Mixing History with Mystery

Fellow readers, there are few things I love more than crossover titles – books with footing in multiple genres. I am a huge mystery reader, and I will follow mystery plots into many other genres. Today, let’s talk about some new mysteries that are also quite good historical fiction titles.

The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne by Elsa Hart
In 1703 London, Barnaby Mayne is a preeminent collector, amassing two townhouses worth of cabinets containing birds, beetles, preserved snakes, jewels, and many other wonders of the world. Lady Cecily Kay has arrived to spend a week using Mayne’s dried plant collection to identify plants she has collected on her travels. But on her first day, during a tour of his collections, Mayne is murdered, with his assistant standing above him holding the knife. But something seems off about the situation, so Cecily dives into the competitive world of obsessive collectors to find the true killer. Library Journal called it a “glimpse into the intimate circles that will eventually spawn the great museums.” Continue reading “Mixing History with Mystery”

Deep Dives: The Natural World

Sometimes, when the world and news cycle seem really fragmented, I take great solace in diving deep on a particular topic. While this can be done on the internet, for me the most satisfying method is to sit down with a book and just let myself sink into the minutia. If you’re craving that same feeling, here are three books that dive deep into elements of the natural world.

Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui
Beginning with the unlikely survival of an Icelandic man who survived six hours in freezing winter waters after his boat capsized and who became an accidental celebrity for his feat, Tsui examines the human relationship with water and swimming. Broken into five sections, Tsui looks at how and why humans swim for survival, well-being, community, competition, and “flow,” reaching back into human history, evolution and mythology to explain our human history with water. Along the way she weaves in her own experiences visiting the beach in New York and swimming in the Bay Area. I confess I’ve always loved swimming and reading about swimming (such as in Leanne Shapton’s Swimming Studies), but I think most people will enjoy this dip in the water. Continue reading “Deep Dives: The Natural World”

Classic Literary Elections

Packed with high stakes and inherent drama, it is little surprise that elections figure in many great novels. Drawn from our latest list of literary elections, here are excerpts from a few of our favorites classic fictional campaigns.

The Pickwick Papers, by Charles Dickens. “There was a moment of awful suspense as the procession waited for Samuel Slumkey to step into his carriage. Suddenly the crowd set up a great cheering. ‘He has come out,’ said little Mr. Perker. Another cheer, much louder. ‘He has shaken hands with the men,’ cried the little agent. Another cheer, far more vehement. ‘He has patted the babies on the head,’ said Mr. Perker, trembling with anxiety. A roar of applause that rent the air. ‘He has kissed one of ’em!’ exclaimed the delighted little man. A second roar. ‘He has kissed another.” He’s kissing ”em all!’ screamed the little gentleman. And, hailed by the deafening shouts of the crowd, the procession moved on.” Continue reading “Classic Literary Elections”

Amateurs Getting It Done

As an avid mystery reader, one aspect of the genre I love the most is knowing that however tumultuous the situation is at the beginning, by the end of the novel the state of affairs will be set right again. Real life is never so certain. Here are three mystery novels wherein regular everyday people solve crimes and put their communities to right.

A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette
Win Crewse has returned to her hometown of Chagrin Falls, OH to take over and revitalize the ice cream shop started by her grandparents. When an old business enemy of her family returns to town, and is swiftly found dead, Win’s father comes under suspicion and Win starts investigating in order to clear his name. Can she convince people to buy ice cream in winter, and also find a killer? A gentle mystery with a winning heroine. Continue reading “Amateurs Getting It Done”

Three on a Theme: LGBT Comics

While many of us tend to associate the graphic novel and comic book genre with superheroes, in a cultural market dominated by companies like Marvel and DC that produce blockbuster movies based in on graphic novels every year, there are plenty of other types of comic books out there that are available to you with your library card! Specifically, the library has a great variety of graphic novels by queer authors telling queer stories in a variety of comic genres and suitable for a variety of ages. Here are just three of those to get you started.

My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness by Kabi Nagata
This autobiographical manga, which was published after it gained a cult-following on the Internet as a web comic, tells the story of a twenty-something woman’s struggles with her identity and social interaction. Although the story hinges on the narrator’s first experience of lesbian intimacy with an escort at the age of 28, it really explores the rest of her life in much more detail – such as her struggles with social anxiety, depression, eating disorders, her relationship to her parents (who are constantly disappointed in her), and how all these things coalesced into her finally coming to terms with her identity as a lesbian late in her twenties. While the content is certainly heavy, especially for readers who may have experience with self harm or eating Continue reading “Three on a Theme: LGBT Comics”