Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September Wrap-Up & P.O.M. Award

I'm enjoying another year of tracking reading progress and statistics for all things bookish on the Block. I will also be contributing to Kerrie's Crime Fiction Pick of the Month. Here's what happened here on the Block in August....
Total Books Read: 18 (that's more like it!)
Total Pages:  4,741
Average Rating: 3.06 stars
Top Rating: 5 stars 
Percentage by Female Authors: 28%
Percentage by US Authors: 56%
Percentage by non-US/non-British Authors:  0%
Percentage Mystery:  83%
Percentage Fiction: 100%
Percentage written 2000+: 11%
Percentage of Rereads: 11%
Percentage Read for Challenges: 100% {It's easy to have every book count for a challenge when you sign up for as many as I do.}  
Number of Challenges fulfilled so far: 19 (45%)'s encouraging to see the numbers up this month, bu there are still way too many books that need reading for challenges and I'm still running a bit behind schedule if I'm going to get 40,000 pages done by the end of the year. And now for the P.O.M. Award in Mysteries.

As mentioned above, Kerrie had us all set up for another year of Crime Fiction Favorites. What she was looking for is our Top Mystery Read for each month. Of the eighteen books read in September, fifteen were mysteries. Here are the mystery-related books read:

Jewelled Eye by Douglas Clark (3 stars) 
Murder by Death by Henry Keating (3 stars) 
The Fourteen Dilemma by Hugh Pentecost (3 stars) 
The Stowmarket Mystery by Louis Tracy (3.5 stars) 
The Brandeburg Hotel by Pauline Glen Winslow (1.5 stars)  
The Bat Flies Low by Sax Rohmer (3 stars)
Swing Low, Sweet Harriet by George Baxt (1.5)  
The Albert Gate Mystery by Louis Tracy (3 stars)
The Gay Phoenix by Michael Innes (2 stars)
Some Buried Caesar by Rex Stout (4 stars)
Black Alibi by Cornell Woolrich (3 stars)  
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (5 stars)  
The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl (1 star)  
Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters (4 stars)
Death Dines Out by Theodora Du Bois (3.5 stars)

September saw only one five-star book, Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. Much as I prefer to use the award to highlight a variety of good authors, I simply must go with the clear winner this time--even though Dame Agatha has already claimed a P.O.M award here at the Block. September 15th was the Queen of Crime's birthday and it seems only right to honor her and her excellent book.

In fact, I not only read Christie's novel, I had myself a regular reading, viewing, and listening extravaganza. Not only did I reread the novel which I have read many times, but I also watched the 1974 star-studded film featuring Albert Finney as Poirot and the 2010 Poirot series version with David Suchet in the starring role as well as listening a BBC dramatization with John Moffatt as the Belgian sleuth.

I remember being amazed by the solution the first time I read it. Christie certainly knows how to surprise and mystify. Express is one of the Christie novels that I can read over and over. It doesn't matter that it is one of the "big" Christie stories--one that once you've read it, you're not likely to forget the solution. There are always new bits and pieces to notice and think about. This time I was reading more carefully, looking for hints and clues that my younger self missed. Nuances in conversation here. A little foreshadowing there. A phrase that upon first reading (or even third or tenth or...) might have slipped by unheeded. And I was delighted again to see how Christie sets the first-time reader up to believe any of a variety of solutions without revealing the truth. A dazzling ★★★★ mystery from the Queen of Crime.


fredamans said...

Awesome month!
I hope you got my email about winning last month. I sent it from my phone so am not quite sure. Let me know if you didn't get it.
Happy October!

Bev Hankins said...

I got it Freda and have responded!