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SkinnyDippingIntoBooks

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

Brilliant Gothic Novel. Little stunted on pacing and storyline

The Sleep Room - Frank Tallis

NET galley WIN

3.5 averaged

Our main fellow, James is hired quite abruptly as the primary doctor of a mental health facility that includes a male and female inpatient department, and the Sleep Room. The sleeping permits for long exposure of sleep (obviously!), along with frequent use of ECT, and LARGE quantities of medication. Strange things abound, both in treatment plans as well in ghostly manifestations. There are an assortment of characters, including a staunchly head nurse, a few lovers, an assortment of psychiatrists, and a few caretakers.

This book settles itself on the old notion of "if I exit this room will it still exist?" and "What if a dream is reality and reality is just a dream"—concepts you gathered from your sociology 101 course before you ran with the masses to psychology. It is the combination of Shutter Island, Inception, a splash of Momento, and highlights of Being John Malkovich. Together the story lines pull this way and that like silly putty, never finding common ground, or at least to a point that is cohesive; this works, though. These elements are tethered together with the voices of Shirley Jackson, Hitchcock, and Blatty.

The writing is like peanut butter; slow, and sometimes over-embellished and tortured. To a large extent this more dated approach to writing is contagious, lending to an almost dream like perception of the events.
Taste, olfactory, and tactile senses are triggered, and at times realistically manifested in an eerie quality and transporting you between the pages. Watch out people, the hair on the back of your neck takes a salute, and bumps in the night, that's a ghost.

Some examples of this extremely delicious writing:

"Flocks of birds rose up from the grazing marsh, creating living whirlpools that unravelled in a southerly direction, the trailblazers peeling off shadowy pennants of concentrated activity".

"I did not recognize the sound at first. It arrived as nothing more than a subtle incursion"

"The close transit of a moth would threaten my integrity"

"The flat monochrome of the world would swell into three dimensions and colour would gradually bleed back into its surfaces."

The novel provides a remarkable escape back into an era where the slip of a knife and wrist into a shower, with remarkably silly music, was enough to permit strong feelings of panic and distress—do you know that this scene still scares people, and in many psychological settings it is broached as a major fear among a large pool of individual? Well you do now! The Sleep Room regards novels like Carrie and the House On Haunted Hill with high esteem. This combination of a new take on an old style is leisurely, building up, and then receding to the background. At times the writing focuses on events from a vantage point much akin to a macro photo, and at other times it drifts far away from the foreground and lies still in the shadows. A doorknob will shake, or a phantom will appear. This mix of small events to larger ones is intriguing and very scary stuff indeed. This achieves a nice balance against the more shock like horror/ghost stories that have swept across bookshelves, pushing away the delicate, and often scarier and more successful approaches to this genre.

" I felt the mattress sag, as it might if someone had just sat down on the edge of the bed. The springs groaned and the sheet tilted downwards. I wanted to scream. I wanted to open my mouth and scream so loudly that Harley, someone, anyone, would come to my rescue; however, when i tried, i experienced the disconnection between intention and action so typical of nightmares. I produced a tremulous, asthmatic wheeze […]."

"I felt spidery fingers repositioning my hair with exquisite gentleness, a touch that was light and insubstantial as a puff of air.  Then, a hand landed on my own. For a few moments, it stayed there, the fleshy palm pressing against my knuckles […] the mattress springs produced an ascending scale of indeterminate pitches and the sheet beneath me became level again"

One complaint is that sometimes the author paints such events with such a ‘translucent oil on water technique' that the full potential of such wondrous writing is lost amongst the background of social interactions and love affairs; which were (the love stuff) borrrrrringgg.


The writing is sometimes sloth like, with a prolonged focused on a particular event. The writing is successful 90 percent of the time, and when it is, it is really some brilliant stuff, but there are moments were the writing is drowned by forced exaggerated prose… like…

"The human animal thinks along pathways prescribed by habit, and i had exhibited predictable conformity in this respect, by attributing all of the supernatural phenomena…." and on and on and on.

Patients' referrals were injected throughout the book, in a way that stiffened the writing. It is troubling that these letters were, for the most part, unnecessary since our main character explored them firsthand at one point in the novel. The last letter used as concluding remarks, strangled the clear, but somehow also vague windup and resolution of the ending. We did not need something so concrete and apparent, and this was something the author seemed to struggle with throughout, but not to the large extent furnished upon the ending.

Illustrating a mastery of an older style/tone, the author presents a novel that secures its place within the iridescent and frightening spaces pioneered by Jackson, or even fancied by Joyce Carol Oates—in a totally different way, obviously, but still in that creepy, human nature sort of way… yeah, something like that. Often slender, brisk elements of surprise and unearthly phenomena form a chilling mood—ok, ok there were points that getting up to pee at 2am were met with some restraint, originating from the confines of my easily malleable mind. An all-star considering the wide range of same-old-same-old seen in Gothic literature, and an exquisite mastery of a style of writing reminiscent of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow/The House On Haunted Hill, this novel is a success regardless of mishaps in plot and pacing.