Tag: Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie wrote lots of könyvek

Wednesday, 3 June, 2015 0 Comments

This year marks what would have been the 125th birthday of Agatha Christie, who was born on 15 September 1890 and died on 12 January 1976. She wrote six romances under the name Mary Westmacott, but she’s best known for the 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections she wrote under her own name, most of which involve the investigations of Hercule Poirot, Jane Marple, Parker Pyne and Tommy and Tuppence Beresford. She also wrote the world’s longest-running play, The Mousetrap.

Note: The plural of the Hungarian könyv (book) is könyvek.

Budapest train station

Sophie Hannah follows the Dalai Lama

Sunday, 22 March, 2015 0 Comments

Hercule Poirot is enjoying a quiet supper in London when a terrified young woman approaches and confides to him that she is about to be murdered. Oddly, she begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she says, justice will have been done. The Monogram Murders is the first new Hercule Poirot novel to be authorised by the Agatha Christie estate and it was published last year. The author is Sophie Hannah, one of Britain’s favourite poets, and her new collection of verse, which will be published in May, is titled Marrying the Ugly Millionaire. Here’s a topical snippet:

The Dalai Lama on Twitter

I am following the Dalai Lama on Twitter
But the Dalai Lama is not yet following me.
That’s fine. Things are as they are. I do not feel bitter.
Enlightenment is his thing. Reciprocity?
Not so much. He is a spiritual big-hitter
And I write detective novels. It’s easy to see
Why I’m following the Dalai Lama on Twitter
And the Dalai Lama is not yet following me.

Sophie Hannah

Note: The Dalai Lama has 10.6 million followers on Twitter, which makes him the 101st most-followed person on the network. Kathy Perry, in comparison, has 67.1 million followers and is the Queen of Twitter.

Gass and Gaddis and Blue language

Tuesday, 25 February, 2014 0 Comments

On Being Blue by William H. Gass was first published in 1976, the year when the Apple Computer Company was formed, the Ramones released their first album and Agatha Christie died. Now, it’s being republished by NYRB Classics, with an introduction by Michael Gorras, and here’s a snippet from his appreciation of the amazing flexibility of the English language in the hands of Gass:

“Say it. Go ahead, stand before the mirror, look at your mouth, and say it. Blue. See how you pucker up, your lips opening with the consonants into a kiss, and then that final exhalation of vowels? Blue. The word looks like what it is, a syllable blown out into the air, and with the sound and the sight of saying it as one. You blew blue, though let’s pause a while before getting on to that, and try it out in the other languages you might claim to know. Bleu. But it’s just not the same, your lips don’t purse as much, the eu cuts the syllable short where the ue prolongs it, sustaining it like a piano’s pedal. Blau — that doesn’t work either, and the ow makes the mouth open too far. It’s not quite a howl, it’s a touch too soft for that, and yet it’s a blowsy sound, and untidy. As for azzurro or azul, well, those suggest something else entirely.”


“The ship’s surgeon was a spotty unshaven little man whose clothes, arrayed with smudges, drippings, and cigarette burns, were held about him by an extensive network of knotted string.” The Recognitions by William Gaddis.

While Michael Gorras pays tribute to the musical language of William Gass in his introduction to On Being Blue, Gass did something similar for William Gaddis in his introduction to The Recognitions: “I particularly like the double ts with which our pleasure begins, but perhaps you will prefer the ingenious use of the vowel i in the sentence with which it ends… or the play with d and c in the same section,” he wrote. Michael Robbins looks at “How perfectly strung-together words can delight the ear” in the Printers Row Journal.