Street but Sweet


Sunday, January 10, 2010

On my nightstand

Poirot's Early Cases by Agatha Christie

Mystery, I've recently rediscovered, is one of my favorite genres. I remember being introduced to old-school Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew in second grade. Every Friday, I would borrow a hard-bound book from the library and spend my Saturday afternoon just reading. I can't remember when I stopped doing this. But I do remember that I was one of the few people who had to get another library card because I borrowed a lot more books than other students! Yes, I was (am) a nerd.

I first read Agatha Christie a few years ago, when a celeb I interviewed mentioned that his favorite book was And Then There Were None (also known as Ten Little Indians). He absolutely raved about the book, so my curiosity was piqued. I must admit I wasn't all that impressed with the book, but started reading Christie again after finding a few volumes at my brother-in-law's. This particular book is a collection of short mystery stories featuring one of Christie's beloved heroes, M. Hercule Poirot. I like the short story format because I don't have to read an entire novel before I find out whodunnit! My favorite so far is "The Chocolate Box," because it seemed like the most plausible. While all mysteries have clues peppered here and there, this story seemed like it gave all the necessary info for the reader to solve it, no weird new info revealed in the end.

The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

No, not the Birdman. This Chris Anderson is the editor in chief of US magazine Wired. So anyway, yeah, non-fiction. I'm not big on the non-fiction. It's funny how H's row on our bookshelf is all non-fiction, while mine is full of fiction. At a bookstore once, he tried to persuade me to go for something more "useful" by getting a non-fiction title. "I'm a writer. Fiction inspires me," I said coolly, and he just let me have my way. In truth, I am just not a non-fiction kind of girl. But Frances told me about this book after we talked about making money off of blogs!

"The Long Tail" is a term coined by Anderson in an article he wrote for his magazine, and it has since become one of the most cited articles in recent times. It talks about how the Internet is changing the way business is done. In business, he explains, there are those items that sell the most (the hits) at the top of a downward curve. This curve includes all other items a business has to offer, right down to those that sell few to zero units (the tail). Interestingly enough, when it comes to virtual stores, this tail stretches seemingly endlessly, with even the most obscure items selling at least one unit. It's all about niches now--selling less of more.

I've just started on the book, and I'm flexing my brain because I'm expecting a whole lot of statistics and economics (not my strong suit, even though I do come from a family of economists!). That part of my brain has lain dormant for a few years. Time to dust off the cobwebs!

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