Jun. 7th, 2017

sarahmichigan: (reading)
Book No. 31 was "Elephants Can Remember" by Agatha Christie. In this Hercule Poirot novel, he teams up with novelist Mrs. Oliver to solve a decades-old mystery about why a seemingly happy couple committed a double suicide, or a murder-suicide. The couple's daughter, Celia, is grown up and about to marry and wants to know more about her past, as does her nosy mother-in-law, and they ask Mrs. Oliver to investigate since she is a crime novelist and Celia's godmother. Mrs. Oliver talks to old acquaintances about events in the far past that might be relevant, and Poirot talks with old police contacts, and together they find out the truth about Mr. and Mrs. Ravenscroft. I was in dire need of brain candy, and this fit the bill. It was just over 200 pages, swiftly paced, and an easy/fun read. I had several elements of the solution worked out at about the half-way point of the book. I haven't read any Christie in probably at least 20 years, but I can see why she is continually popular. Her novels are easy reads, and she rewards regular readers by referencing previous books (i.e. Poirot's previous cases). I was actually somewhat surprised by the terse description and the lack of transitional sentences and paragraphs. Sometimes she'll end one chapter by saying something along the lines of "We should talk to Mrs. So-and-So next" and the next chapter opens with the dialogue with Mrs. So-and-so in progress. Christie doesn't have a lot of patience for deep character development and scene-setting and is more about giving you a complicated plot at a breathless pace.

Book No. 32 was "The Shadow Hero," story by Gene Luen Yang and illustrated by Sonny Liew. The authors were intrigued by an old 1940s comic called "The Green Turtle" that only ran for 5 issues and was created by a Chinese American man named Chu Hing. Though The Green Turtle isn't explicitly portrayed as Chinese-American in the 40s version, there is reason to think that Chu Hing intended him to be. That element is made more explicit in this modern update, where mild-mannered Hank Chu, who only wants to run his father's grocery store, is spurred to become a superhero, at first by his mother's nagging and later inspired by gang activity in Chinatown. The book includes the entire first issue of the 1940s comic printed at the end as well. I found this graphic novel to be delightful and now I'm curious to read more by Yang. See a short clip where scenes from the graphic novel are animated on Yang's website.

The other books I've read so far this year: )

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