Book Chat

My reading for the month:

"And Then There Were None" Agatha ChristieAfter enjoying “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” last month, I decided to read another Agatha Christie mystery. I honestly think I’ve read this years ago, but I’d forgotten it, and my daughter recommended it, so there you go. The premise: 10 people go to an island where they are the only inhabitants. Each has been hired by a mysterious man none of them have ever met, and he’s not at the island, either. The island’s guest house holds 10 indian figures, along with a framed copy of the poem “10 Little Indians.” The mystery begins when one of the folks dies unexpectedly, and the others notice that one of the indian figurines has broken as well. In short order, more of the guests die, and more figurines disappear, and as you can imagine, paranoia ensues. Who is killing the people? If they are the only ones on the island – it must be one of them, right?

After reading this, I watched the movie. I enjoyed it, although its ending was different (I actually preferred the movie’s ending – more hopeful). Good read!

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"Free-Range Kids" Lenore SkenazyI enjoyed “Free-Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children Without Going Nuts with Worry.” It resonated with me because I tend to be the laid-back mom in groups — the one who is fine with my kids trying this or that, going here or there. I don’t worry about them being abducted, etc. – but that’s rare these days. Lenore Skenazy explores why parents these days are so paranoid: TV is a lot of it, with its 24/7 coverage of missing children (she points out that, statistically speaking, it would take 750,000 years for the average child to be abducted by a stranger while playing unattended in the yard).

She writes in a humorous tone about the lunacy of parenting today: baby wipe warmers, grocery cart seat covers, etc. She also makes some good points: years ago, many teens married and began raising kids. Nowadays, we give teens very little responsibility and freedom at all. Is it any wonder they are frustrated?

I recommend this book if you’re like-minded (it’ll have you nodding your head), and if you’re not as well (it’ll help you relax, maybe).

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Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor“Wise Blood” by Flannery O’Connor took me back to high school. It’s the tale of Haze Motes, a young man haunted by Jesus, whom he continually sees as a ragged figure flitting from tree to tree in the back of his mind. The reason it took me back was that it reminded me of Seminar in American Lit class, where every tale was brimming with symbolism, deep meanings, and other things – if I could just understand them. “Wise Blood” is full of the ridiculous – street preachers preaching The Church of Christ Without Christ from the top of their beat-up cars; men stealing and dressing up in gorilla costumes; policemen pushing cars over cliffs, stolen prehistoric men being deified … if this all sounds confusing, it is — but once I get to the bottom of it all, I have a feeling it’s going to be filled with “aha” moments as well. I’ve read — and been provoked to deep thought — by many of Flannery O’Connor’s works. Recommended, when you have Cliffs notes nearby …

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"Surprised by Laughter: the comic World of C.S. Lewis"I almost quit “Surprised by Laughter: The Comic World of C.S. Lewis” after the first chapter. It’s written by Terry Lindvall, PhD, and you know, books by PhD’s are often off-putting to me. Sure enough, chapter 1 read like a dissertation. But I do love Lewis, and I’m glad I persevered, because the book only improved. It reminded me why I do love Lewis, and that I need to read more of his stuff. Stat.

What other author offers such hope and beauty? Describing death and heaven: “The term is over; the holidays have begun. The dream is ended; this is the morning.” On music, specifically, Chopin’s preludes: “they are so passionate, so hopeless, I could almost cry over them. They are unbearable.” He also loved the grandeur of Wagner’s music — I just love it, because I sense in Lewis a kindred spirit, albeit one whose lifetime didn’t intersect with mine (interesting side note – it almost did. He died the year before my birth, on the same day JFK was shot). I find it a little bit of heaven on earth when such … collegiality turns up. And when it does (for me, at least), it’s usually through books.

“Surprised by Laughter” is divided into 6 parts: The Idea and the Legacy, Joy, Fun, The Joke Proper, Satire and Flippancy, and Conclusion. You’ll learn a lot about Lewis in addition to reading a whole bunch of examples of various types of humor he used in his writing. Recommended.

Thanks to Booksneeze for the opportunity to review this book.

 

8 thoughts on “Book Chat

  1. I recently listened to that Agatha Christie novel – I enjoyed it, but at the end, my reaction was pretty much “are you KIDDING ME?” 🙂

    And I love CS Lewis, too.

  2. I have never read Agatha Christie but I have no idea why. I love that kind of book but somehow never read her. Free Range Kids has been on my to read list for years and I just have not gotten there. I want to be more casual but as of yet I am not. 🙂

  3. And Then There Were None was the very firs Agatha Christie book I read years ago. It still remains my favorite. I didn’t particularly care for the movie because it deviated from the book. More hopefuly, yes . . . but I greatly disliked it when producers decide to change the story from the book around.

  4. I felt the same way about Free Range Kids. It confirmed my desire to do what I’m doing, but also showed me ways that I’m still a little too helicopter-y, even though I don’t want to be.

    I remember reading And Then There Were None in high school or college. I liked it. I think it’s the only Agatha Christie I’ve ever read.

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I enjoy hearing your thoughts.