Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas Book Haul 2014

Hello readers! I hope you all had fabulous holidays, I know I did. As with any voracious reader, Christmas (or whatever holiday you happen to celebrate this time of the year) is the time for new books that you don't have to worry about paying for. This year a couple of books made it onto my Christmas list, even though I've been utilizing the library again as of late. Most of these books have been on my TBR list on Goodreads for as long as I can remember and I had the strongest urge to finally get around to them.

These books won't be the usual YA fiction books that I read because the books in that genre that I'm desperate to own haven't come out yet and the ones I do want to read, I have no desire to own in case they turn out to be terrible. Surprisingly, the majority of them are nonfiction books, a genre that I've basically ignored until I got to college. I discovered that nonfiction can be a terrific genre as long as you make sure to only read books on a subject that really interests you. Not surprisingly, most of these books in some way or another have to deal with Agatha Christie, an author I've loved for the majority of my life.

Since I was a genius and left my camera in my dorm room, and because I have no desire to mess with the camera on my phone, I don't have a picture of the collective haul. You'll just have to trust that I actually have these books, which shouldn't be hard since I've already read and rated most of these on Goodreads.  Without further ado, here are the books I was given for Christmas

  • The Making of the African Queen or How I went to Africa with Bogart, Bacall and Huston and almost lost my mind by Katharine Hepburn
It's no secret that Katharine Hepburn is my favorite actress of all time. I've always loved her comedic style in her films and the fact that she is such a strong, assertive woman. This book details her experiences up to and during the filming of The African Queen, a movie I encourage all of you to go see right now. I wanted to read this book ever since I finished her memoir entitled Me and the urge only got stronger after I'd actually seen the movie. This fantastic book was under my tree this year and as soon as I got it I started reading it. It's actually a bit on the smaller side and is filled with tons of fascinating black and white photography that makes her story come to life. Reading this is a bit like sitting down and listening to a wise grandmother tell you a frank tale about a moment in her life. The writing style is so succinct and to the point. Hepburn doesn't dance around subjects, but rather tells them exactly how they happened with a bit of humor thrown in. Some may be put off by the fact that her speech isn't flowery and elegant, but I love it. My only complaint is that I wish it were  longer and referenced bits of the movie a bit more in relation to her experiences, but nevertheless I love this book just the same. I only wish Hepburn had written more books during her life.

  • The Grand Tour: Around the World with the Queen of Mystery Edited by Mathew Prichard (her grandson)
I saw this book a long while back in my local Barnes and Nobles bookstore and immediately knew I had to have it. While my experience with Agatha Christie usually revolves around her books and the mini series adaptions, reading John Curran's books about her secret notebooks convinced me that I needed to know a bit more about her actual life. The only copy that the store had in stock had a horribly damaged spine so I refused to buy a copy when I first saw it. I waited over half a year to finally get my hands on this book and I was not disappointed. The book details the trip she took with her first husband Archie Christie and a number of other government officials around the British Empire in 1922. The book is comprised of a large number of really fantastic photographs taken by Christie, some of her diary entries detailing her experiences, and letters sent home to her mother. In addition to bits of Agatha Christie's life, the book also inadvertently provides snapshots of life during the twenties that are no longer a part of our reality today. I really enjoyed this book, but I wouldn't really recommend this to anyone unless they too are a big fan of Christie's work. I imagine the book could get a bit tedious if you didn't have a genuine urge to know more about Christie's life.

  •  Agatha Christie: An Autobiography
Naturally, the next step in learning a bit more about Agatha Christie's life is to read her autobiography, so I asked for a copy this Christmas. While I haven't gotten around to finishing it yet, I'm excited to read what she has to say about her own illustrious life. I was given the newest edition of the book that comes with some great photo inserts and has an online code that lets you download some of Agatha Christie's audio recordings for free. It's through Audible.com though, which kind of sucks because I really don't like audiobooks and they force you to make an account to access the recordings. Still, if you are looking to read more about her life, I would spring for the newer edition rather than grab an older used copy.

  • Absent in the Spring and other novels by Mary Westmacott (aka Agatha Christie)
As you can gather from the cover of the book, this is a collection of novels, not all of them sadly, which Agatha Christie wrote under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott. These books aren't in her typical mystery genre and I've always wanted to read these books out of sheer curiosity. I hope I'll enjoy them as much as the rest of her work.

  • Poirot and Me by David Suchet
While I was looking online for books to buy with the Barnes and Nobles gift card I got for Christmas I had the weirdest thought: I wonder if David Suchet has ever written anything about his experiences playing Hercule Poirot on tv? One quick google search later and I found this book, which I immediately bought. I enjoy watching the tv adaptions of Christie's work as much as I love reading them. For me, there is nobody else that can play Hercule Poirot as well as David Suchet. His image is so tied to the character for me that when I read any Poirot books, his portrayal is the one I imagine in my mind. I did watch the short PBS special about him playing Poirot on tv, but I hope this book will go a little bit more in depth.

That's all the books that I received for Christmas this year and if you'd like to know more about what I thought of these books, don't forget to return here later in the year or visit my Goodreads page. Best Wishes everyone.