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Let's Talk About Books

An out of practice reader discussing the books I get around to reading. 

The Devil Crept In

The Devil Crept In - Ania Ahlborn

If you remember, I love anything that's spooky and in the woods. This one seems to fit the bill wonderfully. 

 

The Devil Crept In is a slow starter but it all moves fast. Part one was my least favorite as it didn't feel like too much was actually going on. After part two I was terrified and that feeling followed me the whole way through. The ending left me feeling sick in the way a good spooky story can, though I also hated the ending because of how bleak it is. Sort of like The Mist movie adaptation. It works and it preys on some of my spookiest fears, but it's so bleak I can't call it satisfying. 

 

I really liked Stevie. He reminded me of some of the kids I worked with. 

 

Final rating: 4.5 out of 5. Great horror, definitely spine-tingling. Why did the cats have to get involved? 

Reading progress update: I've read 209 out of 384 pages.

The Devil Crept In - Ania Ahlborn

Part 2 was honestly one of the most unnerving things I've read in a while. 0_o Hopefully I can sleep.

Reading progress update: I've read 44 out of 384 pages.

The Devil Crept In - Ania Ahlborn

The Luminous Dead

The Luminous Dead - Caitlin Starling

Woohooo! Finished!

 

Overall, I really loved this book. 100% would read it again. The atmosphere was awesome and I really enjoyed the character developments in Gyre and Em, as well as their development in relation to each other. The pacing felt awesome as well. There were enough highs and lows where I didn't feel like the book was rushing along or dragging. It could be slow at times but never in a way that made me reluctant to pick it up again.

 

As far as things I would have liked, I feel like there were some missed opportunities in regards to the horror element of the book. I really would have enjoyed more in regards to the technical nature of caving. When I pictured it in my head, it felt more like walking through a mine/rock climbing than caving itself, which kind of lessened the effectiveness for me. Having worked with and been friends with cavers, I know about maneuvers and risks that literally happen as part of typical caving that would have amped the horror up in this book to a whole new level. Seriously, look up Jam Crack in the Glenwood Caverns and that alone demonstrates what I mean. 

 

Final rating 5/5: I truly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.

 

Final thought: It'd be cool to have this adapted as a video game. That's kind of how it played out in my head and I think it'd be a lot of fun to play a game as Gyre. 

Reading progress update: I've read 205 out of 432 pages.

The Luminous Dead - Caitlin Starling

Don't read this in the tub. It removes all motivation to get out.

Reading progress update: I've read 144 out of 432 pages.

The Luminous Dead - Caitlin Starling

This book is getting hard to put down!

Reading progress update: I've read 83 out of 432 pages.

The Luminous Dead - Caitlin Starling

So, fun fact: I used to work in caves. It was all walking tour accessible but it gave me an appreciation for the caving sport. Caving is on my bucket list for sure. 

 

Anyway, I've ended my reading slump with this book, thanks to a gift card from Barnes and Noble. Isn't life neat? 

I Tried

The Emperor of All Maladies - Siddhartha Mukherjee

My Book Club decided this would be our next book. I just got it on audiobook today. I made it about 10 minutes in before having to call it quits. The writing is awesome. I just can't handle anything discussing medicine and illnesses. Just listening to descriptions of a woman's leukemia symptoms practically gave me a panic attack. 

 

I can read books about serial killers and horrible murders all day long. Can't handle cancer though. 

 

It really is a bummer. It seemed like it would be a good read. 

Reading Slump

We all have them. I'm definitely in one now. I think it's just I don't want to read the books I have started/need to read right now. Like N0S4A2. Just not in the mood. Maybe I need to read something different to break it up. Not sure what though. It's a conundrum. 

 

Anyway, I don't think I'll be doing bingo this year. I love it, I just can't even THINK about reading books right now. It's a bummer. 

Bard Time Stories

Okay, not exactly book-related, but what kind of friend would I be if I didn't try?

 

Some dear friends of mine are working hard to make their dream a reality. Beginning August 12, you will be able to listen to Bard Time Stories: A D&D 5e Podcast. I know there are books based off of the lore of Dungeons and Dragons, so I figured, why not spread the word? If you or someone you know enjoys the time of entertainment Bard Time Stories will offer, be sure to tune in! Link is in the title!

 

Thank you. As you were. 

I'll Be Gone Book Club Questions

These are the questions I came up with at Book Club this last week. Feel free to use them for your own. 

 

1: Why do you think McNamara blended her story with that of the GSK? How does her story parallel? 

2: What genre would you classify this book as: Memoir or True Crime?

3: The book gained high publicity due to McNamara's death and the arrest of the GSK. How do you feel the book holds up to the hype?

4: Traditionally, true crime is told chronologically. This one is not. Why do you think McNamara made this choice? What effect does it have on the narrative?

5: McNamara mentions obsession frequently during the book and draws comparisons between her obsessions and the killer's. Why do you think she does this? 

6: The true crime community has been criticized for glorifying the killers and forgetting the victims. How do you think McNamara handles this scenario? 

I'll Be Gone in the Dark

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer - Michelle McNamara, Patton Oswalt, Gillian Flynn

With only a few hours left of July, I have finished! 

 

So as mentioned in a previous post, I feel like this book was hyped more than deserved. It's promoted as something groundbreaking full of new information. But as I read, I found that not only did none of it seem groundbreaking, but none of it felt new either. I've listened to Generation Why's episode on the case - my first introduction - as well as Casefile's multi-part series. The latter especially seemed more in-depth, explaining not only the facts of the case but the cultural changes related to the case relevant to the investigation (apparently the rape kit came to prominence around the same time this creep was active). Compared to the detail and explanations these podcasts gave, this book felt shallow.

 

At book club this past Sunday, I realized a key reason WHY this book felt disappointing to me: I was already familiar with the case AND a true crime junkie. If this is your first exposure to the case, it's as terrifying as Gen Why's podcast was to me on a plane. So keep that in mind if you want to read it: if you're familiar with the case and/or true crime, it probably won't be as mind-blowing to you if you're not. I'm glad we discussed it at book club because it definitely gave me a new appreciation for the unique structure this book has compared to something like The Stranger Beside Me or In Cold Blood.

 

I had to smile towards the end because I can remember what I was doing that day. I first learned about the arrest on Twitter, but when I learned about the identity of the killer himself, I was in jail. It was for a training and I was just standing in the lobby but still. Oddly fitting. I sat there, watching them discussing this enigma on the TV and I just thought, "This is incredible. This is like my 9/11 or Kennedy Assassination". Less than a year before, I had been listening to two podcasters speculate whether we'd ever have answers. I'm glad we do now.

 

Final rating; 4 out of 5 stars.

 

Final thought: The biggest tragedy is that McNamara didn't get to finish this book herself. She was an incredible writer and I can only imagine what the book would have looked like had she lived. The Letter to an Old Man is without a doubt the best part of the book.

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 122 out of 352 pages.

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer - Michelle McNamara, Patton Oswalt, Gillian Flynn

To be honest, this feels more like one of those books that got more than is actually due. It's good, but not the amazing true crime read I was expecting it to be.

Kiss Me Kill Me

Kiss Me, Kill Me and Other True Cases - Ann Rule

Listened to this one on audiobook. It's hard not to like Anne Rule and this is the first of her multi-case collections I've listened to. I think she did an excellent job of choosing the cases as for the most part they all revolved a similar theme. There were a few that felt like they didn't fit her purpose quite as well but they were still good cases in their own way. 

 

Hindsight created weird feeling for me with the last story, a cold case that's still unsolved today. I couldn't help but think that Anne didn't live to see it solved which she expresses certainty that it will be. With the surge in cold cases being solved these days, I certainly hope her premonition was right.

Close Call

Southern Fried and I have fallen behind in our buddy reads, but no longer! Together, we will read Close Call by Lori Foster! 

Reading progress update: I've read 18 out of 352 pages.

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer - Michelle McNamara, Patton Oswalt, Gillian Flynn So it begins!