Sunday, September 20, 2009

What I'm Reading Now...

As I mentioned in my introduction, I read mysteries for fun. I rarely read anything else, honestly. To find good books, I start by browsing the library catalog. But sometimes a book comes to my attention because a lot of people write about it in critical sources like Library Journal or the New York Times Book Review.

One of those books is Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin. It is not only a popular success, but a critical success as well. The best mysteries and historical fiction usually test my idea of what would have been acceptable at that time. For example, the "detective" in Mistress of the Art of Death is a woman who performs autopsies and investigates causes of death. While that is perfectly normal to us now, in medieval times that was unheard of, not to mention frowned upon. It was so unusual, in fact, the detective has to pretend she's an assistant to a man while she investigates the brutal murders of the children of Cambridge.

Reading historical fiction, including mysteries, inspires me to find nonfiction books. I can learn about what life was really like when my favorite fictional detective was "alive." Luckily, I work in a library full of just those kinds of books, so when I'm ready to learn about women in medieval England, I'll have just the book: Women in Medieval England by Helen Jewell.

If historical fiction is your interest, you can see a list of books in that category by searching the "subject keywords" field for "historical fiction" in our catalog. If mysteries are your thing, you can search the "subject keywords" field for "mystery fiction" OR "suspense fiction." Take a look--you'll be pleasantly surprised by what the library has to offer in these categories. And if you have a favorite mystery author, please use the contact us link to let me know about him/her. I'm always looking for my next favorite author.