Surprise, Discovery, and Books!

LibraryAware Mystery February Newsletter

Feb 2021 Mystery Newsletter


There is something sublime in its randomness, its supreme ability to surprise.

Mail is the completion of an event, an act.

Someone put forth an effort to send something and the delivery to your mailbox is the final step, the culmination of a timeless method of communication.

It’s a concept similar to the light of stars, but in a different scope.

Every birthday card, holiday melange of pictures of relatives, or a mere note sent by a treasured friend: all are the representations of someone else’s present, now a few days in the past.

As email has become more prevalent, some of this wonder and simple excitement has worn off.

Checking email has become more of an exercise of recognizing what to automatically delete and what requires attention, what new tasks lie in store or what type of sales are happening.

LibraryAware Non-Fiction Hardcover February Newsletter

Feb 2021 Non-Fiction Newsletter

How would you like to be surprised again, to feel the jolt of discovering something new?

Would you like to see your possible reading future in an email?

You can, by signing up for LibraryAware Newsletters!

You can visit the LibraryAware Newsletters page under the Resources / Books & Authors section of our website.

It is a quick sign-up process to receive a list of book suggestions that may have slipped past your radar.

You will then receive an email once a month with a list of books from each of the genres you select.

It is a great way to discover new books and start new rabbit trails.


So many newsletters, so little time? Sign up for one, some, or all!

The information for each title is provided in a fresh, compelling manner.

Plus, the books are linked directly to our library catalog where you can place a hold on the book.

It’s that simple!

I personally receive the Mystery, Horror, and History/Current Events newsletters.

My “To Be Read” pile has begun to groan under the sheer amount of the new titles I’ve added.

And that's a good thing in my "book".

Below is a list of my six favorite suggestions from past newsletters, with the LibraryAware write-up included: 

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These Women

by Ivy Pochoda

What it is: a gritty, dialogue-rich mystery with an evocative South Los Angeles setting and vivid writing centered around diverse women.

The women: Feelia, a prostitute left for dead by a serial killer in 1999; Lecia, a teen murdered by the same killer; Dorian, Lecia's mom, who still seeks justice in 2014; Julianna, the girl Lecia once babysat, now an exotic dancer; Marella, an artist living with her parents; Anneke, Marella's mom, who disapproves of her neighbors; and Essie, a police detective.

Read this next: Caitlin Mullen's Please See Us, Louisa Luna's The Janes, or Laura Lippman's Lady in the Lake.

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Revolution Song: The Story of America's Founding in Six Remarkable Lives

by Russell Shorto

What it is: an evocative history of the American Revolution as experienced by six people navigating the era's nascent conceptions of individual freedom.

Featuring: Seneca diplomat Cornplanter, who fought with the British; soldier's daughter Margaret Moncrieffe, a demimondaine who eschewed the era's gender norms; Venture Smith, a Connecticut slave who bought his freedom.

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The Ballad of Black Tom

by Victor LaValle

What it's about: In 1920s Harlem, a young African American con artist named Charles Thomas Tester struggles to make ends meet for himself and his dying father while treading on the borders of an occult realm.

What sets it apart: This atmospheric retelling of H.P. Lovecraft's short story "The Horror at Red Hook" cleverly deconstructs the racism of its source material by putting a black man front and center.

Book buzz: A Bram Stoker Award finalist, The Ballad of Black Tom won the 2016 Shirley Jackson Award and the 2017 British Fantasy Award.

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The Only Good Indians

by Stephen Graham Jones

Ten years ago: A quartet of 20-something Blackfeet men embarked on an ill-fated elk hunting trip on tribal lands meant only for the elders' use.

Now: Still processing their lingering feelings of guilt and shame all these years later, one by one the men find themselves at the mercy of a vengeful entity that stalks their every move. 

What sets it apart: This incisive own voices novel explores themes of cultural identity and intergenerational trauma while offering plenty of eerie supernatural scares.

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A Black Women's History of the United States

by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross

What it is: a sweeping yet concise history prioritizing the experiences of Black women whose "everyday heroism" shaped America.

What's inside: profiles of 11 lesser known Black women whose stories provide illuminating context for the Atlantic slave trade, the Great Migration, Jim Crow laws, protest movements, and more. 

Try this next: Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall.

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by Kathleen Jennings

What it's about: Years after her father and brothers vanished, Bettina Scott receives a cryptic letter written in one of her brothers' handwriting and sets off to discover what really happened to her family. 

Why you might like it: Debut author Kathleen Jennings' haunting Australian Gothic offers descriptive prose, an atmospheric setting, and a folklore-infused mystery.

Reviewers say: "An unforgettable tale, as beautiful as it is thorny" (The New York Times).

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