Weekly Reads – 20 February 2022

It’s been two weeks since I updated, but it has been QUITE the two weeks. I had expected last weekend to be crazy due to the Superbowl (which is a holiday in our house), Girl Scout cookies, and Lillie’s birthday, but things ended up being much different. My husband had a health scare–fortunately, the immediate danger has been taken care of and now we are in management mode–and that ended up taking up most of last week. I had hoped to put a post up early, but that just didn’t happen.

We did have an outing today to see Death on the Nile. I am working my way through Agatha Christie’s works, but I skipped ahead to read this before seeing the movie…months ago, when I thought it was coming out months ago! The original plan was for Pat and I to see it as a date night, but then Lillie said she wanted to see it, so we ended up taking the kids. Pat, Lillie, and I liked it, but Chris thought it was boring. That’s not surprising as he’s much more of a superhero guy and he has yet to realize that Hercule Poirot is a superhero!

We’ve been keeping things quiet beyond that, but my reading was sort of upended with all the drama, but I did get a few things finished during the past two weeks.

As usual, I’m linking up with Kathryn at Book Date and her It’s Monday…What Are You Reading? blog hop.

In the past two weeks, I finished reading:

The Bad Muslim Discount by Syed M. Masood
Date finished: February 10, 2022
Star rating: 4 stars

This is another of those books that languished too long on my TBR shelf and now I’m slapping myself for not reading it sooner.

This is a hard book to describe because it has great humor throughout but still deals with very heavy topics. It’s also a book very much set in its time–the bulk of the story takes place in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election and, honestly, I was glad that I waited until after the 2020 election to read this or it might just have been too much. This is also not the book you will think it is if you judge it by the cover and synopsis. And I am okay with that.

For me, the greatest strength of this novel is its characters. The main characters are as well-drawn as you can wish for, but even the secondary character come to the game with the same depth and flourish. I was interested in them and wanted to get to know them as much as I did the main characters.

This wasn’t a perfect book for me. I did feel like it started to get bogged down in places towards the end and I was a little unsure of where things were going at times. But, as they say, it all came together at the end. While I wish that parts of the book were tightened up a bit more, the overall experience of this book was still an extremely enjoyable one.

The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont
Date finished: February 16, 2022
Star rating: 3 stars

I think this was one of those cases where a book should have been a book for me but turned out it wasn’t.

I’m all about the Dame and am currently working my way through her oeuvre. So, when I saw a novel about the mysterious time she disappeared, I knew I had to read it. Except this isn’t really about that time. I mean it is, but not really.

While Agatha Christie’s disappearance is the frame for this book, it is highly fictionalized. In fact, it is so fictionalized that Christie’s husband’s mistress, Nancy Neele, is replaced with a completely fictional, Nan O’Dea. This was disconcerting for a while until I figured out was de Gramont was trying to do. She was creating her own Christie-Esque thriller.

It was on this count that the book didn’t work for me. I never felt that the character in this book named Agatha Christie was anything like the real Agatha Christie. I also felt that the whole basis of this world was hard to believe–not that “the thing” happened (trust me, there are many accounts of just that sort of thing happening!). but that Nan would take it so far. I know that sounds vague, but to go any further would be stepping into spoiler territory. The closest this came to being Christie-Esque was feeling like Christie fan fiction.

I did like the writing and there were some lovely turns of phrase. I would definitely read more of de Gramont’s work, but this book was not for me. I would, however, recommend The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict for someone looking for a more fact-based novelization of this chapter from Agatha Christie’s life.

The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green
Date finished: February 17, 2022
Star rating: 3 stars

Here is a spicy review…I was not a recipient of the supposed magic of this book.

I would not consider myself a John Green fan, but I’m also not a big reader of YA. I do enjoy essay collections, so I was excited when my book club chose this book to discuss. I do think my problem with this book was due, in large part, that there is a good way to read it and I did not read it that way. Ideally, I think you should read one essay a week, letting there be at least a week-long break between essays for the one you just read to either solidify in your consciousness or just evaporate, then go into the next essay with a clean slate. As I was reading a library book for a book club, that was not possible. So, what I ended up with was a messy clump of navel-gazing.

Honestly, there are only 3 essays in this book I can remember–one that resonated with me, one that made what I consider a profound point, and one that was just so self-indulgent it made me want to throw the book against the wall. Beyond that, nothing stuck with me from this book.

I know this works for a lot of people and I’m glad that they found a book that means so much to them. As for me, I’m anticipating an awkward book club discussion.

Since my last update, I started:

  • The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
  • A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger
  • The Postscript Murders (Harbinder Kaur #2) by Elly Griffiths

24 thoughts on “Weekly Reads – 20 February 2022

  1. Oh no- sorry to hear about your husband’s health scare. Hopefully everything is all right. I’m curious too about Death on the Nile- I’ve never read the book but as a mystery/ thriller fan it appeals to me, naturally, and the movie looks good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The movie is fun–some changes were made with the supporting characters, but the whodunnit is still the same as the book. I know not everyone likes Branagh’s Poirot, but I do. I mean, he’s different than the Poirot in the book, but fascinating in a different way. And, of course, the movie is very pretty to look at!

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  2. Hope Pat will fit and well and see the health scare over. Busy time for you. Great to see another Agatha Christie fan, I’m not, but I enjoy Katherine from I Wish I Lived in a Library, talking about her book love for her.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, a health scare can certainly derail a great weekend! Glad you’re in management mode now.

    Enjoy the week and your books. I realize I have only read one John Green Book (The Fault in Our Stars), but have two unread ones on my Kindle. I have a feeling they will remain unread.

    I want to read more books from Elly Griffiths.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and contributing remarks to my Baker’s Rack obsession, LOL.

    What will I obsess over next? Enjoy your week.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Health scares do derail all sorts of plans. Glad to hear that it is manageable. I’ve only read a few books by Agatha Christie. I did read The Christie Affair which wasn’t the book I thought it would be but did ultimately enjoy it. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Health scares are no fun. I hope everything works out for the best!

    I’ll be interested to find out how you like Addie Larue. I started it thinking I would LOVE IT just like everyone else – but I’m 1/4 of the way through and I am not liking it very much. I think it’s ME!

    Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I should have Addie LaRue finished by next week, so I’ll have my thoughts then. I will say this…I’m doing this as sort of a buddy read (or, probably more accurately, a read-along with a podcast) and that method has actually worked well for me with this book. I’m about 2/3 of the way through it and so far I’m liking it.

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  6. I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s health scare. I hope he’s doing well.

    It’s been a long time since I read an Agatha Christie, but I do love her work. At some point I’m going to read them all.

    Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sorry to hear about your husband’s health. I hope her recovers fully soon.
    Thanks for letting us for Gramont’s and Green’s books.
    I have listened to all novels and short stories with our superhero, so I can’t wait to see this movie:
    https://wordsandpeace.com/2021/12/06/may-2020-november-2021-19-months-with-hercule-poirot/
    and https://wordsandpeace.com/2022/02/07/book-review-agatha-christie-poirot-the-greatest-detective-in-the-world/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure you will enjoy it when you see it. As I said, there were some minor changes concerning the secondary characters, but still a fairly faithful adaptation.

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  8. I’ve never read Agatha Christie, but my husband and my sister-in-law make up for my neglect. I would like to read at least one Agatha one of these days. I’ve heard good things about the movie.

    I DNFed the John Green book of essays. It surprised me to find that I was not interested in the essays since so many people wrote up rave reviews.

    Sending good thoughts and prayers your way.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m glad to hear your husband is doing better. I will keep him up in prayer.

    The Bad Muslim Discount sounds good. Have to admit I am not a big John Green fan. Let me know that book club discussion goes. I tried a book club once. They picked The Book Thief and I just couldn’t get past the first few chapters. Everyone else loved the book.

    Thanks for sharing and for visiting my blog.

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    1. Yeah, I think I’m firmly in the “not a fan” side of the John Green club and this book wasn’t going to change it. I know I’m not the only person in our book club who felt this way, but I also know some others loved it, so it might be a heated discussion.

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  10. Sorry to hear about your husband’s health scare and hope he is doing much better this week. I keep meaning to read Bad Muslim Discount, so thanks for reminding me. The John Green essay collection was pretty enjoyable for me on audio, but I’ve also been thinking that the best way to read essay collections is probably over a longer period of time. Even one per day might be better than plowing straight through and may cause the overall collection to have more of an impact.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I tried to do one essay a day with the John Green book, but I had the double deadline of a library due date and a book club, so I needed to speed it up a bit and read 2-3 essays a day, which was unfortunate. Oh well!

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  11. I hope that everything is okay with your husband’s health.

    I own a couple of John Green’s books but can’t get excited about reading them. I’ve picked up the idea that he loves to make his readers cry and I hate to cry so…. I’m not even sure why I bought those books in the first place. I think I grabbed them at a library book sale.

    I sometimes need breaks when I read essay collections too, but since I read almost exclusively from the library, I rarely get the opportunity. We should start a movement to get essay collections for longer checkout periods!

    It’s funny that you’re reading A Snake Falls to the Earth. I’m terrified of snakes and just had an unexpected encounter with a little harmless one on this unseasonably warm day. I’m still shuddering! It’s so ridiculous!

    Enjoy your week!

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About Melinda