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Book Reviews

A Head Full of Ghosts – Paul Tremblay Book Review

Other jackasses have tried to argue that it’s John Barrett, not Marjorie Barrett, who becomes The Possession ’s true tragic figure, and that the show is really about his descent into madness, his being possessed by the ugliness of hatred and zealotry. His daughter’s illness, his family’s dysfunction, his unemployed status, and his beloved Catholic church abandoning him post-exorcism, are the aforementioned catalysts to his own psychotic break (see the Howard Journal of Criminal Justice and their breakdown of the four types of men who kill their families), and blah, blah, blah. Fuck that bullshit.

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Book Reviews

The Pretty Ones – Ania Ahlborn Book Review

I don’t think I’ve read such a lovely and creepy story about a woman and her brother since The Visitors – Catherine Burns.

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Book Reviews

The Blackwater Lightship by Colm Toibin

Declan has AIDS. He’s very sick. He sent me to tell you.

It is Ireland in the early 1990s. Helen, her mother, Lily, and her grandmother, Dora have come together to tend to Helen’s brother, Declan, who is dying of AIDS. With Declan’s two friends, the six of them are forced to plumb the shoals of their own histories and to come to terms with each other.

Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, The Blackwater Lightship is a deeply resonant story about three generations of an estranged family reuniting to mourn an untimely death. In spare, luminous prose, Colm Tóibín explores the nature of love and the complex emotions inside a family at war with itself.

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Book Reviews

Doddie Smith – I capture the castle

“How I wish I lived in a Jane Austen novel!”

Meet 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain who, alongside her family, lives in a rented castle. They’re poor (no-one earns any money) but they like to dream. The girls dream of love and marriage, the parents of unending days and food. And they feel that their status and their lack of money can mean only ruin in the future unless an appropriate husband is secured.

And what I thought about most was luxury. I had never realized before that it is more than just having things; it makes the very air feel different. And I felt different, breathing that air: relaxed, lazy, still sad but with the edge taken off the sadness. Perhaps the effect wears off in time, or perhaps you don’t notice it if you are born to it, but it does seem to me that the climate of richness must always be a little dulling to the senses. Perhaps it takes the edge off joy as well as off sorrow.

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Book Reviews

Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

Austen began writing Pride and Prejudice under the title First Impressions in 1796, at the age of twenty-one. She probably wrote the first draft as an epistolary novel, meaning the plot unfolded through an exchange of letters. In 1797, Austen’s father offered his daughter’s manuscript to a publishing company, but they refused to even consider it.

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Poetry

My Papa’s Waltz Poem Theodore Roethke

My Papa’s Waltz” is unquestionably the most anthologized of Roethke’s poetry and a case can be made that much of the reason behind that omnipresence is the room provided within its ambiguity for a multitude of interpretations.

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Book Reviews

Blessed are the Cheesemakers * Sarah Kate Lynch

If I were stranded on a desert island, the food I would miss most is cheese. I love cheese, all types of cheese, Maytag Blue, Fromager d’Affinois, Petit Basque, Taleggio. My affinity knows no national or state boundaries. I’ve passed this love onto my two-year-old who’s been known to sniff disdainfully, “No want deli cheese, want cheese cheese,” whereupon she’ll tuck happily into a wedge of St. Agur, a nice snack at $20/pound. Until recently, I thought I liked cheese more than anyone on the planet.

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Book Reviews

Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis Book Review

I haven’t read any other books by Bret Ellis after his American Psycho (1991) and I thought I’d give Lunar Park a go. Written in 2006 it follows the life of the author post his literary success into a life of debauchery and then domestic bliss.

“I had dreamed of something so different from what reality was now offering up, but that dream had been a blind man’s vision. That dream was a miracle. The morning was fading. And I remembered yet again that I was a tourist here.”

At first, I thought it was an auto-biography (no, I did not read any reviews before I got started) and I was surprised to see elements of the supernatural sneak in from the middle of the book. There’s a haunted doll, a lot of uneasiness in the house where he lives with his wife and two children and weird emails that keep coming through at 2:40 AM from the bank of his father.
There’s a lot of the plot revolving around the father-son relationship, the first one between Bret and his dad and then between Bret and his son Robert.

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Book Reviews

Karin Slaughter * The Good Daughter

Imagine one of the most horrible things that can happen in a small town. A school shooting. A teenager walks into a middle school and kills the counsellor and a young girl.

The Boston Marathon attacks. San Bernardino. The Pulse Nightclub. People were outraged. They were glued to their televisions, to their web pages, to their Facebook feeds. They vocally expressed sorrow, horror, fury, pain. They cried for change. They raised money. They demanded action. And then they went back to their lives until the next one happened again.

The girl, Kelly Wilson, appears to be mentally slow and it looks like she had suffered from a lot of bullying in high-school and there were rumours of a terminated pregnancy and a shamed family sending their boy to school somewhere far away. Now she comes in dressed in Emo Clothing and starts shooting.

A man’s feet pointed up at the ceiling.

Behind him, to his right, a smaller set of feet splayed out. Pink shoes. White stars on the soles. Lights that would flash when she walked.

An older woman knelt beside the little girl rocking back and forth, wailing. Charlie wanted to wail, too.

Blood had sprayed the plastic chairs outside the office, splattered onto the walls and ceiling, jetted onto the floors. She had seen this before. She knew that you could put it all in a little box and close it up later, that you could go on with your life if you didn’t sleep too much, didn’t breathe too much, didn’t live too much so that death came back and snatched you away for the taking.

This is only part of the story. What The Good Daughter tackles is not one but two major dramas and I must say I read the whole book in close to two days.

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Book Reviews

A Prisoner of Birth * Jeffrey Archer

WOW. Just WOW. I loved this book! I think the time Jeffrey Archer spent in jail did wonders to his insight into the way the system works and what type of characters you can expect to see in a prison.

He did writeCat o’nine tales which is a short collection of stories collected from prison but this book takes the whole lot to a new level. If you’ve read The Count of Monte Cristo, you’ll definitely see some resemblance.