10/27/16

Halloween Reading

Halloween is just around the corner. To get you in the Halloween spirit, here are a few recommendations to get your started. These are sure to get you in the spirit of the season.

Something Wicked This Way Comes - by Ray Bradbury

This is a classic book for Halloween. This fantastic story by Ray Bradbury takes place in a fictional Illinois town where the arrival of a carnival brings Halloween a few days early.




Salem's Lot - by Stephen King

This was King's second published novel. A man comes back to his hometown after being gone for 25 years only to discover the unspeakable evil that lurks there.




The Elementals - by Michael McDowell


A great 80's horror novel about two families visiting their vacation homes in Alabama. One of the homes is vacant and has been for years and is slowly being buried beneath a dune of sand. Although no one has lived in the third house, something evil lurks inside.



Dark Harvest - by Norman Partridge

Every Halloween the October Boy rises from the corn fields of a Midwestern town. Teenage boy eagerly await him for a chance their chance to destroy him and be crowned the winner and a ticket out of the dead-end town.

10/12/16

The River at Night - by Erica Ferencik

My Rating - 3 Stars


The premise for this book looked interesting. Four best friends going on their annual trip together. This time they decide to go on a white river rafting adventure. None of them have ever been rafting before and none of them have any outdoor skills much less survival skills. An accident on the river leaves them stranded without supplies or their raft. This sounded like it could be a great story about four friends without survival skills trying to survive in the remote woods of Maine. Yet it wasn't. It was more of a Deliverance-esque story line. Which would have been fine but it didn't pack the same punch. If you have ever read the book or seen the movie, then you know what a punch it packs. The River at Night has just a few too many similarities to Deliverance (such as four city raised friends, both main characters are graphic artists, first half of the book describes everyone's jobs and lives, remote river trip, crazy people in the woods). The story starts off slow and spends the first half the book with the protagonist telling the reader what a wuss she is.  The build up of what's to come just isn't there. I just wasn't on the edge of my seat when the book finally got to some excitement. When the reader realizes the story is going to be another Deliverance type of story then it is disappointing. If you have never read or seen the movie Deliverance, then you might enjoy this book. It's a little tamer and missing some of the acts done to as well as by the four friends that make Deliverance.


I was provided a copy from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.


From the books blurb

A high stakes drama set against the harsh beauty of the Maine wilderness, charting the journey of four friends as they fight to survive the aftermath of a white water rafting accident, The River at Night is a nonstop and unforgettable thriller by a stunning new voice in fiction.

Winifred Allen needs a vacation.

Stifled by a soul-crushing job, devastated by the death of her beloved brother, and lonely after the end of a fifteen-year marriage, Wini is feeling vulnerable. So when her three best friends insist on a high-octane getaway for their annual girls’ trip, she signs on, despite her misgivings.

What starts out as an invigorating hiking and rafting excursion in the remote Allagash Wilderness soon becomes an all-too-real nightmare: A freak accident leaves the women stranded, separating them from their raft and everything they need to survive. When night descends, a fire on the mountainside lures them to a ramshackle camp that appears to be their lifeline. But as Wini and her friends grasp the true intent of their supposed saviors, long buried secrets emerge and lifelong allegiances are put to the test. To survive, Wini must reach beyond the world she knows to harness an inner strength she never knew she possessed.


About the author

Erica Ferencik is a graduate of the MFA program in Creative Writing at Boston University. Her work has appeared in Salon and The Boston Globe, as well as on National Public Radio. Find out more on her website EricaFerencik.com and follow her on Twitter @EricaFerencik.


   

10/6/16

Books I've Been Reading...

It has been a crazy few months and I just haven't had time to post. But that doesn't been I haven't been reading! Here are some of the books I have been reading lately:

Planet of the Apes - by Pierre Boulle



So you have seen the original 1968 movie with Charlton Heston. Or maybe you have seen all the recent reboots of the movie. You think you know what this book is about but you are wrong. The 1963 novel written by French author Pierre Boulle (also the author of The Bridge Over River Kwai) is nothing like any of the movies. Yes, there is a planet and yes there are intelligent apes on the planet. There are a few similarities with the original film and the book but not much. So if you have seen the original movie, forget it. It will make your reading experience more enjoyable if you aren't trying to compare the two and predict what is going to happen because it isn't going to happen. The gist of the book is a space expedition to a distant planet that is orbiting the star, Betelgeuse. When they get there, the are surprised at how similar the planet is to Earth but all is not what it seems.

A Clockwork Orange - by Anthony Burgess


Another classic written in 1962 by Anthony Burgess and made into a movie by Stanley Kubrick. If you had the misfortune of seeing the movie, then I feel for you. We all know the saying, "the book is always better than the movie." This is one of those cases. The book is narrated by Alex in Nadsat slang (this slang is made up by Burgess who was also a linguist). The Nadsat slang isn't too difficult to figure out as you go and it's rhythms play an interesting juxtaposition with the "ultra violence" Alex and his gang commit. The book follows Alex and his exploits and his criminal reform. It is important to note, that the original American version deleted the last chapter (chapter 21) of the book and the movie left this out as well. If you like to buy used copies of books, I suggest making sure the 21st chapter is included.

Blindness - by Jose Saramago



Blindness was written by Portuguese writer Jose Saramago in 1995. Apparantly this has also been made into a movie which I haven't seen. So I am sure the book is better than the movie! This book is interesting. An entire city suddenly has an epidemic of people becoming blind. The story revolves around a group of blind quarantined internees struggling with their new blindness and relying on the government for food. Saramago has an interesting writing style which has nothing to do with giving the reader a feeling of the chaos of suddenly finding your self blind. It is just the way he writes all of his books. If you download a sample or preview of any of his books you will notice the long sentences with only commas separating different speakers instead of quotation marks etc. Don't let that turn you off of reading his books. You get used to it (hint: when a speaker changes, Saramago will capitalize the new speakers clause).