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March & April 2019 Books

DECEMBER (8)

What’s that you say – March was a full six months ago and you really should be better at keeping your blog up to date? Well yes, I know that. But I’m not, so here we are.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

My Poirot read/re-read continued apace with one of her most famous of mysteries, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. To even describe it in its most famous of terms feels like a spoiler, which could be nonsense given that it was published 93 years ago. But the whole point of these books is the mystery, so I don’t want to spoil it on the off chance that there’s anyone out there who a) hasn’t read it, or b) hasn’t been spoiled already. Suffice to say that I enjoyed it a lot; I had read this one before (it was a book I took to America with me when I moved there and suffered the most horrendous homesickness), so I knew the general story but had forgotten most of the details. It’s not my favourite Poirot, but it’s up there!

Normal People by Sally Rooney 

This is a funny one, because in my experience of hearing people talk about it, they either loved it or hated it. It’s literary fiction, which is not my cup of tea at all; maybe I’m just not intelligent enough for it, but in the most part, I find it super unengaging. But I’ve read both of Rooney’s novels, and I’ve enjoyed them, up to a point, and this one was my favourite of the two. There’s something to be said for the fact that I read it all the way through and was eager to get to the end, but sometimes I worry that I pretend I’m liking books like this, even to myself, because they are so popular.

Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie

This is a collection of short stories, and it turns out that I really like Poirot in short story form. They do away with all of the extraneous details that I sometimes feel the long-form stories suffer from. When Christie is good, she’s excellent, but in my read/re-read I’ve noticed that I can find her really boring at times! (Is it sacrilegious to say such a thing?) There’s some really fun stories in this collection, including The Kidnapped Prime Minister, about a British Prime Minister that goes missing, and The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge about the murder of a rich uncle.

The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

I think some books are meant to be listened to in audio form, and The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish is one of them. If you’re not familiar with her, she’s a comedian and actress who shot to fame when the film Girl’s Trip was released in 2017, but this book is full of stories about how she’d been working in comedy for a long time prior to that, and all the obstacles that she came up against as a black woman on the comedy circuit. Her story is astonishing really, and to hear it in her voice is really the only way to read it, I think!

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Somehow, in all my years as an Austen fan, Northanger Abbey had passed me by. I’ve tried to read it a couple of times, but for some reason not been able to get on with it, so when I spotted it as an audiobook on my Libby app, I thought I’d give it a go. I’m glad I did – while it’s no Pride and Prejudice or Persuasion, it’s a lot of fun. Catherine Morland, our heroine, is one of ten children, and so life is probably destined to pass her by, until she’s invited to Bath by her wealthy neighbours. From there, all kind of high jinks take place; the plot of all these teenagers falling in and out of love with one another wouldn’t be that out of place in a modern YA series!

Transcription by Kate Atkinson

In another strange turn of events, Transcription was the first Kate Atkinson book I had ever read. It’s odd; I don’t know what kind of writer I thought Atkinson was, but I was wrong. I loved Transcription; it tells the story Juliet Armstrong, who becomes involved with espionage during the Second World War. The narrative flips between her time at MI5 and her career at the BBC after the war, and it’s a fascinating exploring of truth and lies, identity, and the past. I loved it, and I now plans to devour as much of her other work as I can.

First Class Murder by Robin Stevens

I’m reading the Murder Most Unladylike series very slowly, but that’s not a bad thing, because I don’t want it to end! This is the third in the series (and spoiler for the rest of my 2019 in books, I haven’t read any more since this one!), and it’s set away from Deepdean School for Girls for the first time. It should come as little surprise, with a title like First Class Murder, that it’s a take on Murder on the Orient Express, Daisy and Hazel are even travelling on the famous train! I have to say that it was least favourite of the stories I have read so far in this series, because it was set away from school (I’m a sucker for a boarding school book). But I still very much enjoyed it, especially the introduction of some new characters (boys!) who I am sure will pop up again.

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