2018-04-26 / Editorial

My BFFs almost always have snacks

Library Links

Confession: I am not sure how many times I have reread the Harry Potter Series. Those who love the series will often tell you they love the imagination and the world of magic, but that is just a small part of the reason fans will read the series over and over. The books are about friendship, empathy and the characters we grow to love: Harry, Ron and Hermione. Someone once told me that they would finish a poorly written or loosely plotted book, but only if they develop a kinship with the characters. I think that is true. Ultimately we love to read about people we like and want to know. Developing a literary friendship with characters we love compels us to keep reading, even over dozens of novels.

Recently, when I finished C.J. Box’s new novel, “The Disappeared,” I commented to some fellow dog walkers on the trail, “I’m going to really miss Nate Romanowski. I could really use a friend like him. I can’t believe it will be a WHOLE year until the next book.” Those of you who follow Box’s Joe Pickett game warden series will totally understand what that means. If Nate was my BFF (best friend forever), I would be safe hiking alone in the wilderness, walking down dark alleys at night and facing down bad dudes holding knives or weapons. Nate is a tough guy. He would be an awesome best friend. Since that casual conversation, I’ve thought a lot about my literary friends. If you like series books, here are some friends to make your own.

Lula, assistant bounty hunter from the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich would be a great friend. Lula was a minor character in the early books, but became an integral part of the stories. She is a plus sized, African American woman, a former prostitute who wears plenty of spandex and high heels. If she was my BFF we would definitely have capers and go clubbing. Plus, I would get to meet Ranger and Morelli; believe me that would be fantastic. If you haven’t tried the series, start with “One for the Money.” The 25th in the series, “Look Alive Twenty- Five” is due on Nov. 13. Believe me, if you start the series, you will probably be caught up by November, they are very funny and very quick reading.

Olivier Brule, owner of the bistro in Three Pines. Three Pines is a village created by master novelist Louise Penny. The series follows Inspector Armand Gamache through 13 Québécois mysteries. The 14th in the series, “Kingdom of the Blind,” is due in late November. There is no fan of Penny’s series who does not want to live in Three Pines. If Olivier was my BFF, we would stay up late at the bistro gossiping about all the other residents in the village; Myrna, Clara and Reine-Marie would stop by and we would have great conversations about art and books. Plus, I would get to snack on croissants and really good coffee, all served on delightful antique plates. Definitely start with the first in the series, “Still Life,” and if it seems a bit slow, stick with it, the series is amazingly well constructed, and all will be revealed in later books.

Finally, and I have given this a lot of thought, Henry, Kinsey Millhone’s landlord in Sue Grafton’s fabulous Alphabet series would be a great person to know. He loves crosswords. Me too! He created an amazing small apartment for Kinsey; it even has a loft with a porthole. I love portholes! But, my main reason for being friends with Henry would be his fantastic cinnamon rolls. Seriously, a landlord who was a commercial baker? A BAKER? If you have never read the series, give it a try. It has been a mystery staple for over 30 years. Since Grafton’s passing in late 2017, the series will remain forever unfinished at “Y is for Yesterday,” so you definitely have time to savor the stories.

When I looked back over my list of best literary friends, I realized there is a common thread: food. I’m sure Lula and I would visit Cluck in a Bucket and the Tasty Pastry Bakery. Olivier and I would dine on baguettes and steaming onion soup. In the mornings, I would leave my studio apartment and head to Henry’s for warm cinnamon rolls with oozing icing. We can’t offer pastries, but stop by McArthur Library and make some literary friends of your own, or you can share mine. Our shelves are always brimming with great series titles for reading enjoyment. Join us on Facebook to share your own literary friends with us.

Melanie Taylor Coombs is adult services supervisor/ librarian at McArthur Public Library in Biddeford.

Return to top