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…

 

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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 Miniaturist by Jessie Burton: Musing Monday

alberta's book reviews

When I thought of today I was going to write about a book I was reading, however, I stayed up so late I finished  it so it will be a book I have just finished reading. I must stop doing that, I have such problems waking up and functioning next day if I read until 2-3 in the a.m:(

we have all been there though I am sure, when leaving a book just to sleep seems to be impossible.  Far too often in my life have I done this:)

The Miniaturist

On an autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives at a grand house in Amsterdam to begin her new life as the wife of wealthy merchant Johannes Brandt. Though curiously distant, he presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift; a cabinet-sized replica of their home. It is to be furnished by an elusive miniaturist, whose tiny creations ring eerily true.

As Nella uncovers the secrets of her new household, she realises the escalating dangers they face. The miniaturist seems to hold their fate in her hands – but does she plan to save or destroy them?

 

Lovely book.

I had had a mixed bag of good, okay’ish and ‘don’t like that much’ books lately. Many of them for the book groups I belong to. None were awful, a couple were disappointing and some I think were just me, or the mood I was in..

So it was with trepidation I approached The Miniaturist, another book group read. Weary from the long reads of Wool by Hugh Howey 500 pages and Citadel by Kate Mosse 1000 pages, I groaned as I reached for it, 400 pages – not so bad:) . It accompanied me to the garage to find out what bad news they would give on the car. It was bad, bad, bad, but the trepidation about the book, the shock of the estimated bill were not enough to dim this book. What a delight it was from beginning to end. A book where the loss is felt after the pages close, when another book is impossible for a day or two.

17th century Amsterdam. A city built on reclaimed land and trade from every corner of the globe. A naive young bride, a rich merchant husband who is reluctant to consummate the marriage, his sour sister, a Negro man servant and a outspoken maid. Living unconventional lives within a conventional and hypocritical society of fabulously wealthy elite and a thundering Calvinistic religion.

And of course a doll’s house.

I discovered after I had finished it that this is a Marmite* book. Rave reviews or scorn. Nothing, it appears, in the middle. For me, the story flowed along beautifully, like an old river. Each character so different, the claustrophobic feel of a society of long ago was, for me, interesting. The unseen but ever present miniaturist is the creepy part. Is she friend or foe, how does she know so much of this fairly closed household, how does she know the secret lives. Is she an insider that she knows so much or . . .or. . . is this a delicious bit of magic realism?

It is a story with some endings predictable and others left hanging. A book to weep over and to wonder at after the event. For a debut novel it was impressive.

  • Marmite for those who do not know is a dark brown yeast and salt based food paste with a advertising slogan ‘Love it or Hate it’ and is now used generally as a metaphor for polarized positions on any subject

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: Approximately how many books do you usually read per week? Per month?

How many a week, a month. It is so dependant on how much time, how much work, how many social commitments or appointments. On my mood, health, family’s mood and health. Is the sun shining, is it pouring with rain or blowing a gale . Some weeks I read book after book then I may go for a week without picking one up.
I can report that my Goodreads challenges for the past few years come in at

2012 = 64 books

2013  =  120 books

2015 =  106 books

2016 so far = 23 books

I don’t remember why 2014 is missing I would have read but I was in the middle of a great depression so maybe didn’t register on the book challenge. 2012 I was ill most of the year with massive migraine type headaches which had to operated on, so reading was difficult.

I used to read a lot more when I was young and cutting edge – late night sessions didn’t bother me so much – massive books were easier to hold before wrists gave out and I spent a lot of time on public transport so reading times were extended:)