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This collection consists of 55 short stories by Agatha Christie – it should be noted that less than half feature Miss Marple despite the title of the compilation, and also that all stories have also been published elsewhere. However, it’s great to have so many of Christie’s short stories gathered together in one volume. (There is also a collection of all the Poirot short stories – 51 in all – and a further one of more than 50 short stories featuring other detectives who Christie wrote about, such as Tommy and Tuppence, Harley Quin, and more.)

Essentially if you have read and enjoyed any Agatha Christie books or watched any film or stage adaptations and liked them, then you will probably enjoy reading this collection. I personally dipped in and out of it in between reading other novels, but you could just read it straight through.

As with all short story collections, some are better than others, and it comes down to people’s opinions. My favourite were probably Witness for the Prosecution, and Greenshaw’s Folly, despite the fact that the latter was a Miss Marple story and I am not overly keen on Marple (LOVE Poirot though!) There weren’t any that I really disliked, so overall I would call this book a successful read!

 

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This is a collection of 12 forgotten (except that several of them are actually available in print in other works) short stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

I’ve previously read just two full length books by Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby, which I loved; and Tender is the Night, which I struggled with, but which still contained some truly beautiful and evocative writing. I also read Flappers and Philosophers, which is another collection of his (better known) short stories, which I enjoyed immensely.

The writing in this collection of stories is just as beautiful as anything else I read by him, although obviously some stories resonate more than others, and some linger in the mind for longer.

From this collection, my favourites were Love in the Night; The Dance (although it does contain some out-dated and offensive language, but which was also Fitzgerald’s only murder mystery story);The Rubber Check, which made me sad for the protagonist; and Six of One. Happily for me, there weren’t any stories which I didn’t particularly enjoy.

If you have read and enjoyed anything by F. Scott Fitzgerald in the past, I would definitely recommend giving this collection a try.

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Caitlin Moran writes a regular column for The Times newspaper, and this book is a collection of those columns (almost 80 of them in fact).  They cover a very wide array of subjects – Moran’s childhood in Wolverhampton, late night conversations with her husband, the Eurozone crisis, the welfare state, Ghostbusters, and celebrity weight loss, to name just a few.  There are also some longer columns where she reviews/discusses some of her favourite TV shows, including Sherlock and Doctor Who, or where she describes a day spent with stars such as Lady Gaga, Keith Richards and Paul McCartney.

Just as the subjects of her columns vary widely, so does her tone – some of the columns have an air of melancholy, some are humorous, and some are angry.  Obviously, people’s enjoyment probably depends on their level of interest in whatever subject is being written about, so there were a few columns which I found, if not exactly unenjoyable, not particularly memorable or engaging (sorry, but I’m not interested in Moran’s holidays, not because the places she writes about aren’t interesting or beautiful, but because she focuses so much on how they affect her personally).  Occasionally she comes off as trying a bit too hard to be funny or quirky, but for the most part -and especially with the lighter hearted columns – her writing makes for enjoyable reading. I wish she didn’t write about so much about politics – it is a fascinating subject and I enjoy reading about it, but not in this kind of three-page-essay format.

So there were a few things about the book that didn’t grab me, but with a collection of columns on a wide variety of subjects, that is almost bound to happen.  If I sound negative, I should point out that many of the columns really did make me laugh out loud, and on a personal note, I did enjoy her mentions of Wolverhampton, because it is also the town where I grew up.  Moran is clearly a clever and witty writer, and quite frank about her own life (including her past drug taking, and her weight issues).  I’d like to read more by her, but I would prefer a book which stuck to just one or two main themes, as this one felt rather scattered, but that made it a good book for dipping in and out.

 

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