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Old 09-02-2014, 05:01 AM   #20641
pdurrant
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And I sometimes wonder how people who don't actually read French view Poirot's frequent untranslated* francophone interjections. As some kind of colourful foreign decoration which doesn't need to be understood? Random noises that Belgian detectives make when excited? A frustrating exercise in WTF is he just saying?
I think Christie assumed that anyone reading them would have enough French to get the jist of what he's saying.
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Old 09-02-2014, 06:49 AM   #20642
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Along with The Demon-Haunted World, I'm going to read Persuasion by Jane Austen this month, and Fall Of Giants by Ken Follet for the next three months in a delightfully interactive group read online. I've never juggled books before, and though it's unfamiliar, it's also pleasing.
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Old 09-02-2014, 08:49 AM   #20643
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Finished up The Tawny Man Trilogy by Robin Hobb. It was good and it was a mostly satisfying ending except I already know the adventures of Fitz and the Fool continue, haha.

I am going back to Malazan now, just started book 5, Midnight Tides by Steven Erikson.
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Old 09-02-2014, 03:00 PM   #20644
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I think Christie assumed that anyone reading them would have enough French to get the jist of what he's saying.
At the time, that would have been a reasonable assumption in the circles Christie was most familiar with.

But that was then, this is now, educational and cross-cultural foreign language awareness standards have kind of changed, and characters no longer ejaculate* in public with quite so much abandon as they used to.

And now I'm kind of wondering how Christie's translators handle the issue, given that apparently she still has the best-selling and most-widely-translated books after the major religious texts and Shakespeare. Everything into the target language for the benefit of the non-francophone† Gentle Reader, or keep a few phrases around for flavour and if they happen to not be understood, well then zut alors!

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Ellery Queen, in one book and in a particular chapter, spoke a lot of French, and he's an American, not French or Belgian. It was so over the top that a review I read moaned about the French phrases, something I've never seen Poirot readers do.
Yeah, it does seem that something which turned out to be unnecessarily pervasive (though I don't know how low/high the threshold for that from a presumably primarily monolingual US audience would be) and not subtly picked up in the rest of the following conversations/narrative to clue-in the reader (as one of my favourite authors, Barbara Hambly, does in her excellent and recommended Benjamin January series set in 1830s New Orleans where the characters speak multiple languages and often quote in Latin and Ancient Greek as well as French) would be pretty annoying.

And thanks to your comment, I just looked it up and found out that not only is Ellery Queen an actual writer (pseudonymous), but also was an actual detective (fictional). I'd known the former, but not the latter, and your phrasing made me think he'd inserted himself into some of his stories the way that Alfred Hitchcock used to do cameos in his films. Learn something new every day.

Anyway, finished Jo Nesbø's The Redbreast, 3rd in the Harry Hole series of dysfunctional Norwegian detective murder mystery/crime thrillers, and the first book in what the title of the omnibus calls "The Oslo Trilogy".

I liked this a lot more than The Snowman, not least because it involved a good deal of Norwegian history, and I tend to like to see historical stuff incorporated as means/motive/method for whodunnits, and also because I just don't really care for INSERT SLEUTH TYPE HERE vs psycopathically abnormal serial killer stuff. I have this rather low threshold for certain types of violence, fictional or otherwise, and gore in particular, which is why I don't read/watch most forms of horror.

Anyway, this was a much more straightforward hate crimes/potential revenge scheme-thwarting sort of investigation, which made use of the involvement of Norwegian volunteers to the WWII Nazi war effort, as well as the modern day neo-Nazi movement and general racial and anti-immigrant tension in Norway, as well as playing on fears of external foreign terrorism while examining the possibility of domestic terroristic activity.

Even though this was published and set circa 2000, those themes are actually pretty topical even now, what with the relatively recent Utøya spree killings which really rattled Norway's view of itself regarding certain undercurrents in its society.

Once again, this was really jumpy between all the flashbacks and the present-day stuff. And there was a lot of deliberate narrative misdirection with some hidden mysterious identity attempts, and on a few occasions, the use of identical names/nicknames to try and trick you into thinking that someone/thing was actually someone/thing else. Nesbø's favourite kind of fish must really be the red herring.

Despite this attempted obfuscation, I did manage to figure out both of the major people who were responsible for/committing the two intersecting crimes well before Harry did, or even the general only-shown-to-the-reader reveal. But then, he's a semi-dysfunctional borderline alcoholic with a lot of distractions in his life and I do have the benefit of being able to read even the purposefully mysterious hint-dropping-only segments of the primary criminal's internal reminisce.

Overall, this tied together a lot better, I think. One of the things which I thought was just a tangential introductory point to set up Harry's current situation and explain what he was doing in a particular position actually turned out to be quite thematically resonant with the case. Although I still think it's kind of overly coincidental the level of surprise personal involvement with his cases that he seems to be getting so far.

And a rather major loose end which I was expecting to see tied up (there were hints that it kind of would be) actually didn't, which I appreciate because you don't always get to wrap up everything neatly at the end, and I've started on the 4th book, Nemesis, to see if they return to investigating it, since I rather liked one of the characters who was affected by that and would like to see them get some form of justice.

Medium-firm recommend. I quite enjoyed this, mainly for the nifty Norwegian history/current culture bits, and there was an actual mystery to try to figure out, in terms of identity and what happened back then, if not what's going to happen now, as well as the obligatory race-against-the-clock can-we-stop-the-attempted-final-crime-in-time thriller portion.

* Well, maybe in the porno parody version. But that's generally a more non-conversational variety of intercourse than used to be societally acceptable.

† French translators tend to handle this sort of thing by doing footnotes with N.d.T. (note from the translator), with an explanatory gloss in the bottom margin should you need it.

Last edited by ATDrake; 09-02-2014 at 03:33 PM. Reason: The squeamishness is visual, too. Clearly I'm a "see no evil" kind of monkey, because I certainly speak and hear it.
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Old 09-02-2014, 03:03 PM   #20645
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And good it was. A nice take on the god-appointed hero theme, as one would expect from Watt-Evans.

Now for: Analog SFF for November 2014. (Yes, the November issue actually comes out at the end of August!)
Which was most enjoyable. A good issue.

Now for Citadel by John Ringo. I bought this in July from Kobo using a good discount code. The second in his "Troy Rising" series, about a hostile alien invasion of the Solar System. I seem to have liked the first, although it is four and a half years since I read it so I don't remember much about it. But it looks like the second eases us into the situation.
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Old 09-02-2014, 04:28 PM   #20646
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Finished Murder Must Advertise, and then finished The Late Scholar, a Jill Patton Walsh Lord Peter book. Which I quite enjoyed. Next up is Forbidden Fruit, #5 in the Corinna Chapman series from Kerry Greenwood.

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I have 19 of the 20 Phryne Fisher books but have yet to read one. Maybe when I take a break from Poirot
Oh, you are so lucky. You have some real fun in front of you.
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Old 09-02-2014, 06:53 PM   #20647
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While on vacation I managed to barely start Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey. The first Zane Grey book I have ever read, possibly the first western I have ever read. Something new and I am not sure what to expect. I am about 1/2 way through so far and it has been pretty good but a little too straightforward.
Fun read and I find myself almost entirely in agreement with the comments from the earlier thread (he had it out for the Mormons, more romance than expected, etc.) I was shocked at one point though...
Spoiler:
how could Venters shoot Wrangle!?


Next up is a complete change of scenery from the American southwest to the extreme north of Canada, Arctic Wargame by Ethan Jones the first in his Justin Hall series. I picked this up as a freebie almost 2 years ago during my "get anything that looks remotely interesting and is free" phase, my TBR list still hasn't recovered but I am working on it slowly, and it has been near the top of my TBR pile waiting for me to be in the right mood ever since.
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Old 09-02-2014, 08:37 PM   #20648
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And I sometimes wonder how people who don't actually read French view Poirot's frequent untranslated* francophone interjections. As some kind of colourful foreign decoration which doesn't need to be understood? Random noises that Belgian detectives make when excited? A frustrating exercise in WTF is he just saying?
We don't speak French but my country has a very strong French heritage, and I absolutely love Poirot's "colourful foreign decoration" (I like this phrase, btw ). I just think of them as a character quirk; if he didn't say them he wouldn't be the same Poirot. In any case, I think they're easy enough to look up if you don't know them, and negligible enough to ignore if you don't care to bother looking them up

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It seems to me that I've seen it at least once in one of Georgette Heyer's mysteries when I read the entire lot of them after a Sourcebooks sale, and I've heard it happens in Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey series as well. And I've seen it in at least one other Christie I've read, also.
Speaking of Georgette Heyer, I found most of her mysteries to have male victims whose heirs are almost always their nephews; what was up with that?

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Oh, you are so lucky. You have some real fun in front of you.
I'm looking forward to starting them
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Old 09-03-2014, 12:11 AM   #20649
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I just finished reading Mr. Mercedes and, like all Stephen King novels I've read before it, I found it quite engrossing and highly entertaining.

I just began reading Raisins And Almonds (Phryne Fisher #9) by Kerry Greenwood.
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I just finished reading Raisins And Almonds and was quite pleased with the experience.

Next, The Murder on the Links (Hercule Poirot #2) by Agatha Christie.
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Pushing aside Agatha Christie and Hercule Poirot as my next read I just began reading The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars #1) by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham!
I just finished reading The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line. It was highly enjoyable, with a compelling and well told story and of course with the expected nostalgia. I've read that Rob Thomas has a contract with Vintage Books for a second Veronica Mars Novel. I'm looking forward to its release with high anticipation and hope that there will be many more after that one.

Now on to Dead Game (Ed Noon #3) by Michael Avallone.

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Old 09-03-2014, 02:03 AM   #20650
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Finished Murder Must Advertise, and then finished The Late Scholar, a Jill Patton Walsh Lord Peter book. Which I quite enjoyed. Next up is Forbidden Fruit, #5 in the Corinna Chapman series from Kerry Greenwood.



Oh, you are so lucky. You have some real fun in front of you.
I had hopes for Murder on the Ballarat Train book. I love mysteries that take place in the past, and on trains, but it was one of the last books that I didn't read completely. It's not a series for everyone.
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Old 09-03-2014, 02:10 AM   #20651
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We don't speak French but my country has a very strong French heritage, and I absolutely love Poirot's "colourful foreign decoration" (I like this phrase, btw ). I just think of them as a character quirk; if he didn't say them he wouldn't be the same Poirot. In any case, I think they're easy enough to look up if you don't know them, and negligible enough to ignore if you don't care to bother looking them up



Speaking of Georgette Heyer, I found most of her mysteries to have male victims whose heirs are almost always their nephews; what was up with that?



I'm looking forward to starting them
I used to be able to love every single Poirot book, but recently I had a go at re reading Mrs McGinty's dead, after a gap of 20 years, and I just couldn't finish it. I also didn't like all of the stand alone Christie books and one Tommy and Tuppence book. Christie is alas no longer a surefire hit with me.
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Old 09-03-2014, 09:49 AM   #20652
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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

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Old 09-03-2014, 10:08 AM   #20653
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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
I loved that book. I am currently reading The Creeps, the third in the Samuel Johnson series by John Connolly, which is fun. I just got The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell delivered to my Kindle yesterday and have been so busy but I can't wait to really get started on that.
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Old 09-03-2014, 11:03 AM   #20654
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Just finished Fires of London (Francis Bacon #1) by Janice Law, a solid mystery set in London during the Blitz. It is a re-imagining of the real artist's life if he were set to solving murders. Law writes so well that I immediately purchased the second in the series.

I've discovered some wonderful writers while trying to find eligible books for those high value Kobo contest codes.
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Old 09-03-2014, 12:50 PM   #20655
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I had hopes for Murder on the Ballarat Train book. I love mysteries that take place in the past, and on trains, but it was one of the last books that I didn't read completely. It's not a series for everyone.
IMHO, reading Phryne Fisher books are best done at least roughly in sequence, since characters develop over time. But you're right, probably not for everyone. They are witty, fun, are set in a time and place that I know nothing about, and have strong female characters. So a very good fit for me. But no book is a good fit for everyone.
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