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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

WHODUNIT? 

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!

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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
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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!

 

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Holiday Gift Guide: Books and Other Gifts for Book Lovers

General By December 10, 2020 No Comments

It’s that time of year when your thoughts turn to finding that special holiday gift for friends and family who are book lovers. But what should be a fun, festive task can quickly become overwhelming. We’ve done some of the leg work for you compiling a collection of 14 unique, niche book selections and other gifts reading fans will appreciate. And don’t forget the BEST way to be sure you are getting the lowest prices on books is to use the handy search tools on Bookscouter.com –we do all the work of searching for you!

1. We suggest you begin with Book Riot’s “10 rules for Giving Book Gifts” (hint it’s okay to spy on them for ideas)

2. Check out “20 Books People Actually Want This Year” curated by the L.A. Times

3. Find your inner nerd and see what “Books for Geeks” is all about with options from Star Wars/Star Trek to Doctor Who (and Dungeons and Dragons has a cookbook?)

4. Say Cheese! Easy choices in the “Books for Cheese Lovers” category–there’s only two

5. But Thrillist gives several solid recommendations for the “Best Cocktail Books to Gift Your Friends” and who couldn’t use some extra liquid intelligence?

6. Fore! We suggest “7 Great Gold Books any Golf Fan Would Love for the Holidays” to help them get through the long winter months.

7. For the foodies in your life dig in to “Great Food Books for 2020” and have them make you the recommended rice pudding.

8. A list of items that are sooooo this year with “2020 Holiday Gift Guide: What to Purchase for a Year Like No Other–do these blue light glasses make me look smarter?

9. For the friend with a green thumb, we suggest “Gardening Gifts: From Pots to Tools to Books to Manure”.

10. “Gifts for Pets”–and yes books are listed!

11. Southern bookstores give recommendations in “15 Gift ideas for the Book Lovers in Your Life

12. But for the people that have EVERYTHING here is a list with ideas from mystery thrillers, coffee table books, sports, cooking, bios, and music “Books Gifts for Everyone on Your List

13. The best gifts for bookworms that aren’t just another classic novel “20 Gift Ideas For Bookworms (That Aren’t More Books)

14. And finally Stocking Stuffers Ideas because, duh, books are hard to fit inside a stocking!

Happy Shopping!

p.s. In case you don’t get the book you want…. here is advice on how to sell unwanted holiday gifts

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What’s Cookin’? Cookbook Values Can Heat Up

General By November 11, 2020 No Comments

It’s the time of year for a lot of holiday cooking and baking. As you dust off an old cookbook and consider letting it go to make extra space, you might want to first check BookScouter.com to see the current value. If it’s really old, you may want to have it appraised by an antique book dealer. You might decide to hold on to it and then pass it down to a family member. Perhaps you come across a rare find and decide to sell it. Or you might decide that a vintage cookbook would make a thoughtful gift for a cook or collector you know. 

Why are cookbooks so beloved? Cookbooks are often a snapshot in time. They can take you back in time to a kitchen from any decade; to a childhood favorite or even to another century to recreate the past. Cookbooks can take you places; peruse recipes from a favorite restaurant or try exotic dishes from a faraway country. Cookbooks can do more than just provide a recipe, they often tell the story behind the dishes and give insights into their creation. 

As you move forward with buying, selling, or collecting cookbooks here are a few things to keep in mind:

Use All of BookScouter’s Resources

You can check a cookbook’s ISBN to see the SELL value but did you also know you can do a keyword search to buy cookbooks on our site?

Determining Value

Why are some cookbooks worth more than others? Check out this article by The Spruce Crafts that explores why some cookbooks hold a higher value–hint it has nothing to do with the food.

Collectors’ Enjoyment

Learn some of the histories from kitchens of the past in this article from Estate.org titled, “A Guide to American Vintage Cookbooks” which shares cookbook selections dating back to the 1700s up through World War II. 

High-Priced Cookbook Sales 

AbeBooks has compiled a list of the 10 most expensive cookbooks ever sold from their stores. You may be able to guess which country the top priced one is from, but you won’t believe the price! 

Keep your eyes open–you never know when you might come across a truly unique find. Happy hunting!

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Find Spooky Books for a Ghoul’d Price

General By October 7, 2020 No Comments

It’s that time of year when you begin to feel a chill in the air, the dark nights start to get longer and you yearn to curl up with a suspenseful tale. We get your October mood and have compiled some Spooky reading suggestions–with links to finding a GHOUL’D, no, the BEST prices online using BookScouter. No need to get scared–our pricing tool does all the price searching for you. So check out our list, but BEWARE of what great books you may find.

Classic Horror- you know the stories but have you read the tale?

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury 

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

 

Made into a movie-try the original source material that inspired the film

The Birds by Daphne DuMaurier

Hellraiser by Clive Barker

Carrie by Stephen King

The Shining by Stephen King

Psycho by Robert Bloch

The Exorcist by William Peter Blattey

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

Vamps, Witches, and Werewolves- take a bite out of one of these series

Stephanie Myers – The Twilight Series

Cassandra Claire – The Mortal Instruments Series 

Anne Rice – Vampire Chronicles 

Deborah Harkness – All Souls Trilogy 

Maggie Stiefvater – The Wolves of Mercy Falls 

Christine Johnson – Claire de Lune series

 

Short stories- great to read out loud if you dare

Edgar Allan Poe – There are various collections of his short stories

Alvin Schwartz – Three Volumes of Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark 

Henry James – The Turn of the Screw and Other Ghost Stories 

Too Scary–you may wish you hadn’t read

The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson

The Shining – Stephen King

Carrion Comfort – Dan Simmons

Ghost Story – Peter Straub

Bird Box – Josh Malerman

 

Not too scary–share with your little monsters

Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman – Washington Irving 

Ghosts in the House! – Kazuno Kohara

The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt – Riel Nason

Creepy Pair of Underwear! – Aaron Reynolds

Herbert’s First Halloween – Cynthia Rylant and Steven Henry

Zombelina – Kristyn crow and Molly Idle

How to Catch a Monster – Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton

Bonaparte Falls Apart – Marjorie Cuyler

Scooby-Doo: A Haunted Halloween – Gail Herman

And finally, you don’t have to take our word on it. Here are a few other lists of spooky Halloween reads: 

Goodreads Halloween 

Oprah Best Halloween Books 

Read It Forward Halloween Books to Spook Your Socks Off

Best Halloween Picture Books 

Buzzfeed 13 Witchy Tales to Keep you Spellbound 

To get in the proper horror reading mood, check out this video for a reading of “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe read by Vincent Price, Christopher Walken, James Earl Jones, and Christopher Lee.

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