Monday, 26 December 2016

Sofa Spotlight - Strait is the Gate, Andre Gide

Ages ago EG and I said that if we read enough books we would go to Hay on Wye as our prize. Neither of us succeeded in that, but it didn’t stop us going to Hay on Wye anyway. In fact we went twice.

This last visit I was commissioned to find a copy of Straight is the Gate for a friend. Being a book by an author I had never heard of I was intrigued. My one disappointment was that rather than this being a whole day quest I found it within the first five minutes. As it didn’t look like a long read I decided to check out the first couple of pages. Mistake! Four weeks later my friend has only just had her book delivered.

It might only be a short book but there’s some deep themes.

In essence it is a story about two cousins who had developed an attachment in their teens but as you would expect problems arise. Jerome wants to marry Alissa, but Alissa has a sister who is also in love with Jerome. And so the complications begin.

Alissa tells Jerome that she will not marry until her sister is married. Her idea is that her sister will marry Jerome, but what she doesn’t count on is that her sister is prepared to sacrifice herself for Alissa. For the rest of the book you have to work through Alissa’s religious thinking and Jerome’s response to each twist and turn.

Maybe it’s just me but French romance novels seem to have someone dying as a result of love and I had the feeling all the way through this book that one of the pair would drop down dead.

What I did like is that at different points in the novel you get inside both Jerome’s and Alissa’s head. Jerome is the easiest to understand – he wants to win the love of Alissa so for the most part goes along with her religious fervour. At the beginning it is genuine but the motivation is very different from Alissa’s.

For me Alissa was a frustrating and flawed character. But I think that was intentional. Her perspective is skewed. Devotion to God is admirable but it does not necessarily follow that you must have a miserable life. It is sad that she has spent so long studying her religion and has missed the point. The Bible she was reading did not forbid her marriage in fact it would have taught her that marriage was a good thing.

There was a good amount to think about from this book, short as it was. But not only that, it was beautifully written. I like to be able to think about why I believe what I do, but that experience is enhanced by good story telling to go along with the thought provoking narrative.

As for the ending – you will have to read it for yourself to find out what becomes of Jerome and Alissa. 

Monday, 29 August 2016

Poetic Murder?

Two new books to read and a whole week off work to read them. Pure joy.

Dead Man's Folly - Agatha Christie

I haven't really stopped to read the blurb on this one. All I know is that it involves murder, Poirot, Mrs Oliver and a staged murder. It's less than 200 pages long so should be finished off rather quickly.

The Message of Psalms 73-150 - Michael Wilcock

It can come as no surprise that I would choose this as my next book. The first one was so good I've hardly been able to hold back on starting this one. Anyway plenty of time this week to work through at a slow pace. Perfect.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Sofa Spotlight - The Message of Psalms 1-72, Michael Wilcock

This in the Bible Speaks Today series and as commentaries go is not long or over facing. Despite my initial worry that this read would not end well, because the Psalms is essentially a book of poetry, I feel like I had a worthwhile read. The point of the book was that the Psalms were meant to be read in order and not just dipped in and out of. I've heard this talked about before but never been brave enough to try it until now.

What struck me first of all was how many of the Psalms were about David and the events he faced in life. Some of those events were easier to identify than others but Wilcock made some very plausible suggestions where he couldn't be certain of the exact event. The second thing that struck me was how beautiful the language was. I don't think I've stopped much to read the Psalms and let them sink in. I'm very guilty of just racing through them, mainly when they are on one of those read the Bible in a year plans.

I suppose the only thing to do now is to read the rest of them, with the help of Michael Wilcock of course.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Sofa Spotlight - Mrs McGinty's Dead, Agatha Christie

I worked this out/remembered who the murderer was just before Poirot's big reveal. Little bit disappointed with myself that I let Agatha Christie keep me guessing all the way. But it was a good read and I would recommend it, because this one does send the shivers down your spine.

So Mrs McGinty is dead - as the title suggests and Poirot believes that the person arrested for the murder is in fact not responsible for the death. And this is where is gets chilling because the potential murderer could have been (or been associated with) the murderer of a famous murder in the past. But there is more than one option to go on and (for me) no way of knowing the profile of the murderer. It's that whole, you don't know your neighbours may have been in the past thing. Creepy.

And of course there is the classic death of the person who realised they knew something and was just on the verge of telling it, when they too are murdered. Mrs Oliver, the crime writer, makes an appearance and true to form does not get the identity of the murderer correct. But the more she appears the more I like her.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Sofa Spotlight - Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, John Milton

These are two poems and one is most definitely longer than the other. But before I go any further I should say that I was blown away by how much I enjoyed reading them. As you have probably worked out, I find poetry difficult to read and so it is not my natural choice. But even though I was worried that the language would make the experience even worse I loved them.

So Paradise Lost is the first and longest poem and is all about the fall of Satan from heaven and his new plan to get revenge by spoiling God's creation of mankind. It's like an extended version of Genesis 3 and right at the end you get an overview of all that happens in the Old Testament. There are parts that are not biblical, probably, but I think it is a great way to understand what happened back in the Garden of Eden.

The second poem is, as I'm sure you have guessed, Paradise Regained. It's all about Satan's temptation of Jesus and his plot to stop Jesus from carrying out His rescue. I liked it less, to me it felt less credible than Paradise Lost but I think it still does a good job of bringing to life an important part of God's plan for salvation. Would highly recommend both of these poems. It should be on your book bucket list!

Monday, 1 August 2016

Death, Nursery Rhymes and Psalms Grace the Shelf

Two books that I am intending to start:

Mrs McGinty's Dead - Agatha Christie

It comes as no surprise that this book is about the murder of Mrs McGinty, and from what I can gather there was some sort of children's song that was about a Mrs McGinty that was murdered. So with a children's song and a murder - what could be more sinister?

The Message of Psalms 1-72 - Michael Wilcock

As I've talked about before I do sometimes enjoy working through a commentary. I've chosen this one because the book of Psalms is a book that has never really appealed to me (note my distaste for poetry) and as a result I feel I know very little about it. So I'd like to understand it better. I bought it a while ago and am just getting round to reading it. And just in case you're wondering - I have Psalms 73-150 lined up next. 

Monday, 25 July 2016

Sofa Spotlight - John Wesley's Forty Four Sermons

The language of this book is a bit of a challenge but I took a bit longer and got through it. There was a noticeable theme with these sermons and I can't help but wonder if that indicates something of the culture that was prevalent when John Wesley was preaching. I have done no research yet on this, but it will be something that I will be looking into in the future - I've already acquired a copy of his diary and some other journal type books courtesy of a very nice person.

Anyway back to the noticeable theme. In most if not all of these sermons there is some kind of application about not relying on good works for salvation but faith in Jesus. Which makes me wonder about the culture and hence the future research that I intend to do.

I have to say that despite the language there were some sermons that were very challenging and I did find it a worthwhile venture. What I'm not so sure about is whether or not I would recommend it. Just because it is a lot of work to understand Wesley's point and you could spend that time reading a book from one of our many current Christian writers and benefit just as much, but with less effort. But I suppose that is a matter of opinion.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Paradise on the Shelf

One book to begin this week:

Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained - John Milton

I'm not sure how I feel about starting this book, which is in fact two poems, because I don't get on too well with poetry. But I feel that it is one of those books you should read before you die so I'm going to give it a go! I may regret this decision.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Sofa Spotlight - Omoo, Herman Melville

What I didn't realise about Omoo is that it is actually the sequal to another book called Typee. Thankfully it didn't matter that I hadn't read Typee but on reflection if Typee is anything like Omoo I'm not sure I could cope reading both back to back. 

Nothing much happens in Omoo. It begins by picking up the narrator from an island where he has been held by prisoner by the inhabitants. To secure his rescue he agrees to work on a whaling ship, which isn't very successful and he soon ends up with the rest of the ship's crew on an island in the South Seas. Which is where he stays for the rest of the book. 

Although I think that this book is a bit wet it does sort of grow on you. Well some of the characters do anyway. But not enough to make me desperate to read it again or to pick up Typee.

I had thought that maybe after Moby Dick this would combine Melville's style with more concentration on storytelling and less on information giving. Which it sort of does. I just think that there really isn't much story to it. 

Monday, 4 July 2016

Sofa Shelf - Hollow

One book to start this week:

The Hollow (Poirot) - Agatha Christie

 Another Poirot case but I've just read the first couple of chapters and I'm not sure I'm going to enjoy this one. Already I've met a character that I don't like and I don't think it is because you are meant to not like them. Anyway we will see how I get on.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Sofa Spotlight - Appointment with Death, Agatha Christie

It all begins when Poirot overhears someone saying that it was necessary that someone else should be killed. And later on someone does end up dead and Poirot knows whose voice it was that he heard.

I picked it up to start reading it one morning and by lunch time I had nearly finished it. It was one of those moments when you look up from a book and wonder what happened to the day. What makes this book is the characters and the victim of the murder is someone whose death comes as a blessing to those that knew her. But that also means there are a large number of suspects.

Mrs Boynton, who finds herself murdered is not loved by her family because of the tight reign of control and manipulation she has over them. Just before her death each member of the family is contemplating breaking free from her power. And they all seem to not only have motive but also opportunity.

What makes it even more interesting is that Poirot has a time limit of 24 hours. As is normal for me I had no idea who did it until the very end. One day I will guess right!

Monday, 20 June 2016

Sofa Shelf - Wesley, the South Seas and Murder

Three books on the shelf this week.

Omoo - Herman Melville

I may not have enjoyed Moby Dick but I thought I would try a shorter book by Melville. Early on in Moby Dick I found that I enjoyed Melville's style of writing, it was just the endless whale descriptions that spoilt it for me. So maybe a shorter book will mean that Melville will focus on narrative. Although as Omoo has a similar theme (whale fishing) I could be taking a risk.

Appointment with Death - Agatha Christie

I am enjoying working through Agatha Christie's works and this is one that I know nothing about. After the success of my read of Cards on the Table I am looking forward to this one. Poirot on the case again - this time the death happens abroad in Petra. 

John Wesley's Forty Four Sermons - John Wesley

Not an easy read as I've battled with it twice before. But it is one that I keep going back to because there is something about the style of sermons that I like. I don't think it will be any easier this time though but we will see how it goes. 

Monday, 13 June 2016

Sofa Spotlight - Moby Dick, Herman Melville

If you like whales and by that I mean really like whales, and want to know all about them in detail, then this is the book for you.

Reading this book was a challenge and not just because of it's length. What I found disappointing was that I found early on that I enjoyed Melville's style of writing but he used a lot of ink describing whales and not telling the story. In fairness understanding whales and what happened on whaling ships is important for the plot. But I felt it was too much. To get through the book I found that it was necessary to read it in one hundred page chunks. That way I felt I had achieved enough not to get discouraged by slow progress.

So the plot. The narrator of the story is a sailor called Ishmael who joins a ship called the Pequod, captained by Captain Ahab. Ahab has only one leg, having lost one whilst trying to catch a famous white whale. The white whale is known as Moby Dick and seems to have torn Ahab's leg off, which didn't make Ahab very happy. Once they set sail it becomes clear that Ahab isn't interested in whale fishing as he is supposed to be - he is out to hunt Moby Dick and take revenge. Which is what the book is about, as well as an extensive history of whale fishing and whale biology.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Sofa Spotlight - When People are Big and God is Small, Edward T Welch

Whenever I talk about this book one of the problems I have is with the title. It's really easy to get the words the wrong way round and then you end up making a new title for the book - When God is Big and People are Small. And then there is no end to the confusion when you go on to describe what the book is about!

So I've checked that I've got the title right and now I can tell you what it is about.

In a nutshell this book is about what the Bible says about the fear of God and the fear of man. When the fear of man is greater than the fear of God that is when our view and perspective becomes distorted. This something that affects everyone and what is great about this book is that it highlights the places where we might not even realise that we fear other people more than God.

I've read this book a couple of times now and each time it has proved useful. The fear of God was always something that I wondered about whenever I came across it in the Bible. So to find out what it means and that fear of man is an easy thing to do without being aware of it was ground breaking. There is no denying that quite often it is easier and less frightening to please people rather than thinking about how to please God.

One that  I would highly recommend.

Monday, 30 May 2016

What's Big and Small on the Shelf?

The answer is the title of the book I started this week:

When People are Big and God is Small - Edward T. Welch

This is the same author of Depression: Looking up from the Stubborn Darkness and also one that I have read and enjoyed before. The main subject is the fear of man - how the way we live is shaped by fearing people rather than God. I remember it being very relevant so I'm looking forward to revisiting it. 

Monday, 23 May 2016

Sofa Spotlight - Cards on the Table, Agatha Christie

I had a lot of fun reading this. It is very short, just over 200 pages and I would recommend trying to read in one or two sittings. The one thing that I did find was that it had a very exciting beginning, had a brief lull (possibly caused by where I decided to break off reading) and then got exciting at the end again.

So it starts off with a man who claims to collect murders. Yes I bet you are looking as baffled as I was when I first heard/read it. But it's true he claims to work out people's secrets and enjoys spending time in their company. Problem is he gets murdered while sitting in a room with four people playing bridge - one of whom is the murderer and the other three saw nothing.

Could be an impossible crime for Poirot to solve. All I'm saying is that it was brilliant. Health warning - don't read it before bed, work or any important important. You will neither sleep or be on time. I nearly didn't get off the train at the right time, because, well, there is always time for one more page!

Monday, 16 May 2016

Cards on the Shelf

So only one book started this week but it looks good:

Cards on the Table - Agatha Christie

Loving Agatha Christie at the moment, and this is one that I have never heard of before. I've heard claims that it was her best work so I look forward to reading it. I also love that it starts by saying that Hastings found the case boring when he heard it.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Sofa Spotlight - Depression: Looking up from the Stubbon Darkness, Edward T. Welch

This may not be your choice if you are looking for some light reading before bed. But that isn't a reason not to read it. Nor should you not pick it up if you don't suffer from depression or know anyone who does (but I imagine people in that last category are few).

So why would you read it? Well it has an obvious audience in those who have depression and their friends. And I think for that it works really well. It is a book you can work through together or alone, and Welch's purpose is to move your eyes from the depression and point them at Jesus. From there you look at depression and all that comes with it from the point of view of knowing who you are in Christ.

And it is that view point that makes this book valuable to everyone. It teaches you how to understand emotions in the light of the Bible and our current position before God. When you realign your vision you see life differently. 

There is nothing harsh or unfeeling in this book. It is written by someone who cares about those who suffer from depression and who understands that it is not an easy battle.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Sofa Spotlight - The ABC Murders, Agatha Christie

I was looking forward to reading this book because of the memories I have of watching the TV adaptation. It was good, I was hooked, intrigued and also a little bit scared. (In fact it wasn't long after this that I wasn't allowed to watch murder mysteries on TV because I was too scared to sleep afterwards.

This one is different because the murderer is a serial killer, seemingly selecting his victims at random. It's a race against time for Poirot and the police to find and stop them. Hastings is the main narrator, which of course is funny, but there are some chapters that are told with someone else's voice. And they are creepy. True shiver down your spine stuff.

I say that the victims are selected at random, but actually it appears that their locations are taking from the ABC Railway Guide. A copy of which is found at each murder scene. Murder one is A and the B and so forth. It's a clue but it doesn't really help.

It's a fun book, I loved it and it wouldn't take you long to get through it.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Sofa Shelf - Whales, Railways and Depression

Three new books, hooray, and all very different.

Depression: Looking up from the Stubborn Darkness - Edward T Welch

One I have read before but one I hope to keep coming back to. Not because I suffer from depression but because there are many pockets that are almost like gold mines for useful information on living the Christian life.

Moby Dick - Herman Melville

This is a beast of a book! But I like a challenge so here goes. All I know is that it is about a whale - Moby Dick - and that it... actually that is all I know. Reason for buying - it is the Vintage version and it was second hand so only a pound. (I love the covers of Vintage Classics) Bargain.

The ABC Murders - Agatha Christie

Continuing to make my way through her novels this is one I have been looking forward to. I can remember the first time I saw this on TV and I think may well be my favourite Poirot mystery. Oh it's brilliant! Also involves a railway guide. Can't wait to read it!

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Sofa Spotlight - The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Agatha Christie

The more I read Poirot's adventures the more I love Poirot. And indirectly his friend Captain Hastings. Hastings doesn't feature in this story but Poirot still refers to him in the way that only Poirot can - with harsh endearment.

But onto the murder. As I've said Hastings isn't in this story so he isn't narrating it. But it still is first person narration, the narrator being the neighbour of Poirot. And so we see Poirot through another person's eyes, and enjoy another person's bewilderment at Poirot's eccentricities.

Other important plot background is that Poirot is meant to have retired, which is why he is living in the country next door to the village doctor. Who apparently reminds Poirot of Hastings. Until the murder takes place no one knows Poirot's true identity, apart from Roger Ackroyd who knew Poirot in the city. Poirot is upset by the murder of his friend and so lends assistance, which is just as well because if he didn't I'm not sure the murder would ever get solved!

If like me you have seen the TV adaptation of this you might be surprised by the ending of the book. For me the jury is still out on which is the more satisfying ending.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Sofa Spotlight - The Children of the New Forest, Captain Marryat

I love this book. It's fun, heart warming and exciting. Although it doesn't start out as very fun as it is set during or just after the English Civil War (my history is a bit hazy) and follows the lives of four children whose father was killed during one of the battles. He was fighting for the King and his house is burnt down, with his four children supposedly inside.

But they weren't inside because they had escaped to the New Forest (hence the title) and the book follows them as they learn a new life with one of the keepers. Which seemed to involve running from one side of the forest to the other a great many times. But it's nice, they have their adventures and help the people that they meet and the tension is never too much to handle - it won't keep you all night!

The only issue I had with it was that the end seemed a bit hasty. I felt like I knew the characters and I just wanted a little more time to say goodbye. But other than that it was very enjoyable and is perfect if you want a nice read with a hot chocolate. Much to my delight I have found that this was not the only book written by Captain Marryat, so no doubt soon I will be on a quest to find them.

Another random fact (at least I think it is true) is that Captain Marryat is buried vertically (as in feet first in the ground) so that he can look out to sea.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Sofa Spotlight - The Heart of Singleness, Andrea Trevenna

This is not a long or a heavy read, and I had it finished in a couple of sessions. For me it wasn't a groundbreaking book, but then as I said in the previous post I enjoy being single. I think my reason for reading it was curiousity because I'd never read a book on this subject before.

Having said that, it was a good book and I would recommend it if singleness is something that you find difficult. Trevenna is very good at bringing the focus back onto God and what He says about a person's identity in the Bible. This is the place to come if you want to get your thoughts realigned with God's Word and rethink what you think about yourself and relationships.

The great thing about this being so short is that you can spend time thinking about the challenges in the book without feeling like you are never going to get to the end of it. On the flip side, a short book means that you can't cover everything in depth, but I don't think that was Trevenna's purpose with this book.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Sofa Shelf on Singleness

New read for me this week is:

The Heart of Singleness - Andrea Trevenna 

So I've never read a single book on singleness. Mainly because I like being single and therefore it's not high on my list of struggles. But as this one has been sitting on my bookcase for a while I thought now was as good a time as any to have a read of it.

Sofa Spotlight - A very Different Christmas, Rico Tice and Nate Morgan Locke

So it's March (and also nearly Easter) and maybe a little early to be doing prep for Christmas, but there are some good reasons for doing so. One of them is if you want to give this book to someone to help them understand what Christmas is about from the Bible's perspective it's a good idea to read it before it gets around to Christmas. If it's just for you then leaving it until Christmas is a good idea. (Also if you read this earlier you know whether it is a good one to pass on or not before you get all wrapped in the early Christmas shopping).

Anyway on with the show.

It's short very short. Which I think works really well for this book. It isn't over facing or daunting in any way. In fact I would say that it isn't so much like reading a book as going for a coffee with the authors and having a nice discussion about what is important in life. (In my case that's a hot chocolate - coffee is vile). You can easily have this book read within a couple of hours, probably less if you are fast. And what I really liked was how the meaning of Christmas was explained in this book.

Because it wasn't an explanation as such. As the reader you are invited to spend Christmas with God and exchange presents. And it is in this scenario that the real beauty and awe-inspiring wonder of Christmas comes alive. Like any book this will work for some people and not others. It's up to you to decide if this is a book that is useful to you,  but I would recommend reading it to find out.

It's not just a very different Christmas, it's also a very different way of getting the message across.

Also nice cover.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Sofa Shelf - Retired Murder

One book this week:

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Poirot has retired from unravelling murder mysteries, but they seem to follow him around. This is one that I remember seeing on the TV, in fact it might have been the first Poirot that I had seen. I do know who the murderer is, but I enjoyed the TV version so much that I want to see how close it is to the book.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Sofa Spotlight - The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Agatha Christie

This is the first story with the expertise of Hercule Poirot in it. As expected there is a murder. This one involves the family of one of Hastings' friends who he happens to be staying with. And the best bit is that Hastings tries to solve the crime himself, and goes hopelessly wrong.

The book is narrated by Hastings and seeing the story through his eyes really made me laugh. Not just at Hastings trying to work out what is going on (because I would be just as hopeless) but also at how unique Poirot is in his ways and methods.

In my edition of the book the original unpublished ending is also included. Because I like to know what my options are I read both, and I have to agree that the ending that was published was better than the original. The original was noticeably less dynamic and required serious concentration, whereas the published one has you in that reading state where you are so desperate to find out the solution to the mystery that you are more skimming than reading. At least that's what I end up doing because I can't cope with the tension.

A nice read if you want something intriguing but also light hearted.

Monday, 29 February 2016

Sofa Shelf

Two books on the shelf this week:

The Children of the New Forest - Captain Marryat

This is a book that I have read once before and loved, so naturally I am looking forward to reading it again. It's set during the English Civil War, or just after it and so there is a suitable amount of adventure and tension, but what I remember most from reading it last time was that there was  a lot of running backwards and forwards across the forest for no apparent reason. Anyway looking forward to having another read.

A Very Different Christmas - Rico Tice & Nate Morgan Locke

I missed reading this for Christmas but better late than never. This is a new book that came out last year to explain what Christmas is like from the Bible's perspective and I want to find out what it is like. It's not very long so I'm hoping that it will be a quick read.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Sofa Spotlight - Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret, Dr & Mrs Howard Taylor

This is a biography of Hudson Taylor and how he set up the China Inland Mission which is now OMF. When I started this book I wasn't sure that I would like, mainly because of a comment that I found in the foreword. The insinuation is that it's important to have a book about Hudson Taylor because he is being forgotten about and that many young people don't even know where China is on a map. Which I think is a bit unfair, and I had a twinge of guilt about not knowing anything about Hudson Taylor.

But that lack of knowledge on my part is now a thing of the past. It was worth moving beyond the foreword and into the book, which is a sensible thing to do with a book. I wouldn't say that I agree with everything that Hudson Taylor did and sometimes the tone in which the book is written grated on me a bit, but there is a lot in the book that is inspiring. His desire for people to know about Jesus is what drives his work and the sacrifices that he makes. And the sacrifices he makes are pretty big.

If you don't know who Hudson Taylor is then this is one you should pick up sometime soon.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Sofa Shelf - The Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux

This is the second time I have read this book and the second reading was just as good. Although the problem with second readings is that you can't forget the key parts so you lose a bit of the suspense. For example once you have read Jane Eyre you can never feel as scared as the first time you read it when you didn't know what was lurking in Mr Rochester's attic.

Anyway The Phantom of the Opera will remain one of my favourite books because there is nothing boring in this book. At every page there is some puzzle you are trying to work out as Raoul chases around the Paris Opera House searching for the phantom like being that is playing havoc with his plan to marry the love of his life, Christine. The best part is when Raoul is accompanied by the Persian who sheds an awful lot of light on the dark goings on in the Opera House.

One thing that I noticed is that everyone has an opinion on the quality of the character of the Phantom. No matter what horrors the Phantom is behind, both Christine and the Persian at some level feel sorry for him. From Raoul's point of view all he can see is someone who is out to harm Christine, and so you have to go with Raoul on his journey to find out why the Persian and Christine feel the way that they do. 

Worth a read if you like a good bit of suspense. 

Monday, 1 February 2016

When Fictional Worlds Collide

Have you ever been reading more than one book and thought about what would happen if the characters from all those books met? So for instance what if Poirot found himself in the world of The Phantom of the Opera? Because that is what I have been thinking about as I've been reading my through The Mysterious Affair at Styles and The Phantom of the Opera.

I can't imagine that Poirot would feel out of place in the famous Paris Opera House. Once he had adjusted to having gone back in time that is. I also feel that he wouldn't have any problem working out what was going on behind the scenes. What I would love to see is if the Phantom would let Poirot reveal his secrets, and if Poirot would be able to avoid becoming the Phantom's next victim.

You can guarantee that the one person who would be lost would be Arthur Hastings - I am assuming that he made the journey across worlds with Poirot. When the chandelier comes crashing down in the Opera House he would be thinking that it was just an accident or that the Phantom was in fact just a phantom. In fact I think it would be very entertaining to see what Hastings makes of the whole thing.

Anyway I shall dream on.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Sofa Shelf - Phantoms and Secrets

Three books on the shelf this week:

The Phantom of the Opera - Gaston Leroux

This book is in my top ten, maybe even in my top five, so it's one that I'm looking forward to reading again. First time round I know that I caught myself reading it when I should have been doing other things - but I had to know what was going to happen! Hoping for similar enjoyment this time!

Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret - Dr & Mrs Howard Taylor

Bit different to The Phantom of the Opera. I don't much about Hudson Taylor so I thought it was about time I found out about him. His is one of those names that I hear quite often but don't know who they are or what their significance is. Maybe I will find out!

The Mysterious Affair at Styles - Agatha Christie

First ever Poirot. Need I say more? Can hardly wait to start it!

Monday, 11 January 2016

Pick of 2015

These are my favourites from last year:

The Case for Easter, Lee Strobel

Short and snappy, a good quick evangelistic read. Could be read comfortably in a couple of hours.

Sleeping Murder, Agatha Christie

A spooky murder mystery that has been lying dormant. Obviously waiting for Miss Marple to come along and solve it.

They do it with Mirrors, Agatha Christie

Miss Marple appears again to solve a murder that is rather theatrically carried out.