Goodbye, 2016

I had many goals for 2016, and I achieved a pleasing number of them, but my most resounding success may have been my reading goal: I set out to read 100 books I had never read before during the course of this year, and as of today I have read 102.

I read novels, biographies, plays, poetry, and comics. I read fantasies, mysteries, romances, histories, and a few children’s books. I read ancient classics and books published last year. Some of my favorites were Ivanhoe (knights!) by Sir Walter Scott, and Tooth and Claw (dragons!), by Jo Walton. I read books in every format: paperback, hardback, on my Kindle, on my phone. I listened to many audiobooks, some read by volunteers and others by professionals.

2016 was a good year for me in some ways, but I’m not sorry to move forward into 2017, where many more good reads await me, I’m sure. Happy New Year, everyone!

Oh, sweet mystery of life

It’s the last day of the month! I’d better get on it. And by that I mean, actually write something on here.

I love finding a good book series, because there is always the delightful promise of a happy reunion with beloved characters in new adventures, and here I will list a few of my favorite mystery series.

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith.

This delightful series is not the usual murder mystery format. Mma Precious Ramotswe, our heroine, is a Botswanan lady who sets up a private detective agency in the first book, finding missing relatives, philandering husbands, and helping everyone she meets.

The Jane Austen mysteries, by Stephanie Barron.

These are murder mysteries solved by (and written in the first person voice of) Jane Austen. Barron does a very good job of imitating Jane, and has clearly done a lot of research, as each story takes place in concurrence with Jane’s actual life and travels.

The Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane mysteries, by Dorothy L. Sayers.

Sayers is simply the best mystery writer I have ever read. Not only are her plots brilliant, but her characters become one’s friends. These books transcend their genre and may truly be called fineĀ  literature.

I recommend all of these to anyone who is looking for something new to read.