Appointment With Death by Agatha Christie. A Review. Book 14 out of 52

“They have been in prison so long that, if the prison door stands open, they would no longer notice!”

One of the things that I have enjoyed with the Agatha Christie novels that I have read is her propensity to make the solution a surprise, but entirely logical. I have a deep love for crime novels, but I will forgo my diatribe regarding the “who-done-it” to avoid spoilers. I will say that it is a little disappointing that Christie took as long just setting up the crime. Making you see the reasons the victim met their end is essential, but this was a bit drawn out. Instead, following the journey that this reading challenge has taken me on, I want to dissect the underlying theme.

Sometimes we live in a prison, constructed by others, only to realize it when it is too far-gone to escape. We often grow content, even proud, in our assumption that we know what life is all about. As children, life is a game. There are magic and mystery, for most of us, that enthrall our minds. But, what if that was taken away as well? Instead of it falling by the wayside as we grow, it was stricken away from us like a prize unearned. I, for one, do what I can to ensure the world is filled with magic and mystery for my kids. I want them to explore its vast trappings fully. Trust me; I KNOW that this book was not written to make you think of such things. But, that is not how my mind works.

I am giving 3.5 out of 5 stars to “Appointment With Death” by Agatha Christie. Not the worst I have read, not by a long shot. But far from the best Christe novel that I have read to date.

The Alienist: By Caleb Carr. A Review. Book 8 of 52

“The defenders of decent society and the disciples of degeneracy are often the same people”

Such an apropos quote for the season we find ourselves in. Nonetheless, The Alienist by Caleb Carr is what I envision happens when Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes meets Poe’s… well anything by Edgar Allen Poe really. This may not be a good thing for all of you. I did find myself losing a little patience with the story. But, it was still a good read. I think that if one has the time and space to read it, they may enjoy it.

It is significantly difficult to provide some substantive review, while remaining spoiler free, on a mystery novel. Especially one of this ilk. I do feel that Carr did an amazing job of putting me, the reader, into turn of the (20th) century New York. Bordering on the overly descriptive (trust me, I am as shocked as the rest of you that those words just came from me) the narrative puts you in the moment. I just wish that it had been a little more like the aforementioned Sherlock Holmes, pulling no punches, and yielding no major clues until it should be nearly over.

But the story, the story was amazing. Enrapturing even.  Worth the read just for that in and of itself.

I am giving this book three out of five. stars Though there may be many that love it more, I am happy with that. Onto the next book in my 2018 Reading Challenge.

The Goal: By Eliyahu Goldratt. A Review. Book 7 of 52

I love it when books get their point across by way of story. What could have been a droll business case study of the effects that were worked through, and the results, was instead a magical story. I found myself living in the moments, working through the problems, and applying the solutions to the things that I do every day. In fact, there is already a few key points from this book on my whiteboard in my office.

This story does an excellent job of placing you in the story. You find yourself learning so much about manufacturing, and then seeing the little ways that you can apply the thought process that the main character is working through, in your life. I do not work at a plant. But, there are countless processes that function underneath me. One HUGE takeaway that I have, and am applying immediately is the following:

“Putting it precisely, activating a resource and utilizing a resource are not synonymous.”

In other terms, if you work for or with me, and you are reading this review, you need to read this book. There are many things that I will be rolling out in the near future. Very near.

All in all, 4 out of five stars. “The Goal” by Eliyahu Goldratt deserves a place on your shelf if you have interest in changing how things work in you life. You might be surprised in all the ways you can apply the solutions. Book seven is finished! This 2018 Reading Challenge has been… interesting.

Live big, love bigger, and be kind, always.

I Will Carry You: By Angie and Todd Smith. A Review. Book 6 of 52

I knew that I would be experiencing some roller-coasters during this reading challenge. Still on a high from ‘Crash the Chatterbox’ this one hit me. It hit so hard that I had to visit some places in my heart and mind that I have left barren for some time now. “I Will Carry You” is a breathtakingly raw look into dealing with life after loss. Not just any loss, the compounding and exhausting emotions around carrying a child that was found to be ‘incompatible with life’.

This book raised to the surface things that I, purposefully, have ceased any conversation on since my daughter, Zoey, was born. Many, many nights this week were spent crying in the dark, reliving my own losses. From a lifetime ago, the pain still exists. I am not going to lie, it wrecked me a little.

Okay, a lot.

But Angie and Todd Smith have a quote about dealing with the loss that I think that so MANY out there need to know.  For countless parents out there, working through a miscarriage or stillbirth will leave your lives scrambled, hearts broken, and faith shaken. I know that I felt abandoned by God for a long time. It did not stop me from reaching out, but the thought was always there. Anyway, the quote (as I am running out of my word limit):

“..all the while He is just waiting for the time that is right. He hasn’t forgotten, nor has he abandoned us.”

Folks, the long and short of it is this. This kind of loss, it is devastating. You must know that you are not alone in what you feel, what you are going through. But that does not mean that it is not unique. Or, that it is any easier. I think that there is a post building in me about this. Though I am not sure if it will ever come to view. Regardless, if you are in this moment, dealing with this, know that you are not alone. Know that there are many out there that understand that the pain you feel, will never go away. But, we have found some ways to make it hurt a little less from time to time.

“I Will Carry You” By Angie and Todd Smith is a MUST read, for everyone. Weather you have experienced loss or not, read it. Without a doubt 5 out of 5. Very, very emotionally hard to get through, but happy to own, and will read again.

Live big, love bigger, and be kind, always.

In the coming year…

I know, you are most likely all TIRED of reading resolution after resolution. However, I wanted to document a challenge that I gave myself. See, not so long ago, in a land that seems far, far, away, I was an avid reader. How avid? It was a common occurrence for me to be working through three books, at once, all in a week or so. Yeah, that avid. I miss it. I miss reading. I miss what it does to my mind, and my way of thinking.

So, the other day, I reached out on Facebook. I asked for 52 books that I have not read, first come first serve. All to get back into it. One book a week. That is my goal. Well, my friends responded rapidly. So, here is the list (below). These are the books, and the order that I will be reading them in, starting in just a few hours. Additionally, I will be posting a SHORT synopsis (300 words or less, directly correlated to the length and complexity of the topic(s) covered in the book) the week after reading it. I will most likely give each book a 1-10 rating and include a link to the book for any that are interested.

I ask that you help keep me accountable on this. If you are not seeing a post on Monday or Tuesday, call me out on it. I miss reading, and I want my kids to see me entrenched with it as they are reaching their formative years of reading. 2017 was a wild ride, and I know that 2018 is going to be crazy. But, let’s all make the best of it. New year, new slate, new book… not just an empty page. May 2018 be amazing for all of you. If you are looking for me, my nose will be in a book.

Live big, love bigger, and be kind always.

 

Book Title Author Start Finish
1 The Giver Lois Lowry 1/1/2018 1/6/2018
2 Gathering Blue Lois Lowry 1/7/2018 1/13/2018
3 Messenger Lois Lowry 1/14/2018 1/20/2018
4 Son Lois Lowry 1/21/2018 1/27/2018
5 Crash the Chatterbox Steven Furtick 1/28/2018 2/3/2018
6 I Will Carry You Angie and Todd Smith 2/4/2018 2/10/2018
7 The Goal Eliyahu Goldratt 2/11/2018 2/17/2018
8 The Alienist Caleb Carr 2/18/2018 2/24/2018
9 The Magician: Apprentice Raymond Fiest 2/25/2018 3/3/2018
10 The Magician: Master Raymond Fiest 3/4/2018 3/10/2018
11 Time Traveler’s Wife Audrey Niffenegger 3/11/2018 3/17/2018
12 The Art of Learning Josh Waitzkin 3/18/2018 3/24/2018
13 The Remains of the Day Kazup Ishiguro 3/25/2018 3/31/2018
14 Appointment with Death Agatha Christie 4/1/2018 4/7/2018
15 Jesus Land Julia Scheeres 4/8/2018 4/14/2018
16 The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling Henry Fielding 4/15/2018 4/21/2018
17 The Bone Clocks David C. Mitchell 4/22/2018 4/28/2018
18 On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft Steven King 4/29/2018 5/5/2018
19 The Perks of Being a Wallflower Stephen Chobosky 5/6/2018 5/12/2018
20 The Sin of White Supremacy Jeannine Hill 5/13/2018 5/19/2018
21 The Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingslover 5/20/2018 5/26/2018
22 A New Kind of Christian Brian McLaren 5/27/2018 6/2/2018
23 The Last Arrow Erwin McGinnis 6/3/2018 6/9/2018
24 Ghost Soldiers Hampton Sides 6/10/2018 6/16/2018
25 The Color of Magic Terry Prachett 6/17/2018 6/23/2018
26 House of Leaves Mark Z. Danielewski 6/24/2018 6/30/2018
27 Argall: The True Story of Pocahontas and Captain John Smith William T. Vollmann 7/1/2018 7/7/2018
28 The Ocean at the End of the Lane Neil Gaiman 7/8/2018 7/14/2018
29 Dragon Teeth Michael Chriton 7/15/2018 7/21/2018
30 Cat’s Cradle Kurt Vonnegut 7/22/2018 7/28/2018
31 Contagious Jonah Berger 7/29/2018 8/4/2018
32 Cryptonimicon Neal Stephenson 8/5/2018 8/11/2018
33 Outlive Your Life Max Lucado 8/12/2018 8/18/2018
34 Storm Front Jim Butcher 8/19/2018 8/25/2018
35 1632 Eric Flint 8/26/2018 9/1/2018
36 Inverted World Christopher Priest 9/2/2018 9/8/2018
37 The Magicians Lev Grossman 9/9/2018 9/15/2018
38 Astrophysics for People in a Hurry Neil deGrasse Tyson 9/16/2018 9/22/2018
39 Some Buried Caesar Rex Stout 9/23/2018 9/29/2018
40 Invisible Cities Italo Calvino 9/30/2018 10/6/2018
41 Jennifer Government Max Berry 10/7/2018 10/13/2018
42 Liberty Defined Ron Paul 10/14/2018 10/20/2018
43 The Heart Goes Last Margaret Atwood 10/21/2018 10/27/2018
44 The Circus of the Earth and the Air Brooke Stevens 10/28/2018 11/3/2018
45 The Three Body Problem Cixin Liu 11/4/2018 11/10/2018
46 Boneshaker Cherie Priest 11/11/2018 11/17/2018
47 Leave it to Jeeves PG Wodehouse 11/18/2018 11/24/2018
48 Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea Guy Delisle 11/25/2018 12/1/2018
49 The Stupidest Angel Christopher Moore 12/2/2018 12/8/2018
50 At the Mountains of Madness HP Lovecraft 12/9/2018 12/15/2018
51 Unholy Night Seth Grahame-Smith 12/16/2018 12/22/2018
52 Prodigal Summer Barbara Kingslover 12/23/2018 12/29/2018