Mosley was awarded the Grand Master, the highest honor the Mystery Writers of America bestows, one that recognizes a lifetime of achievement and an impressive quality of work. Mosley, a prolific writer, is perhaps best known for his crime series featuring Easy Rawlins. The first in the series is The Devil in a Blue Dress.
A National Book Award finalist in 2015, the author shares her experiences with octopi at aquariums and in wild. I was surprised to learn just how clever they are, and how many people love them! A perfect read if YOU want to escape into an upbeat, true story that’s full of gentle humor and wonder.
Posted onApril 6, 2016|Comments Off on Going Beyond The Boys in the Boat
Like many workplaces, the Library is full of jargon. In the world of Reader Services we sometimes pull together something called a “reading map” which is designed to be a far-reaching list of books and other resources someone might find interesting if they’ve read a certain book.
Here at St Charles, we usually call this “going beyond” the book and given our month-long focus on the book, The Boys in the Boat for One Book, One Community, I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn we’ve put together not simply a list, but a webpage full of “beyond the book” information, including video clips, book titles, author information and more!
Reader Services also does the in-house book displays found in the New Books area, and during April we focused on titles that have a connection with “The Life and Times ofThe Boys in the Boat.” Since the book also references the world of film and propaganda during that time period, we featured that in a second display, and the third showcases other stories of drama and endurance on the water. We hope all these resources enhance your enjoyment of the 2016 One Book, One Community program!
We are getting excited about all our April events for The Boys in the Boat! If you haven’t read it yet, there are a lot of copies (i.e. short waiting list) at the Library if you put it on hold. If you would like to own a copy, please visit our partner, Town House Books, who is offering a 10% discount when you show your library card!
If you’re not sure if this is the book for you, or if you have read it and would like to learn more, listen to this great interview with the author by Librarian Nancy Pearl.