Book Shopping

I’m trying to purchase some books for a 14-year-old granddaughter, but it’s no easy task.

She is an avid reader, and has already read the entire Sherlock Holmes series written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, something I didn’t accomplish until I was a few years older.

I want to get her something she will enjoy, not some “young adult” book that’s really meant for someone much younger.Hammett2

But many adult detective books contain material that’s inappropriate for a 14-year-old, or inappropriate for a granddad to give to a 14-year-old — explicit sex, excessive violence, detailed drug use, that sort of thing.

But I don’t want to just get her a gift card for books. Reading is one of the great joys of my life, and I want to share a bit of that with her.

My solution, I think, will be to go with something old and something new.

I have long been a Dashiell Hammett fan, and because his mystery books were written in the 1920s and 1930s, they aren’t as explicit as modern suspense books. There is some troubling language that’s not politically correct today, and excessive cigarette smoking. Still, he was a great writer, and basically created the genre with the tough-guy detective.

The second is a book called “This is our Story,” which a 17-year-old avid reader friend recommended to me. It is “young adult,” but in the upper end of that range. And it has gotten great reviews.

We’ll see how it all turns out.

Spanish Flu

My siblings and I just finished reading “The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History.”

It’s a fascinating story of what was in 1918 and 1919 called the Spanish Flu, even though it didn’t start in Spain. It may have killed more than 100 million people worldwide, and the medical efforts to understand and contain it were truly historic.influenza cover