For as long as I can remember I have always loved books, reading, libraries, and all book and reading related ephemera – I have an obscene amount of bags from book shops and numerous book marks! I get my love of reading from my grand-father who was a voracious reader of many genres and types of books. He would have made an ideal English literature or history teach had his life circumstances been different.
The lack of a teaching job didn’t stop him handing down his enthusiasm to me and I have many fond memories of going to the library with him on Saturday mornings to return my books and inevitably borrowing even more. Nothing thrilled me more as a child when the librarian stamped my book which made the book mine for the next week or however long it took to read it.
Unfortunately, local libraries where I am are all electronic but I do get excited when I visit libraries in Scotland and the librarians still stamp the books. If I didn’t work in history and heritage being a librarian would definitely be my second career choice – I mean I already dress like a librarian and am well-read so think I would be an ideal candidate!
I have been fortunate to have good relations with librarians wherever I lived – when I moved to Scotland the first think I did was join the library over joining the local gym and doctors. In my current local library the librarians know my name (life goals!) and regularly talk to me about what I am reading, recommend books, and listen to my recommendations. Having a good relationship with your local librarians is key as they can often let you know when new editions of your favourite book or book series are available.
Reading is essential to my well-being as reading helps me relax if I’m stressed by escaping into other worlds and reading is in general a complete joy for me! My favourite genre’s to read are ‘Golden Era’ (c.1920s-1940s) Murder Mysteries either written in this time period or written now but set in the ‘Golden Era.’ My favourite ‘Golden Era’ authors are Freeman Wills Crofts and Dorothy L. Sayers. For books written now but set way back when I particularly like the Maisie Dobbs, Dandy Gilver (not biased because it is set in Scotland – but just a bit!) and Daisy Dalrymple murder mysteries. I also enjoy historical fiction, literature classics, and modern literature set in Scotland e.g. the ’44 Scotland Street’ series by Alexander McCall Smith series.
My favourite Murder Mysteries of all time are:
- The Secret of High Eldersham, 1930, Cecil Street.
- Sir John Magill’s Last Journey, 1930, Freeman Wills Crofts.
- Five Red Herrings, 1931, Dorothy L. Sayers.
- Gaudy Night, 1935, Dorothy L. Sayers. (Edward Petherbridge as Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Walter as Harriet Vane in 1980s BBC adaptation of Have His Carcass).
- The Incredible Crime, 1931, Lois Austen-Leigh.
I am trying to read more expansively and more modern literature but keep coming back time and time again to comforting (if that is the correct word!) murder mysteries and historical fiction. There is something intriguing and mysterious about reading a murder mystery set in a remote castle or country house as the nights get darker whilst you try to figure out ‘Whodunnit’ and keep one foot ahead of the murderer!