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52 Books in 2013—Update 02

January 31, 2013

It’s still early in the year, but I can already see that this challenge has made a big difference, as I hoped it would. Life can be so busy. It’s surprisingly easy to forget how thoroughly wonderful a good book can be. Sometimes you have to force yourself to remember.

Here’s my second set of updates.

4. The Third Floor by C. Dennis MooreThe Third Floor by C. Dennis Moore

My review of this book is probably colored by the fact that just before I read it, I read The Mourning House (which I discussed in my previous post about my 2013 book challenge). I really enjoyed The Mourning House, and this one just didn’t compare. That said, The Third Floor isn’t a bad ghost story. In fact, the ending is pretty interesting and gave me some great inspiration. But it could have been a lot stronger. For example, while Liz and Joey were interesting and sympathetic, the character of Jack was exactly the opposite. In many ghost stories, one family member refuses to accept the evidence right before his or her eyes until the very last moment—usually the adult male. It’s just too overdone, and the more the story progressed, the less I liked Jack. He seemed like more of a problem than a character. Very flat. And secondly, the writing style didn’t work for me. It felt like another victim of “tell, don’t show,” which really doesn’t work for a horror novel. I couldn’t get emotionally involved in the story, at least, not until the end. I would like to point out, though, that it’s gotten a number of five star reviews, so in this case, I think it’s really just down to a matter of opinion. And props to the author for friending me on Goodreads when he saw I was reading his book. I felt bad about giving it only three stars, but I had to be honest. But it’s good to see an author reach out like that.

5. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley JacksonWhat a delightfully strange book! Not what I was expecting at all. It’s very dark, but in a unique way. It’s more a character study than anything else. It’s about two sisters and their uncle living isolated in a large manor at the edge of a village thanks to a scandal that made them unwelcome in town. It’s about relationships: the two sisters, the townsfolk, the family members who perished… I still don’t quite know what I think about it, except that I’m pretty sure I enjoyed it. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys horror, though it’s a very unique sort of horror.

6. Just After Sunset by Stephen KingJust After Sunset

Stephen King is one of those authors who is not consistent. Some of his books are very powerful. Some just fall flat. This collection of short stories is a testament to his amazing skill. When he’s on, he’s on, and in this book, he’s on. I actually almost let this one pass because his previous short story collections never really resonated with me. But this was worth it. More than worth it—this was inspiring. It made me both write short stories and discouraged that I could never write like him. But not that I’ll let that stop me. I picked up the book for the story The Gingerbread Girl, which was fantastic, but I think my favorite would have to be Mute, which is something of a surprise, since it’s actually a quite simple story.

Link to first update: https://writingatmidnight.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/52-books-in-2013-update-01/

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4 Comments
  1. Oh gosh, I loved Just After Sunset. I read it right after I had discovered King, which was surprisingly not that long ago after I read The Dome. After that, it’s been nothing but love for King. ❤

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