Agatha Christie’s mystery, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is a beloved classic; however, critics have said that Christie broke a fundamental rule of mystery writing when she revealed her murderer. How could this author, so renowned for her puzzle-making ability, have have made such a mistake? And, of course, no one thought to question detective Hercule Poirot’s conclusions. Until now.
Pierre Bayard has written a delightfully enjoyable mystery about Christie’s book. (Spoiler alert: if you intend to read Christie’s book first, then don’t click on the Bayard link because the murderer [as revealed by Christie] is revealed in the book’s description.) In his book, Who Killed Roger Ackroyd? Bayard questions Poirot’s conclusions and makes a very strong case for his argument that the famed detective is wrong!
If it’s been a while since you’ve read the original, you might want to read that first and then pick up Bayard’s book (although Bayard’s book stands up perfectly well on its own). If you’re a fan of mysteries (and even if you don’t particularly like Agatha Christie) you won’t be disappointed.
Linked murders 400 years apart create the suspense and intrigue in this literate novel of family secrets, loyalty, and betrayal. Adam Strickland goes to Tuscany to write about a famous memorial garden, but the garden hides secrets – was Flora Docci actually murdered and why? As Adam delves into the mysteries of the garden he is also drawn into a more recent wartime murder involving the son of the matriarch of the villa, putting his own life in danger.
If you liked The DaVinci Code with it’s mysteries wrapped in ancient texts, or are intrigued by twists and turns of wartime loyalties, you’ll love The Savage Garden.
Grace from the Garden by Debra Engle talks about gardening of course, but really it’s about how people pulling together can make a difference. These graceful essays show how gardening and gardeners, in all their wide diversity, affect lives and make the world a little friendlier. Some of the projects described include:
-An inner city community garden run by an former professional basketball player
-“Garden Angels”, a group of volunteers who install and maintain small gardens for elderly who are no longer physically able to
-Juvenile offenders who work off community service hours in a local vegetable garden where they learn to give back
-A doctor in the United States who has built greenhouses for hospitals in famine-threatened North Korea
-The story of the Portland Memory Garden, built for people suffering from Alzheimer’s and their caregivers
Gardens, whether big or small change, heal, and draw people together making the world better for all of us.
Great acting, brilliant writing, innovative cinematography and multiple compelling story lines combine to create one of the best – maybe the best – show on television. And let me be very clear about this – it’s not about football. Yes, yes, I know, the show revolves around the ups and downs of the football team from Dillion, Texas and high school football reigns supreme in this small town. But in reality it’s about people, the choices they make and the consequences these choices have on them and the people around them.
Now is your chance to get caught up – the Davenport Library has both season one and season two available for checkout. Don’t miss out!
Young and wealthy, a secure position in society and recently widowed, Lady Emily Ashton enjoys a degree of independence that many Victorian women do not. She spends her time studying Greek literature, avoiding marriage proposals and traveling. Set in the late-Victorian era, this deft historical mystery is peopled with interesting, complex characters, witty conversations and an engaging mystery involving the theft of items once owned by Marie Antoinette. Fun and clever with just a touch of romance, this book will keep you turning the pages a fast as you can read.
A Poisoned Season is the second in the series, following And Only to Deceive. The third title, A Fatal Waltz arrives later this month.
Fans of comedy can probably look back and wonder where they were when they found out that comedian Chris Farley had passed away at the age of 33. If they read the papers at that time, they can also recall not being shocked.
The hot nonfiction title The Chris Farley Show, cowritten by his brother Tom, is an illuminating character study broken into 3 acts. Act I paints the portrait of a deeply religious and well-intentioned boy from Madison, Wisconsin with a Midwestern innocence that he never lost even at the darkest hour. Act II shows a fireball ascent through the ranks of Second City, Saturday Night Live , and motion pictures by a natural talent with spot-on instincts in terms of timing, physicality, and energy. Unfortunately, Act Three ends like it does in the real world, as the professional parallels between himself and idol John Belushi materialize in an all-too real fashion. The conclusion is painful, as the book shows us a kinder man than the one John Q. Public merely saw take pratfalls for the amusement of unseen millions.
The writing style takes a while to get used to, as the linear narrative of the author is consistently backed up by quotes from his friends, family and celebrity co-workers. It’s worth it. You’ll wish you could change the ending, though.
Gas prices making you cringe? Gained a few pounds over the winter? Try riding your bike to work. It’s a great way to get and stay in shape, requires no expensive trips to the gas station and it’s better for the environment. Plus, biking is fun! We’re lucky to have one of the best recreational trail systems in the country right here in Davenport and the Quad Cities. In addition, all Citibuses have bike racks; there is no extra fee to use them and they can expand your options for getting around on two wheels.
Bike to Work Week is May 10-16 to both encourage people to commute to work and to raise awareness of bicycles on the road. Bike Iowa can give you lots of tips on how to commute and lots of reasons why it’s a good idea.
Need a little inspiration? Miles From Nowhere by Barbara Savage is about the round-the-world bicycle trip Savage and her husband made. This is a great book – funny, exciting, sometimes tense (attacked by rock throwing men in Egypt), always interesting, Savage and her husband quit their jobs and spent two years on their adventure. Their story makes for can’t-put-down reading and may inspire you to dust off your own bike for a trip around the neighborhood.
Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression by Mildred Armstrong Kalish
The 80-something Kalish writes with simplicity and directness about growing up on an Iowa farm in the thirties. The details of meal preparation, crops and care of the farm animals are so specific they ring with authenticity.
Daily life is made vivid with the telling detail – the feel of grass on bare feet, a snack of new potatoes with a shaving of butter, or preparing dandelion greens after a long winter. She describes how the kids were assigned tasks such as gathering tomatoes, potatoes fresh from the garden, milk and butter from the cellar for dinner. Yet she doesn’t romanticize the work involved in preparing and cleaning up after three meals a day.
Read this with your mother, grandmother, or any older relative and share their memories of a way of life fast disappearing from our collective memory. Thank goodness for memoirists like Kalish.
Glamour, tradition and, oh yeah, bourbon – what’s not to like about the Kentucky Derby? It’s also, of course, America’s premiere horse racing event and sets the stage for the Triple Crown (the Derby, the Preakness in two weeks and the Belmont three weeks after that)
Of the 40,000 Thoroughbred foals born in the United States each year, only 20 get to the Kentucky Derby. Only eleven horses have gone on to the win the Triple Crown. To the Swift chronicles the triumphs and heartbreaks, drama and hope of this beautiful and exciting sport. Heavily illustrated and filled with stories of not only the winners but those that came up short, this collection of stories from The New York Times combines original reporting with new essays on the sport.
Now, what was that about bourbon? The key ingredient for mint juleps of course! No traditional Kentucky Derby Party would be complete without them.
P.S. I LOVE YOU
Holly Kennedy ( Hilary Swank) is beautiful, smart and married to the love of her life – a passionate, funny, and impetuous Irishman named Gerry Kennedy ( Gerard Butler) . So when Gerry’s life is taken by an illness, it takes the life out of Holly. Before he died, Gerry wrote Holly a series of letters that will guide her, not only through her grief, but in rediscovering herself. The first message arrives on Holly’s 30th birthday in the form of a cake and a tape recording from Gerry, who proceeds to tell her to get out and “celebrate herself”. In the weeks and months that follow, more letters from Gerry are delivered in surprising ways, each sending her on a new adventure and each signing off in the same way; P.S. I Love You. With Gerry’s words as her guide, Holly embarks on a journey of rediscovery in a story about marriage, friendship and how a love so strong can turn the finality of death into a new beginning for life. … IMDb
THE GREAT DEBATERS
“The Great Debaters” is a fictionalized account of a true story. In the early 1930s, in the Jim Crow South, a small, all black school in Marshall, Texas, called Wiley College produced a debate team of such skill and renown, they were invited to compete against the white college champions, an unprecedented event in its day. Mel Tolson (Denzel Washington) is the professor at Wiley College Texas who wants to encourage his students to have big dreams.
” The Great Debaters” is a story of self actualization, self-reliances and the triumph of the underdog. This is one of the year’s best films.” – Roger Ebert
NATIONAL TREASURE 2 – BOOK OF SECRETS
National Treasure 2 is the follow up to the box-office hit National Treasure. Treasure hunter Ben Gates (Nicolas Gage) and his fellow treasure hunters (Justin Bartha and Diane Kruger) along with his parents ( Jon Voight and Helen Mirren) set forth to prove his great-great grandfather’s innocence. Ben’s ancestor has been implicated as a key conspirator in Abraham Lincoln’s death. Ben follows an international chain of clues that takes him on a chase from Paris to London and ultimately back to America and leads to the President of United States and the world’s most treasured secrets.
I found this movie fun. One and a half hours of action and suspense.