The Mysteries and Thrillers My Friends Recommend

Approaching the beginning of October, I reached out on Facebook to find all novels thriller and mystery. I love these genres but have barely scratched the surface! I was excited for the variety of recommendations my Facebook friend gave, and it was fun to see which books resonated with different people. So, courtesy of my acquaintances new and old, here is our October reading list.

All things Agatha Christie
-Lee

It seems one can’t go wrong with Agatha Christie. I have not yet approached these standards of murder mystery! I found this Amazon author’s page helpful in exploring my options with Christie. Do you have a favorite book of hers?

Gillian Flynn: Sharp Objects and Dark Places
-Sara

We’ve all ready Gone Girl, right? I guess I finished the book and just sort of forgot about the author. I enjoyed the book, although sometimes all of the hype before the story leaves me a little let down after I finally finish it. One quality I like about these stories is how the truth of the crime stares you in the face the entire time, but the events throughout the story fill you with self-doubt. The answer to the mystery somehow sneaks up on you!

Gaslight Mysteries
-Christa

This murder mystery series has a midwife as a main character. Any time there is a midwife, you can expect a female centered plot. Bonus: the title of each book has “Murder” as the first word.

Double recommendation for Child 44
-Sara, seconded by Rikky

This Child 44 Trilogy must be incredible. The comment section below this recommendation left few details, just a strong insistence that I must read it. There is also a movie? Somehow this is my first time hearing about the books or movie!

Darkly Dreaming Dexter
-Sean

Amazon tells me that devout fans of the show might not love the books. But then again, most people who read a book first always hate the tv version. A freaky book to get you in the Halloween spirit.

Final Girls
-Kate

Kate says “I just finished Final Girls and it was the best book I’ve read in 2017. There were so many wonderful twists and turns. I had no idea whodunit until they revealed it. I read a lot of mystery and thriller so I like to think I’m good at this. Trust me you will enjoy it. It’s the perfect end of summer, beginning of Halloween season read. If you read it lemme know your thoughts!! I’ve been dying to talk about it.” I’m sold.

Tony and Anne Hillerman Books
-Bethany

These books will transport you to the stillness of the west and the sinister mood of not knowing who in your small, close-knit community can be trusted. This police procedural models the inefficiency of “the system,” and the need to keep your bits about you at all times. I ready Skinwalkers just after moving back from out west, and the spooky superstitions are told with the candidness any Navajo will tell these tales with.

 

 

 

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, or, On the Segregation of the Queen
-My recommendation

A Mary Russell novel, the first book of this series introduces Sherlock Holmes and his partner, not sidekick, but partner in solving mystery. I retired-ish Holmes takes on only cases than interest him, and starts the novel guiding and teaching Ms. Russell. By the end, she is able to keep up, and even wins a few matches of chess against the infallible Sherlock.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Series
-My recommendation

The Millennium trilogy is by far my favorite series of books I have ever read. Larson’s writing is captivating, and the main character Salander is such a badass. If you enjoyed the movie, Swedish or English, trust me, you won’t be able to put these books down. I do like the new books, continuing the series under a different pen. They don’t have quite the same impact on me as the originals, though.

All of Ruth Ware’s books
-Recommended by Sara and seconded by me!

I have become such an intense fan of Ruth Ware and everything that she has written. I loved “In a Dark, Dark, Wood,” but I was addicted to “The Woman in Cabin 10.” Ware’s characters are ferociously independent, but the events that lead them to risk are so relatable. A bachelorette party, a work trip, a high school reunion. We all pretty much do all of those things at some point, and they are usually considered safe and pleasant experiences. After finishing “The Woman in Cabin 10,” the gruesome murder of Kim Wall was discovered. I couldn’t get over it because I had just finished this book and been living in the mindset of the protagonist, a journalist who is kidnapped my a murderous owner of the ship. Ruth Ware’s books are almost too real.

 

Thanks to all of the recommendations, friends! Do you have any favorites that I missed?

 

Related: A Collection of Book Lists
Related: True Crime

Books I Read This Summer

Well this is it, folks. Summer is officially dead to me. I’m in meetings all week, and as far as I’m concerned it’s fall. I will wrap myself in bright sweaters and soft leggings each evening, seeking premature cold-weather comfort to stifle the chill of being in the frigid air condition cell all day.

Maybe I’m being dramatic. Let’s reminisce about the summer! It was too short and I was too busy, but I did my part of escapism and read several novels. Here are the books I read and the journeys I read them during.

Handmaid’s Tale
I started this before I was out for the summer, but it was solidly summertime! Dark and horrifying, drawing eery parallels to modern times, this was not a light summer read.

Hillbilly Elegy
This was also not a light summer read, but my timing was appropriate. Reading about the struggle and consequential political defense of working class whites, I read this while visiting my hometown in southern Indiana. Many of the economic factors described in the book have happened exactly in my hometown, and reading this helped me understand some viewpoints I have always railed against without trying to understand.

Woman in Cabin 10
This was a haunting summer read that I have found even more chilling since the news of this true crime case. I devoured this book, even trying to read it slowly and stretch it out, it only lasted three days. I loved Ruth Ware’s book “In a Dark, Dark, Wood” and this did not disappoint.

A Man Called Ove
This book is tender and sweet, and brings joy and laughter where you least expect it. Featuring a crotchety old man, a mangey cat, and loving neighbors, this book brings the solemnity of age and joy of youth. This is a read that everyone can enjoy.

The Lying Game
I couldn’t get enough of the Ruth Ware books! As soon as I saw that she had another book out, I begged our hosts in NYC to take me to a bookstore. I visited two or three before I found it, and in true form, finished it in two or three days. Ware’s thrillers are so captivating and the main characters are so relatable, I really can’t bring myself to put them down.

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice
I am still working on this one. Think Sherlock Holmes meets young scholarly woman. In this story, the beginning of the Mary Russell Series, Sherlock and a young woman have a platonic and professional friendship where they study and conduct science experiments together, and work side-by-side as sleuths solving cases. These mysteries are tame, not scary, but thoughtful and interesting. Mary Russell is a headstrong independent woman, showcasing traits that were not popular in women during that period. It’s a feminine take on the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s originals, set in the countryside instead of the city, happening during wartime in the early 20th century.

 

 

 

Book Lists

“Everyone is always looking for the next good book to read.” That’s what my mom told me when I expressed surprise at the popularity of all the posts about favorite books. I have written lengthy descriptions about my favorite Summer Re-Reads and detailed reflections about popular books on controversial topics, such as The Handmaid’s Tale or Hillbilly Elegy. The Wonder Of is unrolling a new Book Lists page as a central location for all of the book lists that we publish. If you just finished a great novel and want to find one in a similar theme, check for more from our Nature Week Book Club or maybe What We Read on Vacation.

The Book Lists page will be regularly updated and reorganized, so be sure to keep checking back. If you’re curious, I’m reading this book now. What are you reading?

What We Read on Vacation

The 9 books read by 6 people during an 11 day vacation.

Kristy packed New Lanark in Search of Utopia, a book about important historical figures from her hometown. She was busy on this trip and didn’t have much chance to read.

Kurt listened to music in his downtime, and didn’t pack a book.

Anthony read Mingus: A Critical Biography, about the great jazz bassist Charles Mingus.

Thor normally out-reads us all, but I didn’t see him touch the copy of Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties that Mom gave him. Instead of reading, during his downtime he wrote.

Kendra started with The Kindness of Strangers, a Lonely Planet travel book and collection of short stories. The short stories were kind of hard for us to get into on this trip. What was not difficult to get into was the gripping The Woman in Cabin 10 which she knew must be good when I devoured half of it on a four hour plane ride. While she waited for me to finish the thriller, she read Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and when she had finished all of these and realized she was bookless for a 6 hour car trip with the whole family and a 4 hour return flights, she picked up book one of A Game of Thrones which has kept her occupied during our many hours of transit back in Chicago. Kendra was definitely the most dedicated reader on this vacation!

Kelsey read over half of  The Woman in Cabin 10 on the plane. She tried to savor it and read less than a chapter a night, but Kendra new it must be good and rushed her so that she could read it. When Kelsey finished the book on day three of an eleven day trip, she went and bought A Man Called Ove, which she is also breezing through.

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What are you Reading?

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What are you reading lately?

I started reading Jungle of Stone a while ago, thinking that it might be the non-fiction, real life version of State of Wonder or Euphoria. It has more science and is less sexy than those novels, which is to be expected of the tale of explorers circa 1839. This book is chocked full of information and detailed accounts of historic expeditions… but truthfully, I can’t wait to move on to a fictional psychological thriller after this!

What are you reading? Do you read non-fiction for fun?