The Twin Cities Metro eLibrary, a library shared by the eight Twin Cities metro public library systems, hosted by MELSA (Metropolitan Library Service Agency), reached a record-breaking seven million digital book checkouts in 2021.
This milestone illustrates the continued growth and importance of library lending of eBooks and eAudiobooks, especially during the global pandemic.
MELSA, consisting of more than 100 library branches in the Twin Cities Metro, is in the top four worldwide (only Toronto Public Library, National Library Board Singapore, and Los Angeles Public Library checked out more digital titles in 2021) and is the top library consortium.
A Carver County parent shares, “My son recently got his own tablet and was very excited to get the Libby app after seeing me use it so often. He has been so ridiculously happy to have free reign to download books and audiobooks on his own. He has it going constantly!”
One of the most authoritative sources for great reading, Library Journal, recently released its list of best books of the year in several categories. Here are some of their best books in crime fiction.
“Killing Hills” by Chris Offutt. A literary master across genres, award-winning author Chris Offutt’s latest novel is a compelling, propulsive thriller in which a suspicious death exposes the loyalties and rivalries of a deep-rooted and fiercely private community in the Kentucky backwoods.
Mick Hardin, a combat veteran now working as an Army CID agent, is home on a leave that is almost done. His wife of him is about to give birth, but they are n’t getting along. His sister de ella, newly risen to sheriff, has just landed her first murder case, and local politicians are pushing for city police or the FBI to take the case.
Are they convinced she can’t handle it, or is there something else at work? She calls on Mick who, with his homicide investigation experience and familiarity with the terrain, is well-suited to staying under the radar. As he delves into the investigation, he dodges his commanding officer’s increasingly urgent calls while attempting to head off further murders. And he needs to talk to his wife about him.
“Mango, Mambo, and Murder” by Raquel V Reyes. Cuban-American cooking show star Miriam Quiñones-Smith becomes a seasoned sleuth in Raquel V. Reyes’s Caribbean Kitchen Mystery debut, a savory treat for fans of Joanne Fluke and Jenn McKinlay. Food anthropologist Miriam Quiñones-Smith’s move from New York to Coral Shores, Miami, puts her academic career on hold to stay at home with her young son de ella.
Adding to her funk is an opinionated mother-in-law and a husband rekindling a friendship with his ex. Thanks to her best friend, Alma, she gets a short-term job as a Caribbean cooking expert on a Spanish-language morning TV show.
But when the newly minted star attends a Women’s Club luncheon, a socialite sitting at her table suddenly falls face-first into the chicken salad, never to nibble again. When a second woman dies soon after, suspicions coalesce around a controversial Cuban herbalist, Dr. Fuentes — especially after the morning show’s host collapses while interviewing him.
Detective Pullman is not happy to find Miriam at every turn. After he catches her breaking into the doctor’s apothecary, he enlists her help de ella as eyes and ears to the places he ca n’t access, namely the Spanish-speaking community and the tawny Coral Shores social scene. As the ingredients to the deadly scheme begin blending together, Miriam is on the verge of learning how and why the women died. But her snooping of her may turn out to be a recipe for her own murder of her.
“Razorblade Tears” by SA Cosby. Ike Randolph has been out of jail for 15 years, with not so much as a speeding ticket in all that time. But a Black man with cops at the door knows to be afraid. The last thing he expects to hear is that his son Isiah has been murdered, along with Isiah’s white husband, Derek.
Ike had never fully accepted his son, but is devastated by his loss. Derek’s father Buddy Lee was almost ashamed of Derek for being gay as Derek was ashamed his father was a criminal. Buddy Lee still has contacts in the underworld, though, and he wants to know who killed his boy.
Ike and Buddy Lee, two ex-cons with little else in common other than a criminal past and a love for their dead sons, band together in their desperate desire for revenge
“The Turnout” by Megan Abbott. With their long necks and matching buns and pink tights, Dara and Marie Durant have been dancers since birth. Growing up, they were homeschooled and trained by their glamorous mother, founder of the Durant School of Dance.
After their parents’ death in a tragic accident nearly a dozen years ago, the sisters began running the school together, along with Charlie, Dara’s husband and eleven their mother’s prized student.
Marie, warm and soft, teaches the younger students; Dara, with her precision, trains the older ones; and Charlie, back broken after years of injuries, rules over the back office. Circling around one another, the three have perfected a dance, six days a week, that keeps the studio thriving.
But when a suspicious accident occurs, just at the onset of the school’s annual performance of The Nutcracker an interloper arrives and threatens the sisters’ delicate balance.
“Velvet Was the Night” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Maite is a secretary who lives for one thing: the latest issue of Secret Romance.
While student protests and political unrest consume the city, Maite escapes into stories of passion and danger. Ella’s next-door neighbor, Leonora, a beautiful art student, seems to live a life of intrigue and romance that Maite envies.
When Leonora disappears under suspicious circumstances, Maite finds herself searching for the missing woman and journeying deeper into Leonora’s secret life of student radicals and dissidents.
Meanwhile, someone else is also looking for Leonora at the behest of his boss, a shadowy figure who commands goon squads dedicated to squashing political activists.
Elvis is an eccentric criminal who longs to escape his own life: He loathes violence and loves old movies and rock ‘n’ roll. But as Elvis searches for the missing woman, he watches Maite from a distance and comes to regard her as a kindred spirit who shares her love of music and the unspoken loneliness of her heart.
Now as Maite and Elvis come closer to discovering the truth behind Leonora’s disappearance, they can no longer escape the danger that threatens to consume their lives, with hitmen, government agents, and Russian spies all aiming to protect Leonora’s secrets at gunpoint.
EVENTS FOR ADULTS
Women’s Herstory Month: March 10-21. The 2022 theme for Women’s History Month this March, “Women providing healing, promoting hope,” is both a tribute to caregivers and frontline workers during this ongoing pandemic and also a recognition of the countless ways women have provided these essential needs throughout history. Carver County Library is celebrating by spotlighting local women’s stories. For more information and to contribute stories, contact Linnéa Fonnest, Adult Services Librarian at Chanhassen Library: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Basic Image Editing: 7 to 8 pm, Tuesday, March 15. Online, registration required. Website and password will be sent closer to the program date. This class explains the different image formats and when to use them. Use free image editing software like GIMP, Pixler, and/or VSCO to manipulate images, and save them for print and web. Funded by MELSA.
EVENTS FOR YOUTH
Stuck on Science Special Storytime at Victoria: 10:30 to 11 am, Monday, March 14. Join us for a special preschool STEM storytime. After stories and songs, we are going to have fun with magnets. Rotate to different stations to build with magnetic tiles, find a “stuck truck” to drive through town and more!
Monday Funday on Facebook Live: 6:30 to 7 pm, Monday, March 14. We’ll read books, tell tales, sing songs, and more. Carver County Library Youth Services Librarians and special guests will lead the way!
No registration is required for storytimes.
Family Storytime: 3:30 p.m. Sundays and 10:30 a.m., Tuesdays and Wednesdays. For all ages, with a focus on children age 2 and up. Children, parents, and caregivers are invited to share 30 minutes of singing, playing, reading, writing, and talking.