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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Salon 4/20/08 - In a Mood for Murder! **dun dun dunnn!**

Good morning, fellow Salon members!

In a turn of weather events from last week, I'm sitting at my computer looking out the window and marveling at the trees and their buds of green, listening to the birds sing and enjoying a fine spring morning. I'm also trying to ward off a cold, but I'm afraid it's getting the better of me.

This week, it seems that I've been in the mood for murder! First off, I read J.F. Englert's A Dog About Town, which proved to be a really fun little book. I discovered the book through LT's Early Reviewer program, which offered the second book in the series this past month. It caught me attention since I have a black lab of my own, named Mame, and I thought what a great idea! A friend of mine says it was like somebody wrote a book just for me. It follows the adventures of Harry and his sentient black lab, Randolph, who has to guide Harry via various means to solving a murder mystery. The book is told from the POV of Randolph, and Englert does a fine job of letting us see the world through Randolph's eyes, as well as giving us some insight into certain doggie behaviors.

After I finished A Dog About Town, I decided to stick with the murder mystery theme, and start Agatha Christie's The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. My grandmother was a huge fan of Agatha Christie, having read every book she had written. After she passed away, most of my grandmother's book went to my aunt and cousin, who split them up amongst the rest of the family. My aunt had realized that she hadn't read many of Christie's books, so started a reading challenge of her own, to read every Christie book, just like my grandmother. Well, when we got together at the end of last year, we were talking about books, and when she told me about her challenge, I realized I had never read any Christie books before, so I picked up The Mysterious Affair at Styles, and loved it! When I went on vacation earlier this year, I picked up Murder on the Orient Express, and loved it even more. So, not long ago I was perusing the 1001 Books You Should Read in Your Lifetime and discovered there was a Christie on that list, so picked up The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. I know that's a long, drawn-out way to getting around to saying that I'm reading The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, but that's how it went.

I'm not that far into it right now. Christie has just started to introduce the main characters of the story, so we haven't had a chance to get into the meat of the story yet. I'll let you know how it progresses.

I finished Ulick O'Connor's Irish Tales and Sagas this past week as well (just not gotten around to reviewing it yet). My mother brought this book back for me from Ireland 20ish years ago, and I pull it down off the shelf every couple of years to read. I was going through, reading just one story at a time to spread it out a little this time. It is a simply-written book that retells some of Ireland's more popular legends and lore. It's aimed more at children, but it is still a good little book if you are into Irish myths and legends.

I am also in the process of reading Jeff Smith's Bone: The One Volume Edition. Bone was an independently published comic book series that Smith both wrote and drew. It told a finite story, unlike most comics these days, and the entire story was told in 55, almost monthly, black and white issues. The One Volume Edition collects all 55 issues and weighs in at 1,332 pages. I'm taking this one slow, too, and only reading one issue's worth per night. So far, I'm 5 issues into the story.

I had read Bone originally, but only piecemeal. I've always wanted to read the entire story from beginning to end, but the individual issues are getting harder to find, so I decided to pick up this collected edition and give that a try. It's a little overwhelming, just due to the size of the book, but I think if I keep reading one issue at a time, it shouldn't be too bad. I had the same problem when I bought The Lord of the Rings as a single-volume edition; I just couldn't read it. Every time I looked at that huge book, my mind just shut off. I took it back to the store, and bought the 3 separate editions, and those I was able to handle.

Bone starts off slow, but eventually the story starts to take on an epic feel, and the story grows and grows as the series progresses. Smith is able to keep a decidedly smart, funny and witty tone throughout, however, which really made Bone a joy to read. I've seen it described as The Lord of the Rings, if LOTR were funnier. I never finished the story originally, so I don't know if that is true, but I do know that Bone is one of those rare occasions where comics can step away from being comics and start to become illustrated literature.

And lastly, I've been listening to Matthew Pearl's The Dante Club in the evenings when I've been able to go for my walks. It is also something of a murder mystery, and I haven't gotten far enough into it to really get the gist of the story yet, but I've enjoyed what I've heard so far.

Next week, I don't know if I'll be able to join in on the Salon. I'm heading to Cincinnati for a convention, and don't think I'll be around a computer. I may be stopping at my aunt's house, so may be able to use her computer. If not, everyone have a great Sunday this week and next, and happy reading!


Irish said...

I bought The Dante Club awhile back so I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it. On my daily commute I've been listening to 'Interred with Their Bones' which is pretty much the daVinci code but with a female Robert Langdon and deals with Shakespeare.

I first started reading Agatha Cristie in high school (one of the few mandatory books/authors) that I enjoyed. I haven't read much of her since then but I think I might have to check out more of her books the next time I'm in the library. If you haven't done so already look into "Ten Little Indians" - it sometimes has a different title, can't think of it now though. That was the book that we read in that long ago HS English class and I still remember it with much fondness all these years later.

Irish said...

So curiosity got the better of me and I looked up the other title. Its also called "And Then There Were None". I think that it the popular title but I've always been fond of Ten Little Indians.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about the cold, but as you have the good weather and it is dull and cold and drizzling here maybe not as sorry as a good friend should be! 'A Dog about Town' sounds right up my street; I love Labradors and really regret not living anywhere it would be fair to have one. Enjoy your foray into Christie. When I was a teenager a friend of my mothers lent me the whole collection at the rate of two a week. It was awful having to string them out so that would last a full seven days, but I never could convince her to let me have more.

tapestry100 said...

As I've been writing this, I've been thinking about my grandmother, and I'm rather sure that Ten Little Indians/And Then There Were None was one of her favorites. I think that I'm going to have to add that to the "to be purchased" list. Thanks for reminding me of that!

And Table Talk, I love how many books in common we enjoy! And I'll give you that, I'll take a cold and warm weather any day over feeling good but with cold and drizzly weather outside.

Unfortunately, my black lab does not live with me. The apartments I live at won't let me have dogs, so Mame lives with my mother. I get to see her several times a week, as my mom lives in the town where I work, so I go over to her place to have lunch a couple times a week and on the weekend, I go over to do her lawn work, so that works out well.

I hope to continue to enjoy Christie. I've liked the 2 that I have read, and thus far am enjoying The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.

Literary Feline said...

I hope it's a short and very brief cold, if you have to have one at all.

I was a big Agatha Christie fan when I was in high school and only re-discovered her a couple of years ago when I read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. A friend of my mother's was recently giving books away and I got her stack of Agatha Christie novels. Some I have read, others I haven't. I look forward to getting further acquainted with the author and her characters.

I hope you have a good week--as well as a nice time at the convention next weekend!

jlshall said...

If I were making the list of 1001 Books to Read, there would be a lot more than just one Christie on it. Just about everything she wrote, in fact! Hope you enjoy "Ackroyd" as much as the others - and take care of that cold.