Wednesday, February 13, 2013

what we've been reading.

It's been a while since I updated you on what books have been gracing our shelves lately. (BTW, are we friends on GoodReads? We totally should be.)

that great pulp fiction Blue Train cover image found here

First of all, I've been on a crazy Agatha Christie binge - three of them in one week. And it just so happened that the ones I picked referenced each other, which is something I've never noticed before - especially mysteries that involve different detectives!

I suddenly realized that I'd never read The Mystery of the Blue Train, even though Poirot is my favorite. How does this happen? It's a good one - and features a plucky female heroine (not unlike another of my favorites, The Man in the Brown Suit) and a sweet little romance, so it's hard not to fall in love yourself. Strange coincidence #1: our plucky heroine is from St. Mary Mead! I can't remember a Marple/Poirot connection in any other books, but now I'm on the lookout.

Then it was on to By the Pricking of My Thumbs (love the Macbeth reference!), a Tommy and Tuppence mystery that I had forgotten about. It takes place in a small, blink-and-you'll-miss-it village in the English countryside where Tuppence winds up after a wild goose chase involving a painting, a memory of an old train ride, and a confused old lady in a nursing home who seems to be in some sort of trouble. Tommy and Tuppence are such a great pair - I wish Christie had written more mysteries involving them.

And, finally, I finished with Sleeping Murder. This is one I was pretty sure I remembered the solution to - I've read it, and it was a Miss Marple episode on Masterpiece not too long ago - but something made me pick it up anyway. Perhaps because it's about moving to a new house - though I'm certainly glad that there's no chance I lived here as a child and witnessed a murder! And there, in the middle of the novel: that same confused old lady from By The Pricking of My Thumbs, making the same strange comment to someone else! Bizarre that I happened to have read them in such short succession.

I also read, and loved, the following: Waiting for Birdy by Catherine Newman, The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald (you know her as the woman who created Mrs. Piggle Wiggle!), and the newest installment in the Flavia de Luce series. All three are totally fabulous, and I need to write a separate review for each of the first two titles - they're that fantastic.

I tried really, really hard to finish Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl. I just couldn't. Between the characters who were all totally despicable and the writing ("Literally" appearing on just about every page? Who is your editor?), I threw in the towel. And I'm glad I did, because if I had slogged through and then been rewarded with that horrific ending, there might be a book-sized hole through the bedroom wall of our new place. Totally not worth it. I'm not one for abandoning books, but that one had to be done.

As for toddler picks, Lorelei has been adoring Please, Baby, Please by Spike Lee and his wife, Tonya Lewis Lee. The illustrations by Kadir Nelson are darling, and reading all about a naughty little toddler and all the things she does that she's not supposed to has been an endless source of laughter for a certain someone I know and love. I also found a very old copy of Over in the Meadow (Langstaff/Rojankovsky 1957 edition) hiding on the shelf at our library and we've been singing the sweet song that provides the text for this book ever since. If you don't know it, it's a great action song as well as a way to teach counting.

Disagree with my reviews? Have something to add? Please let me know in the comments!

Linking up with the Agatha Christie Carnival.


  1. I had a love/hate relationship with Gone Girl. I had to know how it ended, but I didn't love the writing style. I wish you were close enough to be in our book club!

  2. I'm disappointed you didn't like Gone Girl! The characters were despicable, and the writing left LOTS to be desired, but it was still such a fresh and different way to read, I enjoyed it for that alone. Plus I wanted to see how she could POSSIBLY end such a book. But I'm excited for your other recommendations - I haven't read an exciting book in a while and need to get back to some good ones!

  3. yeah, I wasn't a fan of Gone Girl either!
    ♥ Kyna

  4. I want to try to find Please, Baby, Please and Over in the Meadow. They look like such fun toddler books. I loved Waiting for Birdy, as well.

  5. How did I not know that Over in the Meadow was a song!? I need to look into this. We have the Ezra Jack Keats version and it's a beautiful book, but clearly we have not been using it to its full potential.

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  7. LOVE Agatha Christie! Avery has been obsessed with her Richard Scarry books lately. Busytown for the win!

  8. I can always trust in you for book recommendations! Now, if I can stay awake long enough to read...J has been loving Library Lion that you gave her!

  9. oh I love Agatha Christie and need to read Gone Girl..

  10. I discovered your blog recently and love to read! Well, I did...then I had kids :) I used to love Agatha Christie, I will look these up! Also good to hear about Gone Girl. I was on the fence about reading it, I think I'll skip it.

  11. I want to frame the Over in the Meadow cover, it's gorgeous. I remember reading my first Poirot book when I was 14 and was hooked. I should definitely pick them up again!