Saturday, October 22, 2011

24-Hour Readathon - A little late to the party...

My favorite thing about the readathon is getting up at 5 a.m. California time and having a solid chunk of time to read, but I'm in the midst of Part 2 of a cold, and thought it would be best to sleep in so it will go away.  Fingers crossed.

Now that it's almost 9 a.m. in my neck of the woods, things start to get a little busy, but I'm going to squeeze in some reading when I can.  I'm starting with this book:

It's very possible that this is all I will get to, but I've heard it's a lovely book so I think it will make for a wonderful Saturday.  Have fun all of you who are participating!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole

You know how when you make pancakes, sometimes you have to throw the first one out because it's a dud?

Well, let me introduce you to The Castle of Otronto, the Gothic literary movement's first pancake:

I thought it was rather a ridiculous mess.  At least it was a short one.  Like this review.

To find other stops on this Gothic Lit Classics Circuit, check out the schedule here.  No doubt you'll find some excellent, in-depth reviews of this book and other more worthy selections.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Winners for the Literary Blog Hop

Thank you to all of those who stopped by and entered the giveaway. I have been in such a good mood lately, with fall weather finally surfacing, that I was possessed by a kindly spirit and I decided to pick TWO winners.  They are:

Katie @ Novel Society who picked Crime and Punishment
mamabunny13 who picked I Capture the Castle

Congratulations!  I've notified both of the winners.

Stay tuned for another giveaway for my blogiversary in about a month.  I think I'll pick another category from my Goodreads list to choose from, because I found it quite fun to do it that way.  It could be children's novels, fantasy, books about Africa, historical fiction.  Decisions, decisions...

Thanks again to Judith for putting this whole blog hop together!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Literary GIVEAWAY Blog Hop

Once again it's time for a Literary Giveaway Blog Hop hosted by Judith from Leeswames' Blog.  This time, I compiled a list of all the the classics that I rated five stars on Goodreads, and the winner will be able to pick one, which will be shipped from Book Depository (so make sure that it can be delivered to your country by checking this list.)  Here's what you need to know:

  • Check out the list on my right hand side bar for the choices
  • In the comments, either let me know which one you would choose if you won, or tell me a classic that you would rate five stars (even if you're the anti-rating type . . . )
  • Include an email so I can contact you if you win.
  • The giveaway will close at the end of the day October 19, and I will select a winner within the next day or two. 
  • Be sure to visit the following blogs for more chances to win:
  1. Leeswammes
  2. Devouring Texts
  3. The Book Whisperer
  4. Seaside Book Nook
  5. The Scarlet Letter (US only)
  6. Rikki's Teleidoscope
  7. Bibliosue
  8. Curled Up With a Good Book and a Cup of Tea
  9. The Book Diva's Reads
  10. Gaskella
  11. Lucybird's Book Blog
  12. Kim's Bookish Place
  13. The Book Garden
  14. Under My Apple Tree
  15. Helen Smith
  16. Sam Still Reading
  17. Nishita's Rants and Raves
  18. Ephemeral Digest
  19. Bookworm with a View
  20. The Parrish Lantern
  21. Dolce Bellezza
  22. Lena Sledge Blog
  23. Book Clutter
  24. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer (US only)
  25. The Blue Bookcase
  26. Book Journey (US only)
  27. The House of the Seven Tails (US only)
  28. In One Eye, Out the Other (US only)
  29. Read, Write & Live
  30. Fresh Ink Books

  1. Living, Learning, and Loving Life (US only)
  2. Bibliophile By the Sea
  3. Laurie Here Reading & Writing Reviews
  4. Amy's Book World (US only)
  5. Teadevotee
  6. Joy's Book Blog
  7. Word Crushes (US only)
  8. Thinking About Loud!
  9. Kinna Reads
  10. Sweeping Me
  11. Minding Spot (US only)
  12. Babies, Books, and Signs (US only)
  13. Lisa Beth Darling
  14. Tony's Reading List
  15. SusieBookworm (US only)
  16. Tell Me A Story
  17. Close Encounters with the Night Kind
  18. Nerfreader
  19. Mevrouw Kinderboek (Netherlands, Belgium)
  20. Boekblogger (Netherlands)
  21. In Spring it is the Dawn
  22. No Page Left Behind
  23. Elle Lit

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

Author: Agatha Christie
Originally Published: 1926
Length: 288 pages
Source: Library
Challenge(s): R.I.P. VI

Personal Enjoyment Factor: 4.5/5

Poirot's gaze took on an admiring quality.  "You have been of a marvelous promptness," he observed.  "How exactly did you go to work, if I may ask?"

"Certainly," said the inspector.  "To begin with--method.  That's what I always say--method!"

"Ah!" cried the other.  "That, too is my watchword.  Method, order, and the little gray cells."

"The cells?" said the inspector, staring.

"The little gray cells of the brain," explained the Belgian.

"Oh, of course; well, we all use them, I suppose."

"In a greater or a lesser degree," murmured Poirot.  "And there are, too, differences in quality.  Then there is the psychology of a crime.  One must study that."

I spent some time on Agatha Christie's birthday, September 15, getting to know Hercule Poirot.  My first introduction to this quirky little Belgian was in Murder on the Orient Express a few weeks ago, which only briefly acquainted me with his character. In The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, however, I got to know him well enough that I think I could, say, friend him on Facebook. I think he's got time for social networking--in this book he is retired from detective work and growing squash.  Need I say more?

Luckily, he gets a reprieve from watching his garden grow, and becomes involved in solving the murder of a local gentlemen, Roger Ackroyd, in the village of King's Abbot.  Ackroyd's love interest, the widow Mrs. Ferrars, has just died, and reveals in a letter to him that she poisoned her husband and is being blackmailed by someone.  He is killed before it is revealed who the blackmailer is.  There is a host of possible suspects, from the rakish yet handsome stepson to the nosy, nervous butler (but seriously, how likely is it that "the butler did it?"  That has to have only worked maybe once).  No worries though. There's nothing that the right method, the highest quality gray brain cells, and a keen grasp of human nature can't manage.  Poirot proudly claims possession of all three, and a nifty little mustache to boot.

The story of the crime and those who may be involved is told by Dr. Sheppard, a sort of a Watson wanna-be, joining Poirot as a sidekick to find out who killed Ackroyd.  When he's not drily criticizing his sister Caroline's inclination to gossip, he manages to make some rather interesting suppositions about others.  After accidentally getting pelted by one of Poirot's beloved squash, the doctor tries to find out what his new neighbor Poirot did for a living before retiring.  Poirot says:
"And mark you, monsieur, my work was interesting work.  The most interesting work there is in the world." 
"Yes?"  I said encouragingly.  For the moment the spirit of Caroline was strong within me.
"The study of human nature, monsieur!"
"Just so," I said kindly.  Clearly a retired hairdresser.  Who knows the secrets of human nature better than a hairdresser?"
That gave me a laugh!  Other observations are made through Sheppard, some of a more offensive nature.  In my modern mind, I couldn't help but ponder--was Christie embracing stereotypes or making fun of those who embrace them?  I know it was probably the former, considering the time the book was written, but for entertainment's sake, I will pretend to the latter.  It made me smile instead of cringe.  I'm not sure such self-delusion is possible in her other works, which have a reputation for such stereotyping.  It just happened to work with this one.

This being a mystery, there's always the question--did I figure out whodunit?  Well, sometimes the answer to that question can give too much away.  So I won't say.  One mystery I still need to solve is how to say Poirot's name.  When I attempt it, my lips make sort of a dorky kissing shape and I feel like I'm going to drool.  Still, I'd like to get to know Hercule even better, by reading more, watching adaptations (then I might get the pronunciation of his name right), and maybe creating a connection with him by planting some zucchini.  No mustache for me, though.  At least not until I hit menopause anyway.