I was in Dublin not too long ago, in an independent book shop that someone had recommended to us, having the inner struggle I always have in book shops, where I want to buy everything and also I don’t want to spend my whole budget on books. I had already chosen a few books by Irish authors and decided that that’s enough, when I saw this gorgeous book cover on the shelf – Pine by Francine Toon. Reading the back cover told me that this is an eerie story set in a small village in the Scottish Highlands, surrounded by a pine forest. It took everything I had to step away from the shelf, telling myself that I have already gotten enough books and I wasn’t prepared to leave any of them, especially because I wanted to focus on Irish authors this time. Two days later I ended up at this book shop again and my will wasn’t strong enough, so I bought the book. And I am very happy I did.

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The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

I must admit, I don’t often buy books by authors I don’t know. Going to the book store is always a struggle anyway, so I have to prioritise in order to not give all my money away. And so, more often than not, I rely on knowing that I like the authors I like and that there is so much trash out there that I can’t trust that I’ll like something I’ve never heard of before. But every rule has its exceptions and sometimes I read a back cover that instantly wins me over and I can’t resist giving the book a shot. This happened on my last trip to the book store when I laid eyes on this book – The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.  Continue reading “The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle”

I’m thinking of ending things

I can’t remember the last time I read a book written by an author I’ve never heard of. With so many books being published every year and so many books that have been published in the past which I haven’t read, I can’t afford to pick a book at random. A couple of weeks ago though I stumbled upon a review of this freshly published novel – I’m thinking of ending things by  Iain Reid – and I couldn’t resist buying it. The title was the first thing that grabbed my attention. For me, it was obviously about suicide. It then becomes clear from the first couple of sentences of the book that it’s about breaking up. The nameless narrator of the book is driving in a car with her new boyfriend. They are on the way to meet his parents in their farm. All the while she is thinking of breaking up with him, but she isn’t sure yet and can’t bring herself to do it. They talk a bit, about philosophical questions and things that have happened to them in the past, but mostly, the book is made out of the woman’s thoughts and her memories. You experience everything from her perspective and very soon you start to notice that something is very wrong. It’s not one particular thing, even though the fact that someone has been calling her from her own number and leaving her strange messages  is the most obvious problem at first. But it’s not just that. It’s little things that you may notice or may miss, that, page after page, fill you with a sense of dread and unsettle you.  Continue reading “I’m thinking of ending things”

Zen in the Art of Writing

As I was lying on that beach in Greece, under the still hot September sun and being very exhausted and very anxious, which seemed like my natural state for the last couple of months, I decided I need some help to get away from my thoughts. Luckily, I had my Kindle with me. Clicking through its pages of content, I didn’t know what I was looking for, but I knew I wanted something that is going to inspire me and get me out of this hole and into a less bleak world. Perhaps one where I can finally enjoy these crystal sea waters and endless blue skies around me. In between pages and pages of Stephen King novels that had to be ignored for the time being, I stumbled upon Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing. Reading it managed not only to provide me with peace of mind, but it also gave me much needed forgotten advice about how to stop feeling so bad. Continue reading “Zen in the Art of Writing”

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

A lot of people have old photographs, hidden away somewhere in their homes – of their family, their friends, their childhood.  Well, the writer of this book does too. The difference is that his photographs are not of people he knows or anyone in his family knows. They are of strangers. He buys them at flea markets, which I never knew was a possibility that someone might be interested in until I saw this Youtube video a couple of years ago. Continue reading “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”

A Man without a Country

I love Kurt Vonnegut. It took me a while to understand what he is all about, because he is a bit peculiar, but now I love him. I remember the first time I read him, I got Cat’s Cradle for my birthday, but I read it wrong. I read it as a regular book, focusing on plot and because of that, I think, I missed a lot of the good of the book. Since then I’ve had more experience with his writing and have learned to appreciate Vonnegut’s thoughts and the way he says things Continue reading “A Man without a Country”

Oh, the places you’ll go!

I didn’t grow upIMG_10541 in an English speaking household. When I first heard the name Dr. Seuss, I was already an adult (legally I mean, mentally is an entirely different question). That’s why I don’t have any nostalgic feelings – or any feelings at all for that matter – about the children’s writer and his books. I just wasn’t interested in anything he had to say. That is until a couple of years ago when I watched the movie Fracture.

Continue reading “Oh, the places you’ll go!”