Elections are over and the holiday rush is beginning! It’s time to read something relaxing. How about a cozy? If you’ve never read one, a cozy is a novel, often a mystery, that takes place in a small town or village and the sleuth, usually a woman, is an amateur. They are character-driven, often humorous, and usually appear in a series. Violence and language are not explicit. In the mysteries, the reader learns the clues as the sleuth does and can often solve the crime as the book progresses. Many of Agatha Christie’s novels could be considered cozies, as well as Jan Karon’s books. They are comforting easy-to-read books. Here are some cozies recently added to your library’s collection: Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith, A Catered Tea Party by Isis Crawford, The Hammett Hex by Victoria Abbott, Books of a Feather by Kate Carlisle, Reading Up a Storm: a Lighthouse Library Mystery by Eva Gates, And then there were Nuns by Kylie Logan.
In the publishing world, November is the beginning of the “Best Books” season. Prominent publications will each publish their own list of the books they consider the best of the year. To kick it off, Publisher’s Weekly has released their list of the 150 best books of 2016. Among the top ten are Barkskins by Annie Proulx, What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell, Blood in the water : the Attica prison uprising of 1971 and its legacy by Heather Ann Thompson, Evicted : poverty and profit in the American city by Matthew Desmond, and The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (also a National Book Award finalist). Of these, I’ve only read one. Underground Railroad is sure is be at the top of all the “Best Books” lists. While Whitehead does not shy away from examining the reality of slavery, he also brings a bit of magic into this poignant story where the underground railroad is a real railroad running deep in the earth, even in the deep south, where it is terribly dangerous for its conductors and riders. Lyrical writing, provocative imagery, and an imaginative plot make this title well worth reading.