The great thing about Agatha Christie is that she has so many damn books. This means that there are still plenty that I haven’t read yet, so I still get to experience them for the first time. As much as I love reading Christie again and again, there’s nothing like reading one you’ve never read before. So, it was about time that I picked up one of my unread Christie novels. I don’t think that I’ve actually read any of the Superintendent Battle books before but I’ve seen some of the adaptations. This book was adapted for ITV’s Marple but they changed the story pretty dramatically. I decided that I needed to find out how it really turned out.
I didn’t finish my previous read, Strange Weather In Tokyo, until Saturday and I was busy for most of Sunday. So, I knew that I needed to pick a quick read for today’s review. I always read less during the week because of work, so I decided to listen to an Agatha Christie audiobook instead. On days when I don’t have to do much writing, I find it easy enough to listen to books as I work. If I’m doing any kind of copywriting, it becomes trickier. Nobody wants me to start typing out Poriot’s speech about who the murderer is. Well, nobody who would be browsing our website anyway. This is a book that I’ve been meaning to include on my big Agatha reread because I love the concept. It’s classic Christie and classic Poirot. With work being so stressful at the moment, it’s been great to be able to shut everything else out and just listen instead.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Agatha Christie is a sure-fire way to cure your bookish blues. After taking a long time to read Monsters, I knew that I had to do something drastic to get me back into reading. On Sunday I stuck on the audiobook version of this novel and didn’t turn it off until the end. I listened as I took my week’s Instagram photos and went about my general weekend business. It’s always glorious listening to a Christie audiobook. Not that it isn’t glorious reading it yourself but there’s something about an audiobook that just enhances the cosiness. Regardless of the reason, as soon as I was finished, I felt much better about life and reading. I’m renewed and ready to get a few more books off my TBR this month.
I’m still continuing with my plan to try and read at least one Agatha Christie novel per month. My original hope was to have as many finished as possible before October this year. I’d secretly wanted to read them all before them because 71 books in 12 months seemed more than doable. Of course, my inability to stop buying books and increasing my TBR really put those plans to bed. But that won’t stop me going back to the books I love. I don’t reread enough anyway and Agatha always makes me feel better about the world. That could be considered weird considering her books are so full of awful people but her books are like a warm hug. Reading them is a really great counterbalance for the crappy few months we’ve been having.
Who is the best author to go to when you’re falling behind in your monthly reading challenge? Agatha Christie is definitely one of the best writers for getting me back on track. I always enjoy her books and they’re usually really quick reads. Meaning I can cross off a couple of letters in a matter of days and stop stressing about it so much. So, I picked up a quick standalone novel. I realise that in my re-readings, I tend to focus more on the Poirot or Miss Marple novels. Well, apart from And Then There Were None which I never stop banging on about. But this is definitely one of her best. There’s a reason why it was included on my suggestions for where to start reading Christie books.
I meant to read Nancy Mitford’s Christmas Pudding back in December but I never got round to it. I ended up with far too many things to on my festive TBR and something had to suffer. Unfortunately, that was Nancy Mitford. Thankfully this month’s book club gave me the chance to make up for this when her novel The Pursuit of Love was chosen. It wasn’t my first choice but I was more than happy with the selection. In fact, it was probably the best bunch of novels so far. I’ve also learnt my lesson from previous months and not left the reading until the last minute. Of course, the chances are Ill have forgotten a lot of it by tomorrow’s meeting but it’s better than rushing the last third. This is what happens when people give me a reading deadline. I just lose all motivation to get it done.
I’m a fan of Shakespeare. I think he’s way more accessible than people give him credit for. I can also understand why so many people don’t get along with him. For me, it all comes down to how you first experience him. For most of us, we’ll come across our first Shakespeare play at school. If you go through this with the right teacher then he you’ll be able to embrace the Bard fully. If you don’t have the right teacher then you’ll just think he’s old and boring. Thankfully, the first play that I studied was Macbeth and it ended up being a lot of fun. Then I got stuck into Othello, Hamlet and King Lear. By the time I was 16, I was already pretty hooked on old Willy. Although, I’ve never been a big fan of a couple of his most popular plays. Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Nights Dream tend to be ones that most people are willing to watch. I guess they’re more like traditional romantic comedies, so they might be easier for modern audiences to get behind. Really, I don’t know why people love these plays so much. For me, they’re two of his most tedious plays. And, yes, I have studied the histories. Certainly in the case of Romeo and Juliet. I just think it’s stupid.
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, which means that lists of the most romantic reads are popping up all over the internet. Now, I have a huge problem with these lists. Mostly because of the books that continually appear on them. I’ll be honest, I’m not a massive fan of the romance genre anyway. It’s just not my thing. There’s nothing wrong with it but I get bored of the waiting. I also know that romance novels aren’t as terrible as certain people try to make out. There is a pretentiousness that often comes out when talking about romance that mostly occurs because, historically, it has been a genre written for women. I could go deeper into the problematic history of the genre and the marginalisation of certain writers/subjects but I think that’s best saved for a better writer. Instead, I want to focus on problematic books that appear on lists of Valentine’s Day reads. Let’s be honest, many of the supposedly most romantic books ever written feature relationships that we shouldn’t be celebrating. Everywhere I go, I see young bookish people romanticising toxic and awful relationships and I can stay silent no longer. Here are just a view literary loves that we really need to accept aren’t #goals.
So, yet again, my Christmas reading hasn’t gone to plan. It’s my own fault really because who has time for much reading at the moment? I just always seem to have something to do. Meaning all of the books that are over 200 or so pages just seem super long. To get something finished for today’s post, I decided to pick up another short one. I don’t think I’ve ever read the original version of The Nutcracker by German writer E.T.A. Hoffmann. Although, I’ve had this gorgeous illustrated copy for years. I figured it was worth finally checking it out.
How could I not read this during my Agatha Christie month? After all, it’s 100 years since it was first published. 100 years and Agatha Christie is still an important part of the literary canon. The fact that this year sees the release of another adaptation of Death on the Nile only proves that. As a writer, she is so often dismissed as being a writer of cosy crime but she has continually shown her longevity. It’s ridiculous to think that people still underestimate her but that’s always been the problem with the literary canon. And I understand that there are more than a few unsavoury moments that haven’t aged particularly well over the years but she’s not alone there.