Showing posts from January, 2016

A friend indeed

First things first, I managed to finish my most recent arbitrary read, Ramsey Campbell's Creatures of the Pool. There isn't much to say beyond the reservations I spoke about last week, although there were some pretty cool moments in the tunnel scenes. I did not like the ending one bit though, which undermined everything positive that I was thinking up to that point. 

As Campbell has quite the following in the horror world, I'm going to assume that I was just unfortunate in picking up one of his weaker works. It happens. One upside of reading this is that it has encouraged me to research the ghost walks in my local area. Hubby is reluctant but I quite fancy finding out the city's spooky secrets!

Speaking of the local area, I'm off to the library this afternoon to pick up my next arbitrary read. In the meantime, I've dipped back into the '30 for 30' list to have a go at Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend. 

So far, I've enjoyed this more than I expe…

Stagnant waters

I'm 100 pages into Ramsey Campbell's Creatures of the Pool and I'm having to agree with the book's reviewers who had complaints about not much stuff happening. There's a clear wish to make it seem like Liverpool is a city whose history and demons lurk just below the surface, but the execution of this doesn't seem to be working.
Considering it's a book by the author who brought us this, I feel a little bit let down. Subtlety should not be in this guy's wheelhouse!
But I digress. Campbell's protagonist, Gavin Meadows, is a tour leader who knows all the dirty secrets, nooks and crannies of Liverpool. His father appears to have become obsessed with some of the folklore and goes missing as he searches for information. As Gavin tries to track down his father, strange circumstances seem to plague him and the boundaries between real and imaginary start to break down.
That kind of makes it sound cool, but I'm actually just a pro at ad-speak. The weird circu…

The agony of choice

After falling heavily in love with A Little Life last year, I'm currently finishing up Yanagihara's debut novel The People in the Trees. It's not as captivating as A Little Life, but it makes a fundamentally unbelievable story seem utterly real and surprisingly scientific. It utilises the edited autobiography form, complete with editor's introduction and (copious) footnotes, and could easily be read as non-fiction. As I approach the end, I know there's some unpleasantness to come but I'm also very much looking forward to seeing how it all resolves.

Once that's done, I have two possible choices. One is a '30 for 30' read: Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend. The other is an arbitrary pick: Ramsey Campbell's Creatures of the Pool. Both appeal but, as you can imagine, for very different reasons.

Ferrante is a writer who seems to have gained a lot of attention in Britain over recent months. Her Neapolitan novels seem to have been on offer at all …

An unexpected windfall

'Cause the book's called Windfall, you see?!

Yeah, you see.

Windfall by Rachel Caine was both my first arbitrary read and my first any read of 2016, and it was an unexpected pleasure. I've not had great success with the genre of urban fantasy in the past, making my enthusiasm for this pick limited when I got it in December; however, the difference between this and my earlier experience with Fireborn by Keri Arthur shows that it's not the genre that matters, but the quality of the writing and the plot.

I came in on book 4 of the Weather Wardens series with Windfall, which can be difficult. However, Caine very deftly weaves details of the previous stories into the book when characters or events necessitate it, but without ever resorting to unwieldy exposition. She also introduces the supernatural aspects of the story quite matter-of-factly, without lots of unbelievable pseudo-scientific explanation as to how these things came about, which makes it easier to quickly settle i…