Category Archives: Reading

On Reading IT for the First Time

I’m finally reading Stephen King’s IT. Yes, aged 39, I have finally decided to dip my toe in Pennywise the Clown’s rancid world.

Although, it should be said that I no longer have one foot poised precariously over the swamp that is the town of Derry. I am now fully submerged, head and all.

Stephen King’s novels were not part of my childhood. I’m quite sad about that, especially when I hear people I love talking excitedly about his stories and how they built a foundation for their love of horror during their formative years.

I was more of a Jackie Collins’ kind of girl, getting all my sex ed from Hollywood Wives. As I developed a love affair with books, my tastes became much darker and I read a lot of Dean Koontz, Shaun Hutson (Slugs, anyone?) – Stephen King style writers, basically. But not actual Stephen King. Where’s the sense in that?

I watched a lot of his films though (including 80’s IT) and maybe there’s a clue there. Maybe watching was easier for me, so I didn’t feel the need to pick up the paperbacks. I’ve corrected that in adulthood but I’ve still only read a handful. It was running joke in our house for years that Glynn would always ask me, “Have you read Pet Cemetary/Thinner/Dark Tower?” and I’d be all, “You know I’ve only read Needful Things.” Now I’ve added Rose Madder, The Shining, Doctor Sleep and almost IT to the list.

(So far I think IT is the most powerful, though I loved The Shining too. Oooweee!)

Back to this story though. IT is the tale of a maniacal clown sure, one who can manifest himself into anything horrifying that frightens a person (there’s even a shark in the novel, who swims serenely up the river past a terrified secondary character). It’s about a rotten to the core town where things turn evil and twisted, every 25 years or so.

But at its heart it is also about friendship, grief, letting your freak flag fly, overcoming fear and bullies – about getting out of an awful situation and then going back because you made a pact when you were twelve.

It’s about hope for a better day, one without evil. Man, sound familiar?

Movie-Cast-2017

I wanna be in their gang

This is not a review. I haven’t finished the book yet, and I dread the day I do. I’m 800 pages in and there are nearly 1400. It’s a wild, detailed terror ride, for real. Like, who knew your own imagination could be churned into such a frenzy by a few words?

I’m beside myself for the new film adaptation and Pennywise but more importantly, I can’t wait to meet the kids. I’m getting major Stranger Things vibes from the trailers, not least because of Finn Wolfcastle’s involvement. And that can only be a very good thing.

I can’t wait to hang out with Ben, Stanley, Mike, Big Bill, Richie, Beverley and Eddie again, and I haven’t even left them yet.

So, please excuse me while I go back to my book and my new friends. Damn I wish I’d known them when I was a kid.

Remember the curfew 🤡🤡🤡

Winter Reading List 

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I failed miserably in my Summer Reading Challenge, unfortunately. I put it down to being too busy but I think we can safely say it was just a laziness issue.

I go through phases as a reader. I’m either reading everything in my path, or nothing at all. There’s no in between. But, as the light fades in the evenings and the temperature drops significantly, I’m lining up a list of reads to smash through.

Here’s a little peek at what I’m planning on reading beneath the covers:

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Synopsis: Many years after their divorce, Susan Morrow receives a strange gift from her ex-husband. A manuscript that tells the story of a terrible crime: an ambush on the highway, a secluded cabin in the woods; a thrilling chiller of death and corruption. How could such a harrowing story be told by the man she once loved? And why, after so long, has he sent her such a disturbing and personal message…? Originally published as Tony and Susan.

Thoughts: This is the book the film is based on. I picked it up in a 2 for 1 type deal in a supermarket. I’ve so far not got to see Tom Ford‘s adaptation but I hear it’s good and I still hope I get to catch it. I love a thriller and this seems to have quite a dark premise. High hopes.

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Synopsis: Jean Taylor’s life was blissfully ordinary. Nice house, nice husband. Glen was all she’d ever wanted: her Prince Charming. Until he became that man accused, that monster on the front page. Jean was married to a man everyone thought capable of unimaginable evil. But now Glen is dead and she’s alone for the first time, free to tell her story on her own terms. Jean Taylor is going to tell us what she knows…

Thoughts: Books like this are perfect Winter reads. They’re like tasty morsels of something that isn’t particularly ‘good’ for you but is so delicious you don’t give two fucks. I like mystery and expect this to deliver nicely. I am so over the lazy Gone Girl/The Girl on the Train comparisons though. Can we move on now? There are other great thrillers.

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Synopsis: When Chris Kraus, an unsuccessful artist pushing 40, spends an evening with a rogue academic named Dick, she falls madly and inexplicably in love, enlisting her husband in her haunted pursuit. Dick proposes a kind of game between them, but when he fails to answer their letters Chris continues alone, transforming an adolescent infatuation into a new form of philosophy.

Thoughts: I recently saw the pilot of the TV adaptation of this book, starring the gorgeously talented Kathryn Hahn and became quite smitten with Chris. Although it only gave me a snapshot of the story, I know it’s something I want more of. Then somebody I follow on Twitter started raving about the book and I grabbed a copy immediately. It’s so easy to persuade me to part with my cash. I’m looking forward to this, plus it’s got a LOL-worthy title/cover, which never hurts.

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Synopsis: In 2003, an independent film called The Roomstarring and written, produced, and directed by a mysteriously wealthy social misfit named Tommy Wiseau – made its disastrous debut in Los Angeles. Over a decade later, The Room is an international cult phenomenon, whose legions of fans attend screenings featuring costumes, audience rituals, merchandising and thousands of plastic spoons.

Thoughts: I’ve already started reading this and it’s so much fun. I’ve just been giggling all the way along. Of course you do have to have seen The Room to have context for all this craziness, and particularly Tommy’s unique brand. It’s great to get a companion piece for a film that makes zero sense and to get behind Tommy’s personal philosophy, and Greg Sestero (although I doubt he’s actually written much of the book) gives us interesting nuggets of Hollywood life, through his own experiences on movie sets and via flashbacks to the acting class in which he fatefully met ‘The Pirate’. Both the film and the book are a must-see/read for any shit film lover, there’s nothing else even remotely like it.

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Synopsis: When the Rooks family moves to the remote town of Litchfield, NH to escape a haunting trauma, they’re hopeful about starting over. But something evil is waiting for them in the woods just beyond town. Watching from the trees. Ancient…and hungry.

Thoughts: Ooooh sounds good, doesn’t it? And it’s a graphic novel. I picked this up on a whim while I was in a ‘witchy’ mood and I regret nothing. Ghost/horror is perfect for this time of the year.

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Synopsis: Before Carrie Brownstein became a music icon, she was a young girl growing up in the Pacific Northwest just as it was becoming the setting for one of the most important movements in rock history. Seeking a sense of home and identity, she would discover both while moving from spectator to creator in experiencing the power and mystery of a live performance.

Thoughts: I know Carrie mainly from Portlandia but she’s also a member of Sleater Kinney, once pegged as ‘America’s best rock band’. This appeals to my massive love of the Riot Grrrl movement, something I will always been interested in learning more about. So I’ll be reading this in my Docs and stripey shirt with a snarl on my face. In a good way.

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My Brilliant Friend – Book 1 (Neapolitan Novels)

Synopsis: A modern masterpiece from one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense and generous-hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila.  Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighbourhood, a city and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her two protagonists.

The Story of a New Name – Book 2 (Neapolitan Novels)

Synopsis: Elena and Lila are now in their twenties. While marriage appears to have imprisoned Lila, Elena continues her journey of self-discovery. The two young women share a complex and evolving bond that brings them close at times, and drives them apart at others. Each vacillates between hurtful disregard and profound love for the other. With this complicated and meticulously portrayed friendship at the centre of their emotional lives, the two girls mature into women.

Thoughts: I was gifted these by my lovely mother last Christmas and still haven’t gotten round to them, which is unforgivable. Another Twitter recommendation and a double whammy of literary goodness I’m looking forward to. There are four books in the Neapolitan Series and these are the first two. I just hope my heart can take them.

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You might be wondering why all the reads on this list are different to those in the Summer line up. Is it just me who carefully selects stories to suit the season?

What are you reading? ❤