Children's Literacy Round-Up: March 17
Children's Autism Author to Receive Barbara Jordan Media Award

Bookstore Treasure

I have a friend visiting me this week. We are mostly watching college basketball on TV, but we've also had two highly successful bookstore excursions. I thought that I would share my successes with you.

At M is for Mystery, an amazing mystery bookstore in San Mateo, CA I bought five books, three of them signed. Mostly these are adult mysteries, with one young adult novel thrown in for good measure.

  • RHYS BOWEN: Oh Danny Boy (Molly Murphy Mysteries). Signed! This is the fifth book in the Molly Murphy series, set in New York City in the summer of 1902. I'm partial to the sub-genre of historicals in which the main female character is ahead of her time in terms of independence. Molly works as a private investigator, is unmarried and without family, and generally takes care of herself (though she does have a police detective love interest to get her out of scrapes, too - this is also common to the genre).
  • HENNING MANKELL: Before the Frost. This is the first Kurt and Linda Wallander novel. I've read nearly all of the Kurt Wallander series (I missed one of the early ones, and will go back for it eventually). This is the first book of a spin-off series, featuring both Kurt and his daughter. These are marvelous police procedurals, set in Sweden (and written originally in Swedish). They are a bit dark and brooding, but the characters are complex and real, and the mysteries engaging. I like to take these books on trips because I know that I'll like them, and they are quite dense, so I can make one last cross-country. If you decide to read them, you should start with the first Kurt Wallander book, Faceless Killers. The standalone The Return of the Dancing Master is also compelling.
  • ELIZABETH IRONSIDE: Death in the Garden. Signed! Elizabeth Ironside is the pseudonym of Lady Catherine Manning, wife of the British Ambassador to the U.S. This is a British novel in which an overworked young attorney starts looking through her great-aunt's papers from sixty years earlier, and unravels a mystery concerning the murder of her aunt's husband. I've seen great reviews of this book, and look forward to reading it.
  • SCOTT WESTERFELD: Uglies. This is the first of a young adult series about a futuristic world in which people undergo plastic surgery, to become extremely beautiful, and anyone normal looking is considered ugly. I've been interested to check out the series, and will certainly let you know what I think once I have a chance to read the book. You can visit Scott Westerfeld's blog here.
  • And one that I can't name, because it's a surprise for my Mom.

At BookBuyers (used books) in Mountain View, CA I scored a set of the first six books (out of seven) in Jane Langton's Hall Family Chronicles. I wrote about this series back at the end of January, and have been meaning to go back and read them ever since. So I was quite pleased, while browsing in the used bookstore, to come across a nice paperback set, in good condition, of the first six books. I scooped them right up! Here is the list:

  1. The Diamond in the Window
  2. The Swing in the Summerhouse
  3. The Astonishing Stereoscope
  4. The Fledgling
  5. The Fragile Flag
  6. The Time Bike

All in all, a successful few days, bookwise. I have another trip coming up next week, so I should be able to get some good reading done then. Have a great weekend! -- Jen