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review 2019-01-21 18:52
Nine Perfect Strangers - Liane Moriarty 
Nine Perfect Strangers - Liane Moriarty

Dear book designers: a rainbow on a book jacket currently means Gay. While I support inclusion, and appreciate it, in this context, it is misleading. I get not wanting it to look girly, but I think I would have gone more in the crime vernacular. Not that it matters about selling it to me, I was going to read the book regardless, because I really like Moriarty's unusual mix of humor and crime and social issues and romance, but some people be sadly disappointed.

 

Loved the book. I was pleased that at least one character wasn't white. There were some interesting surprises, lots of story on everyone, and a very satisfying finish. 

 

Library copy

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review 2019-01-21 01:19
Srong Collection
The Birds & Other Stories - Daphne du Maurier

There are six stories in this volume and they all work on that eerie maybe-normal-maybe-fantastical/grothesque/horror line.

 

The Birds is excellent at suspense and the daily made unnerving. And it leaves you there.

 

Monte Veritá reads almost like one of those non-Cthulthu's Lovecraftian tales. I really like the beginning, and the maybe-magical-maybe-mundane and expansive tone. The thing is, though, that much like in Lovecraft's writings, I had issues... I don't know, it was not... It felt like it was written by a man trying to be fair-for-his time but still...

 

The Apple Tree was a perfectly done unreliable narrator. He makes you despise the dead woman, but at the same time, you can read between the lines his own "polite" chauvinism, and so you feel for her. And then the layers peel, and oh my. Another that treads the line between the real and the fantastical for disquiet, and it's a gruesome poison study that you can see coming and still...

 

The Little Photographer ... Well, talking about poison-study. Ennui does not make good councilors. A bit of tragedy with some karma.

 

Kiss Me Again, Stranger was the eerie of prototype modern goths with some sauce.

 

The Old Man is interesting because you don't question it.

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review 2018-12-11 23:45
Learn from my mistakes
Robot Dreams - Sara Varon

Robot Dreams by Sara Varon was sold to me as being a cute little story about a dog who builds a robot so that he has a friend. I was hoping for something with The Wild Robot vibes but I actually found it to be disturbingly macabre and callous. This is a children's graphic novel and yet it explores some really dark themes (in itself not a problem but this was creepier than most). Did I mention that it was entirely wordless? I'm not certain if it's a gift or a curse that Varon possesses to entirely unnerve me without using a single, solitary word. Without giving the entire plot away (this is a very short book by the way), a dog builds himself a robot friend and the two of them are inseparable...until the robot gets rusty at the beach and the dog abandons him there. Yes, he left his very best friend behind at the beach. The next day the beach is closed for the winter and the entire area is fenced off. (That's one strict town!) So now the robot is left on the beach to rust while the dog tries to make a new friend. There are mishaps on both sides of this relationship as the robot is beset by weather, a group of boaters who partially disassemble him, and eventually a junk collector. The dog keeps making friends with those who either can't or won't stick around and he's back at square one without any friends at all. Like I said this is not sweet bedtime reading. If you're looking for a creepy existential crisis well you've hit the jackpot. If you wanted a cutesy little graphic novel you've made a horrible, horrible mistake. 1/10

 

This makes me hungry. [Source: page45]

 

 

What's Up Next: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond and The Science of Supervillains by Lois H. Gresh & Robert Weinberg 

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-10-28 01:45
Competition for survival
The Midwich Cuckoos - John Wyndham

This one went into and explored many of the points that I thought Chocky would, which is doubly great because creepy kids are disturbing as hell, and because I can give Wyndham props for not repeating himself in hindsight.

 

There are differences with the pop-culture classic movie, as it always happens. Beyond the distillation over our narrator and Zellaby (which I imagine stems from a wish to transfer all the BAMF quality from the seemingly absent minded old man to a younger MC), the big fact is that the mind reading is not part of the original book. There is enough flash and imminent danger with the will thing. The hive mind is the cherry that makes the eerie otherness cake.

 

I loved how things proceed slowly, and this insistence of going about business as usual. When the mothers bring the babies back to town, you immediately go "Oh, fuck", and in their heart of hearts, you know every character kinda does too, but they bury themselves in self denial. And as the book comes closer to the end, you start thinking back to Zellaby's wondering if civilization had not been a bad survival idea.

 

Seriously, for all the old man seemed to everyone as digressing from the current point, he was very much clear-sighted.

 

I loved the sci-fi call backs (and the niggling for none going into the morally ambiguous). Some of the doubts it tries to posit (specially on evolution) are a matter of "science marches on" but I always end up finding the idea of outside influence entertaining. The social commentary (outside the references to sci-fi, that is after all a commentary on society too) was a mixed bag, some insightful, some blithely chauvinistic, and there is what is clearly a lesbian couple never addressed as such, so maaaybe fair for its time.

 

At any rate, I had fun reading it. And that's a good way to wrap up my bingo card and get my reading black-out. Just to wait for the calls now.

 

 

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review 2018-10-06 14:51
Locked Doors - Mary Roberts Rinehart for Terrifying Women
Locked Doors - Mary Roberts Rinehart

Woo hoo. I love getting lost in a doorstopper, but it takes a skilled writer to squeeze the right emotions out in a shorter work. Roberts Rinehart got mad skills. And a truly modern feel. Hard to believe this was first published more than 100 years ago.

 

We get a quick and dirty set up: Miss Adams is a trained nurse who investgates for the cops from the inside. She packs her gun and a suitcase and is on the scene in a big family home trying to find out what the family is hiding, what happened to the nanny, and what freaked out the last nurse so badly. 

 

I am delighted to say I never predicted that solution. Happily there are plenty of stories available in the public domain. Collect them all.

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