Saturday, January 28, 2012

Reading and more reading

Several years ago a kind neighbor who is another avid reader began to bring me books from the public library. Then she found out about SOS, short for special outreach services, a program our public library has that pairs volunteers to a person who cannot go to the library and with the help of one of the library staff, delivers books. My library card stays with the librarian who emails me once a month to ask what my wants are and I respond with requests.

In November I requested books with a holiday theme and discovered Jan Karon. This marvelous writer wrote a Christmas themed story, called, I believe, Shepherds Abiding and I loved it. The next month's bag of books included In the Company of Others, which is truly one of my all time favorite books. Set in modern Ireland with flashbacks through a journal to the nineteenth century I was transported. The characters are also a bit older than I am instead of thirty-five years younger, so this helps a great deal, too.

I have read a great many mysteries over these past few years too. A lovely recent one was The Laughter of Dead Kings by Elizabeth Peters. Her Amelia Peabody series is one of my all time favorites, along with Marjorie Allingham's Albert Campion series, and Dorothy Sayers Lord Peter.

Many of these books are "cozies", stories featuring amateur sleuths who have some other occupation in their lives than police work and who just happen to keep finding dead bodies and then figuring out who the murders were. They feature florists and chefs, bakery owners and quilters and they take place in knit shops and other small town venues.

Tonight I will go back to reading one of the chef's as she solves a murder.

I prefer stories that have good puzzles, interesting to quirky characters and one or few murders. I don't like the really, really dark stories especially since I read before going to sleep, but mainly because those are the kind of things that I am trying to avoid too much of on television.

Another favorite of mine is Earlene Fowler whose stories feature a heroine who is a small museum curator in a town on the Coast of Central California. Wonderful characters and very good writing make her books very good reads.

I have read most of Susan Albert Wittig's China Bayles series twice and think highly of them as well as the series of stories set in the Edwardian era that she co-authored with her husband under the pseudonym, Robin Paige.

If you have any books to recommend to me, please leave a comment.

I am so grateful for this service from the library and to the volunteer who brings my books and has become my friend.

1 comment:

Susan Slater said...

Hi Peggy-

What a great service - I had no idea it existed. May need to consider volunteering. As a former librarian myself, sounds right up my alley...

I'm a mystery lover too and one of my *favorite* sources for new titles to try is the website "Stop, You're Killing Me" (
You can look up books by the usual things (title, author, main character), but you can also search by the profession of the main character (if you want to find another chef mystery or museum-based series), time (mysteries set in the 1800's anyone?) or geographical location. And there is a whole section listing similar types of series (IOW, if you like "X", you might like "Y"). I have found dozens of new titles to try and I love that the author lists series titles in order, so I can go back and figure out what the FIRST book was in a series I may have stumbled on in the middle! And she lists when new titles are coming out (or being released in paperback) so I can add them to my own library list.

Good luck. We should get together and chat mysteries one day!