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I have come, most regretfully, to the realization that I cannot read every mystery novel ever published.

This insight came to me a few days ago as I looked at the shelves in my study.  I counted seventeen books that were sent by publicists in hopes that I would review them.  I looked at another shelf that held three library books that I chose after I had read reviews of them by other bloggers.

Then I looked up my library account and saw that I had eighteen books “frozen,” waiting for me to be picked up on my next trip to the Needham Library.  The Minuteman Library System allows you to choose books you want to read, reserve, and then freeze them until you are ready to unfreeze and read them.  It’s a wonderful system except that I can’t stop myself from adding just one more mystery to my list of requests.

So I took a deep breath and did the unthinkable, at least for me.  I chose the six novels that had been on my frozen list the longest, pressed cancel, and voilà–the books were gone.  I felt terrible for a few minutes, longer if I’m being honest.  What if the best book of the year was one I had deleted?  How would I ever know what I’d missed?

As many of my readers know, I’ve been teaching courses on mysteries and crime novels for a number of years at Brandeis University’s adult education program.  Each semester several program members tell me they’d like to take my course but can’t imagine reading the number of books, that number being eight, I assign during the ten week course.

My flippant answer is that of course they can, they only need to eliminate the unnecessary things in their lives to free up more reading time–cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc.  We laugh, but there is a grain of truth in what I tell them.  Although in our busy schedules it can be challenging to put aside a certain amount of time each day for reading, it can also be very rewarding.  Sometimes we get so busy with the mundane things in our lives that we forget to leave time for the things we most enjoy.

Starting in September I’ll be teaching WHODUNIT?:  MURDER IN ETHNIC COMMUNITIES, and the books I’ve chosen take place in Orthodox Jewish, Native American, Black, Hispanic, Mormon, Chinese-American, and Amish communities.  As the time for my class draws closer, I’ll let you know what the specific books are.  Perhaps you’ll put aside time every day to read along with us.


2 Responses to “”

  • The frozen books is a great title for a mystery novel. Maybe you will write your own someday, dear Marilyn!
    Wish I were closer to take your class.
    Have a great weekend!

  • Marilyn Brooks says:

    I’d love to have you in my class, Teresa. But since I don’t plan on writing a mystery soon (wish I could, though), THE FROZEN BOOKS title is yours.
    Fond regards, Marilyn

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