Sorry to have to do this but Bagels and Books is cancelled for February and this time – because of uncertainty – the cancellation is indefinite.

The circumstances beyond my control resulted in some surgery that has me housebound for a while and this seems like a good time to take a look at the book group and see whether it is really meeting the interests of people who might like to come to a daytime book group.

So we are looking for feedback.

  1.  Are you interested in a daytime book group?
  2. What day and time works for you – is the morning better than the afternoon?
  3. What would you like to talk about?- this group has been subject based rather than reading and sharing a single book but perhaps that would be of more interest to you.
  4. If you would like to talk about a single book, what kind of book are you interested in
  5. If you like the idea of a subject with the freedom to read any book that interests you, what subjects intrigue you.
  6. Any other comments?


Because of – as they say – circumstances beyond my control the January meeting of Bagels and Books scheduled for next Tuesday has been cancelled.  But don’t despair -all your reading of the classics will not be in vain.  You can just keep reading and we’ll talk about classics on Feb 14 – heart shaped cookies promised.  We’ll just push the schedule out a month.  Hope to see everyone in January – hope that you have enough books to see you through the snowstorm.


We are discussing classics at Bagels and Books on Jan 10 (2:30 in the Trustees Room at the Maynard Library – 77 Nason Street) so here is another look at what we might call a classic courtesy of the New York Public Library.books

By “modern classic,” we mean a defining or definitive work of art, published in 1960 or later, that’s a brilliant accomplishment or a near-perfect example of a genre — a standout book that’s important or representative of a particular idea or school of thought. It doesn’t have to be a bestseller, but the title and/or author is likely recognizable to most people who have an interest in books.

1.      The Color Purple by Alice Walker

2.      The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

3.      In Cold Blood by Truman Capoteby Truman Capote

4.      Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin

5.      The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

6.      The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisernos

7.      Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

8.      The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

9.      Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

10.  The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

11.  The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

12.  Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Alternates: Beloved by Toni Morrison, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Follow up – mysteries


Turns out you can talk about mysteries for a very long time and still leave without touching on some of your favorites.  If you stop by the library, pick up the sheet with some of the sub genres and examples from the desk under the bulletin board – along with information about our meetings in the new year.

So – just as a sample – Lynette had several new titles from well known authors like Louise Penny, Michael Connelly, Daniel Silva, John Grisham, Stephen King, Joseph Finder, Anne Perry and David Balducci along with titles from less well known authors:

Murder as a Fine Art and Ruler of the Night by David Morrell, Coffin Road by Peter May, Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner, Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil by Melina Marchetta, The Vainishing Year by Kate Moretti, Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton, and the Widowmaker by Paul Doiron.

Others discussed included A Death in the Small Hours and A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch;  Norwegian by Night by Derek Miller, and titles by Alan Bradley.

We also talked about some older titles that might have slipped past you – A Touch of Frost by R. D. Wingfield (first in that series); Live Bait by P. J. Tracy; Uncivil Seasons by Michael Malone; Open Season by Archer Mayor; A Cure for all Diseases by Reginald Hill  and others – many others.

NEXT MONTH WE TACKLE THE CLASSICS and we can start by deciding what we identify as classics and what about a book puts it in that category.  Hope to see you there.

Meeting reminder

Next Tuesday – Dec 13 – we’ll be meeting to talk about mysteries (2:30 in the Trustees Room at the Maynard Library) and there was another great post on the Maine Crime Writers blog – this one by Richard Cast.  His title was Against the Dumbing Down and I not only found the article interesting but he recommended some books that I need to read right now.

If you’d like to read it, the link is

Long Range Planning for our meetings

Here are the meeting dates with subjects selected for the next few months.

January 10 – when we’ll be talking about classics and as always we will define the category loosely.

February 14 – books about the Mideast (heart shaped cookies guaranteed)

March 14 – historical fiction – from the cave men to about 50 years ago (which puts history well within my life time)

April 11 – Great religions – this will be a new opportunity for me since I don’t think I have read any (well certainly not many) books in this category

We have in the past decided not to keep the group going once the weather beckons us outside but that was when we were meeting on Saturday morning when there is so much to do.  If we want to continue for a couple more months this year – on Tuesday afternoons – the next subjects on deck are non-fiction and biographies/memoirs (a special kind of non-fiction)



How do you choose your mysteries?

On Tuesday, Dec 13 at 2:30 in the Trustees Room at the Maynard Library (77 Nason St) we’ll be talking about mysteries we have read and loved, enjoyed, hated, found frustrating….For many people the joy of mysteries is that they are often series which means that you can revisit old friends as you read.  That is fun but occasionally you’d like to branch out.  So how do you do that?  Do you depend on recommendations from friends, check out websites, browse library shelves and book stores?  Do you like to read books that have won awards?

Well – even that can be confusing.  A quick google of mystery awards brings up a list of 14 different awards for mysteries and thrillers.  Perhaps the best known are the Agatha Awards – given at Malice domestic, Ltd and focused on traditional mysteries; the Anthony Awards given at Bouchercon selected by attendees of the conference and the Edgar Awards given by the Mystery Writers of America.

You can see some of the other awards listed at

Even if you wanted to check out the big three there is still a lot to choose from since those awards are given for several categories – it just gets more complicated. Here are the three 2016 winners of best book of the year category

Agatha – Best Contemporary Novel – Long Upon the Land by Margaret Maron, Best Historical Novel – Dreaming Spies – Laurie King

Edgar – Best Novel – Let Me Die in His Footsteps – Lori Roy

Anthony – Best Novel – The Killing Kind – Chris Holm

Want to continue looking?  Here’s a website with lots of recommendations and information