This is not a review. This is a read-in-progress. I received a copy of this book from my dad, for Christmas. Closed Casket is the new book from Sophie Hannah, who was authorized by the Christie estate to write more books featuring Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Hannah is a well-received writer of psychological crime thrillers, as well as a poet.
The Washington Post’s reviewnotes that Closed Casket “lacks the special charm of the originals”, yet calls it “endearing”. They wanted more of Poirot’s larger-than-life brilliance, I suspect. I suppose it’s difficult to take one author’s character and write with her template in mind. I won’t let this review color my judgment – I find the first few chapters well-written and intriguing.
I’m not a fangirl nitpicker, I just want to read an interesting mystery, regardless of who reboots the franchise. The Christie estate has resisted what The Guardian calls “authorial regeneration” for the longest time. I guess the truth is that ultimately, nobody will measure up to Agatha Christie.
I still want to buy The Monogram Murders. A friend of mine who has both books says, “You know it’s not Agatha Christie, but you can enjoy it anyway.”
When I was ten, I saw Star Wars (A New Hope) for the first time. I queued at the movie theater with my grandma. The moment I saw Princess Leia, I knew she was a different kind of princess: a feisty, kickass woman who would eventually lead a rebellion, a heroine for the ages. She remains one of my favorite movie characters of all time.
This is the cat who lives in our building lobby. He goes by several names, but we like to call him Needy Cat, because he likes to hog all the cuddles from the residents.
He has been spayed, so he became very chubby. The janitors feed him on the sly, because building rules prohibit feeding strays. Obviously he’s not a stray anymore. This is how he likes to sit, even though he doesn’t know where to put his belly.
I really like Needy Cat. He comes when I call. I wave my hand and make meowing noises and then he runs to me. He loves being petted. I love petting him, feeling that round tummy.
Christmas is a time for gratitude. We are grateful we are alive, we are grateful for the things we have received or enjoyed, for the people we share our lives with. I want to thank in particular those people who have made Christmas possible for us – the ones who work during the holidays so that we could celebrate it at home with our families.
I’m sharing this video because I remember what it’s like to work weekends and holidays. I used to work in fashion retail, and Christmas was our busiest time. The malls would be milling with people, our feet would hurt, but we’d still try to get through it all, smiling. I’m glad I don’t have to do it now, but I appreciate those who do. A blessed Christmas to all of you.
Technology Review lists ten breakthrough technologies for 2016. There’s hope for cancer patients as scientists genetically engineer immune cells. Autonomously-driving cars are going to be a wider reality. Small computers powered over the air by Wi-fi and other technologies will become more widely available in various applications. These innovations power us on toward the future.
All these things help keep that childish sense of wonder in me alive.
The Desideratasays, “Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.” These very familiar first words were written by writer Max Ehrmann in 1927.
Towards the end of the prose poem it says:
It’s a good reminder this Christmas, when we become overwhelmed by the many people and situations demanding our attention. We should all have a quiet place, a quiet space, a safe space, with which to order our thoughts and establish calm.
Last Friday I had a moment of panic, and asked my father if he had ordered the turkey for Christmas Eve dinner yet. Christmas Eve dinner is the big Christmas moment in the Philippines, oddly more than Christmas Day itself. He texted back, “I ordered early but they haven’t confirmed my order yet. Do you have another supplier?” I didn’t have one, and I had to go online to check out caterers. Fortunately he texted back a couple of hours later that our order was taken and was told when we could pick it up. We went to all this trouble because our oven thermostat is unreliable and can’t handle a roast. I heaved a sigh of relief. I could – maybe – relax a bit.
Do I feel prepared for this holiday season? Every year I feel unprepared. There always seems to be something left unbought, some place left unreserved, something left unordered. I’ve listed down the menu for Christmas and New Year meals. I’ll be paying a visit to the deli tomorrow. This year, though, I’ve managed to get some things done early. I’ve made reservations for my birthday lunch at the neighborhood Japanese restaurant, for the end of the year. There have been times in the past when I left it too late, and all the restaurants I wanted to dine at were fully booked. I’ve also remembered to order my birthday cake from our baker neighbor. My only problem now is where we’ll eat dinner on January 1, when many malls are closed. I’m sure we’ll think of a place in time.
I haven’t even watched Star Wars: Rogue One yet.
A part of me wants to stay in bed and hide under the covers, but adulting is necessary this Christmas, so yes, I’ll have that coffee now.
I received this pen stand a year ago from a very generous friend, whom I had helped with a fountain pen purchase. It’s a two-pen stand of walnut wood, with a space specifically made for a Pilot Iroshizuku ink bottle, with my name on it. It’s made by Dan Brown(not the author!) of East Wenatchee, Washington. He can make custom pen stands to order (you may prefer a different ink brand bottle stand). His work (under account name Komitadjie) can be seen on the Fountain Pen Network forum. Unfortunately, I have no idea how much this costs, because it was a gift.