Posts Tagged ‘horror’

17th January
2014
written by Steph
Well, it got the NO part right, at least

Well, it got the NO part right, at least

This book is a great example of why I probably shouldn’t let other people’s reviews have too much sway when it comes to choosing my next read. Truthfully, despite having heard a fair amount about this book when it was first released, I never had any interest in it, and I’m not afraid to say that this decision was based entirely on the stupid spelling of the title alone. That may be superficial, but I feel ok about it because, come on. I’m one of those people who uses full words and sentences (with punctuation, even!) when I text or tweet, so there was no way I was ever going to get behind a book named "NOS4A2" on my own. So you can imagine my surprise when, reading through end of year best of lists on GoodReads, this book kept popping up again and again. Even more shocking, it had garnered a 4+ star rating on the site, and most reviewers were positively slavering over it. The near unanimous praise to high heavens piqued my interest and I assumed that the book must be much cleverer than its dopey title implied. (Also, there was some speculation in the Tournament of Books forum prior to the actual roster being released that this book might make the final cut.) (more…)
16th May
2010
written by Steph
On this installment of What We Watched:
  • Much to Steph's chagrin, all the puns in the world aren't enough to make Running Man a good movie
  • I Heart Huckabees? More like I ZZZZ Huckabees...
  • Our discussion of Rosemary's Baby devolves into what makes a movie scary... Also, Tony tells you all the ways in which you are stupid
  • We get passionate about education and inner-city school kids (who knew?!) while discussing the documentary Pressure Cooker

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Warning, this one's a doozy, folks.  Plenty of banter and grousing!
11th April
2010
written by Steph
Good morning, read-a-thoners!  In case your eyes are too tired to do any more reading, why not take a listen to what we've been watching over the past few weeks? Featured in this installment:
  • Red Riding (1974) makes us wonder whether movies that feature actors from Yorkshire, England qualify as "foreign language" films...
  • Another win for Pixar with A Bug's Life (even if it's about actual bugs, and not our little bug, Rory).  Also, Tony geeks out.
  • Tony schools Steph in American history, though she makes a legitimate point about settlers in Washington state while talking about Sleepy Hollow.
  • We revisit Savannah and Kevin Spacey with Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  We probably prefer Spacey's performance as a grasshopper to Jim Williams, but we definitely prefer John Cusack when he plays "that guy who is not in whatever movie we're watching".
  • We belatedly continue to watch movies that were nominated but did not win the 2010 Oscar for Best Picture, this time with A Serious Man. I think we know why this one did not win.
  • Did you know Bruce Willis once had hair?  Don't believe us? Watch Die Hard.  Also: Alan Rickman!  Who knew?!?!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

15th March
2010
written by Steph
We know the excitement is killing you, so let's just cut to the podcast! Featured this week on What We Watched: Highlights from the podcast:
  • We pontificate on what Franka Potente’s audition must have been like for Run Lola Run
  • No, your eyes don’t deceive you.  We really did watch Labyrinth again.  But this time, ON THE BIG SCREEN!!!
  • We discuss the various ways in which A Perfect Getaway was anything but perfect
  • Steph reveals another girl crush when discussing A Mighty Wind
  • Tony threatens to end our marriage when he discovers another egregious lapse in Steph’s movie watching history which is revealed when we discuss Assassination of a High School President

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

16th October
2009
written by Steph
We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Ooooh... spooky!

After finishing Jane Eyre, I found my appetite whet for more gothic novels.  I’ve also been in the mood to read more female authors lately, as I realized that I have had a slight bias towards male authors this year.  I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I sometimes feel like female authors will write a gentler or more soothing novel, perhaps more emotional focusing on the inner life.  A broad brush for both sexes, I realize, but one of the reasons I picked up Jane Eyre is because I was feeling testosterone overload in my reading.  The issues in the books I was reading weren’t specifically male or anything like that, there was just something about the style and the slant that was mentally wearing me down.  I am probably not expressing this experience very eloquently or coherently, and I fully admit that I am perhaps more sensitive in my reading whims than others so I may be the only one who feels this way and picks up on the subtle nuances between male and female writers, but I guess all of this is to say that Dracula was out when it came to picking a spooky book!  But the immortal prince’s loss was Shirley Jackson’s gain, as this finally gave me the push I needed to pick up We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I realize this book has pretty much exploded around the book blogging stratosphere of late, especially with the R.I.P challenge in progress, so at this point I suspect there are few if any of you who are not at least aware of its existence.  I can’t say much about the plot of the book since this is one of those books where it’s best to go in knowing as little as possible, as Jackson slowly reveals information to you at just the right pace.  But the basic idea is that the Blackwood family has always been social outcasts amongst the small village in which they live, but this has only increased since the majority of them were mysteriously poisoned with arsenic one night, leaving behind young Mary Katherine (Merricat), her sister Constance (who was charged and acquitted for the murder of her family), and their ailing Uncle Julian.  Through Merricat’s eyes, we learn of how the two Blackwood sisters live an extremely isolated life, cut off from almost everyone except out of necessity.  Then one day, their cousin Charles shows up quite unexpectedly, and for one of the sisters, quite undesirably, and all of a sudden, the fraying threads that have been keeping their life in tact begin to break apart and everything begins to crumble… (more…)
7th May
2009
written by Steph
Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link

I doubt it...

When I reviewed Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth earlier this year, I stated up front that I’m not really a reader of short stories.  I always find the first part of anything I read to be the hardest slog as I work to attune myself to the writing and ensconce myself in the world of the story.  With short stories I feel like I’m doing this the whole time because just when I feel I’m in synch with a story, it ends and I’m left wanting more, but instead have to dive into a new story.  While I had serious problems with Unaccustomed Earth, the one thing that did impress me about it was how easily I slipped into each story, and moreover, each one felt like a complete entity that did what it said it would: it told a story.  But I’m supposed to be talking about Stranger Things Happen, right?  I’ve already reviewed Unaccustomed Earth!  Well, I give all this preamble simply because I’m a bit at a loss with respect to this collection, and in large part that’s because half the time I had no idea what was going on in any of the stories, and just when I thought I had a handle on them, they ended rather abruptly… the curse of the short “story” strikes again! (more…)