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Just Desserts reading recommendations from Oct 2014

November 13, 2014 by sdc
Hey, mystery fans! Looking for something good to read? At the final Just Desserts meeting for 2014, on October 30th, after discussing our monthly “assigned” book, we did a round robin at the table, asking attendees to share what mysteries they’d been reading lately that they felt they could recommend.

Here’s a list of the novels that were hot last month with this mystery-savvy crowd:

 

MYSTERIES NON-MYSTERIES So, what mysteries have you been reading lately that you’d recommend?


Tagged in: Just Desserts, booklist, book group, book discussion group, recommendations, round robin, mystery, mysteries,
Comments: 0

Just Desserts hiatus assignment - Nov/Dec 2014

November 07, 2014 by sdc

During the Nov/Dec 2014 hiatus between meetings of the Just Desserts mystery fiction discussion group, we encourage regular attendees to continue to participate as a group...but in a virtual way. While we may not have an actual meeting scheduled during these two months, this blog is available to keep everyone active with their mystery reading and discussions.

Our "hiatus assignment" for 2014 is the “Benjamin January” series by author Barbara Hambly. Comprised of thirteen volumes, published between 1997’s first volume (A Free Man of Color), and 2014’s latest volume (Crimson Angel). Barbara Hambly was first published in 1982, and has been a prolific writer of genre fiction, including not just mysteries but also science fiction and fantasy. Her “Benjamin January” series is considered to be among the best of all of her works. This series was described as follows on Wikipedia:

“This historical mystery series begins with A Free Man of Color (1997) and features Benjamin January, a brilliant, classically educated, free colored surgeon and musician living in New Orleans during the antebellum years of the 1830s. At the time, New Orleans had a large and prosperous population of free people of color. Born a slave, as his mother was enslaved, January was freed as a young child by his mother's lover, under the plaçage system. Provided with an excellent education, he gained fluency in several classical and modern languages, and was thoroughly versed in the whole of classical Western learning and arts. He studied medicine in Paris, where he trained as a surgeon. He returned to Louisiana to escape the memory of his late wife, a woman from North Africa. As a free black in Louisiana, he cannot find work as a surgeon. He earns a modest living by his exceptional talent as a musician.

Each title is a murder mystery, with a complex plot and well-developed characters. Each explores many aspects of French Creole and overall Louisiana society. Most tend to emphasize some particular element of antebellum Louisiana life, such as Voodoo religion (Graveyard Dust), opera and music (Die Upon a Kiss), the annual epidemics of yellow fever and malaria (Fever Season), fear of miscegenation (Dead and Buried), or the harsh nature of commercial sugar production by enslaved labor (Sold Down the River).

Important themes of the series are 1) the cultural clash between the rising Protestant English-speaking Anglo-Americans, and the declining Catholic, French-speaking Creoles, 2) skin color discrimination within the society of Creoles of color, with favor given to lighter-skinned persons 3) January's bitterness at the many forms of racial injustice he observes, 4) the complex, partially race-based sexual politics of colonial French and United States society, and 5) January's comparison of what he thinks of as the open and frank African outlook of his early childhood with the more restrained and rational European worldview he acquired through education and experience. This last theme occurs most often with respect to music, spirituality, and respect for law and social custom.”

We encourage Just Desserts participants to read any of the 13 books in this series, at some point in November or December 2014, then come back here to this blog post and leave a comment about whatever you read or watched, as a response to this discussion topic.

1. A Free Man of Color (1997)
2. Fever Season (1998)
3. Graveyard Dust (1999)
4. Sold Down the River (2000)
5. Die upon a Kiss (2001)
6. Wet Grave (2002)
7. Days of the Dead (2003)
8. Dead Water (2004)
9. Dead and Buried (2011)
10. The Shirt on His Back (2011)
11. Ran Away (2011)
12. Good Man Friday (2013)
13. Crimson Angel (2014)

As a bit of background, here are some links to Barbara Hambly information:

·         Barbara Hambly’s official website

·         Barbara Hambly entry on Wikipedia

We look forward to seeing your comments here over the course of the next two months!

So…here’s your question:

Which of the “Benjamin January” novels did you read, and what was your opinion?

Scott C. - Just Desserts coordinator and host

 



Tagged in: Just Desserts, mystery, book discussion, discussion group, book group, Barbara Hambly, Benjamin January, hiatus,
Comments: 1

The "White House Chef" series by Julie Hyzy

October 31, 2014 by sdc
When the Just Desserts mystery fiction discussion group met on October 30th, 2014, 18 of us enjoyed discussing the series of 7 volumes in Julie Hyzy's popular "White House Chef" mystery series featuring Olivia Paras.

Whether or not you attended the actual meeting, you are welcome to share your own thoughts and opinions about this book in a reply comment to this blog post, below.

For additional reminders about upcoming Just Desserts meetings and/or other announcements of interest to mystery  fans, don't forget to sign up for the Just Desserts e-mail list. Or, if you're logged into your account on Facebook, you can visit the Events page for the Lincoln City Libraries, and mark whether or not you plan to attend upcoming sessions of Just Desserts - this is a great way for you to help us promote this engaging discussion group! Our selections for future meetings are usually posted there months in advance.

What do you think of the "White House Chef" series by Julie Hyzy?

We're now on our year-end "hiatus". Join us for our next physical meeting on January 29, 2015, 6:30 p.m. at the South Branch Library, for our final in-person meeting of 2014. We'll be discussing the first seven volumes in the White House Chef mysterie series, starting with State of the Onion; these books are written by Julie Hyzy!

We hope to see you then!


Tagged in: Just Desserts, book group, book discussion, mystery, mysteries, Julie Hyzy, White House Chef series,
Comments: 0

Laura Lippman's "After I'm Gone"

September 29, 2014 by sdc
When the Just Desserts mystery fiction discussion group met on September 25th, 2014, 19 of us enjoyed discussing Laura Lippman's After I'm Gone, a new stand-alone book by the author of the popular Tess Monaghan series.

Whether or not you attended the actual meeting, you are welcome to share your own thoughts and opinions about this book in a reply comment to this blog post, below.

For additional reminders about upcoming Just Desserts meetings and/or other announcements of interest to mystery  fans, don't forget to sign up for the Just Desserts e-mail list. Or, if you're logged into your account on Facebook, you can visit the Events page for the Lincoln City Libraries, and mark whether or not you plan to attend upcoming sessions of Just Desserts - this is a great way for you to help us promote this engaging discussion group! Our selections for future meetings are usually posted there months in advance.

What do you think of After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman?

Join us next on October 30th, 2014, 6:30 p.m. at the South Branch Library, for our final in-person meeting of 2014. We'll be discussing the first seven volumes in the White House Chef mysterie series, starting with State of the Onion; these books are written by Julie Hyzy!

We hope to see you then!


Tagged in: Just Desserts, book group, book discussion, mystery, thriller, Laura Lippman, After I'm Gone,
Comments: 0

Hank Phillippi Ryan's "The Other Woman"

September 14, 2014 by sdc
When the Just Desserts mystery fiction discussion group met on August 28th, 2014, 17 of us enjoyed discussing Hank Phillippi Ryan's The Other Woman, the first book in that author's brand new Jane Ryland/Jake Brogan series. Due to a faulty air conditioner at our normal location -- South Branch -- we temporarily relocated to Walt Branch for this one meeting. [ Check out our Jane Ryland/Jake Brogan series handout ]

Whether or not you attended the actual meeting, you are welcome to share your own thoughts and opinions about this book in a reply comment to this blog post, below.

For additional reminders about upcoming Just Desserts meetings and/or other announcements of interest to mystery  fans, don't forget to sign up for the Just Desserts e-mail list. Or, if you're logged into your account on Facebook, you can visit the Events page for the Lincoln City Libraries, and mark whether or not you plan to attend upcoming sessions of Just Desserts - this is a great way for you to help us promote this engaging discussion group! Our selections for future meetings are usually posted there months in advance.

What do you think of The Other Woman by Hank Phillippi Ryan?

Join us next on September 25th, 2014, 6:30 p.m. at the South Branch Library. We'll be discussing After I'm Gone, a mystery/thriller by Laura Lippman!

We hope to see you then!


Tagged in: Just Desserts, book club, book group, book discussion, mystery, thriller, Hank Phillippi Ryan, The Other Woman,
Comments: 2


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