March 29, 2021

February and March Reading Roundup

Please excuse my lateness in posting. We are severely short-staffed at work, and my soul leaves my body about an hour before close each day, so I'm dead when I get home. To make up for it, expect three posts this week. As for these reviews, some are a little vague because I plan on discussing the mysteries more in future Rant Rave Reviews.

Murder at the Vicarage, The Body in the Library, and A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie

  • Genre: Cozy Mystery
  • Why I read it: Mystery research / gathering the flavor for my WIP
  • What I thought of it: I really like Miss Marple books! There are lots of subplots and red herrings, and things that seem like subplots but are actually crucial. Christie does characterization especially well.
  • Would I recommend it: Yes! They're a real treat!

The Innocence of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton

  • Genre: Cozy Mystery
  • Why I read it: Mystery research
  • What I thought of it: I didn't like these stories as much as Christie's, though their twists were good. I think what irks me about them is there is no falling action. It's basically denouement and then end; I want to know what happened to the criminals, not just how they did their crimes.
  • Would I recommend it: If you like Chesterton or cozies in general, yes, though they aren't my cup of tea.

The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne

  • Genre: Cozy Mystery
  • Why I read it: Mystery research
  • What I thought of it: I liked that this was sort of a Sherlock-Holmes-esque mystery, with a duo of amateur investigators. It involved more leg-work than other cozies I've read, which was a nice change of pace. I didn't care for the ending much, though, as the killer got off easy in a way; it felt like a cop out.
  • Would I recommend it: Yes. It was fun for a one-off mystery, and Milne's writing style is delightful.

Angels and Saints: A Biblical Guide to Friendship with God's Holy Ones and Consuming the Word: The New Testament and the Eucharist in the Early Church by Scott Hahn

  • Genre: Religion and Theology
  • Why I read it: I'm Catholic, and it's Lent
  • What I thought of it: These are good brief introductions to the topics at hand. I enjoyed the Saints and Angels one more, since he discussed some saints that I didn't know as much about.
  • Would I recommend it: Yes, especially if you are interested in Christianity and Catholic doctrine.

Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters
by Abigail Shrier

  • Genre: Sociology and Gender Studies
  • Why I read it: Given all the controversy, I was curious
  • What I thought of it: Though I don't agree with all of Shriers's premises or conclusions (for example, she has a very Anglo-American idea of what is "normal" sexual experience for middle and high schoolers), her central question of whether or not we should be giving non-reversible surgeries and hormones to people whose bodies have not finished maturing is an important one.
  • Would I recommend it: Yes. The statistics and interviews alone are worth the read.

The Clocks and The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie

  • Genre: Cozy Mystery
  • Why I read it: Mystery research
  • What I thought of it: Though the mysteries are well constructed, I personally prefer the Miss Marple series more. I think this is because the Marple books concern average crimes and ordinary people, whereas the Poroit series tends to be a bit more audacious and official. It's hard to describe; it's a matter of taste.
  • Would I recommend it: Yes, if you like cozies. There's a reason Christie is known as the Queen of Crime; her stories are the standard against which other cozies are judged.

Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Burglar by Maurice Leblanc (DNF)
  • Genre: Fiction ~ Mystery adjacent
  • Why I read it: It is relevant to my interests
  • What I thought of it: Though these were fun, the twist in each case was a little easy to see coming. To be fair, they aren't technically mysteries, as they star a gentleman thief, but they have a lot of the same structural points. I guess I'm too much of a goody-two-shoes to root for this Lupin (though I love Lupin III), because I want to see the police win in the end.
  • Would I recommend it: Maybe? Though it didn't hold my attention enough for me to finish the volume, I can see other people liking it.

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