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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Catching Up

on some summer reads.

Priscilla Royal's medieval mysteries always satisfy me.  In The Twice-Hanged Man, Prioress Eleanor, Infirmarian Anne, and Brother Thomas end up in the Marcher lands for the birth of her sister-in-law's child.  A murder, a hanging, and a second hanging when the beam breaks, a ghost?, and more twisty incidents.  Brother Thomas has a particularly hard time.  As usual, excellent research and intriguing plot with characters I like.

NetGalley/Poisoned Pen Press
Medieval Mystery.  Aug. 6, 2019.  Print length:  384 pages.



I read Alex Walter's Winterman a while back and liked it, so thought I'd try one of his other books--which turned into three other books:  Candles and Roses, Death Parts Us, and Their Final Act.  A trilogy featuring DI Alec McKay.  There are three different plots that are self-contained, but also an over-arching connection.  Kind of neat to have a trilogy of thrillers. There are definitely some dark elements.  Kindle Unlimited.


Where the Crawdads Sing was just as good as everyone said.  The writing was the highlight for me.  I read parts aloud because they were so good.  This has been reviewed so frequently, I'm not going to say anything else--except that it more than lived up to expectations.  Recommended.  

Purchased.





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I have a great appreciation for public libraries and librarians.  The UK has had such a difficult time keeping libraries open--and the articles about cutting hours and staff and closing libraries have made me sad.  ("Since 2005 we have lost more than 10,000 library workers and more jobs are being cut all the time.")  That is just once sentence from this article  about the importance of libraries in ways we don't always consider.

U.S. libraries, too, have become community problem solvers.  But libraries in the U.S. have also faced problems:


According to the Public Libraries News figures, since April 2011: 57 'static' libraries(buildings) have closed; 53 'mobile' libraries (based in vehicles) have closed and 46 libraries have been taken over by volunteers, social enterprises or parish councils.Jul 31, 2012


 I looked for more recent statistics, but only found closures or funding cuts to individual libraries.  


On the positive side, in 2017, the House voted to save federal funding for libraries, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Evidently a majority of Americans recognize the importance of these institutions.  Nevertheless,  I imagine the battle for funding will continue, and we will need to be aware and ready to defend our libraries, arts, and humanities.

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It's so hot!  80+ degrees at 6:00 AM.  That's just wrong.  I've cut back on gardening, but read, do my mail art, and embroider while I binge watch Netflix.  

Right now, I want books set in cold climates with lots of snow.


18 comments:

  1. I have hear many good things and Where the Crawdads Sing and am glad you liked it. I'm still on the fence about whether I want to read it. I know my mom and her book group enjoyed it. The Twice-Hanged Man really appeals to me. I'll have to check it out.

    That is so sad about libraries in the UK. They really are an important part of the community here.

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    1. Crawdads is so beautifully written, that I couldn't put it down. My best friend wouldn't leave me alone about it, so I bought it. I've enjoyed all of Priscilla Royal's medieval mysteries!

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  2. Good to know that Where the Crawdads Sing didn't disappoint. There are so many holds on it at my library I haven't even tried to get a copy to read. I guess a lot of people are really liking it. :)

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    1. Definitely didn't disappoint! There's a mystery buried in it, but it is the nature and the birds that I especially loved. Right up your alley, Lark, with your interest in birds. :)

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  3. A friend gave me the Crawdads book. She really liked it.

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    1. I think you'll like it, Nan. Definitely not Gladys Tabor, but such a love of nature!

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  4. I finally took myself off the hold list for "Crawdads" because I was still about 140 deep after a month. I really don't want to buy a copy because I don't have room on my shelves for anything new right now, but one of these days I'm going to finally read it. I've heard nothing but good things about it.

    The library situation in the U.K. is discouraging for sure. When I lived in London I was a regular at the Richmond Library about a one-mile walk from my flat, and it was a pretty busy place. But I was shocked at how generic it and the Uxbridge library near my office were in comparison to libraries in this country. Both of them just had such a cold, impersonal feel to them that they were never the kind of rooms I wanted to hang around in for too long. And the number of books in each were considerably less than we have in the local branch of my county library system. I guess I expected too much.

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    1. I don't buy many books, but after several conversations with my friend in New Orleans, I knew I'd never hear the end of it if I didn't read it. We don't always agree on books, but she was right about this one!

      It is disappointing to see problems with library staffing in the UK and in the US. When my husband would complain about taxes, I'd always remind him of the libraries--which saved him a ton of money and kept his wife happy. :)

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  5. As usual, your reading prowess is amazing! I am adding your vote to all the others I've heard about Where the Crawdads Sing! I may get to it one of these days, but some how the premise just doesn't grab me.

    That is very sad about libraries in the US and the UK but one way to help keep them open is to use them! That lets lawmakers know their community values them as a resource. I am lucky in that I have a pretty good system to draw from. But I know in other areas of the U.S. this is not the case.

    It's hot where I live too but I think we've had worse summers. But when its past 80 degrees and its still the morning, you know you are in for a scorcher!

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    1. I have to admit that Crawdads didn't grab me either, but my friend simply wouldn't let it go. The library was backed up on requests so I purchased it...and she was right. Loved it.

      Our local libraries have strong support, but with cutting funds in areas that interest me (but not everyone), some areas are using volunteers to keep from closing. I know the internet and ebooks have hurt numbers, but libraries should always be a priority.

      We've had hotter summers temperature-wise, but with the increased humidity. It was 94 degrees at 9:30 last night--adding the heat index makes even night a misery.

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  6. I'll have to check out Where the Crawdads Sing.

    It's always so sad to hear about the closing of libraries. I'm lucky to say I can easily access to at least two public libraries where I stay. I don't know what I'd do without them!

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    1. I loved the writing--beautiful sentences! Our local libraries are great, and I want to keep them that way. :)

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  7. I think if you start wanting to read one book and end up reading all in the trilogy this is an author I need to check out!

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    1. It's fun when you can follow already published series. Read one, then sink right into the next one with that familiar feeling with all the characters without having to think about it. Also, having an overarching story finished in three books is a neat format for a mystery. :)

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  8. Good post! I'm late to the Crawdads party and do want to pick it up. I heard the writing style is awesome!

    I like a good medieval mystery (I think I've picked up some suggestions from you along the way). That one sounds like fun. And who wouldn't be happy to learn of more books by an enjoyable author. I'll check out Walters books.

    Such sad, but almost expected, issues with the state of libraries these days. I've lived in several different states and most had limited days open. I'm lucky that the one near me in the next town over (I pay for membership) is open every day. Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. I was late to Crawdads, too. There were so many great responses, but it still didn't interest me that much until my friend just kept ordering me to read it.

      History has always been interesting to me, and good historical mysteries double the fun! Candace Robb and Priscilla Royal do such meticulous research and have great characters and plots!

      Our local library is closed Sunday morning, but opens in the afternoon. And they frequently give away culled books in the foyer--which is always fun!

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  9. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the audio production of Where the Crawdads Sing. If I ever read it again, though, I will read it in print, just so I can see (and mark) those beautiful passages.

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  10. I'm with you, give me books set in cold country. We've had too many days of 100+ temps and I'm over. So glad you enjoyed Where the Crawdads Sing. I've put off reading the book because of the hype but one of these days I will get to it.

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