Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mystery series writers

Some authors write books in a series, some write stand-alones, some write both. Some write more than one series and some prolific authors write multiple series and stand-alones in more than one genre.

Some authors have been writing their series for a long time (Marcia Muller began the Sharon McCone series with Edwin of the Iron Shoes in 1977), and some not so long (Louise Penny began the Three Pines series with Still Life in 2005).

Anyone who is the fan of a long-running series has entered into a special relationship with the author and at least one of the characters in the books. In some cases we come to know more about the lives of a series character than we know about some members of our own family. Our relationship with the author is one of expectation and anticipation. Usually, they never seem to write fast enough, with the possible exception of J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts.

In celebration of this year’s Mystery Series Week, Oct. 4-10, members of the Warrenton Library Mystery Book Club invite you to try one of their favorite mystery/thriller series.

Here are the top 10 favorites, by author, series name or character and first title in the series.

  1. Nevada Barr (Anna Pigeon) Track of the Cat

  2. M C Beaton (Hamish MacBeth) Death of a Gossip

  3. Lee Child (Jack Reacher) Killing Floor

  4. Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch) Black Echo

  5. Deborah Crombie (Kincaid and James) A Share in Death

  6. Diane Mott Davidson (Goldy culinary series) Catering to Nobody

  7. Elizabeth George (Lynley and Havers) A Great Deliverance

  8. Sue Grafton (Kinsey Millhone) A is for Alibi

  9. Martha Grimes (Richard Jury) The Man with a Load of Mischief

  10. Anne Perry (William Monk) Face of a Stranger

The Mystery Book Club always welcomes new members. We meet at noon the third Thursday of each month at the John Barton Payne Building.

Maryellen @ Warrenton

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Plan your fall reading

I dont' know about you, but I don't get as much reading done in the summer as I'd like. It seems like summers are always packed with outdoor activities to enjoy, gardening to do, picnics and parties to attend, and of course a stay-cation to get some things done around the house.

So now that things are winding down, I have a few really good books to share. They have no particular connection to one another except that they are all by female authors.

The first is The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. This is Morton's second novel and I've been telling everyone I know about it. The plot moves at a good pace -- fast enough to keep you interested but slow enough to develop the characters. Plus the story takes place in three different time frames, so you really have to pay attention to where you are in the characters' lives. It's the story of a family history lost and rediscovered.

Having enjoyed Kate Morton's book so much, I just started her other novel, The House at Riverton, which was actually her first novel. It is promising to be just as enjoyable as The Forgotten Garden.

After reading The Forgotten Garden I read The Book of Bright Ideas by Sandra Kring. While I wasn't crazy about the way this book ended ... it has a pretty typical type of ending ... the characters in the story made it well worth the read. I don't want to give away the story, but 9-year-olds Winnalee and Button and their family members are great fun getting to know.

After that I dove into The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Set in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960s against the backdrop of the Civil Rights movement, the story juxtaposes the lives of middle and upper middle class white women and the black maids who take care of the white families. Important to the story are the changes in society as they reflect the changes in the lives of two maids, Minnie and Aibilene, and one young, privileged white woman, Skeeter.

Finally, I just finished The White Queen by Phillipa Gregory. For any fan of historical fiction, Gregory is a real treat. In this, the first installment of a new series about the Plantagenets, Gregory focuses on the ambitious Elizabeth Woodville, who marries Edward IV, and the mysterious disappearance of her two sons and heirs to the throne. After her book The Other Boleyn Girl (also a good read) was made into a movie, we've seen an increase in the popularity of her books.

Happy fall reading. Dawn S. @ Warrenton

Mary Cassatt's Woman Reading (oil on canvas,32-1/4x23-1/2 inches) is exhibited at the JoslynArt Museum in Omaha, Nebraska.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Go 'fishing' at the library

A wise patron once told me, "coming in to the library is kinda like fishing ... once in a while, you need to try different spots."

Read historical fiction? Like Steve Berry's The Romanov Prophecy? If so, visit the children's area of the library and pick up the biography Anastasia. In addition to the text you'll enjoy the pictures of everything just described.

(The children's section is a great area that many adults never explore. There everything is in condensed form with the added bonus of lots and lots of pictures. So, if you are a visual person, like I am, you'll love it there - all the facts without all the adult verbosity.)

I recommend The Wayward Muse, which is about the life of William Morris and the start of the Arts and Crafts movement in Great Britain. Then go to the nonfiction section and the oversized shelves, too, and pick through to your heart's content the books of Morris' designs and the photo books of his homes in England, his wallpaper and fabric designs - everything described in The Wayward Muse.

Check out Loving Frank, about Frank Lloyd Wright and his coming to the forefront in the world of architecture, then go, again to the nonfiction section, to see books of his buildings. And don't forget to check on related DVDs.

It's like one giant string all around the library where everything is connected ... and, sometimes, you are lead to "fish in another spot."

Happy fishing! Kathryn @ Warrenton