The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie 4/5
Can you imagine how fun it must be (I’m kidding) sitting down and imagining … these murder scenarios? Do the writers fox themselves? Because characters, even if we do ultimately control them, still do what they damn well like.
I also love Agatha Christie’s dialogue. I think I have said it before in a review, but I bloody love good dialogue. It’s like music to my ears, when you read some dialogue and it has a bit of bite to it and a bit of humour. It’s pleasing. Roddy Doyle is another author that I like for dialogue.
I think I want dialogue to mirror real life. Which is why there are no rules to writing. You would have dozens of editors complaining if how we spoke to each other was put in our stories. It wouldn’t make sense. Unfinished thoughts, talking over one another, repetition, some coarse language. Of course, accents and dialects too. Do you feel perhaps in stories we try to replicate the perfect scenario? Isn’t that why we read stories, we expect a start, middle and end. I personally love reading stories that don’t really have a story, more happenings. I read a book a couple of months ago like that. It was Keith Waterhouse’s There is a Happy Land. It’s a beautiful book. I probably read it once every couple of years. I don’t have my own copy of it. I know where it is in the public library and I pluck it off the shelves periodically. Pluck is the wrong word. The shelves are packed tightly in my public library and it’s more of a shuffle, tug, pull, shuffle, break a nail and a yank. Then you realise it’s the wrong book and not what you want after all and have to get it back in.
Anyway, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was a hit with me. It’s all very clear and obvious whodunnit by the explanation at the end, isn’t it?
Another mystery I read was
Hate Bale: A Rural Cosy Mystery by Stephanie Dogg 3/5
Hate Bale is very cosy. It has romance, humour and its setting and characters were different (depends what you’ve been reading, I guess) The murders though are brutal, when you think about what you are reading. The ending was wordy, and it went from 60 to 100 in the space of 3? chapters. I felt the plot and the pacing could have been tightened. It did meander, not that I mind a meander. Other readers may not. Not a bad read though. I liked it.
The poem format Sarah Crossan uses to write Toffee works well with the story. It covers important subjects too, such as abusive relationships, identity and peer pressure. I read it in one afternoon and couldn’t find any faults with it, other than it ended. Yep, that’s why I’m knocking a star off of my review, because the book ended – I am that petty (not really)
I love books written in a poem format. I think so many people feel poetry is niche, academic, boring, not something that is easy to understand etc. etc. and of course that is reflected in how poetry is taught to us. I remember all the silly poems that I read as a kid, which were was mainly rhymes. I grew up – thinking that’s all poetry was, rhyming. I studied two poems for my English GCSE. That made me hate poetry because we all were taught was to dissect these two poems. To find all these hidden meanings that the poems held. I mean, maybe the poet was thinking about his tuna sandwich for lunch and it isn’t that deep? Therefore when I all of a sudden got these ideas in my head for poems after I had left school, I was shocked. Where has this come from? I thought. I wrote my first six poems. I started to read Allen Ginsberg. The rest is … history, as they say. There’s nothing that excites me more (well, there is pizza and a freshly made bed) than opening a book and seeing the poem on a page, ready for me to learn from. Because poetry inspires me, I just love the format now, it appeals to me. I love how expressive it is. I love how you can write poetry and it’s much freer than fiction, which seems stuck in rigid lines. Poetry really wiggles and jiggles on the page.
Yes, I know.
To return to my point, I think it is great that novels in poem or verse form are seemingly becoming more frequently published. It normalises it. And maybe more people will realise how cool poetry is.
Speaking of which I was recently approved for an ARC of Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew and to be published by Walker books. I think it is released in September. I started reading it yesterday and omg, already in love and am only five pages in. The blurb I copied below and here is a pre-order (affiliate)link and add to your Goodreads here
A timely feminist YA novel in verse about periods, sex, shame and going viral for all the wrong reasons.
BLOOD MOON is a YA novel about the viral shaming of a teenage girl. During her seminal sexual experience with the quiet and lovely Benjamin, physics-lover and astronomy fan Frankie gets her period – but the next day a gruesome meme goes viral, turning an innocent, intimate afternoon into something sordid, mortifying and damaging.
Jennifer is a student, studying film noir. With student accommodation not yet built she is living off campus temporarily in a nursing home. The home is, somewhat, unique. It is home to five elderly residents and owned by the Granges. Joining Jennifer are fellow students Liverpudlian John – Paul George ‘Ringo’ and Bo Liu and Lling Liu. There are a few secrets in the book, and I never knew which characters I could trust. Jennifer, in her opinion, is boring and so takes on a whole different persona in her new surroundings. She is so self-absorbed, I have to quote Hermione Granger and say ‘oh stop feeling all misunderstood,’ to her. She also lies about something HUGE, and when the lie is revealed she doesn’t seem to realise how wrong that it is. When will it click Jennifer?!
The residents in the nursing home, on one hand, did feel like clichés, and Ringo did not convince me as a character, but are very amusing and I laughed out loud at a lot of their exchanges; with the discussions between the two groups about ‘when they were young’, Brexit and how the young are more self-absorbed than their generation. Typical stuff, really. There is a mystery in the book, and I kind of felt the author didn’t know whether to go all in with that part of the story or not, and so I was underwhelmed by the ending as it seemed so at odds with other parts of the book, where all the residents are bonding, going out and getting drunk, and with everyone working together to stop the home from closing. There is a poignancy to the book, about aging, and loneliness, and in being happy with who you are, and who your family are.
I took from the book the message that our experiences from childhood, what beliefs we are brought up with, and the gripes and grudges we hold onto all our lives can impact us in different ways, leaving us unfulfilled. We must choose to change or remain entrenched in our prejudices.
This book started well. Love the year it’s in and the setting. It felt like a good beginning to a fantasy novel. It kind of felt like The Borrowers or something. Then it went on and didn’t really go anywhere, it faded and i was disappointed because i really liked the opening chapters and the characters and the vibe i was getting, but it didn’t go anywhere.
Liverpool, 1976: Martha is lost.
She’s been lost since she was a baby, abandoned in a suitcase on the train from Paris. Ever since, she’s waited in lost property for someone to claim her. It’s been sixteen years, but she’s still hopeful.
Meanwhile, there are lost property mysteries to solve: a suitcase that may have belonged to the Beatles, a stuffed monkey that keeps appearing. But there is one mystery Martha has never been able to solve – and now time is running out. If Martha can’t discover who she really is, she will lose everything…
amazon (affiliate link) if you’re interested in checking out this book
Hello. Hope you are all keeping well. Self-isolating here in the UK and getting through my tbr pile. Isolation isn’t far from the norm for me anyway. We have to just stay safe, healthy and look out for each other.
After her mother’s death &a suicide attempt directionless Breeda decides to finally clear out her mum’s house. From there Breeda finds a thread which unravels her entire family. I felt for Breeda. I could all too well identify with her. I was sensitive to her plight. For a debut novel this was an excellent read and had me hooked throughout. I liked the twists and turns, the characters. I switched off completely and got into this book and the ending was satisfactory.
My one issue was Breeda’s surname Looney. I don’t like the word looney, I think it’s a cruel word and what with some of the topics in the book – felt tactless but I understand the word has other origins and this book is based in Ireland, with Irish characters.
I would recommend this book and I will definitely be reading it again.
Breeda Looney tells herself she’s happy with her life in a small Irish fishing village. Sure, there are days she talks to no one but the cat, her Aunt Nora considers her a waste of skin, and her panic attacks have become public spectacles. Still, what’s the use in complaining?
Then Breeda makes a shocking discovery that flips her world upside down. Her father, said to have died when Breeda was a child, might actually still be alive.
Breeda’s search for her father will strain her sanity to its limits, pitting her against her formidable Aunt Nora and forcing her to revisit a dark place she thought she’d buried forever.
And as she digs up the family dirt to find him, Breeda will begin to wonder…has she taken a step too far?