I'm a sucker for stories that feature librarians. When I was a little kid, I turned my bookshelves into a library and made my sister and my stuffed animals check out books.
Right now, I'm in the middle of Erika Swyler’s The Book of Speculation. The narrator, Simon Watson, is a librarian living alone in his deteriorating family house on a cliff on the Long Island Sound. One day, a mysterious book is delivered to his doorstep, sent by an antiquarian bookseller. The ancient tome is a log written by the owner of a traveling carnival in the 1700’s. Oddly enough, Simon’s grandmother’s name is written in it but more disturbingly, Simon learns that the women in his family tend to drown young on the same date in July. As he has a younger sister who might be in danger of succumbing to the same drowning fate, Simon needs to use his librarianly research skills to figure out what the story is before that July date rolls around again.
The narrative switches between the present and the past. In the present, Simon deals with the messiness and drama of his life and works towards solving the mysteries of his family's past. In the past, the mysterious book reveals its secrets.
Oh, and there are circus mermaids too.