Wednesday, June 27, 2012

And Then There Were None.

Title/Author:  And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.

Narrated by: Hugh Fraser.

Genre: Mystery.

Publisher: BBC Audio.

Source: Library.

Favorite character: Vera.

All in all: Had a problem with the "telling" and "asides," but the action and mystery kept it going.

Synopsis: First, there were ten - a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they're unwilling to reveal - and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder, and one by one they begin to fall prey to an unseen hand. As the only people on the island, unable to leave and unable to call for help, they know that the only possible suspects are among their number. And only the dead are above suspicion. ~Goodreads.

My Thoughts:  What if someone outed a shameful secret that you held?  What would you do?  What if you were isolated with several other people and they started getting murdered?  Then what would you do?  This is what happens in And Then There Were None, basically a blueprint for many mysteries to come. 

Agatha Christie is an icon.  The name alone conjures up intrigue. Her many works gave birth to television shows, movies and contributed to the murder mystery genre.  Christie also wrote a play of the same title which was adapted into a movie that I saw when I was little.  This movie never left me.  So, I was pretty thrilled when I saw the audio book in the library. 

The problem for me in this book is the telling.  At the start it seems necessary to describe each character and how they are lured to Indian Island, but it is not engaging.  Also, the over explanation into certain people's thoughts did not grab me and the epilogue and finally the confession, while beneficial to the story was not appealing.

The narration by Hugh Fraser was pretty good.  He has a very pronounced British accent and it was kind of amusing to me that such proper sounding speech is used to describe horrific crimes.  In other words, a very civilized voice talking about very uncivilized acts.  For the most part, the voices are distinguishable and while I didn't feel it the most inspired narration of a book, it did lend itself to the setting, the time period and the characters.
Ten people are invited to an island under questionable circumstances and soon they are all accussed of being responsible for the death of someone (or more than one person).  Then one by one people begin to die.  Because I had seen the movie, I was pretty sure I knew who the killer was unless of course the movie was different than the book which often happens.  It is different in a few respects, but the killer ended up being...well, I won't give it away. 

I love the way each death occured to reflect the nursery rhyme about 10 little Indians and the plot device of having one of the 10 figurines disappear each time someone got killed.  All the while there is confusion, suspicion and helplessness at being trapped on an island at the mercy of a deranged murderer.

Each character is so different that it wasn't difficult to keep track of all the players.  The only ones that I kept interspersing were the Judge and the Admiral.  Perhaps because they were both older and the voices seemed similar to me.  I really enjoyed Vera's story...that backstory would have made an amazing novel.  To me, she is the most interesting character.  The way that Christie gave her history pieces at a time had me intriged with her. 

This audiobook is only 5 cds, so it was a quick "listen."  Although I may not count this in a list of "must reads" I would put it in a list of "should reads" if for nothing else than because it was written by Agatha Christie, one of the most famous mystery writers of our time. 

Other editions:


Friday, June 22, 2012

Feature & Follow Friday (June 22, 2012)

Feature and Follow is hosted by Parajunkee and  Allison Can Read.  This is a way to find other blogs and let others find you!  For more details click on the button above.

Q: If you could "unread" a book, which one would it be?  Is it because you want to start over and experience it again for the first time?  Or was it because it was THAT bad?  

A: This is a very interesting question.  Even books I really, really dislike add to my reading experience and help solidify my tastes.  They add to my mental library and help the dialogue of book discussion.  

I think this also applies to books I have loved.  They have defined my reading tastes in a way and led me to a path to find similar books, or just to find similar reading experiences. 

However, that being said, the books that came to mind first that I wish I could "unread" in order to experience the magic again are books by Charles de Lint.  Memory and Dream, his collections of short stories...they are so beautiful.  Also the original Bordertown books are pretty magical.   I was blown away by them.

My Adventures at BEA 2012 - Day 3

Day 3 - Thursday, June 7, 2012.

Lisa heard buzz about The Devil in Silver by Victor Lavelle and that was the first line we got on at BEA Thursday morning.

Although Victor looks quite serious he was very funny and wanted to make sure I got a useable picture.

I've met Charles Day at several Horror Conferences and he had told me the day before that he would be signing his first published novel, The Legend of the Pumpkin Thief, so I made sure to add it to my schedule. 

I had wanted to meet Victoria Schwab for a long time.  I've heard wonderful reviews about The Near Witch and was never able to make a book signing so I was very happy to get a signed copy.

One of my favs, Ellen Datlow who along with Teri Windling edited After, an anthology of post-apocalyptic stories.

I thought this was hysterical.

Just so you can see how the Autographing Area is organized.  Last year they had the cover pictures of the books currently being signed, but for some reason this year those were few and far between.

This is another book that I was looking forward to getting.  Breathe by Sarah Crossan.  I love that cover too!

The final signing that I went to for the day was for The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories by Brenna Yovanoff, Maggie Stiefvater and Tessa Gratton.  As you can imagine the line started very, very early and snaked around to a storage area.  The wait was long and I almost bagged it.  I knew I had enough books.  But I stuck it out and Lisa who was several people in front of me turned to me and mouthed, "All three authors are here!"  I am a huge fan of Brenna Yovanov's, so I was thrilled I stayed and got to speak to her.  And Tessa liked my shirt because there were skulls on it.
Above is Tessa, Brenna and Maggie (l to r).

I thought this was funny.  Now they are analyzing Twilight? 

Okay, who needs this book?  

Once again Lisa and I treated ourselves to lunch and delicious desserts at The West Bank Cafe on 42nd Street.  We each got one and shared.  Butterscotch Parfait and Strawberry Shortcake.

BEA 2012 went by so fast.  I felt that this year was a bit more um, "civilized" than last year, in that I felt people were a little more courteous.  Well except for all the people who cut in line and people who were "holding" a place for like five of their friends (I have pictures of some of you surreptitiously taken - muahahaha.  Just sayin').   It was a wonderful time and if you can get there one year, I recommend it. 

Now, I'm off to organize some books. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My Adventures at BEA 2012 - Day 2

Day 2 - Wednesday June 6, 2012.

Well this day of BEA was almost the death of me.  In a good bookish way of course!  I had to get up extra early to attend the Power Reader Breakfast at Random House.  If any of you know me, I am *not* a morning person, but this was important to me so my alarm was set!   When I got back to the Javits Center, my phone battery died and I couldn't contact the person who checked my suitcase for me while I went to the RH event so I couldn't dump off any books during the day.  It was hot and crowded and if not for my handler Lisa saving me with a power bar and bottled water, I may not have made it!

Ahem...anyway, Wednesday morning was the Random House Power Reader Breakfast.

The display in the lobby is very impressive. 

Me and Jen from Crazy for Books.

Kate Childs, a Publicist at Random House is one of the hard working organizers of the Power Reader Breakfast.  You may have also seen her in the Random House booth making sure the signings went smoothly.  I have to say that Random House organizes their lines well.  They have staff keeping aisles and booths accessible and lines moving.

This woman taunted us with her latte.  Luckily I was immune because I don't like coffee!

Two authors were the guest speakers at the Breakfast.  Nate Berkis, author of The Things That Matter spoke a little about our culture of acquiring material goods.  Charles Duhigg author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business told a story of a woman who changed her life after a divorce and how changes are related to brain synapses and the two can power each other. Above was our view.  We couldn't see the presenters, but we were close to the delicious food.
Lisa and me at the Breakfast.  Random House also gave everyone a generous swag bag of books as we departed.  After the event, we hopped in a cab and went back to BEA.  The first thing I did when I got back to the Javits Center was find the end of the line for theYA signing at the Harlequin Booth. 

Kady Cross author of Girl in the Clockwork Collar.

Katy McGarry, author of Pushing the Limits

Julie Kagawa signed The Iron King

Cayla Kluver author of Allegiance.

Cara Lynn Schultz signed Spellcaster, the follow up to Spellbound.

Another doggy sighting!  I'm pretty sure this is a therapy dog.  

I love Tim Gunn.  I love Project Runway.  Unfortunately, the line was just a little too long and I had too much to do to get his new book.  I really wanted to meet him, but I had to be satisfied with getting a snapshot.  And yes, he is just as good looking and put together in person. 

Jonathan Maberry signs in the Horror Writers of America booth.  Looking on is author and publisher of Evil Jester Press, Charles Day. 

It's Guiness's tallest man and a Harlem Globetrotter!  

Of course, getting a copy of The Weird by Jeff and Anne VanderMeer was on my agenda.  They were both very nice.

Me and Steph from Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust.  

You know who this is right?  It's Erin Morgenstern.  Isn't she lovely?  Her writing is just as beautiful.
I got her book last year at BEA, but I just *had* to wait on line to tell her how much I loved it.  Is that dumb?

I ran into Vince Liaguno, editor of Butcher Knives and Body Counts, an awesome anthology of Horror essays.  We chatted about a few of his upcoming projects soon and how we're both looking forward to The Stoker Awards in New Orleans in 2013. 

Two of the funnest and funniest bloggers ever, Kim from On the Wings of Books and my pal Kate from Midnight Book Girl.  Here they are happily showing their number in the long, long, Harlequin Dark Days signing line. 

Elizabeth Norris, author of Unraveling.

Veronica Roth author of Insurgent.

Bethany Griffin author of Masque of the Red Death.

Aprilynne Pike, author of Destined.

The authors of the Dark Days tour.

Another doggy sighting!  Sorry it's blurry, this guy was moving a lot. 

Harlequin had a sweet display celebrating Charlotte's Web.  The pieces of paper in the web are notes about the book from fans.

Steph from The Fake Steph and me.   We went to the Little, Brown booth fairly early to get on line for Libba Bray.  We were told to come back a half hour before the signing.  We were thinking that we'd come back an hour before the signing to be safe.  We actually didn't wander far and we started talking off to the side.  All of a sudden we look up and there's a line on the other side of the aisle!  WTF?  Oh well, we didn't think the two of us could convince the 20 or so people on line that *we* were really the start of the line.  However, we had time to chat about a ton of stuff!

Each person on line got a little burlap bag with a necklace in it.  I'm looking forward to finding out the secret meaning of the symbol.

Libba Bray, as you can see, is very funny and was in very good spirits. 

After that I dashed over to the Autographing Area to wait on line for a copy of The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa.  In this line I met Ashley from Quixotically Uncharted

After the very long and eventful day, Lisa and I went to our favorite restaurant in Sleepy Hollow (okay our favorite restaurant anywhere) and treated ourselves to a well deserved peanut butter mousse!

Stay tuned for a recap of the last day of BEA.

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