Staff Picks

Take a Reading Vacation

I'm a Youth Services Librarian and I love what I do. Getting kids excited about reading in all its forms is a terrific part of my job.

But what happens when I feel uninterested in reading? I take a reading vacation!

If you haven't been on one before consider taking one yourself.

How does a reading vacation work?

First, it's not about the absence of reading.

Instead, it's about taking the time to pick items you're truly interested in reading.

I read a lot of kids books, from picture books to YA. It's part of our job in Youth Services to be familiar with lots of types of stories.

It helps you out, as it did with me today, when a child asks you for the "crayon book with all the crayons on the cover" and you can pull up a picture of The Day the Crayons Quit and get an excited "YES" because that's the book she was thinking of.

Kids books are amazing and I love reading them.

But sometimes when I curl up with the hottest YA book at home, I feel like I brought work home with me.

That's when I know it's time to put down my list of books I should read and bring up my list of things I want to read.

For me, that means picking up Linda Fairstein, Rhys Bowen, and Carola Dunn, my all-time favorite mystery authors.

Now that I spend my a lot of my reading time catching up on YA and graphic novels (which I totally love), I rarely have time for my favorite female crime solvers. I was shocked and sad to see the last book in the Alex Cooper series that I had read was Lethal Legacy.

That meant there were five new books I needed to catch up on!

I immediately spent a happy weekend getting reaquainted with Alex, Mike, and Mercer as they race around New York.

A similar situation happened with Rhys Bowen's Royal Spyness series. While I was grabbing a copy of A Royal Spyness from the Mystery section, I decided to test out her Molly Murphy series. Fantastic!

As for Carola Dunn? Her Daisy Dalrymple series has a special place in my heart.

When I was knew I was going to be painting all weekend, I grabbed a copy of The Winter Garden Mystery on audiobook to help past the time.

The hours flew by so fast as I was transported back to post WWI Britain and to the Honorable Daisy Dalrymple and her penchant for stumbling across bodies.

Following my gut and reading for pleasure reawakened my love for these series, some I have read off and on since high school, and started me off on a new character to love.

What does reading freely look like to you?

Perhaps it's bringing back a favorite author or character and seeing what they've been up to.

Maybe it's a return to a favorite genre.

It might be that you long for juvenile fiction. Whatever it is, embrace it!

If you have children, make sure they see you enjoying reading too.

One of the predictors of children growing up to be readers is being exposed to seeing readers in their household. This means seeing mom/dad/grandparents sitting around reading books/magazines/newspapers.

When they see it's a casual part of everyday life, it becomes that way for them too. Share with them your joy of reading freely.

Below is the first book in each of the series I mentioned.

Final Jeopardy by Linda Fairstein

Final Jeopardy by Linda Fairstein

Introduces Assistant District Attorney Alexandra 'Alex' Cooper. She's an assistant DA in charge of the sex crimes prosecution unit in Manhattan. She, along with Detectives Mike and Mercer, are resourceful, smart, and take a break no matter where they are to catch TV show Jeopardy's final question. If you enjoy Law and Order: SVU, I bet you'll like this series. 

Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen

Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen

Meet Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie. Better known as Georgie, she's 34th in line for the throne of England. She's also flat broke. Besides trying to make a living (against royal rules and certainly not what a proper lady does), now she must clear her brother's name when he's accused of murder.

Murphy's Law by Rhys Bowen

Murphy's Law by Rhys Bowen

Your first introduction to Molly Murphy is learning she just killed a man in Ireland and is running for her life. Granted it was self-defense, but she knows that won't help her. She ends up taking a woman's spot on a ship to New York and promises to deliver the children to their father. When a man is discovered dead at Ellis Island, and Molly had argued with him on the ship, she is named a suspect. She endeavors to clear her name and keep her Irish past a secret.

Death at Wentwater Court by Carola Dunn

Death at Wentwater Court by Carola Dunn

The Honorable Daisy Dalrymple decides to make her living as a writer for respectable magazines like Town & Country. This may not sound scandalous now, but for 1920s post WWI England, it's considered ghastly by her family. Since her father died in the flu pandemic, the title and house were passed along to another family member as Daisy's brother was killed in the war. If you're a fan of Downton Abbey, this may sound familiar to you. While there are no 'downstairs' characters, there is a handsome Detective Chief Inspector. A sweet, cozy mystery series.

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

This may not be one of the adult mystery series I'm devoring, but it is the mystery crayon book that child asked for. In this picture book, Duncan goes to school one day and finds a stack of letters from each of his crayons complaining about how he uses them. When I finished reading this book I was inspired to take out my crayons and start coloring. I hope you will be too!

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