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Now that I’ve joined the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge I’m a lot more aware of all things Agatha. This challenge will take me several years to complete since it requires reading all of her work in publication order. I’m not moaning about that. I definitely am happy about it. No, what has me shaking my head is all the “knock-offs” of her novels. And I’m not sure “knock-off” is the right term.

270px-attwn_box1This past week I clicked on the main site for Wikepedia and right there in their feature article of the day was this big picture and a big discussion about new video games (on the right) using the mysteries of Agatha Christie! The first one is “And Then There Were None”. They assured me the game “will retain the basic plot elements of the novel.” The main exception will be the playable character and a set of possible endings to the story. What? Different endings? If you want to read the full story, the link is here.and_then_there_were_none_jpg_232x500_q95

And then I discover there are graphic novels (on the left) of her books. Comic strips of Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple? Kerrie, our Challenge Leader read one in an hour and posted her review here.

In addition, you can go to Agatha Christie.com and shop for all sorts of  things. [Just as a side note to my family: don't buy me a mug or a game or a deck chair that resembles Agatha Christie. A book bag might be nice though.]

I’m sure all of this stuff has been around for quite some time and I’m just now discovering it. I don’t like to think of myself as old-fashioned. I’m just behind the times. I could qualify as set in my ways, though, because I like my Agatha Christie’s to be novels. One that takes time to read and think about and mull over what the one true answer is.

Our Agatha Christie Reading Challenge has a once a month carnival that you should check out. This is where everyone who is involved in the challenge posts what they’ve read the past month. The link is here. If you are an Agatha fan you’ll want to join in.

Dawn at She Is Too Fond of Books has a weekly feature about good bookstores around the country. She asked me to share one my favorite shops. I was happy to write about our recent experience at Copperfield’s Books in Sebastopol, California. Click here to read the story.

deweys_weekly_geeks27This weekly meme asks the question: If you could interview one of your favorite fictional characters, who would it be and what would you ask.

I’ve been reading Agatha Christie mysteries for decades and I always wanted to grow up to be Miss Jane Marple. Now that I’m in that “certain age” I believe I can have a nice chat with her. A formal interview will not do. It would make her uncomfortable; but a friendly chat over tea is just the thing.

It just so happens that she and I were at the same charity fete. Our duty that day was to knit a large number of baby hats for local hospitals. I was sitting in an area with some extra chairs and trying to keep an eye out for her. I was involved in casting on my stitches when Jane Marple came over, sat down and introduced herself. I should have expected it as she is well known for knowing everybody. She would want to get to know the new face.

We chatted and worked on our baby bonnets for quite some time. I find that most people, with a few prompts, will generally tell you most everything you want to know and then some. She operates on the same principle so by the time we were half way through the first baby bonnet we knew quite a bit about each other and were on a first name basis. 

I told Jane about my children and grandchildren and she told me about her nephew and his wife and her various friends in St. Mary Mead. She’s quite proud of her nephew, Raymond, who’s a well-known writer. I also mentioned I’d heard of various goings-on in St. Mary Mead. She said it’s really rather scandalous but there have been some murders.

Jane is very modest about her part in solving crimes. I have my own theory about how she does it but I asked her anyway. She confirmed my suspicion when she said she doesn’t do very much except observe human nature. We both agreed that it’s often the little details of a person’s actions that will tell you what you want to know.

By the time our knitting was at a end, we were quite well acquainted. We exchanged information on our favorite wool shops and she gave me a tip on a great hotel. The next time we are both in the city we are going to meet up at Bertrams Hotel and have lunch together. Our day together was quite lovely. I’m looking forward to our next visit. But I do hope there won’t be any scandalous murders about. On the other hand it might be enjoyable to see how she does it.

If you’d like to meet other fictional characters, visit the Weekly Geeks here.

old-car

 

When I was growing up we used to hear about Will Rogers all the time. I haven’t heard anything about him in years. Although he acted in over 70 films and wrote over 4000 newspaper columns, he is best known for his humorous sayings. An email with some of his sayings came floating my way recently and I thought I’d share some with you. Here are a few on the subject of old age.

  • Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.willrogers
  • The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for. 
  • When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to your youth, think of Algebra.
  • I don’t know how I got over the hill without getting to the top.
  • One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it is such a nice change from being young.
  • One must wait until evening to see how splendid the day has been. 
  • Being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable

heart-arrowROSES ARE RED,

VIOLETS ARE BLUE,

I’M LIVING ON CHOCOLATE,

HOW ABOUT YOU?

heart_cluster

 

ROSES ARE RED,                  

VIOLETS ARE BLUE,             

MY DOG’S BREATH                

REMINDS ME OF YOU.         

 

 

heart-ballons

 

ROSES ARE RED,

VIOLETS ARE BLUE,

THIS RETIREE SENDS A VALENTINE 

JUST TO YOU.

Beth at Beth Fish Reads tagged me for this photo meme. How fun is that? I loved playing tag as a kid, so why not now in my second childhood. Here’s how it works: Find your 5th photo file folder, then the 5th photo in that file folder. Then pass the meme to 5 people.

Since all my real photos are in storage I went to my iPhoto file and picked the fifth photo on the fifth roll. This is a photo of our youngest granddaughter during a visit in 2006. She is happily splashing away in the kitchen sink, water flying everywhere. What fun for me to look at that again. It brought back the happy memory of that day. It’s why we take pictures, right?

babysI want to pass the fun along to five other bloggers who feature photos on their blogs from time to time. So, I’m going to tag:

Sherrie at Just Books

Terri at Reading, Writing and Retirement

Dawn at She Is Too Fond of Books

Kathy at Bermuda Onion

Lynda at Holistic Knitter and/or Lynda’s Book Blog

A week ago I participated in an online book club. We all read I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. I absolutely loved the book. This one is going on my Lifetime List of Best Books Read. As it turns out I was in the minority in my glowing report. Although it would have been nice to know there were people who saw the book the way I did, that’s not why I’m writing this today.

The book was so beautifully written that parts literally moved me to tears. Some of the book club participants agreed that it was well written, but most felt the content of this autobiography was reprehensible. One person called it trashy! Most participants wished they hadn’t read the book. One person said it should never be allowed to be read by high school students. That’s what has bothered me all week and why I am writing this post.

When my oldest child was in sixth grade he discovered science fiction/fantasy books and began devouring them. He took them to school to read when he  had finished his other work. His teacher went crazy, said these books were absolutely unfit for children and shouldn’t be read by adults either. This was my first personal experience with banning books. I was horrified then and it horrifies me today. For someone else to tell me (or my child) what I can or can’t read is just plain wrong. In my opinion, all books should be available for everyone who wishes to read them. Let each individual make his/her own choices.

I’ve since learned that Maya Angelou’s books have been banned in the past. How sad that people have missed reading this beautifully written book because someone else thought they couldn’t handle it. It hurts when book banning gets too close.

“Thirty-five is a very attractive age. London society is full of women of the highest birth who have, of their own free choice, remained thirty-five for years.”

Oscar Wilde

kayeToday is my sister’s birthday. I’m not really sure how old she is. When we were kids I was exactly 18 months older than her. But now that we are adults our ages have changed. As I have gotten older she has gone the other way. She’s always preferred the late 30s. Her children didn’t think anything of it when year after year she would continue to tell them she was 39. It was the same story to the children she taught in her sixth-grade classes. After a while it became one of the family’s standard jokes. It wasn’t until her oldest daughter turned 30 that she decided to change her age to 49. That’s been a while back so I’m not sure if she’s sticking to that age or if it’s moved in some other direction. So whatever her age is today, I’m wishing her a very Happy Birthday, Kaye.

All book lovers have their favorite places to go when they feel the need to own a book. But what is it about the place that makes us want to go back repeatedly? What makes us want to recommend the store to others?

As my husband and I travel around the country we are always looking for places to find some reading pleasure. We’ve developed a list of criteria we use to rate the merits of the various bookstores. Here’s our list:

  1. Appearance or first impressions tells a lot. When I walk in the front door I want it to say “Welcome. We have just what you’re looking for”. I like to stand right inside the front door and see what sections are begging me to come and explore. I also like clean, well lit stores with mellow background music.
  2. Variety of books but not necessarily lots of genres. Small bookstores can’t carry everything but I like to see variety within their niche. For instance, if a store specializes in mysteries, do they have a wide variety of authors as well as a variety of sub-categories? We each have certain genres we’re looking for. My husband looks for thrillers and mysteries and, if they have any westerns, the store’s rating goes way up.
  3. The staff in a store can make all the difference. Sometimes I like to just wander about and sometimes I’m looking for something specific. I like staff who respect both. I like staff who make eye contact at the beginning of my visit as a way of saying welcome and acknowledging that they know I’m there. I like the stores that have little cards hanging below the shelves of books the staff has read and liked. I especially like staff who see I have one author in my hand and suggest another book by the same author or a similar author/book. But don’t do it in a pushy way.
  4. I also need a little comfort in a bookstore. A chair or stool are nice to rest my legs for a few minutes. I don’t really need the fancy sofas and plush chairs some places have. I’m not planning to live there. I just want to rest and contemplate a book or two. I like the chairs scattered throughout the store and not just in one corner. Some bookstores have coffee shops attached or have a coffee urn. It’s probably nice for those people who drink coffee. I’m not one of them so it’s hot critical to me. On the other hand, a cookie or two is nice.
  5.  I have to say that cost is a factor, mostly in how many books I buy.  We are going to read because that’s just what we do. But if a store has a coupon or a used-book section or some other kind of discount plan, we buy more. 
  6. And then we look for the extras. What makes this bookstore special?  Some sponsor events, author readings, book clubs or book launch parties. Some have rare books, or a big travel section, regional authors, art and music, audiobooks, magazines and newspapers. The extras give the store it’s personality. 

There’s our list. What did we miss? What do you look for in a great bookstore? Tell me about your favorite bookstores.

Dawn at She Is Too Fond of Books has a feature every Wednesday focusing on different bookstores around the country. I’m going to be writing a post over there in a couple of weeks about a great bookstore in Northern California. I hope you’ll join me.

estp

worksWant to know what kind of blogger you are? This is a fun exercise you can do in seconds. Go to this website here and type in your blog’s URL. Within seconds it will give you a drawing like the one at the left and give you a personality type. (See mine below.) It’s based on the style of writing on your blog. I have no idea how they analyze all my writing within seconds and know my type. Don’t get too serious about this. Just have fun. Here’s my type:

ESTP – THE DOERS

The active and playful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities. 

The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.

Thanks to Fleur Fisher for introducing me to this exercise.

For more tips on making things work in your life go to Rocks In My Dryer.


Welcome To My Blog

me2 Hi and Welcome. I'm retired, joyfully, and now have the time to indulge myself in books, family, travel, food or whatever. This blog is my way of sharing the things I'm doing - places I visit, books I read and all the other things that make up this new retired life. For more about me visit my About page.

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