Quote of the Week

“The critic leaves at curtain fall
To find, in starting to review it,
He scarcely saw the play at all
For watching his reaction to it.”

“Critic” by E. B. White [1899-1985].

Quotation from Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations by John Bartlett.
Published by Little, Brown and Company. 1955. Page 985.

[Review] Agatha Christie: An Elusive Woman by Lucy Worsley

Publisher and Publication Date: Pegasus Crime, an imprint of Pegasus Books, Ltd. Distributed by Simon and Schuster. September 6, 2022.
Genre: Nonfiction. Biography.
Pages: 428 written pages. And 52 black and white illustrations.
Format: Hardcover.
Source: Self-purchase.
Audience: Readers of biographies. Fans of Agatha Christie. Readers of women in literature.
Rating: Excellent!

Link at the publisher for more information: Pegasus Crime.

Link at Amazon.

Link at Barnes and Noble.

Lucy Worsley Goodreads author page.

Website for Lucy Worsley/ Blog/ Facebook/ Twitter.

Summary:

Lucy Worsley expresses that Agatha Christie wanted people to have the impression she was an “ordinary” person, an “ordinary” woman. This is untrue. How can a woman who was born in the late Victorian era who rose above the culture and society of that day to become a successful author of mystery books be considered ordinary? Agatha Christie was a trail blazer in this genre. She was a trail blazer as far as her generation of women having a successful writing career.

Agatha Christie: An Elusive Woman is a biography of the whole life of an amazing woman. It touches on every area of her life. It does not focus on one aspect. For example, her writing career.

Lucy Worsley is a historian and curator. She is knowledgeable about the research process. Her expertise is strongly noticed in this new work.

My Thoughts:

I have An Autobiography by Agatha Christie on Kindle but have not read it yet.

I have three other books, one a collection of her stories, all on Kindle.

I am currently reading The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.

I’m planning to read as many of her mysteries/crime fiction as possible.

I’m a newbie to Agatha Christie. I knew very little about her personal life before reading Agatha Christie by Lucy Worsley. This is a good thing in that most of what I read is fresh. I consider this book a fresh perspective of the whole of Agatha Christie. This is the first reason why I love this book!

Additional reasons why I love this book:

  1. It does not leave me with an unfulfilled curiosity about parts of her life that was left untouched in the biography. What I mean is the bio takes in every area of her life as a person, wife, mother, daughter, writer, traveler, divorced woman, single mother, and career woman.
  2. I enjoyed reading about her work during WWI and WWII. She is quick to enlist in helping with the war effort and wounded.
  3. I enjoyed reading about her life as a child, especially the parenting roles of her parents, and their homelife.
  4. I enjoyed reading about her unique personality and character. Even as a child, there is something about her that stood out as unique and gifted.
  5. Worsley points out Christie’s prejudice opinions about domestic help and people of other races are common for that era. The reader should not be quick to dismiss her or judge her books based on our current history, society, culture, and beliefs.
  6. Worsely reminds me where most of the females of the early 20th century worked. In 1901, there are only 31.6% of females in Britain employed. Most of them worked in the textile and domestic areas. This book will not give a strong history lesson in females in the work force during Agatha Christie’s life. The statistic is given to share the standard in respect to her life. She was expected to marry and marry well. She was not expected to have a paid writing career.
  7. I enjoyed reading about the first serious relationship Agatha had with her first husband, Archie. World War I started to put a damper on their courting. However, they sped things up by a quick marriage in late 1914.
  8. I enjoyed reading about her crafting of the characters in her books. For example, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.
  9. I love how Worsley included the writing and publishing of Christie’s books plus what was simultaneously going on in her personal life.
  10. I enjoyed reading about what Christie thought about her own writing, especially in regard to her contribution to the mystery literature world.
  11. The period of time in 1926 when Christie is missing. This period in time is a strength of the book. Worsley takes her time in piecing together the steps during Christie’s disappearance, as well as her return and her own remembrance. It was during this part of the book that I became so captivated I lost track of time.
  12. I read the book in two days!

The Sunday Salon

The Sunday Salon is hosted by Readerbuzz.

~Read any good books? Tell us about them.

Yes, I read (devoured) Agatha Christie: An Elusive Woman by Lucy Worsley.

The link is to the book on Goodreads. I have not written a review yet.

The main reason why I love this book is it gave me a vivid dimensional view of Agatha Christie. I see her a person, daughter, wife, mother, writer; and as a woman creating a career in the post Victorian era and early 20th century in England.

I look forward to sharing a review next week.

~What else is going on in your life?

My week has been uneventful. I’ve had good days of reading and relaxing and drinking tea.

I’m thinking of getting rid of some house plants because they are toxic to cats. I have a few that are kept in the bathroom and with the doors closed so the cats cannot get to them. But to be on the safe side, and to have peace of mind, these plants need new homes.

My husband worked overtime everyday but Sunday and yesterday. I hope today will be a good day of rest for him.

Today is laundry day and catch-up day.

I’m still working my way through the Law-and-Order SVU reruns. I’m camped out in season four.

In bookish type news, I’m thinking seriously of cleaning up and reorganizing the bookshelves. Whew. This is a big job. I’m tired just thinking about it.

My favorite type of cuppa. A tea latte.

Quote of the Week

“Tis the last rose of summer,
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone;
No flower of her kindred,
No rosebud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
Or give sigh for sigh.”

“The Last Rose of Summer”, Stanza 1.
Thomas Moore [1780-1852].

From Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations by John Bartlett.
Published by Little, Brown and Company. 1955. Page 439.

To read more about Thomas Moore: Poetry Foundation.

To read the complete poem: Poets.org.

[Review] The Legend of Sigurd & Gudrun by J. R. R. Tolkien

Publisher and Publication Date: Mariner Books. First Mariner edition 2010. First published 2009.
Genre: Fantasy fiction. Poetry.
Pages: 381.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Self-purchase.
Audience: Tolkien readers. Readers of myths and legends. Readers of Old Norse poetry.
Rating: Very good.

Link for the book @ Amazon.

J. R. R. Tolkien Goodreads author page.

The Tolkien Estate, the official site.

This link is to read an article about Tolkien from the Smithsonian Magazine: How J. R. R. Tolkien Came to Write the Stories of The Rings of Power.

Summary:

The Legend of Sigurd & Gudrun is Tolkien’s version of ancient Dane stories. The Danes were an ancient Northern Germanic people who lived in what we now call the modern countries of Denmark and the southernmost area of Sweden. Their time period is roughly 500 BC to 1050 AD.

His story is told in two poems. Lay of the Völsungs. Lay of Gudrún.

These poems are from the heroic age of Vikings, after 700 AD.

They are in verse form, an old 8-line stanza. And each line is 3 to 4 words.

Even though there are old sources that these new poems loosely came from, it is stated in the Foreword: “He scarcely ever (to my knowledge) referred to them.” This book of Tolkien’s’ poems is not to be thought as “translations” of the previous. They are new. Tolkien called them “New Lays.” Tolkien possibly wrote them in the 1930s.

My Thoughts:

Reading through the book is the easy part. Understanding what I have read is difficult because I have little knowledge of Dane history, culture, society, and literature. I focused on reading for pleasure. I have since reread the Foreword and Introduction and this has helped. In addition, there is a commentary chapter after each of the two poems. My advice is to read these features.

I feel like I’ve been on an adventure reading these two poems.

The poems are dramatic, masculine, vivid, physical, and haunting. The words in the poems are purposeful in carrying the serious dark nature of their world.

I don’t consider the poems to be ethereal or romantic.

The poems are not to be compared to Tolkien’s well-known Lord of the Rings books.

Some of my favorite lines are in reference to the dragon, Fafnir. I love reading about dragons!

I believe this is a perfect book to read aloud. I’d love to hear it read through Audible.

Themes in the poems are injustice, betrayal, death, marriage, courage, and bravery.