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  • S

    S by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst  is a brilliant and consuming read.  is supposed to be an early 20th century novel about a man with amnesia taken onto a mysterious pirate ship where time moves at a different pace than on the land.  The novel is written by an enigmatic author, V.M. Straka who was implicated in many political assassinations and whose true identity remains a mystery.  The novel is footnoted throughout, and the footnotes themselves are odd and often unrelated to the text.  Here comes the cool part: throughout the margins, the novel has comments in two different handwritings.  The original commenter, Eric, has been through the book at least once before the second person, Jenny, picks it up.  The two of them begin their own relationship in the margins of the book.  They try to figure out the true identity of the author and to solve the codes that are written into the footnotes.  The codes are real (and hard!), and you could spend hours decoding and working parallel to Jenny and Eric.  As they get closer to the truth behind VM Straka, they are pulled into his dangerous world of spies.  s notes appear in multiple colors throughout, representing their many passes through the book.  Tucked into the pages are notes and postcards to each other, newspaper clippings, and other bits of research.

    "A story unlike any I’ve ever read.   Buy the old-fashioned paper version and have fun!  If you get lost there are webpages devoted to the book and the codes, and various opinions on the best way to read the book.”

  • Shadow of the Wind

    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Luis Zafon – “Set in Barcelona in the 1950s, this a wonderful, intricate (long) story full of interesting characters, mystery, romance, adventure and fantasy. Terrific story telling!”

  • Smell of the Night

    The Smell of the Night By Andrea Camellieri is “a light and fun mystery written by an Italian and translated into English. Great read – light, but smart."

  • Suspect

    The Suspect (Karl Alberg Mysteries, No. 1) by L.R. Wright. "Winner of an Edgar Award, this book was written in the 80’s but I just found it. It is a murder mystery set on the coast of British Columbia and the entire story revolves around three characters whose lives become entwined. What makes this murder mystery a bit different is you learn who the killer is on page one. It is a quietly written book – no gory details, violence or sexual assaults – which was a nice departure. The author carefully describes bits and pieces of each character which are all pieces to the puzzle and eventually answer the question of why there was a murder. I was hooked from page one … It’s a perfect beach book!"

  • Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

    The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie The first in a series by Alan Bradley. "I realized I could enjoy this book more if I pretended that the protagonist was NOT an 11 year old girl since there was no way an 11 year old would ever have this vocabulary, knowledge of poisons, or chutzpah. Once past Flavia's age (and name) I was able to relax and enjoy the mystery. I liked the setting - a small English village in the 1950's - and I liked the relationship that Flavia had with the old gardener, Dogger. Descriptions like ‘quaint’, ‘quirky’, and ‘cozy’ could be used to describe this book."

  • Tea Time for the Traditionally Built

    Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith. "Another beach read for fans of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency."

  • Thirteenth Tale

    The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel by Diane Setterfield. Synopsis from Amazon: Margaret Lea, a London bookseller's daughter, has written an obscure biography that suggests deep understanding of siblings. She is contacted by renowned aging author Vida Winter, who finally wishes to tell her own, long-hidden, life story. Margaret travels to Yorkshire, where she interviews the dying writer, walks the remains of her estate at Angelfield and tries to verify the old woman's tale of a governess, a ghost and more than one abandoned baby. Comments: "I LOVED this book." and "I wish I'd saved this wonderful, entertaining gothic novel for vacation. The author was artful in how she built to the revelations, much in the style of 19th century gothic novels mentioned throughout." "Very entertaining."

  • Unlikely Spy

    The Unlikely Spy and other titles by Dan Silva. “These are great beach reads if you like fast-paced, historical mysteries. My husband and I both read them – but honestly we’ve read them a few times and are always surprised (again) by the ending. They don’t stick, but they are good.”

  • Winter Queen

    The Winter Queen by Boris Akunin. “Great detective read in the Agatha Christie tradition.” There is one of a series, by the way.

  • Woman in White

    The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. "It’s a little late to call this a "hot book," considering it was published in 1859. I initially read it because of Nora Ephron’s rhapsodic endorsement here. Ephron wrote, "Days pass as I savor every word. Each minute I spend away from the book pretending to be interested in everyday life is a misery. How could I have waited so long to read this book? When can I get back to it? Halfway through I return to New York to work, to mix a movie, and I sit in the mix studio unable to focus on anything but whether my favorite character in the book will survive. I will not be able to bear it if anything bad happens to my beloved Marian Halcombe." This is EXACTLY how I felt reading this book (except the bit about sitting in a studio mixing a movie, since I wasn’t doing anything a tenth as glamorous). I could not put this book down."