I'm trying to get back into the habit of noting down my thoughts in Goodreads!
I seem to be in the absolute minority in Goodreads re: Agatha Christie's Autiobiography, but it's just not that good, y'all.An Autobiography
by Agatha Christie
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I wasn't too impressed with this overall, I gotta say. The beginning was enjoyable, but mainly because Christie's reminiscences about her childhood and parents made me think of my own family history. As the book goes on it seems to get less insightful, more repetitious, and less interested in making anything accessible to the readers; I tortuously dragged myself through the last third of it. She says that she's talking to herself, in this book, and it does feel like sitting in a Cafe listening to Agatha Christie talk to herself. She doesn't really introduce or describe any of the people or events in her life, she just expects the listener to be already familiar. At one point she mentions avoiding the press, and I did a double take, having been given no indication so far that her work had already gotten popular, or how she felt about it.
You don't really get an idea of how she feels about most things. Sure, as she says in the introduction, she wants to reminisce only about pleasant things, but a little introspection would have made me much more invested in the story of her life. She also seems to have very little sense of perspective, of her life compared to others. About her Victorian childhood she says that her family weren't really
rich, they only had two
servants. Later as she travels the world, she conspicuously gives the courtesy of using their names only to the white people she meets. Any "locals", even ones she spends time with, only get a description.
She also repeats herself a lot towards the last half of the book. Maybe she got away with not editing out her repetitions because the was the great Agatha Christie, but it would have been a benefit to the book.
I did find the descriptions of her early life pretty charming, but I couldn't recommend this book unless you're a huge Christie fan and completionist.
The next two are great, tho.The Second Mango
by Shira Glassman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read this one slowly, between other books. I picked it up whenever I was feeling sad or anxious or overwhelmed, and needed something easy. Its fairy tale quality was like a balm for my troubled brain. Simply written, with immediately loveable characters, and I was expecting a bitter-sweet ending and got an entirely sweet one instead.
The dialogue doesn't always read realistically, and it has the feeling of a YA or children's book, except for the open and matter of fact inclusion of adult romance and sexuality. It makes for a really calming and simple read, without any boredom.
This is a book about queer and (somewhat) gender non-conforming Jewish women (of colour) in a fantasy world, and I am not all
of those things, but I felt very at home in this world. I'm so happy there's a few more in the same universe to keep me company.
A Spool of Blue Thread
by Anne Tyler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a lovely reading experience. As opposed to the Agatha Christie Autobiography, which contained a lot of events but little feeling, not very much happens
in this book, in the sense of action, but it's full of complicated, relatable emotion and compassionate understanding of humans. I tore through it, completely invested in these people's lives, and while sometimes a story where nothing much happens has unsatisfying endings, the last few sections of this book recontextualised what happened in the fist half of the book in a very satisfying way.
I recommend this if you love people and want to be absorbed in a beautifully ordinary slice of life.
[crossposted from https://mxmacaronic.xyz/2017/05/25/things-ive-read-recently-oh-boy-i-need-to-learn-how-to-write-more-about-things-i-actually-like-not-just-complain-about-bad-books