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  1. #261
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    My all time favourite is A Murder is Announced - it's a Marple, typical village story, bit of humour here and there, classic multi-layered solution. I've probably read it a dozen times, even though I know whodunnit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by genevieve View Post
    The same thing happened with Dick Francis - his earlier books were gripping, and there are some I reread every few years just because...but the last 10+ years of his life the books seemed to be created by a DickFrancisPlotGenerator 3000: take one genial everyman + family involved in a specific career or hobby different than anything protagonist currently does (must have one good looking but not too glam adult daughter or sister) + horses + murder = best seller. Romance recommended but not required.
    Well, there's a very specific reason for that: the death of his wife Mary. He initially credited her with "research" but later it was revealed that she was a writing collaborator. After her death in 2000 he tried co-writing with his son Felix (credited) and the results were, as you say, highly formulaic. A shame to go out on a low, though, since for nearly 40 years he (they) churned out a fantastic canon of works that had a surprising range considering they all share the horse theme in one way or another.

    I'm glad I found Dick Francis in high school -- it was his books that got me addicted to the mystery genre.

    BTW, in Christie, I'll take Marple over Poirot any day. (And in the TV adaptations, it has to be Joan Hickson. Julia McKenzie is second choice. Geraldine McEwan sets my teeth on edge.)

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    Oh good grief ... I now have the theme song for Poirot (the David Suchet series) in my head ...

  4. #264

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenny View Post
    My all time favourite is A Murder is Announced - it's a Marple, typical village story, bit of humour here and there, classic multi-layered solution. I've probably read it a dozen times, even though I know whodunnit.
    I will check that one out. My favorite is Ten Little Indians aka And Then There Were None.

    I'm reading Patient Zero. It has zombies.

  5. #265

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    New Book Thread because somebody' has got to do it

    Quote Originally Posted by PrincessLeppard View Post
    I will check that one out. My favorite is Ten Little Indians aka And Then There Were None.
    :
    Also my favorite. I highly suggest this one. I believe this one is one of many made into a movie.
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  6. #266
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artemis@BC View Post
    I give all kinds of props to Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie for essentially inventing and then perfecting the genre of detective fiction ... but I have to say I'm just not a fan of their books. Conan Doyle in particular, when I tried re-reading him recently: still fantastic characters, but just plain awful writing (by today's standards). Christie's writing is better, as are her story ideas, but they still are pretty low on my list of preferred mystery writers.
    I would say Poe invented the Western detective story and Wilkie Collins created the classic British detective novel, and everyone else has pretty much followed their blueprints (in detective fiction, not crime fiction), including Conan Doyle (who, shall we say, flattered Poe by imitating him so well at much greater length) and Christie.

    I think Agatha Christie was a mediocre writer, but a very good crafter of puzzles with story lines. I always knew whodunnit right away in most of her books; it was the how that was interesting. I cannot stand Conan Doyle and use Sherlock Holmes in class when I need examples of faulty logic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Artemis@BC View Post
    BTW, in Christie, I'll take Marple over Poirot any day.
    Meeeeee, too. Never liked Poirot, although I don't really know why. But many of my favorite Christies were the ones that didn't feature either one.
    Trolling dates all the way back to 397 B.C. - People began following Plato around and would make fart noises after everything he said.

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    Tommy and Tuppence get my vote, even though they were in so few books (and their last one was pretty bad).
    Charter member of the "We Always Believed in Ashley" Club and the "We Believe in Ricky" Club

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    I read "A Mysterious Affair at Styles" and "Murder in Mesopotamia".
    Although I was looking for quicker, shorter reads, and they definitely filled that requirement, they just seemed a little too rushed and short on detail. I found them totally emotionless, and I didn't care about any of the characters.
    I may try the Miss Marple one that was suggested.

  9. #269

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    I seem to have been on a massive reading kick lately, once I finally finished the Marie Antoinette biography that never seemed to end. First up was The History of Us by Leah Stewart for my book club, which had an interesting premise about a woman who takes custody of her nieces and nephew after their parents are killed, but it lacked a lot in the execution. The weirdest part was that the book stopped in what felt like the middle of the story and left a lot of things unresolved. Kind of disappointing. I didn't actively dislike the book, but did think it could have been a lot better.

    Also read Sophie Kinsella's The Undomestic Goddess, which I would not have read if not for the book club (and luckily next month's suggestion looks better or I might be bailing on book club). I was unimpressed with Confessions of a Shopaholic so I wasn't too excited about this one. It did end up being a pretty brainless book, as I'd expected, but it was slightly better than I had remembered Shopaholic to be, probably because I can more easily relate to a workaholic than a shopaholic. Some of the bits about chargeable hours and having to drop everything for a client request brought back many memories of my days in public accounting. Still wouldn't voluntarily read another Kinsella book, but at least it was a quick read and I was able to get it from the library so it was free.

    Also went through two Elin Hilderbrand books - Silver Girl, which was very good, and Beautiful Day, which was OK. Hilderbrand seems to be very hit or miss...my previous experience has been one good (The Castaways) and two bad (Barefoot and A Summer Affair), so now she's at a roughly 50% hit ratio for me. Beautiful Day was kind of bland, about various family dramas on a wedding day, intercut with advice from a notebook written by the bride's late mother. The notebook piece was pretty annoying and pretentious but the rest was all right. Silver Girl was much better...the main character was married to a man clearly inspired by Bernie Madoff and Hilderbrand did a good job of creating a three-dimensional character with both her and her childhood best friend.

    In between the Hilderbrand books was Kate Morton's The Distant Hours, which my mom had lent me. Probably the best book of my marathon the last two weeks. It reminded me a lot of The Thirteenth Tale, with a main character who loved to read, visiting the home of a beloved famous writer (although in this case, the writer is dead and she's visiting his daughters) and trying to solve an old mystery. I know there are a few people here who mentioned liking The Thirteenth Tale so I'd recommend this as a good companion book.

    And finally, I just finished Various Positions by Martha Schabas, which sounded interesting because it was about a 14 year-old ballerina, but then took a somewhat twisted turn as the girl kind of became sex-obsessed. Parts of it made me a bit uncomfortable to read, although I generally think it was well-written. The one thing I thought was captured very well was how awful teenage girls are to each other and there are a couple of all-too-accurate mean girl scenes (reminded me a little bit of Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye in that regard).

    Trying to figure out what's up next...a friend of mine keeps telling me that I should read James Patterson. I think it was the Women's Murder Club series that she pushed. Anyone have any thoughts? My friend and I don't seem to have very similar reading taste, so I am a little skeptical, although she did recommend Silver Girl to me and that turned out well.
    Last edited by Erin; 07-13-2013 at 04:08 AM.

  10. #270
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    I find Patterson very paint-by-the-numbers, but a lot of people like his books.

    B&N is having a summer clearance sale--lots of really cheap books: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s?view...9&FMT=physical
    Trolling dates all the way back to 397 B.C. - People began following Plato around and would make fart noises after everything he said.

  11. #271
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    I am more of a Poirot reader, just because that's the first Christie I read, and I didn't read any Miss Marple books until many years later. There are two volumes of 5 complete Christie books - one Poirot/one Marple - that have a great selection of each. The Poirot one doesn't include one of my favorites - The Man in the Brown Suit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Erin View Post
    And finally, I just finished Various Positions by Martha Schabas, which sounded interesting because it was about a 14 year-old ballerina, but kind of took a twisted turn as the girl kind of became sex-obsessed. Parts of it made me a bit uncomfortable to read, although I generally think it was well-written. The one thing I thought was captured very well was how awful teenage girls are to each other and there are a couple of all-too-accurate mean girl scenes (reminded me a little bit of Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye in that regard).
    I found Cat's Eye completely devastating. It's my favorite Margaret Atwood novel, although it's hard to say I "liked" it.
    Q: Why can't I read the competition threads?
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  12. #272
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    I used to read James Patterson. The first few Alex Cross books were good. Loved "When the Wind Blows", but not impressed with his sequels and YA novels in the series. He is way too comfortable resting on his stacks of cash and he's sloppy and formulatic (to me, at least).

    I will happily recommend James Rollins to people - his Sigma books are great, and the stand alone ones are pretty awesome too (Altar of Eden was fabulous). Just avoid his vampire book - cowritten and horrid.

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    I used to read Patterson, but I am bothered that so many of his books are now co-written. That just seems odd to me.

    Anyone have any thoughts on Patterson's middle school books from the perspective of a kid? I was thinking of getting them for my son to read during the rest of this summer (he's making his way through the Harry Potter series quicker than I expected!). My son is going into 5th grade in the fall.
    Creating drama!

  14. #274
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffisjeff View Post

    Anyone have any thoughts on Patterson's middle school books from the perspective of a kid? I was thinking of getting them for my son to read during the rest of this summer (he's making his way through the Harry Potter series quicker than I expected!). My son is going into 5th grade in the fall.
    I'm interested in anyone's thoughts too. Am thinking about them for my nephews but seeing them on so many commercials bothers me a bit. If they're good do they really need that?
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffisjeff View Post
    I used to read Patterson, but I am bothered that so many of his books are now co-written. That just seems odd to me.

    Anyone have any thoughts on Patterson's middle school books from the perspective of a kid? I was thinking of getting them for my son to read during the rest of this summer (he's making his way through the Harry Potter series quicker than I expected!). My son is going into 5th grade in the fall.
    I don't know about Patterson, but fifth grade was when my son started reading and loving the Redwall books by Brian Jacques. You might try those if you are looking for some alternatives.

    Quote Originally Posted by milanessa View Post
    I'm interested in anyone's thoughts too. Am thinking about them for my nephews but seeing them on so many commercials bothers me a bit. If they're good do they really need that?
    Patterson is a successful corporation as far as writers go; that's why he has so many co-authors and why his books are advertised so much. His name sells and there aren't many authors who can say that.
    Trolling dates all the way back to 397 B.C. - People began following Plato around and would make fart noises after everything he said.

  16. #276
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post

    Patterson is a successful corporation as far as writers go; that's why he has so many co-authors and why his books are advertised so much. His name sells and there aren't many authors who can say that.
    So...do you know if those books are any good?
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  17. #277
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    Quote Originally Posted by milanessa View Post
    So...do you know if those books are any good?
    I haven't read them and thus have no personal judgment to make. You can Google reviews as well as I can, but if you haven't, the School Library Journal gave them all starred reviews.
    Trolling dates all the way back to 397 B.C. - People began following Plato around and would make fart noises after everything he said.

  18. #278

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    I don't know about Patterson, but fifth grade was when my son started reading and loving the Redwall books by Brian Jacques. You might try those if you are looking for some alternatives.
    Thanks, those look like something he might like.

    Picking kid books is hard. My daughter made her way through the Mallory McDonald series this past year (2nd grade). In the first book, Mallory was 8, which was perfect for my daughter, who was 7 when she read it. But she has now almost "caught up" with the series and Mallory is no longer really age appropriate. My daughter, now 8, is currently reading Mallory's Guide to Boys.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffisjeff View Post
    Picking kid books is hard. My daughter made her way through the Mallory McDonald series this past year (2nd grade). In the first book, Mallory was 8, which was perfect for my daughter, who was 7 when she read it. But she has now almost "caught up" with the series and Mallory is no longer really age appropriate. My daughter, now 8, is currently reading Mallory's Guide to Boys.
    I think picking books for anyone is hard, as reading tastes are so personal, but kids can sometimes be exceptionally tough. I am pretty good at getting books for my husband and son, but my daughter? I have no idea what to get for her. A couple of weeks ago, she went to B&N with me and asked if she could buy some books--and then came back with three books of poetry. Never saw that coming. When she was in third grade, she really liked The Spiderwick Chronicles and Judy Moody and her brother's Time Warp Trio books; I think that was the last year that I was able to say "I think you might like this" with any confidence.

    You also have to watch those pink, cartoony covers, as they aren't always what they seem. When my daughter was in (I think) fifth grade, she came home with a book she had borrowed from a friend. I thought the format looked interesting, so I flipped through it. In the first chapter, the main characters debated Brazilian versus French waxes and had a fairly involved discussion about the necessity for pre-planned birth control if one was going to get trashed at a party. That sure wasn't what I was expecting.
    Trolling dates all the way back to 397 B.C. - People began following Plato around and would make fart noises after everything he said.

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    My sister reads a series called The Skinjacker Trilogy Series to her gifted and talented 6th graders every year. They love them http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...Trilogy+Series Everlost is the first book

    Has anyone ever read the Fablehaven series?
    Last edited by A.H.Black; 07-13-2013 at 10:55 PM.

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