A friend of mine has asked me for the meaning of ASIN and the number that follows this acronym.

At this point I believe almost everyone knows that ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. An ISBN is a unique number that identifies a book. Every book is assigned a unique ISBN-10 and ISBN-13 when published. The ISBN is 13 digits long if assigned on or after 1 January 2007, and 10 digits long if assigned before 2007.

The Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) is a 10-character alphanumeric unique identifier assigned by Amazon.com and its partners for product identification within the Amazon organization.

I hope it has been of your interest

Sources: Amazon.co.uk , Amazon.com, and Amazon.es

OT: Impressionists and Moderns Masterpieces from the Phillips Collection

The exhibition Impressionists and Moderns Masterpieces from the Phillips Collection can still be seen in Caixa Forum Madrid  Paseo del Prado, 36, until 23 October, 2016. Recently, Begoña and I went to visit it.

ffImpressionist and Moderns. Masterpieces from The Phillips Collection features a selection of paintings from the holdings of what was the first museum of modern art in the United States. This eminent institution, which opened its doors to the public in 1921, was planned by its founder, Duncan Phillips, to be “a small, intimate museum combined with an experiment station“. Today, The Phillips Collection is renowned throughout the world for its magnificent holdings featuring art from the last two centuries.

This exceptional exhibition brings together sixty works by forty-four European and American artists. Divided into six thematic areas, arranged chronologically, the show reflects the evolution of modern painting from the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. The opening section features a selection of works by leading artists from the early nineteenth-century, great masters who revolutionised European painting, such as Ingres, Delacroix, Courbet and Manet, in close dialogue with great Impressionist painters like Van Gogh, Cezanne, Degas, Monet and Sisley. A central place is given in the exhibition to modern masters who shaped the artistic vision of the twentieth century, including Bonnard, Braque, Gris, Kandinsky, Kokoschka, Matisse, Modigliani, Picasso, Soutine and Vuillard, along with the Americans Arthur Dove and Georgia O’Keeffe. Finally, the show is rounded off by several seminal works from the postwar period by American and European artists such as de Staël, Diebenkorn, Gottlieb, Guston and Rothko, artists who helped to create an entirely new experience for spectators. The Phillips Collection differs from other institutions that were established between the wars in the last century by the fact that its founder, Duncan Phillips (1886-1966), was interested in the connections between works of art of the past and the present. From a young age, Phillips always sought to support emerging artists, acquiring works based on their merits, not because they illustrated particular trends or were by famous names. He always saw the idea of modernity as a dialogue between past and present, without geographic, national or historic restrictions.

Through its acquisitions and exhibition programmes, The Phillips Collection has occupied a prominent place in American cultural life since the museum first opened to the public in 1921. Phillips, who was in many ways a pioneer, was passionate about the art of his time and, trusting in his own instinct to detect talent and promising up-and-coming artists, built up an art collection that achieved enormous international prestige based on an “overall vision”. (Source: Press release)


Review: The ABC Murders, 1936 (Hercule Poirot #11) by Agatha Christie

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

Harper, 2013. Paperback Edition. First published in Great Britain by Collins in 1936. ISBN: 9780007527533. 288 pages.

9780007527533Synopsis: The ABC Murders is a surprising novel tackling the modern figure of the serial killer and the psychology behind it. There’s a serial killer on the loose, working his way through the alphabet – and the whole country is in a state of panic. A is for Mrs Ascher in Andover, B is for Betty Barnard in Bexhill, C is for Sir Carmichael Clarke in Churston. With each murder, the killer is getting more confident – but leaving a trail of deliberate clues to taunt the proud Hercule Poirot might just prove to be the first, and fatal mistake.

More about this story: Following in the footsteps of one of her favourite authors, Charles Dickens, Agatha Christie used this story to experiment with point of view, switching between first and third person narration. Its ingenious plot has been cited in several other publications, including Michael Innes’ 1945 novel, Appleby’s End and the manga Detective Conan.

My take: Here below I copy and paste my previous post: 

According to Wikipedia, The ABC Murders (1936) is the thirteenth book by Agatha Christie starring Hercules Poirot. Most of the novels and short stories in the series can be read in any order (click here to access a suggested reading order). The story at hand is told in the first person by Captain Arthur Hastings who, in the foreword, warns us that: ‘In this narrative of mine I have departed from my usual practice of relating only those incidents and scenes at which I myself was present. Certain chapters, therefore, were written in the third person.’ The action begins in the summer of 1935 when Captain Hastings returns home from his ranch in South America, to spend about six months. One of the first things he does on reaching England is to visit his old friend, Hercule Poirot. Following the exchange of their first impressions, Poirot shows him a printed letter he has received signed A.B.C., telling him that something will take place in Andover the 21st of this month. On that precise date, the news from Andover confirm that an old woman of the name of Ascher, who keeps a little tobacco and newspaper shop, has been murdered. With one month apart on each case, two other letters arrive and two other murders take place on the announced date. First Betty Barnard, a waitress in Bexhill-on-Sea and then Sir Carmichael Clarke, a wealthy man in Churston. On all three occasions the murderer has left, an ABC Railway Guide, open at the name of the town. Incidentally, if it weren’t for those letters, in each case an innocent would have been accused of murder. This case is going to be without doubt one of Poirot’s biggest challenges, as he himself recognises:

‘You are quite right, my friend. Always up to now, it has fallen to our lot to work from the inside. It has been the history of the victim that was important. The important points have been: “Who benefited by the death? What opportunities had those round him to commit the crime?” It has always been the “crime intime”. Here, for the first time in our association, it is cold-blooded, impersonal murder. Murder from the outside.’

I’m quite sure that this story was considered very original at its time. Not only for the way in which the plot unfolds, incidentally very cinematographic, but also for the resolution of the case. Perhaps today the story has lost some of its freshness and novelty. In this sense, the nowadays reader is much more used to the narrative form used and has also seen a similar conclusion to the case repeated ad nauseam in zillions of TV series. But having said that, I don’t believe these details can seriously affect the enjoyment of this extremely gratifying detective novel. I cannot agree more with what Margot Kinberg has written about this novel: ‘The dual points of view, the tension of different agencies trying to work together and the misdirection caused by prejudice are all used in this novel to move the story along and keep the reader engaged.’

My rating: Although, I gave it a rating, originally, of B (I really liked it), I have no qualms about admitting that my first appreciation could have been wrong, and I’m going to give it, now an A+ (Don’t delay, get your hands on a copy of this book). I’m pretty sure it is among Christie’s best.   .  

The ABC Murders (aka The Alphabet Murders) has been reviewed at Confessions of a Mystery Novelist…. , Mysteries in Paradise, In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel, Past Offences, and Tipping My Fedora among others.

Harper Collins UK publicity page

Harper Collins US publicity page

Agatha Christie Official Website

Notes On The ABC Murders


El misterio de la guía de ferrocarriles de Agatha Christie

Sinopsis: El misterio de la guía de ferrocarriles es una novela sorprendente al abordar la moderna figura del asesino en serie y la psicología detrás de él. Hay un asesino en serie suelto, abriéndose paso a través del alfabeto, y todo el país se encuentra en estado de pánico. La A es para la señora Ascher en Andover, la B es para Betty Barnard en Bexhill, la C es para el señor Carmichael Clarke en Churston. Después de cada asesinato, el asesino se muestra cada vez más confiado,  pero dejar un rastro de pistas intencionadas para provocar al orgulloso Hércules Poirot tan sólo convertirse en el primer error, y la mayor de las equivocaciones.

Más sobre esta historia: Siguiendo los pasos de uno de sus autores favoritos, Charles Dickens, Agatha Christie utiliza esta historia para experimentar con el punto de vista, cambiando la narrativa entre la primera y la tercera persona. Su sugestiva trama ha sido citadoa en diferentes publicaciones, incluyendo la novela de Michael Innes Appleby’s End (1945), y al manga del Detective Conan.

Mi opinión: A continuación copio y pego mi post anterior:

Según Wikipedia, El misterio de la guía de ferrocarriles (1936) es el décimotercer libro de Agatha Christie, protagonizado por Hércules Poirot. La mayor parte de las novelas y cuentos de la serie se puede leer en cualquier orden (haga clic aquí para acceder al orden de lectura sugerido). La historia que nos ocupa está narrada en primera persona por el capitán Arthur Hastings quien, en el prólogo, nos advierte que: “En esta narración mía me he apartado de mi práctica habitual de relatar únicamente aquellos incidentes y escenas en los que yo mismo estaba presente. Ciertos capítulos, por lo tanto, han sido escritos en tercera persona.” La acción comienza en el verano de 1935 cuando el capitán Hastings regresa a casa (Inglaterra) de su rancho en América del Sur, para pasar unos seis meses. Una de las primeras cosas que hace al llegar a Inglaterra es visitar a su viejo amigo, Hércules Poirot. Tras el intercambio de sus primeras impresiones, Poirot le muestra una carta impresa que ha recibido firmada ABC, diciéndole que algo va a tener lugar en Andover el 21 de este mes. En esa fecha precisa, las noticias de Andover confirman que una anciana de nombre Ascher, que regentaba una pequeña tienda de venta de tabaco y periódicos, ha sido asesinada. Con un mes de diferencia entre cada caso, otras dos cartas llegan y otros dos asesinatos tienen lugar en la fecha anunciada. Primero Betty Barnard, una camarera en Bexhill-on-Sea y luego Sir Carmichael Clarke, un hombre acaudalado en Churston. En las tres ocasiones el asesino ha dejado, una guía de ferrocarriles (en inglés conocida como guía ABC), abierta por el nombre de la ciudad. Por cierto, si no hubiera sido por esas cartas, en cada caso un inocente habría sido acusado de asesinato. Este caso va a ser sin duda uno de los mayores retos de Poirot, como él mismo reconoce:

“Tiene usted razón, amigo mío. Siempre hasta ahora, nos ha caído en suerte trabajar desde el interior. Lo que ha sido importante hasta ahora ha sido la historia de la víctima. Las preguntas importantes han sido: “¿Quién se ha visto beneficiado por esta muerte? ¿Qué oportunidades han tenido para cometer el crimen quienes le rodeaban? “Siempre ha sido el “crime intime“. Aquí, por primera vez en nuestra asociación, se trata de un asesinato a sangre fría, impersonal. Un asesinato desde el exterior.’

Estoy bastante seguro de que esta historia se consideró muy original en su momento. No sólo por la forma en que se desarrolla la trama, por cierto muy cinematográfica, sino también por la resolución del caso. Quizás hoy la historia ha perdido parte de su frescura y novedad. En este sentido, el lector de hoy en día está mucho más acostumbrado a la forma narrativa utilizada y también ha visto una conclusión similar al caso repetida hasta la saciedad en infinidad de series de televisión. Pero una vez dicho esto, no creo que estos detalles pueden afectar gravemente el disfrute de esta novela de detectives extremadamente satisfactoria. No puedo estar más de acuerdo con lo que Margot Kinberg ha escrito acerca de esta novela: “El doble punto de vista, la tensión de los diferentes organismos que tratan de trabajar juntos y la desorientación causada por los prejuicios son utilizados en esta novela para hacer avanzar la acción y mantener al lector enganchado.”

Mi valoración: Aunque, le di una valoración, en un principio, de B (Me gustó mucho), no tengo reparos en admitir que mi primera apreciación podría haber sido un error, y voy a darle, ahora, una A+ (No se demore, consiga un ejemplar de este libro). Estoy bastante seguro de que es uno de los mejores de Christie.

In Honour to Bob Dylan for his Nobel Prize in Literature

Mama, take this badge off of me
I can’t use it anymore
It’s gettin’ dark, too dark for me to see
I feel like I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door

Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door
Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door
Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door
Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door

Mama, put my guns in the ground
I can’t shoot them anymore
That long black cloud is comin’ down
I feel like I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door

Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door
Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door
Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door
Knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door

2016 Planeta Prize

Spanish writer Dolores Redondo was awarded yesterday with the 2016 Planeta Prize for her novel Todo esto te dare (All these things I will give You). According to some sources, a detective novel in Agatha Christie’s style.

The Premio Planeta de Novela is a Spanish literary prize, awarded since 1952 by the Spanish publisher Grupo Planeta to an original novel written in Spanish (Castilian). Financially, it is the second most valuable literary award in the world after the Nobel Prize for Literature with the winner receiving €601,000. Since 1974 there has also been an award to the runner up, which now stands at €150,000. (Source Wikipedia)

Dolores Redondo was born in Donostia-San Sebastián in 1969. Her novel The Invisible Guardian, a #1 international bestseller, was shortlisted for the prestigious CWA Dagger Awards. It was also named the “Best Crime Novel of the Year” by La Vanguardia. Redondo studied law and gastronomy before beginning her writing career. She now lives and writes in the Ribera Navarra.