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So this time next week I will be on leave for three (count them, that’s three) weeks, two of which will be spent in Scotland relaxing with the Book God in some very nice hotels, enjoying good food and (very possibly) having the occasional wee dram, but probably not waving my battlaxe around while accompanied by a spider like good old Robert the Bruce here.
The biggest decision that always has to be made in advance of our annual hols is what goes on the reading list; I’ve been pondering this for a couple of weeks now and I reckon I’ve cracked it.
Just remember that this is only my list; the Book God will have his own…..
- Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
- The Children’s Book by AS Byatt
- Tales of Terror from the Tunnel’s Mouth by Chris Priestley
- Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist
- Transition by Iain Banks
- Duma Key by Stephen King
I will have my trusty laptop with me and am hoping to post on most days, so watch this space to see how I get on with my reading list and what else I get up to…..
So following my plea to you all here, the votes are in, and (excluding Silvery Dude’s own not-counted-cos-it’s-his-fault-anyway comment) the results are 3 for, 1 against and 1 don’t know.
I am nothing if not a woman of my word and so I will give in and watch the thing……
I’ve set myself some conditions for viewing which are:
I will watch the movie before the end of October 2009;
I will not prejudge the outcome but will keep an open mind;
I will review the film fairly and honestly on Bride of the Screen God.
However, some decent chocolate and alcohol of a suitable nature must be available to sustain me during my ordeal (describing it as such kind of undermines the not-prejudging thing, but hey, that’s me, underminer-girl)
I actually have a copy of the DVD in my possession as I could see how this was going; the pouty teen angst cover is depressing me already, hence Mr Pattinson’s mug at the top of this post.
And lord help us, the sequel is out in November……
What can I say? Despite my best intentions to cut down on buying this year, August and September (so far) have been totally booktastic.
- The Sweetness of the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley – recommended by many good reviews, but particularly Carl here;
- Silent in the Sanctuary and Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn – I loved the first one so couldn’t resist stocking up on the sequels;
- Keeping the Dead by Tess Gerritsen – ‘He washed them. He clothed them. But first …. he killed them’ Ooooh… ;
- The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson – everyone tells me how good the first one in this series (which I have but not read yet) is, so I went ahead and got the sequel;
- Death Qualified by Kate Wilhelm – I discovered this author earlier this year as part of the Sci-Fi experience 2009, and though her crime fiction sounded equally interesting.
- The Cecils by David Loades – the family business of the Cecils was supporting Elizabeth I who said “No prince in Europe hath such a counsellor as I have in mine” Just my kind of 16th century thing;
- Prince Rupert by Charles Spencer – all about the Last Cavalier, if his portrait is anything to go by he was pretty handsome, had (I believe) a giant poodle called Boy as a hunting dog, pretty cool guy;
- Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel – a novel about Henry VIII’s right-hand man Thomas Cromwell, Man Booker nominated, looks astonishing.
Sci-fi type stuff
- Transition by Iain Banks – I know that this is being marketed in the UK as straight and not sci-fi but at the very least this is a crossover novel as it seems to have lots to do with parallel universes. I don’t care what they call it, it’s going to be good;
- Halfhead by Stuart B MacBride – so I love the Bearded Writist’s gory Aberdonian crime novels and this foray into sort of sci-fi thriller looks very interesting; and there’s a Banks-type differentiating middle initial going on as well.
- Muriel Spark by Martin Stannard – the biography – my admiration for Mrs Spark is unbounded, I should really re-start the Muriel Reading Marathon which faltered last year….. ;
- A Book of Silence by Sara Maitland – all about silence, a very enjoyable writer, looking forward to what this will cover;
- Love All by Elizabeth Jane Howard – ‘an unforgettable novel about love and the consequences of its absence’ it says on the cover.
So having introduced the Silvery Dude to the Night’s Dawn trilogy by encouraging him to take the first volume on holiday with him, I agreed to accompany him to FP to get volume two, despite the whole Twilight/District 9 thing that we’ve been bickering about (he wants me to watch the former and saw the latter before I did much to my annoyance). Anyhoo, I hadn’t planned to do anything other than buy Gary Gibson’s Nova War for the Book God, but of course it didn’t stop there….
- The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart by Mathias Malzieu – translated from the French, this is a fairytale set in Edinburgh in 1874 and I picked it up totally because of the cover;
- Half-Minute Horrors – ‘a collection of instant frights from the world’s most astonishing authors and artists’ – including Neil Gaiman, just a bit of fun;
- Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Death and Dementia, illustrated by the great Gris Grimly, which was the sole reason for buying it as I have a lot of Poe kicking around already (if I can put it like that).
OK, so where to start with this one? Sharp Objects is about a reporter, Camille, who is sent by her paper in Chicago to investigate the murder of one girl and the disappearance of another in her home town of Wind Gap, Missouri. Is a serial killer involved? How are the local police faring in their investigation? Is it a local or an outsider who is committing these crimes? All the usual questions that you would expect when death hits a small town.
And of course, all is not well in Camille’s life. She has a tragic past (death of her sister); to describe her relationship with her mother (with whom she is forced to stay during her trip) would be a gross understatement; and, well, to put it (incredibly) mildly, she doesn’t exactly have a history (or a present) of looking after herself.
And of course, the crimes may all be a lot closer to home than she thinks.
I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about this novel. There’s a very prominent endorsement from the great Stephen King (well, I think he’s great) on the back of the edition I read, where he talks about Sharp Objects as ‘relentlessly creepy’, ‘dreading the last thirty pages’ and so on. And in some ways he is right, it is creepy, the story does linger, it does have a cumulative nastiness factor. Whether you have any positive feelings about the characters or not (and some reviewers really don’t like the portrayal of women in this book) it is in many ways very powerful. But……
And I’m not sure what that but is. I felt a lot of sympathy towards Camille because of her awful childhood and what it had done to her both physically and mentally. But something went askew for me towards the end, and I think it’s because after a slow and relentless build up it was all suddenly over. There was a huge revelation (for Camille at any rate) all the pieces appeared to drop into place, and then there was a ‘Carrie’ ending (film not book so if you haven’t watched the Brian de Palma movie you might not know what I mean). And you knew it was coming, and if you had half a brain you knew what it was, and for all those reasons it was a bit unsatisfying. Which is a real shame.
This is absolutely by no means a bad book; I just think it could have been even better.
This was my first read for RIP IV.
So I have this problem. My friend the Silvery Dude has, with his good lady wife, watched Twilight. I am now under some significant pressure, indeed, I have been dared to do likewise, because:
- it’s Buffy meets the X-Files meets the OC (allegedly)
- it’s a parallel universe of teen angst which must (apparently) be explored
- it’s part of the (and I quote) “new lovey-dovey horror sub genre malarkey”
Now some of these points may be good ones (I love Buffy; I love the X-Files); but some are also bad (I care little for teen angst; I may have riposted that said parallel universe should be plunged into the nearest singularity). Also, as I understand it, these vampires are “sparkly”
There is additional evidence which needs to be take into account:
- I am 47 years old – do I really want to be reminded about being a teenager, albeit one in love with a representative of the undead (which superficially has certain attractions)?
- My favourite vampire film is Near Dark – no sparkles
- I really enjoyed (in a creeped out way) Let the Right One In – definitely no sparkles
- I have avoided reading the books because almost everyone else has been and I am nothing if not perverse
- at the risk of upsetting any 15-year-old girls, Robert Thingy’s eyes are too close together for genuine handsomeness
- I don’t do romance
Am I being unfair? Should I give it a go? Please, please, give me some advice; I promise to abide by the majority decision……..