22 August 2010

Weekly Geeks 2010-29: Reading from the Decades

Our Weekly Geeks task this week is as follows
Weekly Geeks is about examining a book (or books) which were published in your birth decade. Tell us about a book that came out in the decade you were born which you either loved or hated. Is is relevant to today? Is it a classic, or could it be? Give us a mini-review, or start a discussion about the book or books.

My first choice is from my birth year, 1946, and it's author has a lot to do with my love of reading. Enid Blyton provided a constant source of new titles for me to bury myself in, and I loved the stories from the Faraway Tree, an enormous tree which reaches faraway into the sky and is populated by many of the fairy-folk. Every now and again a strange and wonderful land arrives and rests on the topmost branches and the children have visited many of them and experienced all kinds of adventures.

Click on the picture to go to the website.
And to talk about a taste of the future, see the tin of Google buns?

My second choice comes also from 1946, but reflects my interest in reading as an adult - early on I read historical romance blended with mystery. Daphne du Maurier became a favourite author.

Inspired by a grisly discovery in the nineteenth century, The King's General was the first of du Maurier's novels to be written at Menabilly, the model for Manderley in Rebecca. Set in the seventeenth century, it tells the story of a country and a family riven by war, and features one of fiction's most original heroines.

Honor Harris is only eighteen when she first meets Richard Grenvile, proud, reckless - and utterly captivating. But following a riding accident, Honor must reconcile herself to a life alone. As Richard rises through the ranks of the army, marries and makes enemies, Honor remains true to him, and finally discovers the secret of Menabilly.

And then finally, I wondered what Agatha Christie wrote in 1946.
The answer is THE HOLLOW (aka MURDER AFTER HOURS), the  25th Hercule Poirot mystery.

Hercule Poirot soon realizes that what he at first thought was a clever hoax, is very real--there is a dead body by the swimming pool, accompanied by a hysterical woman--and this will be one his toughest cases to crack.

From the Agatha Christie site:
Lady Angkatell, intrigued by the criminal mind, has invited Hercule Poirot to her estate for a weekend house party. The Belgian detective's arrival at the Hollow is met with an elaborate tableau staged for his amusement: a doctor lies in a puddle of red paint, his timid wife stands over his body with a gun while the other guests look suitably shocked. But this is no charade. The paint is blood and the corpse real!

Christie described this novel as the one "I had ruined by the introduction of Poirot."  It was first published in 1946 in London.  In the USA it was published under the title Murder after Hours.  Christie adapted the novel for the stage though with the omission of Hercule Poirot.  It was broadcast in 2004 with David Suchet as Poirot.


BooksPlease said...

I was just wondering what to chose for this topic and then read yours. I love all the books you've picked and I was born in 1946 too.

Kerrie said...

Go for it Margaret - I'll read yours with interest

Marg said...

I loved Enid Blyton books when I was a kid, especially the Faraway Tree and the Magic Wishing Chair because you never knew exactly what it was that you were going to read next.

Kerrie said...

When I was about 10, there was a monthly Enid Blyton magazine that arrived from England and I awaited with great anticipation

Margot Kinberg said...

Karrie - Thanks for sharing these books. Enid Blyton is the reason that so many, many people got hooked on reading, so I'm glad you mentioned her. And I think The Hollow is such an interesting character study. Thanks for bringing that one up, too : ).

Deb said...

I always thought the man who introduced the word "Google" into the language was using a word invented by his nephew to mean "infinite number." So much for that urban myth!

raidergirl3 said...

My sister and I had The Faraway Tree and we read it over and over again. Gosh we loved that book.

Dorte H said...

Of course you had to check Agatha Christie, and of course she had written (at least) one that year :D

The Enid Blyton cover is brilliant, and I wonder whether I should try some more Daphne du Maurier stories. I don´t read romantic stories often, but once in a while ...

Kerrie said...

DEb, I think Google had the meaning of never-emptying, so it probably fits with the more modern meaning.

gautami tripathy said...

Another Enid Blyton fan! How I loved her books. And also our Dame Agatha Christie!

Here is my Weekly Geeks post!

Brian Kavanagh said...

I've just read The Hollow, for the first time I think: I can't recall the plot so I guess it is the first. It strikes me that it's much the same problem I had with The Moving Finger and the late arrival of Miss Marple. In The Hollow, Poirot is almost a supernumerary to the plot and resolution. I believe that AC herself maintains she made a mistake introducing him into the plot and in her stage adaptation he is excluded.

The style of writing and the overall plot leads me to suspect that AC actually started it as a Mary Westmacott novel and for some reason changed horses mid-stream. If this was because she had a problem with it or because the publishers demanded another Poirot is something to conjecture with. But like the Moving Finger, The Hollow could easily do without Poirot. Certainly in this book I feel her writing style and structure is closer to the romances written as Mary Westmacott.

Eni said...

The Folk of The Faraway Tree is indeed a great cover. I too used to read a lot of Enid Blyton;s books as a child, which induced me to publish a book on her titled, The Famous Five: A Personal Aencdotage (www.sbisabirye.blogspot.com, www.bbotw.com, www.amazon.com), which has an original Eileen Soper book cover depicting the first official meeting of The Famous Five in Five On A Treasure Island).
Stephen Isabirye


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