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Skinny Dipping Into Books

I like the rain. I want to have a spring bookworming rain party full out with wellies—but not those Hunter Boots; absolutely not—, with yummy airy things like puffed pastries, meringues, mini fluffy cheese cakes, mousse dessert, macaroon, biscuits, crepe, and Earl Grey tea, definitely Earl Grey tea.  and Tillandsia. We'd have lots of "air plants". Lots! And We'd read, but not anything structured. We'd bring books, trade books, read out-loud, pass books around between sentences and paragraphs. We'd leave with books we hadn't discovered.


I like books like I like my Jazz; euphoric, dangerous, occasionally a bit manic, sorrowful, bleak, raging, mood-incongruent, mournful, unforgivingly ragged, symbolic in a quiet way, warm apple pie for the soul. Give me a Plath style. Yōko Ogawa, M. Roach,

Criteria: Not rated on likability of characters. Not objective. I like Moxie Soda; chances are you don't.

time spent in that before bed reading slot:

5-until blurry eye 4-Later than I intended, but I still kept to my extended, extended reading time 3-I really should have been to bed an hour ago  2-customary 30 minutes. 1-book. side table. eyes closed.

How are common themes handled?

5-With an aesthetic that repurposes everyday themes into something fresh. Think of Hole Celebrity Skin covered by Cat Power  4-there is a comfortable air of familiarly.
3-Deja Vu 2. No deviation from its mates  1. Devastatingly trite, redundant, and stale.

Where would you keep it post-reading?

5-Next to my bed.  4-it's the center piece of my favorite bookshelf 3. On my other favorite bookshelf, but it's a bit dusty over their 2-Great cheap bookends 1-It never made it out of the box marked 'moving'.

Emotional response-

5- Where is my teddy bear? Emotional-hangover 4- If I wasn't so emotionally stunted I'd cry.
3. Did James Cameron co-wrote this? Artfully contrived. 
2- calculative emotional manipulation. This was literally written by James Cameron.1- I…feel…..nothing.

Mechanics (plot structure, voice, presentation, word choice, sentence structure, characters, writing style, pacing, and consistency):

5-Chanel 4-Prada 3-J-Crew 2-Gap 1-Old Navy

Currently reading

The Complete Stories
Flannery O'Connor
I am No One You Know
Joyce Carol Oates
Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls
Alissa Nutting, Alissa Nutting
Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone: A Novel - Stefan Kiesbye

Ladybird, ladybird fly away home, Your house is on fire and your children are gone, All except one, And her name is Ann, And she hid under the baking pan. (english Nursery rhyme. c. 1744)






ok the cover, everyone has said that it was the cover that attracted them..... at first. Then it was this "Shirley Jackson meets The X-Files in this riveting novel of supernatural horror". Well sorry to disappoint, but these two elements are not central, nor is the book influenced (to a high degree) by either X-files or Jackson; IMO.



Plot stuff:


Five friends are visiting their place of origin (a place many regret returning to, and others regret staying in) to pay their last "respects" to Anke. Respect being that very subjective and individual thing. For instance Linde’s squatting, hiking her skirt, and urinating all over the grave. And so sets the scene for this dark, relatively twisted, and funny (in a Christopher Walken sorta way).


I felt detached while reading this book, but not in a 'this book is dull, uneventful, or otherwise boring' sorta way. more in the feeling like i was viewing this book as a third party, from an aerial view; not quite helicopter, but more like low flying bird; in this case a raven. This gave me more of an opportunity to observe patterns of behaviors, styles of interaction, trends, the systematic effects behaviors and their wider consequences. There is also spirituality, religion, ritualistic behavior, superstition.



“For the first one death, for the second starvation, for the third one bread”—that old proverb described the colonization of the Devil’s Moor, but our bread remained as hard and gray and sour as our soil."



There were others, about drinking, stealing, deaths, etc.... all old. all ingrained in the lives of those living in this small town. All valued and followed strictly by each person. I associated this to the "old world", perhaps a small town in Russia, were modern views have crept into the lives of its inhabitants.


there were also traditions. Small town traditions. those things which pull a community together, and help us disassociate from our past, our present, and the things we do to marginalize, hurt, and disenfranchise. Such as Hemmersmoor.



"Hemmersmoor had three categories: best stew, best roast, and best Butterkuchen, the buttery, sugar- sprinkled sheet cake our baker, Meier, was famous for and that he sold for funerals and weddings alike. Meier always won the contest, uncontested that is, because who would dare go up against him?"



Because of the bird's eye view, I also missed the individual, specific, and smaller ideas of the book. This, i thought was grand. I was totally ambushed by the ending. When i was younger, perhaps seven or eight, my friends and i played elaborate games—some of which, startling as it may seem, were closely aligned to the ones explored in this book—; you never knew if your safety was at risk. it wasn't really like that here. It was more of a boo from a stranger as you walked down an empty or dark alleyway; scared shitless, and maybe you piss yourself a little (i mean your life could be at risk here) but he is mostly just a drunk college student. When Alex dares a friend to attempt a plunge in the ice covered lake, I was gritting my teeth. And When he came up, and they dared him again, I was done, clutching the side of my bed with my right hand; shaken, shocked, and feeling a bit dirty. In fact, this book isn't really horror in the traditional sense. it has more of the feeling of when you were young and you thought monsters were under your bed. Not terrifying, but on a pure "how can people do these terrible things, with such ambivalence, and with an absence of regret"






Christian, Martin, Linde, alex and Anke all explore their childhood, through their own morals and virtues (or deficits in each). Each character maintains one of the seven deadly sins, or at least some version of each:


Martin (Envy) Christian (Wrath) Linde (Sloth) Anke (Greed) alex (Pride)


Sorta, kinda.... in a 'I just searched wiki to make these connections'. There are probably more appropriate modern adjectives able to describe the dysfunction and motivation of each. With each chapter we are confronted with a portion of each characters childhood. We are pulled apart by their individual desires and actions, as well as the culture that fed and bear witness to them. No one is innocent here and no one escapes unscathed. Each is a product of their childhood, regardless of how forcefully they push against the laws of nurture.


"I think the thumb print on the throat of many people is childhood trauma that goes unprocessed and unrecognized." Tom Hooper


One can only fathom the thump print on those witnessing... "In the fall of Helga Vierksen's death, I was seven years old. She and her five children were clubbed to death in our village square, and their remains - what was left of them - were buried in a small lot in the cemetery outside the village."


...as a child


Chapters told in turn by different narratives have become hugely accepted in the last, id say five years. Many fail authors fail to realize two things when brutalizing this approach:


1. the pulse of the book dances, trembles, and fades out quickly, as if there isn't enough grounding the novel, or enough to anchor the novel.


2. it's often used by novices. This tactic is used in over abundance, and it's crystal clear when this is the case.


HOWEVER, this approach is highly successful here, in this lovely little book. It adds to the detachment—a devoid in the readers emotional response—, avoids the ever growing urge for writers to play a part in 'shock porn' fad, fabricates a wonderful unsettled atmosphere—shocking, but because you are so detached emotionally as the reader, you begin to accept memories and common, rather than unbelievable—, and using a non-linear approach manages to tie simple stories together into a complex yet easily digestible portrayal of Hemmersmoor, Germany.