Introducing the Annie page


Annie on My Mind, a young adult novel by Nancy Garden, published in 1982,  tells the story of a romance between high-school seniors Eliza (Liza) Winthrop, student council president at an educationally-high-quality but rather uptight private school, and Annie Kenyon, start music student of a tough inner-city school who is determined to avoid being a part of the school’s largely delinquent culture.  Continue reading


Japp’s Dream in The Incredible Theft: More Than Comic Relief?

(Note: Semi-spoiler for the the ITV Double Sin adaptation.)

In the ITV Agatha Christie’s Poirot adaptation of the Poirot novella The Incredible Theft, Poirot investigates the titular crime while staying at the home of his politician-client, while sidekick Captain Arthur Hastings and Scotland Yard ally Chief Inspector Japp (who are not in the original) have to make due at a pub so crowded they have to share not only a room but a bed.  Continue reading

Agatha Christie, She Isn’t (and didn’t try to be): Comparing Sophie Hannah’s New Hercule Poirot Novel to the Original and its Adaptation

Partial Spoilers for The Monogram Murders, by Sophie Hannah

In 2014, Agatha Christie’s estate granted Sophie Hannah permission to use Christie’s detective, Hercule Poirot, in a new original novel. The Monogram Murders.

Hercule Poirot (the Belgian refugee detective originally created by Christie) hopes for a respite when he stays at a London hotel (even though he’s close to his home), but he is soon drawn into a new case when a young woman name Jennie arrives and makes a cryptic prediction of her own murder, followed by the even more cryptic statement “Let no one open their mouths.” Soon bodies turn up at a different hotel with monogrammed cufflinks – which have a connection to a long-ago tragedy – in their mouths.

Hannah has acknowledged that “Agatha Christie is unique,” and says she didn’t try to duplicate Christie’s actual style. To a reader familiar with the original Christies, in addition to the overall voice differing from Christie, Hannah’s Poirot doesn’t sound – or maybe I should say “feel”  – like Christie’s Poirot. Hannah’s Poirot engages in behaviors that supposedly show many of the quirks for which Christie fans know him, but they feel like variations of those quirks, and feel off.  Continue reading

On Reading and Writing with Asperger’s

We people with Asperger’s – that form of really high-functioning autism that basically programs us for geekiness  – are not crazy about labels like “disability” or “disorder.” A description of Asperger’s that I’ve heard, and like, is “a different wiring of the brain.”

Actually, according to the famous Temple Grandin, we “Aspies” have one of a few different wirings of the brain.

Some think in numbers and patterns. Some (including Grandin herself) think in pictures. Some parents create pictures of their child’s daily schedule, because pictures are the child’s “language.”

But some Aspies, like me, function entirely on words. Yes, I need to-do lists, but I write them in words. Continue reading