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…

 

Advertisements

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:)

I grounded the car for bad behaviour!: Friday Finds

FRIDAY FINDS  from adailyrhythm showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

FridayFinds-ADailyRhythm

 

You had all better sit to receive this next bit of news – I did NOT BUY any books this week — yes yes that’s correct, no money was exchanged this week on books.

Can hardly believe it myself.

It is such a rare event.

I cannot claim any virtue in this state of affairs, I was going too. Wednesday is book group day – held in a bookshop! Yeah all you addicts know what that entails:) however on Tuesday the car began to behave badly. What? I couldn’t decide it sounded like not just exhaust but maybe clutch problems at the same time. I do hope it isn’t either, or both. I have an appointment with the garage tomorrow and in the meantime I have grounded the car for bad behaviour.

I never made the book group = never bought any books:) I didn’t even turn to the Internet because if my worst fears are realized it will be a long time before I can afford any more books – sigh:)

I do have some new reads though. The Tuesday saw me at the library book group – so have next month’s book and three others I borrowed at the same time.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (next month’s read. I have seen the film and am hoping the book is much better!

Mr G by Allan Lightman (this one sounds intriguing – great hopes for it)

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (have been meaning to read this for ages)

Wise Words and Country Ways by Ruth Binney (It is always fun reading what our forbears believed in and this book promises more – whether there is any truth to old wives tales and the origins of some of the others. A good cherry-pick book)

Gone GirlMr g: A Novel About The CreationOn Chesil BeachWise Words And Country Ways

 

So four new reads – can’t be bad:)

Wool by Hugh Howey and Musing Monday.

alberta's book reviewsI have just spent a couple of days reading Wool by Hugh Howey- it was a book group choice, I knew nothing about it, had not read reviews or been recommended it. Running at 561 pages I crossed my fingers and hoped for a good read.

I was not disappointed.
I neglected a fair amount of stuff so that I could continue reading – went to bed far too late.

I found it quite unputdownable.

A true dystopian, as opposed to zombie led ones. The opposite of Sir Thomas Moore’s Utopia and the genre spawned by such.

This is a story of hundreds of years of living in a huge underground silo. Over a hundred levels of humanity. At first, all seems well. The population wait patiently for the day when they can leave the silo. For the world to cleanse itself of the poisons outside.

The world of deception and lies is slowly unravelled and, for me, the tension and anticipation grew at just the right pace to keep me turning those pages. I laughed, cried, chewed my lip, and worried equally. I found the characters real and, whether good or bad, they were well drawn and believable. The heroine – great – my kind of heroine. Feisty and intelligent. Also a natural born rebel.

Such a good book and then I find there are two more volumes to read – well how good is that:)

MusingMondays-ADailyRhythm

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

  • 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: How do you choose  the books you read?

How do I choose a book to read? I haven’t really ever thought very hard about it.

There are some titles which just leap into my hands like

The Hundred Year Old Man who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson – what’s not to intrigue in that one.

Or The Remarkable Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Or  Gaiman’s,  The Ocean at the End of the Lane

I wouldn’t really care what genre if the title grabs me.

Then there is I suppose the cover. All I know is what puts me off so much I won’t even read the blurb. Pictures of ‘sexy’ men with six packs, temptress women, hair flowing and more flesh than covering. Anything with a vampire on it. I don’t like the pastel ‘sweet’ pictures that I associate with chick lit. There are not many covers I  object to. Apart from those mentioned.

The blurb will tell me if the premise of the book is appealing. Then I may read a couple of pages to see if the style inspires confidence.

Many new finds and enjoyable reads have come about by recommendations from friends or even, on one or two occasions, complete strangers:)

Of course, there is a host of authors, already known to me, that I will comfortable reading their next publication with no second thoughts.

I enjoy books from almost every genre.

A  new author excites the most – the chance to find a new author, a stunning story, an imagination which thrills, to experience new sensations, to live in another life.

After so many decades I don’t often make a mistake in the choosing. Sometimes I am surprised, in book groups, I have often read away from my comfort zone and found something to appeal in a book I would not have picked up myself. A good reminder that an open mind is necessary.