February 28, 2015

Are you hungry for books? I AM.

My initial thought about Hallowe'en Party was that it was written in a vastly different style from the other Hercule Poirot mysteries that I had read by Agatha Christie. The reason, I quickly ascertained, was that it was one of her later works (1969 to be exact) and her narrative voice (as well as the times) had vastly changed. Christie certainly knew how to adapt to stay 'en vogue' because I had to check more than once that it wasn't some weird adaptation that I was reading instead. This mystery involves a retired Poirot being called in to consult on a murder by a friend (a female mystery writer of great repute who loves apples). What struck me is how often the characters mentioned individuals with mental disorders and how they were 'let out because of overcrowding in the hospitals'. Was that a huge concern in the 60s? The story was very convoluted so that you had to constantly re-write the timeline of events as they unfolded (the past caught up to the present in a big way). I wouldn't say this was in any way one of my favorites (Murder on the Orient Express which was my first Poirot mystery remains my absolute favorite) but I did rush home to finish the last 10 pages...

Up next is something completely different. I'm going to be reviewing The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. This is exactly what it sounds like: recipes by several American mystery writers and edited by Kate White. My plan is to read through the scattered excerpts and try out some of the recipes to let you know how they go. If you have another idea of how I could review it then do let me know! XD

February 25, 2015

A journey of self-discovery left me with a flat tire on the side of the road

As the title suggests, I've been on an epic journey of self-discovery and the title of this journey is The Magicians. I'd like to say that this was a pleasant journey that opened up my horizons and led me to unheard of heights of imagination and wonder. Alas, that is not the case. I'm going to come clean to you, guys. I couldn't do it. I couldn't finish this book. I gave it my best shot but on the train yesterday morning I decided that I was going to throw in the towel despite being a little over halfway finished. Here's what happened: I wanted something like Harry Potter but set in the non-magical world with adults. Instead I got angst. SO much angst. There's a big difference between realistic fantasy (There's no doubt that these characters are real because they have real issues and problems...with a dash of fantasy thrown in i.e. this book.) and fantastic reality (Wait, is that a dragon? Holy cow, I just levitated! Gee willikers, I can control forces heretofore undreamed of by man or beast...with a dash of reality thrown in  i.e. most other fantasy novels.) I was looking for something fun which would transport me to another world. What I got instead were young adults abusing alcohol, having promiscuous sex, lamenting their genius level IQ's, and whining about the monotony of studying spells. Basically, that wasn't what I thought I was signing up for and once I figured that out (two weeks later) I wanted out in the worst way. Soooo that's my review of 60% of Lev Grossman's The Magicians. It wasn't my cup of tea but it might be yours. :-)

Before I delve into another lofty text (it's another trilogy), I thought I'd read a quick Agatha Christie novel that I've been holding over from Halloween. It's a Hercule Poirot mystery aptly titled Hallowe'en Party. This is one of those Poirot mysteries where he is no longer working directly with the police force but is called int o consult on a case that involves one of his friends (who is a female mystery write no less!). The start of this book is quite different to all of the others I've read from Christie but it's proving already to be vastly entertaining. I can't wait to get back to you with my review!

February 5, 2015

Oh dear, is this the start of another book series?: An Autobiography

I'm going to be forthright with you guys. I was disappointed in Seriously...I'm Kidding (which is a strange statement to make considering that title). I guess I was expecting more comedic memoir and less relentless stand-up in book format. I did say in my last post that I thought that was the premise but I was still hoping for more. Now this isn't Ellen's first book. It's actually her third and so I'm wondering if perhaps the other two captured more what I was looking for from her. That isn't to say that there weren't funny parts. It's Ellen for goodness sake! This is just to say that I was looking for something else and this wasn't it. If you're looking for a quick read that is light and easy then I would recommend this to you (especially if you enjoy Ellen's sense of humor). If you're looking for a comedic memoir I encourage you to look elsewhere.

A while back I took a trip to one of my favorite places on the planet: Strand Books (this is not an endorsement but boy howdy if you want to give me free books I will take them). While I was there, I did my typical "Oh boy! I've been wanting to read this one!" while grabbing up everything in my eyesight. One of the books I grabbed (which was suspiciously near the front entrance) was The Magicians by Lev Grossman. This book had been on my radar for quite a while. It's been on it so long that the author finished the trilogy (of which The Magicians is the first book). As the title suggests, this is a book about magic in the modern age (in New York of all places). Honestly, I was hooked within the first few pages so unless something goes horribly awry I'm most likely going to be in this for the long haul (I'm talking to you remaining two books in the trilogy). I'll let you know how it goes in my next post! :-D

I hope you're all staying warm because this winter is the pits!!