Welcome back, cats and kittens!
Today I’m sharing some of the books I’ve read recently that you might enjoy,
but you don’t have to take my word for it…
The Three & Day Four by Sarah Lotz
I’m kicking off with a double feature by Sarah Lotz who I had not heard of until Stephen King tweeted about Day Four a few weeks ago.
Sidenote: if you are looking for great book recommendations I highly suggest following King on Twitter. You have to endure some of his nonsensical tweets, but the book suggestions are ace.
Start with The Three which opens on four separate plane crashes that happen simultaneously. The only survivors are three children. How did they survive? Are they mutants? OR SOMETHING MORE SINISTER? Day Four picks up a year later on a cruise ship that descends into chaos when the engines inexplicably stop running. The ensuing riot of all the ugliness humanity can be would give Lord of the Flies a run for its money. It’s not a sequel to The Three per se, but they do compliment each other. Both of these books genuinely creeped me out, and I’ve read a lot of horror novels, so I enjoy when an author can give me the heebie jeebies. Also, when are kids NOT scary?
Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny by Holly Madison
Yes, I might be allergic to reality TV, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE a trashy tell-all. Since I have the internet and am a person who reads stuff, I had seen all the articles leading up to the release of this book, “Holly Madison Tells What the Playboy Mansion was REALLY Like”, “Old Guy Sex, Eww”, “Kendra Puts Holly on Blast: We Are SO Not Friends”…so naturally I couldn’t wait to read it. The day it was released I’m ashamed to say I devoured it like it was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Verdict: Holly came off a bit naïve (of course), but a little TOO much so. When you say things like, and I’m paraphrasing, that she moved into the mansion because she thought it would help her acting career and how shockingly oblivious she was to the lifestyle and stigma it would bring, I’m pretty skeptical.
Overall, I was pretty disappointed with it mostly because I like my tell-alls to at least acknowledge their mistakes graciously. There’s none of that here. If you want to read a great tell-all about the sex industry that doesn’t skirt the issues that bring women to it, I would read Jenna Jameson’s book, “How to Make Love Like a Porn Star”. It came out a while ago before she got far too much plastic surgery and had a volatile relationship with her babies’ daddy. However, it’s well written with a lot of insight into the industry and why she started.
The Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick
The story of the whaling ship out of Nantucket that was attacked and sunk by a sperm whale at sea was the inspiration for Herman Melville’s, Moby Dick. This book is chock full of Nantucket, sailing, and whale hunting history. The sailors were lost at sea for a number of weeks on small boats with dwindling food and supplies. The depths they sink to in order to survive are incredibly chilling. I might come off as an incredible nerd for liking this book, but it’s good and please don’t shove me in my locker again. Ok, fine, here’s my lunch money.
The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker
When I was little I was not allowed to watch scary movies (for obvious reasons), but I had a friend who rode the bus to school with me every day who somehow knew the plot to all the horror movies. All of them. I think he had an older brother or something who would let him watch scary movies when their parents were out. Or just bored babysitters, who knows? I would climb on the bus and he’d immediately tell me the plot to The Howling or Halloween. I’m positive Hellraiser was one of the movies he told me about. Then I think I wandered into the Horror section of the video store and saw Pinhead in all his glory on the cover of the tape. I think years later I watched the movie on cable and wasn’t impressed.
So, a few weeks ago when I was searching for new things to read I came upon The Scarlet Gospels and thought, why not? I have so many thoughts about this book. So. Many. Let’s bullet point them shall we?
-The descriptions of the gory things Pinhead does are some of the most graphic details I’ve read in a book ever. I was eating dinner while reading one night and had to put my food down to continue. That hasn’t happened since I watched The Human Centipede.
-I don’t have much backstory on the characters since I just kind of plopped into the story at the end, but they were so roughly drawn I don’t think it really matters. Detective guy, gay guy who you don’t think is gay cause he’s a tattoo artist but surprise, old blind lady who knows the spirits and sees dead people, badass chick who every one just kid of treats as asexual cause she can take care of herself, and another gay guy who hits on everyone.
-They use the little hellbox thing to travel to hell as Pinhead is basically going on a demon killing spree. How is he killing demons? Isn’t the whole point that they are immortal? I thought that was the whole point. All I know is he was using origami birds and I thought, paper cuts do really hurt, sooo…ok?
-So the Scooby Gang basically jacks shit up and wreck hell. Pinhead does his fair share of wrecking shit after essentially having a supernatural UFC fight with the devil (here described as what I could only conjure up as a spitting image of Matthew Mcconaughey).
-Then the gang scoots of hell like they just broke a jar of salsa in the grocery aisle and don’t want anyone to know it was them.
Final verdict: Um, if you must.
The Wind-Up Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
Sometimes a writer creates a world, gives it to you, and says, “Take this and believe this world and its rules.” The world could be that the earth is going to hell in a hand basket and we are sending people back in time to live in the Jurassic era to save humanity. This will work out well, we promise. Some people will say ooooh, YES, I absolutely accept this world you have created. Others will say, I do not…it sounds dangerous (sit DOWN, Ian Malcolm).
I am about halfway through The Wind-Up Girl and I have no fucking clue what’s going on. None. The story itself about androids, some kind of climate change disaster which has wrecked agriculture, genetically modified food, elephant type animals they use for labor, etc, is good. I just have no clue what this world looks like that he’s trying to build. It feels like being in Geometry class where you have no idea what the hypotenuse is, but the shapes are fun to draw! However, I’m one of those weirdos who accepts the world you give me (and totally liked Terra Nova) so I’m going to muddle through and hope it all comes together at some point.
Rooms by Lauren Oliver
I finished this yesterday and still have to sit with it a bit. It illustrates how we are haunted by so many ghosts in our lives, real and imaginary. How people never truly leave even when they pass away and the secrets we all keep, until we don’t anymore. The story was a quick read with chapters from each of the characters’ perspectives. It stayed with me not because it was scary, but because it’s real.
Ali in Wonderland by Ali Wentworth
You may only know her as the wife of George Stephanopolous. I know her as the chick from In Living Color. I always try to read as many books by funny women as possible to fight the tide of “women aren’t funny” BS that sometimes crops up in this world. It gives me ammunition when someone brings it up in conversation and I can rattle off numerous books, TV shows, and movies written by women I consider to be comedic geniuses. Ali’s memoir is great and gives me inspiration to keep writing and being funny whenever and wherever I can.