The Little Grey Lists

I have just finished watching the last season of Agatha Christie’s “Poirot” mysteries starring the brilliant David Suchet.  I wanted this week’s list to be a tribute to this ending, but how to do it?  By the Poirot books?  I went through these many years ago and most have blurred together.  All Christie books?  Some of my favorites were not Poirot, although he was by far my favorite.  By the “Poirot” series?  All Poirot adaptations?  In the end, I couldn’t choose.

Top Agatha Christie Mysteries:

1. Five Little Pigs

-This one was by far my favorite.  With the crime in the past there was nothing to get in the way of the psychological study.

2. And Then There Were None

-This is the first Christie book I read and one of the few books ever that I kindof wish had been withheld from me til I was a few years older…it still plays vividly in my mind, compelling, brilliant, and incredibly creepy.

3. Crooked House

-The tone and ending of this book just stay with you.

4. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

-Seeing the crime through the villain’s notebook while still not knowing who it is….thrilling.  The adaptation of this was one of my only true letdowns-no cinema can do it properly.

5. The Man in the Brown Suit

-This is a novel where I actually remember the characters more fondly than the mystery-it’s great fun and my favorite of Christie’s matchmaking moves.

6. Dead Man’s Mirror

-Another Poirot mystery I found particularly clever and memorable.

Top Suchet “Poirot” adaptations:

1. Five Little Pigs

-I was surprised at how faithful they managed to keep it.  Love it!

2. Evil Under the Sun

-They managed to add humor and suspects with more depth without losing the tone of the original.

3. The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor

4. The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge

5. The Chocolate Box

-All of these are just delightful to watch….I’m sure this list will change often, but David Suchet’s Poirot just shines.

Top non-Suchet Cinema Adaptations:

1. Thirteen for Dinner

-This Peter Ustinov one just has more time to flesh out the characters and what I found to be a more believable Lady Edgeware.  Plus, Suchet does appear…as Japp!

2. Witness for the Prosecution

-This Hitchcock film feels like a real Agatha Christie, and is well acted!

3. Death on the Nile

-This one I include because, although I feel the Ustinov version and the Suchet version are both excellent shows, I prefer the Ustinov one simply because it has more time to develop various motives and has a memorable montage showing how practically everyone could have committed the crime…On the other hand, I prefer Suchet’s Poirot here, as usual, and find his portrayal much closer to the books.  Still, whichever way you go, I recommend it.

Poirot would hate these mini-lists for being uneven and a hodgepodge of preferences rather than one, orderly list…I know, shall blame it on my need for gastronomic nurturing and plead that I have not yet eaten.  What about you, mes amis, which novels, episodes, or crimes do your little grey cells prefer?

Top Ten Books to Feed On

I once again decided to do my own top ten list this week, and as tomorrow is the Holiday of Feasting, these are books that focus on memorable foods and feasts.

1. The Magic Thief series by Sarah Prineas
Biscuits!

2. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
The title food, plus roast pigs and stews! Also a holiday tea tradition that I would love to bring to life…

3. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Eat me!

4. The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye
Spun sugar castles, and gorgeous swans, and ice-cream licking, and nuts!

5. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
Whisper sticks!

6. Little Witch by Anna Elizabeth Bennett
Sandwiches, cake, and of course ice cream!

7. House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones
-Ah, the quest to figure out how to convince a magical house to feed you…

8. Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen
-Tea, champagne, and learning to cook and boil.

9. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
-Where food equals home, safety, and order…in comparison to hostile adventurers, anyhow.

10. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Turkish delight!

What are some foods or feasts that you found memorable in books? Alternatively, in shows? Personally, I think “Pushing Daisies” the most delicious
series. It has the pie-maker, the cheese cupboard, and all the honey! On the other end of the spectrum is Fringe, where in spite of all the invitations and references to food made to and around her, Olivia only eats in about 5 episodes, and that depends on whether you are willing to count 5 m&ms as eating or to assume that a raised hand in the blurry background can be taken as actually eating a bite of french toast…

Well, what works shall you imbibe this week?

National Start Your Own Country Day (3)

The time has come once again, nationally (*ironic eyebrows*), to start one’s own country! This third year of my career in statehood, I declare that my new country shall be Dracalia.

Dracalia:
Geography: Laid out like a dragon with wings unfolded and tail curling underneath into the water.

Official Animal: Dragons

Official Flower: Bleeding hearts (They like anything that grows down instead of up)

Official Tree: Weeping willows

Official Motto: “Refinement comes through fire.”

Official Flag: A large, purplish-blue dragon filled with stars holding a green and golden globe in its claws. The background is darkest green.

Known for: Architecture and art, with new techniques and exhibits in everything from chateaus, to murals, to cake-crafting. If it involves balance, beauty, and imagination, this is the place to be. It celebrates its independence day with festivals full of all kinds of dragons depicted through art, movement, and games.

Go forth and proclaim your own country!

Top Ten Non-Romance Relationship Books for Thanksgiving

This week I made my own Top Ten list, in honor of the coming holiday: the Top Ten Books where Gratefulness/Support is Key in People who are NOT in Love with One Another. So much of the time in stories, real support or gratefulness is just there to show which person the protagonist should romantically wind up with, and it can and should be there so often when romance is not at all part of the case. Alternatively, it is there as a background plot-point or a side story, rather than being celebrated. I just want to showcase some of the works where non-romantic relationships are the big deal, not a side story.

1. Little Witch by Anna Elizabeth Bennet
-All about new friends, and the food they feed you!
little witch3

2. Diamond Willow by Helen Frost
-Family and animals, and how they overlap!

3. Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salmon Rushdie
-Family, new friends, and even new acquaintances who turn out to be allies, no matter how good they are at it.

4. Gwinna by Barbara Helen Berger
-Family, friends, and animals.
Gwinna

5. The Silent Gondoliers by S. Morgenstern (William Goldman)
-The acts of friendship here, oh how they trump all romance!

6. Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
-I love how friendship and support clearly undermines other relationship terms and keeps the heroine going. This is perhaps one of the great reasons why shipping Bitterblue/Giddon revolts me-this book is about the warmth and triumph of friendship-and these readers are flying in the face of that by reading into one of the best friendships in it a romance that was never there!

7. The Merlin Trilogy by Jane Yolen
-Oh, how he connects to people! Family, memories, even the ultimately unworthy who still held his gratitude for a time, it’s all beautiful.

8. The Tiffany Aching series by Terry Pratchett
-When Tiffany is your friend, you will wind up grateful.

9. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
-The deepest relationships in here are about family, about friends who become family, and about trust. This is another instance where I get very upset at people who insist that a close friendship ought to have been a romance just because it was the most honest and strong relationship-real gratitude and reliance happens in friendships, too!

10. Entwined by Heather Dixon
-All about family, right to the core, and none of the romances get in the way of that in the slightest.

And 11, because I can: The Magic Thief series by Sarah Prineas
-Allies, friendship, and teamwork.

How about you? What are some of your favorite non-romance relationships or books?

Top Ten Characters Who Should Get Their Own Books

This is a rendition of Top Ten Tuesday by the thebrokeandthebookish.wordpress.com. This week was the top 10 characters we’d like to receive their own books. This was rather tricky as a lot of the books I love, I love because of the protagonist and even when I want there to be more, I want to keep that perspective. Alternatively, there are some books that I would greatly prefer to be rewritten from someone else’s point of view, but that seemed like a separate issue. So, here’s what I’ve got:

Top Ten Characters Who Should Get Their Own Books

1. Lord Akeldama from The Parasol Protectorate Series by Gail Carriger
(Review of first here: https://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/soulless-the-parasol-protectorate-series-1/)
-He’s just so charismatic I don’t care what the book’s about.

2. Madame Lefoux from The Parasol Protectorate Series by Gail Carriger
-I imagine this as her tween/adolescent years where she’s becoming shocking instead of already established, encountering loves, criticizing everyone’s fashion sense, tinkering with everything and getting into lots of trouble, and obviously messing with local hives.

3. Lord Calliston from Incarceron/Sapphique by Catherine Fisher
-I long for this prequel with the creators and first recorders of the prison.

4. The Persian from The Phantom of the Opera by Gason Leroux
-How he got mixed up with the sultan, how he befriended the Phantom, what he got up to after the Phantom…anything.

5. Minerva McGonagall from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
-Of her youth, of course. I imagine it would be a combination of a Miss Marple in-the-making and Harriet the Spy, only one who can get her spy equipment to do things separately, can partially transform her self into what she needs, will fly her broomstick all over getting into the thick and the mess of things, and who always, always, always speaks up, even when she shouldn’t. Now am imagining her meeting a young Sherlock Holmes and how he would deduce that she was a witch and she would make his life miserable for being so uppity, and he would try and steal her broomstick, and she would convince his parents he was going peculiar in the head, and then they’d take him to psychiatrists who put him on awful didn’t-know-they-sucked drugs to prevent it, and THAT’S HOW HE GETS HOOKED ON DRUGS. Every so often she checked in on him because the older-self Minerva felt kinda guilty, but then the Dark Lord popped up and when she remembered him then it was really just to make snarky comments about how much easier he had it with his nemesis. Okay, this is head-cannon now.

6.Saf from Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
(Review here: https://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2012/05/20/bitterblue/)
-He has the best grace and I want tales of him traipsing around and using it.

7. Dame Okra Carmine from Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
-She’s so feisty, and had to have had so much trouble covering up her condition, and has such an interesting talent, and somehow became ambassador! I want to know!

8. Maddie from Fever by Lauren DeStefano
-I love her and want her to control the new world and I need to know how she’s doing and that she’s totally going to grow up and achieve a leadership role and make everything better.

9. Bramble from Entwined by Heather Dixon
kn_12dancing
-I want her to go around detecting nefariousness and protecting the weak with her husband’s support and money, and to burst in on all her sisters and their marriage prospects, etc. It’d be nice to get inside her head.

10. Felix from Frederica by Georgette Heyer
-Can you imagine the story of his scandals-come-apprenticeship in early technology and how he falls for the geeky aerator girl and winds up crashed with her and nothing but a jar of restorative pork jelly and the weird science metaphors he’ll use about his feelings, and how the girl’s father will judge him but then be won over and secretly helpful? It would be great.

How about you? Which characters do you want more of? Would you read the Minerva/Sherlock crossover? If Saf used his grace on you what would you want out of it?

Top Ten Books I ReRead

This is a rendition of Top Ten Tuesday (and a Day) by the thebrokeandthebookish.wordpress.com. This week was the top 10 Books to Reread. I puzzled about that…Books I’ve reread the most? Books I’d like to reread for the first time? I decided to go with books that I’ve reread a lot in recent memory, as opposed to of all time. So, here it is:

Top Ten Books For My Rereading Pleasure

1. The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye
Every spring. “There had been a long debate in Council on ‘The Advisability of Inviting Fairies to the Christrening.'”
ordinary princess

2. Gwinna by Barbara Helen Berger
Gwinna

3. The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope
Every fall, this retelling of Tam Lin. “The Night is Hallow’een, my love, the morni s Hallows’ Day-”
perilousgard2

4. Let Your Mind Alone by James Thurber
-This book includes several wonderful satires about early self-help advice and just humorous essays about life that work wonders about putting things in perspective, covering issues like travel, wanting a javelin, turtle-catching, and solving life problems with index cards, plays, and ghostly visitors. I reread it whenever I need to take my mind off of life-problems or just laugh.
typewriter ribbon-1

5. The Tiffany Aching series by Terry Pratchett

6. The works of A.A. Milne
“Forget about the crackers, And forget about the candy; I’m sure a box of chocolates Would never come in handy; I don’t like oranges, I don’t want nuts, And I HAVE got a pocket-knife That almost cuts. But, oh! Father Christmas, if you love me at all, Bring me a big, red india-rubber ball!”
alg_winnie_and_friends_001

7. A Royal Pain by Ellen Conford
-It’s just such a fun one to read out loud. “Right off the bat I have to say that no matter what you may have read in the papers, I don’t think I was such a terrible princess.”
a-royal-pain-img

8. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
-Have you read those ogre and bird languages out loud? It’s marvelous!

9. The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern (William Goldman)
Princess-Bride-movie_572

10. My Mother, She Killed Me, My Father, He Ate Me edited by Kate Bernheimer
-This collection of fairy tale retellings is spooky, and funny, and touching, and haunting, and wonderful.
My-Mother-She-Killed-Me

Happy Halloween

(from Trixie)

Trixie_halloween

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