Monthly Archives: September 2012

Autumnal Evenings

Just as there is little better on a rainy day than to read, so there is little better on cold days than to read (don’t you see a pattern here?).  My personal recommendation is a novel, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, by Agatha Christie.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is longer than some of Agatha Christie’s books; it is two hundred fifty some-odd pages long. It also is the introductory novel for her famed detective, Hercule Poirot.

The plot is full of twists and turns, and I never guessed who the murder was (I have guessed right before).  In fact, all of Christie’s murder mysteries are nearly impossible to solve on your own, so it rather depends on your point of view as to whether you’ll love her books or hate them.

Many of Agatha Christie’s books are still in print. They can be found at new book bookstores, and at very good prices used.  (At least, that’s what I’ve found.)  A very few of her books are also available for free on the Kindle.



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Rainy Day Reading

Well, as I observe the rain spattering the cement, I recall that there is nothing better on a wet day than a good book…  And G. K. Chesterton’s Father Brown mysteries are perfect for rainy days, as there are so many of those in England.

The Father Brown mysteries are short stories, perhaps ten or fifteen pages long.  It does take some little while for the narrative to get going, but as it sets up the scene, it seems to be pardonable. Some of the stories are rather difficult to follow (some I can’t understand at all), but as there are some forty tales to choose from it doesn’t matter so much.

Some of the stories that I particularly enjoyed were: The Blue Cross, The Flying Stars, and The Wrong Shape.

The stories are divided into various books, such as The Wisdom of Father Brown, The Innocence of Father Brown, and I believe there are three or four more, whose names escape me. The first two books can however be purchased as one set at Barnes & Noble, or you could order from the library, or again, from the used bookstores if they have it in stock.  I hope you enjoy the books!

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Fantasy, Philosophy, and Fiascos: Philomena’s Literary Profferings

As there is always some difficulty in finding good books, I took counsel with myself and, being a bookworm of the most voracious variety, I now offer these book reviews to you, the reader. Not all of these books are new; in fact, some are out of print, and only available on e-readers. (I’ll note that at the beginning of the review)

My aim is simply to suggest good books to read, to people of all ages- from young children to adults. With this in mind, I begin with Edmond Rostand’s inimitable classic play, Cyrano de Bergerac.

I personally recommend the Brian Hooker translation, having merely glanced at two other, and inferior, translations. Cyrano de Bergerac being a play in verse, the fact that this particular translation is more fluid and lyrical is paramount.

The play is described as an heroic comedy, (that is, in my copy, from Bantam Classics) is about two hundred and thirty pages long, and is really not that hard to read, though it is a play.  I won’t spoil it, but I can safely say that the really good parts are evenly scattered throughout the play.

As for the story itself, you might say there is something for everyone; swordplay, poetry, romance, and of course, humor.  Without spoiling anything else I can tell you that D’Artagnan, from The Three Musketeers, makes a brief cameo.  I can also tell you that the stage directions are sufficient in the stead of the background description in novels.  The words are great, fine, noble, memorable, and eminently quotable, and the poetry flows smoothly off the page. (It also improves every time you read it– I’ve read it five times– it’s that good.)

You can probably find Cyrano de Bergerac at the library, a used bookstore, and definitely at Barnes & Noble, (they have their own translation). The last time I checked you can also get it for free on the Kindle, in French or in English, but not the Brian Hooker translation.  I hope you enjoy Cyrano as much as I did!


Filed under Reviews of old and new books