Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Molly MacRae

Molly MacRae spent twenty years in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Upper East Tennessee, where she managed The Book Place, an independent bookstore; may it rest in peace. Before the lure of books hooked her, she was curator of the history museum in Jonesborough, Tennessee’s oldest town.

MacRae lives with her family in Champaign, Illinois, where she connects children with books at the public library.

MacRae's latest book is Knot the Usual Suspects, her latest Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
I usually gravitate toward funny books. A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie by Kathryn Harkup doesn’t fit that pattern, unless you count the funny looks it gets from people who see it on the shelf next to my thermos of tea at work. Harkup is a former research chemist who discusses fourteen of Christie’s novels and the poisons used in them. Christie had extensive knowledge of poisons and chemistry. She’s one of my writing heroes, and I think of this book as a little light research.

Another nonfiction book I’m reading is Treasure Island: The Untold Story by John Amrhein. Amrhein tells the story of Owen and John Lloyd, two respected merchants in Hampton Roads, Virginia, who, in 1750, perpetrated the most audacious and lucrative act of piracy of the 18th century. They made off with more than fifty chests of silver doubloons and buried it on an island in the Caribbean. John Lloyd had a wooden leg. Amrhein goes on to make convincing connections between that story and R.L. Stevenson’s Treasure Island.

To get my dose of funny in, I recently read Leigh Perry’s A Skeleton in the Family. It’s the first in her light-paranormal cozy mystery series about adjunct English Professor Georgia Thackery and Sid the animate skeleton who’s been her best friend since she was six. Neither Sid nor Georgia can explain how it’s possible for Sid to walk, talk, and surf the Internet, but there he is. This is a smart series full of bone jokes, bad puns, and proof of the power of friendship and family.

Part of my job at the public library is checking in the new children’s books, and I take that opportunity to “shop” for my one-year-old grandson. Two books stood out recently. The first is Chameleon Sees Colors by Anita Bijsterbosch, a joyfully bright, bold book of colors. It’s a board book, which makes it perfect for the youngest readers, and the cover is predominantly red, which makes it perfect for my grandson, because that’s his favorite color. The second book is The Alphabet of Bugs: An ABC Book, by Valerie Gates and illustrated by Ann Cutting. It’s beautiful, alliterative, informative, and has a sense of humor. It also introduces a lovely range of colors. Who couldn't like a beetle that balances a bittersweet background?
Visit Molly MacRae's website.

My Book, The Movie: Knot the Usual Suspects.

The Page 69 Test: Knot the Usual Suspects.

--Marshal Zeringue