Minutes from the March 9, 2015 Meeting

Another great discussion on March 3rd at the Bacon Free Library about Suspense/Thrillers.

Our Benchmark was “Dark Places” by Gillian Flynn. Our observations about Suspense/Thrillers in general:

  • Pacing is very different from other genres
  • Nothing is what it seems
  • Main character is not usually in danger
  • “Page Turners”
  • Question is often “Why was it done” vs. “Who dun it”
  • Difference between psychological suspense vs. true thriller seems to be in the pacing
  • Suspense = character driven, Thriller = plot driven

Our observations about “Dark Places”:

  • Psychologically damaged characters
  • Not particularly likeable or sympathetic characters
  • This book hooked readers immediately
  • There were different perspectives, 1st person in the present and 3rd person flashbacks, which was confusing for some
  • Story was “unrelentingly bleak”
  • Discussion on why patrons would read these types of stories regularly or exclusively:
    • To experience something horrific without it happening to you
    • To try to understand the psychology of the characters
    • Hope that characters will learn and grow

Minutes from January 12th Meeting

Thank you, Margaret Perkins, for hosting our Jan. 12th meeting at the Medway Public Library! We had 14 attendees and a lively discussion. If you have not done so, please introduce yourself and submit your 2nd title.

“Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death” by M.C. Beaton
Cozy Mystery Genre

  • General Characteristics: Not very scary, often filled with “tropes” and person who is murdered is usually “jerky” – Laura B.
  • Sentence Structure is sharp, shorter, easy to read and fun – Stefanie
  • Wit is gentle humor – Louise
  • We agreed that the characterizations are the most important aspect of a cozy mystery with setting a close second. Plot can be a bit see-through.
  • We also agreed that there is a certain comfort in reading cozy mystery series in that we enjoy seeing where the characters go. If they do not grow, we might abandon a series

Our observations about Agatha Raisin:

  • She was an outsider and was fiesty
  • There was little dialect in the story so easier to read
  • Town played as a character. Most of us enjoyed the descriptions as they created a strong sense of place. Town was insular
  • Agatha herself was viewed as annoying, amusing, lonely. Some of us really liked her but most didn’t warm up to her. There was a question of if she grew in later books. Mary, who’s read most of the series, stated that Agatha did not change over the course of the series very much.
  • We enjoyed some of the secondary characters, esp. Roy, and some of the humor – old couple, ladies group

Minutes from Nov. 10th Meeting

15 attendees
Meet every two months, sites for January and May set. Second Monday of the month. Meena, Louise, Laura and Stefanie will co-lead moving forward.
Police procedural:
Harry Bosch: His being in the Vietnam war was trope, seemed a little forced to make the plot move. Many people didn’t get him. Seems a throwback to noir detective. Thoughts of being one-dimensional. Past issues fed piecemeal and hard to keep up with.
Use of art in the book interesting. Identification with paintings.
Eleanor: was she dumb or let Harry take the lead on purpose. She had another agenda, but seen as not as skilled.
Pacing seems slower than contemporary PP, yet compared to other genres (Historical Fiction, Non-Fiction) it moved fast.
Second Title (Go to Genres/Police Procedurals for full summary and analysis):
John Scalzi LOCK IN
Deborah Crombie NO MARK UPON HER
Joseph Wambaugh THE ONION FIELD
Louise Penny STILL LIFE
Submitted by Kristi Chadwick

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death TV Show!

Hey all,

I just discovered that our January book, “Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death” by MC Beaton is going to be a TV show on Sky 1 around Christmas time! I’m going to try to read the book before watching, but I’m making no promises 🙂

Read all about it here!


Next Meeting of the MW-RART

Agatha-Raisin-1Our next meeting with be Monday January 12, 2015 9:45-12:00 at the Medway Public Library, 26 High St., Medway, MA. For this meeting the subgenre is Cozy Mystery. If you can make it, please read “Agatha Christie and A Quiche of Death” by M.C. Beaton and another book of this subgenre of your own choosing. In addition to talking about the books themselves, please pay attention to appeal factors such as story, characters,tone, style, and pace.
Please make sure to introduce yourself (if you haven’t already!) and submit your 2nd title information
You can register for the January meeting at the MLS Calendar
The discussion leaders for the group are Meena Jain, Laura Bernheim (lbernheim@minlib.net) and Louise Goldstein (lgoldstein@minlib.net). Kristi Chadwick from MLS will also be on hand to assist with our discussion.


Laura Bernheim and Louise Goldstein from the Waltham Public Library have offered to be co-discussion leaders for the MW-RART! And Stefanie Aucoin (Needham) has offered to assist! All three have been attending the NE-RART for a couple of years. Also Waltham was awarded an LSTA grant for a RA study which was very successful and continues on as the staff enjoyed it so much. Looks like our group is coming together.

First Meeting of the MW-RART is Monday, Nov 10th!

OuBlackEchor very first Metrowest Reader’s Advisory Roundtable (MW-RART) meeting is Monday November 10, 2014, 9:45 – Noon at the Bacon Free Library, 58 Eliot St, Natick, MA .
We decided to do a mystery book for our first meeting and the subgenre of police procedural for the benchmark. If you can make it, please read “The Black Echo” by Michael Connelly and another book of this subgenre of your own choosing. During the meeting we can decide if we want to do a deeper study of the mystery genre for a few meetings or move to different genres. In addition to talking about the books themselves, please pay attention to appeal factors such as story, characters,tone, style, and pace.
If you’re looking for ideas for your second title in the Police Procedurals subgenre, we’ve put some here. Just click on the HERE.
The MW-RART is open to all library staff members in Massachusetts – whether you work in Metrowest or live here. Please register for the MWRART on the Massachusetts Library System website. We plan to meet every other month, September thru May so feel free to register for any that you can attend. You don’t have to commit to attending all of the meetings to join the group!
Hope to see you on the 10th!