Murder on the Links & The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Earlier in the month I had some trouble with my hands (pain that is) and it made everything involving hands a hassle, such things as sitting in front of the computer (writing, surfing), drawing, knitting, even holding a book was a bit of a pain. So as I was looking for something to fill the hours of time when I couldn’t do any of my favourite past-times, I decided to try out Scribd. For those of you who don’t know, Scribd is basically the book equivalent of Netflix and Spotify, in other words it’s pretty swell. They’ve got e-books as well as audiobooks, and it was really the audiobooks I was interested in. Handsfree reading was what I was looking for.

That’s when I decided to listen to Murder on the links by Agatha Christie. First of all, the narrator of this book was Hugh Fraser – and he did quite a fantastic job in my opinion. I’m quite picky with the voices of narrators, it affects my enjoyment immensely so I have to at least find their voices slightly appealing. Hugh Fraser has a nice voice but he also does a very good job with the french-accent I believe. And in general, the voices of the different characters was also done well. The book really lends itself to the audiobook format, it’s a mystery and there’s intrigue and it’s quite easy to get “hooked” to the story. I have in the past preferred to stick with non-fiction when it comes to audio, but this was probably my favourite experience with audiobooks thus far. It takes no time at all to enter the world of the story, the twists and turns secures the reader’s attention and concentration on the story, Poirot as a character is charming and peculiar making me laugh and giggle from time to time – simply put the reading experience as a whole is a very enjoyable one.

I read the first of the Poirot books last fall, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Even though I enjoyed it, I still wasn’t as impressed as I was hoping to be by Christie’s writing. However, I will say that I enjoyed the mystery of Murder on the links far better than the prior, it was I suppose my kind of mystery. The unpredictable nature of the mysteries is certainly something I appreciate (especially as I recently discovered that predictability is a major pet peeve of mine). I look forward to reading more of the Poirot books and eventually also reach for the Miss Marple books.

– – –

A few days after finishing Murder on the Links I tried to find something new to listen to and I decided on The Diving Bell and The Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby. This is a memoir by a man, Jean-Dominique, who had “locked-in syndrome”. The only way he could communicate with the outside world was through blinking his left eye. The fact alone that he actually wrote this book by blinking his eye, and having his speech therapist (?) write what he said down, is amazing. That he wrote a book from such a far off place, that he remembered the things he wanted to say before, the actual process of getting the memoir on paper, amazes me to no end. The actual memoir is short, but it says more than perhaps is expected. He had a sense of humour, some of the things he talks about are funny, some are interesting, some are sad and brought tears to my eyes.

This is an amazing memoir; for the process of it, but also for the actual content – it gives us a glimpse into such a rare medical condition, some valuable insight. Similar to stories of Mount Everest climbing or Pole expeditions, it gives us a brief view of a far-off place, most of us will never actually see up close. It’s interesting because it raises questions, at least it had this affect on me, and it is incredibly interesting, sad, funny, and touching all at the same time. I recommend it to anyone and everyone, especially people who are interested in the many hidden parts of the body and mind.

– – –

I’m currently in the middle of two books, but I suspect it will take some time before I finish them as I am currently working on my last paper of the semester before the summer vacation starts.

I wish y’all a good day and happy reading!

Nayu

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