Armchair BEA: Highlighting a few blasts from the past

In lieu of going to Book Expo America this week, a group of book bloggers has opted to have their own BEA from home. I am one of those bloggers. To find others, click on the button at left.

To kick off my own Armchair BEA-related posts this week, I thought I’d take a suggestion from the list of BEA-related post topics and suggestions called “Blast from the Past” and focus on some books (and authors) that most likely aren’t being featured at the BEA conference in New York.

Christie and Westlake

I have to start with the usual suspects here on my blog: the works of Agatha Christie and Donald E. Westlake, especially his John Dortmunder series. As some of you who have been here previously might know, I am participating in the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge and my own personal challenge to read all 14 novels (plus a dozen short stories) in Westlake’s series about the bungling burglar, John Dortmunder. I’ve been a fan of Christie since — it seems like — forever, when my mother introduced me to her works when I was a teenager. As for Westlake, I’m a Johnny-come-lately to the party, thanks to my brother-in-law, Warren, who introduced me to Westlake. Since being introduced to him, Westlake is fast becoming my favorite writer. I can’t get enough of him.

For a sample chapter of one of his novels, Memory, a non-Dortmunder novel, and only recently published, click here.

Random books off my bookshelf

I thought I’d share a few other favorite classics chosen at random from my bookshelf.


Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe (click for my review of it)

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (a review I found online by Saul Bellow)


Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl (excerpts of the book via the PBS series The Question of God)

Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose by Flannery O’Connor, edited byΒ  Sally and Robert Fitzgerald (a review from Joyce Carol Oates)


Ariel by Sylvia Plath (Plath reading one of my favorites from the collection, “Daddy”)

All of Us: The Collected Poems by Raymond Carver (a sampling of his poems from a site called “Heroes of Poetry”)

Brief Introduction (for those of you who may not know me): I am unfinishedperson, one-time author of the now-defunct blog Just A (Reading) Fool. All those posts are merged here, with most of them found under the category of “Books.” Since moving my blog here, I’ve begun a series called Midweek Review where I look back on my reading during the week, sometimes including a book review or other thoughts on readings. I’m still in the process (an ongoing one) to organize my book reviews by author and title to make it easier for readers to find them, but in the meantime, I hope you’ll stop by anyway and leave a comment.

12 responses to “Armchair BEA: Highlighting a few blasts from the past

  1. I love that you have added Man’s Search For Meaning here!! Love that book!!

    Sadly, I have never read any Christie, but I keep meaning to!!

  2. Thanks for sharing those books. I have read only two Agatha Christie books and remember loving them. It does look like I will be adding more books to my TBR now. πŸ™‚

  3. I haven’t read most of those! Looks like I have some catching up to do. But, I do love Man’s Search for Meaning — I’ve read it twice and find it uplifting/encouraging, in spite of the horrible setting where he learned his lessons.

    Dortmunder is a great character. I found him in a book of short stories, but I’ve only managed to read one novel because mysteries don’t thrill me, these days. I think if I’d read the Dortmunder and Agatha Christie books about 15 years ago, I would have loved them. I did love the short story; it was hilarious.

    Fun reading!! Thanks for sharing. I didn’t realize you’d moved to a new site. I was following you as Just a (Reading) Fool, but I haven’t been keeping up with my google reader in 2010. I’ll have to update my links.

    • I need to reread Frankl’s book…it’s one of my favorites. I consider myself an existentialist in a lot of ways.

      Dortmunder: I’m so glad my brother-in-law introduced me to him and to Westlake.

      You don’t read mysteries!?! For shame, for shame. πŸ™‚

      I had cut back in my reader from about 300 blogs to about 50, but now it’s growing again, thanks to events like this. 😦 or I mean πŸ™‚ Yay! πŸ˜‰

  4. That would be an interesting group of authors to get together! Sounds like an antiquarian book show would be more up your alley πŸ™‚ .

  5. I like your post. I read an Agatha Christie book – And Then There Were None. Creepy!

  6. I think you’re right – these books won’t get any floor space at BEA, so it’s nice to see them spotlighted elsewhere. Glad you’ve joined us for Armchair BEA!

  7. I used to read Christie a lot in my younger years. Nowadays, I read a lot about life after death.

    And I thought I was the only one who had read Victor Frankl’s book. I believe it led me to a major case of depression…