I've just finished reading a book. Agatha Christie's The Clocks, one of her later Poirot novels. I believe that she had become sick of writing them and had wanted to kill him off, but, like Conan Doyle with Sherlock Holmes, "public demand" insisted that she didn't. Which is probably why he's hardly in this one - he swans in near the end having checked old marriage records, therefore knowing something that none of the readers could ever have possibly worked out, and consequently he's managed to finger the culprits, unlike us. What a dirty rotten trick. No wonder Dame Agatha didn't like him.
Anyway, having got to the end, I put the book in it's place on the shelf. If you look closely at the picture, you will see that there are a lot of books with yellow bits top and bottom. At the top of each is a number, so I put those ones in numerical order.
The numbering scheme is the publisher's, and has nothing to do with anything, so it occured to me that I ought to rearrange them into date of original publication. I found a list on the Agatha Christie website. There they recommend that you read her eighty books in this order, and they also give a few instances of pairs of books where reading one before the other might end up with spoilers.
I'm sure that very few people, having never read one of her novels in their lives, have started from the beginning. Maybe they do. The first one I read was And Then There Were None, which is 36th on the official list. Luckily it contains no spoilers.
I'm now about to embark on her very last novel - Curtain. This is the book where she finally killed Monsieur Poirot. I've decided not to wait until I've definitely read all of her Poirot novels, and certainly not until I've read all of her other books in Greek, which, of course, may not even be possible - they might not have published them all, and I might not live that long, having only read about 10% of them so far.
Interestingly, she wrote Curtain in 1940, and the idea was for it to be published postumously, altough in fact it actually came out a year or so before she died. I've only read two pages so far, and already there are references to The Mysterious Affair at Styles, something the Agatha Christie Website didn't warn me about. Through carelessness a few months ago, I also managed to learn the identity of the murderer on Wikipedia...
I'm doing rather better with CSI. Every single episode that I've watched of all three series has been in order. This is because I've never seen them on TV - I just watch the DVDs. I was rather put out when I found out that DVDs for some of the series come out before others - CSI: NY is about a year in front of CSI: Miami. This became a problem when they had a crossover story with Part I transmitted on CSI: Miami one day, and Part II CSI: NY later that week (at least, if you were watching them when they first came out in the US). I had to watch Part II first, and then wait months for Part I. To add insult to injury, a "Special Feature" of the relevant CSI: Miami box set was, you've guessed it, the Part II CSI: NY episode.
Sometimes there's nothing you can do. I was watching some episodes of a certain series which I can't see on TV or get on DVD, so was reliant on seeing some that had found their way onto the web. I knew that the suspicious character in one episode was about to become a member of the cast, since I'd seen some of the later ones.
Incidentally, the Greeks have a wonderful copy of CSI set in Greece. The only thing that's missing is the expensive graphics, and it doesn't really make any difference to the enjoyment factor. I hope they bring it out on DVD, then I'll be able to see all the episodes.
I had a look around, and found someone who puts multi-volume editions of books in "reverse order", because then the pages are all in the right order (since the first page is actually at the right hand side of the book). This made me feel a little less obsessive. A lot less obsessive, since those 8 Agatha Christie books are just about the only ones in any kind of logical sequence on my bookshelves, but am I still weird, or do other people try and follow things in the right order?