Friday, January 08, 2010

Gertrude Stein

Gertrude Stein was always looking for something fresh and new and this experimentation with language will leave most confused and wondering what the heck does this all mean. In TENDER BUTTONS, Stein changes the meanings of words and uses them in sort of a linguistic art project.

While I still can't break the code, if there is one, it's still fun to read and to try to figure out. Objects, food and rooms come into a new perspective. With a sense of humor, Stein plays with her readers to help them partake in an imaginative experiment that requires us to leave behind what we know and create something new. (And don't try to take this book too seriously, which is what I did when I first read it at the university and hated it.)
Murder on the Orient Express
by Agatha Christie

I had seen the film adaptation of Agatha Christie's mystery novel, Murder on the Orient Express many years ago and had always meant to read the book but never got around to it until recently. Once again, as with most film adaptations, the book was far better than the movie.

Who-dun-its have always been a favorite genre of mine. I love to try to figure out the mystery by analyzing a large cast of interesting characters. The setting of this story is also intriguing -- an elite passenger train traveling through an exotic landscape. . . then gets stranded there while the story is told.

Hercule Poirot, a private detective and retired Belgian police officer, boards the Orient Express in Stamboul after he is summoned back to London. The train is unusually crowded for this time of year, and soon after the journey begins, it is discovered that someone has murdered nasty businessman, Richard Widmark. At the same time the train becomes stranded by an avalance which dumped snow on the tracks. Much to Poirot's puzzlement, everyone on the train seems to have a motive for the killing. I am not going to say anymore in case you haven't read it. I don't want to give anything away because it's just too enjoyable to try to figure out who the culprit really is, and a total surprise ending.

An oldie but a goodie.