Episode 106: Occupational fiction

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Welcome, everyone, to Books and Beverages! This week we are discussing Occupational Fiction! What is this genre? It is all about people and the jobs they have – with a story unfolding around it.

We are the Central Minnesota Libraries Exchange, and we support all types of libraries. This is our book group podcast, where we discuss different genres of books each week, while we all sit in our comfy chairs and drink our beverages. And you are, of course, an important part of this book group. So if you do not already have a nice beverage please go get one, so you can join the experience.

There are no “right” or “wrong” books to read and chat about for our book group – we are just here to explore all kinds of books. We love books, and want to talk about them – and we want you to share what you are reading. All of us will take away at least a title or two that we want to read at the end of our time together!

Who is joining our reading group this week?

Our guest host this week is Maria Burnham, Technology Integration Coach from the Sauk Rapids/Rice High School. She is also a member of our CMLE Board, and was our very first podcast guest on Linking Our Libraries Episode Five: Digitization Projects.



We have guests, we have our genre. We just need our beverages. Fortunately, we all came prepared with something to sip while we talk about our books. Each week we like to connect the theme of our books with our beverages. Each beverage will have a recipe or a link on our episode page, so you can try them yourself!  Obviously, feel free to sip along with whatever is right for you. Just join us in celebrating books, and discussing books! This week we celebrate writers, librarians, and books with some literary-inspired drinks!


The Gryffindor


  • Cranberry juice
  • Orange juice
  • Raspberry liqueur
  • Cherry
  • Orange peel

Mix all the drinks to your liking before adding a dash of raspberry liqueur. Top it off with an orange peel for zest.



6cordialbottlesAnne Shirley’s Raspberry Cordial: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery


  • 2 pints raspberries
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 2 tbs triple sec
  • about 28 oz. good vodka


Boil raspberries and sugar in a sauce pan until soft, smushing berries with the back of a spoon. Let berry sugar mixture cool and funnel it into a 32 oz. container. Add 2 tbs triple sec and fill remainder of the bottle with vodka. Shake and let sit for a minimum of 2 weeks.

After at least 2 weeks strain using a fine mesh sieve or a coffee filter. Be sure to squeeze berry mush thoroughly to get all of the good stuff out. Enjoy!



Sherlock Holmes


Ice 1 1/2 ounces single-malt Scotch, preferably Laphroaig 2 ounces chilled brewed Lapsang souchong tea 1 ounce Honey Syrup 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all of the remaining ingredients and stir well. Double strain into a chilled coupe.



lady sansa stark game of thrones cocktail drink 7Lady Sansa Stark:

  • 1 oz rose vodka (or any vodka, really)
  • 1/4 oz saffron liquid (available online or in Middle Eastern markets or you can make it yourself by steeping a few strands of saffron in hot water)
  • 1 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 1/2 oz lemongrass syrup or saffron & cardamom syrup (or just a basic simple syrup, equal parts sugar and water dissolved over heat then cooled, no need to stress out over annoying Sansa. Hmph.) juice of a juicy orange

Place a scoopful of ice in a cocktail shaker (or in a large glass).

Pour all the ingredients into a shaker and shake (or into a glass and stir).

Pour into a coupe or martini glass and garnish with a slice of starfruit (Sansa “Star”-k, get it? I used my lemongrass syrup because we all know how much Sansa loves her lemon cakes).”


Genre Suggestions

This is a huge category! Books that look at different kinds of jobs people do are always fun to read; you can either dream about a fun job you don’t have, or be thankful you are not in the awful job from the book. Some of the most popular types of books in this genre are law books, medical books, or books about people in the publishing industry (not surprisingly). If you have read a John Grisham book, or enjoyed the medical anthropology of Temperance Brennen, or had a fictional romance with a baseball player, then you too have enjoyed some occupational fiction! To really be occupational fiction, the book needs to really focus on the job, and the main character who is doing that job.


What are a few jobs you might find in fiction? We link to a very long Wikipedia article with a comprehensive list; and here are a few:


And of course, we have a total bias toward books with librarians!


Other Resources:

Books Discussed


  • Shop Till You Drop (Dead-End Job Mystery, #1) by Elaine Viets (assorted terrible jobs)
  • Y is for Yesterday (Kinsey Millhone, #25) (private detective)
  • Miss Frost Cracks A Caper (Jayne Frost, #4) (retail store owner)
  • The Cold Dish (Walt Longmire, #1) (Wyoming sheriff)
  • Tempest in a Teapot (Teapot Collector Mystery, #1) (tea store owner)
  • Altered Carbon (Takeshi Kovacs, #1) (soldier of fortune)
  • First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1) by Darynda Jones
  • Woof at the Door (Call of the Wilde #1) (vet, animal psychic)
  • The Royal Wulff Murders (Sean Stranahan, #1) (Montana fishing guide)
  • Track of the Cat (Anna Pigeon, #1) (NPS ranger)
  • Louisiana Longshot (Miss Fortune Mystery #1) (CIA agent in hiding)
  • Brownies and Broomsticks (A Magical Bakery Mystery, #1) by Bailey Cates (magical baker)
  • Secondhand Spirits (A Witchcraft Mystery, #1) by Juliet Blackwell (running second hand clothes store)
  • If Walls Could Talk (Haunted Home Renovation Mystery #1) by Juliet Blackwell (home renovation company)
  • 84 Charing Cross Road, by Helene Hanff
  • Invisible Library , by Genevieve Cogman
  • Leaving Time, by Jodi Picoult
  • The Circle, by David Eggers
  • Blind Submission, by Debra Ginsberg
  • A Gentleman in Moscow,by Amor Towles
  • A Fierce and Subtle Poison, by Samantha Mabry
  • The Snowman, by Jo Nesbo



Thank you so much for joining us for this discussion! There are a lot of links to books you might like in this genre on our website; so go check that out.

We will be back next Tuesday with another genre, more book group hosts, and all kinds of books to share and discuss. Be sure to subscribe to our podcast so you don’t miss a single episode! And if you want to hear more about the work we do in libraries – which is surprisingly fun! – subscribe to our podcast Linking Our Libraries.

Bring your book ideas, bring your beverages, and join us back here for more book discussion next Tuesday!


We support libraries!