Book Buzz: Bollywood-Style Pride and Prejudice, Gritty British Mysteries, and the Rough Riders

Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For January, we’re looking at a gender and culture-swapped retelling of Pride and Prejudice, a series of intense crime thrillers, and a history of the Rough Riders, Theodore Roosevelt, and the Spanish-American War.

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Your Library Card, Your Ticket To The World: Alaska

Our library theme for 2020 is Your Library Card, Your Ticket to the World–because with the library, you truly can travel around the world without ever leaving the comfort of your own home. Every month in 2020, we’ll be landing at a new place on the globe, but we’re starting off in Alaska.

The rugged beauty of Alaska has long inspired writers (and readers!), so it is not surprising how many books set in Alaska are in our system. And there’s a little something for every reader, regardless of preferred genre.

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Louise Penny’s The Hangman (2010)

The Hangman

Carol Ann recommended Louise Penny’s Quebec-set Armand Gamache detective series a few months ago. We like a lot of the same authors and books, so I immediately was intrigued. Since then, I’ve noticed we circulate a lot of Louise Penny books, and I’ve had even more folks gush about how much they love the books. I only got around to trying a Gamache book recently, and I am so glad I did! (As always, thanks for the great recommendation, Carol Ann! 🙂 )

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Agatha Christie’s A Holiday for Murder

Hercule Poirot's Christmas

For those looking for a prolific writer whose works are always in season, Agatha Christie should be on the top of your list. You won’t run out of books to read quickly — they are fun to revisit even if you have read them some time ago, and she even has a holiday tale. . . .

Known by several titles since its original publication in 1938, Agatha Christie’s A Holiday for Murder (aka Hercule Poirot’s Christmas or Murder for Christmas) has been delighting fans of classic murder mysteries for decades.

Simeon Lee is an unpleasant old man. He is also a very rich old man, which might explain why his timid son Alfred and Alfred’s long-suffering wife Lydia tolerate his meanness. They’ve lived with Simeon for years, despite his cruelty and the savage way he treated his late wife.

The rest of the family long ago figured out their own escape, whether it was fleeing to London for a political career like stingy George, becoming an artist and renouncing all family ties like the sensitive David, running away to Spain to get married like free-spirited Jennifer, or just absconding to parts unknown like the family’s wild child Harry.

But for Christmas, Simeon has summoned all of his sons (and their wives) back home, as well as the late Jennifer’s daughter Pilar. Also popping in is the son of his former business partner back in South Africa. It almost looks like the old man wants to make amends for the holidays, but anyone who assumes that just doesn’t know Simeon very well. . . .

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From Page to Screen: Longmire

The fight is real . . . at least for Walt Longmire.  As sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming, Walt never has a dull day as he works to solve crimes, contend with family, friends, coworkers, and confront the personal demons that have haunted him since the death of his wife.

Craig Johnson’s sheriff is the focus of a series of a books, as well as a popular television series. I have had numerous people recommend the books and the TV show to me, so comparing the first entries in both seemed perfect for our next “From Page to Screen” feature.

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Jennifer Barnes’s The Naturals

the-naturals

So . . . perhaps you read our Exploring the Fjord Side post and thought, “That Scandinavian crime fiction sure sounds bleak. I don’t know that I want to read something that snowy and brooding.”

In that particular case, perhaps Jennifer Lynn Barnes’s The Naturals, a gripping but decidedly less brooding (and non-snowy) YA mystery would be a little more to your liking.

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Erica Swyler’s The Book of Speculation

the-book-of-speculation

Simon Watson receives an odd gift from a stranger in the mail one day–an old book that records the travels and business of an 18th century circus. The accompanying note suggests that he might like it because it has a distant family connection. Beyond that, Simon is a man who likes old books–he is a reference librarian in his hometown on Long Island. However, rather than the book merely being a piece of the past, Simon finds some troubling revelations about his family as he researches the topic further.

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