The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins | Blabber

The Library at Mount CharThe Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
Fantasy/Horror
388 pages
Hardback
Read Oct 1 – Oct 12
Spoiler-free blabber

This book is a bit unlike anything I’ve ever read before. The closest I can think of is 14 by Peter Clines, but even then, it’s more. I buddy-read this book with Katy @TheBibliobibuliOnBookbinderWay and we both really liked it.

The book opens on the main character, Carolyn, walking down the side of a highway, coated in blood. While the scene itself ends up not being super duper significant in the overall plot, it definitely sets the tone. It feels weird and unsettling and when a good samaritan pulls over to ask if she’s okay, my brain went ‘Nope leave her there’ immediately, already on alert that she was not someone you wanted to be around.

From there, the plot starts to slowly unfold – Carolyn and her ‘siblings’ are being blocked from entering their dwelling, the mysterious library, and their Father has disappeared. The library and what exactly Father is largely remains a mystery until the end of the book, and it creates a feel of uncertainty as you read. Too, the catalogues that each of the siblings studies as librarians are a bit outside the norm of what a normal library would hold.

All of this, together with the intense writing and out-there plot developments makes this book a very gritty, dark read. This isn’t a book you’d want to let your ten year old into, as it contains scenes of violence against children. I won’t go into what, for spoilers, but reading those scenes was difficult for me. The book is written in a way that doesn’t glorify the events, and they are relevant to the plot. But just so you know, they’re in there. So head’s up.

I think one of my favorite things about this book was the author’s ability to make me say ‘what the hell’ after the end of almost every chapter. The events of the book, as stated, are a bit out there. Things happen that are so bizarre and it takes a bit to get used to, but they’re bizarre in a consistent manner. There’s an order to how weird everything is, and I think that’s what made me love this book. I’m ok with suspending my disbelief if the author can paint a picture and make it all-encompassing, and that’s what Scott Hawkins does.

Character-wise, I didn’t like any of them except Dresden and Erwin. But when I say I didn’t like them, I don’t mean they were badly written. I mean they’re well written, but just awful people. Don’t go into this expecting to root for people, they’ll all leave a foul taste in your mouth. It kept me reading – watching these characters be who they were, and part of me hoped they all would just fail at everything. So not hate-reading, but reading while hating the characters as people, not as single-dimensional tropes. See the difference? I loved this book.

Finally, the ending of a book is make or break for me. I could absolutely adore the first 5/6ths of a book but if the ending is shit, the book will drop a star rating, sometimes two. But the ending of this, while just as totally insane as the rest of the book, was a solid ending in my opinion. I didn’t like the outcome of a lot of the characters, but it also fit really well with how Carolyn and the others were colored to act. It wasn’t outside their normal range of behavior. So while I wasn’t overly fond of how some seemed to just get away with awful deeds and others paid dearly for minor ones, it still fit the story.

So. Loved this book. Can definitely see me rereading it. Going on favorites list.

5/5 stars

Spookathon TBR

Spookathon

Hello, today I want to talk about the books I plan on reading for Spookathon! Spookathon is a readathon that takes place between October 15th and October 21st. You can find the host announcement videos here and the twitter account here!

The whole point, as the title indicates, is to read spooky books. There are also a few challenges you can try to accomplish as well. They are:

  1. Read a thriller
  2. Read a book with purple on the cover
  3. Read a book not set in the current time period
  4. Read a book with a spooky word in the title
  5. Read a book with pictures

Considering I and many other people likely won’t be able to read five books in a week, you can double up on challenges and fulfill multiple with one book.

These are the books I plan on reading:

https://i.imgur.com/gDmi2lb.jpg

Monster volumes 1-4 by Naoki Urasawa – These manga will fulfill ‘Read a thriller’, ‘Read a book with pictures’ and volume four will fulfill ‘Read a book with purple on the cover’. I’ve owned these for forever and actually read them about a decade ago. But, I’ve forgotten everything about them, aside from it’s a serial killer psychological thriller. So I’m hoping it’s wonderful.

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice – This book fulfills ‘Read a book with a spooky word in the title’ and ‘Read a book not set in the current time period’. Again, I’ve had this for forever and read part of it back in high school. From what I remember, I liked it. Hopefully I still will.


And that’s it! Are you participating? Let me know! Happy reading!

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski | Blabber

House of LeavesHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
709 pages
Paperback
Horror
Read Jan 5 – June 26, 2018
(Minor) Spoilery Blabber

This book turned into a matter of ego for me.

I had built it up in my head for so long beforehand that when I finally did get to it and ended up having difficulty with it, I decided that I couldn’t abandon it. I had to finish it – my brain wouldn’t let me not.

Commence me taking six months to read this book.

I want to begin with, I didn’t hate this book. There were aspects about it that I really liked. The entire concept, for instance: the found-footage-esque story style about a family who moves into a house that is much, much bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. It’s disturbing, unsettling, and made for some good creepypasta material. In fact, the whole books tries to give you that impression – that originally this manuscript was ‘found in bits and pieces’ across the internet with some die-hard cult fans and was brought together to make this book, along with foot notes and editors’ notes and all sorts of things in it. As a concept, this is an awesome book.

However, in practice, this book was meandering, slow-moving, and full of information that I ended up skimming over or skipping altogether. The main ‘book’ in the book is The Navidson Record, which contains description of all the videos that Navidson – the man who moved into the house with his family – took while he was there and was exploring within the confines of his home, along with foot notes, interviews with professors and researches who had come across this mysterious Navidson record on the internet, and references to the huge-ass appendix at the back that contains photos and poems and documentation and all sort of stuff. I feel like if this book would have just been this, I would have liked it more, honestly.

Wrapped around this book is another set of writing by a man who found this book hidden at his neighbor’s house after he had passed away. This layer shows what amounts to our main character roving through the book and adding appendixes, and notes and leaving comments – the font is different for this character, so it’s obvious when you’re reading his writing and when you’re reading The Navidson Record.

I hated this perspective so much. I found it so boring and pointless. When it would come to a four-page long footnote this guy would leave, after reading the first two hundred pages and finding nothing particularly interesting in them during that time, I had started skimming, keeping my eye out for creepy words. Because occasionally creepy things did happen to this guy, but they were few and far between and honestly I didn’t care about who he was sleeping with, because he talked about that a lot.

And on top of that, there’s another level of writing, one done by the mysterious editors who put together the book, after our main character had finished his writing and the manuscript, now full of dumb stuff in my opinion, was found again. This part I was indifferent to. There wasn’t really any value added, aside from… editing, which was nice. You could tell there’d be spelling corrections and reference corrections throughout the book. At least they didn’t rave and rant about stuff for pages on end.

So overall, I didn’t like just the amount of ‘stuff’ included in this book. At first, for probably the first two hundred and fifty pages, I read every word – every page, every footnote, every appendix reference, every editor note – everything. I kept thinking there would be something hidden in the jumble that would be important later in the book, that it all meant something. And as I progressed, and as I got more and more irritated with the passages by our lovely main character, I kinda stopped. There are only so many foot notes of 100-name lists of authors of a book referenced in The Navidson Record you can read before starting to think it’s getting a bit repetitive.

And low and behold, I finished the book, and none of it mattered. Nothing was referenced, nothing tied in.

Now, the occasional meandering plot I can deal with if there is an end goal and all the things you meander to come to fruition. But don’t tell me about what you’re having for breakfast and what you think of your new fling’s butt tattoo for three damned pages if it’s not relevant to the book. Because hey, main character again, oversharing. It got to the point where it was a struggle to read, that I found myself actually irritated when sections like that came around.

I understand why the meandering was there – it was showing the slow decline of the men’s psyche – both Navidson’s and our main character’s. (whose name I honestly forgot and don’t care to look up. That’s how much of an impact he had on me). The crazier sounding the passages got, the more unsettled you were supposed to feel reading the book. Keywords: Supposed to.

I did get that unsettling feeling from The Navidson Record itself, but this layer thrown on top of it would completely kill it every time it became the focus again, so this book was… engulfing kinda.

That being said, there were passages in this book both in the Navidson Record and the layer above it that did cause a bit of frisson. The writing, when it wanted to be, was amazing. It gave shivers and actually had me feeling a bit paranoid in my own house. It was really cool that while being irritated at the character passage, something could happen and suddenly I was staring at my doorway to my living room like it was going to widen into a gaping maw and suck me in.

Hence, I didn’t hate this book. Aspects I love did exist. I did mention that.

Unfortunately, while the Navidson Record was full of those, the finder’s layer above it only had a few of those passages, not nearly enough to make up for the utter slag it was. When I finished the book, I was in the living room with my husband – I slammed the book shut, held it up in the air and just yelled, you know, the one you let out after a  frustrating situation you’ve been in for some time has finally passed. It was such a satisfying feeling, finishing the book, after struggling with it so much. I’m glad I didn’t dnf it, because looking back on it now I appreciate The Navidson Record contained within it even more than I did while actually reading it.

That section of the book is truly a work of art. I loved it.

And then it was covered in a slimy layer of footnotes by our main guy, Mr. Butt Tattoo.

If you’ve been thinking about reading this book, you should give it a go. It’s honestly, at its main core, a good book. Just know you’ll have a bit of trudging to do. I personally will never read it again, but I know parts of it will be in my memory for years. The level of creepy that this book made me feel at times was amazing.

2.75/5 stars

Top 5 Wednesday: Halloween Recommendations

I’m so excited for this topic. Halloween is a fun holiday, though I really don’t do much for it aside from read books, haha. Someone invite me to a Halloween party, dammit.

T5W was created by Lainey, and here is the list of posters if you’d like to join.

Here are my top Halloween Recommendations:

5. Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

Horrorstör

This book showed up a lot last year during Halloween and for good reason. This is a pretty funny horror story. This book is set in an Ikea knockoff store and it reads like a catalog. It starts off with simple things like chairs and tables and stuff, but as the main story progresses, the advertisements slowly turn into more gruesome and creepy devices. The story itself is pretty entertaining, though not exactly 100% original. It’s like watching a typical horror movie in a book, but with the entertaining twist that I mentioned. Overall, it’s totally worth a read if you’re looking for something creepy and something fast.

4. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

FrankensteinI hope that this one will be on a lot of lists today. It’s a classic!

Frankenstein is one of those books I was forced to read in high school and ended up loving. If you haven’t read it yet and are looking to get into classics, why not start here? It’s good timing.

3. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

The Monstrumologist (The Monstrumologist, #1)This book man. This book. Rick Yancey. Have you read is 5th Wave book? Did you notice how he has a bit of difficulty writing romance? Well, that problem only deals with romance. With horror, he. is. in. his. element. I dreamed about the monsters in this book for days after finishing it. It was so gritty and dark. It had me fearing they were gonna jump out of the shadows of my closet. Reading this book was an experience, and I highly recommend it.

It follows the apprentice of a mad scientist, a Monstrumologist, as they investigate and capture monsters that I couldn’t even dream up in my worst nightmare. Buh. I’m uneasy just thinking about it.

2. Lord Loss by Darren Shan

Lord Loss (The Demonata, #1)I read this book a long while ago, so I don’t remember too much about it other than the completely consuming feeling of horror and disgust I felt while reading it. I think I’m going to try to re-read it soon This is the first book in the Demonata series and from what I’ve heard, the rest are just as good.

This book is fantastic. It has demons and werewolves and chess. Chess. Chess is scary in here. It’s awesome.

1. Diabolo by Kei Kusunoki

Diabolo: Volume 1

This manga is definitely my top pick. It’s about two boys who sell their souls to the devil in exchange for someone’s life. And then they think all is fine and dandy. It’s a soul right? They don’t need it while they’re alive. But then things start to get weird. Maybe you do need your soul.

This series is unnerving, creepy and riveting. I loved reading this. It gave me goosebumps. This series is only three volumes long, so you could easily get through the whole thing in a couple hours. Highly, highly recommend it.

Have you read any of these? Do you have any recs for me based on these? :”D Please and thank you, happy reading!