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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sunday Salon May 4, 2008

Good morning, fellow Salon members! How is everyone on this fine, crisp, sunny spring morning?

I've had a fairly decent, if not busy week. In amidst trying to get caught up from both being sick and being gone for a few days last week from work while I was in Cincinnati visiting family, my co-worker was sick and out of the office most of this week, so that it seemed like the work week just flew by, and I still don't feel like I'm entirely caught up yet!

I was able to finish reading Agatha Christie's The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, and I think I'm in love. This was my third Christie book, and I've enjoyed each one. I did a little reading about Roger Ackroyd after the fact, and discovered that there has been some debate as to the plot device she used at the end of the book and whether or not it was "fair." Quite frankly, I thought it was ingenious. Really never saw it coming, which I think is important in a mystery, right? I picked up Murder at the Vicarage this week, the first Miss Marple mystery. The three that I have read so far (The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Murder on the Orient Express and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd) were all Hercule Poirot mysteries, and while I love his extravagant flair, I figure it's time to introduce myself to her other great sleuth.

I also read Neil Gaiman and Gris Grimly's The Dangerous Alphabet. Told in 13 rhyming couplets, it's your general alphabet book, but told in Gaiman's usual quirky style. It's the story of 2 children and their pet gazelle as they strike out underground in search of treasure, and the unusual, creepy creatures they meet along the way. The story is fun, but the real star of this book is Gris Grimly's illustrations. I had never been exposed to his art before, and I am intrigued by his art style. The children have almost rag doll proportions, and the ghoulies that inhabit the underground are rather stupendous in their creepiness. If you are interested in seeing more of Grimly's art, visit his website at

The Graphic Novel Discussion Group will be talking about Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's Superman for All Seasons. It's not your usual "spandex and tights" superhero story. It really gets underneath the costume and gets to the "character" of the character and examines what makes Clark Kent, Superman. Originally told in four separate issues, each chapter takes place during one of the four seasons, and each season's story is told from the point of view of a character that is close to Clark Kent and how they perceive him as both a person and a superhero. The story starts off in Spring, with Clark Kent in his senior year of high school, and as he is still learning about the powers that he has, and how his father is also coming to terms with his son's special abilities. Summer finds Clark Kent in Metropolis, working at the Daily Planet, and rivaling Lois Lane as the top reporter for the Daily Planet. Autumn finds Lex Luthor challenged by Superman's presence in Metropolis, and what he will do to break his character. Winter finds Clark Kent back home in Smallville, dealing with the events with Lex Luthor, where he discovers his high school sweetheart, Lana Lang, has moved back to Smallville, and helps him come to terms with the responsibility and burden of being Superman. I haven't read many Superman stories over the years, so I was a little hesitant reading this, not being as familiar with the Superman mythos as some others in the group, but really, he's something of an American mythology these days, and even knowing the limited plot points that I did, I still found myself enjoying this story.

The last book that I read this week was William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, as adapted by Brooke McEldowney. This was a real treat. Brooke McEldowney is the creator and writer/illustrator of 9 Chickweed Lane (a daily comic strip) and Pibgorn (an almost daily comic strip), both of which can be read online. McEldowney took characters from both strips, and recast them as characters in A Midsummer Night's Dream and reset the story with a 1930's gangster theme, and it works amazingly well! McEldowney keeps true to Shakespeare's words for the most part, but as he explains in the foreword, while some lines are great on stage, they don't translate so well to the printed word, so he removed a soliloquy and rearranged some of the lines here and there, and also recast the sexes of some characters, but otherwise the play is presented in it's entirety. I think that he cast some of the characters like he did due to their interactions with each other in the daily strips, so some of the subtle nuances of this aspect of his inner-jokes may be lost on those who don't read the strips on a daily basis, but it doesn't detract from the overall storytelling process. This was a great little read, and I would hope that someday he continues this theme and stages another Shakespeare play (I would love to see his version of Much Ado About Nothing).

I'm still greatly enjoying Bone: The One Volume Edition. I didn't get as much read this week as I would have liked, so I don't have much to report on the progress of this story right now.

This week will find me continuing Martin Millar's The Good Fairies of New York. It was a birthday gift from my friend S this past year. I'm not that far into the story yet, but it does open with a group of fairies from Scotland, who mysteriously find themselves in New York City, with no idea how they got their due to a combination of alcohol and magic mushrooms. So we've got stoned, inebriated Scottish fairies arguing with squirrels in Central Park and passing out in the apartment of a violinist. Needless to say, I'm just a little intrigued where this story will take me. I will also be reading Morgan Llywelyn's Druids on a recommendation from my friend, Irish and it turns out that S has quite a few Llywelyn's books, so I'll be able to borrow those from her.

Well, I'm off to my mother's house to help do some yard work and play with my dog, Mame. I'll be back later in the evening, visiting some other Salon's and trying to sneak in some reading during commercial breaks while watching Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters (2 of my television guilty pleasures). I hope everyone has a loverly week!


Megan said...

It sounds like you had a really productive reading week. The Dangerous Alphabet sounds interesting and I am going to find out more about it. I have never read any Gaiman, though I often intend to. There was one in particular that I picked up about a month ago and I just loved the first line. I loved the first line so much I put the book back down because I didn't want to go any further, I wanted to write about the book and apparently forgot until this moment. Now I wonder where the book is. I have been doing these writing experiments with the first lines of books seeing where my writing takes me and then compare it to the original.

Anonymous said...

As a child I was an avid Superman reader, so the myth is very firmly ingrained in my mind. This book is definitely for me. I'm off now to see if it's available on this side of the Atlantic.

jlshall said...

"The Murder of Roger Ackroyd" was the first Christie I read (many, many years ago), and the ending made me so angry, I vowed never to read her again. Fortunately, I came to my senses, and later became a huge fan. It's good that you're more open-minded than I was!

tapestry100 said...

megan, Gaiman is fun. I would recommend Stardust. The film version was fun, but I think it missed out on some of the more magical aspects of the book. Another good one is Good Omens, which he wrote with Terry Pratchett, and it will probably be the funniest book about the Apocalypse you will ever read.

Ann, if you have enjoyed Superman in the past, I'm fairly certain you will enjoy Superman for All Seasons. It's just a plainly well written and thought through examination of Superman and what it takes for Clark Kent to carry that mantle.

jlshall, I'm glad that you stuck around and decided to read more Christie. Like I've said, I've only read the 3 so far, but I think Christie is one of those authors that I will be recommending to everyone I know. I can see where the ending would actually upset some people; there was another book that I read not that long ago that used a similar plot device to push the story forward, but it was taken too far in this other book, and I had it figured out even though I was hoping what I thought was going on wasn't actually what was happening, because the way this other author used the plot device actually cheapened the story for me. If you want to know what the book is, email me, as I don't want to spoil either books for someone else.

Irish said...

I almost bought 'Murder in the Vicarage' this week...but instead went with 'The Body in the Library'. Small world. (or um something lol). I also blame you for those purchases. All your recent talk about Agatha Christie brought back to mind and made me want to read some more of her books. You are a horrible enabler.

tapestry100 said...


I try my best.

Cindy B said...

I haven't read much Gaiman (loved Stardust, though), but I * LOVE * Agatha Christie. I checked out the Suchet version of Roger Ackroyd on DVD this week.

Anonymous said...

I "grew up" on Agatha Christie. I especially loved the Poirot series, especially the last, Curtain. I purposefully keep myself away from the Agatha Christie Collection at our local library. It's way too tempting to go back there...just talking about it is pulling me back. I agree with Irish, you are a horrible enabler.