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​Jacqui's Academic Mysteries & Book BooksPhoto of staff member Jacqui

Meet Jacqui

Jacqui is the kind of person who checks out way more library books than she can consume in a reasonable amount of time. But while her to-read pile continues to grow (1,117 on Goodreads!) she continues to anxiously chip away at it. She also loves writing, yoga and the Boston Red Sox. Jacqui is the Literacy Outreach Librarian for Children and Teen Services.

Meet her list

I don't read many traditional mysteries, but if you throw in a group of college students, a boarding school, a bookstore, or travel to a mysterious European City – then I'm totally on board. Academic mysteries and books about books are two of my favorite genres. Before I read The Secret History by Donna Tartt, I didn't even know these kinds of books existed. But once I did, I was hooked. So curl up by a fire with these atmospheric, dark, and sometimes, strange reads.


The Secret history          
 
 
Before The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt had a cult following because of this book- a mystery that follows a group of privileged New England college students. I loved this because it's dark and unsettling, and extremely compelling. I couldn't put it down.
Special topics in calamity physics          
 
 
Coming in a close second to The Secret History, this is one of my favorite books with in an academic setting. It's a mystery that does take a little while to build, but the payoff is more than worth it.
Skippy dies
 
 
 
​I didn't want this one to end. It's a dark comedy set in a boys boarding school. The title tells you what you need to know about the main character, but the writing keeps you going to the very end to find out why.  
The basic eight
 
 
 
I don't want to say much about this book because it's better to go into it without knowing anything. It's weird, mysterious, fun and dark. Surprisingly, it's by the same author who wrote A Series of Unfortunate Events for children under the pen name Lemony Snickett. This is NOT a children's book.
The Historian : a novel          
 
 
If you like historical fiction, mixed with academia, mixed with a mystery, and a dose of vampires… then this is the book for you. I loved how it weaved fantasy with history.
The marriage plot
 
 
 
Set in the 1980s, this is my favorite book by Eugenides (who won the Pulitzer for Middlesex). It's a love triangle set among academia with lots of philosophical banter.
Our tragic universe          
 
 
Scarlett Thomas is one of my favorite writers because she pushes the boundaries of reality while still writing (somewhat) realistic fiction. This is a book about books and writers. It's about immortality and quantum physics. It's weird and fun.
Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour bookstore          
 
 
I was drawn to this book because of its glow-in-the-dark cover, and then was delighted to read about this mysterious bookstore set in one of my favorite cities, San Francisco.
The shadow of the wind
 
 
 
This is the first book in Zafon's Cemetery of Forgotten Books series. Though they are all set in the same mystical and atmospheric Barcelona, the titles don't need to be read in order. When I was finished, I wanted to travel to Barcelona and explore the city that Zafon so richly portrays.
A novel bookstore          
 
 
This isn't exactly a book set in academia, but it's a book about books, which is close enough for me. Two people open a bookstore in Paris, across from the famed Shakespeare and Company, on rue Dupuytren. I love the mystery, but mostly I loved the descriptions of Paris literary life.
If on a winter's night a traveler          
 
 
This is the kind of book that makes you look at novels, writing and narrative in a completely different way. Calvino is known for postmodern fiction and experimental literature – and if that's your thing, start with this title.
The strange library          
 
 
Murakami may be my favorite writer, and though this isn't my favorite title of his, it's a great book about books and short enough to be a sample of his unique and ethereal style. If you like it, read The Wind Up Bird Chronicle next.  

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