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.