Category: Frightening

Jul 13

Shirley Jackson Reading Week: We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Crime, Frightening, Mystery 18

Greetings Bookworms!

I’m highly susceptible to suggestion. Why, last week I was reading a book where the characters were devouring a ham, and I really wanted to eat some ham. A legit ham, too, none of this cold cut nonsense. The very next day someone posted a photo of their fried fish that happened to be shaped like Illinois on Facebook, and doggone it, I wanted to eat all the fried fish (I later got that fried fish, and it was delicious. I still haven’t had any ham.) It’s not just food, though, folks. It works with books too! For example… I saw that several delightful bloggers were planning a Shirley Jackson Reading Week July 13-18 and I was all, “oooh I should do that. Get me some Shirley Jackson, stat!” (Thanks to fabulous hosts Stuck in a Book, Reading the End, and Things Mean a Lot!)

Shirley-Jackson-Reading-Week

I’d read The Lottery, which is a creeptastic short story in school at some point, but that was it. I decided to tackle We Have Always Lived in the Castle for two reasons. First, I’d heard it was awesome. Second, the cover is haunting, yo. I knew chills were just around the corner. I hauled up a copy on Scribd to read with my ears and let me tell you, that Bernadette Dunne? What a narrator. Whew. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The Blackwood house has a sinister past. Once one of the town’s most respected and stately homes, it is now the macabre scene of a mass poisoning. The suspected murderess is dwelling in the massive house again, along with her elderly uncle (and arsenic poisoning survivor) Julian and younger sister Merricat. To say that the crew is odd is an understatement, but just how many secrets they harbor start to be revealed when a distant relation comes to call.

So creepy, right?!

So creepy, right?!

I’ve always heard that I should check out Shirley Jackson because she’s the queen of the dark and twisty. Turns out everyone was right. Because for real. What in the actual fiddlesticks? This book, man. Constance, Merricat, what in heaven’s name went on during your formative years?! And holy macaroni, the townsfolk. I can’t even! If you haven’t read any Shirley Jackson yet, I highly recommend We Have Always Lived in the Castle. It’s deliciously devious and enough to make you fear children, townsfolk, and sugar bowls. Dun dun dun!

Talk to me Bookworms! Anybody have a recommendation as to which Shirley Jackson I should read next?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Oct 30

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Audio Books, Fantasy, Frightening 31

Greetings Bookworms!

I love this time of year. Autumn and pumpkins and baked goods and Halloween? Fall as a season is clearly a conspiracy of the universe to distract us mere mortals from the fact that WINTER IS COMING. (Thanks a lot, Ned Stark!) It’s a wonderful time of year to curl up with a book (or ten) and a nice warm cup of something nice and warm. (Cider? Cocoa? Coffee? Tea? Insert your beverage of choice.) Some books just go better with the season than others, though, and Neil Gaiman is a force to be reckoned with.

theoceanattheendofthelaneI recently finished listening to The Ocean at the End of the Lane as an audio book. It was narrated by Neil Gaiman himself. Holy crap, you guys! The man’s voice is so delicious I may never physically read another one of his novels. I just want to listen to Neil Gaiman read me bedtime stories. I swear that’s not as creepy as it sounds…

The Ocean at the End of the Lane begins with a middle-aged man returning to his hometown to attend a funeral. He is mysteriously drawn to a farm at the end of the road on which he once lived and is suddenly inundated with memories.

Forty years ago when our narrator was a 7-year-old boy, a boarder who was living in his home committed suicide. The suicide set off a chain of events both supernatural and unbelievable. The man begins to remember his friendship with the mysterious and remarkable Lettie Hempstock and her curious mother and grandmother.

I want to say Neil Gaiman is the master of this sort of speculative, supernatural, dreamlike fiction, but that seems wrong. Gaiman’s work is so unique that it’s practically a genre unto itself. Every time I finish one of his books, I feel like I’m waking up from a bizarre dream, equal parts nightmare and fantasy. If that description appeals to you in the slightest, go find the nearest Gaiman novel and start reading.

Tell me, Bookworms. Do you often remember your dreams? I find that mine are odd, vivid, and typically anxious. I’m wondering if that’s normal or if I’ve got more problems than I imagined. 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. I can only hope it won’t present itself as a coin stuck in my throat in the middle of the night…*

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Oct 31

Blackout by Mira Grant

Frightening, Zombies 13

Happy Halloween, Bookworms!

I’m looking forward to trick-or-treaters tonight! It’s supposed to rain, so perhaps we won’t reach our record of 300 ghosts and goblins, but it should be fun regardless. Anyway, today also marks the end of my all-scary-all-the-time reading binge. I’m celebrating by discussing the final installment of Mira Grant’s Newsflesh trilogy, Blackout. 

blackoutAs I mentioned when we discussed Deadline, it’s impossible to discuss the final installment of a trilogy without spoiling things at least a little bit… Particularly in the case of these books. So, here we go again. SPOILER ALERT! IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE FIRST TWO BOOKS READ AT YOUR OWN RISK! SPOILERS ARE INEVITABLE. WARNING WARNING WARNING! I WILL NOT TAKE RESPONSIBILITY IF YOU DON’T LISTEN TO MY SHOUTY CAPITALS! 

When we left the crew, Shaun was holed up at Dr. Abbey’s lab- the renegade mad scientist studying Kellis-Amberlee. He’s recently been proven to be immune to zombie disease.  Too bad he’s still grieving George so heavily that he doesn’t want to poke dead things with sticks. But wait… What’s this? The plot THICKENS. It’s a veritable STEW right now! So the CDC is even MORE evil than we’d thought, because Deadline ends with George WAKING UP!

WTF? It turns out, George has been cloned by the CDC. Holy crap on a cracker! The girl has been friggin resurrected! Unfortunately, she’s also being held prisoner, and can’t get in touch with anybody to let them know she’s alive…Luckily, all evil organizations have their weaknesses, and the CDC has been infiltrated by another organization. George is confused about who to trust, and all she wants is to get back to Shaun.

Excitement and drama and conspiracies and zombies abound! And then… Mira Grant threw me a plot twist I wasn’t expecting. I mean, it was sort of alluded to, when I look back, but I’m still not sure I’m not bothered by it. I’m slowly coming to terms… But… Yeeeeeeeeeah… Still- I cannot get enough Mira Grant and I can’t rave enough about these books. Egads, just read them already! Read them! Best decision I made all Halloween season.

So Bookworms, who’s excited about Halloween? Who has mentally prepared for the idea that a zombie apocalypse might just occur during trick-or-treating?! 

If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of Blackout by Mira Grant, copies are available on Book Depository. If you order using this link, I will receive a small commission, which will most likely be invested into more books. Help me help you, y’all. 

Gratuitous Le Kattoo photo!

Gratuitous Le Kattoo photo!

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Oct 28

Deadline by Mira Grant

Blogging, Frightening, Zombies 30

Hey There Bookworms!
You’re reading Words for Worms from my new self hosted site. Eeep! I tried to post a notice on the old account, but it errored out, so ignore that if you saw it. You probably don’t need to do a darn thing to keep following me as I’ve been using wordsforworms.com as my site address for well over a year. I’m neurotic, I believe in overkill. I want to send a shoutout to Spencer at Toastedlime who did all the hard stuff for a modest fee. I highly recommend getting in touch with Spencer for anybody afraid of the tech stuff involved in switching to self hosting. I PROMISE, he’s NOT Nick Burns, Your Company’s Computer Guy. (I’d also like to thank Rebecca from Love at First Book for sending me Spencer’s way. Thanks, doll!)

As you may recall from last week, I have gotten crazy super into the Newsflesh series by Mira Grant. Now, because this is a series, it’s damn near impossible to avoid spoiling book 1 in order to talk about book 2. So. If you’re concerned about having Feed spoiled for you (and I highly recommend reading it, so proceed with caution) this is your official SPOILER ALERT. SPOILERS AHEAD! SO MANY SPOILERS! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SPOILERS! IF YOU KEEP READING AT THIS POINT AND SEE SOMETHING YOU WISH YOU HADN’T, I TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY, BECAUSE OF THE MANY, MANY BOLD CAPITAL LETTERS I JUST SCREAMED OUT. 

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Deadline by Mira Grant picks up where Feed left off. The beloved leader of After the End Times is gone, leaving a grieving brother and a hole in the site’s infrastructure. The remaining team members have picked up the slack, but nothing is quite the same. Shaun has taken a distinct turn toward the mentally unstable, as he regularly converses with his dear departed sister Georgia. (I talk to myself verbally all the time… It’s just that there isn’t a voice in my head answering me… Which puts me firmly in the “eccentric” camp… Or so I like to tell myself.) All is shuffling along until one day Dr. Kelly Connolly shows up at After the End Times seeking asylum. You remember Dr. Connolly- she was working at the CDC when Dr. Wynn got George, Shaun, and Rick out of that little assassination attempt on the highway? What EXACTLY a CDC doctor could need from a rag tag team of journalists and self proclaimed “zombie pokers” is unclear, and they don’t have the time o find out since shortly after the Doc arrives, a full fledged zombie outbreak gets in the way of storytime.

As it turns out, the conspiracy George and Shaun were chasing down in Feed didn’t end with the death of the Vice Presidential candidate/Batman Villain. Oh yeah. And Rick? The journalist the team picked up from that stripper lady’s campaign? He’s totes the VEEP now. So. That’s not weird or anything. But you know. When the dead are walking, all bets are off. Anywho. The team goes traipsing around in dangerous territory, always one step ahead of being eaten by zombies… Well. Not everyone is ALWAYS one step ahead of the zombies, but if I told you everything, you wouldn’t want to read this. And believe you me, you WANT to read this.

All the things I loved from Feed still apply to Deadline. The conversational tone of conversation the bloggers employ. The cheeky pop culture references (Becks, head Irwin, has a blog called Charming Not Sincere. I’m choosing to believe that’s a clear reference from Into the Woods because musical theater tickles me.) The zombie lore and the conspiracies. It’s downright delicious.

Has anybody else out there been bitten by zombie fever? I feel like The Walking Dead was my gateway drug and now I’m kind of obsessed. Anybody noticed the prevalence of zombie costumes on their Facebook pages? Let’s talk about the undead, Bookworms! 

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Oct 24

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Children's Fiction, Frightening 37

Salutations Bookworms,

Coraline I love October. The air is getting crisp and apples are in season. It makes me want to snuggle up and read even more than usual! In continuation of my dark and spooky October reading fest, I decided to pick up Coraline by Neil Gaiman.

Coraline is a little girl who is bored out of her mind during a school vacation. Her parents both work from home, but they are both too busy to amuse her one afternoon. She sulks around for a bit and eventually runs across the key to a mysterious door in their flat. Instead of containing the brick wall that normally lives behind the door, our little heroine discovers a dark passageway. Her curiosity simply won’t allow her NOT to find out what’s going on…

She discovers her “Other Mother”… “Other Mother” makes roast chicken and allows Coraline to play with all sorts of toys. She offers Coraline the opportunity to stay forever- if only she’ll sew black buttons in place of her eyes. Coraline is understandably creeped out, so she decides to go home. Only, once she’s home? Her parents have disappeared. Because “Other Mother” is evil and stuff.

It’s Neil Gaiman, y’all. The button eyeballs and evil surrogate parents are to be expected. To quote the perennially brilliant Joni Mitchell, “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” Our little heroine has to use her wits to save her parents, and some other lost souls along the way.

I thought this book was a lot of fun, but I wasn’t quite as blown away as I’d expected to be. It was a cute, fun, and appropriately creepy for the season. Just don’t go in expecting your socks to be blown to Neptune. My socks stayed somewhere between Mars and Jupiter.

What about you, bookworms? Anybody else read Coraline? See the movie? Tell me about it!

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Oct 17

I Vant to Suck Your Blooood! (Dracula by Bram Stoker)

Classics, Frightening, Vampires 45

Greetings, Bookworms!

That’s right kids. In honor of my Halloweenie reading binge I finally got around to Dracula by Bram Stoker. I’ve had this book waiting around on my Kindle since I got a Kindle… 3 years ago. It was the very first book I downloaded, and it’s just been sitting there gathering digital dust while I read a zillion other things. I am proud to say that I conquered the grand-daddy of all vampire lore!

dracula

Dracula is written in an epistolary format, meaning that it is composed completely of letters, journal entries, and newspaper clippings. (I don’t mean to insult anyone’s intelligence by defining “epistolary format,” but since I had to look it up for myself a while back, I figured I’d be nice and throw y’all a bone. Nobody likes to have to google things!)

Our hero Jonathan is sent on a business trip to Transylvania in order to instruct a wealthy gentleman (Count Dracula) on how to go about purchasing property in England. Unfortunately for Jonathan, the Count hadn’t planned on allowing his guest to leave the castle in possession of his vital fluids. Nevertheless, Jonathan manages to escape while his love Mina makes the trip to help him recover from his ordeal in a foreign hospital.

While Mina is away, her BFF Lucy has some wild times. At the age of 19, Lucy receives three marriage proposals in a single day. (Weird social convention alert: it used to be normal to propose to acquaintances on the regular, and 19 was “old” to have never received an offer of marriage. According to Lucy, at least.) Anywho, she has these three suitors, but only one of them sets her heart aflame. She lets the other two down gently enough that they’re still pretty devoted to her… Her fellows are in close proximity when Lucy comes down with a mysterious ailment. One of the suitors she spurned happened to be a doctor, so he recruits his former professor Dr. Van Helsing to come and treat Lucy.

After some sleepwalking and nightmares and the usual dastardly vampirey tricks, Lucy is in pretty dire straits. Events occur… Garlic, crucifixes, holy water… You know. The usual. Of course, it wasn’t the usual before this book was released. I had to keep reminding myself of how groundbreaking this novel was because this is the SOURCE of the lore. It’s all become so mainstream that it’s easy to forget how inventive Stoker was.

I was pleasantly surprised with the beginning of the book- I had expected it to be drier, but I had no trouble following it. I enjoyed the use

Some might argue Dracula is tragically misunderstood... (Image Source)

Some might argue Dracula is simply misunderstood… (Image Source)

of journal entries and letters in advancing the narrative. I loved the psychic connection Dracula was able to have with his victims, but toward the end, I found things dragging a bit. Mina spent an awful lot of time under hypnosis telling Van Helsing that all her Dracula brain could interpret was darkness and the sound of waves. I’m sure Stoker was trying to build the tension by giving the characters so much time to travel, worry, and be frightened before their final showdown with the Count, but for me? It didn’t build tension, just my desire to sleep. Don’t worry though, I muddled through. I don’t want to spoil things, but I put the proverbial nail in the coffin of this book. (I’m sorry, but I cannot stop myself from making terrible jokes. There’s a chance my mind is being controlled by the vampire formerly known as Dave Coulier.)

I always love when I get add a classic to the list of books I’ve read. I was pleased with Dracula on the whole, and found it a perfect edition to my Halloweenie reading list. What about you, bookworms? Have any of you read Dracula? Did you feel like you’d already heard it all before since the lore has become ubiquitous, or were you able to focus on Stoker’s ingenuity?

 

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Oct 14

The Passage by Justin Cronin: A Fellowship of the Worms Spooktacular

Book Club, Dystopian, Frightening, Vampires 27

smarty mcwordypantsSalutations, Bookworms!

The Fellowship of the Worms is back in session. Our book club choice this month was The Passage by Justin Cronin, and an excellently creepy selection for October (if I do say so myself.) WARNING: We will be discussing the WHOLE book. This will no doubt include SPOILERS. If you did not read the book and would like to participate, pick up a copy of The Passage and give it a read. This post will be here waiting for you when you finish. Now that the particulars are out of the way, I’ll remind you of the premise here. I’ll pose questions in bold and answer them in regular type.  If you don’t want your opinions influenced by my rantings, stick to the bold first. Feel free to answer them in the comments, or if you’re so inclined, leave a comment linking to your review of The Passage on your own blog! I fully encourage shameless self promotion, so if you’ve reviewed this don’t hesitate to get your link on.

1. Did anybody else find the beginning section of this book a little hard to follow/get invested in? The book begins a few years in the future- not far enough for flying cars and robot housekeepers, but not exactly in the now. There’s some kind of super secret research going on to create a virus that will turn people into evil monster weapons. The US government is monkeying around with and they’re looking for subjects. They decide to work with death row inmates until someone gets a bee in his bonnet and wants to recruit an abandoned child. Because that’s not completely horrendous or anything. The whole plot I totally got. What I couldn’t keep straight were the 8 zillion FBI/CIA/Mad Scientist guys that were working on the project. So many last names floating around! I seriously could have used a flowchart explaining the chain of command. Seriously. That’s an idea for the next release- add it in as a little bonus. The readers will love you for it. It did take me quite a bit longer than I’d anticipated to really get invested in the book, so that was a bit of a bummer. Once it picked up speed though? Holy heck I couldn’t put it down!

2. What did you think of the vampires? How did they live up to your horrific expectations? What about the psychic/telepathic/dream stuff? I hate to be a giant comparison drawer, but I’m going to do it anyway. It’s how I roll. The vampires in this book reminded me of those in I Am Legend. Then all the dream stuff (not to mention the journeying) made me think of The StandThe Vampires themselves were spectacularly scary. The shark teeth? Creepy. The super speed and strength? Creepy. The psychic connection to their minions and the ability to give nightmares to the living? Creepy, creepy, creepy!

Creepy!

Creepy!

3. Was anybody else jarred by the time jump and the introduction of the colony? Were you able to connect with the colony character as well as you connected with characters from the first portion of the book? Yeah, I so did not see that coming. We just jumped forward in time a hundred years? It didn’t take long for me to become completely invested in the colony and its characters, but I’ve got to admit the pacing seemed a little weird. I kept expecting the time to shift again. I suppose it did to a certain extent- there were some passages with headings labeled a thousand years in the future, but they didn’t introduce any new characters or situations. The odd timeline is my only major complaint with the book, though, so I’m not too terribly upset.

4. How about that Amy? What did you make of her character? Even though she and Lacey had the same version of the virus, Amy still seems to be “special.” What do you make of this? I am so confused by this! Yes, Amy seemed “special” even before she was exposed to the virus, but so did Lacey. Lacey seemed to have some psychic stuff going on back at the convent and in her childhood. What makes Amy so different than Lacey, despite having the same strain of virus, has me completely baffled. Did I miss something? Did anybody else get a good feel for just why Amy is so different? 

5. Were you engaged enough in The Passage to move on and read The TwelveWhat did you make of the fact that Sara’s journal was located in the aftermath of the “massacre?” Are you holding out hope that Sara and the gang survived and that we’ll see them in the sequel or have you given them up for dead? I am TOTALLY invested enough to check out The Twelve. What is killing me is that the final installment of the trilogy is not yet available. Gaaaah! I need to start waiting until things are FINISHED before I start them. I am absolutely holding out hope that Sara and Hollis and Theo and Maus and the baby make it out alive, dangit. I will be too devastated if it is otherwise!

All in all, I thought The Passage was pretty awesome, and a perfect October read. How about you, Bookworms? What did you think? Tell us about it! And be sure to join us next month as we tackle Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Sometimes I just don’t want to read things alone, okay? We’ll be talking about Rebecca on Monday, November 18th!

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Oct 07

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor

Dystopian, Frightening, Psychological, Supernatural, Zombies 24

Muahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaa Dear Bookworms!

I’m busting out my evil laugh to celebrate the fact that it’s October and I’m reading some scary books. Remember this summer when I went to BlogHer? One of the keynote speakers was Gale Ann Hurd- the executive producer of the greatest show currently on television, The Walking DeadSt. Martin’s Press was another of the BlogHer sponsors and they hooked up the attendees with a copy of The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga. FULL DISCLOSURE: I got this book for free. At BlogHer. Like I already told you. FULLER DISCLOSURE: I saw a Rick Grimes costume at a Halloween store today. I was sorely tempted.  

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If you’re not into zombies, you probably wouldn’t like The Walking Dead in any permutation: the comics, show, or novelization. If you do happen to be into zombies, you probably already watch The Walking Dead and YOU, my friends, are in for a treat. (New season starts October 13. Holla!) I’ve been holding onto this book since July because I wanted to read it in an appropriately spooky season. Now is the time!

Alright Walking Dead-heads. You know how The Governor was a super crazy bad guy? Ever wonder how he got that way? This book! It TELLS YOU! It starts at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse with Phillip Blake, his daughter Penny, his two high school chums, and his younger brother Brian. Their ragtag band is sweeping across Georgia, bashing zombie heads, and searching for a safe haven. Bashing zombie heads is not a clean business, so I’ll warn you that the language gets pretty gruesome. Blood and guts and gore. You know the drill. As we all know, it doesn’t take long after the dead begin to rise for the living to turn on one another. Plus, you know, living under the extreme stress of watching one’s friends and neighbors turn into blood thirsty un-dead monsters takes a toll on one’s psyche.

All in all, I found this book enjoyable. However. It’s clearly meant to be a companion to the show. From a narrative standpoint it could certainly stand alone, but I don’t think I’d have liked it as much if I weren’t already a fan of the show. I recommend this for all Walking Dead-heads for while the show is on hiatus. There’s a trilogy afoot, I might have to grab the next novel when I’m having my mid-winter withdrawals.

So Bookworms, tell me. Do you do anything to get yourself in the Halloween spirit? We haven’t yet watched Hocus Pocus or any of our Roseanne Halloween collection this year, but we DID watch Warm Bodies this weekend (which was oddly charming.) Scary movies, scary shows, zombies, witches, goblins! Let’s talk about them!

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Sep 17

Falling for Fall: Top Ten Tuesday

Dystopian, E-Readers, Frightening, Mystery, Supernatural, Top Ten Tuesday 62

Good Day, Bookworms!

It’s the middle of September now, so I’m feeling very Autumnal. Luckily, the ladies of The Broke and The Bookish seem to be feeling this way, too! Today’s topic for Top Ten Tuesday listy goodness is the top ten books we plan to read this fall.

toptentuesday

Halloween is just around the corner, and this year to celebrate I thought I’d do some spooky reading. I know what you’re thinking. “Katie, you are afraid of everything and you are setting yourself up for a month of nightmares, you big chickeny chicken face!” You’re right. But I’m gonna do it anyway! Let’s get our creepy on!

1. The Passage by Justin Cronin. It’s October’s Fellowship of the Worms selection! Zombie/vampire hybrids? Yep. Nightmares. But at least we’re doing this TOGETHER!

2. Dracula by Bram Stoker. This is THE classic vampire novel. How have I managed this long without having read this book? It seems so terribly wrong…

3. The Walkng Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga. The new season of The Walking Dead  begins in October and I’m so excited! I got a copy of this book at BlogHer13 after watching Gale Anne Hurd’s kickass keynote. ZOMBIES!

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4. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. I’m trying to incorporate some more classics into my literary diet and it’s spooktacular. (I know. I am already kicking myself for using such a dumb phrase. My shins shall be so very bruised…)

5. Feed by Mira Grant. ZOMBIES! I’ve heard great things about this series, so I’m pretty stoked about it. Braaaaaaaains. Om nom nom!

6. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Halloween brings out the kid in me, why not indulge in a creepy kid’s story? Everybody loves the classic “kid raised by wolves ghosts” tale!

TheGraveyardBook_Hardcover

7. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. Aliens and religion. When you dig deep into religion you get into some secretive, scandalous, and mysterious tidbits. Add aliens?! Well. I mean, ALIENS! (I love ET. That doesn’t have a whole lot to do with anything, but that’s what comes to mind when I think of aliens. I cannot watch that movie without crying. He’s like a weird ugly otherwordly chihuahua.)

8. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. I’ve been meaning to read this for ages. I’m SUPER annoyed that I can’t get it for my kindle yet. Ugh. Seriously, people. I love me some digital books. I haven’t got the storage space to bring more physical books into my house. It seems exceptions will have to be made, but not without a little grumbling. Grumble grumble grumble…

9. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. Duuuuuuuuuuun dun dun dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun! Sorry, sorry. It just got a little Andrew Lloyd Weber up in here. I would like to read this ghostly little tidbit though. I hear that no one tells a story like Gaston, so…

10. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker. What is scarier than the end of the world, dude?! Let’s do this thing!

What are your plans for the fall, bookworms? A little bit of frightful fare for the spooky season? Tell me about it!

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Sep 13

It's a Very, Very MaddAddam World

Dystopian, Frightening, Science 38

Salutations Bookworms!

Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite authors. NOBODY does a dystopia like Atwood, believe you me. (I mean, have you read The Handmaid’s Tale?!) I have been waiting for what feels like FOREVER for the release of MaddAddamThis book completed Atwood’s epic dystopian trilogy that began with the 2003 release of Oryx and Crake and continued with 2009’s In The Year of the FloodI’ve been desperate to know the fate of humanity for YEARS now!

margaret-atwood-dystopic-trilogy

Atwood is a passionate environmentalist, and the future she paints as a result of environmental catastrophes is disturbing. In Atwood’s version of the future, global warming has taken a serious toll on the planet. Large portions of California and the Eastern Seaboard are underwater and therefore uninhabitable thanks to the melting of the polar ice caps. Science is now able to manufacture actual meat without having to harm any animals; they can grow a chicken breast in isolation. They’ve played around with gene splicing so much, the native species are all jacked up. Atwood doesn’t go into detail about all of the hybrid animals, but her naming of them gives clues as to their origins. There are now sheep who grow human hair and pigs with human brain tissue. Pharmaceuticals have been perverted by giant corporations so that in addition to curing diseases, they also spread them. Every extreme you can imagine has come to fruition, and it’s not pretty.

Our motley cast of characters are born into this reality. People not under the employ of a major corporation are cast out into the dangerous and impoverished pleeblands. New religions emerge that worship petroleum on one end of the spectrum and extreme recycling on the other. (Let’s face it. Handmade sandals fashioned from recycled tires are sexy, y’all.) Criminals are given the option to suspend their prison sentences by opting to fight to the death in an arena, gladiator style. (Painball is no Hunger Games- these aren’t little kids in the field, they’re psychotic murderers. Butchering one’s victims and devouring their kidneys is par for the course.)

plagueThis brave new world is the perfect chaos into which a genius with a God complex can enter to wreak havoc. Our doom fixated genius is a misguided young man named Glenn, though he has taken on the pseudonym “Crake” because he’s all about extinct species. The term “God complex” gets flung around pretty regularly to refer to people who like to control situations, but Crake is the very definition of the term. He was a scientific genius, but instead of sticking to commercial pursuits, he decided to crafted himself a new race. He gene spliced himself a new humanoid species that was meant to “correct” all the foibles that have plagued humans. He pulled a GENESIS, yo. That’s CRAZY! Much like the vengeful God of the Old Testament, Crake has determined that he needs to wipe the slate clean of the existing human race. The apocalyptic flood was unleashed in the form of a lethal genetically modified microbe nestled inside an sexual enhancement pill. Sinners and saints alike perished in Crake’s wrath. The handful of survivors attempt to regroup and figure out how to persevere in their new nightmarish reality.

I could go on and on about how insane Atwood’s world building is or how much I LOVE all the biological oddities she created. The work is intense, poignant, and cautionary. It will make you ponder ethical conundrums you never anticipated. You really, really, REALLY need to read this.

Alright Bookworms. Let’s throw out consequences for a second and take a trip into the land of imagination. If you could create a hybrid animal what two would you smush together?

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