Tag Archives: Agatha Christie

Witness For the Prosecution (1957)

Image result for witness for the prosecution

A man is accused of committing murder, and only his wife can save him. However, she has her own agenda and has decided to become a witness…for the prosecution. 

Witness for the Prosecution is an Alfred Hitchcock movie based off an Agatha Christie play. I love those two and had high expectations for this film. However, at least initially, instead of the twists and turns I expected, the movie primarily revolved around an old, fat lawyer yelling at his nurse. 

It eventually picked up as the movie went on but often veered off track with random side stories. There is a great story here, but it is too padded with “extras” to be truly entertaining. 

However, the ending was brilliant and unexpected and everything I hoped for in Alfred Hitchcock and Agatha Christie. I found the fat lawyer endearing, though most of the other characters were annoying. This is one I would go back to and re-watch, but I don’t necessarily recommend if you don’t already love black and white movies with veering plots. 


Whatcha Reading…? 4/22/2017 Book Update

“What are you currently reading?” asks the Get To Know You form. I look at the inch provided to respond in and don’t know whether to laugh or cry. What am I currently reading…??

I am in the middle of quite a few books right now. The problem is time. I’ve been in the midst of several books for weeks and there are twice as many unread in my library basket but I don’t seem to be finishing them at my usual pace. I think I need to take a reading day. However, for now, here is what I am currently reading:

Legend by Marie Lu, Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, Fierce Convictions by Karen Swallow Prior, Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling, New Collected Poems by Wendell Berry, and The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. I’m still working on An Autobiography by Agatha Christie and Jack by George Sayer.  I am re-reading Manalive by G.K. Chesterton and listening to Bleak House by Charles Dickens on audio book. 

I don’t have much time today so I won’t go into the relative merits of each of these reads but there are some really interesting ones. And some less interesting ones. Hopefully you’ll see a few reviews with these names over the next week!


2016 Reading Challenge: My 5 Star Reviews, Part 2

The best books I read in 2016…take two! 

Orphan Justice: How to Care for Orphans Beyond Adopting by Johnny Carr and Laura Faidley

Orphan Justice is a blunt look at the intellectual and emotional problem of orphans and the way society handles, or rather doesn’t handle, them. While promoting adoption, this book also focuses on solutions that help orphans beyond adopting. It addresses many issues facing society from child trafficking and HIV/AIDS to racism and poverty. A very convicting, challenging read. 

Georgette Heyer by Jennifer Kloester

Georgette Heyer is one of my favorite authors and I really enjoyed reading about her life. This book has its problems, perhaps more than others on this list, but it was such a treat to read about an author I deeply adore, even after learning about her flaws. And Heyer definitely had her flaws. From her inability to manage her finances to her weird marriage to her extreme shyness, Heyer was a strange, snobbish woman who yet remains extremely recognizable. She really is “to be found in [her] work.” A definite must-read for all Heyer-lovers. 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley 

Despite its bizarre premise, Frankenstein was a really good read. Though the details in the writing occasionally got on my nerves (this was the age of Romanticism), the overall plot was captivating and tumultuous. It is Gothic horror. The Gothic portion gives it historical importance; the horror gives it a timeless interest. The book is a great combination of literary merit with themes about morality, responsibility, etc. and is full of genuinely good storytelling. It is an English major’s book but also Bookworm’s book too. Win, win.

The Mysterious Affair At Styles by Agatha Christie 

Christie’s first mystery, The Mysterious Affair At Styles also introduces her starring detective, Hercule Poirot. Emily Inglethorp rules Styles, but when she is suddenly found dead, her new neighbor Poirot is called in to find out why! This book was marvelous. There were a host of interesting characters and a most naive but endearing narrator. I enjoyed the story thoroughly and was kept guessing the whole time.

Destiny of a Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard 

This is a biography about the assassination of President James A. Garfield. I knew very little about Garfield going into the book and was pleasantly surprised by how readable and informative it turned out to be. I have a greater understanding of him as a president and era he lived in. I especially appreciated reading this one during an election year.  It reminded me that as dreary and depressing as this political season has been, America has weathered worse. As a country, we’ve dealt with corruption, assassinations, and Civil War. We survive and move on. Well worth reading! 

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Shorter than I expected, but exceptionally good regardless. It wasn’t over the top but still dark and interesting. I was most fascinated by Dr. Jekyll’s initial reaction to Hyde. Unlike Dr. Frankenstein, who gets all pale and wussy because he created something ugly, Dr. Jekyll initially celebrates his alter-ego. He puts aside Hyde because of society’s condemnation, but it isn’t until he sees his friend’s abhorrence that he really understands what he did. Really fascinating. 

Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory by Ben Macintyre 

In 1943, the Allied forces wanted the Axis to think they were attacking Sardinia rather than their actual target, Sicily. To convince them, British intelligence concocted a crazy scheme involving a dead body, forged papers, fake German spies, and the Spanish government. In this bizarre but true account, Macintyre masterfully recounts the story of the men who influenced and enacted the deception. I highly, highly recommend this one. 


Reading Metrics 2016

I was hoping to eek out one or two more books before the end of the year but a quick glance at my schedule tells me this is unlikely. It has been a good year; I read more books than last year. My final total: 168 new books in 2016. (Only 3 re-reads, though. 😦 ) It was a total of 41,409 pages (less than average but the book quality was overall better.) 

My average rating was 3.5 stars and a great chunk of the books came from my to-read list (hurray!) For several weeks, I actually had that list under 950. (Then the Summit Oxford 2017 Reading List was published. Sigh.) However, it is still under 1,000 which I consider quite the accomplishment. 

Last year I met the gang at the Algonquin Round Table…this year I discovered the literary circle of the Detection Club and in particular became enamored with Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, and G.K. Chesterton. (I’ve always loved these authors but I didn’t know much about their personal lives.) 

My favorite book this year: All The King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren. 

The most disappointing book: Girl Online by Zoe Sugg. 

My favorite author from this year: Anne Brontë.

The most unexpectedly-good book: Written in Red by Anne Bishop. (Disclaimer: dark book, not for everyone. I found the sequel inappropriate and did not finish) 

The best series I read this year: The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan (at any rate, it was the only series I started and decided to finished) 

The best guilty-pleasure book: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling. 

The longest book: Winter by Marissa Meyer. (832 pages)

Shortest book: The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico. (48 pages)

Best Fairy Tale: Valiant by Sarah McGuire 

 

 


Ordering off Amazon

“Look at this!” I wave the Agatha Christie mystery in my hand towards my Mom. “The book finally comes in the mail and it is ripped and bent!”

My Mom nods and says the back cover is rather bent. 

I suspect she doesn’t fully grasp my outrage. “It said on Amazon that it was in GOOD condition!”

“Is it a gift?” asks my Mom.

“Well, no.” I say. “But it is the principle of it! I paid…”

But I don’t know what I paid so I pause to check in my email. “I paid a penny for this. Plus shipping and handling. So, maybe it isn’t that big of a deal…”

*feeling sheepish*


An Autobiography by Agatha Christie

Rambling, rambling through the woods, To Grandmother’s house we go…

I’ve been reading Agatha Christie’s Autobiography and I haven’t quite finished it yet so this review might be precipitous, but I just felt the need to share…this woman cannot keep on topic! I’ve been picking the book up and putting it down since early September. One minute Christie is talking about her early childhood memories, the next referring to her grandson, then back to the memories and a favorite nanny, only to go on a rant about modern day child rearing practices, back to her childhood, etc. This book is quite the compilation! It improves dramatically once she leaves her childhood/teenage years and starts recalling her first marriage and World War 1. However, even with this, there is a piecemeal pattern to her memories that make them hard to follow. 

She is so rambling! I really hope this continues to improve. I love her novels; I never expected her autobiography to be so daunting. 


Whatcha Reading…? 9/12/2016 Book Update

I Like Big Books And I Cannot Lie by DoodlingForDays on Etsy:

I finished Winter last night! That book was a whopping 832 pages. I’ve been inspired to tackle a few other large books floating around my to-read basket…

Currently, I’m reading An Autobiography by Agatha Christie, Ida: A Sword Among Lions by Paul J. Giddings, and The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson. I’m also listening to The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester on audio book. 

I own An Autobiography and have pulled it out to read countless times. The problem is, it isn’t on my to-read list so it always gets shoved aside for something more ‘pressing.’ However, I’ve finally decided to sit down and read it. So far, it is utterly charming. Think of the whit and sense that makes Agatha Christie’s mysteries so wonderful and now have her talk about her childhood. Absolutely lovely. Also 529 pages. 

I planned to return Ida: A Sword Among Lions to the library because I’ve had it out forever and I finished a much thinner biography about Ida B. Wells only last week. However, I started perusing the Introduction and quickly became intrigued with the author, Paula J. Giddings. I normally don’t like it when authors talk about themselves in biographies about someone else. After all, I’m not reading the book for them. For some reason, this Introduction struck me a little differently. I’m curious to find out more. This book is 800 pages.

The Beauty of Darkness is the third and final book in The Remnant Chronicles. I hope there is some good closure to the series. It is 684 pages and somehow seems the most daunting of the three. 

The Professor and the Madman has been a little disappointing so far. I can’t complain with the reader, who is the author and has a British accent, but there doesn’t seem to be much of story to tell here. Once upon a time an American lived in an insane asylum and helped write definitions for a British dictionary. There ought to be a good story there but the repetitive nature of the first hour and a half of this audio books makes me doubtful. 

I was listening Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis on audio book last week but I might find a physical copy instead. There are some intriguing lines but it is hard to focus without seeing them in print.