2013 OUT!

Well, 2013 was a weird year. Some really bad stuff happened but some really good stuff too. I hope 2014 will be the best year yet. I have a big milestone birthday this upcoming year, so I hope it will be a good one.

As for reading, I was a terrible reader (and blogger). I only finished 40 books. Blah! I want to be a better reader in 2014. Here’s hoping!

For now peace out 2013!

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Happy New Year!

Virtual Advent: A Fantasy Christmas Trip

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Hello, visitors! Welcome to the 21st day of Virtual Advent. I've been a part of this event since the beginning. I usually do something crafty or post a recipe. This year I didn't feel like doing anything like that but still wanted to join in. So, here's something a little different from me.

Christmas traditions are great, really, but sometimes trying to please everyone is overwhelming. What would Christmas be like if I decided to skip the usual, throw caution to the wind, and visit another region? Here's a list of places I think would be fun to see at Christmastime.

Scandinavia

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Having a little Scandinavian in me, I've always wanted to go explore the region. Christmas would be the best time to go. Scandinavians know how to celebrate the season like a BOSS! I'd have to make it a long trip so I could join in the Saint Lucia celebrations in Sweden on December 13th. Then off to Denmark to see what Nisse has been up to. A little shopping at a market in Norway, perhaps? In Finland, it would be lovely to walk around the dark streets with ice lanterns to light the way. Maybe I'd have a little glogg to keep me warm. Here are 22 ways Finland wins at Christmas! God Jul, everybody!

London, England

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I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes. Love, Actually made me love the idea of Christmas in London. London seems like a Christmas town. I mean, Dickens set A Christmas Carol there, right? So, yes, London is the place to be. There's a Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park that looks like fun. Christmas carols in Trafalgar Square or ice skating at the Tower of London seems like an old fashioned good time. Or for a more modern take on the season, head over to the London Eye for all the winter festivities there.

New York, New York


New York is another city I'd love to visit at Christmastime. I'd have to see the iconic Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center and have a skate there too. I don't think I could go there without seeing the Rockette's at Radio City. I would have to shop at Macy's, even if it was just window shopping. Without a doubt, there would be enough snow for a snowball fight just like the one Elf had in Central Park. If I'm going to be there for Christmas, then I'm staying for New Year's Eve and watch the ball drop on another year!

Disney World

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When I was in Disney World this summer, I heard that the busiest time of year for the park is Christmas. That's hard for me to picture considering how crazy crowded it was when I was there. Still, I didn't really mind the crowds, because it's a controlled chaos and it is the happiest place on earth. I never really thought of Christmas at Disney World until then, but I could imagine it would be spectacular. They make special Christmas displays all over the park, parades, shows, and, of course, fireworks. Sounds like a Christmas to remember!

Hawaii

After all that running around the globe, the most restful Christmas vacation would be a trip to Hawaii. Sitting on the beach and enjoying the sun while everyone else is frantically preparing for the holiday? Yes, please.
This video makes me say, "I want to go to there." Mele Kalikimaka, everyone!



How about you? Is there somewhere you've always wanted to spend Christmas? Have you been to any of these places for Christmas?





Thanks for visiting me today. Be sure to visit the other participants for the tour!

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith: Review

I Capture the CastleSeventeen year old Cassandra Mortmain decides to record the daily life of her family while practicing her homemade shorthand. The Mortmains patriarch is an eccentric author who moved his family to a dilapidated castle after he served a three month jail sentence (a misunderstanding). His wife is the glamourous Topaz, a former artists' model, and the glue that holds them together. It's she who sooths his ego and takes care of the needs of the family, including his three children. Besides Cassandra, there is Rose, the eldest child, and Thomas, the youngest. The other resident of the castle is Stephen Colly, the son of the late housekeeper, who was too young to be on his own when his mom died, but now works to keep the family from complete destitution.

Mr Mortmain hasn't written more than one novel, Jacob Wrestling, since before moving to the castle. They've sold all the furniture, dress in rags, and live on tea and biscuits. Even in this desperate state of poverty, Mortmain refuses to write or make any sort of living. Work is for other people. Topaz won't go back to her modelling, and none of the children are capable of finding work. They've tried nothing and it isn't working.

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Yes, ladies, I'm giving this family's attitude towards work the side eye too.

The only solution is for the eldest girl, Rose, to marry into money. A scenario she'd happily grab onto, if any eligible men lived near the castle. In desperation, she offers up prayers to a castle gargoyle, and at that moment two bachelor brothers with money appear. The Cottons are Americans and one is the new owner of both the castle and nearby Scoatney Hall. From the first, the men are intrigued by the family and their bizarre bohemian lifestyle. However, a series of misunderstandings and potential heartbreaks threatens to upend all of Rose's plans.

I've seen I Capture the Castle on many of my favorite blogs lately so it was one I felt I really needed to read. It's charming with many funny scenes as Rose tries to attract at least one suitor. She's not without her pride though, as you'll find out. Cassandra records all the goings on as they happen, including her own feelings about the Cottons and Rose's schemes. At first, it's fun to help Rose get her man, but Cassandra starts questioning her motives. Is Rose in love? Is it okay for her to marry for the money?

Since I Capture the Castle is a diary of a young woman, sometimes the reader sees a clearer picture of what is happening than Cassandra can. Still, I was surprised by some of the developments. I thought the ending was perfect. Not too tidy. Cassandra grows up a lot by the book's closing.

Dodie Smith straddles the line between funny and downright depressing. The family is super poor. The least little problem and they'd all be dead. They have nothing to fall back on. The father would probably be diagnosed a manic depressive if this was a modern YA novel. He's a little scary. Somehow Smith makes all their problems just part of the Mortmains' charm. I wondered too if the Cottons weren't American but upper class British gentlemen if they would have found the family as appealing. Probably not. At least, that's what I've gathered from Downton Abbey.

Add me to the list of people who love I Capture the Castle. I liked it even more since I only paid $1.99 for it! (It was on sale at the time.)

My Walls Speak: Postertext

Postertext breathes new life into some of the most important literary works ever written by using the writer's own words. We take pride in our ability to produce the highest quality work that captures the heart and spirit of the author's original vision. To accomplish this, we read every single book to completion before even attempting to brainstorm possible designs.
Postertext art is made entirely out of text. Peter, from Postertext offered me a print if I was interested. Having seen their work online, I said sure. So the print was free but the opinions are my own. I wanted to check it out up close. I'm a big Jane Eyre fan so I picked that one. It's $20.95 for a 20 X 24 print. The paper is high quality glossy poster paper. Fancy. Delivery of the poster was quick and it came in a sturdy cardboard tube.

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Check out the print after I framed it. (It's very hard to take a photo like this without getting the reflection of myself and my camera. I'm doing some weird acrobatics that you can't see.)

I thought it was pretty cool. Jane and Mr R are framed by the first 12 chapters of the book. It's a very romantic pose. Swoon! I'm adding this to my collection of book art, which is getting out of hand.

Again, I was given the poster, but damn, that frame cost me $$$ because I could only find one frame in this whole town the right size and it cost more than I would have theoretically paid for the print. Frame companies- they have you where they want you. But it does look pretty.

Anyhow, if you like the look of this poster, give Postertext a gander.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (Audiobook): Review

fangirlCath is starting her first year as a college student. Exciting! Or it should be. Cath is the ultimate introvert, with anxiety issues. The only reason she went away for college was to make her twin, Wren, happy. Wren is the complete opposite. She's outgoing and excited to make new friends. Cath just wants to stay in her room and write fanfiction of her favorite series, Simon Snow. The series is a lot like Harry Potter, including a boy with magical powers and a rabid fandom. Cath has been writing fanfiction for years with thousands of online fans of her own.

Fangirl covers the whole first year of college for Cath and all the changes that happen in her life. Some pretty big important changes. Cath's life hasn't been easy. Rowell reveals just how many difficulties she and Wren have had throughout the book. At first Cath's worries about her Dad seem like the fears of an overly anxious person, but those fears turn out to be legitimate. Eventually, Cath lets go and does some growing up with the help of her roommate Reagan and Reagan's (sort of) boyfriend Levi.

While I liked Cath and enjoyed seeing her come out of her shell…not too far though…, there were things that made Fangirl drag for me. Mostly, it was the Simon Snow fan fiction. I don't read fan fiction and I've never read Harry Potter. I thought so much inclusion of the fanfic was too much. It was created just for this book and it was just… kinda boring. It's not really my thing. I appreciate that Levi appreciates it but I just wanted to get on with Cath's story.

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Cath was a real person with real problems to me. She seemed to get in her own way most of the time. The people around her have infinite amounts of patience with her and her issues. She's very lucky.

Anyway, I'm getting lazy so here's what I liked:
  • The love interest isn't some super-duper handsome dude with a cleft chin or anything.
  • Reagan the roommate is a real girl. She's interesting in her own right, although we never know too much about her. She's an enigma. (Can I haz a Reagan book?)
  • There is no boy drama between the girls.
  • The family drama isn't all prettily solved by the end of the book (year), just like in real life.
  • Wren is a pain in the arse but there's a reasonable explanation for it.
  • Lots of making out. I miss making out. Making out used to be a big deal.
There is lots of squeeing over Fangirl over on Goodreads. I enjoyed listening to Fangirl for the most part, not as much as I liked Attachments. I'm not in the OMGTHISWASTHEBEST camp but it was very good. Cute, for sure. And, yeah, I got a lump in my throat at the end. Whatever.

About the audio: Rebecca Lowman is the main narrator of the story. Although she was good with all the characters, I thought she was the best as Reagan. Maxwell Caulfield read all the Simon Snow parts.

The Small Hand and Dolly by Susan Hill: Review

small hand and dollyTwo previously published stories, The Small Hand and Dolly by Susan Hill, are collected here by Vintage Books into one volume. Both are similar in theme.

In The Small Hand, Adam gets lost while driving in the English countryside and finds himself in the forgotten garden of the abandoned White House. While standing in the front yard staring at the house, he feels a tiny invisible hand grasp his. (Screeeeeaaaam!) He's weirded out but not too disturbed by the sensation. However, after he goes on with his life, he feels the small hand again only with sinister connotations. He tries to find out more about the house and the garden. As he looks for answers, he uncovers a secret with devastating consequences.

Dolly involves two cousins, the spoiled Leonora and docile Edward, who spend one summer with their Aunt Kestrel in Iyot House. Edward hears a strange whispering and crying at night. When his bratty cousin arrives with her demands, their aunt tries to appease her by buying her a doll. How she treats the doll will have consequences for the two cousins.
As I said, the stories have some similarities. Both involve a creepy old house in the country, the protagonists are men who travel for work, and both are affected by something that's happened in their childhoods. The Small Hand is a story with a solid conclusion. There's foreshadowing pushing the reader towards the end. Everything gets tidied up real nice.

Dolly is a different situation. The ending isn't so clean. Is Leonora the cause of the terrible events as Edward believes? I don't think so. Leonora is awful, it's true. She makes even the worst kid look like an angel in comparison, but as bad as she is, I think she's as much of a victim as Edward. Right from the start, Edward hears the strange sounds in the attic. The evil in the house is already there. The doll is just a vehicle for it. Why it attaches itself to the two children is a mystery. Sometimes evil has no explanation and this is one of those times.

If you enjoy typical ghost stories with tidy endings, The Small Hand will please you. If, like me, you like ambiguous endings that leave you saying hmmm, Dolly will be more to your tastes.

Wuthering Heights (DVD) 2011

wuthering heights dvd
"An Epic Tale of Love and Revenge" Uh-huh.

I had this film version of Wuthering Heights on my wish list since I heard about it last year. I finally saw the DVD at Walmart and didn't hesitate buying it. I have a love/hate relationship with Wuthering Heights but there was no way I was going to miss out on watching this latest version.

Before we get to it, in order to compare the film to the movie there must be spoilers. If you care about the spoilers of a nearly 200 year old book that you haven't read by now, then read no further.

Wuthering Heights starts at the end (of the film) but quickly flashes back to the beginning. Young Heathcliff (Solomon Glave) is brought by Mr Earnshaw (Paul Hilton) to the farm known as Wuthering Heights. Earnshaw found him on the streets of London and out of "Christian kindness" brings him to Yorkshire to live with his family. Let me set the scene: Wuthering Heights is a glorified barn, the eldest son Hindley (Lee Shaw) looks like an escapee from a penal colony in a dystopian future world, not one person looks happy to see the new arrival. The film implies that Heathcliff is a runaway slave. He barely speaks English other than a few swears. He's obviously scared but hides it behind a defiance that's endearing. You can't help but root for the kid.

I always have conflicting feelings regarding Heathcliff. I start out loving him and end up hating him. Director Andrea Arnold does a few things to keep the viewer in the Team Heathcliff camp. First, the whole movie is told from his point of view, and the film ends just before Heathcliff becomes The Worst. She also does something interesting by making Heathcliff black. It adds another layer of differences between him and the Earnshaws.

Soon Mr Earnshaw's daughter Cathy (Shannon Beer) befriends Heathcliff. Cathy is a little ruffian who runs around the moors in pants, wrestles in the dirt with Heathcliff, and curses at Hindley. I really liked her. Heathcliff falls for her right away. She might not be aware of it just then but the viewer knows by the way he looks at her hair or her calves. Does he love her because she's the only one who's nice to him or because hormones? I don't know. There is barely any dialogue in the film. This has the effect of making the dialogue extremely emotional when someone does say something. Emotion is expressed through looks and camera angles. You know Heathcliff thinks of Cathy when he sees a feather, when people are sad they lie in the heather in the rain.

Heathcliff in the Heather
Just lying in the heather, with my feelings.

Things get bad for Heathcliff after the death of Mr Earnshaw. Hindley becomes an even bigger asshole and Cathy discovers the Linton family, a wealthy family with a boy her age, Edgar. Cathy likes the life the Lintons: cultured, mannered, rich. Heathcliff sees her change and doesn't like it. Edgar asks her to marry him and she accepts. With nothing to keep him there, Heathcliff leaves Wuthering Heights.

Years later, he returns a handsome gentleman with money (James Howson). Cathy (Kaya Scodelario) realizes she's made a huge mistake, but you can't unring a bell. She's stuck with Edgar. That doesn't mean she doesn't try to have them both. Cathy and Heathcliff make sexy eyes at each other whenever they are together. He makes it no secret that he'd take her in a minute if they were ever alone. Edgar is no fool and sends his sister Isabella to babysit, something he'll regret later. Even in Isabella's presence there is passionate hand clutching and hair tugging. The sexual tension is 100%.

The film ends just after Cathy dies of Not Getting Her Own Way and Heathcliff goes bonkers and dry humps her corpse. Readers of Wuthering Heights know this is not the worst thing he is capable of doing. In this version, he is pretty awful to Isabella and while he gets revenge on Hindley, he leaves Hindley's son, Hareton, alone. There is no mention of Edgar or the children. The viewer is left to decide what happens next. Maybe Heathcliff turns Wuthering Heights into a home for orphaned children? Good, kind Heathcliff, taking care of children.

I enjoyed this version of Wuthering Heights even though it left me feeling depressed, but it's Wuthering Heights so….yeah. It's beautifully shot. Everything is windswept and rainy. Every frame tells a story. There is no musical score. The wind is the score and it is perfect. No manipulating with violins. Emily Bronte's words don't need it anyway. 

Don't expect kittens and rainbows. It's dark and violent but I'm glad I watched it. It's an excellent addition to the Bronte canon.

For my thoughts on the PBS 2009 version of Wuthering Heights, click here.

Night Film Revisited

night filmRemember back in August when I reviewed the audio version of Night Film? I thought giving the text version a look would be a smart idea, since the book is so unique. I finally had the chance to have a look at it and thought I'd share my thoughts on the hardcover.

I'm not going to give you a review and synopsis of the story because I already did that here. I'm going to discuss the differences between the experiences of the two versions.

Usually, I'm pretty happy choosing to listen to an audiobook. There are exceptions, like this one. In this case, reading the hardcover has a couple of advantages over listening.

The visuals: website pages, magazine articles, photographs, etc. These items are described and the text portions read in the audiobook but actually seeing them is a better experience. For example, see the photo below.

Night Film extra

The app. There is a free smartphone app that can be downloaded from the iTunes or Google Play stores. Using this app and a connection to the internet, the reader can access additional information hidden as Easter eggs within the book. Some bits are more interesting than others. The information can be audio files or additional text. This is a bit gimmicky and doesn't add a lot to the reading of the book. For more information, visit the Night Film Decoder page.

Night Film app
How the app looks when played on my iPod


If I was going to recommend one over the other, I'd pick the text version, just for all the extras.

*Tap tap* Is This Thing On?

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Just sitting here. Thinking.
Hello, Sunday readers! Is anybody out there? Just nod if you can hear me. I feel like nobody is reading. I wrote two reviews this week, a rarity for me, and there wasn't much commentary on either. This isn't a pity party. Blogging just seems different now and I'm thinking about why.

Part of it is probably my own fault. I fell off the grid there for awhile and when that happens on the internet, readers tend to fall off. Then there was the death of Google Reader. Where did those subscribers go? Did they find another feed reader or did they just give up blogs altogether? Recently, someone in my Twitter feed mentioned not missing Google Reader one bit. I wondered why. Did all those unread blog posts make them feel guilty? Anxious? Obligated? Maybe once Google Reader disappeared they felt a sense of freedom. I'm not sure.

Not that I'm any better. I find it hard to comment on blogs. I've been using Bloglovin' and one thing I don't like about it is how it truncates posts. In theory, I suppose, people will click through to the blog to read a post. Most of the time I just skim the title and move on. If I read the whole post on my reader, I might feel like I have something to say about it and click through to comment. Am I just weird like that?

I'm also more likely to comment on a blog post to the author on Twitter. A "Oh hey, I read what you thought about blah blah" when I see them hanging out there. It becomes more of a conversation that way. Sometimes I'll forget to go back to a post to read the comments or the author doesn't reply, so catching someone on Twitter is a better option. I think we're all suffering from Commentitis. Is commenting so-last-year?

Book bloggers, has commenting on your blog changed? Are you finding there are fewer comments on your reviews? Have you found a way to encourage more commenting? Are you commenting less? What about you, Blog Readers? Anyone care to comment?

They Do It With Mirrors by Agatha Christie: Review

they do it with mirrorsMiss Marple is convinced by her old friend Ruth to take a little trip to check on her sister, Carrie Louise. Ruth has a feeling that her sister is in some kind of trouble. When they were girls, they were all pals, but Miss Marple hasn't seen her friend in decades. She is unsure that her visit will uncover anything to reassure Ruth.

Ruth explains Carrie Louise's present circumstances. She's married to a doctor who convinced her to turn her estate into a home for wayward boys. When Miss Marple arrives at Stonygates, she finds chaos. Carrie Louise has a houseful of characters: her daughter, a variety of stepsons, a granddaughter and her soldier husband, Carrie's devoted companion, doctors and their unstable assistant. All these personalities clash but Miss Marple doesn't see anything alarming. Of course, a murder happens anyway after the arrival of another guest.

What I enjoy about Agatha Christie novels is how I never figure out who did the killing until the very end and it always seems so obvious then. Miss Marple also has this experience with magic tricks, once the trick is explained it's so simple. The Art of Magic is in the misdirection. Christie herself was an excellent magician in that sense. Little hints are dropped and you have the feeling that you almost got it when she diverts your attention elsewhere. Tricky, tricky.

Miss Marple is almost fooled. Almost. She's too smart to be tricked for long though. There are a bunch of suspects. The most obvious are ruled out, of course, it's never them, but how could one of the others have done it? None of the suspects realize sweet Miss Marple is as sharp as she is. Inspector Curry sees her for what she is right away and uses her insight to solve the crime, even when some of the things she says makes no sense.

They Do It With Mirrors is one of the most entertaining Christie novels I've read. I enjoyed the trick.

MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood: Review (Audiobook)

maddadam coverIn Atwood's post-apocalyptic world, a small group of humans have survived the viral Flood that has ended humanity, such as it was. In this group are members of the God's Gardeners, and the MaddAddamites, plus a loner named Jimmy (aka Snowman). All in some way or another are connected the orchestrator of the Flood: Crake. With them are Crake's creation, a better (in his opinion) kind of human, they call Crakers. The Crakers follow the humans around demanding, in their childlike way, to hear stories of Crake, as well as stories of the leader of the humans, Zeb. They've chosen Toby as their storyteller and as she tells them of Zeb's adventures, she learns more about the events that lead Crake to unleash the virus that ended the human race.

When not spinning stories for the Crakers, Toby and the others try to cope with this new world full of dangers. Besides the crumbling buildings, fires, and animals like the pigoons, there are a group of murderous Pain Ballers. These men are the Gladiators of pre-Flood times, criminals who are without humanity or compassion. Zeb is anxious to find his brother, the founder of the God Gardeners, Adam One, before the Pain Ballers do.

If you've gotten this far, you probably already read Oryx and Crake* and Year of the Flood, or you are completely lost. Atwood has created a strange and sinister world for her three novels. It's familiar but foreign. It's a world that could possibly be. A world that is dystopian where big corporations run things and people literally worship oil. The reader learns more about that place through the eyes of Zeb.

Zeb's story weaves in and out the the lives of the main characters of the two other novels. His brother created the God's Garderners, to most people a uber-hippie commune but actually a hideout for people opposed to the work of corporations like HealthWyzer. Zeb came into contact with Glen (aka Crake) and may have inadvertently helped him get his hands on the deadly virus he used to murder the population of the earth. MaddAddam attempts to tie up any loose ends in the series. There are a number of coincidences. However, since the survivors have had some contact with Crake, are these coincidences or destiny? Hmm?

The survivors attitude toward the Crakers is important. They could chase them away, or ignore them, but because they know what they are and where they came from there is an attachment. These beautiful, gentle beings are both endearing and annoying. They've made up a mythology around Crake ("kind, gentle Crake") where he is the god of their universe. The others are unwilling to explain to them that he was really a sociopathic genius with a God Complex. What would happen if they knew this (if they were able to understand it)? So instead the survivors treat the Crakers like special children.

I'm not sure if this third instalment is necessary. There is a lot of Zeb in MaddAddam and I wasn't as enamoured with him as Toby was. I've read a few of Margaret Atwood books and there is often this Alpha Male that the female protagonist follows around like a puppy. He has some things to say but not much that we haven't heard before. By the end, we know that the human race will carry on somehow. It's a hopeful ending, though a hopeful ending where just about everyone and everything in the world has to be destroyed for order to be returned to our planet. Is this a warning? A wish? Is it a happy ending? As Marge Simpson once said, "It's an ending, that's enough." It was entertaining to listen to but not my favorite.

About the Audio: MaddAddam has three narrators: Bernadette Dunne, Bob Walter, and Robbie Daymond. The majority of the narration done by two characters: Toby and Zeb. I found the jumping between the two of them confusing at times. It's as if they are having a conversation and interrupting each other. Just Toby would have been fine. The third character I'll keep secret.

*Note: I read Oryx and Crake in 2007 (apparently) and I remember liking it more than I seemed to at the time. Maybe I should read it again. Also, that was not my best review.

Trick or TREAT!

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Happy Halloween!

I managed to get one more Pin finished for Trish's Pin It and Do It Challenge. It's a good one to share now, since today is Halloween. You should make some for yourselves before the Trick or Treaters come.

It's called Apple Nachos and you can find the recipe here. Instead of tortilla chips, there are apples. Instead of cheese and salsa: marshmallow, caramel, and chocolate sauce. It's yummy! I didn't make anywhere near as much as the recipe calls for. I halved the marshmallow and caramel portion and only used one apple. It was plenty for two people. I still have a ton of caramel leftover. I also didn't add the peanuts (peanut allergy in the family).

It is very messy though!
Apple Nachos

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King: Review

Doctor SleepDanny Torrance (The Shining) is all grown up now and really into alcohol. He does manage to get himself together and into AA. Once he does this, things in his life improve. He's got a job (where he helps old people "go into the light, Caroline!" as Doctor Sleep), friends, a grip on reality, and a secret friendship with a little girl. Whoa, it's ok! Actually, he and the girl don't meet each other in the physical world. She has more Shine than he does and reaches out to him with her mind.

Abra, the girl, has a problem. It's not about bullies or boys, but about a secret vampire cult called the True Knot. The True Knot drive around in Winnebagos sucking the life force out of 'special' children, like Abra. They've found out about her and are on their way to get her. Will Danny step up and be the saviour Dick Halloran was for him?

At first, seeing little Danny Torrance struggle and fail is depressing. Surviving the disaster of the Overlook should be a life affirming experience, but Danny has demons in the form of seeing really bad stuff about people. That's hard to live with and it doesn't make for uplifting reading. This part of the book dragged. It took me sometime to get through it.

After all the "Previously, on the Shining" we get to the main plot of the story. The leader of the True Knot want Abra. Here's where things pick up and I plowed through the remainder of the book. Danny does "shine" here. He's the man we want him to be. He is strong and ethical. He uses his power for good, no matter what the damage to himself. He's going to save this little girl, no matter what! I couldn't wait to see how he was going to accomplish this.

I'm not sure what to make of Abra. I wasn't enamoured with her. She had her feisty moments and I definitely didn't want her to die, but despite having this incredible gift, I didn't find her that interesting. She was missing a little something.

Doctor Sleep has a few twists, some surprises, old friends, and lots of new ones. There are plenty of scares with the True Knot. The end brings The Shining and Doctor Sleep together in a satisfying way. If you can hold on through the Life of Danny and get to the meat of the story, you'll have a scary good time.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson: Review

haunting…Or bad architecture will drive you crazy.

Dr Montague decides to send letters to people who may have had some kind of previous psychic experience in order to entice them to come to Hill House: an isolated, weirdo house in the boonies that might be haunted. Only two people reply, people who have nothing better to do, Theodora, who's fighting with her roommate and Eleanor, who needs to get away from her awful sister. These three, along with the heir to Hill House, Luke, head on up to the old mansion in the name of science.
At first everyone is all "Let's tell witty jokes, old chums, and drink brandy" but soon Hill House starts doing its tricks. Tricks that seem to affect Eleanor more so than anyone else.

The Haunting of Hill House is superbly written. This was my second or third reading and this time I tried to just go with whatever was happening here. Previously, I had been influenced by that awful Catherine Zeta Jones movie (and the Scary Movie version). However, there was still a point when I was considering whether or not Mrs Dudley (the caretaker who tells them all individually that she doesn't stay after dark and will not be able to hear them scream) was feeding them schrooms. Things get weird. Real weird. Shirley Jackson is an evil genius.

Eleanor is an unreliable narrator. She lies, to the others and herself. She's had a terribly boring life having spent most of it looking after her mother. Her sister and her brother-in-law are the worst people ever. She's made up an imaginary life that she passes off as her own. Eleanor already seems like a space cadet and much younger than her 32 years. She's dreamy and strange, either she's easy pickings for Hill House or is the creator of all the activity. At times, I felt sorry for poor Eleanor, but also annoyed with her. Eleanor, you can be annoying, girl.

Being stuck in Eleanor's head is frustrating since the reader can only know what she knows and experience what she does. Everything gets filtered through her. What do Luke, Theodora, and the doctor see? How do they really feel about Eleanor? It's my opinion that Theodora is a mean girl. She uses Eleanor when she needs to but hates to have attention taken off herself. Theo plays some mean tricks and says cruel things. Then again, maybe she got on her nerves. All the characters get annoyed with Eleanor at some point.

Hill House might be haunted or it might not. People in the village avoid it. The house sits under the hills in the woods within the sights of a misanthropic village. The family has a history of nastiness over who has a right to own it and one person committed suicide over it. The original owner and builder had some weird ideas and terrible taste. He had it built so that nothing inside it is straight and the the inner hallways have a funhouse effect with rooms opening into other rooms. The decor is tacky and there is a general icky feel to the place. Time itself behaves strangely here. There aren't any hauntings by monks or nuns but there is a cold spot. It's just a nasty place.
"Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone."
The Haunting of Hill House has an unexpected ending and even after reading it more than once, I'm still shocked by it. I don't think I'll ever get to the bottom of every mystery at Hill House, no matter how many times I read it.

Lazy Sunday Thoughts: I Have Been…

Because of Beth Fish, I've been using a camera app called Collect, which let's you add a photo a day to a calendar within the app. I decided to do one for October weather. It's probably our most interesting weather month. Here are some of my favorites for this month in a collage created by Picasa.

Weather photo

I Have Been… (I'm borrowing this from Kelly and Chris. I won't do all of them.)

Reading: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. Actually, I finished it and I should have a review of it up soon. Such a good story. Oh and for a good laugh, you should be reading The Toast. I've been reading through the posts and not only are they funny and interesting but the comments actually don't make we weep for humanity.

Listening: Maddadam by Margaret Atwood. I was on the library waiting list for awhile and just downloaded it. Can't wait to catch up with God's Gardeners, Maddadams, Crakers, and Snowman the Jimmy. Musically, I downloaded the old, old Portishead album, Dummy, because it was super cheap and I'm kind of obsessed with it.

Watching: The Heat. Melissa McCartney and Sandra Bullock are so funny. I wish Sandra Bullock would do more comedy. I miss her in those roles. It wasn't without the usual issues for that genre (cop/buddy) but they both made up for any problems.

Anticipating: Lady Gaga's new album. I don't care what anyone says, I love her. She takes "all the world's a stage" to a whole 'nother level. She cracks me up. I think she was put on this earth just to amuse me.

Feeling: Bored. I never thought I'd feel this bored after working for such a short time, but I am. I have things to do but I don't want to do any of them. Even reading (!!!) isn't enough. I want to go out there and take on the world and maybe wear a cape! Or become an Adventure Librarian with Tasha, Judith, and Kristen. (This is what happens when you ask for career advice on Twitter.)

That's what I'm thinking about this Sunday. How about you?

Doctor Sleep Discussion Wrap-Up

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I'll be writing up my own review for Doctor Sleep in the future- hopefully I'll still remember stuff. I finished it awhile ago. For now, I'd like to answer Tif's questions for discussion.

Since this discusses the ending of Doctor Sleep, be forewarned: Spoilers Ahoy!


Before we started reading, we asked if you had any expectations for Doctor Sleep.  Did you get what you were hoping for out of the book?

I didn't have any expectations going into Doctor Sleep. What I wanted was to see how Danny turned out and how his powers affected his life. I wanted to know more about The Overlook and how it came to be such a powerful source of evil. I don't think we ever got a proper explanation for that though.

Having finished the book, do you think having read The Shining is important for enjoying this one?

That's a hard question to answer, since you can't unknow what you already know, you know? It probably helped at the beginning of the story, but Doctor Sleep stands on its own after awhile.

In one word, one phrase, one sentence ... describe Doctor Sleep.

Relationships. The relationships are pretty important to the story. Danny is lost when he is all alone, then he makes friends and joins AA and his life gets better. Abra needs Danny's help to keep Rose from finding her, and Danny needs the help of others to do this. The True Knot is a community and a weirdo family that needs each member to keep it strong. No one goes it alone in Doctor Sleep.

Anything else you feel like discussing about the end of the book?  Or, about the book as a whole?

The ending was what I'd hoped for. The bad guys are defeated and all is right with the world. I like that The Overlook became a bigger part of the story at the end and that even some of the old 'characters' played a part. I'd still like to know why that area is so evil though.

Once I can get all my thoughts in working order, I'll post my review!

The Séance by John Harwood: Review

IMG_1155After the death of her youngest daughter, Constance's mother falls into a deep depression which lasts about 16 years. Constance's dad up and leaves them with a "don't call me, I won't call you." So, Constance thinks the only way to get her mother out of her funk is to take her to a séance. And it works, briefly, until her mother leaves this earthly realm herself. Later, Constance finds out that she's the proud, new owner of a dilapidated old castle. Said castle was the setting for many weird doings and disappearances.

Constance isn't sure what she's going to do, and gets freaked out when the family lawyer leads their conversation with a: "You look like heeeeeeeer!" After which he dumps a bunch of old diaries in her lap. The diaries make up much of the narrative, which tells of ghostly encounters, electrical experiments, and mesmerism. Constance is convinced that the author of the diaries, Eleanor, is her real mother and sets out to find out what happened to the poor lady. And you know it's going to involve a séance.

The Séance had a lot of potential. The set up was fabulous. An old house? Check. A damsel in distress? Check. A sketchy dude with creepy eyes? Check. It was as gothic as I could ever hope. Wilkie Collins-esque. There was even the threat of the insane asylum. How could this go wrong? Well, Harwood cops out at the end. The explanations didn't sit well with me. Some important events are just brushed off. And the Séance? It's not even a major part of the story. How can the book be titled after this event? This could have been a full on Vincent Price B movie but it just turns into a episode of Scooby-Doo. In the words of Hall and Oates, I can't go for that. No can do.

There were times that I forgot I was reading a modern novel told in the 19th century style, then someone would drop a bit of science into the conversation and I'd remember. I have to give Harwood props for this. It's as close to a traditional gothic novel as you're going to get. One improvement, however, is the addition of a heroine who has a brain. Yay, for heroines who can hold their own! Even if that heroine does something questionable because she has a hunch. That was some risky business.

fist bump cat

In the end, I had mixed feelings about The Séance. I'd give it points for atmosphere but take some away for the denouement. 

Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin: Review

rosemary's babyRosemary and her actor husband Guy move into their dream NYC apartment. The Bramford is a building with character- and a history of unusual deaths. Things are great at first. Sure, the elderly neighbours are a bit too involved in the new couple's affairs, but Rosemary is happy making their little nest as cozy as can be. Rosemary can't wait to start a family with her hubby! Sounds great, right? The only problem is that just about everyone in the building is a Satan worshipper and have evil designs on Rosemary's womb. But other than that, things are peachy!

Having also read The Stepford Wives earlier this year, I couldn't help but compare Levin's two popular novels. Rosemary's Baby doesn't quite have the satiric bite that The Stepford Wives has. There does seem to be a theme, however. In both novels, wives are convinced by their husbands' that their fears are ridiculous, all while they are plotting against them. Yes, those fears are outlandish, but they are true. In Rosemary's Baby, written in 1967, Rosemary is easier to control than the ladies of Stepford. She is much younger and because of the decade, easily believes the lies being told to her by her husband and her doctor. She doesn't have the knowledge or the power to stand up for herself, even though all her instincts tell her something is wrong. It isn't until the end of the story that the power shifts to her.

One of the most unsettling aspects of Rosemary's Baby is how a young woman is completely under the control of others. Who can she turn to for help once she suspects her husband of evil deeds? And what about the doctor that convinces her that the pain she is feeling will go away in a few days? No one. She just gets mansplained. She becomes isolated in the Bramford, surrounded by people who are up to no good. It must be a terrifying feeling to have no one listen to you. This is the second Levin novel I've read where the men are selfish, greedy bastards. What was he trying to say?

Religion plays a big part of the story. Rosemary was raised a Catholic, Guy has no beliefs. The Pope's visit to New York is a big deal at the beginning of the novel. I found it strange that people who confess to not believing in God believe in the Devil. This seems at odds. Can you have one without the other?

I didn't think that Rosemary's Baby was a very scary story, at least not the Satan parts. Some of it was silly actually. Rosemary's dreams about the Kennedys are funny. The neighbours don't fit the Satan worshipping stereotype. They're all elderly, well to do people. Rosemary finds it strange that Guy wants to hang out with them. And I don't care how nice they seem to be, I could not stand all that "dropping in" that they do. My introversion would leave me cold to the Satanists' charm.

Rosemary's Baby is a quick read with a solid plot. Ira Levin was a playwright and the movie, adapted by Roman Polanski, sticks close to the book. You won't be bored by the novel and the twist at the end is pretty clever.

A Pinteresting Update: PSL

Since this weekend was Thanksgiving weekend, I didn't get around to posting on Sunday. Oh well. I did want to put up an update on Trish's Pin It and Do It Challenge. I think I'm at 4 pins now.

This one I found on Hello Giggles. It's a faux Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe.

Faux Pumpkin Spice Latte
Pumpkin Spice Latte  VS













It was pretty tasty. The only issue I have with it is that it's…lumpy. I had to strain the coffee mixture because blah. Maybe I didn't puree the pumpkin enough.

Perhaps you're tired of all the pumpkin flavoured everything. You might enjoy Pumpkin Spice: The Movie

Doctor Sleep Read Along Discussion- Part One

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I don't think I'm revealing anything that hasn't been already blurbed about but anyone wanting to know nothing about the plot shouldn't read any further.


It took me some time to get into Doctor Sleep. Prefatory Matters felt like forever. King had to give us the 411 on what happened to Danny (Dan) Torrance after leaving the Overlook to the present time. This part was like the first episode of a new season of Revenge: "Here's what happened to the characters over the last year" only it was more like 30 years. I just couldn't get into this section. Mostly Dan got drunk. It felt like we'd already been there already. Sure, Dan was smart enough to get help but I just couldn't do this all again after The Shining.

Part One is also a bit of a slog because one of the main characters isn't even born until decade before the main action occurs. I was wondering if it was just me, but apparently some others participating in the Sleepalong are feeling similarly. I continued on because Margaret Atwood raved about Doctor Sleep and I will just do as she says. If she says read it, then I will. She should just wear a t-shirt that says, "Because I'm Margaret Atwood." Who am I to argue? By the end of Part One, things pick up and now I'm finding it hard to keep away from the book.

That's not to say that there aren't highlights in Part One. The characters are so well written. Dan is flawed but unlike his Dad he is a good human being. I love him a little bit. I love Billy and his hint of shine too. Abra is one special kid but she also just an ordinary girl. Rose the Hat is frickin scary.

King's ability to terrorize me hasn't changed since The Shining. There is a scene in Part One titled The True Knot that illustrates this perfectly. It is a scene of torture that doesn't describe the torture at all, yet conveys the feeling of being tortured explicitly. It gave me chills and there is nothing graphic about that scene at all.

Now onto the Sleepalong Q&A.


Doctor Sleep picks up not long after the closing of The Shining.  For those who have recently read The Shining, do you think it proves to be helpful in diving into the sequel?  If you have not recently read The Shining, do you feel you are missing out on some of the details?

I'm very glad to have read The Shining just before Doctor Sleep. I don't think I would have known who some of the characters were and the parts they played in Danny's childhood. However, they are two very different stories and you wouldn't need to read The Shining to understand what was going on.

Danny has now become Dan.  In Part One, we watch his transformations from learning to live with the horrors of The Overlook to succumbing to the drink (like his father) to his road to sobriety and earning the title of Doctor Sleep.  What do you think about the journey King has taken Dan on thus far?

Like I said, I'm glad the drinking part is over with and I'm glad to see Dan helping the people who need it. I was disappointed that he had to take that journey but happy to see him come out the other side. I get the feeling he's going to need to use all the tools he's got to fight the True.

We are also introduced to the True Knot in this first section.  What do you think about this group?

I'm never going to look at people in Winnebagos the same way again.

Now that I'm hooked I can't wait to keep reading!

Pumpkiny Sunday Thoughts

October is off to a good start! I made 3 things this week for Trish's Pin It and Do It Challenge.

First up was Pioneer Woman's Simple Sesame Noodles. As advertised they are simple, but delicious. I did not have the hot oil but used Sriracha sauce instead. 

simple sesame noodles

Next, I made Martha Stewart's Pumpkin Cupcakes. I actually made these years ago, but pinned them to my Yum! board recently. I didn't get as fancy as Martha. I just iced on the icing and let my daughter add the decorations. These are Monster Spider and Leaf Pile versions.

Pumpkin Cupcakes

I made this bowl of Irish Oatmeal with Hot Buttered Cinnamon Apples this morning. It was tasty, but since I have a big sweet tooth I added more maple syrup.

Irish Oatmeal with Apples

So far I've only made EATS!

Would you try making any of these?





Today the fam and I took our annual pumpkin picking trip. So did everyone else. It was crazy, probably because next week is Thanksgiving. We have our pumpkins now and lots of other goodies.

October weather

The place where we bought our pumpkins is right next door to this abandoned farmhouse. It was very spooky looking so I took this photo. It's very Halloweenish!

Abandoned Farmhouse


That's my week in iphotos!

My Personal Thoughts on Goodreads (No, not that. Well, some of that.)

GrandpaI've probably complained about Goodreads before. I've had issue with Goodreads before all the shenanigans of this past week. There is no perfect product out there and if it's for free then the users have very little say in how it works. Obviously, we could all stop using Goodreads. That would seem to be an easy solution, but when you've been using a product like Goodreads for a long time and all your book friends use it too, it's hard to give it up.

Goodreads' new policy of deleting reviews "about the author and not the book" (or more accurately negative reviews) doesn't affect me. I don't post my reviews there. Well, actually I have 45 'reviews' there, several of them links to posts on Chrisbookarama, and some of them extremely useful one word reviews like "Creepy!" I was never a heavy user. There are some users who review exclusively on Goodreads, a dangerous practice in my opinion, and have learned the hard way that they have no control over their content. Twenty-one users (according to Goodreads) had reviews deleted. This is been distressing for them, no doubt. The only concern I have about all of this is the shelving issue, as in Goodreads plans to delete inappropriate user shelves. It went through my mind that they could misconstrue my RIP shelf. "Is she threatening these authors?" "I don't know, Bob. Let's delete it anyway."


See more on Know Your Meme

I haven't had any trouble with rating books over there. Probably because I do not read self-published books. Most of the problems I've seen are between reviewers and self-published authors. I'm sure most self-published authors are lovely people but there are some Sensitive Sallys out there. Possibly the problem is all those self-pub advice blogs on the internet telling them they need reviews on Goodreads to be a success! Plus how-to posts on all the ways to game the system (gross). It's not like they have a lot of other options out there though. Goodreads has sold itself as the place where authors need to be but reviewers aren't a controllable entity. The sensitive should stay far, far away. Let's face it, those reviews can get ugly.

Back to my own Goodreads issues, the site has gotten increasingly annoying about self-promotion over the last year or so. This includes both authors and reviewers. I have a very small group of 'friends' over there. These are people whose opinions I want to read. I want to see what they are reading or planning to read.

I have written right in my policy that I do not follow authors unless I have read and liked their books. This does not stop authors from trying to get me to 'friend' them and usually it's the same authors over and over again. My policy is if you've tried 3 times to friend me and I've ignored you every time, I block you. Either these authors haven't read my policy or they choose to ignore it. It's gotten to the point that I don't even have to click on their profile to know if they are an author:
  • They have 'author' in their email address. Duh.
  • They have Smug Author* photo. I don't begrudge anyone a Smug Author photo, they look great and professional, but they have several things in common: looking off into the distance possibly with a hand to the chin, slightly blurry, often black and white. I know these are authors right away.
  • They never, ever answer my ridiculous friend request question. It should be a requirement that you answer this.
  • They have 0 books in their catalogue. Or possibly one, which you just know is their own.
Nothing personal, authors, but I don't want your stuff in my timeline.

Now, reviewers can be just as bad at over-self-promotion. The Notifications! I keep thinking I've disabled them, but they keep appearing in my inbox. No, I do not want to visit your blog for your awesome giveaway of Book I Really Don't Care About. I don't like giveaways. "Gasp! What you don't like free books?!" Nope, I don't want to go through the whole business of entering a book draw for Book I Really Don't Care About. If it is Book I Care About, I will find a way to get it come hell or high water anyway. I also don't want to attend some event you're hosting in Some Place Far Away either. Why are you sending me this?!

As I said, I could just stop using it, but the benefits outweigh the disadvantages at this point. I have dusted off my Library Thing again. I haven't used it since 2010. It's not the same though (it's not pretty). I will make an effort to keep it up to date this time.

grumpychange

How about you? Do you care about the new policy? Is there something else on your mind about Goodreads? Are you using some other book cataloguing/social media site?

*This is a Bridget Jones reference. I'm not saying all authors are smug. Just those photos scream, "Look! I wrote a book!"

A Twofer of Guy de Maupassant: The Inn and Le Horla

Panoramic view of Paradise Inn, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Last year, I reviewed A Ghost by Guy de Maupassant and it didn't go well. It was so bad that a Troll decided to tell me I was stupid and should stop writing stupid things on the internet.* Yes, because that is the way to convince people to enjoy the things you do, by calling them stupid. I would have appreciated some guidance from Mr Guy Fanboy, because Guy wrote a lot, a little "if you didn't like that, then try this instead" but no, that is not how assholes work on the internet. Anyway, I didn't let the opinions of one butthead deter me from trying Monsieur Maupassant again.

This time around I took on The Inn and Le Horla.

I read recently that Stephen King's The Shining and The Inn are often compared. I'm all about The Shining these days. In The Inn, two caretakers and a dog are left to look after an inn located in the Alps during the winter months. The inn is completely cut off from civilization in the winter. Almost right away one of the caretakers disappears, and this event sends the remaining man into madness. King's The Shining has supernatural elements, but Jack Torrance and Ulrick follow the same path. The question I had about Ulrick was if he went crazy because of the isolation or because he felt guilty. Maybe he didn't think he looked hard enough for the old man. I wasn't a fan of the ending. There wasn't much of a denouement: "And then they found him and he was crazy. The End."

cake liz lemon

Le Horla (The Horla) was a favorite of HP Lovecraft's who is said to have been inspired by it when writing The Call of Cthulhu. In Le Horla, a man writes in his diary of a sensation of being attacked while he sleeps. This nightly occurrence drains him. The only way he escapes this feeling is when he travels. While visiting his cousin, he witnesses a doctor performing hypnosis. When he returns to his home, the feeling returns but worse. He feels that he is being controlled by an invisible being with a powerful mind, much like his cousin was controlled while under hypnosis. The situation gets to the point where he can do little other than sit in his room. Le Horla is a much better story. It's longer than The Inn and the ending feels like an ending.

Le Horla is the clear favorite for me. It's actually one of the best supernatural short stories I've read. So, yay! Le Horla could be read two ways: he really did have some creature living with him or he was cuckoo for coco puffs. He does actually go mad, but was he on the way there anyway or did the creature drive him there? The editor adds in a footnote that Maupassant died from madness *coughsyphiliscough* and that he believed he was haunted by his double. It's interesting how both these stories deal with madness. Maybe Maupassant knew what he was talking about.

You can find both these stories for free on Gutenberg Project in Original Short Stories Volume 4 and Library of the World's Best Mystery and Detective Stories respectively.

So since I like Le Horla, what else should I read from Guy?

*Deleted!

Lazy Sunday Thoughts: Thinking About October

Bonjour! How are we today? The weather here is unbelievable, but also believable because September is such a good month here. (November is the worst.) October is just 2 days away. I love it! There are lots of things happening in October.

Pin It and Do It

October 2013 Pin it

Trish is at it again with another Pin It and Do It Challenge for October 2013. I think I'm just in for Pinterested (4-7 pins). I'll see how it goes.

Estellagram

If you happen to follow The Estella Society on Instagram, you'll see that another Estellagram is starting this October 1st. I haven't participated in awhile but I plan on making an effort this time. Here's a look at the schedule.

Estellagramoct2013

Sleepalong (Doctor Sleep Readalong)

My copy of Doctor Sleep came in the mail this week and I've been reading it for the Sleepalong beginning this week.

IMG_1059

Still Ripping

Carl's Readers Imbibing Peril continues and I'm trying to read what I can for it. Besides Doctor Sleep, I'm reading The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson and short stories by Guy de Maupassant.

Haunting of Hill House text

The Shining by Stephen King: Readalong Wrap Up

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This is the final instalment of my thoughts on The Shining for the readalong. Since I'll be discussing the final chapters, there will be numerous spoilers. Everything between the lines contains spoilers.

If you like to read my thoughts on the previous milestones, you can read the first, second, and third posts.

Let's get down to business.








Jack. Jack is completely owned by the hotel. There's no hope for him, not until the very end when he gives Danny a little time to escape. Tif asks if he was easily manipulated and, yes, I do think it was easy. Jack is a weak character, only his love for his son is strong. He was pretty determined to beat Wendy to death. I never felt anything but disgust and pity for the guy.

Wendy. Wendy kicks ass! Yay, Wendy! She's scared, of course, and thinks if they can just get away from the hotel, Jack will be fine. (Yeah, right.) Jack's her weak spot, but that doesn't stop her from putting a knife in his back. Too bad it doesn't work. She does what she has to do to save her and Danny.

Hallorann. What a guy! He gets himself from Florida to the Overlook in a snowstorm. Not bad for an old dude. I loved how he met up with some other Shines along the way. That was sweet. I'm so glad he lived! I always thought……MOVIE SPOILER (highlight)…killing him off as soon as he gets to the Overlook was a dick move on Kubrick's part. This was better.

Danny. He'd already figured out who the hotel wanted, himself, but he felt helpless. He remarks that he's only five. He's already seen more than any five year old should. He called out to Dick for help and luckily that works. He also finds out the Tony is really just a part of himself.

The Overlook. Who knows why that place is so evilly. It just is, I guess. Though the site it was built on is supposed to play a part in Doctor Sleep. Maybe we'll learn more. It was strange how The Overlook became so powerful that even Wendy could hear and see the 'ghosts,' if that's what they were. So who was the manager? The devil? An evil spirit? I don't know.



I'm surprised by how much I had forgotten about the story. I couldn't remember the ending at all (though I could guess by all the foreshadowing). It's very different from the original film. Stephen King himself was not a fan. He says the film, "was cold" the characters "little insects" and Duvall's portrayal of Wendy as "misogynistic." I have to agree. Beyond the setting and the idea of the family it could be a different story altogether.

I'm really glad to have read The Shining again. It's smart, compelling, and scary. It definitely deserves to be a freezer book. I can't wait to read Doctor Sleep now! I'll be getting a copy for myself soon. I'm also going to participate in the readalong for this book too.


sleepalong

RIP 8 On Film

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Readers Imbibing Peril isn’t just for books, it’s movies and TV too! This past week I watched a couple of RIP related things on the boob tube.

Rear Window. Back in 2009 (whoa!), I ‘reviewed’ Rear Window for Summer of Hitchcock. This time around I live tweeted my viewing with some Twitter friends for #hitchfest last Sunday, which was a lot of fun. Snarking on movies with friends is the way to re-watch a movie. Since I already knew the plot, I focused on other things, like Grace Kelly’s clothes and the set. The whole movie happens within one apartment. We never leave Jeff, who is confined to a wheelchair. We only see what he sees. What he sees out his window are the antics of his neighbours who, with the exception of ‘the newlyweds,’ don’t close their blinds. It’s like watching living dioramas. He has a nickname for all of them. I wonder what they call him: creepy guy with the camera? Even though the movie seems clichéd at times because it’s been copied so often, it’s still a lot of classic fun.

sleepy hollowSleepy Hollow. I also watched the pilot of the new series Sleepy Hollow. It’s…interesting. This is not a show to take seriously. It is so over the top. I mean, really, George Washington was part of a plot to keep the apocalypse from happening? Sure, why not? This show is going to get extremely weird. I expect Nicolas Cage to appear and declare he’s “going to steal the Declaration of Independence” because why wouldn’t he? I do like the heroine Abbie and Icabod is a hotty. ----->

I’m really looking forward to American Horror Story: Coven on FX beginning October 9th. I wasn’t a fan of Asylum. It was too weird and all over the place. This time around Jessica Lange returns as the head of a school of witches in New Orleans, at least that’s what I’m getting from this very short trailer. Also Cathy Bates and Angela Bassett are in this one! Woot!



There are a bunch of creepy posters for the show. I think I like this one the best.

AHS Coven