Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Agatha Christie's Sparkling Cyanide (AKA Remembered Death)


DorothyL, the listserv where many of my favorite mystery people hang out, has started its own book discussion. The first title is Sparkling Cyanide, and the discussion begins in August. I have run two book groups myself, and I'm looking forward to see how one is run as part of a listserv.

I've read (I think) 4 Agatha Christie titles:
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
Hercule Poirot's Christmas
And Then There Were None (AKA Ten Little Indians, & other titles)
Sparkling Cyanide

While The Murder of Roger Ackroyd has an incredible twist to it, I believe I enjoyed Sparkling Cyanide the most. I thought the character description and development was very good, and the story was well told. I didn't guess "whodunnit", but, then, I almost never do :).

Spoiler Alert (don't read this part if you're planning on reading And Then There Were None):



Both my husband and I read And Then There Were None for Magna Cum Murder Crime Writing Festival's One Book/One Conference. We both disliked it because the end was wrapped up by a message in a bottle. Sorry to all the Christie fans out there, but, good grief! I'm sure I'll get some comments on that one ;).



End Spoiler Alert

I'm sure I'll get some other comments when I say this: I'm not a huge fan of Agatha Christie. I'm not sure why. I enjoyed watching some (but not all) of the Hercule Poirot TV series, but her books overall haven't grabbed me. I will always try one, usually for a book discussion, as she is one of those who wrote during the Golden Age of Mysteries*, but I don't choose Agatha Christie to read on my own.

For character description and development, and good storytelling, I would definitely recommend Sparkling Cyanide.

Happy Reading!

*"The 1920s ushered in the Golden Age of mystery fiction. A time of growing prosperity in both England and America, the popularity of mystery fiction was at an all-time high. No longer used only to describe the period in history, Golden Age refers as well to the style of writing itself. Crime in these stories strictly adhere to a prescribed format with little or no variation." (quote from )

Monday, July 21, 2008

Finally Catching Up on Reading Free Books!

Hi All!

Via DorothyL, I have entered contests to win free books. I have also, as a librarian, given my card to authors at various conventions, and as a result, have also received books. Currently, I am receiving Advanced Reading Copies of books from HarperCollins as a result of attending a Readers' Advisory program, and meeting publishers' representatives to the library market. Here, I write about some titles I've received (this was also posted to DorothyL).

Gosh, I'm kind of embarrassed to be so kindly given several free books over the last SIX(!) months, and then not getting around to reading them--good grief!

In the order I read them:

Robert Fate's Baby Shark: Robert was kind enough to send me the third in this series to my former library (which they sent on to me). When I emailed that I'd be tracking down the first to read them in order, Robert sent me the first also! What a sweetheart! I thought Baby Shark was one tough cookie, who went through a lot in her young life. I admired the strength and growth as she chose that path over a path of withdrawing into herself. I have no problems with her career choice, nor the revenge that had to be exacted in this book. I look forward to seeing where Baby Shark goes from here.

Louise Ure's The Fault Tree: I received this as part of a Readers' Advisory workshop where Louise was speaking (& signing!). I enjoyed this book of a very independent blind woman, who also is in a non-traditional career; she's an auto mechanic.

Leighton Gage's Blood of the Wicked: I won this as part of Mr. Gage's tour last January. Everyone seems to have a wicked side in Brazil--this was part of the book, and also true, as per Mr. Gage's talk at his signing. Even the hero, at some point in his career, looked the other way or participated in activities that went against his good side. I'm sure that there are many good people in Brazil, and I know that it's a beautiful country, but I'm not sure I want to visit there :).

Steven Torres' The Concrete Maze: Steven sent this to me I think in December (sorry to be so late reading this, Steven!), when he was giving away copies of this book. Boy, New York City and its boroughs are definitely a concrete maze, and the main character, Marc, and his uncle drive through them over and over to solve the kidnapping of Marc's young teenage cousin. This is another book that portrays a place as evil, with very few good people in it. Now I need to get back to Steven's Precinct Puerto Rico series!

There was a lot of vengence in these books, not an aspect I always like in crime fiction, but it definitely made for interesting reading. I thank the above authors for their kindness in gifting me with their books, and sharing good and interesting writing with me.

I promise that if I I am lucky enough to win another contest, or to receive another book from an author, that I will read it in a more timely manner :)!

Go forth and investigate these books!

Happy Reading!


Saturday, July 19, 2008

About Patti's Pen & Picks


And welcome to my blog :)! I've decided to try this out partially as it is another way to learn elements that are a part of Library 2.0, and partially because I feel I need (another) outlet to talk about books. Yes, I'm already on DorothyL, Fiction_L, and I know there are lots of bloggers out there already talking about books. No, I don't know if I have anything new or different to add, but I really enjoy sharing what I read, and I can't seem to help myself from wanting to make a list of one or more books that I've read to go along with the one I've just finished. It must be a librarian thing :).

I'm a reader first, librarian second, but my life is definitely surrounded by books. I read almost everything, except horror. Mysteries are my very favorite genre, though I have gotten a little more selective in the last few years--no more serial killer plots, and I don't usually like the plots where you know what both the crime solver and the evil doer are thinking; I much prefer the crime solver's point of view.

I LOVE being a librarian. Despite the fact that my husband thinks he has the best job ever, I think I have the best job ever. It is so much fun to help people, talk with people, and be constantly learning. My biggest goal as a libarian is to make the library environment a comfortable, welcoming one. Thank goodness that so many libraries are connected to other libraries, and that they share resources; it makes serving patrons so much easier.

My understanding about blogs is that short and sweet is the best way to write them--I better quit while I'm ahead :).

Happy Reading!