logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: BUDDY-READ
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-06-24 20:56
Sad Cypress
Sad Cypress - Agatha Christie

The court. Faces. Rows and rows of faces! One particular face with a big black moustache and shrewd eyes. Hercule Poirot, his head a little on one side, his eyes thoughtful, was watching her.

   She thought: He’s trying to see just exactly why I did it… He’s trying to get inside my head to see what I thought – what I felt…

   Felt…? A little blur – a slight sense of shock… Roddy’s face – his dear, dear face with its long nose, its sensitive mouth… Roddy! Always Roddy – always, ever since she could remember… since those days at Hunterbury amongst the raspberries and up in the warren and down by the brook. Roddy – Roddy – Roddy… 

   Other faces! Nurse O’Brien, her mouth slightly open, her freckled fresh face thrust forward. Nurse Hopkins looking smug – smug and implacable. Peter Lord’s face – Peter Lord – so kind, so sensible, so – so comforting! But looking now – what was it – lost? Yes – lost! Minding – minding all this frightfully! While she herself, the star performer, didn’t mind at all!

   Here she was, quite calm and cold, standing in the dock, accused of murder.

In my reading of Christie's novels, this is one of the best opening scenes. 

 

And what is more, I thought this was one of the best Poirot novels of the canon, together with Five Little Pigs, which is quite similar in structure. 

There is a little more to Sad Cypress than meets the eye at first, and it doesn't read like the usual formulaic Christie novel. 

 

For a start, the character of Elinor, the MC, is not your happy-go-lucky bright young thing. We meet her as the accused, who hesitates when asked whether she pleads guilty or not guilty. 

From there on, we step back in time to see the story unfold from the start but even then, Elinor, is riddled with doubts and cares. Christie does a marvellous job describing a woman being close to a breakdown throughout the story leading up to the arrest. 

 

By that time, of course we still don't know what happens and whether her state of mind is caused by her guilt over plotting a murder. We won't know this until the end. 

This is another aspect I liked. This book keeps up its suspense until the end - and even then there are elements which remain ... a mystery. 

 

Yes, the murder is resolved, but much of the book is based on the character of the individuals involved in the plot - and one person's reading of a character may put forth a completely different interpretation of the ending than another reader's. 

 

I, for one, tended to find the ending unsettling - in both the ways of what happened to the villain and what happened to the victim. I don't know if Dame Agatha had intended this to be a happy ending, but I can't quite see it that way. 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-06-24 06:15
The Flat Book Society: July read begins in 7 days!
The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions - Thomas McNamee

It's not too late to join us for The Flat Book Society's July ReadThe Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions by Thomas McNamee  

 

Thomas McNamee blends scientific reportage with engaging, illustrative anecdotes about his own beloved cat, Augusta, to explore and illuminate the secrets and enigmas of her kind.

 

The Inner Life of Cats follows the development of the young Augusta while simultaneously explaining the basics of a kitten's physiological and psychological development. As the narrative progresses, McNamee also charts cats' evolution, explores a feral cat colony in Rome, tells the story of Augusta's life and adventures, and consults with behavioral experts, animal activists, and researchers, who will help readers more fully understand cats.

 

McNamee shows that with deeper knowledge of cats' developmental phases and individual idiosyncrasies, we can do a better job of guiding cats' maturation and improving the quality of their lives.

 

My book just arrived last week, and I'm looking forward to starting it next Sunday, July 1st.

 

Also, for those that are already members, or who'd like to join us, don't forget to vote for September's read - voting will close July 1st, so make sure you get in there and help us pick our next book!

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-06-23 23:23
Reading progress update: I've read 51%.
Sad Cypress - Agatha Christie

I'm so sorry, Lillelara, I'm not being a good reading buddy for this - I got side-tracked yesterday by the lovely weather, which made me (yes, made me) play tennis for most of the afternoon, and then I literally was too stiff and knackered to lift my arms...I regret nothing, except for not keeping up with the book. 

 

I managed to read much further today, tho... until the football. Ahem. It took a while to calm down after that finale and now I will probably finish the book tonight/tomorrow morning.

 

:D

 

Anyway, the book:

 

There is so much to love here: 

 

1. The opening scene had me hooked. The description of Elinor in shock was superb, I thought, and such a great setup to the story. It has the two storylines shoot off: One, where we find out how the trial is going to conclude, and the other where we find out about the murder. 

It is very much similar to Five Little Pigs in that structure and I really like it.

 

2. Roddy is a wuss, as Lillelara already described here, but I like him. He's just so ... unsure of everything, including himself.

 

3. Mary's position is described beautifully, and it must have hit home with quite a few people in a similar situation at the time that the book was set and published (tho it was set a few years before it was published (1940) - so, maybe set in the early to mid-30s?), when the class system took a hit and people found themselves in new "stations" and didn't know what to do with themselves. I really feel for Mary. She really wants people to like her. 

 

4. Dr Lord - Oh, gee... I loved him in the tv adaptation (mostly because he is played by Paul McGann...which needs no further explanation) but in the book he's a bit of a patronising git.

 

5. I did enjoy Laura's discussion of euthanasia, tho. Quite a serious topic for a Christie novel. 

 

6. And then we have this cracker: 

‘Aunt Agatha’s Advice column. “Keep your boy friend guessing! Don’t let him be too sure of you!”’

Hahahaha...

 

7. Nurse O'Brien / Nurse Hopkins - I don't like either of them, and it's not because of the the tv adaptation. It's the way they are described in the book and talking about other people.

 

I'm just about to start Part II, which brings HP on the scene. 

 

:D 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-06-17 16:54
The Science of Everyday Life
The Science of Everyday Life - Marty Jopson

I had started this book with the intention to comment on each chapter - or part, as each section contained smaller chapters on the various topics of the book - but as so often, I ended up finishing the book before I could summarise my notes for each part. 

 

I much enjoyed the buddy read of this with Murder by Death, who is infinitely more patient with books than I am. Unlike her, I am not just a bit biased by my admiration for Helen Czerski's Storm in a Teacup, I fully enjoyed - and have no regrets - about Storm in a Teacup spoiling Marty Jopson's attempt here at making science accessible to the general reader. 

It is not that The Science of Everyday Life was a bad book - it wasn't! - it is just that the brevity of descriptions and eclectic selection of topics really makes an entertaining introduction to science for people who think they don't like or want to know about science. I am just not Jopson's target reader here. (But I am, evidently, Czerski's target audience.)

For what it is, tho, Jopson does an excellent job at showing how science is the basis of everything around us - from the colour of autumn foliage to the workings of toothpaste to why sheep don't shrink in the rain (despite wearing woolly jumpers) and why people shrivel up in the bathtub.

Each topic is explained just briefly enough to gather interest but not leave you bored with pages and pages of explanation.

 

Again, I wish there had been more explanation and connection between the topics, but this was not in the scope of this book.

 

I should add, tho, that there was one chapter that left me baffled and criticising its content - the part about the boomerang did nothing for me. I could not follow the description of the experiment and could not understand the explanation that was offered for how a boomerang works. I had to google the answer and explanation here.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-06-16 16:25
Relevant to the Baghdad Buddy Read!
They Came to Baghdad - Agatha Christie

A reminder about the buddy read planned for next week! The drinking and reading commences on 6/24/18!

 

And, on another note, a new Agatha Christie television adaptation has been announced - They Came To Baghdad! Link to article.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?