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Group Reads > January 2018 Group Read #2 - A Head Full of Ghosts

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message 1: by Bill (new)

Bill (shiftyj1) | 4890 comments January Group Read #2 will be A Head Full of Ghosts.
A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

Please remember to use spoiler tags.


message 2: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (kimberly_3238) | 6086 comments Mod
Just read this one, but will participate in the discussion. :)


message 3: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Bea (gekrepten) | 1760 comments This book is awesome! I may re-read it, but I'll definitely be peeking into the thread and seeing what ppl think.


message 4: by Christina (last edited Dec 26, 2017 03:41PM) (new)

Christina (zombiekittylives) | 18 comments For the folks that will be participating in both the group reads for January, how will you read these? One at a time or one day read some of one book and then the next read some of the other? I usually only read one book at a time but would like to participate in both group reads, just wondering how you guys do it. BTW, this is my second month of being part of this group and its been awesome ;)


message 5: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (kimberly_3238) | 6086 comments Mod
Christina wrote: "For the folks that will be participating in both the group reads for January, how will you read these? One at a time or one day read some of one book and then the next read some of the other? I usu..."

Personally, I do one at a time when I'm able to do both--the discussions last all month, so there's always someone starting at later dates, and I like to check back even after I've finished. :) We encourage the use of spoiler tags so that people reading the thread that haven't started the book, or gotten as far as others, don't have anything "ruined" for them.


message 6: by Joel (new)

Joel  Werley | 60 comments I picked this one up during a recent Kindle sale and was going to save it until next October during my usual mega-horror binge. But, since I haven't joined a group read in a while, it sounds like a great reason to tackle it a few months early.


message 7: by Veronica (last edited Dec 26, 2017 04:27PM) (new)

Veronica (veraj121) | 15 comments I've had this book on my kindle for the longest. I look forward to this group. My first time here.. LOL


message 8: by Latasha (new)

Latasha (latasha513) | 11050 comments Mod
this is a good one but I don't know if re-readable good. hope everyone enjoys it.


message 9: by Marie (new)

Marie | 3650 comments I am going to try and join in on this one as I have had this book on my kindle for months. I have other books that I will be reading, but I am going to try and squeeze this one in during next month. :)


message 10: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (kimberly_3238) | 6086 comments Mod
Latasha wrote: "this is a good one but I don't know if re-readable good. hope everyone enjoys it."

I agree with you on the "re-readable" on this one--at least for myself. However, it's one I'd love to read the reactions to, and everyone's thoughts on it.


message 11: by Anne (w/ an E) (new)

Anne (w/ an E) (mzcatnthehat) | 786 comments I own a copy of this book and I do plan to read it, but right now I just haven't been in the mood to read anything. I took out Sleeping Beauties from the e-library but I think I'll end up returning it without reading it. All I want to do lately is sleep...


message 12: by R. Leigh (new)

R. Leigh | 36 comments I listened to the audiobook version of this. It was, I think, awful. This is the second book of his that I’ve read, and I just don’t like Tremblay’s work. Too many references to modern social media things, for my taste. Makes the work feel dated. This isn’t a quality judgement, just personal opinion.


message 13: by Ami (last edited Dec 27, 2017 05:38AM) (new)

Ami | 204 comments I read this one earlier in the year. I was a little disappointed... I'm interested to see what other people thought about it and joining the discussion about it.

Christina wrote: "For the folks that will be participating in both the group reads for January, how will you read these? One at a time or one day read some of one book and then the next read some of the other? I usu..."

I read multiple books at one time. I normally set X amount of time for one book, and then when that time is up, I set the same amount of time to read the second book. Although, I have done the 1 book today, 2nd book tomorrow, repeat method before as well.


message 14: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (kimberly_3238) | 6086 comments Mod
R. Leigh wrote: "I listened to the audiobook version of this. It was, I think, awful. This is the second book of his that I’ve read, and I just don’t like Tremblay’s work. Too many references to modern social media..."

It's funny you mention that R., that's EXACTLY what I had in my review--that the reference to specific things "dated" the story, and made it so that people reading it years from now may find it too specific in certain areas. When you start using that technique, you run the risk of future readers thinking the story antiquated at a certain point.


message 15: by Merritt (new)

Merritt Bumpas (cheshrkat) | 12 comments I just finished this and it was fantastic! After I finish my current book, I may re-read it again.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) | 875 comments I may join in on this one too


message 17: by Merritt (new)

Merritt Bumpas (cheshrkat) | 12 comments Kimberly wrote: "R. Leigh wrote: "I listened to the audiobook version of this. It was, I think, awful. This is the second book of his that I’ve read, and I just don’t like Tremblay’s work. Too many references to mo..."

Although this is the first book of his that I have read, You do make a valid point. The numerous references to social media may, eventually, date the book. However, I believe that Tremblay wanted to cement the plot directly in the "social media" era with all it's real-time, cant-take-it-back foibles.



message 18: by Anika (new)

Anika Q (nikzcyn) | 7 comments Got the book from the library and already started reading.🤭 Would love to join in discussions.


message 19: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (kimberly_3238) | 6086 comments Mod
This one is great for a group read!


message 20: by Red (new)

Red Lace Reviews (redlace) | 42 comments I'll get this one in the next few days, am interested in joining in!


message 21: by Caroline (new)

Caroline | 17 comments I haven't taken part in any group reads for a good while, and this has been lurking on my kindle for quite some time. I'm about halfway through, and I'm finding it interesting, but I'm reserving judgement at the moment.

I agree that part of the many cultural references are to nest the book in a particular time context. Reality tv (and all its social and cultural baggage) might be out of fashion in the future.


message 22: by Jamie (new)

Jamie | 3 comments I read this one awhile back and really loved it. Creepy and uncomfortable.


message 23: by Joel (new)

Joel  Werley | 60 comments Ten chapters into this so far. I thought it had an iffy start, but settles down once you hit the voice change in the fourth chapter with the introduction of the sisters and the beginning of the plot proper. I can't remember the last group read I joined - maybe Blackwood's The Willows or some terrible Richard Laymon book - so looking forward to talking about this one.


message 24: by Lena (new)

Lena | 2458 comments Read this awhile back and thought it was a fun referential work.
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 25: by Matt (new)

Matt I’m in!


message 26: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany King (tifking73) | 80 comments I’m in on this one. I have read the first 5 chapters. I like how the story has been set up so far.


message 27: by Greg (new)

Greg | 382 comments I really enjoyed this one. But I didn’t care for Disappearance at Devils Rock.


message 28: by Chris (last edited Jan 02, 2018 02:34PM) (new)

Chris (chrismccaffrey) | 582 comments Finished this last week. A few non-spoiler comments:

1. I found it very interesting how this book basically comments on its own story/genre and I found much of the criticism to be accurate (at least as far as myself)--especially that we as horror-readers/consumers often find comfort in the old tropes and are not very demanding as to originality in stories or characters.

2. Using a young child as the surrogate through which we experience the horror of the possession made it scarier for me. Much more so than a parent or a priest.

3. Whether you ultimately enjoy or appreciate the story--there is no question that the author is very talented.


message 29: by Joel (new)

Joel  Werley | 60 comments @Chris

I am a third of the way through it, and I definitely agree with your first two points. Will get back to you on point three when I finish it!


message 30: by Caroline (new)

Caroline | 17 comments Chris wrote: "Finished this last week. A few non-spoiler comments...

Using a young child as the surrogate...made it scarier for me."


With regard to the child's POV, although I'm fairly sure Merry is a pretty unreliable narrator, I found it hilariously 8-year old behaviour when she refused to talk because she was in a snit and insisted on communicating in notes. Which she rehearsed with in advance.


message 31: by Chris (new)

Chris (chrismccaffrey) | 582 comments That's a part of the mystery. Is she unreliable with her own agenda, or is she telling the story as it happened, although with only the knowledge that she possesses. Are all the other members of the family lost to their psychosis or overwhelmed and she is the only one seeing and thinking clearly?


message 32: by Ami (new)

Ami | 204 comments I thought this was a well written book. It was good. But at the same time I was kind of disappointed. I can't really explain that here because it is too big of a spoiler... like, I can't even be vaguely explain because that is too much of a spoiler too. XD All I can really say, I think, is that I didn't like the things revealed during the exorcism...

But, again, Merry didn't seem reliable and there were a few times where it sounded like she was making something up. I don't know... at the end of the book... I was kind of wondering if everything she had said was made up and that the blog was bs, just to hide the real truth of what happened... but I can't tell if I am just wishful thinking that or if it really is there.


message 33: by Hectaizani (new)

Hectaizani | 165 comments I kinda dug the whole unreliable narrator thing. Is anything that Merry related the truth? Is all of it the truth? None of it? A fraction? Was it because she was trying to remember events that happened a lifetime ago? Or did she deliberately obfuscate and change the story up because the reality was too boring or scary or made her family look stupid?

I'm reminded of Montresor from Poe's The Cask of Amontillado where we only heard his side of the story and he was obviously conflating and exaggerating the events as justification for his actions.

Now, I don't know that Merry needs justification, or does she? I mean, if the events of the ending are related with accuracy (and not embellished) maybe her mind does crave justification.


message 34: by Joe (new)

Joe Piccoli | 176 comments I listened to this one before. Didn't care too much for it. I didn't like the narrator. I couldn't stand the teenage girl view point. It was like I was listening to Youtubers talking on line. The story had some scary elements but it was like a cheesy AMC ghost story with bad actors. Sorry.


message 35: by Joel (last edited Jan 06, 2018 11:54PM) (new)

Joel  Werley | 60 comments I'm two-thirds through, and I must say that I don't understand the complaints of a few here about the author's referencing of social media technology. It seems to me to be an accurate portrayal of the time period. An author being "specific" should be a compliment, not a criticism (and the "social media" stuff is hardly pervasive, confined mostly to the three blog chapters.) Also, saying that including contemporary technology in the story makes it dated is also strange. It would be like complaining The Shining is dated because Jack was using a typewriter.


message 36: by Don (new)

Don (runsforbooks) | 44 comments I didn't love this book. Was a bit disappointed actually because I had high hopes for it. I've listened to a few interviews with the author and he seems like a really good guy. Most of my complaints have already been echo'd here.

Did anyone else notice the obvious similarities with We Have Always Lived In The Castle (a book i did really like)? I won't say why for those who haven't read that yet, but I was quite shocked about it when this book ended. That was probably one of my favorite aspects of this book and why I wound up giving it 3 stars.


message 37: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (kimberly_3238) | 6086 comments Mod
Don wrote: "I didn't love this book. Was a bit disappointed actually because I had high hopes for it. I've listened to a few interviews with the author and he seems like a really good guy. Most of my complaint..."

I think you're the first person I've heard that thought of that, too! I read this one and (view spoiler) as a "re-read" not long before it. I found quite a bit in common with it, yet there were enough things that just didn't "flow" for me, personally, in this book. Not a horrible read, but not one I'd bother reading again.


message 38: by Chris (new)

Chris (chrismccaffrey) | 582 comments I found it interesting that the book basically commented on itself, but at the same time it pulled me out of the story and made me think "what is the author going for here?" Sort of like breaking the 4th wall in a play. It can work, but it is certainly risky.


message 39: by Chris (new)

Chris (chrismccaffrey) | 582 comments Very interesting comparison with We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

Has anyone read either of his other two books and if so what did you think?


message 40: by Joel (new)

Joel  Werley | 60 comments I am finished as well. I thought this was a good but not great read - a three-star novel. Am surprised that it was so praised, but also at some of the negative criticisms that I have been reading here. It tackled a more than well-worn sub-genre in a somewhat interesting way (the post-modernish reflection on the horror genre in general and also specifically exorcism stories helped,) and it told its story from a fresh point-of-view (having the younger sister be the point-of-view character for the bulk of the action was the novel's strongest point.) I wasn't impressed with (view spoiler) but it was redeemed with the (view spoiler)


message 41: by Vavita (last edited Jan 11, 2018 01:04AM) (new)

Vavita I read this book 2 years ago and gave it 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.
The reason I don't give the book 5 stars is because many scenes were copies/references to what we see in movies and read in books. There is a reason for that but it gave me the feeling I was actually reading a compilation of known stories instead of a whole new book.

I love unreliable narrators and this unreliable narrator is great because 1) is telling us a story that happened 15 years ago and 2) all this happened when this person was an eight-year-old kid.


Chris wrote: "Very interesting comparison with We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

Has anyone read either of his other two books and if so what did you think?"


Yes. Merry, the narrator, reminded me a lot of Merricat from We Have Always Lived in the Castle. You are in her head but you don't really know what is going on.

I spent the whole time thinking: "Is her sister really mentally ill? Is her sister possessed?" Not knowing where a book will take you is what makes a book great. Reading it was such a trip!


message 42: by Caroline (new)

Caroline | 17 comments Don wrote: "I didn't love this book. Was a bit disappointed actually because I had high hopes for it. I've listened to a few interviews with the author and he seems like a really good guy. Most of my complaint..."

Unfortunately I had read We Have Always Lived In the Castle just before starting this book, and yes, as soon as the character was introduced as Merry I wondered what that was about. In my (UK kindle) edition on Head Full Of Ghosts there are authors notes at the end which states that the allusions are intentional. The author implied that the title also applies to his own head full of the ghosts of horror pop culture. It kind of grated on me though, and spoilt the flow of the book.


message 43: by Summer (new)

Summer (paradisecity) | 17 comments I read this one a while back and wasn’t very impressed. The story was interesting but for one, I find it strange and creepy when authors bring real people into their fiction books. If you’re writing fiction, stick with fiction and draw your own characters. And I agree that it broke up the narrative flow. The idea was a good one, but I think it could have been executed better.

For two, the author didn’t seem (view spoiler). This book wasn’t as bad as I’d expected, but I don’t think I’ll be reading any more of the author’s work in the future.


message 44: by Rachel (last edited Jan 11, 2018 08:38AM) (new)

Rachel Bea (gekrepten) | 1760 comments Don wrote: "I didn't love this book. Was a bit disappointed actually because I had high hopes for it. I've listened to a few interviews with the author and he seems like a really good guy. Most of my complaint..."

I happened to have read this book basically immediately after I read We Have Always Lived in the Castle, so WHALitC was in the back of my mind during my read of AHFoG. I loved both books.

thinking back (view spoiler)


message 45: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Bea (gekrepten) | 1760 comments Chris wrote: "Finished this last week. A few non-spoiler comments:

1. I found it very interesting how this book basically comments on its own story/genre and I found much of the criticism to be accurate (at lea..."


great comments chris


message 46: by Red (new)

Red Lace Reviews (redlace) | 42 comments Okay-okay! I just finished. I completely agree with some points already made.

Joel wrote: "I'm two-thirds through, and I must say that I don't understand the complaints of a few here about the author's referencing of social media technology. It seems to me to be an accurate portrayal of ..."

Yes! I'm quite confused by these complaints as well. When your story takes place in a specific time period, you want it to be authentic, right? Social media and the likes play a huge part in our lives today, so to involve it only adds realism to the story. You could consider books written ten years ago to be dated to us, because technology was relied upon to a lesser extent. (And yes, social media is relied upon. People are obsessed by it and it basically rules their lives).

Hectaizani wrote: "I kinda dug the whole unreliable narrator thing. Is anything that Merry related the truth? Is all of it the truth? None of it? A fraction? Was it because she was trying to remember events that happ..."

I dug it too! In fact, I thought the book as a whole to be very thought provoking. Question everything was the mantra that went through my head. It even occurred to me that Merry herself might be mentally ill.

This is what I thought overall, and beware, there's major spoilers.

(view spoiler)

Anyway, I really enjoyed it, and my thoughts are still reeling.


message 47: by Maria Hill (new)

Maria Hill AKA MH Books (mariahilldublin) Anne (w/ an E) wrote: "I own a copy of this book and I do plan to read it, but right now I just haven't been in the mood to read anything. I took out Sleeping Beauties from the e-library but I think I'll ..."

LOL :)


message 48: by Maria Hill (new)

Maria Hill AKA MH Books (mariahilldublin) This one is on my list to start after I finish 'Salem's Lot' - I am reading several books at one as usual and have bitten off more than I can metaphorically chew. LOL


message 49: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (kimberly_3238) | 6086 comments Mod
Maria wrote: "This one is on my list to start after I finish 'Salem's Lot' - I am reading several books at one as usual and have bitten off more than I can metaphorically chew. LOL"

That's what I do every month! :D


message 50: by Denise (new)

Denise (drams5) | 98 comments Joel wrote: "Ten chapters into this so far. I thought it had an iffy start, but settles down once you hit the voice change in the fourth chapter with the introduction of the sisters and the beginning of the plo..."

Interesting... I liked the beginning better than the end, I think.


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