Posts Tagged ‘creepy with a capital K…’

26th July
2011
written by Steph

Lying in bed sick with horrible chest congestion that has kept me and Tony up half the night, wracking my body with skeleton-shuddering coughs that have done little to help me get a clear, deep breath, the timing is morbidly apt to discuss The Collector. Anyone who has read this book will understand the sinister parallels between my condition and that of Miranda Grey, the female character who captures the obsessive attentions of Frederick, the creepy central figure at the heart of Fowles’s novel. But before I get ahead of myself, let’s backtrack a bit and give a bit of framework for those of you who haven’t experienced this bone-chilling, spine-tingling read. I have long wanted to read Fowles, but I admit to having been defeated during my two attempts to read The French Lieutenant’s Woman… While I dig its Victorian vibe, I never make it very far in before the overblown prose overwhelms me and begins to feel like drudgery and I move on to less impassable novels. I decided to give The Collector a shot after my friend Trisha blogged about having read it over the course of a weekend over at The Book Case many moons ago. Sometimes it helps bolster one’s spirits when heading into battle with an author when someone you know has actually had success with one of his books, no? (more…)
26th May
2011
written by Steph

Many moons ago, I wrote something that prompted myriads of book bloggers to recommend that I read Notes on a Scandal by Zöe Heller. It may have been when I wrote my review of her most recent novel, The Believers, but I think the recommendations stemmed from even earlier. What’s really important here, however, is that tons of people told me that I should read this book because it was awesome and I would love it, and after I read and enjoyed The Believers, I completely believed that was the truth. If you were one of those people who told me to read this book, then consider this a big thank-you because you were indeed right. I have now read Notes on a Scandal and it was everything I hoped it would be (and more!). From the very beginning, NoaS starts of with a bang. Through the diary of Barbara Covett, an elderly teacher at a local comprehensive school, we learn that her colleague and good friend Sheba has been charged with having a sexual affair with one of her students, a 15-year-old boy named Steven Connolly. Barbara shares with us how her relationship with Sheba evolved as well as how she gained knowledge of the affair and how she and Sheba have been dealing with the fallout following its revelation. The topic of a teacher-student relationship is salacious enough that many readers would probably be drawn to the novel for that reason alone, but for those who find such subject matter distasteful or vulgar, I must assure you that there are plenty of other wonderful reasons to read this book. (more…)
23rd April
2011
written by Steph

Doris Lessing is one of those authors who intimidates me. There’s no rhyme or reason to it, but somehow I got it into my mind that she’s one of those smart difficult authors (her winning the Nobel Prize probably has something to do with it), and so I’ve been terrified to try her. Do any of you know what I mean? You pick up an author with a “scary” name and you start to read and even though you find the text is actually really accessible, there’s this part of your brain telling you that it’s going to get hard so you slam on the brakes and pick up Bridget Jones’s Diary instead. In this case, I think the fear that coursed through me stemming from the knowledge that I was finally reading something by Lessing worked in my favor since The Fifth Child is a very creepy book by its own rights. Reading the back cover you’d be forgiven if you assumed it would be very similar to Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin, but I promise you, The Fifth Child is very much its own book and is a very different look at the whole “evil child” trope. (more…)
12th January
2011
written by Steph

First read of 2011

I feel like I’m in a bit of a reviewing slump. I’m picking up tons of great books but I’m not sure what to say about any of them. I’ve often said it can be harder to write something meaningful about books that really astound me and I think this might be an example of that very thing. As you know, 2011 is my year of reading from my own shelves, so I figured the best way to kick things off would be to pick up the book that has possibly lingered on those shelves for the longest. I think I’ve owned You Remind Me of Me for at least five years, though it certainly feels like longer. I remember picking it up in hardback off of a remainder table at the World’s Biggest Bookstore in Toronto, and I’m sure the sticker proclaiming it “seulement $9.99” was a large incentive (weird factoid about me: when I buy books that have price stickers on them, I NEVER remove these stickers until I’ve finished reading the book… I have no idea why this is the case, but without fail I always do this… hence how I still know how much I paid for this book…). I’m sure the premise of intermixed storylines of seemingly unrelated characters that eventually unite into a meaningful and breathtaking whole played some part, but dollars to donuts it was the price that really sealed the deal for me. I think the real question is why the heck it took me so long to read this book! (more…)