February 2020 Books

I finished three books in February, one of which was The Picture of Dorian Gray for the Classics Club. I’ll give that its own post. Here are the other two:

I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening), by Sarah Stewart Holland & Beth Silvers

This is a book by two podcast hosts who want to encourage people to come at politics from less of an entrenched/ partisan perspective. On the one hand, I think this is an important message and if we all approached political conversations with more grace, we might do less screaming on the internet (though, maybe not). On the other hand, I’m not sure how well it holds up as a book apart from their podcast.

I think these two are better podcasters than writers, as I found some of the book a bit repetitive (my common non-fiction complaint).

The bottom line is they recommend thinking through what is important to you and why it is important and trying to discuss in a calmer way, not assuming someone who has reached a different conclusion is an uncaring monster. They also suggest looking at the history of a current policy might help shed light on a way forward.

★ ★ ★

Parker Pyne Investigates, by Agatha Christie

Ah, Agatha Christie, how I love you. Usually Poirot or Miss Marple come to mind when thinking of Christie, but this short story collection follows Parker Pyne, who has an advertisement that reads: “Are you happy? If not, consult Mr. Parker Pyne.”

In these twelve stories Pyne helps people who are unhappy for various reasons: the spark has gone out of their marriage; they’re young and single but wish to be married; they are mixed up in a jewel caper; they get into trouble while on holiday, etc. Mr. Pyne seeks to help his clients using “statistical knowledge” of the human heart (which works most of the time…).

While I prefer her mysteries featuring her more famous detectives, these were entertaining short stories read by Hugh Fraser, maybe my favorite Christie narrator.

Favorite story from this collection: The Case of the Distressed Lady.

★ ★ ★

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