Archive for 2010/11

Old Favorites - 4:29PM, 2010/11/24

Having just spent some hours at work this week trying to clear masses of backlogged journals and magazines off my desk, I’ve been inspired to try and write some of these short reviews Library Journal style.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Bennet family is long on daughters and short on dowries. Even more unfortunately, most of the Bennets are short on decorum, too. These last two factors come into play when the wealthy young Charles Bingley moves to the area and becomes interested in Jane. When it becomes clear that Bingley’s sisters and his friend, the even more wealthy Fitzwilliam Darcy, have attempted to keep him and Jane apart, Jane’s sister Elizabeth is displeased to say the least. VERDICT: This is the book that spawned a thousand sequels and a million re-tellings. But nothing beats the original — a classic in every sense of the word, this story of two clever people finding each other in spite of themselves is a book everyone -should- read, and one most people will enjoy anyway.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
Roger Ackroyd, a wealthy and somewhat tyrannical man, is found stabbed in his study just days after the suicide of the widow everyone assumed he would soon marry. His debt-ridden stepson, known to have been in town the night of the murder, is suspiciously nowhere to be found. To the village and the police it looks like it may well be an open and shut case. But then, the village didn’t realize that the mysterious new gentlemen who moved in recently is the great detective Hercule Poirot. And Poirot is not so sure that Roger Paton is actually the culprit. VERDICT: Controversial among mystery fans when it was originally published, Christie pushed the boundaries of the genre in this book, which ranks among her best. An essential part of any mystery collection.

And one not so old not so favorite.

Sterling’s Gold by Roger Sterling
During season 4 of Mad Men, viewers watched the character Roger Sterling embark upon his memoirs. In the end, he changed course several times and eventually decided to focus on the wisdom he acquired in his years as an advertising account executive. In the show, I was under the impression that the book was made up of short anecdotes, but this book is made of brief snippets of conversations and statements from the show. VERDICT: In the tradition of The Bro Code by Barney Stinson, and The Rules of Acquisition by Quark, we have here a quicky tie-in book to the series Mad Men. Amusing, but unlikely to be of any lasting interest.