First of all, I really do love mysteries, and I have one entire bookshelf, double stacked, to prove it. While I tend to use Cozy Mysteries as my default genre (you know, when you want something easy to read but that will be sure to hold your interest), but I am starting to branch out into other sub-genres in the mystery category. I really only started reading mysteries about nine months ago, and I have tried to analyze why I enjoy them so much. Then this morning, while drinking my customary cup of coffee and catching up on my blog reading, I came across this post on Musings from a Bookish Kitty. She details a broadcast that she heard on NPR (and her entire post is worth reading), but what really caught my eye was the following:
People are drawn to crime fiction for very different reasons. A small few of the reasons I heard given on the radio show:
– To live the life of the bad guy vicariously through the TV or book
– To see good win out over evil
– To better understand the criminal mind
– To enhance problem solving skills
– For the love of the characters, including that flawed good guy who might not be so different than the rest us
– For the thrill
– An escape from real life
– Relevant social issues
– The List could go on forever……..
Some of these stated reasons I had already discerned for myself: good wins over evil; enhance problem solving skills; escape from real life. But there were some others that caught me off-guard, yet caused me to reflect: better understand the criminal mind; vicariously live the life of the bad guy. Hmmm….interesting. I am curious, for those of you who also love mysteries, what reasons would you give that are not mentioned on this list?
The second “meaning” of the title is that we have a local independent bookstore in the Kansas City area called, I Love a Mystery. It is a fantastic bookstore for several reasons: it is very well stocked with new books, as well as used books. The atmosphere is Gothic Victorian England, so there are gargoyles and skulls appropriately placed throughout the store to get you in the mood. There is plenty of comfortable seating so that you can sit, read, chat, and enjoy the escape from every day life. The workers are quite knowledgeable of the genre and their stock, and they are more than willing to recommend books, or to leave you in peace while you look around for yourself. My good friend, and fellow book lover, and I went to the store yesterday. We each went in to purchase one book, and we both came out with multiples. Not only that, we added several new mystery series to our TBR lists and immediately began planning our next visit. I am hoping to make this a regular event on my monthly calendar. Two hours in this store does more to rejuvenate me than just about anything else I can think of, and I don’t see any reason why I should deny myself that luxury (of course, I would have to put myself on a strict budget each time I go into the store, but that would be a small price to pay).
How about you? Do you live near a local independent bookstore that specializes in a certain genre of literature? If so, I would love to hear about it and begin a list of possible places to visit in my retirement years.
Finally the title of this post is significant because this weekend marked the 2nd Mystery Read-a-Thon event. I missed the first event (I can’t remember why) and had such grand ideas of being a big participant this weekend, but alas I was too busy shopping for new books and socializing with good friends to take part yesterday. I am still hopeful to get some solid reading done today, however, and at least finish the new book I found this week, Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann. This is one of the very few times that I have spontaneously purchased a book without having heard of it. BUT with the description being “a sheep detective story” and the characters named Miss Marple and Othello, I simply could not pass it up. It is told from the sheep’s point of view, after they find their shepherd murdered with a spade, and it seemed like the logical book to read after Enzo’s narrative in The Art of Racing in the Rain (my review found here).
This coming week will be my last week of summer, although I have a couple of school-related meetings to attend and syllabi to write. I officially report to school on Wednesday, August 19 and classes start on Monday, August 24. I am hoping to get some personal reading done in these last few days before “real life” begins.