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What Have You Read Lately?

Started by Parasaurolophus, June 21, 2023, 02:55:03 PM

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Langue_doc

Quote from: Parasaurolophus on December 22, 2023, 03:59:42 PM
Quote from: Larimar on December 22, 2023, 09:22:50 AMI started reading Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile this week while my car was having an oil change. I'd seen the movie, and liked it, but hadn't read any Christie novels until now. So far it's pretty good. I plan to take it with me to my annual mammogram appointment this afternoon.

The David Suchet adaptation (for ITV) is fantastic. I can't stand the Branagh films, so if you liked it, I recommend that one instead!

Another recommendation for the David Suchet adaptations. I watched about 10 minutes of one of the Branagh versions, and couldn't continue because he came across as a caricature rather than a character. I would also strongly recommend other Poirot novels as well as some of the Miss Marple ones. If you'd like to watch the Marple adaptations, do try the Joan Hickson ones. Despite the murders, Christie's novels are quite soothing.

To be continued below.

Langue_doc

Speaking of detective fiction, today was my second visit to see the current exhibits at the Grolier Club, Whodunit? Key Books in Detective Fiction and The Best-Read Army in the World: the Power of the Written Word in World War II. You can see the displays and the description on their website--just click on the links above.

If you click on any of the topics on the right, you can see descriptions and also photos of some of the books on display. Here is the link to the section on War Years, where there were three of Christie's early editions on display.

My first visit to see these exhibits was specifically for the one on detective fiction, but I thought the Army books exhibit was far more interesting.

hmaria1609

I watched the Miss Marple adaptations with Julia McKenzie and Geraldine McEwan on PBS. There were a few seasons starring both ladies as part of "Masterpiece Mystery" in the 2000s.

Larimar

Thanks, everyone. I'm intrigued.

apl68

Quote from: Langue_doc on December 22, 2023, 04:51:43 PM
Quote from: Parasaurolophus on December 22, 2023, 03:59:42 PM
Quote from: Larimar on December 22, 2023, 09:22:50 AMI started reading Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile this week while my car was having an oil change. I'd seen the movie, and liked it, but hadn't read any Christie novels until now. So far it's pretty good. I plan to take it with me to my annual mammogram appointment this afternoon.

The David Suchet adaptation (for ITV) is fantastic. I can't stand the Branagh films, so if you liked it, I recommend that one instead!

Another recommendation for the David Suchet adaptations. I watched about 10 minutes of one of the Branagh versions, and couldn't continue because he came across as a caricature rather than a character. I would also strongly recommend other Poirot novels as well as some of the Miss Marple ones. If you'd like to watch the Marple adaptations, do try the Joan Hickson ones. Despite the murders, Christie's novels are quite soothing.

To be continued below.


Not a big mystery fan, but I have read a couple of the Poirot stories (Murder or Roger Ackroyd and Murder on the Orient Express) and was favorably impressed.  I viewed the 1970s screen version of Murder on the Orient Express and liked it, and was going to watch the Branagh version.  But have heard so much bad word-of-mouth about that one that I decided to give it a miss.
If any will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.
For how does a man profit if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?

Parasaurolophus

Quote from: Langue_doc on December 22, 2023, 04:51:43 PM
Quote from: Parasaurolophus on December 22, 2023, 03:59:42 PM
Quote from: Larimar on December 22, 2023, 09:22:50 AMI started reading Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile this week while my car was having an oil change. I'd seen the movie, and liked it, but hadn't read any Christie novels until now. So far it's pretty good. I plan to take it with me to my annual mammogram appointment this afternoon.

The David Suchet adaptation (for ITV) is fantastic. I can't stand the Branagh films, so if you liked it, I recommend that one instead!

Another recommendation for the David Suchet adaptations. I watched about 10 minutes of one of the Branagh versions, and couldn't continue because he came across as a caricature rather than a character. I would also strongly recommend other Poirot novels as well as some of the Miss Marple ones. If you'd like to watch the Marple adaptations, do try the Joan Hickson ones. Despite the murders, Christie's novels are quite soothing.

To be continued below.


I'm so glad you agree! It feels like a rarity these days.

Quote from: apl68 on December 26, 2023, 09:00:40 AM
Quote from: Langue_doc on December 22, 2023, 04:51:43 PM
Quote from: Parasaurolophus on December 22, 2023, 03:59:42 PM
Quote from: Larimar on December 22, 2023, 09:22:50 AMI started reading Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile this week while my car was having an oil change. I'd seen the movie, and liked it, but hadn't read any Christie novels until now. So far it's pretty good. I plan to take it with me to my annual mammogram appointment this afternoon.

The David Suchet adaptation (for ITV) is fantastic. I can't stand the Branagh films, so if you liked it, I recommend that one instead!

Another recommendation for the David Suchet adaptations. I watched about 10 minutes of one of the Branagh versions, and couldn't continue because he came across as a caricature rather than a character. I would also strongly recommend other Poirot novels as well as some of the Miss Marple ones. If you'd like to watch the Marple adaptations, do try the Joan Hickson ones. Despite the murders, Christie's novels are quite soothing.

To be continued below.


Not a big mystery fan, but I have read a couple of the Poirot stories (Murder or Roger Ackroyd and Murder on the Orient Express) and was favorably impressed.  I viewed the 1970s screen version of Murder on the Orient Express and liked it, and was going to watch the Branagh version.  But have heard so much bad word-of-mouth about that one that I decided to give it a miss.

Albert Finney's performance as Poirot is a travesty (and the clear inspiration for Branagh's--as it happens, Finney does a very shonky French accent instead of a Belgian, and Branagh can't even pronounce his character's own name). It's a shame, because the rest of the ensemble cast does a great job, and the adaptation would otherwise be a good one.

Here again, Suchet's ITV version leads the way, though it goes a bit overboard trying to make it dark and brooding.
I know it's a genus.

apl68

Finney's Poirot does get hard to take during that long, long summation at the climax.
If any will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it.
For how does a man profit if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?

hmaria1609

I'm another one who's seen "Murder on the Orient Express" with Sir David Suchet on "Masterpiece Mystery." It was feature length, originally broadcasted in 2010. Ahead of its broadcast, Sir David Suchet did a documentary about the real Orient Express. He rode in the engineer's seat and piloted the train for a short distance!

Langue_doc

Here is the NYT article on the actors who played Poirot. Do read the comments several of which consider Branagh's performace to be quite awful. One of the comments notes that
QuoteBranagh does indeed step in manure in Orient Express, and then continues to wade thru it for the next two hours (4 when you add the new Nile)

As for the Miss Marple adaptations, I couldn't stomach more than ten to fifteen minutes of the Geraldine McEwan and Julia McKenzie adaptations partly because they did not portray the character as represented in the numerous novels and short stories. The former also came across as smarmy, which was most unlike the dignified Miss Marple depicted by Christie. In addition, both series took several liberties with the plot. For me, Joan Hickson is the one and only Miss Marple. Here's an article on the best Miss Marples.

Here is the link to the NYT article for non-subscribers:
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/15/movies/hercule-poirot-agatha-christie-kenneth-branagh.html?mwgrp=c-dbar&unlocked_article_code=1.JE0.GPsl.QeiVJIi0RW7x&smid=url-share

Parasaurolophus

Okay, I've fallen way far behind in my reporting. Here's November and December, and I'll get to January and February soonish.

November and December (2023):


Darren Naish – Ancient Sea Reptiles: Plesiosaurs, Ichthyosaurs, Mosasaurs, and More: Does what it says on the tin, in a very accessible and gorgeously-illustrated way. I now know loads about Mesozoic marine reptiles, whereas before I knew almost nothing. I'm particularly happy with the comparative illustration of turtle/leatherback shell development, because I've never quite understood the shell-rib connection. Now I do!

Bill Richardson – Dear Sad Goat: A Roundup of Truly Canadian Tales & Letters: This was my favourite program on CBC Radio One, once upon a time. This is a compendium of letters written in to the show. I picked it up years ago (when I first moved here, way back in 2017) but only just got around to reading it. It was mildly amusing. Very BC-centric.

James Herriot – The Lord God Made Them All: We've been reading it as a family for most of the year. We finally made it to the end. A few stories are just uproariously funny (especially at the beginning), the rest are comforting and fun. It's nice to read them alongside watching the new adaptation of All Creatures, too.

Halldór Laxness – Independent People: My partner's favourite novel (apart from Jane Austen's works, I imagine). I started reading it years and years and years ago, but didn't get far before turning to other stuff. This time, I couldn't put the train wreck down. It's gorgeously written, as always, but something of a painful read. Not much happens, and you wouldn't imagine that would be interesting, but it is. What's really cool, though, is that it's basically the anti-Atlas Shrugged. Like Rand's novel, it's about someone who wants to be fully independent from the government and totally self-reliant, independent from the rest of society. But Laxness shows us how truly fucked up that is, the misery it leads to, and the impossibility of being consistent about it. It's really a triumph of a novel.

Patrick Rothfuss – The Narrow Road Between Desires: A reworking of his short story, The Lightning Tree, in illustrated novella form. I haven't read the original, because I was saving it. But this is a real master stroke. Rothfuss's process doesn't produce much, but he is really good at being a really good writer. The fabulist element of the story is beautifully realized.

Ann Leckie – Translation State: A Radch-adjacent standalone novel about a juvenile Presger translator and an orphan who uses entertainment media as an emotional crutch (several months later, I now see this is cribbed from Murderbot). It was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it very much, even though my memories of the Radch novels is somewhat hazy at this point.

R.J. Barker – The Bone Ships: A new fantasy series basically about pirates, set in a waterworld where the main building material for boats is the bones of (aquatic) dragons—except they're all extinct. It's a pretty richly realized world, though with a few false steps that make no sense—e.g. those who've had a leg or foot amputated become cobblers, while hand/arm amputees become... tailors?! and at least one cartographer is blind. It was fun, if rather movie-inspired/angling for a film option.

R.J. Barker – Call of the Bone Ships: Much weaker than the first, though still fun. There are three main POV monologues which are very long and absolute trash.

R.J. Barker – The Bone Ship's Wake: A big improvement on the second, this definitively concludes the trilogy. It's a darker novel, less of a pirate romp. The darkness is realized so-so; I think it's actually darker than Barker realized, and it would have been nice if he had (some of his characters are very much transformed by events, and not for the better).
I know it's a genus.