Am I lacking some basic emotion?

alberta's book reviews

Musing Mondays random question today is ‘what is your favourite horror novel?’

I have read a few, mainly because of book group choices.

Horror novels, ghosts stories, chilly, frightening, scary. My favourite? Well I have a great disadvantage here, there is very little scary in the genre which scares me. Real life? yes that can be scary but horror no.
Some of my friends tell me it’s because I don’t believe in ghosts.

It’s true I don’t, however, I also don’t believe in elves, dwarfs and goblins but can happily enjoy fantasy. I don’t believe in magic – well not the man-made kind but I am quite happy reading magic realism or even full scale magic.

So why not ghosts or horror?

I have just now finished A Head Full of Ghosts  by Paul Tremblay for one of the book groups I belong to. A book that according to Stephen King  ‘scared the living hell out of me and I’m pretty hard to scare’

It’s a winner of the 2015 Bram Stoker Award:  garnering words of praise such as terrifying, gripping, suspenseful, bloodcurdling,  Tremblay is one of the greatest horror writer’s today.  Wonderful accolades, and I think for aficionados of horror novels justified.

Am I lacking in some basic human emotion? As I say there are many fearful and terrifying things in our world. Too many if one follows the new or travels the world. I have seen and experienced many in my long life. I cannot remember any novel which has scared me.

A Head Full of GhostsThe lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.

To her parents’ despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts’ plight. With John, Marjorie’s father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.

Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry. As she recalls those long ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television begin to surface–and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil.

I found A Head Full of Ghosts disturbing, but only for the way mental problems were addressed. Because of the way reality TV can rip apart people lives. How humans in their fragility can be bullied, manipulated, failed and destroyed in the name of science, religion and media frenzy.

The story was good I enjoyed (strange word! found it satisfying, maybe is a better choice) the plot and characters kept one on board. I read it in two sessions and stayed up late to finish it. I don’t regret the time to read it, but scary? not for me:)

It also employed a favourite device of mine, the unreliable narrator. That, I like – the feeling at the conclusion that nothing is known, nothing understood, the uncertainty of life ahead and the past behind.

I think I know why it has accumulated the accolades and although I didn’t find it a horror, so I would certainly recommend it to whoever enjoys horror books.

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

Musing Mondays | BooksAndABeat.com

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

 

Born with a book in my hand:) Musing Monday

reading passionIn answer to Books and a Beat Musing Mondays’ random question.Can you recall a time when you weren’t an avid reader?

Well maybe not born with a book in hand:) I cannot honestly remember learning to read as such; new words yes, from food packets, newspapers and books but, who taught me and when I don’t recall.

Before I can remember.

I have always read.

With a good start, being born of parents who read avidly, in a house tottering from the weight of books:)

I read.

I do remember being soundly told off first day at school for knowing how to read, being told my parents should not have taught me and to forget everything I had been told

Yeah.
Well yes.
Was so going to do that wasn’t I?

I was way ahead of my age group for years, only in reading mind – in every other subject I was rubbish!

When I discovered the books which could be read at school, I was taking one home every night only to face a barrage of suspicious interrogation as to the books content, had I understood. I complained at home about this daily disbelief, which just meant my father quizzed me as well. Nobody really believed I could read so swiftly for a few years. But I could and did. I didn’t know how either, had always thought it was normal.

Books in our house never seemed to be censored or designated adult / child;  maybe books totally unsuitable would have been put out of reach I don’t know all I knew was I could try any book in the endless bookcases.

I was quiet, shy, awkward in social situations and spent hours reading. I couldn’t make friends in the real world but I grew up with dozens of good mates within those pages. Formed my dreams and ambitions from the stories I read. I still read swiftly and widely, there is a hint of desperation now as the years race by, so many more books to read so little time:)

At the moment I’m reading Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle for a reading group in town and enjoying it, surprised I hadn’t read it before.

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

Musing Mondays | BooksAndABeat.com

 

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION:Can you recall a time when you weren’t an avid reader?

A perfect reader, moi!

reading passion

I have been missing for the entire summer it seems to me, I am contrite but much prevented me. I have read a great deal but not written any reviews for a while so I will catch up. In the meantime this post is in answer to the question put on Books and a Beat, a challenge I have missed this last few months.

What bad habits do I have, to do with reading?

Well I would, of course, say I have no bad habits; I am a perfect reader! Of course, this depends on who is asking, and what their habits are. To many I am appalling, treating MY books with a cavalier casualness bordering on vandalism. (borrowed books are treated as if they were Great Aunts, with gentleness and courtesy)

So okay I offend many readers.

I read while I’m eating and cooking, I used to take books into the bath when I could get into a bath – I do draw the line at taking them into the shower! In consequence despite best efforts my activities do leave a mark sometimes. You can see the juice of oranges (my favourite treat when I was small) on my children’s book:)

I constantly lose my bookmarks, have great trouble remembering the numbers of the pages therefore I turn down the corners.

I will put books down on the table, or whatever, open and face down, not many spines have broken but it is a risk.

I have tottering piles of books and many a time they will crash, any old how, onto the floor.

I have been known to highlight and comment in the margins of pages mostly in the non fiction books I read.

Books go everywhere with me, so are squashed into small bags and drift around the floor of the car.

When I was young I used to write my name in them –

an attempt to claim something for myself in a house full of others book possessions?
Maybe.
Every book in or which comes into the house now, is mine, I possess them all:)

In reference to that last comment. I do use the library it doesn’t help my addiction tho’, if I find a book from there I like I have to immediately buy a copy and have it for my own.

So this perfect addictive reader has probably caused everyone to tut and shake their head over at least one of my sins, possibly all of them. I am tho,’ unrepentant; my books are my friends and I do not put my friends untouched in a metal safe or bank. My friends live as I do, we have fun, we hurt each other sometimes, we forgive each other always, we trust each other and best of all –

We are comfortable together.

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

Musing Mondays | BooksAndABeat.com

 

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What is your worst habit as a reader?

Psychological thrillers do not always thrill!

a little rant

I feel disappointed at my reading choices over the past few weeks. Either I am being duped by those whose job it is to sell books or my tolerance for thrillers has become such that nothing much creeps me out these days.

Psychological thrillers: A thriller is surely meant to thrill one, and just because there is a lot of internal dialogue it doesn’t make it psychological in the genre meaning of the word.

I have read three or four lately, from idle curiosity to book group reads, and settling down to a good read have been left feeling a trifle cheated. Stories with plots which promise much and deliver a reasonable story of folk, but no psychological thriller type tenseness and anxiety.

As I say maybe I am just getting too old, read too many, have become un-shockable. Blase, maybe, about people and their motives. I’m not convinced it is me I have to say, I think it is the writing, because I have read some good ones. Reads which keep me page turning, worrying about the outcome.

These books that left me cheated are good mysteries, could be better detective books, if the police force were written as if they were real! That is another gripe, I cannot believe the police would overlook so many ‘rape and self defence ‘murders’ without investigation of the most rigorous. But that is a whole new blog:)

Maybe instead of jumping on the band wagon of this genre these writer could market themselves to another less demanding one. Because, as I say the plots are good, the stories could be successful but they lack the fear and terror this old lady at least would enjoy.

I am not naming them because it might well be me at fault not the authors. They do have good reviews so maybe I am being too demanding. ‘Tis a possibility I guess:)

This post is also part of Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

Musing Mondays | BooksAndABeat.com

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

alberta's book reviewsI attend a small sci-fi/fantasy book group. ‘Tis smallish last meeting there was seven of us there to discuss The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski. Out of seven what, I wonder, is the chance of all of them enjoying it? I don’t know but I did expect someone to like it. Nope. I was the only one who not only enjoyed but thought it was the best we had read for the six months I have been part of this group and we have had some really good reads.

I don’t play video games, I never have, so I had not come across these characters before. The characters did come before the games I understand. I enjoyed this book so much it was like a slap across the face that everyone else trashed it so thoroughly. That they found it boring and tedious, it made no sense to them.

That they didn’t find the layers of richness, the insights into changing civilisations, the authenticity of the monsters and fairy tales, that I had, saddened me.

I felt puzzled and out of sync. I had been looking forward to sharing something I had enjoyed with others and it didn’t happen:( ah well these things happen and I really ought to know better; all my life I have found very few books my friends enjoy as I do, they all have have different tastes to moi.

I shall enjoy The Last Wish on my own:)

 

The Last Wish

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

Geralt is a witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent. He roams the country seeking assignments, but gradually comes to realise that while some of his quarry are unremittingly vile, vicious grotesques, others are the victims of sin, evil or simple naivety.

One reviewer said: ‘This book is a sheer delight. It is beautifully written, full of vitality and endlessly inventive: its format, with half a dozen episodes and intervening rest periods for both the hero and the reader, allows for a huge range of characters, scenarios and action. It’s thought-provoking without being in the least dogmatic, witty without descending to farce and packed with sword fights without being derivative. The dialogue sparkles; characters morph almost imperceptibly from semi-cliche to completely original; nothing is as it first seems. Sapkowski succeeds in seamlessly welding familiar ideas, unique settings and delicious twists of originality: his Beauty wants to rip the throat out of a sensitive Beast; his Snow White seeks vengeance on all and sundry, his elves are embittered and vindictive. It’s easily one of the best things I’ve read in ages.’ Amazon blurb.

The best bit is?  I have discovered this author after  he has written for decades, so I have enjoyment for a couple of years. Yay:)

This post is also part of Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

Musing Mondays | BooksAndABeat.com

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION:Which one book would you say everyone must read?

As to this question I have spent the whole day pondering it. One book everyone should read? I believe this a question I find impossible to answer, although I would like to. One’s first thoughts ranges over the classics, many are important life changing, let alone history changing, then I considered the modern authors(last 100 years !) all those amazing books. There is not one I could pick above others. So I admit defeat:)