Reading

Fond Memories of Nancy Drew

I am old enough that while working my first library job librarians were still debating the efficacy of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries.  At the time, there were two distinct camps:  Those that felt children should only read “quality” literature and those that believed that any reading was good.  This dichotomy played out in library selection meetings and at library conferences around the country as the debate waged over spending precious tax dollars for what, by some, were deemed titles just slightly above pulp fiction.  (Note:  The distinction that books by Carolyn Keene were not pulp was based solely on the hard covers of this series versus the paperbacks of such authors as Philip K. Dick or Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Remember – At the time, a similar debate waged over the merits of paperbacks, perceived as ephemeral and not worthy of being in a library collection, regardless of the author!)

I definitely fell into the latter category; after all, I had loved Nancy Drew mysteries.  My childhood friend, Julie B., introduced me to this strong female heroine and her two best friends and ever faithful sleuthing partners, Beth and George, when she lent me her copy of The Hidden Staircase.  I thought Julie was immensely lucky as she owned a wonderful collection of 10-13 titles which she began lending to me.  Her collection consisted of early titles in the series, so, with my allowance and every birthday and Christmas, I acquired the later books in the series.  Our goal was to own every Nancy Drew title, that by combining her early titles and my later ones, our collection would meet in the middle.

There are those avid readers who pride themselves on never re-reading a title and those that re-visit well loved books time and again.  On this topic I fall in the middle as I generally don’t re-read books simply because, in the words of Frank Zappa, “So many books, so little time.”  But I do remember the first book I ever re-read.  It was a sunny day during summer vacation and I read The Clue in the Old Stagecoach three times, cover-to-cover.  The magic of the words transported me into Nancy’s search for hidden treasure.  Having just re-read The Bookseller for The Directors’ Book Club, my list of re-read titles (not inlcuding library storytime favorites) is now a dozen plus a few: 

  • The Bookseller by Mark Pryor
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  • The Clue in the Old Stagecoach by Carolyn Keene (Three times in one day!)
  • Dune by Frank Herbert
  • Harry Potter, #1-7 by J.K. Rowling (First as the titles were released & re-read before each movie premiere.)
  • His Dark Materials, #1-3 by Philip Pullman (For the summer science fiction book club.)
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (Just because what is not to love about a time travel romance between Claire and Jamie aka Sam Heughan with his own blend of whisky.)
Reading

Book Club with Hugo Marston & The Bookseller

balck and white book cover with Paris elaborate bridge over the Seine in the foreground and Eifel Tower in the background

A well written mystery, with a story that evolves from an interest in antique books, to the kidnapping of a bouquiniste (a bookseller with a stall along the Seine), plus historic WWII intrigue, and, of course, murder.  There is even a little love interest scribed by Mark Pryor in The Bookseller, the first title in the Hugo Marston series.

After enjoying our first book club title, The Directors – a library loving, book reading, wine drinking group of retired friends – moved literary settings from the English countryside to Paris for our second book club choice.  The Bookseller introduced us to Hugo Marston, a former FBI profiler now head of embassy security in Paris.  The tall Texan, who is fluent in French, loves well brewed coffee and walking Paris streets, possesses a strong sense of justice but will diplomatically step out of the limelight and let the French police claim the glory after catching the bad guys.  The Directors all agreed we will be exploring the other titles in Pryor’s Hugo Marston series.

Happy reading!

Reading

Book Club: The Thursday Murder Club

When I started Knit+ Librarian, I thought I could simply resurrect my blogging skills and, violà, creativity would abound.  But I forgot that while the WYSIWYG environment is easy to navigate it also abounds in sophistication.  Depending on themes and choices, the options for style and design are wildly numerous.  So, as part of my 2021 self-improvement resolutions, I registered for WordPress Courses and, dear reader, you may see some different posts (not just knitting or baking) as I experiment with tools and techniques.  First up – learning new formatting options and inserting a YouTube video.


The Directors – a library loving, book reading, wine drinking group of retired friends – just finished our first book club discussion, something new for the new year.  Our kickoff title was the charming debut mystery, The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman.  The septuagenarian and octogenarian characters are laugh-out-loud funny as they gather evidence, support the local constabulary, enjoy a cocktail and, of course as our heroes, solve the mystery.  We all agreed, later in life, we could easily conceive of living in such a retirement village as the one nestled in the hills of Kent, England.  Enjoy a book promoting interview with the author.