The Book Pile – 28/08/2020

Horror at its finest

Last time I wrote about books, I said that I had my next 3 reads picked out. Like always that changed quickly. I did read, as planned, Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin, which I absolutely loved. It is one of those books that you start and can’t put down. It’s so tense. I didn’t know the story which helps. I was figuring it out along with Rosemary. One of the best horror books I’ve read in a long time. Rosemary and Guy have moved into a nice new apartment, the one they have always dreamed off. Everything is perfect, especially the overly friendly neighbours. Their friend Hutch gave them a warning before they moved in, and depsite ignoring that, Rosemary soon starts to notice that things aren’t what they seem. The tension builds slowly through the story, developing at what at first feels like a snail’s pace and then picks up at the end, just as it’s already too late. The best thing is thinking back over what has happened, every little event is there for a reason and it’s all adding to the reveal. At some point, I plan on re-reading the book and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it just as much knowing what was going to happen and seeing all of the little hints throughout.

After finishing Rosemary’s Baby, I was craving more. Tabby had The Stepford Wives on our shelf, also by Ira Levin. I thought that it might scratch the itch. The Stepford Wives, doesn’t need explaining, even if you’ve never heard of the book, or films, then I’m sure you’ve heard the term before. I didn’t really know the story beyond the obvious and even that’s too much. It’s pretty much what I expected. The tension is there and it’s definitely a page-turner. Not as good as Rosemary’s Baby but at 140ish pages, it’s well worth a read. Again tension builds over the course of the story and similar to Rosemary’s Baby, the perfect neighbourhood is hiding a secret. I read it in one day, pretty much in one sitting. With payday this week, it’s very tempting to buy the rest of Ira Levin’s books, especially Son of Rosemary. I might be a little too tempted. Not that our shelves can hold the weight.

After reading those two books, I wanted more of the same. Horror/thriller. I know I mentioned last time that I had a plan of which books I was going to read, but that was thrown out of the window. I went up to my too read shelf and pulled out The Dead Zone by Stephen King. King is one of my favourite writers. Everything I’ve read by him is seriously good. He has a grasp of character that most writers would envy. I watched the film adaptation of The Dead Zone a while ago, purely because Martin Sheen was in it. I really loved the film and it ranks very highly in my personal favourites and is definitely my favourite King adaptation. The book was no let down. It’s quite a long story, following Johnny Smith a seemingly normal teacher who had an accident as a child and again as an adult. Both accidents seem to bring forth an ability of premonition and Johnny has to choose how he can use that ability for good. The first half of the book is really just a tale of loss and recovery. After a car crash, Johnny loses 5 years of his life and is trying to get his life back on track and deal with the loss of time and his true love who has moved on to someone else. Like most of Stephen King’s books, I could have just read that story and didn’t need the supernatural element to drive the plot. The characters all feel so real that nothing beyond them needs to matter. They are so real that everything that happens in the later half of the book have higher stakes and matter so much more. Overall I really liked this book. I still think that IT is my favourite Stephen King book, but this comes in my top 3.

Finishing The Dead Zone, left me wanting more of Stephen King. I picked up Night Shift, a collection of early short stories by King. A real mixed bag here. The opening story, Jerusalem’s Lot, which is connected to Salem’s lot is disappointing to say the least. God knows why it was chosen to to start the collection. Graveyard shift, the second story, is the highlight so far. Mutant Rats, and a growing sense of claustraphobia. The Boogeyman and trucks are also pretty good. The Lawnmower Man is very strange. I haven’t read many short stories before, even though we were told to, during the first year of uni. I’m enjoying this one so far. Taking a break between each story and doing something else. Letting each story sit with me for a little while. I’ve got a collection of Lovecraft stories upstairs, which may jump up a few places on my too read list.

After I’ve finished with Night Shift, I have Midnight Sun to read. Tabby has finished it, and now it’s my turn. It’s been a decade or more since I read the Twilight books, and I’m interested to go back. I remember enjoying them and I am looking forward to revisiting the story from anoter perspective. After Midnight Sun, I’m going to finish Darren Shan’s latest book and then see what takes my fancy.

Thanks for reading and until next time,

Ashley

About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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