Mystery Readers

I grew up in a sleepy little town, and when my Mom wasn’t sewing, or crocheting, she was reading. Mesmerized, she was, as my Dad watched TV, and she had her head buried in a book. Completely oblivious to the scenes on the television, and my Dad’s laughter at the punch lines.

When I was old enough and ready, she took me down to the local fire-station, which also housed our town library, and introduced me to the librarian. From there, I was directed to the Nancy Drew section, and The Secret of the Clock was placed in my hands. These were my Mom’s favorite books when she was a growing up, and they soon became mine too.

I soon learned about my Mom’s peculiar habit: She would read the last page of the book, and then decide if she wanted to read the rest of the book! “But then, you know who did it, and the story is ruined!” But to her, the fun was in watching how the author strung the characters, the plot and the mystery all together.

I have never once, in my life, read the last page of a book first. I earn the right to read the last page of the book. Still, my Mom and I shared a vast passion of mystery books, even though I often had to remind her that, I did not want to know the ending. From Nancy Drew, I jumped to artsy mysterious, like Griffin & Sabine: The Complete Postcards.

When I traveled, there was a time when I always had a Lillian Jackson Braun Cat Mystery audio book in the car. Mr. Quilleran was quite comforting to listen to while driving. Then, I found the Kinsey Millhone Mysteries, and my Mom read them as fast as they were published. “I wonder what she’ll write for “X”,” we would say.

Have you read Blue Jelly: Love Lost and the Lessons of Canning? I love that book, and no, it isn’t a mystery.

When MotherPie asked about the books I read, I immediately thought of how much time I do spend reading picture books right now, and how much I adore picture books. Some make me cry, some make me laugh, and I’m so grateful I’ve had 12 years to have someone to read them to. Favorites? My Lucky Day, Blue Bowl Down: An Appalachian Rhyme, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, and of course the narcoleptic, Little Red Riding Hood. Actually, I can think of 100 more of them to list right here… but I won’t. I have never liked Dr. Seuss, but, my boys do, so I’ve read more than I care to remember of Dr. Seuss. Oh, and how I love Clay Boy.

As a Mother, I have read more self-help, parenting and Zen books than I care to mention. My favorites are The First Six Months, and Setting Limits. Theology, interests me too, as parenting has led me to pray more than I have every found necessary before. I would put Heart’s Code in that category, as it focuses on the interweaving of mind, body and spirit — which I think of as just one word now.

I wish my Mom were here to see that publishers send me books to review. She would have been proud. But, MotherPie, I wish they would send me more cookbooks, as I read them as if they were novels. I am fascinated by the science of food.

Over the past few years I’ve been able to sneak in a few grown-up gems, like Mr. Pip, and The Kite Runner.

I am behind in my reading what new and hot, as I am just now starting, for the first time the The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (Book 1). This, is an amazing and wonderful book, that I am delighted — so delighted to read. Next, MotherPie’s suggestion of Rain of Gold by Victor Villasenor.

Still, my Mom made such an impression on me by introducing me to Nancy Drew, that, even though I have boys, I couldn’t resist the temptation to introduce them to the female sleuth. Now, we read a chapter from Nancy Drew at night at the lake. This is the biggest piece of myself I can give to my kids from my past.

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12 comments to “Mystery Readers”
  1. I”m not sure I know anyone who reads cookbooks as novels. That is a new one!!! My mother, too, took me to the library as soon as I could read and it was a weekly trip for us all of my childhood.

    I read all the Nancy Drews. I liked the female character.

    The Ladies Detective Agency books… a bit on the light side but readable.

    Glad to see what you are reading, other than Red Riding Hood (zzzzzz).

  2. My mom has always been a huge mystery fan, and I grew up with Nancy Drew and the Bobbsey Twins while she devoured Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Inspector Morse, etc. plus all the BBC TV shows based on them. I’m not that into mysteries now, but I’ve been addicted to reading since I learned at age 4, and now am lucky enough to be paid to read!

    PS: The other day I was trying to remember and find online a mystery I read as a girl that I thought was a Nancy Drew…something about a mysterious Chinese shop, but I can’t remember much else about it, except maybe it was foggy when the main character came to the shop the first time? If it sounds familiar, would you please email me, because it’s slowly driving me insane trying to remember it!

  3. MotherPie… Light, and exactly what I need right now. A wise, fat woman, to show me what’s right in the world.

    Henitsirk… that sounds vaguely familiar too. I’ll check.

  4. I loved Nancy Drew as a girl. I can’t wait for my daughter to be old enough to get into them. She can have all my old books!

    I have a couple of the Griffin and Sabine books too.

    You should read “A Thousand Splendid Suns.” I think it’s even better than “The Kite Runner.”

  5. Hey Susie,
    Mma Ramotswe – from “The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency” – has a TRADITIONAL build. I just wanted to clarify that particular point.

    From your wise, traditionally built friend.

  6. So, Holly, in the shower this morning, I was thinking about my “fat” comment… and I wondered, if maybe I should have clarified the fact that Mma Ramotswe does, proudly refer to herself, as fat. Still, to your credit, she does feel and believe that hers is the “traditional” build for women.
    Thanks for your clarification.

    And, that is the first time I’ve seen her name in print… I’m listening to it — which is an incredible experience, and had no idea that’s how you spelled her name. Have you “heard” her name? I can finally say it now.

  7. Pingback: No Snow Day To Show For It | Susiej

  8. I have already placed Little Women and Black Beauty in the hands of my 6 year old and told her to work up to it because they are wonderful. She spends a good deal of time with them – even though she can’t read all the words yet.

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