The Open Book

aka bookjunkie1975

Halloween Bingo Book List

— feeling ghost

So I still haven't quite finalized my reading list for Obsidian Blue and Moonlight Murder's Halloween Bingo, but I'm getting there. At least, I think I am? Anyway's, here's the tentative list so far:

 

Read by Candlelight - 

Gallows Hill by Lois Duncan

 

Magical Realism - 

Bone Gap  by Laura Ruby 

 

Witches - 

Spells of Blood and Kin by Claire Humphrey 

 

Horror - 

House of Leaves by Mark Z Danielewski

 

Black Cat - 

The Black Cat by Edgar Allen Poe

 

Diverse Authors - 

The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco

 

Ghost/Haunted House - 

The Haunting of Maddie Clare by Simone St. James

 

Young Adult - 

The Diviners by Libba Bray

 

Scary Women - 

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

 

Read Along -

Ammie, Come Home by Barbara Michaels

 

Grave/Graveyard - 

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

 

Mystery - 

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

 

Freebie - 

 

 

Gothic - 

The Vanishing by Wendy Webb

 

Creepy Crawlies -

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes (I don't know if there are many bugs in this, but there's a creepy looking insect on the cover so I'm hoping that counts!)

 

Fall - 

Persuasion by Jane Austen

 

Locked Room - 

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

 

Dark and Stormy - 

Devil May Care by Elizabeth Peters

 

New England - 

Death at Woods Hole by Frances McNamara 

 

Full Moon - 

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

 

Vamps/Wolves -

Sunshine by Robin McKinley

 

Supernatural - 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

 

Classic Horror - 

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

 

Pumpkin - 

 

 

Set on Halloween - 

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

— feeling ghost
Oooh!!! Fun!!!
Reblogged from Moonlight Reader:

Reading progress update: I've read 170 out of 213 pages.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman - BBC Radio: Mini Review

Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman

Neverwhere is the story of Richard Mayhew, a 30 something Londoner who, through a random act of kindness, finds himself caught up in an adventure in "London Below", an alternate London that operates under it's own set of behaviours and rules (physics included). This is a pretty standard quest narrative, to be honest, featuring your typical damsel in distress, wild beastie and pursuit by second tier bad guys, so nothing really new, but it does manage to entertain as the narrative is brisk and moves well. I suspect that had I been reading the book, it likely would have come away with 3 stars. A lot of the characters feel a bit thin, the women are particularly one note, lacking much complexity, and Natalie Dormer, and Sophie Okonedo in particular, deserve a lot of credit for imbuing their characters with more depth than I suspect is apparent on the page. James McAvoy makes a very appealing Richard, which is important because Richard does occasionally come off as a bit of a twit, but I would have to say that, and this will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me, Anthony Head and David Schofield really walk away with the production. To be fair, they do have the fun parts (Mr. Croup and Valdemar, respectively). All in all, definitely an entertaining way to spend 3 hours! Thanks BBC!

Currently listening to BBC Radio's broadcast of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. And let's face it, this will probably get at least 4 stars from me based on James McAvoy's gorgeous voice alone. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01r527b

 

3 days left to listen!

Birds of America by Lorrie Moore: Mini Review

— feeling unhappy
Birds of America - Lorrie Moore

Boring and generally joyless. The writing is ok, which is why it manages the 3 stars it does, but these are just the type of stories I tend to avoid, the type of stories that take - take my time, take my energy - and give nothing back. Not for me. 

Reading progress update: I've read 143 out of 291 pages.

— feeling sleepy
Birds of America - Lorrie Moore

So far I'm really not digging this. It's a struggle to care. *sighs*

So disappointed.

— feeling angry
The Big Sleep & Farewell, My Lovely - Raymond Chandler

When I first started reading this I was certain it was going to be a 4 star book. The writing is fun and stylish, with a sardonic wit I generally enjoy, and Chandler sure knows how to turn a phrase. Sadly, the book is also racist, homophobic and rampantly sexist. I'm sure some would argue that it's simply reflective of the time and place it was written in but frankly that's just not enough to give it a free pass for me. What a disappointment. 

Reading progress update: I've read 50 out of 544 pages.

— feeling dead
The Big Sleep & Farewell, My Lovely - Raymond Chandler

Marlowe's in a rare books store and he just sat down to have a smoke!?! I'm having a slight panic attack over this.

Beloved by Toni Morrison: Mini Review

Beloved - Toni Morrison

Beloved is the story of Sethe, a former slave who escaped to the free state of Ohio, her daughter Denver, and the ghost that they are haunted by. There is a lot to unpack in this novel; thematically there are issues of slavery, race, mothers and daughters, PTSD, and structurally there's post modernism, eloquence or sparcity of language to convey horrible truths, how gothic conventions are applied to explore the thematic issues and whether those elevate or devalue the thematic structure. Basically there's just a whole lot in the text and the subtext to explore. It's kind of a deconstructionist's wet dream. But. Here's the thing. I think readers would be doing a disservice to the book and themselves to go into it with anything other than a desire to read the story. And I would recommend being sure you have a dedicated amount of time carved out to read it as this, I think, works best as a one sitting read, at least the first time. The writing has moments of heart stuttering beauty and eloquence but it can also be challenging in a way that very likely alienates some readers. Stream of consciousness tends to be an in or out kind of lit convention, and Morrison's use of it is further complicated by it's infrequency. The only reason I think she pulls it off is because her narrative is already so back and forth between past and present that the change in structure slips right in to place. I did't love that aspect, to be honest. I understand why she does it, but I did find it a bit too jarring. As far as the story line goes, this is a hard book. And it should be. Because slavery is a hard subject. But Morrison weaves the story in a way that it's accessible and engaging, teasing the reader with a bit of mystery before hitting us with the cold and horrible reality. It's a very skilled path she lays and there are some scenes that I will carry with me forever. 

Level Up by Cathy Yardley: Mini Review

— feeling big smile
Level Up: A Geek Romance Rom Com - Cathy Yardley

This was cute. A little idiosyncratic at times, although that could just be because I'm old, but definitely a lot of fun for anyone involved in either gaming or fandom culture. I'm not sure I'd recommend it to anyone outside of these specific interests, as they make up a significant portion of both character and plot, but the romance genre has room for everything and anyone who has ever fallen in love with a show or a game will happily connect to Tessa and her crew. The obstacles aren't anything new or unique here, but I was impressed with the way they're all resolved in a mature manner and don't slide into the cliche, and the story rides along at a very respectable 3 and a half stars all the way up to the declaration, which is so sweet and fluffy and smile-inducing that I bumped it up to 4. 

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty: Mini Review

Big Little Lies - Liane Moriarty

I'm not going to lie, I didn't expect to like this as much as I did. The set up is relatively simple; one child is accused of bullying another at the kindergarten orientation of a beachside community public school on the Golden Coast (I think) of Australia. Lines are drawn, sides are taken and the whole thing culminates in a death 6 months later, on the night of the school fundraiser. Moriarty gets the cutthroat, teeth-gritting politics of the playground just right. She's disturbingly accurate, actually, and as someone finally (FINALLY *fistpump* Booyah!) phasing out of that stage of parenthood, I certainly found the storyline relatable. While the main characters weren't particularly unique, they were likeable and engaging. The success of the story though, really relied on the pacing and tone and Ms. Moriarty definitely pulled it off. There's a lot of skill at play here. I found myself reading compulsively as each secret was disclosed, becoming more and more invested in the outcome. And I have to say I was pretty satisfied with the ending. I hear that HBO is making it a series. I can't wait to see if it lives up to the book. :)

LumberJanes: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson & Grace Ellis and Illustrated by Brooke Allen: Mini Review

Lumberjanes, Vol. 1 -  Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen

Holy cats! This comic is ah-mazing! It's fun and witty and so very, very charming. The characters are fresh and endearing, with very distinct voices. I love them all! The story is fast paced and engaging with just the right blend of action, suspense and humour. And the panels are gorgeous - colourful and vivid. There's just so much to love here! I am smitten. Friendship to the max!

Beowulf: Mini Review

— feeling doubt
Beowulf: A New Verse Translation - Seamus Heaney, Anonymous

A lot of wank. That's pretty much all that's going on here. I can see how this stands as one of the foundations of contemporary Fantasy as a genre, but other than that, it's just a lot of standing around and comparing dick sizes, really. Grendel and his mother take up 6, maybe 8 stanzas of the entire poem. What a disappointment. 

Ru by Kim Thuy: Mini Review

— feeling love
Ru - Kim Thuy

This book is gorgeous. A fictionalized memoir that follows its narrator from a childhood marked by both privileged affluence in old guard Vietnam and abject poverty as a refugee in Quebec, Ru is a thoughtful narrative that flows in and out of the narrator's life. Part of it's brilliance and charm is in the short, evocative text Thuy uses to tell the story. It's non linear, connected by theme, rather than chronology, and that works particularly well with the spare passages she's chosen to give us. Occasionally it feels like Thuy overreaches, dropping in issues that, while certainly relevant and important, she can't possibly hope to cover adequately given the format she's chosen and, as a result, they jar the reader out of the lovely ebb and flow she's established. Fortunately, those instances are relatively minor and the tone of the book isn't diminished. Overall, reading this book felt a bit like a gift from the literature gods and I'm so happy I pulled it off the "We Recommend" shelf at my local library. 

Forbidden Pleasure by Lora Leigh: Mini Review

Forbidden Pleasure: Part 1 (Bound Hearts) - Lora Leigh

So this was not good. Let me start over. I ran into an acquaintance and I happened to have a book with me (truth time - I always have a book with me) so we got to chatting about books and somehow she came around to this one. It had been recommended to her by an older lady whose book club had just finished it, which amused her quite a bit given the content of the book, and so she had read it and liked it "but it's a little risqué" *wink**wink*. "Oh, you sweet summer child," I thought. Because I've spent the last 5 years reading fanfiction, you know, where the smut lives. And my base line for erotica is, frankly, in a whole different league here. For both quality and content. This book doesn't even come close.

 

In Forbidden Pleasure we have a potential menage between Mac, his wife Kiely and Jethro, his best friend/FBI partner. Mac wants all three of them to be together, so he manipulates the situation so that his wife will be receptive to the idea, knowing she'll only agree if she has an emotional attachment to their third and also knowing that Jethro is in love with Kiely. But he's not in love with Jethro. Nope. Of course not. No homo, bro. All. The. Way. Through. I'm not going to lie. This really pissed me off. I'm pretty sure that if you want a guy to sleep with your wife, while you also sleep with your wife, and you get turned on just by thinking about it, you are not exactly a zero on the Kinsey scale. Let's be real here. Also, the book wasn't particularly sex positive, considering it's full blown erotica. The amount of times characters referred to themselves as "slut" or "pervert/ed" was mind boggling. And I don't even really want to get into the quality of the writing. It's giving me a headache just thinking about it. Honestly, when it comes to erotica, I think I'll be sticking to fanfiction.