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review 2019-03-19 16:04
Full of interesting bits and pieces
Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks - John Curran

As I've previously mentioned in an update, this is a book that is really aimed at level 10 Christie fans. It spoils the solutions of many of the books, although sometimes the spoiler is fairly oblique. For someone who is just a casual Christie reader, it wouldn't make much sense or, even, be particularly interesting.


For me, though, it was a really fun book to read - although I confess that I skimmed probably more than I read because, while I enjoyed seeing the notes and learning more about Christie's writing process, there was also a lot here that I already knew. Curran focuses very much on the books, not on Christie's life itself, which makes sense given that the notebooks weren't journals - they were writing notes.


There are a couple of short stories at the end that I haven't yet read, but I've finished the sections about the notebooks. It's definitely a resource that I will return to when I reread books, and it does seem to have a good index at the back. I bought it on kindle, but given the quality of the index, I will likely buy a print copy as well so I can more easily use it a reference.


There is a second book that Curran published from the materials in the notebooks. It's a bit more expensive than this one for kindle, so I'll probably just order it used in print from Abe books at some point.

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text 2019-03-13 14:47
Reading progress update: I've read 43%.
Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks - John Curran

This book is for serious fans of Christie - it spoils many of the solutions to the mysteries and is both a deep dive and a breezy overview.


Christie left behind some 80 notebooks full of plot ideas, clue placements, puzzles, character names/descriptions, and solutions. The most interesting thing I've learned so far is that she frequently dithered between multiple solutions/murderers in books, and an idea/clue that wasn't used in one of her mysteries would crop up later in another mystery. 


In fact, the entire Boynton (although she referred to them as P, planning, apparently to name them something that began with the letter P) family was first assigned to Death on the Nile, but didn't make it into the final book. Christie then built an entire mystery around the family two books later in Appointment with Death. In addition, everyone should know that the intensely annoying Salome Otterbourne's original name was "Mrs. Pooper."



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text 2019-03-11 15:06
Recent acquisitions!
Poirot and Me - David Suchet,Geoffrey Wansell
An Autobiography - Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks - John Curran
Agatha Christie - Laura Thompson
A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie - Kathryn Harkup

Both the Suchet book and the Laura Thompson biography were only .99. I'm pretty sure that my fellow Agathytes who have read Thompson's biography were underwhelmed - remind me below.


I also decided that if was going to embark on a project of understanding Christie better, it made sense to go straight to the author's own words about herself and her life, so her autobiography is the thing that I plan to concentrate on first.And the Curran book was really just bought on a whim because the premise is intriguing, especially now that I don't have to worry about any of the solutions being accidentally spoiled.


Which takes me back to A is for Arsenic, actually. I own it, but was reluctant to read it because I didn't want to spoil any of the unread books.

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text 2019-02-01 18:50
When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir - Angela Y. Davis,Asha Bandele,Patrisse Khan-Cullors
The Cottingley Secret - Joshilyn Jackson;Hazel Gaynor;Mary McNear;Nadia Hashimi;Emmi Itäranta;CJ Hauser;Katherine Harbour;Rebecca Rotert;Holly Brown;M. P. Cooley;Carrie La Seur;Sarah Creech
East - Edith Pattou
Wild Seed - Octavia E. Butler
My Lady's Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel - Kitty Curran,Larissa Zageris
Denial: Holocaust History on Trial - Deborah E. Lipstadt

Above on sale for kindle this month - in US at least.   Also Martin's Wild Card series has a few volumes on sale. Coretta Scott King's Memoir, House of  Cards books, Hair Story, Native Guard (poetry, really good poetry), Chronicles of Kazam, Conversation with Mandela (with Obama) are also on sale.


There are several YA and children's Afro-American history titles as well.


Comixology sale on Transformers, Lumberjanes, Goldie Vance, Star Wars, and Dr. Strange

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url 2019-01-02 13:54
Podcast #129 is up!
Diderot and the Art of Thinking Freely - Andrew S. Curran

My first podcast of the year is up! In it, I interview Andrew S. Curran about his biography of the French philosophe Denis Diderot. Enjoy!

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