Two Books Read Simultaneously (Because One Scared Me And I Couldn’t Read It After Dark)

Two Books Read Simultaneously (Because One Scared Me And I Couldn’t Read It After Dark)

I have mentioned in a previous post that I am very suggestible. Even the hint of something scary is enough to set my mind whirring into all sorts of horrifying possibilities. So when I tried to read Night Film by Marisha Pessl, I was spooked pretty much constantly.

Night Film
Night Film

“On a damp October night, beautiful young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova—a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years. For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence. Though much has been written about Cordova’s dark and unsettling films, very little is known about the man himself. Driven by revenge, curiosity, and a need for the truth, McGrath, with the aid of two strangers, is drawn deeper and deeper into Cordova’s eerie, hypnotic world. The last time he got close to exposing the director, McGrath lost his marriage and his career. This time, he might lose even more. Night Film, the gorgeously written, spellbinding new novel by the dazzlingly inventive Marisha Pessl, will hold you in suspense until you turn the final page.”–Indiebound

This book is supposedly a thriller, but I would argue it’s slightly scarier than that, although what do I know about true horror? I can’t read it. Books like this are difficult to talk about without giving too much away, so I will just say a few things about it. First, I liked the characters a lot, especially McGrath’s two “sidekicks.” Each main character, even the deceased girl, Ashley, is nuanced and detailed in a way that few authors achieve without seeming to show significant effort. McGrath, though unlikable, is an excellent, flawed protagonist whose mission to prove himself ends up driving the story. My only complaint is that he is not tremendously believable as a father.

There are almost two endings to this story, and I enjoyed that immensely. You’ll see what I mean when you read it.

And again, this book scared the daylights out of me. I could only read it during the day. It’s so spooky, and it hints at some really dark and even perhaps demonic dealings that go on in shadowy locations around New York. There are also pictures in this novel, so you never know when you’ll turn a page and come face to face with something weird and startling. Because of this, I had to have something to read that was definitely less scary, and less adult:

Deep Blue
Deep Blue

“Deep in the ocean, in a world not so different from our own, live the merpeople. Their communities are spread throughout the oceans, seas, and freshwaters all over the globe. When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be winning the love of handsome Prince Mahdi. And yet Sera finds herself haunted by strange dreams that foretell the return of an ancient evil. Her dark premonitions are confirmed when an assassin’s arrow poisons Sera’s mother. Now, Serafina must embark on a quest to find the assassin’s master and prevent a war between the Mer nations. Led only by her shadowy dreams, Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas. Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world’s very existence.”–Indiebound

All I really want to say about this book (so I can forget about it quickly) is that it is stupid. The plot is stupid, the characters are stupid, and the world-building is stupid. The stupid “mermaidisms” drove me insane (example: their money is called “currensea.” Stop.)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The lines between the world we know and the fantasy world where mermaids exist are not well-blended, and it comes off rushed and sloppy. This book is about at the quality level of a made-for-TV movie. I’m not interested in the rest of the series. I’m totally disappointed because I think there is a lack of good mermaid literature in the book world, and I was hoping this would make up some ground. It didn’t. Even for children’s level reading, it was bad.

Movie Review: The Words

Movie Review: The Words

I saw The Words with a friend last night–one who is a book lover like me. We both emerged from the theater in complete awe. Though the critical reviews for it are low, we loved it.  It was beautiful, emotional, and (we thought) the story was engrossing.

It’s like Inception about books.  It is a story within a story within a story. Dennis Quaid’s character has written a book, whose protagonist is Bradley Cooper’s character, who publishes a book using someone else’s writing (plagiarism…BIG no-no). This someone eventually comes on the scene and informs Rory (BC) that the book that made him famous was actually a true story. Someone complained that this is confusing. It’s not. Everyone watched Inception no problem. This is easier to understand. People just don’t like that it’s about books.

But for us, this fascinating community of people united by the written word, it’s a gem.  The movie is about the power of words and how they affect us–how they can make us rejoice, or fear, or cry, or love.  How when we write them, they are ours, and we don’t want anyone taking them from us.  This power is something that we know as well as we know our best friend.  It’s why we love books so much.  The whole time I watched I thought, “Yes! Finally! Something for us! And about us!”

The story was, as I said, engaging and emotional. There are two different romantic couples, and their love stories we enough to make me green with envy! Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana were great together! Ben Barnes and his French lover were also beautiful.  And then, when the inevitable conflict enters the story to strain their relationships, I had tears threatening to spill the whole time.  The gorgeous music, I feel, contributed to a lot of this, as did my susceptibility to romantic plot lines.  All that fell flat, I thought, were the last five minutes. I could have lived without them. Other than that, it was spot-on.

I think that it is a film that book lovers will love and appreciate as much as my friend and I did.  We understand, a little better than the rest of the world, how powerful a bunch of letters strung together can be.  You can read or write something that changes you, your world, and the world at large.  Definitely a must-see for book people!

 

Aren’t they disgusting(ly cute)?