Saturday, February 11, 2012

Reading a series...

This morning I just finished the last Miss Zukas mystery.  Last weekend I was in Seattle thanks to the Vancouver School Board's long weekend and an obliging friend.  I am sad that the great Elliott Bay Bookstore no longer exists in Pioneer Square but as we were driving over to Bellevue I spotted the Mystery Bookstore and my friend and I walked over there later in the day.  I hadn't been there in ages so was happy to visit this great bookstore and their knowledgeable staff.  And then I remembered Miss Zukas and that I hadn't read any of Jo Dereske's mysteries for awhile.  Apparently she had difficulty getting the last one published due to changes in the publishing industry and self published Farewell, Miss Zukas for her loyal readers.  They also told me about her website so you have that link as well under her name.

Probably because I could never say I was an organized or neat person I really do admire those who have these qualities and have a certain almost fascination how they do it. Miss Zukas is the epitome of neatness and organization, even fastidiousness.  And for Miss Zukas, this is both a blessing and sometimes a curse.  It is also unsettling how crime seems to come her way but of course what makes her an excellent librarian also makes her an excellent detective.  And it was also of course rather nice that she not only solves a mystery in this book but also finally touches her reluctantly owned cat, Boy Cat Zukas, and marries her long time suitor, the Chief of Police, and sets off for a Lithuanian honeymoon.  That was a long sentence!  An added bonus is the books are set in Bellehaven, a thinly veiled Bellingham, Washington (an hour from here and a very lovely place).  All her books now our e-books as well so if you have missed them it isn't too late to start reading this series.

As I was reading, I was reminded of how much many of the kids in the class love series.  One girl has read every Roald Dahl book and now she is into the Dorky Diary series.  Other girls are reading every Kit Pearson book.  Another reader loves the Amulet series.  There are many kids still loving Geronimo Stilton and The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books.  Rick Riordan continues to be a favorite author of the kids and mine.  To hook a kid on reading you often have to find the right book, and it's a bonus if there are more about their favorite characters.  Our trip to the Writers' Festival this year introduced us all to Alan Cumyn and many of the kids love his books now.  Another author, Wendy Mass  hooked the kids in with her title, The Candymakers, just as I discovered a couple of her other books so she has become another favorite author.  Just as my friends and I share our favorite books and authors so do the kids.  As a young reader I, of course, loved the Anne of Green Gables books and mysteries, especially Trixie Belden and Donna Parker and shared them with my friends.  A few years ago when I drove through the Hudson Valley I kept remembering Trixie's adventures.  Books open so many new worlds.  I mean Miss Zukas, for instance, has taught be a bit about Lithuanian culture.  Series aren't always "serious books" but once you start reading you keep reading.

I also just finished a P.D James mystery, featuring a sequel to Pride and Prejudice, Death Comes to Pemberley.  I guess P. D. James, another of my favorite mystery writers is a Jane Austin fan, just as I am, and must have had a desire to have a continuation of the Darcys' life.  I have to say that I loved the first six Trixie Belden books but didn't like the ones that followed written by different authors nearly as much.  I think  P. D. James is more successful with her own characters.   I just read she wasn't sure at 91, if she was up for a longer project an Adam Dalgleish mystery would involve.

It is a joy to find a series that you love, heartbreak when the series ends, and then joy again when you find your next favorite author.  Happy reading!

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