Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Crime and Pu...Nourishment (Stretching a Dostoyevsky Reference a Bit Too Far Just to Make Some Recommendations on Books Not by Dostoyevsky )

The other day someone asked me how Sweet Baby James was sleeping at night and how night-nursing was going.  "Oh, it's been mostly fine.  Nursing in the quiet of night gives me the opportunity to catch up on a little Chesterton."  The inquirer may have thought me very clever and academic-like, but she was none the wiser since I hadn't quite specified...  I'm just still trying to get through G. K.'s Father Brown mysteries :) I started them when Clare was born two years ago, but the complete set I had borrowed from the library was so dang big and heavy, it wasn't a very nursing-friendly tome.  There's only so much you can manage with a tiny human attached to you and one hand free.  But now I've got the complete mysteries on my phone (99 cents in the Kindle Store!)so I'm able to manage much better :)  

I can think back to when I was nursing each of my children as newborns and recall the books that I read during that time. Mysteries come up frequently, particularly the Jane Austen Mysteries by Stephanie Barron.  They are an easy read, but are thoroughly entertaining and often quite suspenseful. If you're a fan of Austen and mysteries, I can pretty safely guarantee you'll enjoy these books.  If you're a stuffy Jane Austen scholar, maybe not. But I'll let you sort that out for yourself.  

Barron's series of 11 (soon to be 12 !!!! books) are written as if they were the long lost journals of Jane Austen which were only recently "discovered" in a basement.  In them Jane willingly, but rather accidentally, serves as a detective for a variety of crimes, and ends up solving many a mystery while she moves about her ordinary life in turn-of-the-19th-century England. Readers are introduced to many of the players in Austen's real life - her sister Cassandra, her brothers, sister in law, nieces and nephews, etc... as well as several fictional characters including one with whom she develops a compelling, though restrained, romance.  I've enjoyed all of the stories in the series and am looking forward to the latest, Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas, purported to come out this fall.  (It is best to read the books in order if possible, as there are story lines which carry through and develop throughout.)  

There is a nice review of Barron's series here.  And a list of the books in the order that they were written is here.  

* * * * * *

Aaron has jumped on the bandwagon that is crime-solving while I nourish the baby.  He has been reading Mercy Watson Fights Crime by Kate DiCamillo to us (typically while I'm feeding James on the couch, which incidentally, is the exact same time that everyone else has to be on the couch.) I checked a few of the Mercy Watson books out of the library at Erin's (from Seven Little Australians and Counting) recommendation.  We've been thoroughly enjoying the quirky and funny adventures of the beloved household pig, Mercy.  The books are perfect for Aaron, who is able to read them independently.  Mercy Watson Fights Crime has been the favorite so far - it's hard not to enjoy a story about a bumbling thief who wants to be a cowboy and the toast-loving "porcine wonder" who foils him :)

that 's James and me in the bottom left corner :) 
So there you have it.  A series for you, based on one of the great literary geniuses and social commentators of Regency England.  And a series for your kiddos, based on... a pig. 

I think you'll enjoy both! 


  1. How did I NOT KNOW there was a Jane Austen mystery series? I just put the first one on hold! Thank you, thank you, thank you! And why do they all have to be on the couch as soon as you sit down? Or me? Or any mom?

    1. I hope you like them!! Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Ann-Marie!

  2. Oh Theresa
    So pleased we introduced you to a Mercy Watson:) and to hear it's a hit. Really enjoyed seeing the pic of them gathered around:)


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