Categories
Book Reviews

Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet by Darynda Jones

Well this book was a disappointment. It follows the story of Charley Davidson – who died and was reborn as a grim reaper. She wallows in self-pity and is always moaning  about how her last case went so badly.

A woman shows up at her doorstep and she’s convinced that someone is trying to kill her. Charlie manages somehow to get dressed and get involved and sulking about her dwindling sex life after she split up with bad boy Reyes Farrow, son of Satan.

So – from what I’ve told you so far, would you pick this book up?

Categories
Book Reviews

David Mitchell * Slade House Book Review

Death’s life’s only guarantee, yes? We all know it, yet we’re hardwired to dread it. That dread’s our survival instinct and it serves us well enough when we’re young, but it’s a curse when you’re older.”

I picked up this book only due to the fact that it was written by Cloud Atlas’ David Mitchell and I wanted to see what else he can write. I was purely amazed by the concept until I found out it’s connected to another one of his books that I now have to read to be able to make a whole picture.

So far, the book appeared to be a collection of stories about disappearing people who had the misfortune to become victims of two vampyric twins (brother and sister) who were using a new technique called an orison. Every story in the book is told from the victim’s POV and they all happen nine years apart and they all have one connection to another (with the exception of the house and the twins).

Categories
Excerpts

Robber Bride Quote – Burials

She was thinking that for thousands of years, when people died – especially powerful people, especially people who were feared – the survivors had gone to a lot of trouble. They’d slit the throats of their best horses, they’d buried slaves and favourite wives alive, they’d poured blood into the earth. It hadn’t been mourning, it had been appeasement. They’d wanted to show their good will, however spurious, because they’d known the spirit of the dead one would be envious of them for still being alive.

Robber Bride – Margaret Atwood

The burial of horses and goods and wives was an old tradition practiced most fervently by the pharaos in Egypt but the Chinese had similar traditions too:

A 2,400-year-old pit containing the remains of horses and chariots believed to belong to a member of an ancient royal household has been uncovered in China.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5058575/Burial-pit-containing-2-400-year-old-horse-remains-found.html

The Russians did it too:

Warrior king found in ancient Russian tomb: Scythian ruler was buried with riches, weapons and even his HORSE

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3211842/Warrior-king-ancient-Russian-tomb-Scythian-ruler-buried-riches-weapons-HORSE.html

I believe that even from ancient times, people were dedicated to the afterlife. This was perhaps because their mortal lives were relatively short; very few lived to beyond 40 years old. Mummifying their dead was a way to preserve and prepare them for the afterlife (mummies have been found from Egypt all the way to Peru and Siberia).  Items that might be useful in the afterlife were also customarily buried with the dead including everyday objects, foods, beverages, jewelry, pets and servants. The people believed that life after death was similar to life on Earth, so they felt it was important to include all the daily necessities in their burial tombs. If items were not in the tomb, the dead would not have access to them in the afterlife. Some kings began filling their tombs long before their deaths to ensure they would have all they needed and wanted.

Most Mesopotamians (Sumerians) were buried in cemeteries. The bodies were laid on their backs in individual graves. The graves were sometimes reopened to place a second family member instead. Why did they do this? Who was generally the second family member? Maybe they placed the wife or husband with the first body. Alas, we do not have this information.

Some of the graves contained the bodies of dogs. It was common for pets to be buried just like their owners, with the same care that is. Meat bones have been found placed near the mouths of dogs to be food for the afterlife.

As time moved on, the people sacrificed were replaced with statues or symbolic items. This practice has continued until today when people are buried holding on a precious item (to them).

 

Categories
Book Reviews

The Lovely Bones * Alice Sebold – Book Review

“Murderers are not monsters, they’re men. And that’s the most frightening thing about them.”

Since I brought up Time to Say Goodbye, I decided to also bring up one of my favourite books about death. “The Lovely Bones,” had me crying from start to finish.

This book is an emotional roller-coaster, written from the point of view from a girl who was murdered. The book starts like this: “My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.” Already you want to read it; right?

953901994589b08d93b7c4674f4de6dd.jpg

Categories
Excerpts

The Lovely Bones – Excerpt about death

This is one of my favourite parts from The Lovely Bones

“You don’t notice the dead leaving when they really choose to leave you. You’re not meant to. At most you feel them as a whisper or the wave of a whisper undulating down. I would compare it to a woman in the back of a lecture hall or theater whom no one notices until she slips out.Then only those near the door themselves, like Grandma Lynn, notice; to the rest it is like an unexplained breeze in a closed room.

Categories
Book Reviews

Time To Say Goodbye * S.D. Robertson Book review

Since Father’s day is coming..

I’ve known it was going to be a book about death and dying but I expected something better from Mr. Robertson. This was so much like Black Dog Summer * Miranda Sherry – in the sense that you have a lingering ghost looking over their daughter unable to move on until they are happy with their fate – that I nearly put the book down after the first few pages.

Categories
Book Reviews Dean Koontz

Saint Odd * Odd Thomas * Dean Koontz Book Review

Amazement is an emotional response, astonishment an intellectual one.

This is the last book in the The Odd Thomas Series by Dean Koontz. I read them all and loved them all. I did not want to read this last instalment because I had a feeling. I knew that something was going to happen to Odd and it will mean his end. But.. as all things must come to an end, so did Odd’s journey to meet his beloved. Saint Odd won the Goodreads Choice Award for Horror in 2015.

I came home to die and to live in death. My life had begun in the desert town of Pico Mundo, California, and I had remained there until I was twenty, when I lost what mattered most to me. During the twenty-one months since then, I had traveled in search of my purpose, and I had learned by going where I had to go. That I had come full circle shouldn’t have surprised me, for we are born into time only to be born out of it, after living through the cycles of the seasons, under stars that turn because the world turns, born into ignorance and acquiring knowledge that ultimately reveals to us our enduring ignorance: The circle is the essential pattern of our existence.

Tears, go back inside!

pearl-cries.gif

Categories
Book Reviews

Bentley Little * Guests

https_%2F%2Fwww.boekmeter.nl%2Fimages%2Fcover%2F22000%2F22845.300.jpgI think I’m getting the hang of how a Bentley Little horror book works like by now. Unsuspecting family moves to a desert city in Arizona. Freaky stuff starts happening and people die. Entire families. There are several protagonists and there is a mythical monster of ye olden times involved.

Add in a dash of other cultures (Mexican, Chinese, Russian) and an old lady who has the key to it all. Final boss battle ensues. Many die. Evil is exorcised! Pepper the story with violence, carnage, incest and rape and you have yourself a Bentley Little story!

The “Guests” story is the last one I bought in a pack and it follows the recipe to the dot. A family wins the lottery and they move back to the home town located in Arizona where they buy a house and decide to live peacefully away from L.A. (Who in their right minds would move to hick county after winning the lottery?! Who would move to any place before scouting the area, renting maybe for a few months to see how the city is like and how the people behave?! but hey, that’s just my first frown on this book).

Categories
Book Reviews

John Dies at the End * David Wong Book Review

“PEOPLE DIE.
This is the fact the world desperately hides from us from birth. Long after you find out the truth about sex and Santa Claus, this other myth endures, this one about how you’ll always get rescued at the last second and if not, your death will at least mean something and there’ll be somebody there to hold your hand and cry over you.
All of society is built to prop up that lie, the whole world a big, noisy puppet show meant to distract us from the fact that at the end, you’ll die, and you’ll probably be alone.”

This is not a depressing book. This is a very funny and sometimes completely mental book that you want to read with your mental friends and have a laugh. There’s a possessed pooch, an inter-dimensional worm hole which lets some slugs get through and a drug that makes “Limitless” look like child’s play. I loved the book even though it was absolutely bonkers at points!

“I tried to be as inconspicuous as possible as I lay the sausage against my ear. Abruptly, my cell phone went dead. A drop of grease dribbled into the dead center of my ear, creeping like a worm down onto my neck and below the collar of my shirt. A group of men and women in business suits walked by, swerving to avoid me. Across the street, a homeless-looking guy was staring at me, curious. Yep, this was pretty much rock bottom. As I was about to reach for a napkin and at least get my money’s worth by eating the bratwurst while still hot, I heard it.
“Dave? Can you hear me?”

Categories
Poetry

Acquainted With the Night * Robert Frost Poetry

Have you ever had to go somewhere by yourself late at night, and gotten a little creeped out and lonely? Or, maybe you’ve had the feeling that nothing is wrong…but nothing is right, either. Or maybe you’ve been so sad that even things that don’t have feelings, like places or objects, seem sad to you. If so, this poem should speak to you.

 

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain --and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.

First published in the The Virginia Quarterly Review in 1927, and then in Frost’s book West Running Brook in 1928, “Acquainted with the Night” is written in terza rima. This poetic form originated in Italy, with Dante’s Divine Comedy. It’s much easier to find rhymes in Italian, so this cyclical rhyming form is very difficult in English, but Frost masters it. The three-line stanzas, intertwined with rhyme, trick you into thinking that you’re moving forward in sound while, really, you are stuck. As we read, we’ll find out how this form fits the content of “Acquainted with the Night.”