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Posts tagged ‘Agatha Christie’

The Madness Starts

Couple of minutes left to start! I am all set at the starting line.  Dewey’s Readathon, Bring it on!

Me, the obsessive control freak, has made a list and checked and double checked all items.

  1. E-Book Reader Charged – Check
  2. Snacks set and dinner plans in place – Check
  3. Plenty of Water Bottles – Check
  4. Good Music – Check
  5. Have told Dad and all friends/relations not to call me till Sunday Evening – Check

Seems like I am all-ok to make SOME dent in my reading list!

24hrreading

I am kind of confused as to whether to read The Girl on the Train first or The Land of the Seven Rivers to kick start the event. I will fit in Dombey and Sons somewhere after that, before I am too exhausted and drop off before I know; Dickens clearly is not at his best in this one. I have kept Christie and Austen for the difficult hours (late night and afternoons) and New York and Jerusalem come in when I have revved up my engines well and all set for some ground breaking reading. Thackeray will provide a wonderful diversionary break! Well this is the plan! And now that I am almost there, a though comes to, what the hell was I thinking????

Oh! Well! To late to ponder over those philosophical conundrums. Let’s just plunge in with the Opening Meme

1.What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

India, New Delhi to be exact!

2. Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

That had to be a toss up between The Land of Seven Rivers and New York

3. Which snack are you most looking forward to?

There are these absolutely melt in your mouth shortbreads that a dear friend from England sent me! That’s not only a motivation but also an indulgence!

4.Tell us a little something about yourself!

Dedicated reader, trying to be a writer, full time Project Leader in a financial conglomerate, amateur historian, devoted blogger, born traveler, occasional  exotic cuisine chef, daughter, sister, friend!

5. If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

I have read many many times through my life. But reading through 24 hours should be something else. Also I am really really impressed with all the one-world-cyber-cheering and supporting happening; from United States to the Nordics to Australia to closer home in New Delhi! This feeling is totally out of the world!

And now LET’s READ!!!

The 24 Hours Madness

Ok….so here’s a discovery, well not really a discovery, more of declaration of a well known fact – I am completely and obviously crazy!! Yes, I am aware that many of you always thought so, but I guess I am pointing out the obvious!!

After an extremely stressful week at work, where I got less than cumulative of 28 hours of sleep, I am happy that the weekend is finally here! I have a lot of things to do including cleaning the house and getting some shopping done, which HAS to be done because next week is Diwali, the big festival of the Indians! I have some reading and blogging planned as well, but nothing out of the usual. I am all set and I have a plan and schedule for the two days, that is until I decide to casually scroll through Twitter and stumble on some comments by Brona and bam! all plans are in disarray and there is a whole new plan in place!

What am I ranting about you ask? I am referring to the bi-annual Dewey’s Readathon, which kick starts on Oct 24th 2016 at 8:00 AM EST which translates to 17:30 Indian Standard Time and for which, I hang my head in shame as I say this, I have SIGNED UP! The idea of course is to read non-stop or with mini stops for 24 hours straight! You can find the details and whats and hows here.

24hrreading

Yes, I can hear the “naturallys”, but come on, how can I pass up a reading event???!!? I will hold of the cleaning till Monday and I will negotiate the shopping time, opting for online stuff if need be. But participate I shall, even if I do not make it to the participant list, on account of signing up a bit too late!

Anyhow, now that my ranting and self motivation and self exoneration is over, let us proceed to matters of greater significance like, what shall we read? There are loads of suggestions on the website and after scrolling through quite a bit, this is what I came up with – a mix of many things!!

  1. The Girl on the Train by Patricia Hawkes – am on page 62 as of today and shall attempt to finish via Readathon
  2. New York by Edward Rutherford – This one is a chunkster and I have only waded to page 183 so far so, only approximately 680 [pages to go; but its historical fiction and Rutherford does write extremely gripping plots, so I am kind of kicked about it
  3. Dombey and Sons by Charles Dickens – Yes, I am still struggling to finish this! Yes I know I am really dragging this out and yes! I do have every intention of finishing it!
  4. The Book of Snobs by William Makepeace Thackeray – This combines well with with my Victober event and breaks the monotony of serious reading. Thackeray’s take on on people who look down on those considered as “socially inferior” should be interesting. Page count 143 per Kindle Edition
  5. Land of the Seven Rivers: A Brief History of India’s Geography by Sanjeev Sanyal – Just because I am curious and because I need to variety while reading. Page count 352 per Kindle Editio
  6. Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie – When the chips are down and interest flags, who but the brilliant Ms. Christie can keep us going! Look forward to keeping me going in this story of miscarriage of justice which I have for some reason never read before!Page count 286 per Kindle Edition
  7. Jerusalem  – A Biography by Simon Sebag Montefiore – It’s History, its Middle Eastern History and the first couple of pages are very very good! Page Count 628 of which I have read 94.
  8. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – You have to allow me one Austen to keep my spirits up towards the end when everything buzzes! I know the work by heart and I will glide through it when the going gets tough!

Now about the real time updates and such like, well I will update as I go along. I am not committing to an hour or two hours or any such frequency. More like when I need a  break and when I want to wander around a bit! I will also try and be deligent and keep one and all updated on Twitter and Goodreads and make an honest effort to make the posts interesting and hopefully nail baiting!

That seems simple enough!! I should be well rested and bright eyes and bushy tailed come Monday, when another crippling work load comes crashing on my head!! In the meanwhile I hopeth, that I can convinceth Cleo and Brona to helpeth me through this task!! Guys – NEED HELP BADLY!!!!

Now that I have jumped, I will try and get some good sleep and ease in for the reading tomorrow so that come 17:30 IST, I really do set off!!

When a Dame wrote about a Murder….

Talk about resolutions. I make an entry on August 1 about half way milestones and then did not write for nearly 20 days…so much for perseverance. Having confessed to my errors, one may ask, what kept me away – many things and nothings – too much work, too many parties and one too many weekend getaways! Basically, I have been living it up, though I feel so in the hindsight and not when I was actually indulging in these activities…..

Nevertheless, I am back and I here to talk about an extremely clichéd author, whose work has been appreciated and abused and whose work’s reproduction has become hackneyed and trite in all media forms. After this long eulogy, there only remains for me to state the name of this author –Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie

While in my personal hierarchy of crime and detective series, Sir Author Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes reign’s as an un-parallel ruler (Yes! I know and am aware…I am drowning in a veritable ocean of banalities…but what can I say, when you like em, you like em!); Ms Marple and Hercule Poirot and all her minor characters remain absolutely wonderful in their own unique ways and the tales are as wonderful and novel as you had read them the last time.

Agatha Christie was born in 1890 and from her biography it can be deduced that she a reasonably peaceful, albeit adventure less childhood. She served as part of the Voluntary Aid Department during World War 1 and married Archibald Christie in 1914 and with whom she had a daughter. She published her first novel, incidentally, her first work featuring Hercule Poirot, in 1920, called The Mysterious Affairs at Styles. In 1928, she and Archibald Christie divorced, following his declaration of infidelity and her infamous disappearance for 11 days. In 1930, she would marry archaeologist Max Mallowan  and would follow him around the world to various archaeological expeditions, which would also act as settings for her many works.  In 1971, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, 3 years after her husband has been knighted. She died at the age of 85 in 1976, having written 66 detective fiction, 15 short stories collections and several romances that she wrote under the pseudonym of Mary Westmacott.

Most of her works revolve around English protagonists, who call upon Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple, because they are in the vicinity or because they have been referred to by the Scotland Yard, through Inspector Japp or Sir Henry Cleethering.  The detective then goes around finding clues and at times even losing his/her way before organising a grand closure by summoning all parties together and compelling the criminal to give himself/herself away.

What I really like about her writing is her sense of fun and romance that goes beyond your average whodunits. While murder and crime always are the primary events of her books, there is always a gentle narrative behind them. For instance, In Nemesis, one discovers that Verity was murdered she was in love with Michael Rafiel. Or in the The Mysterious Affairs at Styles, Poirot lets John Cavendish take on the blame for the murder of his stepmother Emily Inglethorp, to bring forth the romance between John Cavendish and his wife.  Her sense of fun and irony is also all prevailing – for instance, when  her brilliant nephew offers Miss Marple a “modern work” to read while on her vacations, the author gently mocks the free for all culture of 1960s by making Miss Marple read an extract from the “modern work” –

Her glance strayed for a moment to the book on her lap lying open at page twenty-three which was as far as she had got (and indeed as far as she felt like getting!). “Do you mean that you’ve had no sexual experience at ALL?” demanded the young man incredulously. “At nineteen? But you must. It’s vital.”

The girl hung her head unhappily, her straight greasy hair fell forward over her face. “I know,” she muttered, “I know.”

He looked at her, stained old jersey, the bare feet, the dirty toenails, the smell of rancid fat . . . He wondered why he found her so maddeningly attractive.

Miss Marple wondered too! And really! To have sex experience urged on you exactly as though it was an iron tonic! Poor young things . . .

Of course, there are moments, when even a great author like Dame Christie fumbles….Can anyone explain to me why Bryn Martin goes to Hercule Poirot at the beginning of the novel to plant an idea so destructive to the character of Jane Wilkinson when he had actually no idea about who the culprit was …just to get petty revenge? That’s from Lord Edgware Dies. She is also not the most politically correct or sensitive when describing populations that did not confirm to being white, Protestant (Or Church of England) or not belonging to the English upper or middle class. However making allowances for that era, one must give her credit that in almost all her books, her protagonists are driven by a strong sense of justice, even if it means letting the murderer go!

Read her for the gentle pleasure of good ripping yarn! She never lets one down! Vi Va Dame Christie!

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