Saturday, March 24, 2007

More Christie

The latest I've read: Sparkling Cyanide, Murder in Three Acts, and The Moving Finger. I agree with K that the books are pretty disposable for the most part, but the ones that are really cleverly put together (like The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Lord Edgware Dies, and now Murder in Three Acts) make you want to re-read them. But there's not a whole lot to say about them really.

In two of these most recent ones, Poirot and Miss Marple make only cameo appearances; they sort of pop up at the end to solve the mystery. It's a little jarring. And The Moving Finger is the first Miss Marple I've read, so I still have no idea what she's about. She's just this elderly, wise, eccentric person in the background.

The reason I'm reading all of these, in case I hadn't mentioned, is that my friend Queen M lent me a giant bag of them on St. Patrick's Day. I'm almost done with the bag; then what can I do? I guess look back to see which ones you all have recommended, and read those.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Lord Edgware Dies and Hallowe'en Party (by Agatha Christie)

Thanks to too much Saint Patrick's Day debauchery, I was not in the mood to do much yesterday except read. Plus, our free internet connection seems to be gone. No internet and no energy—what's a girl to do? So I read two Agatha Christie books lent by my friend Queen M. (The debauchery was totally her fault also, by the way.)

The first one, Lord Edgware Dies, is by far the better, at least as far as I'm concerned. The mystery is interesting; the characters are vivid; the clues keep you guessing. It's hard to know how to talk about these books without giving the mystery away. Basically, this guy Lord Edgware dies, and his wife is the prime suspect. And then a lot of things happen in the way of investigation and clues—you know the deal. You could probably figure out the ending if you were paying attention; I didn't figure it out, though, and it felt really obvious. I love to be cleverly fooled—nobody's better than Christie.

The second, Hallowe'en Party, is weaker. It's about a child being murdered at a Hallowe'en party, which is fairly unsettling but an interesting idea. Then there's a possible connection to one of several mysterious past murders, except nobody knows which murder is connected to the current murder, so a lot of the information seems disjointed. The whole thing comes off as a little disjointed, and all of the "modern" references to stuff like L.S.D. and free love makes it feel not quite so Agatha Christie-esque. Again, I didn't guess the ending, but I felt less cleverly fooled this time and more "who cares?"

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

What's New?

I've been thinking I should start a writing blog. And then thinking you know mo pie there is such a thing as having too many blogs at once. And then oh wait, there is no reason the book blog cannot expand to encompass all literary ventures such as writing. And then I am dumb why did I never think of that before? So after a lot of thought--hee--I am expanding this blog to include writing-type things. I will use handy-dandy tags to keep it organized.

I decided this after a delightful breakfast with my mentor from Pope Hilarius. We discussed our various writing projects, publication, and even the nature of creativity. (His wife is a painter, so all three of us had projects to talk about.) It made me realize that although I am currently teaching, what I'm missing out on is that kind of push-pull of talking about teaching and talking about writing with other like-minded people (like the fabulous Laurie Mac). I will try and carve out that space here.

I'm currently working on an academic paper about teacher-student interaction over the Internet, and an abstract that I'm excited about. In the poetry realm, I have an upcoming publication (in Sentence ) that I'm very excited about. Just knowing that I'll be included among writers of that caliber (and the table of contents on that page should give you an indication) is inspiring. I have new energy regarding sending out my poetry. If I get a book published, I might be able to get an academic job teaching poety. I decided the other day that I should just manifest that and make it happen.

As for poetry, I am still tweaking my prose poetry manuscript (lost objects) mainly to include my series of board game poems. I have been feeling like that series is coming to an end (although I have an idea for a Scrabble poem yet to be written) and that I might be ready to move on from prose poetry to whatever the next thing will be. I don't know what that is, but

With that said, here is a small prose poem I wrote recently (I was reading Finnegans Wake and put it down in the middle of a chapter to write five poems; it must be doing something):
Magic Kingdom

Walt Disney created animatronic men, and their mechanical hearts beating and the boats of the guests still floating by. I want to call out to the pirate chasing the wench, you'll never catch her! Though ever wilt thou love, and she be fair.

The pacemaker was so twentieth century. By this time we should all have them. Why I know just the guy, 93 years old and I'm beginning to think he'll never die. Or maybe he's dead already and the pacemaker keeps him going through the motions. You never can get much conversation out of him.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Black Swan Green (by David Mitchell)

It's official: David Mitchell is a genius. I will read every book he writes from now on. I was incredibly impressed by Cloud Atlas, but this book is more (deceptively) simple. It's the story of a year in the life of a 13-year-old boy trying to navigate his social world. It's Lord of the Flies meets The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4. (And I hated Lord of the Flies, so don't let that put you off if you are on that train with me.)

It's an absolute classic. The language is authentic and so original. I cried as I was reading the last chapter, and not because of anything that was happening in the plot. It was the way it all came together in this perfect emotional beat, and the sheer beauty of the language. It's funny and charming and easy to read. And obviously I am trying really hard to convince you to read it too, so you should just go read it. David Mitchell is the real deal.