I once owned many, many books – shelves full of books. But lately, things have changed for me. I moved – and if I had taken everything with me, only my loads and loads of books would probably have filled an entire shipping container. I, therefore, decided on a handful of my favorites, and I donated the rest of them. (that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re lost, after all, I have most of them electronically on my e-reader).
But a few books had to travel with me – books that are antiques – books that would have been lost if I hadn’t taken them… favorite books – MY favorite books, to be precise. Let me tell you what books I’m talking about – and why…
Beloved detective Hercule Poirot embarks on a journey to Egypt in one of Agatha Christies most famous mysteries, Death on the Nile. The tranquility of a cruise along the Nile was shattered by the discovery that Linnet Ridgeway had been shot through the head. She was young, stylish, and beautiful. A girl who had everything . . . until she lost her life. Hercule Poirot recalled an earlier outburst by a fellow passenger: I’d like to put my dear little pistol against her head and just press the trigger. Yet in this exotic setting, nothing is ever quite what it seems.
I admit I cut a little bit away from the blurb because I thought it doesn’t belong into a book blurb, to mention that it will be turned in a movie, following the ‘Orient-Express’ movie that was so successful, ect. etc. etc. If I think about Hercule Poirot, there is only one actor I always see right in front of my eyes: The great Peter Ustinov! But that isn’t what I wanted to say. To me, Death On The Nile is a wonderful example of many surprising and amazing detective stories Agatha Christie wrote. And still, this single adventure is apart, unique and maybe to me, it’s the tropical places in the story, the obvious killer who isn’t the murderer and the possibilities because, theoretically everybody on the ship could have done it – and had a reason… I’m usually convinced Agatha Christie is such a beloved author that the entire world knows who the murderer actually is – but I’ll be nice and won’t tell it here – just in case…
The year is 1327. Benedictines in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the empirical insights of Roger Bacon—all sharpened to a glistening edge by wry humor and a ferocious curiosity. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey, where “the most interesting things happen at night.”
I had difficulties to read the book, even though I heard so much about it and was fascinated by the place and time of the book. It took me about three or four times until I finally got into the story. But then, once really starting, I fell in love with the little vanities of William of Baskerville, and of course, the dark secrets, the political intrigues, and of course, the past of some of the monks. How did they get there? What made them their calling? And I realized, back then, it wasn’t a calling to become a monk and a priest… it often was the family’s decision – or just the necessity to have a roof over the head and something to eat. Also, some of them liked the respect they earned as a man of God. And still, these men were not free of sin – as can be read in that book. The darkness of and secrets in the monastery is intimidating and, at times, unsettling. The author uses clear words and doesn’t spare us with blood and murder. William of Baskerville seems a strong and calm pillar within the sinful world of these monks… and then came the inquisition… The name of the Rose is a phenomenal book written by a great author.
Cheaper by the Dozen: Made into two classic movies—one starring Clifton Webb and the other starring Steve Martin—and translated into more than fifty languages, Cheaper by the Dozen is an amusing, endearing, and unforgettable memoir of the Gilbreth clan as told by siblings Frank Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth.
Mother and Dad are world-renowned efficiency experts, helping factories fine-tune their assembly lines for maximum output at minimum cost. At home, the Gilbreths themselves have cranked out twelve kids, and Dad is out to prove that efficiency principles can apply to family as well as the workplace—with riotous results.
“A touching family portrait that also happens to be very, very funny.” —Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
Belles on Their Toes: With twelve kids, life at the Gilbreth house has always been a big project. But after their father passes away, there are more challenges than ever. As their resourceful mother works to keep the family business running, the kids tackle the adventures of raising themselves and running a household.
With the irrepressible blend of humor and good cheer characteristic of one of the most beloved families in America, the Gilbreths rise to every occasion and find a way to keep it all together. Belles on Their Toes was also made into a movie with Myrna Loy and Jeanne Crain reprising their roles.
“There is a sincere and heartwarming atmosphere in this second volume that makes it almost better reading, if possible, than the first.” —Library Journal
I got this book as a birthday present when I was about twelve years old. I started reading – and was immediately hooked. The book made me laugh, cry, and feel! I was connected to that family, like probably thousands of readers before me. Ernestine Gilbreth Carey and Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. touched millions of hearts by telling their childhood stories touchingly and humorously.
Lilian Moller Gilbreth and Frank Gilbreth sr. Planned an extended family, right after they got married – six boys and six girls. After seventeen years, they finally reached their goal. The two family members describe their life within the family so entertaining and humorous, it’s fun to read the book. I keep reading it about once a year, and it never gets boring.
However, there are a few little things I had to query. I realized that Mary, the second child, after Anne, was only mentioned one single time and never again in the entire book. What happened to her? The first boy, Frank B. (one of the authors), was born as the fifth child, after Anne, Mary, Ernestine, and Martha, but we don’t read anything else about Mary after that information. I had to do intense research to find out more. (Jane Lancaster who wrote a biography about the career woman Lilian Moller-Gilbreth) According to Jane Lancaster, Mary died from diphtheria. I wondered why the authors of the family books never mentioned it. I can only guess that they didn’t want to add too much sadness to this very humorous and cheerful family story. Also, they concealed another fact: apparently, their mother conceived another child but lost it. It appears that the family could not, as described in the book, stay together after the passing of the father, Frank B. Gilbreth sr. According to Jane Lancaster, at least one of the children was sent to the grandparents to California to grow up.
Maybe I shouldn’t be so very fussy about these details… maybe including these facts, the book would not have become what it did. It is a bewitching classic book, full of life, emotions, and laughter, something everyone needs once in a while!