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The Continuing Allure of Mystery Novels

General By January 27, 2021 No Comments

Mystery novels are a staple of the popular reading lists. Bookstore shelves prominently feature new titles and continuing series. But how did they get their start? The first mystery novel and thus the creation of a new genre was a short story about a detective by American writer Edgar Allen Poe in 1841. There are multiple subgenres of mystery/crime fiction novels. They can fall into four key categories: Detective Novels, Cozy Mysteries, Police Procedural, Caper Stories, or up to a more expansive list of twelve, as seen here (learn the differences between Hardboiled or Softboiled, Cozy or Domestic). It seems no matter the style, mystery novels will continue to be a favorite and ever-evolving genre. 

Take a quiz: what fictional detective are you


Most mystery novels follow the same outline. First, there is a crime. The detective (professional or amateur) works on solving the mystery by questioning suspects and searching for clues. An unexpected twist shocks them—and the reader—and leads to the last remaining piece of the puzzle to solve the mystery.

So now that you know a little more about the mystery genre…

Think you have what it takes to solve a mystery?

Top Mystery Authors Must Read Lists: 

BookRiot offers a Top 10 List with a controversial choice–can you define Harry Potter as a mystery? 

Town & Country gives you 15 Best Mystery Novels for Any Mood 

Get gritty with the 10 Best Crime Reads of the Past Decade 

You go girl! Try this list of 20 Must Read Novels by Female Mystery Authors 

Do it by the number and read the Top 100 Mystery Novels of All Tim

A Scary Thought– try this list of 25 Best Thriller Books That Keep You Turning the Page 

GoodReads give us the Best Mysteries for Young Readers 

Stick with a Classic and read the 10 Best Sherlock Holmes Stories 

And if you like those here is a list of Top 50 books like Sherlock Holmes 

Ready to read?

BookScouter.com lets you search for books by Subject, Author, or Title

And finally, Just for Fun

Attend The Dinner Detective– a murder mystery dinner event with over 75 U.S. locations.  Or host your own party and Download a Night of Mystery for a revealing night in. Good luck solving the mystery before time runs out!


Declutter and Organize Your Space

General By January 20, 2021 No Comments

January, after the holidays and at the start of a new year, is a natural time to begin to declutter, clean, and organize your space, but you can really start any time of year (Spring Cleaning!). Often the hardest part is merely deciding to begin and commit to seeing the process through. We will help you by giving you a plan, some expert tips, and dangling a reward at the end to motivate you. Let’s get started!

First Step

Survey the space. How much time is this going to take? Don’t start a project so big that you can’t complete it in your available time. Maybe you just begin with a closet rather than a room. Or if a closet seems like too much start with a shelf. Make this manageable or it may not get finished. 

Second Step

Empty the space completely and sort it into keep, trash, and donate or sell. Take the time to make the hard calls to really get the full benefits of this project. Ask yourself: Do you love it? Have you used it in the last year? Would you rather have the space for other things? Is it time to pass it on? Can I sell this for money? We know you know BookScouter is the best place to sell books but for everything else here are “8 Places Where You Can Sell Stuff Fast” 

If you need help letting go, cut yourself some slack and read this article “15 Ways to Leave Your Clutter (so you can find some peace)” 

Third Step

After you have thoroughly cleaned out the space, grab the “keep” pile and decide if it’s in the right place. Should it be somewhere else in your space? Should it be accessible, used daily, or placed further back for less frequent use? Should it be placed in storage or pulled out for a seasonal rotation?

One way to organize your stuff might be to group it into categories for purpose. If it’s a linen closet separate linens, towels, bathroom supplies. Then further group into matching sets for either the same rooms or same sizes. If it’s a sock drawer sort into colors or uses like sports or dress socks. Keep items used the most often in the front. 


Fourth Step

Now that you’ve broken it all down it’s time to build it back up. Look at the space, see what needs to go back in there, and determine how to access it best. Should it be a vertical organizer like a shoe bag in a closet or pull out bins that let you stack up? Or is it best to organize horizontally with dividers and trays? Can a hook or bar be added to use in the space? Look for unused space like the back of a door, under stairs, or above shelves. Check out these “13 Storage Spaces You’re Overlooking” 

Keep in mind that you don’t want to have to move too many items to access what you need. Simple is better as advised in “How to Declutter and Organize ANY Space”. 

Use bins, baskets, or boxes to help sort and divide. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on matching or attractive organizational items. You can often repurpose items or Google clever hacks to use. Here are “28 Storage Ideas for Your Entire Home” 

And it should go without saying, but make sure everything you put back is CLEAN! 

Final Step

Step back and enjoy your efforts. Don’t be afraid to tweak your organizational plan if needed as day-to-day use might prove your ideas wrong. And keep in mind,  your ideas might not suit the needs of others so be willing to compromise on how best to use the space. 

Benefits to think about as you work: 

  • You can spend less time in the future having to clean now that you’ve trimmed it down 
  • It’s easier to actually find things–and remembering what you even had at the bottom of that pile
  • You may make money selling unneeded items
  • The feeling that you are donating items for others to use and enjoy
  • You’ll enjoy using the space more now that it’s neat and orderly

The Why’s and How’s of Volunteering in College

College By January 13, 2021 No Comments

First, the WHY?

It pays to do the right thing! Besides the chance to do something nice for others, volunteering has many benefits for college students. So before you think your semester is too busy with school and work, consider these reasons to get out and serve…

According to a study by the Corporation for National and Community Service, volunteering is associated with a 27% higher rate of employment because an employer is more likely to choose a candidate with volunteering experience. 

Volunteering helps students learn new skills with hands-on experience. Fill that resume with examples of problem-solving, and leadership. Plus it shows that you know how to manage your time balancing school and extracurricular activities. 

You can meet new people! Make friends outside the classroom and expand your connections on campus. Volunteering also lets students network with businesses and community leaders. And, you never know when a new connection will translate to an opportunity for you after school. 

Helping others through volunteering has several health benefits including decreasing stress, lowering depression, and lengthening your life according to a study by the Mayo Clinic, “The 6 Health Benefits of Volunteering”. Everyone can benefit from tasks that keep you physically and mentally active. 

Volunteering can give you a chance to break out of your comfort zone. If you are typically shy, try to volunteer for a setting that will have you speaking or presenting to gain confidence. Or you could use this as an opportunity to listen and learn from others whose life experiences are far different from your own. 

And finally, it doesn’t have to be completely altruistic. There are sometimes scholarships or paid opportunities that can result from volunteering. See what options are available in your school or community. Here is a list of “13 Community Service Scholarships”. 

Then the HOW?

Now that we’ve shown you some of the benefits of volunteering we’ve compiled a list of places to find volunteer opportunities: 

  • Campus Life or Student Activities Associations are a great place to start looking for opportunities in and around your school. 
  • Search for causes you care about such as animals, the environment, the arts, mentoring teens, or support something that has affected you or a family member like cancer. 

 Volunteers are needed now more than ever to help strengthen and support your community. Take action now! 



How to Spend Your Semester Break Wisely

College By December 23, 2020 Tags: , , No Comments

You finished your last exam.  Close your books, and look forward to a well-earned break from school. Before you think you’ve got nothing to do but binge-watch all the shows you missed, you might want to consider a few activities to make your next semester go smoothly. 


Order a few books now that you are sure you’re going to need and get a head start on that reading. It may feel tough to do this now but your future self will thank you. And BookScouter.com is the best place to find the lowest prices on those textbooks with our search tool that does all the work for you. 



Update your resume. It’s easier now while notable highlights from your semester are still top of mind. Plus you’ll have it ready for any opportunities that present themselves. 


Plan your calendar for the next semester noting any travel, deadlines for summer events, and any exams or paper due dates to begin to see any conflicts you may have. Don’t forget to keep looking for scholarships– they’re not just for freshmen. 


Look for volunteer opportunities. You might need service hours for school or scholarships, or you just might want to give some of your time. No matter your motivation, service hours are always beneficial and could lead to other opportunities (hint: internships)! Get started with Volunteer Match for opportunities in your area. 


Find seasonal work and make a few bucks for things you will need during the upcoming semester. This may also give you an advantage in finding work next summer. 


Continue to eat well, exercise, and get a proper amount of sleep. You’ll not only feel better but you’ll keep your immune system working at its best. 


Do something fun to reward yourself: watch a movie, pick a book you want to read, get takeout from a favorite restaurant. Don’t be a Scrooge, it is your break after all! 

We hope you’ll use your time off wisely and have a productive and fulfilling break! 



It’s a Wrap! Creative Ideas for Wrapping Books

General By December 16, 2020 No Comments

Giving an attractively wrapped book this holiday season doesn’t have to be costly. With a little extra ingenuity and a few items you might have around the house you can put a personal touch on a gift to make it more meaningful. And luckily, books are one of the easier items to wrap!

Choose a plain brown or white paper then you can stamp, string design, twine, or glue pompoms. Try newspapers, magazines, old maps, or recycled books to wrap a book as seen in this creative blog by JaneMeans.

Decorate the exterior with an ornament, greenery, pinecone, paper snowflake or feather, a vintage postcard, or old family photo.  Or attach a favorite sweet like a candy cane or a box of candy. You could cut illustrations from discarded children’s books to decorate or make colorful gift tags like the example on this blog at BookRiot

Give hints to the book’s interior with cookie cutters, art brushes, a magnifying glass, or a garden tool. 

Recycle and use parts of old clothes, a dishtowel, or a blanket as a unique wrapping idea from blogger Creating Really Awesome Fun Things

And finally, consider topping it off with a beautiful bow or ribbon. Blogger Rosemary & Thyme suggests stocking up during sales at craft stores, home goods stores, or even a dollar store. Steeper discounts on ribbons are after Christmas for you to use next season.

But remember, no matter how you wrap a book as a gift, it’s the thought that counts. And remember to use BookScouter to find the BEST prices to buy and sell books. 

Happy Holidays!