Sunday Post 5.17.2020

Sunday post (1)

I’ve been working on getting my old year-by-year lists moved over here, which has been a bit of a project. I’ve finished 2013, 2014 and 2015, as well as 2019 and I am current on 2020. That leaves me with 2016, 2017 and 2018. It’s been a lot of fun looking over my past years reading and I can see how my tastes have changed over time. It’s the 30,000 foot view of my reading for the past seven years, and I only wish that I had been tracking for longer.

What I am reading:

I finished The Body in the Dumb River and made quite a bit of headway on Lost in a Good Book. I can’t find my copy of Mrs. McGinty in Dead, so I need to track it down so I can finish it. I haven’t quite made up my mind what to read next – there are several possibilities: Barbara Pym, Angela Thirkell or one of the Furrowed Middlebrow titles that I already own on my kindle, maybe. It’s also been a long time since I reread Harry Potter, so I’ve been thinking about that as a possibility.

What I listened to this week:

I’ve almost finished the episodes of Harry Potter and the Sacred Text that deal with the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone.

What I watched this week:

So, I’ve been intentionally not watching the most recent Sarah Phelps Agatha Christie adaptation because I knew it would piss me off. Except that my daughter really enjoys watching Christie adaptations and it’s something that we share, so when we were talking about getting together for a movie afternoon, this is what she wanted to watch.

So, I was at least partially right with my plan to not watch. The Pale Horse pissed me off substantially less than the Phelps adaptation of The A.B.C. Murders, which made me lose my ever-lovin’ mind, but it still wasn’t good. Sarah Phelps knows how to tell a story, and her productions are frankly beautiful.

But she is incredibly disrespectful to her source material. The Pale Horse had about three things in common with the novel: the specific poison used; the presence of three “witches” and a character named Mark Easterbrook. Aside from that, it bore no resemblance at all to Christie’s mystery, which was, honestly, a bright spot the novels that she published during the 1960s.

Another major issue that I have with the Phelps adaptations (one of many) are her endings. Good lord, how her endings suck. The ending of Ordeal by Innocence was awful; the reveal at the end of The A.B.C. Murders basically left me in a fetal position on my couch whispering “no, no, no, no, no.” And the ending of The Pale Horse? There are no words. It was incomprehensible and stupid, simultaneously.

Why does the Christie estate keep greenlighting her projects?

Non-bookish stuff:

Mr. ATVL bought a new pellet grill, which was delivered on Thursday. He just put two racks of pork spare ribs on for a slow smoke, and my daughter & her husband are coming over for a BBQ at around 2:00.

In addition, we have been talking about a new family dog since our elderly Golden Retriever – our beloved Jackson – had to be put down last September. We finally took the plunge and will be welcoming a puppy into our lives in late June or early July.

So, there will be less reading and more puppy fun this summer!

#Friday Reads 5.15.2020

I have four books on the go right now, although at least two of them are nearly finished.

I bought this Persephone edition a few months ago and I’ve been making my way through it rather slowly. It’s quite a long book at 590 pages, and I find that it works well to read a week or two, or maybe a month, at a time. As I’m not worried about speed-finishing this one, you’ll likely see it on my Friday Reads for quite sometime. The book itself is the diary of Vere Hodgson, a Londoner who worked for a Notting Hill Gate charity during the war, and who survived the London Blitz. She is described as sparky and unflappable.

I’ve been reading this one for too long at this point – I started it last weekend and then set it aside for some other books at about the 1/3 mark. It won’t take long to finish, so it’s first up for the weekend. It was originally published in 1961, and I am reading the British Library Crime Classics series reprint pictured. The cover is just as lovely in person.

This is another one that I started last weekend and then got sidetracked away from – it’s the most recent book on my Christie comfort reread. It’s one of Ariadne Oliver’s most delightful appearances in print, and that makes it a fun reread. Poirot leaves London for this one, and makes an early appearance in the action. There are some other fun side-characters, including Mrs. Summerhayes, who is a bit of a hoot. I’m again quite a ways into this one, and it won’t take long to finish.

I just started this one on my kindle – I have an omnibus edition checked out from my library, and I’ll likely only read this one right now. I enjoyed the first Thursday Next book by Jasper Fforde, so when I saw the omnibus available on Overdrive, I decided to read book 2.

That should take care of most, if not all of my weekend!

2020 Reading Journal #1

As I’ve said, I’ve decided to stay away from “reading challenges” this year. I still have some ongoing reading projects, including my second round of classics club books, the Patricia Wentworth project, and my Century of Women blog project. I also have a massive tbr, both physical and ebook.

I decided to use my TBR cart to focus my 2020 reading. My plans – subject to change, of course – are to read at least one print book for every two kindle books that I read, selected from the cart. I am free to add a new book to the cart when I remove a book, and there’s no requirement that I finish, or even start, a book in which I’ve lost interest. But there are some books on the cart that I’ve been looking forward to reading for a long time. Sometimes years!

Top tier (from L to R):

Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
Mrs. Ames by E.F. Benson
A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy
A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle
Troubling a Star by Madeleine L’Engle
Down Among the Dead Men by Patricia Moyes
Penguin Classics WWII Stories
Miss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson (a lovely gift from BrokenTune)
Mrs. Tim of the Regiment by D.E. Stevenson
The Brontes Went to Woolworths by Rachel Ferguson
My American by Stella Gibbons
Death of a Fool by Ngaio Marsh
Tied up in Tinsel by Ngaio Marsh (a Christmas mystery that I didn’t get to this year)
Grave Mistake by Ngaio Marsh
The Two Faces of January by Patricia Highsmith
Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey (buddy read!)

Middle tier:

Possession by A.S. Byatt
A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor
The Glass Devil by Helene Turston
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck
Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
Sleeping Beauty by Ross MacDonald
Beloved by Toni Morrison (evidence of my Halloween Bingo group read failure)
The Flemish House by George Simenon (oops – I already need to substitute. I’ve read this one – I know that I have another Maigret I haven’t read)
Good Evening, Mrs. Craven by Mollie Panter-Downes
Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple
The Salterton Trilogy by Robertson Davies
Mariana by Monica Dickens
The Semi-Attached Couple and the Semi-Detached House by Emily Eden
An Unsuitable Attachment by Barbara Pym
Elizabeth and Her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim
The Cellars of the Majestic by George Simenon

Bottom Tier:

Daniel Deronda by George Eliot
The Towers of Trebizond by Rose Macauley
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Howard’s End by E.M. Forster
The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie
The Raj Quartet by Paul Scott (4 book series)
The Maine Massacre by Janwillem van de Wettering
Westwood by Stella Gibbons
Faithful by Alice Hoffman
Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor
Some Tame Gazelle by Barbara Pym
Jane and Prudence by Barbara Pym

I’m going to try to remember to post a new picture at the beginning of each month to chart my progress, to post “reading journals” from time to time to just talk about what I’ve been reading, as opposed to a full-blown post about a specific book.