I have fond memories of blogging for “Dead Guy” – and I am delighted to be able to claim being one of the original bloggers. I love the wide view of this blog – it’s always included a range of authors, publicists, agents, editors, librarians and (where I come in) booksellers. All of us have been united by the love of the mystery genre and the passion of Jeff Cohen, who tirelessly promotes the genre we love along with writing great books. And I am not sucking up! I keep trying various series…Jeff writes MANY …and all of them are good. That E.J.Copperman guy is great too.
Aunt Agatha’s Bookshop is celebrating 25 years this October and one of the tasks I took on as we approached this milestone – and OK, it was kind of a demand by the book club – was assembling a list of the books the club has tackled in the 24 years we’ve been meeting. The most read author…no kidding…is Jeff Cohen! (Four titles).
The book club is one of the great things about owning our bookstore. Once a month a group of us meet to thoroughly dismantle or appreciate (as the case may be) whatever the book happens to be that we’ve chosen for the month. I send out a choice of 3 or 4 titles the month before and the group votes. Sometimes it’s a tie and we have to have a vote off!
Some of the liveliest discussions through the years include Sharon Bolton’s Sacrifice; Sarah Caudwell’s Thus Was Adonis Murdered; Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep; Robert Crais’ Suspect; Tana French’s Broken Harbor; Leslie Glass’ Killing Time; Michael Gruber’s Tropic of Night; Julia Keller’s the Killing in the Hills; Alex Marwood’s The Darkest Secret; Val McDermid’s A Place of Execution; Ruth Rendell’s A Dark Adapted Eye; Peter Robinson’s In a Dry Season; and Julia Spencer-Fleming’s In the Bleak Midwinter.
I’d hardly be a bookseller worth my salt if I didn’t recommend seeking these books out – highlighted because the discussion was so vivid, the views on the books were so diverse, and in some cases (especially the Rendell , Marwood and Bolton titles) the plots were so complicated they had to be discussed.
Another great thing about owning our bookstore has been meeting authors, some at the beginning of their careers – Steve Hamilton (who we met before A Cold Day in Paradise was published), William Kent Krueger, Louise Penny – or joining them in mid career and watching their career continue to blossom like our buddy and neighbor Loren D. Estleman. That part has been an absolute joy.
When we turned 20, we had a blow out of a party, with many authors and multiple book signings. Luckily the space next to our store was vacant at that moment and we were able to spill over to accommodate the hundreds of folks that showed up.
As we turn 25 and are to some degree looking back, I wanted a quieter and maybe more profound experience. So I invited William Kent Krueger and Julia Keller to join me at the library for a conversation. I think it will be as memorable as our 20th anniversary celebration – I am really looking forward to it. If you’re in the Ann Arbor area Thursday, October 19, please join us at the downtown library at 7 to meet two of my very favorite writers and people, and to share in a discussion of the genre we love.