Monday, October 4, 2010

A Rainy, Chilly Musing Monday

Here at the Jersey Shore, it is a chilly, rainy day, the perfect day to get lost a good book, and what a fitting question for this week's Musing Monday from MizB at Should Be Reading...

This week’s musing asks…
What’s your favorite “cozy” book — and, by that, I’m meaning “curl-up-on-a-cold-day comfort read“? Or, if you don’t have a particular book, what genre do you most feel like reading when the weather starts to turn colder?

First of all, I am not a re-reader.
On rare occasions I have re-read a book that I really liked but it is not a regular occurrence. So many great books out there, more being written every day, so many classics I have not yet read...and so little time. So, it is not a specific book I reach for, it is a genre, and regular readers here will know the answer to this one. Mysteries!

Yes, I love them all, in all their many forms and shapes and sizes. I love thrillers and whodunits, police procedurals and hard-boiled mysteries, serial killers on a spree and cozy "cozies". So long as it is well written, I am a fan.

I always have felt this way and I suspect that I always will. Some of the earliest books I remember reading were mysteries. Agatha Christie with her Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes and Nero Wolfe and his assistant Archie were the companions of my youth. Odd? I'm not sure, but it is true. I have told before that one of the most loved gifts I received as a kid was a great big book, the Complete Sherlock Holmes and it still sits on my book shelves.

Why mysteries? Well, my mother, who was a voracious reader, was a fan as well. Perhaps I picked it up there. Maybe it is genetic. Maybe we just shared great taste in books! I don't really know except that something in them, from the earliest age, appealed to me. And that is why I continue to like them. I think, when examined, there are many reasons.

They can exercise your brain a bit, trying to figure things out, follow the twists and turns. Yet at the same time, you know the answer will be revealed at the least usually. And even that is ok, sometimes, because as in real life, not everything is always wrapped up all neat and tidy.
They can be set in any time or place, with any sort of characters. A village in modern Africa, a city in Scandinavia, the American Southwest, each adds it own flavor to the story. They can take place in the present, or in the past or even in the future. The victims, the 'hero', the criminal can be male or female, any age or background, so long as they are interesting. Because the themes, the issues they deal with within the confines of a mystery story are universal. They are things like greed and fear and guilt and revenge but also positive things like sacrifice and nobility and family and love. Things we have experienced, things we fear and dread, things we see within ourselves.

See, I think every mystery novel comes down to a battle between Order and Chaos..between Good and Evil. Yet, in a really good mystery, the sides are not so clear cut, not so black and white, just as they are in reality. That is why we often love the detective with a dark past, the police officer dealing with his or her own demons. No, as in real life, there are a lot of grays and the path is often confused and unclear and following our heroes, treading through the grays, on the search for the Good is half the fun. Maybe it is reassuring to know there is a path.

Rainy or sunny, hot or cold, when I want to get lost in the cozy comfort of a good book and waste away a day, I reach for a mystery.


  1. I love mysteries too. I haven't read as many in recent years as I used to though. When I was a kid all my teachers complained that all I ever read were mysteries. Nancy Drew, of course, was my favorite, but I pretty much devoured every children's book with the words "mystery," "case," "secret," etc. in the title. = )

  2. oddly, I never read Nancy Drew. I went right for the adult mysteries.

  3. I started out reading Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys at a young age as well...progressing through the horror stuff, "airplane mysteries", dozens of series, true crime, you name it. I'm with you on all of that. If I could read anything of my choosing right now, that is what it would be.

    I want rainy and chilly!

  4. I am not a re-reader either. Too many books on my tbr bucket list as it is, I would feel that I am wasting time to read a book again.

  5. Sandy, you get your share of rain...but not much of the chilly down there. I love it! fall has arrived!

    CMash..totally agree, I feel if I re-read one I am missing the chance to read a great one out there waiting for me.

  6. I'm with you -- I can count on one hand the books I've re-read, and all of them were for some school-related assignment! I, too, reach for genres as "comfort reads," though in my case it's usually some sort of historical work set in England. You make mysteries sound so appealing, though!

  7. I like mysteries too - they make you think.

  8. Seems like most people reach for mysteries when it's cold! I'm not a big fan of mysteries, but Harlan Coben has a few good ones out there.

    My MM is here:

  9. Very insightful's good when we know why we do what we do, and enjoy our choices.

    I always love mysteries, too, but I like to mix it up with cozy family sagas, as well.

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

  10. You make a great case for mysteries ... a genre that doesn't always get the respect it deserves.

  11. I don't re-read either. I have too many books to read that there is no time for re-reading. I love mysteries!

  12. You can never go wrong with a good mystery! Rainy or not :)


please speak up, I LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!!