Tag Archives: books

Liebster Blogging Award

17 May

Lieber award

Thank you so much to The Obsessive Reader for the nomination for the Liebster Award. It is an award passed on by bloggers to new blogs worth reading (blogs with less than 200 followers).

Note: I didn’t do blogs with less than 200 followers, because I don’t know how to find that out, and also I just wanted to choose blogs I read. I’ve also only chosen Book Review blogs because that’s what I’m here for! I read a whole range of types of  blogs but will stick to book blogs for this.

Recipients of the Liebster Award must:

  1. LIST 11 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT YOU.
  2. ANSWER THE QUESTIONS THAT WERE ASKED OF YOU (BY THE BLOGGER THAT NOMINATED YOU).
  3. NOMINATE 11 OTHER BLOGS FOR THE LIEBSTER BLOG AWARD AND LINK TO THEIR BLOGS.
  4. NOTIFY THE BLOGGERS OF THEIR AWARD.
  5. ASK THE AWARD WINNERS 11 QUESTIONS TO ANSWER ONCE THEY ACCEPT THE AWARD.
11 Facts About Me:
  1. I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia and haven’t lived anywhere else.
  2. I have 3 cats; two of them are British Blue Shorthairs, and the other is a stray we got from the Cat Protection Society. They’re named Saffy, Barney and Missy.
  3. I have a phobia of whales. I don’t know why but they freak me out.
  4. I have 2 half brothers and a half sister, although I don’t think of them as ‘halves’.
  5. I have a few weird, old-lady hobbies including cross stitching and doing puzzles.
  6. I love watching all types of sport, but i’m terrible at actually playing sport.
  7. I’m probably the clumsiest person in the world.
  8. I was born on my due date (apparently this is pretty rare).
  9. I want to have 4 children when I become a parent – boy, girl, girl, then boy.
  10. Carl Barron is my favourite comedian, and when I watched one of his videos on the plane I was laughing so loud I got asked to be quieter by the flight attendant.
  11. I will read any genre of book, except erotica, and I refuse to ever read 50 Shades of Grey.
Answers to Questions Asked by The Obsessive Reader:
  1. What is your favorite quote or saying? (And where’s it from/who said it?) And those who were seen dancing were considered insane by those who could not hear the music’ Friedrich Nietzsche. 
  2. If you could travel back in time, which year would you travel back to (and why)? If you mean a year I’ve already lived through, I’d probably go back to 2005 when I was in year 10 at high-school, because it was so much fun! If it’s any year, I’d choose some time in the 20’s just after the war when everything was fun and people let loose! 
  3. What was your big dream as a child? It’s weird because I just realised I don’t think I ever had any big dreams. 
  4. What was your biggest fear as a child? My family leaving me or dying
  5. Which book would you really want to experience on the big screen? A Thousand Splendid Suns, or The Bronze Horseman
  6. If you were an animal, which animal would you be? A cat that is looked after by a good owner. So I could just sleep all day
  7. Disney Channel or News Channel? News
  8. Tell us something really weird and random that has stuck to your memory? I had this dream once when I was about 8 or 9 of all these basketball hoops that were really close to the ground (about 20cms or so) and a basketball just kept bouncing in and out of them endlessly. 
  9. My weirdest habit is… bouncing my leg up and down constantly without realising i’m doing it!
  10. What is your favorite book? I have no favourite book. I love so many
  11. Approximately, how many hours a day do you spend on Facebook/Twitter etc. ? I work in Digital Marketing which involves a lot of social media, so I actually spend my entire work day on Twitter, about an hour of it on Facebook. Then when I come home i’d probably spend about 30 mins on Facebook. 
11 Questions For My Nominees:
  1. What is your favourite memory of your life?
  2. If you had to move country and live in another one, where would you pick?
  3. When is your birthday and do you like the time of year your birthday is in?
  4. What’s your favourite TV show?
  5. What’s your middle name?
  6. Do you prefer actual books or e-books?
  7. What’s your favourite book that you’ve reviewed on your blog, and can you share the link?
  8. What’s your favourite weekly book blog meme?
  9. If you could only eat sweet food or savoury food for the rest of your life, what would you pick?
  10. What food that most people like, do you hate?
  11. What do you do for work?
My Nominations:
  1. Melissa’s Bookshelf
  2. The Obsessive Reader
  3. Bibliobeth
  4. 1 girl 2 many books
  5. Book Shelves and Window Seats
  6. The Book Musings
  7. Chrissi Reads
  8. Lucybird’s Books
  9. Sam Still Reading
  10. Rather Be Reading
  11. Books, Biscuits, and Tea

-H-

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Stories Sitting on the Shelf

23 Mar

I know lots of people like seeing other people’s ‘To Read’ lists. My list is over 2000 books long, so instead of sharing that, I like to show you some of the books currently sitting on my shelf to be read. I’m a bit odd, and read books I currently own alphabetically by title. I have about 30 books on the shelf at the moment to read, but here I’ll just show you the next 14 that are coming up. Sorry for the poor quality image!

Stories Sitting on the Shelf

Stories Sitting on the Shelf

A Clash of KingsGeorge R R Martin: Time is out of joint. The summer of peace and plenty, ten years long, is drawing to a close, and the harsh, chill winter approaches like an angry beast. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who held sway over and age of enforced peace are dead…victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns, as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms prepare to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. Read my review of the first ‘A Song of Ice & Fire’ novel here

A Fine Balance Rohinton MistryWith a compassionate realism and narrative sweep that recall the work of Charles Dickens, this magnificent novel captures all the cruelty and corruption, dignity and heroism, of India. The time is 1975. The place is an unnamed city by the sea. The government has just declared a State of Emergency, in whose upheavals four strangers–a spirited widow, a young student uprooted from his idyllic hill station, and two tailors who have fled the caste violence of their native village–will be thrust together, forced to share one cramped apartment and an uncertain future.

A Judgement in StoneRuth Rendell: On Valentine’s Day, four members of the Coverdale family–George, Jacqueline, Melinda and Giles–were murdered in the space of 15 minutes. Their housekeeper, Eunice Parchman, shot them, one by one, in the blue light of a televised performance of Don Giovanni. When Detective Chief Superintendent William Vetch arrests Miss Parchman two weeks later, he discovers a second tragedy: the key to the Valentine’s Day massacre hidden within a private humiliation Eunice Parchman has guarded all her life.  A brilliant rendering of character, motive, and the heady discovery of truth, A Judgement in Stone is among Ruth Rendell’s finest psychological thrillers

A Prayer for Owen Meany John Irving: John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany is the inspiring modern classic that introduced two of the author’s most unforgettable characters, boys bonded forever in childhood: the stunted Owen Meany, whose life is touched by God, and the orphaned Johnny Wheelwright, whose life is touched by Owen. From the accident that links them to the mystery that follows them–and the martyrdom that parts them–the events of their lives form a tapestry of fate and faith in a novel that is Irving at his irresistible best.

A Tale of Two CitiesCharles Dickens: After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the ageing Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There the lives of two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil roads of London, they are drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror, and they soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.

All Quiet on the Western FrontErich Maria Remarque: Paul Bäumer enlisted with his classmates in the German army of World War I. Youthful, enthusiastic, they become soldiers. But despite what they have learned, they break into pieces under the first bombardment in the trenches. And as horrible war plods on year after year, Paul holds fast to a single vow: to fight against the principles of hate that meaninglessly pits young men of the same generation but different uniforms against each other–if only he can come out of the war alive.

The Book ThiefMarcus ZusakNarrated by Death, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young foster girl living outside of Munich in Nazi Germany. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever they are to be found.

Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant Daniel TammetThis unique first-person account offers a window into the mind of a high-functioning, 27-year-old British autistic savant with Asperger’s syndrome. Tammet’s ability to think abstractly, deviate from routine, and empathize, interact and communicate with others is impaired, yet he’s capable of incredible feats of memorization and mental calculation. Besides being able to effortlessly multiply and divide huge sums in his head with the speed and accuracy of a computer, Tammet, the subject of the 2005 documentary Brainman, learned Icelandic in a single week and recited the number pi up to the 22,514th digit, breaking the European record. He also experiences synesthesia, an unusual neurological syndrome that enables him to experience numbers and words as “shapes, colors, textures and motions.” Tammet traces his life from a frustrating, withdrawn childhood and adolescence to his adult achievements, which include teaching in Lithuania, achieving financial independence with an educational Web site and sustaining a long-term romantic relationship. As one of only about 50 people living today with synesthesia and autism, Tammet’s condition is intriguing to researchers; his ability to express himself clearly and with a surprisingly engaging tone (given his symptoms) makes for an account that will intrigue others as well.

Breakfast at Tiffany’sTruman Capote: In this seductive, wistful masterpiece, Truman Capote created a woman whose name has entered the American idiom and whose style is a part of the literary landscape. Holly Golightly knows that nothing bad can ever happen to you at Tiffany’s; her poignancy, wit, and naïveté continue to charm.

The Bride Stripped BareNikki GemmellA woman disappears, leaving behind an incendiary diary chronicling a journey of sexual awakening. To all who knew her, she was the good wife: happy, devoted, content. But the diary reveals a secret self, one who’s discovered that her new marriage contains mysteries of its own. She has discovered a forgotten Elizabethan manuscript that dares to speak of what women truly desire, and inspired by its revelations, she tastes for the first time the intoxicating power of knowing what she wants and how to get it. The question is: How long can she sustain a perilous double life?

The Bridge to Holy Cross – Paullina Simons: The Bridge to Holy Cross is a powerful story of love and hope — a passionate and epic love story from the Russian-born author of The Bronze Horseman. The world at war …two people in love. Tatiana is eighteen years old and pregnant when she miraculously escapes war-torn Leningrad to the West, believing herself to be a widow. Her husband, Major Alexander Belov, a decorated hero of the Soviet Union, has been arrested by Stalin’s infamous secret police and is awaiting imminent death as a traitor and a spy. Tatiana begins her new life in America. In wartime New York City she finds work, friends and a life beyond her dreams. However, her grief is inescapable and she keeps hearing Alexander calling out to her. Meanwhile, Alexander faces the greatest danger he’s ever known. An American trapped in Russia since adolescence, he has been serving in the Red Army and posing as a Soviet citizen to protect himself. For him, Russia’s war is not over, and both victory and defeat will mean certain death. As the Second World War moves into its final violent phase, Tatiana and Alexander are surrounded by the ghosts of their past and each other. They must struggle against destiny and despair as they find themselves in the fight of their lives. A master of the historical epic, Paullina Simons takes us on a journey across continents, time, and the entire breadth of human emotion, to create a heartrendingly beautiful love story that will live on long after the final page is turned. Read my review of the first Tatiana & Alexander book here.

Cocaine BluesKerry Greenwood: This is where it all started! The first classic Phryne Fisher mystery, featuring our delectable heroine, cocaine, communism and adventure. Phryne leaves the tedium of English high society for Melbourne, Australia, and never looks back. The London season is in full fling at the end of the 1920s, but the Honorable Phryne Fisher–she of the green-grey eyes, diamant garters and outfits that should not be sprung suddenly on those of nervous dispositions–is rapidly tiring of the tedium of arranging flowers, making polite conversations with retired colonels, and dancing with weak-chinned men. Instead, Phryne decides it might be rather amusing to try her hand at being a lady detective in Melbourne, Australia.

The Colour of MagicTerry PratchettOn a world supported on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown), a gleeful, explosive, wickedly eccentric expedition sets out. There’s an avaricious buy inept wizard, a naive tourist whose luggage moves on hundreds of dear little legs, dragons who only exist ifyou believe in them, and of course THE EDGE of the planet…

Cross StitchDiana Gabaldon: In 1945, Claire is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon in Scotland. Innocently, she walks through a stone circle in the Highlands, and finds herself in a violent skirmish taking place in 1743. Suddenly she is a Sassenach, an outlander, in a country torn by war and by clan feuds. A wartime nurse, Claire can deal with the bloody wounds that face her. But it is harder to deal with the knowledge that she is in Jacobite Scotland and the carnage of Culloden is looming. Marooned amid the passion and violence, the superstition, the shifting allegiances and the fervent loyalties, Claire is in danger from Jacobites and Redcoats – and from the shock of her own desire for James Fraser, a gallant and courageous young Scots warrior. Jamie shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire, and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

I think that this is an exciting mix of books, and I’m looking forward to reading (and reviewing) them all! If you’ve read any of these, I’d love to hear your thoughts – although please don’t spoil them for me!

Descriptions taken from Goodreads, as I obviously haven’t read the books yet!

-H-

World’s largest floating bookshop delivers books to the poor

18 Mar

I was just watching ABC News, and saw this story. The world’s largest floating bookshop delivers books to the poor. The ship, Logos Hope, carries more than 5000 books around the world and sells them at low prices to poor communities where books are hard to find.

Currently en route from Bangkok, Thailand to Hong Kong, the Logos Hope will be open to the public for 2 weeks. Last time they visited Hong Kong (in December & January), 92,000 people visited the floating book shop, and nearly 150,000 books were sold!

Logos Hope

Logos Hope

I think this is a fantastic idea, because I know I personally would be lost without reading, and it makes me so happy that kids around the world can have the opportunity to enjoy books. You can read more about the initiative here, and if you want, you can donate to the cause here.

-H-

#15 True Blood Omnibus – Charlaine Harris

15 Feb

The Southern Vampire Mysteries – Books 1, 2 & 3 of 13

True Blood Omnibus - Charlaine Harris

True Blood Omnibus – Charlaine Harris

Goodreads rating: 4.19/5 (1400+ ratings)

My rating: 4/10

Why it’s on the list: I love True Blood the TV series, and had already read the first book, Dead Until Dark, and wanted to continue the series.

Genre: Mystery, Fantasy, Romance

The True Blood Omnibus is made up of the first three books of The Southern Vampire Mysteries:

  1. Dead Until Dark (Published May 1st, 2001)
  2. Living Dead in Dallas  (Published March 2002)
  3. Club Dead (Published May 2003)

I’d previously read, and reviewed Dead Until Dark, so won’t talk about that in this post but check out that review for a basic rundown of the series.

Although I quite enjoyed Book #1, unfortunately I felt like Books 2 & 3 just combined into one long, boring, badly written novel. It reads like a constant circle of; Sookie is in love with Bill > Sookie is angry at Bill > Sookie gets in a fight/is attacked/is taken and is injured > Sookie saves herself > multiple male vampires/werewolves/shifters come to look after her > Sookie wants to have sex with said vampire/werewolf/shifter > Sookie goes back to Bill. And so the circle of Sookie’s life continues.

Unlike the TV Series, where you feel real danger for Sookie, the books make the fighting or tense scenes really quick and like Sookie gets out of bad situations much too easily. The only thing I liked about the books was that Sookie is generally a strong woman (most of the time) and knows what she wants.

The writing is really, really, bad. Sometimes I had to go back and re-read sentences multiple times before understanding what Harris was trying to say. This could be reflective of my reading skills, but somehow I don’t think so.

I will continue to read the series, as I hate to start something and not finish, however if you haven’t started this series yet, I wouldn’t bother and suggest you just go watch True Blood which is awesome.

-H-

WWW Wednesday

13 Feb

W…W…W…Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should be Reading. 

TO PLAY ALONG, JUST ANSWER THE FOLLOWING THREE (3) QUESTIONS:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

_________________________________________________________________________________

What are you currently reading?

Currently I’m reading The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey. I’m up to page 65 and haven’t really got into it yet.

The White Woman on the Green Bicycle - Monique Roffey

The White Woman on the Green Bicycle – Monique Roffey

What did you recently finish reading? 

I just finished the True Blood Omnibus 1 by Charlaine Harris, which is comprised of the first 3 books of The Southern Vampire series: Dead Until Dark, Living Dead in Dallas, and Club Dead. I’d already read the first book separately, and you can find my review here.

True Blood Omnibus - Charlaine Harris

True Blood Omnibus – Charlaine Harris

What do you think you’ll read next?

The next book i’ll read is Ken Follett’s latest novel, book #2 of The Century Trilogy, Winter of the World. I loved the first book in this series, Fall of Giants, so am looking forward to reading this although I’ve heard mixed reviews.

Winter of the World - Ken Follett

Winter of the World – Ken Follett

Feel free to let me know your thoughts on any of these books, although no spoilers please for the ones I haven’t read yet!

-H-

Teaser Tuesday

8 Jan

Today is 42degrees celsius in Sydney, one of the hottest days on record! It’s crazy!

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Should Be Reading.

Rules
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser

Book: Stasiland by Anna Funder
Page: I’m currently up to page 37. My spoiler is from page 157.

‘You have to understand,’ he says, ‘in the context of my father, and of the propaganda of the Cold War – the GDR was like a religion. It was something I was brought up to believe in…’

Stasiland - Anna Funder

Stasiland – Anna Funder

#8 Dead Until Dark – Charlaine Harris

3 Jan

The Southern Vampire Mysteries – Book 1 of 13

Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris

Dead Until Dark – Charlaine Harris

Goodreads rating: 3.95 (212,100+ ratings)

My rating: 7/10

Why it’s on the list: I’m a huge fan of the True Blood TV Series, which is based on this book series, so I thought i’d read the books too.

First published: May 1st, 2001 by Ace Books

Genre: Mystery, Fantasy, Vampire (if that’s even a real genre!)

For those of you who’ve watched True BloodDead Until Dark is literally just Season 1 of True Blood.

If you haven’t seen True Blood (you totally should), this series is about Sookie Stackhouse, who lives in the fictional town of Bon Temps, Louisiana. In the Dead Until Dark world, Vampires are trying to assimilate with humans, however there is still lots of negative stigma revolving around them. They are not treated equally, and in the South particularly, there is a lot of hate directed towards them.

A vampire named Bill moves into Bon Temps, as the vampire scene is kicking off, and Sookie and Bill become an item, which has got the whole town talking. What does a pretty, young, blonde girl like Sookie see in the ‘scary’ old vampire. Coincidentally, around the same time Bill moves into town, a whole spate of horrific murders are committed, leading to a mystery with a cool twist.

If you happen to have seen True Blood before reading this book, you will know everything that’s about to happen, and the series practically mirrors the book to a T. If i’d read the book first, i’d be happy with that, but watching the show first makes it a (obviously) predictable read.

I still recommend it, especially so that you can continue reading the rest of The Southern Vampire Mysteries. 

-H-

WWW Wednesday & Happy New Year!

2 Jan

Happy New Year!

I haven’t done a review in a while, mainly due to xmas/NY celebrations, but also because I got a new kitten and he’s too adorable so i’ve been lazy with this.

I’m about to write a review, but for now, here’s this weeks WWW Wednesday, which is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should be Reading. 

TO PLAY ALONG, JUST ANSWER THE FOLLOWING THREE (3) QUESTIONS:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Yesterday I started Scandalands by Kyle Sandilands. For those not from Australia, he’s a controversial Radio host in Australia, who has been voted most hated man for years. He was homeless at 15, and has led an interesting life so i’m reading his book. Only a few chapters in, and while his writing style is terrible, I’m enjoying the content.

Scandalands - Kyle Sandilands

Scandalands – Kyle Sandilands

What did you recently finish reading? 

The last book I finished was Paint it Black by Janet FitchShe’s the same author who wrote White Oleander. I will review this book soon.

Paint It Black - Janet Fitch

Paint It Black – Janet Fitch

What do you think you’ll read next?

The next to be read will be The Secret Ingredient by Dianne Blacklock. I have no idea what it’s about, but I got it for christmas 2011 or 2010 and haven’t read it yet!

The Secret Ingredient - Dianne Blacklock

The Secret Ingredient – Dianne Blacklock

Would love to read some other WWW Wednesdays, so please share!

-H-

#7 The Bronze Horseman – Paullina Simons

17 Dec
The Bronze Horseman - Front Cover

The Bronze Horseman – Front Cover

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find my copy of this book, so have taken this image from Google Books. This is the same edition of the book that I read.

Goodreads rating: 4.39 (11,100+ ratings)

My rating: 7/10

Why it’s on the list: Earlier this year, I went into Dymocks on the corner of Hunter & Pitt Street in the CBD and they had their top 50 books (or something like that), and you could buy 3 for the price of 2. I ended up buying this, Freedom, and something else I can’t remember.

First published: April 2nd, 2001 by HarperCollins

Genre: Romance, Drama, Historical Fiction

Set during WWII, originally in Leningrad, Russia, is a story of love and loss in a time of war. The Bronze Horseman starts on 22nd June 1942, the day that Russia enters the war, and main character Tatiana Metanova meets the mysterious Red Army officer Alexander Belov. Just shy of 17, Tatiana is naive and innocent when it comes to love, dating and sex. Unlike her older sister, Dasha, who ends up dating Alexander.

The war in Russia continues, and many people close to Tatiana die due to starvation or injuries. The main challenges she faces are, obviously, war and hunger, but also the struggle of suppressing her feelings for Alexander, and eventually the obstacles that keep them apart.

loved this book, and found it hard to put down. The first half, about Tatiana’s life in Leningrad, was long but so interesting to me. I love anything set in the world wars (particularly Europe in WWII), and the suffering her family endured was terrible. Later in the book, Tatiana and Alexander are finally having a life together, and this part dragged on for me. Basically there was a whole few hundred pages of Wake up. Have sex. Eat. Have sex. Swim. Have sex. Eat. Have sex. Tatiana do household duties. Have sex. which can get a bit tedious.

However once they are then separated again, you realise how much you miss their boring days of sex, eating and sleeping, and how badly you wish they could go back to that time in their lives. There are lots of hurdles, changes and issues that arise for Tatiana and Alexander, and the ending of this book is sad. However, there are 2 more books in the series, which are on my List.

A great thing about the edition I read, was that it had 2 maps in the cover. One of Russia and surrounding countries, with all the cities that are mentioned/visited in the book. And one of Leningrad, so you could see where Tatiana’s family lived, where she worked, and could track what was happening during the war. I’m a big fan of maps in books that have a lot to do with the geography of a place, so I definitely found this useful.

I highly recommend this book. You really get drawn in, and I personally really loved Tatiana’s character. Not so much Alexander’s, because I personally think he’s a bit of a pig, but she is lovely.

-H-

#6 Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

10 Dec
Murder on the Orient Express - Front Cover

Murder on the Orient Express – Front Cover

Goodreads rating: 4.04 (53,800+ ratings)

My rating: 6.5/10

Why it’s on the list: Like Death on the Nile, this was the 3rd of my brother’s favourite Agatha Christie books.

First published: January 4th, 1934 by Collins Crime Club

Genre: Mystery/Crime

Another Poirot novel, Murder on the Orient Express is set on a train (unsurprisingly). Stout Belgian detective Hercule Poirot boards an unusually packed train, with a variety of other passengers from a wide range of countries and backgrounds. A Count and a Countess, a princess, some maids, a car salesman and a Colonel are just a few of the characters who make up the remainder of the first and second class carriage along with Poirot.

After another passenger is murdered, and some pieces of evidence are left behind, Poirot is called upon by the Orient’s owner to investigate the murder. The train is stuck thanks to the snow, and Poirot determines that no one could have got on or off the train, which means one or more of the passengers is the murderer.

Carriage Layout

Carriage Layout

I liked the layout of the book, which had separate ‘parts’, and when each passenger was giving evidence, they were in different chapters, for example, ‘McQueen’s evidence’, which made it easier to follow and also gave you more of an insight into the characters. The edition of the book that I read also had a diagram of the first and second class carriage so that you could see where people were in relation to the victim. I ended up referring to the diagram quite a bit as I was reading the evidence.

I won’t tell you anymore, as I really don’t like reviews that give away important plot points, however I will say that I was disappointed with the ending of this mystery. As usual, I had my suspects, and as usual, I was wrong. But that’s not what annoyed me. The ‘cop-out’ nature of the solution irritated me, and it was too far-fetched in my mind. Unlike other Poirot novels (eg. Death on the Nilewhich seem more realistic and likely, and are clever murders.

I do love Poirot though, and I do recommend this book to any Agatha Christie fan/mystery lover just because you must read the book to believe it!

Past reviews

“The great Belgian detective’s guesses are more than shrewd; they are positively miraculous. Although both the murder plot and the solution verge upon the impossible, Agatha Christie has contrived to make them appear quite convincing for the time being, and what more than that can a mystery addict desire?”The New York Times Book Review, March 4th 1934

Bits & pieces

  • Christie herself was involved in a similar incident in December 1931 while returning from a visit to her husband’s archaeological dig at Nineveh. The Orient Express train she was on was stuck for twenty-four hours, due to rainfall, flooding and sections of the track being washed away. Her authorised biography quotes in full a letter to her husband detailing the event. The letter includes descriptions of some passengers on the train, who influenced the plot and characters of the book, particularly an American lady, Mrs. Hilton, who was the inspiration for Mrs. Hubbard. [Source]
  • In Sex And The City Season 5 episode “The Big Journey”, Carrie and Samantha take a trip from New York to San Francisco in a cross-country train. Carrie booked a first class deluxe suit in the train, but when they arrive they are surprised to see how small it is. Samantha then quips, “I’m starting to understand why there was a murder on the orient express.” [Source]
  • There is a history of criminals copying crimes from Agatha’s books (whether the criminals knew or not). There was a murder very similar to Murder on the Orient Express committed in West Germany in 1981. [Source]
  • Her last public appearance was at the 1974 premiere of Murder on the Orient Express. [Source]
  • The Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul has an Agatha Christie Room where, it claims, she wrote Murder on the Orient Express. [Source]

Notable quotes

“If ever a man deserved what he got, Ratchett or Cassetti is the man. I’m rejoiced at his end. Such a man wasn’t fit to live!” – Mr Macqueen

“She is cold. She has not emotions. She would not stab a man; she would sue him in the law courts.”  – Miss Debenham

“There is a large American on the train,” said M. Bouc, pursuing his idea – “a common-looking man with terrible clothes. He chews the gum which I believe is not done in good circles. You know whom I mean?” – M. Bouc

“No,” said Mr. Bouc thoughtfully. “This is the act of a man driven almost crazy with a frenzied hate – it suggests more that Latin temperament. Or else it suggests, as our friend the chef de train insisted, a woman.” M. Bouc

“I like to see an angry Englishman,” said Poirot. “They are very amusing. The more emotional they feel the less command they have of language.”  – Poirot

“If you confront anyone who has lied with the truth, they usually admit it – often out of sheer surprise. It is only necessary to guess right to produce your effect.”Poirot

“If you will forgive me for being personal – I do not like your face, M. Ratchett.” – Poirot

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