Read-a-Likes, reader's advisory

Read-a-Likes: Agatha Christie

If you love the grand dame of mystery, and want more whodunits with a cozy feel and clever plots, try these authors:

Margery Allingham
M.C. Beaton
Lilian Jackson Braun
Carola Dunn
Dorothy Gilman
Jane Haddam
Carolyn Hart
P.D. James
Jane Langton
Charlotte MacLeod
Ngaio Marsh
Ellis Peters
Ruth Rendell
Dorothy L. Sayers

Read A Like Christie

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Book Club, reader's advisory

The After Party—Books and Bagels and Morning Book Break—December 2017

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Books and Bagels and Morning Book Break Book Discussions on
Still Life by Louise Penny

Ratings:  In Books and Bagels, the book received ratings between 3.0 and 4.0. The average of the ratings was 3.42.

In Morning Book Break, the book received ratings between a 2.0 and 4.0.  The average of the ratings was 3.50.

Facilitator stated selection of this cozy mystery was based on club input regarding the desire to have shorter selections and/or easy reads during the holidays. Facilitator also stated that one goal is to expose members to a variety of genres. Members were asked whether or not they appreciated this selection as part of accommodating these requests.  Members overwhelming appreciated having an easier read and enjoy being exposed to new authors and genres.

Review:

Books and Bagels:  Many members stated they are not mystery readers and with that in mind, they found this cozy mystery novel entertaining. Members thought the book was good, but not outstanding. The writing and structure seemed similar to an Agatha Christie novel.  Many members enjoyed the characters Louise Penny created and most members plan on reading another Louise Penny book in the Inspector Gamache series.

Morning Book Break: Most members enjoyed the novel and thought Louise Penny skillfully revealed her clues. They enjoyed visiting the countryside of Three Pines. They found the read soothing and a great escape from the news of the day.  Members liked that Penny showed tolerance for a variety of people without being preachy. Many members will probably read another book in the series.

A few members disliked the novel. They disliked that Louise Penny had at least twenty-six characters in the novel and some members found this confusing and frustrating.  Members also disliked the ending and found it contrived and rushed.  Members also felt they learned more about archery then they ever wanted to know.

Discussion Highlights:

  • Discussion about Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his strengths and weaknesses
  • Discussion about other main characters and their relationships: Clara & Peter, Olivier & Gabri, Reine-Marie, Ruth, Myrna, Jane, Ben, Suzanne & Matthew Croft, Philippe,

Yolande, Andre and Bernard Malenfant.  Also, discussed choices the characters made throughout the novel and if any characters evolved over the course of the novel.

  • Members were asked which character they would most like to have cafe au lait with at the Bistro. Most members would like to have coffee with Olivier and Gabri, as they believe they are the most interesting conversationalists. Members would like to have discussions about food to their heart’s content.

Some members elected to have coffee with Inspector Gamache to discuss philosophy and find out how he solves crimes. Two members desired to have coffee with Reine-Marie to hear the private stories Inspector Gamache has told her. Several members would seek out Myrna to get some sage advice.  Several members coveted time with Jane to hear stories of the children she taught and insights into all the villagers—they found her powers of observation to be profound. They would also like to discuss her art.  Some members wanted to dialogue with Ruth about her poetry. One member needed to talk with Ben and find out what happened in his life that led him down such a dark path.

  • Discussed Agent Yvette Nichol’s role in the novel. What is her purpose: as an investigator and/or part of the narrative? Did you find this subplot intrusive or helpful?
  • The role of Jane’s art in the novel and the Queen of Hearts game played by Jane and her niece Yolande.
  • The role of psychology and poetry within the novel.
  • How would you classify Still Life? Is Still Life a typical “cozy” mystery?
  • Louise Penny has a “detective reveal all” scene when Gamache gathers everyone to look at the painting, but all is not revealed. The group discussed Penny’s handling of the denouement.
  • We discussed whether or not we felt Louise Penny played fair with the reader. When the murderer was discovered, were you able to connect the dots with the clues presented throughout the novel or did the reveal come completely out of the blue?  Were you able to figure out who was the murderer?

Resources:

http://www.louisepenny.com/ (includes an excellent pronunciation guide for all of Louise Penny’s novels)

 

Read-a-Likes:

Still Life

Make Mine

Make Mine…Cozy Mystery

make-mine-cozy-mystery

A subgenre of crime fiction and mystery, cozy mysteries are for those readers who like the puzzle deciphering aspect of solving a crime, but not necessarily violence, profanity, or sex, which can be present in grittier mysteries and thrillers.

This genre is extremely popular in series, with readers being able to follow one amateur sleuth’s adventures over a long period of time.  The sleuth themselves is often an educated woman, and they tend to solve crimes in small, close-knit communities.

If cozies appeal to you, the following authors tend to write in this popular genre:

Catherine Aird
Susan Wittig Albert
Nancy Atherton
Robert Barnard
Stephanie Barron
M.C. Beaton
Laurien Berenson
Rhys Bowen
Lillian Jackson Braun
Simon Brett
Emily Brightwell
Rita Mae Brown
Laura Childs
Jill Churchill
Mary Daheim
Diane Mott Davidson
Aaron Elkins
Joanne Fluke
Anthea Fraser
Dorothy Gilman
Carolyn Hart
Joan Hess
Georgette Heyer
Sharon Kahn
Laurie R. King
Kate Kingsbury
Alexander McCall Smith
Sharyn McCrumb
Charlotte MacLeod
Tamar Myers
Katherine Hall Page
Elizabeth Peters
Ellis Peters
Nancy Pickard
Dorothy Sayers
Displays

October Displays

Every month, Reader’s Advisory puts out different displays in the area surrounding our desk.  For us, it’s a fun way to tie in the materials we love to the specific month or season!  Anything that is on the cubes can be checked out, just like anything else in the library!

For the month of October, there are several different exciting displays to choose from.

“Holiday Pot Luck,” located on the left book cube, is fiction based around all the year’s holidays, with a side focused on the upcoming holiday of Halloween.

“Sarcasm,” located on the center book cube, are books that have that most misunderstood of sensibilities.  The accompanying bookmarks (which are free to take home) define it this way: sarcasm /särˌkazem/ noun – the use of irony to mock or convey contempt.

“Guitar Greats,” and “We’re More than Just Music,” located on the CD display cube, is music focused on guitar performance.  Also located on one side of the CD display cube is “I Fall to Pieces,” music focusing on the upcoming holiday of Halloween.

“Halloween,” located on our corner display, is books in the horror genre.  Check out the accompanying Billboard slideshow!  This display until recently was “Epicurean Mysteries,” cozy mysteries centered around food and recipes.

The fiction film wall contains “Halloween Horror,” movies to frighten and delight on Halloween.  The nonfiction film wall is “October is National Adopt-a-Pet Month,” which features documentaries, how-tos, and films about cats, dogs, and other adoptable kinds of pets.

Check out the slideshow below for photos of each of these displays.
We encourage you to come in and check out these displays for yourself; you can always take something home!

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