Check Out What We've Been Up To!
Hi, everyone! It's Friday, so that means another set of reviews for you all. This week, we have a new addition to our usual review line-up: British television. Penelope took the time to review some of her favorite British Murder Mystery series and she hopes you will like them as much as she does!
Just a reminder! The Library is now open for curbside pickup for Easton residents only. Call the Library or visit our website for more information.
British Murder Mystery Television
Available on Britbox, some may be available on Hoopla, but the Easton Library also owns these series and they are available for circulation.
Intended Audience: Adults, Teens
Reviewed by: Penelope
Rosemary & Thyme
Laura Thyme (Pam Ferris), an ex-police woman and garden enthusiast, gets divorced after 20 years of marriage. She soon becomes friends with Rosemary Boxer (Felicity Kendal), who recently lost her job as a professor of plant pathology. The team works to revive and save beautiful gardens while encountering some unexplained situations. For fans of cozy mysteries.
Hetty Wainthropp Investigates
This series follows Hetty (Patricia Routledge), a 60-something housewife who is determined to "count for something.” With the help of her retired husband Robert, and sidekick Geoffrey the team ventures forth to investigate crimes of less interest to the local police force that have taken place in and around their little village in the beautiful Lancashire countryside.
Based on the famous character created by author Agatha Christie, this series follows the Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot (David Schuchet). The series centers around his skills of being able to solve challenging crimes. He relies on his trusty sidekicks Captain Arthur Hastings (Hugh Fraser) and Chief Inspector James Japp (Philip Jackson) help him on his way. You can find this series on Hoopla.
If you are looking for something darker, try these...
Based on the novels by Colin Dexter, this series centers around Detective Chief Inspector Morse (John Thaw), who has a love of classical music and good beer. He is aided by down to earth Detective Sergeant Lewis (Kevin Whately). The series is set in Oxford.
Inspector Lynley Mysteries
Aristocratic Inspector Thomas Lynley (Nathaniel Parker) the eighth, Earl of Asherton, and the working-class Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers (Sharon Small) join forces to investigate a series of murders. Based on Elizabeth George’s synonymous novels.
Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker
Available to Easton Residents in print and available as an e-book from Overdrive.
Intended Audience: Adults
Reviewed by: Lynn
Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker, is a fascinating piece of investigative nonfiction that is both a family memoir and a scientific guide to schizophrenia and other types of mental illness. The book tells the inside story of the Galvin family – parents Don and Mimi and their twelve children – and the family's heartbreaking experience with schizophrenia.
Of the twelve children (ten boys and two girls), six of the boys were diagnosed with schizophrenia in their teenage and young adult years. One died in his early twenties in a murder suicide, and two of the others died at the age of fifty-three. Much of the focus of the book deals with the impact of these sick brothers on the rest of the family. Other members of the family endured violence, sexual abuse, and feelings of abandonment as a result of the sickness that these brothers developed.
Kolker does a wonderful job of alternately telling the Galvins' story and tracing the development of the research into schizophrenia through the ages. Anyone interested in learning more about mental health issues or anyone looking for a good human interest story should read this book.
The Binding by Bridget Collins
Available to Easton Residents in print, and as an e-audiobook from Hoopla
Intended Audience: Adult
Reviewed by: Ryan
Bridget Collins' first novel for adults is set in an alternate historical timeline that is never truly revealed, however it seems to be somewhere between 1750 and 1825. This is a world where books are bound volumes of people's memories of specific events or their entire lives. These books are not meant to be sold or read, but kept safe in a binder's care. The people who sell books as trade as frowned upon. If a book burns, the person whose memories it contains will feel excruciating pain and, possibly, die.
Emmett Farmer is a typical young man who is trying to live his life, but he is often very ill. Eventually he learns that he suffers from Binder's sickness, a condition that can only be cured by being taught how to make books and help people. Eventually, he is taken on as an apprentice and encounters another young man, Lucian, who is of wealth. There seems to be a confusing connection between the two of them, but Emmett can't place where this connection is from. Emmett eventually finds his way to working for a binder in the large city of Castelford where is tasked with going to a powerful and rich man's residence to perform a Binding. It is here that Emmett learns that Bindings can and are used to manipulate others. This is also where he encounters his own completed Binding containing his memories.
Told in a three part structure, the second part deals with the memories stored in Emmett's book and that is where the reader will learn the reason for Lucian and Emmett's connection. Featuring very progressive LGBT storylines set in historical fiction, the novel overall was a fun and interesting read and dealt with some inventive magic. However, as an avid reader of fantasy, I expected more development on the magic system of this world and thus was disappointed. Also, since the book centers around book binding, I was hoping for more explanation on the art of making books. While the first and second parts of the book held my interest the most, I think overall the book was a little drawn out, and part three could have been shortened significantly.
Have you read this book? Do you agree with my thoughts? Let me know!
Blended by Sharon Draper
Available to Easton Residents in print and as an audiobook. It is also available as an ebook.
Intended Audience: Grades 5-7
Reviewed by: Mary Beth
Sharon Draper does it again with another wonderful middle grade read. Isabella is mixed race and her parents are divorced, so she’s navigating life between two homes and two families of different race and socioeconomic background. It’s a lot for any 11-year-old. When one of her best friends is attacked, Isabella really begins to understand the reality of racial disparity.
A terrific read by one of our great authors about one girl’s search for identity.
That's it for this week. Enjoy these great reads and TV shows!