Book Reviews

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton

Too little information and you’re blind, too much and you’re blinded.

I saw this book about 6 months ago when I was wasting time in an airport waiting for my flight. It looked interesting enough and just as I was about to buy it, my flight rang and I had to run. I did download it in ebook format and I’ve literally just finished it tonight.

It was a wild ride. Stuart Turton sent me on a wild murder-mystery hunt in a purely innovative novel which features the concept of prisoners, hosts, redemption and Groundhog day.


Book Reviews

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson Book Review

Since it’s still a haunting month, I decided to pick up the next book by Shirley Jackson after The LotterySummer People and Haunting of Hill House  and as it happens when you start reading too much of the same author, an image emerges. A lonely person, isolated, unsure, well read but afraid of people.

jackson_shirley.jpgI’ve read somewhere that Shirley Jackson was suffering from severe agoraphobia and she rarely left her house. She came out with a new horror story every now and then and her style definitely showed her condition.

Agoraphobia (literally: “fear of the marketplace”) is an anxiety disorder associated with a fear of open spaces. But really it’s more complicated than that. In particular, sufferers may be afraid of public spaces like shopping malls, airports and, in extreme cases, even simply leaving the house. Any place where escape might be difficult or help is not easily at hand if things go wrong could be a problem environment.

Book Reviews

Shirley Jackson – The Haunting Of Hill House Book Review

No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.

Thus begins one of the scariest novels written by Shirley Jackson in 1959, describing a doomed mansion and leaving the reading with an ominous warning: “whatever walked there, walked alone”.  Shirley Jackson was a writer who understood that good scares come to those who wait, but she also knew how to get to the point.

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).


Home by Edgar Guest * Poetry

The reason why I loved this poem is because for the last two years I’ve been living in my own place. Bought by myself, with my money, with my hard work. And every day I come back from work, I come home. Not to the place, but to the feeling. All my worries, all the stress, all the concerns – they fall off my shoulders the moment I walk through the door and have a look around me. Space and sunlight and flowers and items I’ve picked myself. It’s home.
So when I read this poem, I felt something stir. It hit a chord in me and it resonated. It brought me to tears.

It takes a heap o’ livin’ in a house t’ make it home,
A heap o’ sun an’ shadder, an’ ye sometimes have t’ roam
Afore ye really ‘preciate the things ye lef’ behind,
An’ hunger fer ’em somehow, with ’em allus on yer mind.

It don’t make any differunce how rich ye get t’ be,
How much yer chairs an’ tables cost, how great yer luxury;
It ain’t home t’ ye, though it be the palace of a king,
Until somehow yer soul is sort o’ wrapped round everything.

Home ain’t a place that gold can buy or get up in a minute;
Afore it’s home there’s got t’ be a heap o’ livin’ in it;

Book Reviews

Bentley Little * Houses Book Review

I’ve read Bentley Little * The Walking and I was enthralled by the prospect of another good horror novel, so I bought loads of Bentley Little novels, thinking I’m going to pick one up as the desire to read something grim and scary appears on my horizon. And it did. Pretty soon, I found myself looking at a cover of a haunted house and an evil-looking child on it. Yes. That would do.
The Japanese knew what they were doing when they started casting children as the object of terror in movies (The Ring, Grudge) and Stephen King did it too (Pet Semetary, The Shining, Children of Corn).
There is something scary about the idea that a pure representation of a child, all innocent, with no knowledge of the world, can be pure evil. Bentley Little went a bit further and created the corrupted idea of Donielle (also known as Dawn) – a girl of ten wearing a dirty shift dress, bare footed and with an innocent face. This girl is the creepy factor in the book as she appears unannounced in doorways, rooms, alleyways, lifting up her skirt and asking people to look at her genitals and perform crude sexual acts with her.

The creepy/murderous child trope goes back to The Bad Seed, from the most kid-centric decade, the 1950s.

Children are “innocents.” So the more they stray from that, the more frightening it is for all of us. For an innocent energy to be “taken over” is the gravest of abominations the world can reap upon us. Adults are expected to be corrupt and evil, in a way. Children are the last hope for good.
Dee Wallace, Actress, The Hills Have Eyes, The Howling, Cujo, The Frighteners

Donielle is mean-spirited, cruel and a pure psychopath in the clinical sense. Besides being malevolent, she is dangerous when crossed and she kills a few. The book should have been called “The Girl” or “Dolls”. It was truly scary.

Book Reviews Stephen King

The Black House * Stephen King And Peter Straub

“Mental dysfunction, neurotic and psychotic behaviour – takes time to develop and there are usually signs”

Let me tell you why I love this book and I hate it at the same time. I love it because it’s a sequel of my favourite book ever (The Talisman), it’s got Jack Sawyer, Travellin’ Jack, in it and there are Gunslingers, and there’s the Territories, and there’s Twinners and so much more. Black House looks back at the twelve year old Jack Sawyer and his quest across America, while creating a whole new chapter in the process. 

Book Reviews

The Haunting of Ashburn House * Darcy Coates * Book review

I really liked this book and I’ll tell you why! There is nothing better than a gothic-style house, a newcomer that finds there is a gruesome secret behind it and the moment they find out it’s haunted and they’re in mortal danger. There were several pieces of literature lying about my house concerning haunted houses (do you remember the one that was made into several horror movies (Amitiville Horror), or The Shining from Stephen King). This one was good because the mystery surrounding the previous owner was hearsay mostly and you discover along with the character what really happened.

The story revolves around Adrienne – a poor ghost writer ($20 in her hand to last her until the next paycheck), her fluffy cute coon-mix cat Wolfgang (from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) and her inheritance. Even though her mother insisted they had no living relatives, a great aunt called Edith leaves a mansion for Adrienne to come and live in. Having little to no choice, she moves in and finds that the house has electricity only on the first floor, the second floor hallway is filled with portraits of the same people and there are messages inscribed in wood in several locations of the house.

“No mirrors”

“Is it Friday? Light the candle”

“Remember your secrets”

“They are still dead”

This sounds like a good beginning for any horror book.


Are You Courageous? Check Your Third House

Karma is irrevocable, whether you like it or not, it heralds you through a maze of impediments, joys, howlers, achievements, humiliating situations, etc.

You may be tired of needless and fruitless journeys. You almost become a neurotic, through overbearing sisters or brothers. Often you overestimate intentions of your friends and get into an awkward position. Opportunists call you a coward! Your hissing and groans are heard on the other side of the phone. Your well wishers play with your pride and prestige! The killjoy tenant on ground floor warns you of that stench emanating from your toilet right on his head?


Astrology and the search for True Love by Dr Suresh Sharma

Sunsets, walks, talks, drives in the countryside, holding hands candle-light dinners, soft music. It’s all part of romance. Just the sound of the word rouses hopes and recalls memories. There is a longing for romance in most of us. After romance, the logical progression is to love. Above all else, that’s what we call desire – to love and to be loved.

How do I love theeWhat are the astrological factors for love and romance ?
1. If the 7th house be occupied by Venus or aspected by Venus, the native assumes love is a feeling, a tingling emotion. Moreover, he feels, it is a physical attraction for a member of the opposite sex. His/her perception of love and romance comes from music, novels, television or movies. Sometimes he says, the portrayed romance of the silver screen is a far cry from the responsibilities of real life.
2. If the 7th house is occupied by Sun or aspected by Sun – then the native says, love is thoughtfulness, concern, sensitivity to the need of another. With this combinations – young man and woman begin to see each other and become romantically attracted it often follows, they start to tell each other, I love you. And he lust after her. But the truth of the matter is, that is what so much young love is lust. It is self- ingratiating. It is for one’s own sexual pleasure.
3. True love grows when 7th house is occupied by Mars or is aspected by Mars. Growing love was once expressed sin the words of popular song, ‘I love your more today than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow”.
4. Great love of act is indicated by Moon – in the 7th house. With this factor he or she moves tears and appeared to be very much in love. He had taken her as his wife to care for her – to love her.
5. Happier marriages or stronger families can be produced by Jupiter in 7th house or if it is aspected by the same planet. With this combination real love is concern and action towards other all of the time – not just in one time heroic act.

Besides astrological factors, what are the powerful words ?
When the singing, dancing and excitement of such a life style subsides, there is nothing left. Unhappiness and sorrow are the only lasting fruits of romance without love. In order to find love, you first have to be giving love. When you really love others, your time, thoughts, energies and efforts are directed towards them. This is the living and dynamic law.

(Courtesy: “Planets & Forecast”, Dec., 1989.)