Tag: Sources

Agatha Christie – Witness for the Prosecution | Review

Title: Witness for the Prosecution

Author: Agatha Christie

Category: Fiction

Page Count: 288

Rating: 4/5

This collection brings together a bunch of Agatha Christie’s short stories, including the title story here, which I’ve also seen performed as a stage play. It was excellent as a play, and it was equally excellent as a story, even when I was consuming it for a second time. Better yet, it’s also bundled in with a bunch of other pretty good reads, although none of them quite stand out like Witness for the Prosecution.

Some people find that Christie’s short stories aren’t quite as good as her books are, while others argue it’s the other way round. Personally, I’d say that it depends, but I do think that a few of her short stories are her best pieces, especially if you go and read Miss Marple’s Final Cases, which was a masterpiece.

Here, some stories are great and some are just good, which is pretty much what I expect from any given collection by any given author. Overall, though, it’s on the stronger side, and definitely one that’s worth picking up. In fact, if you’re new to Agatha Christie, you could do a lot worse than to go and watch Witness for the Prosecution in the theatre and then to pick up the book so you can read it.

For me, this book worked effectively as a re-read, because I’d already read all of the stories that were within it from other sources. In fact, I whizzed through it so quickly, mostly just re-reading the stories that interested me the most, that I forgot to post a review. So I had to catch back up.

Learn more about Witness for the Prosecution.

 


Bill Bryson – Made in America | Review

Title: Made in America

Author: Bill Bryson

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 480

Rating: 3.25/5

As a general rule, I’m a pretty big fan of Bill Bryson, although I will admit that I’ve enjoyed some of his books more than others. This is one of the ones that I didn’t quite enjoy as much as the others, but mostly because it’s just a super dense read and because the print on it is so tiny that you feel like you’re straining your eyes just to read it.

The good news is that the core subject matter here is pretty interesting, especially if you’re the kind of person who’s quite bookish or who’s fascinated by the written word. That’s because it basically covers the history of American English, beginning at the beginning with the formation of America and carrying on through pretty much to the modern day.

That gives this book a pretty weird vibe wherein it feels kind of like a history book and kind of like a dictionary, which is why I made this book one of my bedtime books. You’d have to be kind of mad to pick this up as your main read because of how difficult it is to lose yourself in it. It’s not really one of those books that you can binge on, you know?

With all of that said, there’s some great stuff in here, and I particularly liked the origin stories for some early Americanisms. Because of the makeup of the United States and its early colonies, US English has a bunch of words borrowed from French and Spanish, as well as from the many Native American languages that are now sadly extinct.

The thing that I struggled with was the way that so much of the text just consisted of italicised words in lists and stuff. You’d get a couple of paragraphs of really fascinating history and then just as you’re gearing up and getting into it, he’d hit you with a long list of the different words that relate back to that bit of history and eventually I just found my eyes glazing over.

So I think it would have been a little more interesting if he’d selected fewer words to talk about and made it matter, rather than just throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. That makes it a better choice for a reference book perhaps, especially with the comprehensive sources and index at the end, but it doesn’t work so well if you’re just trying to read it like a normal book.

So make of all of that what you will. I would probably recommend it to people who are interested in language and the origins of words, but not to the general reader. Even if you’re a bit of a Bryson fan, you might find it heavy going. Yeah.

Learn more about Made in America.

 


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