Not the best writing or dialogue, but the pulpiness and the engrossing story are enough to keep one interested. I might be a bit partial though, becauNot the best writing or dialogue, but the pulpiness and the engrossing story are enough to keep one interested. I might be a bit partial though, because I like The Thing (1982) (watched The Thing from Another World (1951) yesterday, but wasn't that impressed). Nevertheless, an isolated research station in Antarctica as the setting creates a slightly claustrophobic atmosphere, when the alien starts to wreak havoc and paranoia ensues....more
It's curious how Gudmund seems to be uncomfortable around the determined and self-assured Hildur, but he's smitten with Helga, who even retracts his aIt's curious how Gudmund seems to be uncomfortable around the determined and self-assured Hildur, but he's smitten with Helga, who even retracts his accusation towards his old boss (who impregnated her) because she's afraid of his soul (he's about to lie in court). Noble maybe, but also slightly implausible and makes Helga seem like an angel descended from the heavens.
The story itself is a sweet romance (not saccharine, thank god), but also a sort of morality tale. I read an old and battered copy from 1920, which may have affected in my opinion on the prose a little, because I'm fond of old Finnish. I still didn't like this that much, though. I'm mostly looking forward to reading Lagerlöf's other works (mainly The Wonderful Adventures of Nils and Gösta Berling's Saga). I just happened to stumble upon this at my parents' house, and I need to give this back to my mum. Too bad, since the paper cover seems to have been painted by hand, and it's incredibly beautiful....more
On the outside, the Radleys are a normal middle-class family. Parents Peter and Helen struggle with their marriage that has started to taste like cardOn the outside, the Radleys are a normal middle-class family. Parents Peter and Helen struggle with their marriage that has started to taste like cardboard, and their children Rowan and Clara struggle with teenage problems in a small town community. The kind of small town I personally have experience from: growing older, you start to escape from it in different ways, until you realize buses and internet connections are in danger of diluting your life into a half existence. You can never come and go as you please, because the bus connections are scarce, but you can't spend the rest of your life lying in bed reading books either, and certainly not spending time in town events (if there are any, usually there aren't) with small-minded and gossipy people.
"Drinking wine is just another thing designed to make them feel like normal human beings, when really it only proves the opposite. Helen insists they drink it for the taste, but he’s not even sure he likes the taste."
Behind the ordinary facade, however, Peter and Helen are harbouring a secret. They are vampires, but the children don't know yet. Until a tragedy occurs. The bland existence of the Radleys can never be the same again. Blood is passion, truth, temptation, excitement, and everything what the Radleys are trying to suffocate in themselves. When the urges begin to surface, Peter remembers the old days with Helen and his brother Will. The wild blood red days of night club lights and recklessness. As a contrast, the scene where Peter and Helen dine with their neighbours appears as hilarious. Mark rambles on and on about his job, Lorna's playing footsie with Peter, and Helen is completely off planet Earth. None of them truly happy.
The demented Will is of course a bad influence, but he does manage to break the bubble the Radleys have built for themselves. The masks of quiet respectability have only managed to hide the ripples, and Haig's subtle approach to violence only emphasizes the problems that the characters are facing. I wasn't particularly interested in what was happening with the kids, nor was I that enthusiastic about the love thingy, but the way blood and vampirism were mixed with family life was intriguing and satisfying. For me, the excitement was whether the Radleys would find the balance between living in hiding and being true to themselves. After all, loosening up a bit never hurt anyone, but suppression only makes way for an explosion.
Very different than the gritty vampires I usually prefer, but I'm glad I gave this a chance. Despite being a fairly light read (at least for me), Haig packs a lot of hefty stuff between the lines and never underestimates his readers. If you want to know why I hate self-help books, read The Radleys.
"Confine your imagination. Do not lose yourself to dangerous daydreams. Do not sit and ponder and dwell on a life you are not living. Do something active. Exercise. Work harder. Answer your emails. Fill your diary with harmless social activities. By doing, we stop ourselves imagining. And imagining for us is a fast-moving car heading towards a cliff.
The Abstainer’s Handbook (second edition), p.83"...more
Based on the illustrations I've seen, Little Hands Clapping is very Edward Gorey-esque in spirit. Not particularly sick, just macabre and definitely nBased on the illustrations I've seen, Little Hands Clapping is very Edward Gorey-esque in spirit. Not particularly sick, just macabre and definitely not something that should be labelled as horror. Dark humour is a tricky thing, but for the most part Rhodes succeeds in making the museum a comical place without it seeming crass or tacky. The ridiculous reason the doctor had for doing what he did somehow made perfect sense in Rhodes's universe, where even the most respectable pillars of a small community can harbour dark secrets (the kind that are more than mere "I had an affair with the plumber" -sort). The premise reminded me of a couple of urban legends, like (view spoiler)[the one where a butcher makes people into minced meat (although it's slightly more disgusting, because at least the doctor ate the meat himself instead of offering it to others) (hide spoiler)].
Some would say Rhodes pushed it a bit too far, some would probably need even more pushing, but I thought it was just enough for a surprisingly light-hearted feat like this. Then again, there were moments of seriousness that didn't exactly give a deadly blow to the story, but at least stunned it. It was like being at a wedding where someone tells you their cat died the day before. Awkard. There were hints that Rhodes wanted to say something profound about death, but the purpose of the novel just wasn't clear enough to say anything for sure.
Which brings me to the main problem I had. There are plenty of characters whose lives are saturated with death, but other than that the threads don't connect to the main story strongly enough, not to mention that the story about the Portuguese lovers is completely uninteresting. The narrative dashes to all kinds of directions and breaks the chronology, making the novel unfocused, bloated, and slightly ADHD. I would have been more than happy if there had been just the storyline with the curator and the doctor. The misinformed view on depression and suicide (cheer up, think happy thoughts, someone always has it worse than you) also bothered me a bit more than is perhaps necessary, because the story obviously relies more on fairy tale morality than reality.
That said, someone needs to make this into a stop-motion film, preferably something in the vein of Mary and Max (2009).["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
To make a zombie war realistic is commendable, and everything that comes with warfare is explored fairly satisfactorily by Brooks. People have varyingTo make a zombie war realistic is commendable, and everything that comes with warfare is explored fairly satisfactorily by Brooks. People have varying degrees of survival skills and each handles the situation differently. Some find unexpected strength, some get disheartened, some act like complete asswipes etc.
As the outbreak starts in China and spreads all over the world, we see the success of governments depending on how seriously they take the threat and how well they have estimated their powers to stop it. Unfortunately for me, Brooks spends a lot of time explaining the political background of the war, the different strategies, and the general global effects.
The parts I found most interesting were the struggles of civilians. When the world looks like it's ending, not even rich celebrities are able to save themselves by splurging money on the newest security technology (that chapter was hilarious by the way).
It all boiled down to personal preference regarding the zombie experience. What I missed in World War Z, I've previously found in The Walking Dead (the tv-series) and Night of the Living Dead (1968). It's the individuals that interest me, although Brooks's characters seem to be the same old cliched stereotypes (the Japanese, wtf?), and therefore the whole book is lacking real cultural insight. The lack of tension was the biggest problem, though. The zombies themselves seemed to be mere background elements in order to take a stance on the modern world and its future. The execution of the interview format didn't help, what with all the infodumping and expositions happening in a supposedly oral history....more
A few days ago I was about to go to the summer cottage without electronic devices, and because I didn't feel like reading anything from the pile I alrA few days ago I was about to go to the summer cottage without electronic devices, and because I didn't feel like reading anything from the pile I already had, I went to the library to see if there were more Elizabeth Peters's Amelia Peabody adventures. Apparently, the library hasn't acquired them in order (the horror!), so I have to buy the next one if I'm planning on reading it. Then I saw something interesting next to the other Peters's novels: crime novels where a monk is doing the investigating. A monk! This has to be good, I thought, and something totally different than the tediousness that is The Name of the Rose (1980).
I was laying on the pier and eating strawberries, when the skeleton was found from the field. From there on I was instantly hooked. I couldn't have been more wrong in my guesses for the culprit, although the ending made complete sense, and was even a bit medieval in a way. Although I prefer only the final revelation instead of the characters constantly repeating the evidence gathered so far and who could be guilty, I still enjoyed following Cadfael in his efforts to find who did it.
Things were also made more interesting by Cadfael being stuck in the monastery, since he had to ask permission for errands not related to his vocation, and because of that he had Hugh the sheriff to help him in the outside world. Not that Cadfael is a master detective. He and Hugh seemed pretty equal in their brain activity, although Cadfael is naturally the one who solves the case.
Not only that the mystery is rewarding, but Peters is also a wonderful writer in general. She depicts the environment and the monastic life vividly and beautifully, and weaves thoughts about life and religion into the narrative (of which the contrast between secular and monastic life was the most interesting). Her monks are imperfect and people's behavior in general is plausible and suitable for the time period.
My brain has a minor glitch what comes to the history of the Middle Ages, so the parts where Peters explains a little about the historical background went completely over my head. I have no idea who the king was, I can't remember who were fighting and why etc. That's just a small thing, however, because they're not important in understanding the plot. Although it should be noted that Peters never went to college but was self-taught, which is incredibly impressive.
The series is suitable for reading out of order, which is always a plus for me. I will store Peters in my mind for those days when I don't feel like reading anything particularly challenging, but still something a bit more serious....more
Edit 15/8/2014 Watched the film. Freddy! Young Julian Sands! Pond scene! So much fun.
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A light Edwardian comedy with an ordinary romantic situationEdit 15/8/2014 Watched the film. Freddy! Young Julian Sands! Pond scene! So much fun.
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A light Edwardian comedy with an ordinary romantic situation, but Forster makes even romance tolerable with his fun over the top characters and satirical jabs at the conventions of the stuffy society. His writing is also polished and clear as always. I don't completely approve Forster's idea of the Dark Army, though (makes me question if he was serious about that).
The first part that takes place in Italy was (according to Forster's afterword) abandoned for a while, which might explain why the second part isn't nearly as entertaining. Although I loved the scene where George and Freddy go swimming with the vicar, it was hilarious! From the first part my favorite is probably the one where Lucy rebels by buying pictures of nude art. Raunchy.
Sadly, my favorite quote has to be put into spoiler tags.
(view spoiler)["When we were only acquaintances, you let me be myself, but now you're always protecting me...I won't be protected. I will choose for myself what is ladylike and right. To shield me is an insult. Can't I be trusted to face the truth but I must get it second-hand through you? ...you wrap yourself up in art and books and music, and would try to wrap up me. I won't be stifled, not by the most glorious music, for people are more glorious, and you hide them from me. That's why I break off my engagement." (hide spoiler)]
Ugh, now I want to see the Merchant Ivory film. Possibly with something sparkly in my hand...?["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I currently have 225 horror films under my belt. The Exorcist (1973) is not the best I've seen. It's not the worst either, but it's still only mildlyI currently have 225 horror films under my belt. The Exorcist (1973) is not the best I've seen. It's not the worst either, but it's still only mildly entertaining, if even that. The vomiting scene makes me want to eat pea soup. Pea soup, mustard, and crisp bread with cheese on top are the best combination ever - but I digress. If the film was meant to be funny, fine, but since the tone is serious throughout I highly doubt it was made as anything else than a good ol' creep show. Ravenous (1999) and Evil Dead II (1987) are hilarious gore fests (although I don't usually like overly violent horror) but The Exorcist is unintentionally so.
However, this wasn't always so. I can't remember my age, but I was certainly under ten when me and my two friends decided to secretly watch it. Obviously it was a bad idea, since it scared the shit out of me. I've never liked hospitals or anything remotely related to them, so when Regan was subjected to all kinds of tests that alone was horrifying. I don't remember the famous scenes, though, so I was probably mostly burying my face under a pillow and only listening to all the suspicious screams. Fast-forward to a couple of years later when I rewatched the whole thing: Jesus Christ, what is this now?
I think the problem is that I don't like exorcism horror. Even The Conjuring (2013), which is otherwise excellent, was in danger of falling flat during the latter half. I find nothing even remotely scary about a contorted body, a face that looks like Chucky, blasphemy, profanities etc. It's then painfully obvious what my attempt to inject a little creepy horror into the hot summer days turned out to be: a dud.
I don't require a lot from a horror novel, just that there's a some sort of looming threat or creepiness that has an effect on me. Blatty spends too much time educating the reader about possessions and psychology, and the underlying message about how God is good and evil will always lose is a bit heavy handed for my liking. There's also this awkardness in his writing, like he wanted to appear more intellectual and literary, but actually failing miserably (a sad table? really?). I did like Karras, his struggles with faith and the games he had with the demon, but the story overall works better in a visual form. The novel does however reflect (either intentionally or unintentionally) the social upheavals of the time, so that's something that would be worth exploring.
I'm trying to catch up on 1970s horror novels, since I've already seen some films from that era, but Blatty left me disappointed and underwhelmed, and the issues far outweighed the interesting aspects. I'm confident there will be better material later on (and there already has: The Other (1971) is the ultimate forgotten horror classic that is atmospheric, creepy, and heaps of fun)....more
Tenhusen dekkaria voi verrata huoletta Agatha Christien teoksiin, sillä molemmissa on samanlaista viehättävyyttä, lämpöä ja nokkeluutta. Luin Mustat kTenhusen dekkaria voi verrata huoletta Agatha Christien teoksiin, sillä molemmissa on samanlaista viehättävyyttä, lämpöä ja nokkeluutta. Luin Mustat kalat sitkeästi loppuun parvekkeella, vaikka ilta alkoi jo uhkaavasti pimetä eikä valonlähteenä ollut lamppua. En vain yksinkertaisesti halunnut liikkua yhtään mihinkään ennen viimeistä sivua, koska olin äärettömän koukussa.
En ole kertaakaan Christien kirjoissa arvannut murhaajaa (paitsi tietysti silloin, jos olen nähnyt aiemmin tv-sovituksen), joten siinä mielessä Tenhusen kirja ei ihan pärjää rikoskuningattarelle. Päättelin syyllisen hieman yli puolenvälin jälkeen, mutta jännitys pysyi silti hermoja raastavana kun odotti miten ratkaisuun päädytään ja mitä sen jälkeen tapahtuu.
Ympäristön uskottavuus tulee Tenhusen omista opiskelukesien opaskokemuksista. Stereotyyppisille turisteille ivaillaan lempeästi: amerikkalaisilla on hirveä kiire ja italialaiset yrittävät vokotella kauniita opastyttöjä. Huumoria löytyy myös opiskelukuvauksista ja henkilöt ovat sekä uskottavia että mielenkiintoisia (vaikka Liisa muistuttaakin välillä pyörtyilevää linnanneitoa, se on lähinnä huvittavaa eikä ärsyttävää). Missään vaiheessa ei tunnu omituiselta, että mukavienkin henkilöiden kaapeissa on luurankoja.
Yleensä vuodenajat eivät vaikuta kirjavalintoihini, mutta aina välillä tulee vastaan sellaisia opuksia, jotka sopivat erityisen hyvin kesään. Tämä on yksi niistä. Jatkan ehdottomasti Tenhusen parissa jossain vaiheessa, ja toivottavasti sekä miljöö että henkilöt pysyvät yhtä viehättävinä.
PS. Jos et halua tietää Liisan myöhemmistä vaiheista, älä lue Tenhusen Wikipedia-sivua. Onnistuin spoilaantumaan eräästä asiasta, ja vaikka ihan myönteinen juttu se oli, niin olisin halunnut mieluummin hihkua onnesta vasta seuraavaa kirjaa lukiessani....more
En ole suuri dekkarien ystävä, mutta agathachristiemäiset murhamysteerit ovat aina silloin tällöin nautittuina viihdyttäviä välipaloja. Tulinkin utel En ole suuri dekkarien ystävä, mutta agathachristiemäiset murhamysteerit ovat aina silloin tällöin nautittuina viihdyttäviä välipaloja. Tulinkin uteliaaksi törmättyäni kirjastossa Autereen teokseen, koska sitä verrataan takakannessa Christieen ja tituleerataan "elegantiksi salonkidekkariksi". Kaiken lisäksi tämä sopii käynnissä olevaan rikosteemaiseen lukuhaasteeseen, joten en kokenut menettäväni mitään vaan saavani ainakin viihdykettä helteen pehmittämille aivoilleni ja edistystä haasteisiin.
Christie-vertaus osoittautui kuitenkin epäreiluksi, koska en kokenut kirjaa rikoskuningattaren teosten lailla hallituksi ja tasapainoiseksi kokonaisuudeksi. Ongelmat ovat jo ihan henkilötasolla, joka on harmi. Henkilöiden tulisi olla tarpeeksi mielenkiintoisia ja jossain määrin myös arvoituksellisia, jotta lukijakin pääsee hyvin mukaan arvausleikkiin. Niin kuin monet muutkin salonkidekkaristit, Autere luonnehtii henkilöitään vähillä vedoilla. Tässä se ei kuitenkaan toimi, koska henkilöiden syvin olemus jää pimentoon, ja näin heistä ei jaksa oikein välittää tarpeeksi.
Sen lisäksi, että henkilöt ovat yhtä ja samaa harmaata massaa, kirjan toisteisuus alkoi puuduttaa puolivälissä. Henkilöihin viitataan usein sekä etunimellä että sukunimellä, ja ammattinimikettäkin käytetään runsaasti. Henkilögalleria on vähän turhankin laaja pysyäkseen kätevästi koossa, joten ehkä ammattia on käytetty apuna, jotta lukija pysyisi kärryillä kenestä milloinkin puhutaan. Tämä ei ole kuitenkaan mielestäni tarpeellista, koska alussa on lista kaikista henkilöistä. Ihmisen määrittäminen pelkän ammatin perusteella johtaa myös väkisin siihen aluksi mainitsemaani pinnallisuuden ongelmaan.
Miten sitten itse murhamysteeri toimii? Kömpelöön ja hyvin äkkinäiseen loppuratkaisuun päädytään melkoisen jahkailun päätteeksi. Poliisityö vaikuttaa löysältä: todistajia kuullaan, mutta poliisien ajatustyö ei välity, sillä aikaa käytetään tarinallisesti epäolennaisiin seikkoihin. Toisteisuutta on nimittäin myös juonen tasolla. Proviisorilla on ehkä jopa hieman pelottava pakkomielle kollegaansa, jota toistetaan joka välissä. Kuikalla on myös ajatuksissa eräs nainen, jota lukijankaan ei sallita unohtavan. Naisten aseman korostuminen pikkukaupungissa olisi mielenkiintoista, mutta sekään ei valitettavasti kanna loppuun asti, koska sen iskostaminen lukijaan on epäluontevaa.
Kirjassa on toki pientä nostalgian tuntua ja kieli vaikuttaa realistiselta henkilöiden suussa. Kyllä tämä siis varmasti joillekin toimii. Valitettavasti tässä ei ollut ollenkaan odottamaani imua. Toivottavasti joku kuitenkin kiinnostuu tästä kirjoitukseni perusteella, salonkidekkareita nimittäin ei voi koskaan olla liikaa....more
A basic werewolf story, to which King doesn't really bring anything new, even if he always has interesting characters. Once again an American small toA basic werewolf story, to which King doesn't really bring anything new, even if he always has interesting characters. Once again an American small town works great in a horror novel, and when King sinks his teeth into the small town life, it's executed in such a way that I always keep coming back to get a fix of that certain atmosphere. Although the identity of the werewolf is easy to guess right at the beginning, this was still an entertaining snack. Even at his worst King is highly readable and fun....more