Tag Archives: Murder on the Orient Express

Challenge Update, June 2017

3 Jul

Summer is finally here! I’m done with classes and as you read this (if you read the day I post), I’m on vacation at the cottage and enjoying the warm weather. I’m hoping to make this next month one for books because this month was a bit slow. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in June:

Murder on the Orient Express // Agatha Christie (4/5)
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim // David Sedaris (4/5)
Tigerman // Nick Harkaway (2/5)
People Analytics in the Era of Big Data // Jean Paul Isson (4/5) [school read]
Sarah’s Key // Tatiana de Rosney (4/5)

Thank God for audiobooks! I’m struggling to get through print now and I know school didn’t help. I’m pushing to get more print read in July.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

9/12
No new adds this month. It’s going to be a challenge to fit in some of those historical periods so I might have to pick an audiobook that will help me fill them in. I usually get The Future pretty easily but my reading hasn’t gone that way in a while so that may need to be a conscious pick, too.

Goodreads Challenge

27/50
I’m three ahead and feeling good about it. I have a lot of books I’m about to finish that will push this further ahead and I think I’ll be well positioned to finish the year with this one well-done.

Cover image via Goodreads.com

Book of the Month

This month it’s going to have to be Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. This story was engaging and the ending was unexpected and amazing at the same time. I’m really glad my husband and I decided to audiobook this during a car trip, it was a great read.

Added to my TBR

I’m still at 109, the same as last month. I wish I was knocking it down faster, but there are a number of books that are piquing my interest.

  • A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman. I adored Malerman’s last book and I hope this one is equally creepy and amazing!
  • The Sellout by Paul Beatty. This is a book club selection for August so I’ll be picking it up in July to have it finished in time.
  • How to Speak Midwestern by Edward McClelland. I heard McClelland speak and obviously had to buy the book. Because I’m compulsive that way.
  • Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. This is my next book club book and I’ll be picking it up very soon to start reading. Maybe before this post goes up!

Personal Challenge

I mentioned in my challenge announcement post that I had some non-reading goals set for myself in 2017. I figured this would be a good place to keep myself accountable to those as well. Here goes!

  • Keep my 4.0 GPA: Still going well! I got my grade pack in my summer class and it was an A so I’ll have this until December at least!
  • Knit blankets:  I’m very close to finishing the boy blanket I started last month. No new pregnancy announcements so I haven’t had to send any off. Finishing this one will put me at my ‘stash’ amount and I’ll focus on other projects until I have to make another.
  • One race per month: My busy summer of racing has begun! I had two triathlons this month within 5 days of each other. First was a week-night sprint tri and I placed 5th of 8. This is a really competitive field so I’m proud of that one. It was my second fastest time on the course and I could tell the run was rough. The second was an Olympic distance, only my second one ever and the course was much flatter and my time better than previously. I dropped over 20 minutes! Again, I was 5th but out of 10 this time and the run felt great.
  • Get my novel out to beta readers: July will be my time to work on this. I’ve heard back from two and I plan to focus on revisions while I’m home in July. Classes start again in August so I have until then.

How were your challenges? I hope you made it. If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge for 2017, it’s fun!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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‘Murder on the Orient Express’ TV Show Review

15 Jun

Image via Fanart

I’m forever going to watch the BBC editions of Christie books after I read them. This is such a treasure trove of good TV! I’m looking forward to the new Murder on the Orient Express movie due out this year, but I thought I’d watch the Agatha Christie’s Poirot version first. It was a good thing to do with my Sunday afternoon!

Things I Thought Were Awesome

Seeing the cast. There were so many names that I was getting Schmidt and Ohlsson confused for a lot of the book, but seeing them in the show made it a lot easier to keep them separate.

The train set. It was so beautiful! Now I want to take a trip on a trans-continental railroad like that. It must have been very costly but I feel like it would have been worth it as well.

Changes That Didn’t Really Bother Me

The simplified plot. Taking out the pipe, finding the kimono, and everyone writing down their addresses was fine by me. I got lost in the details in the book so having it simplified this way was great for me to follow along better. Even though I knew the outcome, it was fun to watch the details unfold!

The money. I think this gave the murder a slightly more believable feel to it so it was a logical add for me. The senseless murder with no motivation, the original set up, was too easy to see through.

Stoning in Istanbul. My husband and I agreed this was a better way to be introduced to Debenham and Arbuthnot. Being on another train when we met them was a bit much. It also flashed back to Debenham’s being beaten up.

Cover image via Goodreads.com

Things That Were Taken Out and I’m Still Wondering Why

 

No Hardman. I don’t get why he was taken out. How hard would it have been to add another character? There are already so many that I don’t think it would have really mattered. It gave Dr. Constantine a weak connection at best.

Things That Changed Too Much

Poirot’s anger. This was the biggest change to me. First, it brings in religious righteousness, which was something the book had none of. Second, it was a stark contrast from the man in the book. It seemed in the end that he was passing judgment and had the final say in matters like he was sentencing them instead of the jury passing judgment. I did really like the shot of him walking through the group to the police, but that doesn’t mean I liked how he was portrayed.

Not questioning each person methodically. This is how Poirot functions! He’s methodical and follows a process. By not questioning each person on the train in turn and setting up a questioning process, I thought it was a big deviation from the character of Poirot and made it frustrating for me.

It will be interesting to see how the feature film version changes things again. I’m glad I watched this one first. Reader, have you see the Murder On the Orient Express episode? What did you think?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 14-June-2017

14 Jun

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: Nothing with A Son of the Circus by John Irving. I think I’ll get back to it this summer, I’m just not sure when.
I made some small progress on Love in the Elephant Tent by Kathleen Cremonesi. There’s not much more reading for my class this summer so I’ll be able to enjoy this during lunch again! AND it’s about time to eat outside again. Woo!
I didn’t run as much as I thought I would this week so I haven’t made much progress with Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. I think I’ll have it finished by next week, though!
I started Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Rober Pirsig over the weekend. I only have two weeks to read this one before my book club meets so I hope to fly through it. Fingers crossed!

Recently finished: I finished Tigerman on Saturday and got my review up yesterday! Go check it out and let me know what you think. I hope to have my book club reflection for it up tomorrow because we met Monday.

My review for Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express went up on Thursday. I gave it Four out of Five stars. I’m getting really excited for that movie adaptation! Who’s with me?
My review for Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris went up on Monday. I gave it Four out of Five stars.

Reading Next: No plans now. My next read will probably be an audiobook but I have no idea what title I’ll get. It all depends on what’s available at the time.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (4/5)

8 Jun

I heard this one was going to be turned into a movie and I wanted to read it before the film came out. My husband and I needed a book to listen to for our drive to the cottage over Memorial Day weekend and we picked this one. We finished it up last week over dinner. I love having a husband who loves books, too!

Cover image via Goodreads.com

Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot #10) by Agatha Christie

Other books by Agatha Christie reviewed on this blog:
El misterio de la guía de ferrociarriles 4/5

Summary from Goodreads:

Just after midnight, a snowdrift stopped the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train was surprisingly full for the time of the year. But by the morning there was one passenger fewer. A passenger lay dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside.

I really enjoyed this story. I think that I listened to it in big chunks helped me enjoy it because I could keep track of the small details. My husband and read this book a long time ago and he remembered the final reveal, but he had fun picking up on the small details along the way. I was changing my guess at the murderer every ten minutes! Christie really is a master of mysteries.

I loved the variety of characters Christie was able to create and how distinct each of them was. She did a good job of building all of these people and then slowly revealing their secrets. I loved each time we found out something new. A part of me was very glad Poirot was on the train to solve the case, but it seems like mystery chases him! He was on his way home from solving one case to dive right back into another. Can’t the guy get a break?

I loved and hated Mrs. Hubbard. She was a great character but she made me feel like Christie must really hate Americans. Her hysterics were very believable and as annoying as she seemed, she also came off as a very loving mother and grandmother. She made for great drama on the train to be sure.

This wasn’t a book where I was looking to connect with any of the characters so I can’t say I related to any of them. I’m going to talk about the reveal a bit here so skip to the end of this paragraph if you don’t want that ruined! I have experienced times where I felt justice wasn’t served and I’ve wanted to do something about it myself but I never have. I could understand why the people involved wanted to do something, but I would never do it myself.

Agatha Christie
Image via Biography.com

OK, one more paragraph about the reveal so skip down again if you’re so inclined. I promise this is the last one. I loved the reveal! I thought it was such a perfect fit and I was, as always, impressed Poirot could think of it. It started to seem more and more suspicious that so many people connected with the Armstrong case were on the train. They, of course, would have recognized each other but were pretending not to know each other, which is when I started to suspect it was something bigger. I was sitting slack-jawed the whole time Poirot revealed it. Amazing!

I can’t think of a part of this book I didn’t like. I thought the part on the first train was dull, but that became important later. And I got a little frustrated when Poirot seemed to know the ending but wasn’t giving anything away but, again, that was important at the end. The book moved along well and I really enjoyed it!

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Dan Stevens. He did an amazing job doing all the voices! I wondered if it was full cast at one point but I think Stevens is just that talented. I didn’t realize until we were done with it that he plays Beast in the new Beauty and the Beast movie! I’m tempted to just start listening to all of his audiobooks, it looks like he’s done some great classics!

OK, one more paragraph of semi-spoilers. Sorry about that. The biggest theme I got from this book is revenge. It became obvious very early on that the murder was one of passion. The number of stab wounds was excessive for a murder and the revealed connections made it more clear. When is revenge justified? Was this murder justified? It’s up to the reader to determine.

Writer’s Takeaway: Christie had me feeling stupid and I liked it. I was OK not knowing what Poirot was thinking all the time. I still liked the story when I was guessing to the last minute who the murderer was. I don’t feel this way often, but Christie did a great job of it! She gave me just enough as she went through the story, having Poirot reveal a little at a time so that I enjoyed feeling smarter than the passengers. It’s a great balance.

This was a really enjoyable read and I hope others take a chance to read it before the film comes out. Johnny Depp and Kenneth Branagh! Be still my heart.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Book Review: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (Classics Challenge #1) | Pretty Books
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (spoiler-free review) | Alastair Savage

WWW Wednesday, 7-June-2017

7 Jun

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: No movement on A Son of the Circus by John Irving. Still on hold pending free time and a break in the book club season.
I got through some more of Love in the Elephant Tent by Kathleen Cremonesi because I forgot to bring my school book to read during lunch. It meant more school reading over the weekend, but it was a nice break!
I got into Tigerman by Nick Harkaway this week and I’m really enjoying it now. The trouble is finding more time to read it. I get through a few pages before bed, but all my free time now is for school. It will be over soon…
I made some big progress with Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. I’m finally seeing the two stories converge and I’m looking forward to them really crashing into each other.

Recently finished: Two finished! I feel like I’m winning at reading this week. The first is Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris. My review for this one will be up next week. I enjoyed Sedaris’s commentary on life and I’ll just say here that I’m glad I’m not one of his sisters! I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.
I also finished Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. It was perfect timing because my husband and I finished listening to it on Thursday, the same day the trailer for it came out! It looks like they’ve changed a few things around but it will be pretty close to the book based on the trailer. I can’t wait for that one!

I posted my book review for Landline by Rainbow Rowell so please go check that one out! It went up on Monday.

Reading Next: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Rober Pirsig is still waiting on my bedside table. I’ll pick it up as soon as I finish Tigerman.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 31-May-2017

31 May

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I’m so sorry to say that I’ve put A Son of the Circus by John Irving aside for a while. I have some book club selections I need to get through first. I have all of the intentions in the world of finishing this one up and it makes me really sad to put it on hold.
I made some moderate progress with Love in the Elephant Tent by Kathleen Cremonesi but I’m wondering where this book is going because I’m 1/3 of the way through and they’re not in the elephant tent anymore! Is there another elephant tent coming?
My drive to work is better with Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris. I’m about half way through it now and it’s been a good distraction from traffic.
I started reading Tigerman by Nick Harkaway, one of my book club selections. It’s OK but making me miss the Irving. I was at my parent’s cottage this weekend and found some good time to read.
My husband and I started a car-trip audiobook. I hope this one doesn’t take as long as some of our earlier ones! This time it’s Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. So far, we’re really enjoying it. As much as I have my suspicions about who it could be, I know Poirot will keep me guessing until the end!
I’ve just started Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay on audio. I love the cover of this one and saw it as a popular book club pick for a while so I’m interested to see where it goes!

Recently finished: I was able to wrap up Landline by Rainbow Rowell over the holiday weekend! I’m so glad to have finished a book. With all the ones I have in process, I’m not sure how quickly I’ll finish another one, haha. I think I’m only missing Rowell’s novella now before I’ve read all of her work. I plan to have a review for this one up early next week.
No reviews this week but as I said, Landline will be coming next week so there’s one to look forward to!

Reading Next: With so much going on, I don’t really want to think ahead, haha. I do know my next book club selection will be Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Rober Pirsig. I could only find a print version of this book so I’ll be reading it in that format after Tigerman.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!