Agatha Christie’s Letters Reveal the Author’s Fantastically Sassy Nature
If you enjoy reading Electric Literature, join our mailing list! We’ll send you the best of EL each week, and you’ll be the first to know about upcoming submissions periods and virtual events.
Plus a new bookselling technique hides covers, and George R.R. Martin was apparently not on board with a major GOT decision
The weekend awaits, and this Friday is teeming with literary news. Turns out, Agatha Christie dealt her fair share of sass in correspondence with publisher Billy Collins, blind-date-with-a-book asks readers to take a chance on coverless book-picking, and George R.R. Martin apparently wrote a future for one of his characters quite different than what played out on the show.
Agatha Christie gets sassy in these unseen letters to her publisher
Apparently, Agatha Christie had quite the temper. New correspondence between the English crime novelist and her publisher Billy Collins reveal her sometimes hot-headed responses and protestations. In one letter, she is displeased with the cover for The Labours of Hercules, claiming the Pekingese on the cover was not up to standards. In another, she expressed her anger over seeing her books in shops despite not having received her own copies and being told its publication date. “I do think it’s treating your authors disgracefully,” she added. Yikes. Still, the relationship between Collins and Christie was also one of appreciation and admiration. Often, they would ask each other for favors: Christie asking for tennis balls (Collins’ brother was a tennis player) and Collins requesting that Agatha host his friend. In fact, Collins even bought Christie, his most profitable author, a car in 1953 to express his regard. These letters, plus unseen photographs of the author, will be on display at the Theakston Old Peculier crime writing festival (July 20–23) and then will move to Christie’s former home in Devon.
[The Guardian/Danuta Kean]
Blind-date-with-a-book entices with words only
We all know the ‘you can’t judge of a book by its cover’ maxim, while valid, is nearly impossible to enforce. Until now that is. Book Culture, a bookstore on the Upper West Side of Manhattan has come up with a brilliant way for people to shop strictly for the sake of words. Blind-date-with-a-book is a new book-buying experience, in which employees pick lesser-known titles, wrap them up in brown paper, and write a list of books of the same genre with overlapping themes. Since the new strategy was introduced in October, it’s been a hit — especially during the holidays. Blind-date-with-a-book has been increasingly popping up in bookstores and libraries around the country. Here’s hoping this book-picking is more successful than most blind dates are.
[Fox 5 NY/Stacey Delikat]
George R.R. Martin had different post-Red Wedding plans
Sometimes the author does know best. [Fair warning: some spoilers ahead] In fact, if George R.R. Martin had gotten his way with Game of Thrones, the grace and class that is Caitlyn Stark would still be leading the Stark clan instead of probably unceremoniously abandoned somewhere after her brutal slaughter. In the novels (which are pretty behind the show’s plot at this point), Lady Stonehart is the resurrection of Catelyn Stark, brought back to life after the Red Wedding by the Lord of Light. Well, the showrunners had different plans for Lady Stark and decided that leaving her bloody body behind would do. In an interview with Time, Martin describes the disagreements he had with the show’s creators about which route the plot would go. (Martin preferred sticking with the books, obviously). “In my version of the story, Catelyn Stark is re-imbued with a kind of life and becomes this vengeful wight who galvanizes a group of people around her and is trying to exact her revenge on the Riverlands. David and Dan made a decision not to go in that direction in their story, pursuing other threads,’’ he said. All in the name of good TV-watching, I suppose.