Gardiner Public Library is now accepting LIMITED return of library materials. We are providing window Pick-Up Service, as well. Please call for details - 207-582-3312

I JUST CAN’T STOP !

I JUST CAN’T STOP !

Do you remember the first book that you just couldn’t put down?  Like it’s 2 AM and you KNOW that you have to get up at 7 AM but you just can’t stop reading.  You HAVE to find out how things end up before you can even think about sleeping regardless of how tired you may be.  For me, that book was And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, and I was in eighth grade.

The book’s synopsis from Amazon.com says, “Ten strangers are lured to an isolated island mansion off the Devon coast by a mysterious U. N. Owen. At dinner a recorded message accuses each of them in turn of having a guilty secret, and by the end of the night one of the guests is dead. Stranded by a violent storm, and haunted by a nursery rhyme counting down one by one . . . as one by one . . . they begin to die. Which among them is the killer and will any of them survive?”  As the guests continued to be killed, I had to keep reading to find out who would be next and – most importantly – who was the murderer.  As I grew older and read more and more books, I discovered that this plot was classic Christie and has since been reworked by many mystery authors.  At the time I was enthralled.  I continue to be so many years later.  If you have read this book, you know Christie continues to surprise you right through the last chapter of the book.

The only other book that I remember not being able to put down and having to read until I lost consciousness or finished was Stephen King’s first book Carrie.  Once upon a time, King was an unknown and picking up his first book was stepping into uncharted waters.  I really had no idea what I was getting into.  Amazon.com says of this book, “Stephen King’s legendary debut is  about a teenage outcast and the revenge she enacts on her classmates.  Carrie White may be picked on by her classmates, but she has a gift. She can move things with her mind. Doors lock. Candles fall. This is her power and her problem. Then, an act of kindness, as spontaneous as the vicious taunts of her classmates, offers Carrie a chance to be a normal…until an unexpected cruelty turns her gift into a weapon of horror and destruction that no one will ever forget.”  And how !  As the plotline played out, as Carrie went to the prom of her dreams, as her mother began acting crazier and crazier….this is not something you want to put aside and continue with the next day when you might have some spare time.  Holy mackerel !   What is going to happen next ????

And so….what was YOUR first book where you said, “ I JUST CAN’T STOP ! “ ?

 

10 Books That Stayed With Me (That Maybe You Haven’t Read)

Recently I noticed a social media post making the rounds in which you are supposed to list ten books that have stayed with you in some way.  The goal is not to overthink it, but simply take a few minutes and answer.  They don’t have to be great books or the “right” books, just books that have stayed with you, impacting you in some way.  So, in no particular order, here are ten books that have stayed with me:

1.     Nine Stories~ JD Salinger:  A collection of stories that is sometimes disturbing, but always full of melancholy.  My favorites are “For Esme–With Love and Squalor”, “Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes”, and “De Daumier-Smith’s Blue Period”.
2.    Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret~ Judy Blume:  This emotionally intense and angst-filled novel has a storyline that is issue-oriented and character-driven.  It grabbed my attention in the 4th grade, and has stuck with me ever since!
3.    Big Russ & Me~ Tim Russert:  This biography is truly heartwarming and quite candid.  The beloved television journalist writes about the relationship between him and his father and offers valuable lessons in life.
4.    The Catcher in the Rye~ J.D. Salinger:  If I was stranded on an island and could only take one book, this is the one I would take! Salinger’s classic coming-of-age story is darkly humorous, reflective, and moving.
5.    The Body in the Library~ Agatha Christie:  This is the first Agatha Christie book I ever read, and it had me at the title!  Christie’s writing style is engaging and the storyline is intricately plotted in this Miss Marple case.
6.    Ethan Frome~ Edith Wharton: Admittedly, the tone is quite bleak and melancholic, but Wharton’s writing style is so descriptive and lyrical that I was sucked in on the first page and never put it down until I finished.  I shan’t spoil the story for you!
7.    On Writing: a Memoir of the Craft~ Stephen King:  A practical view of the writer’s craft, King‘s advice is grounded in memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer.  The style is conversational, and the tone is reflective and darkly humorous.
8.    The Murder of Roger Ackroyd~ Agatha Christie:  Not your conventional Agatha Christie story!  It is one of her best known and most controversial novels, with an innovative twist ending, and is considered her masterpiece.
9.    The Notebook~ Nicholas Sparks:  This was Nicholas Sparks’ first published novel, and I think it’s his best work.  The poignant love story was inspired by his wife’s grandparents and is told through scenes from the past and a collection of intensely personal letters.
10.  Wrecked~ Maria Padian:  I just read this YA novel recently.  It’s a multi-faceted interpretation of a sexual assault on a college campus that will leave you thinking how memory and identity, what’s at stake, and who sits in judgment, all shape what we believe.
It’s always nice to see people celebrating books, but my favorite part of book lists is learning about books that I haven’t heard of before or that I haven’t read yet. So with that in mind, what books have stayed with you?
 

The Return of Poirot

I read my first Agatha Christie book when I was 10 years old and “upta camp” for the summer at Tacoma Lakes. I was hunting for a book to read, and came across a large print book of my grandmother’s. It was The Body in the Library and I was hooked from page one!

 
Having died in 1976, Agatha Christie is still the most prolific mystery writer, the most translated author, and is arguably the best-selling author of all time. (I am quite the Christie nerd and can easily spout all kinds of factoids.) In fact, I am such a huge Christie fan that I have collected every book she ever wrote, including the ones written under her pseudonym, Mary Westmacott.
 
So last year when I heard there was a “new” Agatha Christie book coming out, by a different author, I was skeptical. So skeptical in fact, that I boycotted reading it. However, curiosity got the best of me, and I finally broke down a few weeks ago and decided to give it a try, certain that I would be disappointed.
 
Sophie Hannah’s The Monogram Murders, published in 2014, was actually authorized by the Christie estate. She is the only author whom has ever been permitted to resurrect a Christie character. The mystery features Hercule Poirot as he tries to solve a clever conundrum that puts his “little grey cells” to work.
 
Surprisingly, Christie’s beloved Poirot seems to be in good hands with author Sophie Hannah. I was all set to discount the book for many reasons, and instead I was pleasantly surprised. In fact, Hannah has the character so down pat that you feel as though you are seeing an old friend again. I will admit there were times that I snobbishly felt “Poirot wouldn’t say that”, however, those times were few and far between. The author really deserves kudos for bringing Poirot back to us.
 
As bestselling author Gillian Flynn put it, “Reading The Monogram Murders was like returning to a favorite room of a long-lost home.”
Indeed.

Murder in the library??? Ask Agatha Christie!

October seems like a good time for a mystery tribute.  Following is a poem created using only titles of Agatha Christie novels.
Enjoy!
Halloween Party
The Man In The Brown Suit
Lord Edgware Dies
A Murder Is Announced
Mrs. McGinty’s dead
Endless Night
The Clocks
The Thirteen Problems
The Moving Finger
Appointment With Death
One, Two, Buckle My Shoe
Parker Pyne Investigates
Five Little Pigs
The Big Four
Partners In Crime
Third Girl
Dumb Witness
Cards On The Table
Ordeal Of Innocence
They Do It With Mirrors
The Pale Horse
Destination Unknown
The Hollow
Peril At End House
Why Didn’t They Ask Evans
Murder Is Easy
By The Pricking Of My Thumbs
Sparkling Cyanide
A Pocket Full Of Rye
Death Comes At The End
 
After The Funeral
The Mirror Crack’d From Side To Side
Crooked House
Dead Man’s Folly
And Then There Were None