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!

Sunday Post: Booklikes, Goodreads and Bookish Social Media

This last week has had me scrambling a bit – the book site that I am most active on, a rather obscure corner of the internet called Booklikes, let it’s domain briefly expire. The site itself has been left without much in the way of maintenance for a long time now, so I am concerned that it will simply cease to exist at some point, with little to no notice. There is a small but active contingent of around fifty to seventy-five readers over there who are very passionate about books. The social element of Booklikes is wonderful, and realizing (again) that it might disappear meant that I needed to start figuring out an alternative way to keep in touch with my bookish friends in a hurry.

As it turned out, the domain was ultimately renewed. But, the activity caused me to start following as many of the blogs of those friends as I could find, and it has also motivated me to start blogging again over here. I’ve decided to consolidate all of my book blogging on this one site, so while I will continue to focus on women authors prior to 2000, I will be talking about all of the books that I read in this same place. It’s just too much work to keep up with multiple, subject-oriented blogs. There’s going to be an organizational piece that I have to work out, but I’ll get there through the use of pages, categories and tags.

What I read this week:

This was another week for rereading. I have found that with all of the stress of the pandemic world, it’s really hard for me to even want to pick up a new book. I find myself gravitating to old favorites and other comfort reads, and for me, first among comfort reads is Agatha Christie.

I think that it is the fact that, at this point, I know her world so well, so I know that when I pick up a Christie, I’ll get a well-plotted mystery, certain British character archetypes, and a satisfying resolution. There are rarely uncomfortable loose ends in a Christie mystery.

So, this week, I read Mrs. McGinty’s Dead, which is a favorite because Ariadne Oliver is in fine fettle in this particular, late Christie, and Cat Among the Pigeons, which is a bit of an odd Christie, successfully hybridizing her international thriller with a straight up murder mystery. Cat Among the Pigeons also features two exceptionally wonderful Christie characters – Miss Bulstrode, headmistress of Meadowbank School, and Julia Upjohn, a daring, perceptive young woman.

I also started rereading the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series by Laurie R. King, and finished The Beekeepers Apprentice and A Monstrous Regiment of Women. I’ve started A Letter of Mary, and am now trying to decide what else to crack open.

What I listened to this week

Someone on Booklikes turned me on to the Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast, so I’ve been dabbling in the first episodes and really enjoying them. I’m not a huge podcast listener, because I find that it interferes with my reading time or my blogging time or my working time. I can’t divide my mental attention, so unless I’m doing dishes or laundry or something, I really don’t listen to podcasts. Oh,except during I’m driving, of course, but who is driving these days? Not me.

What I watched this week

My “rereading” thing seems to have extended itself to television & movies. I’m rewatching Criminal Minds, a couple of episodes a night, while I do handwork like cross-stitching or embroidery. My mind really can’t cope with prestige television, with complicated, multi-episode story lines.

Non-Bookish stuff

The weather has been gorgeous in the PNW, where I live, so I’ve also been doing tons of yard work. I live on a wooded acre, and winter clean up has been huge this year. There has been yard debris burning and other major trimming and cutting back that needs to be finished. It’s a ton of work.