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