Monday, 16 November 2015

Quickie Reviews


The Haunting of Hill House was my Halloween read this year, even though I didn’t read much of it on the actual day. Something I love about books from this sort of period is the amount of booze consumed in a casual sort of way. Worried the house is evil? Never mind, have a brandy! It seemed there was a time where a drink solved everything. Or maybe it just helps to distract you from the ghosts…

It’s not a very scary book though. The only time I got a bit creeped out was because I was reading on the bus and then had to walk down the road in the dark and fog on quite a cold evening. The haunting manifests itself in cold spots in the book, so clearly it managed to latch on to one bit of my brain.

I did enjoy it though, more as a period piece about an odd group of people staying in an isolated house. There was a point where I did start to wonder if it were all in Eleanor’s mind; which is scarier, ghosts that can’t harm you or being terrified by your own mind?

I wanted to read You’re Never Weird on the Internet on the basis that I quite like Felicia’s tweets rather than being a huge fan of her work. However you’ll be glad to know the book is worth reading on its own merit. There’s plenty of the kind of material you’d expect in a memoir, told in a friendly and amusing voice, but more importantly it gives a little slice of recent history: one girl’s experience of growing up alongside the internet and video games.

Felicia’s just a couple of years older than me, so whilst I wasn’t on the same sites as her, it’s still a time I can recognise. Remember the sound of dial-up signalling a connection to the outside world? A home-schooled, somewhat weird child, Felicia found a world she could belong to online. The book follows her life through to the point she starts The Guild. The final chapter touches a little on #GamerGate and it’s rather saddening to think that a world that was once so welcoming to Felicia, has become threatening in places.


Sometimes I like to dip in the fluffier end of chick-lit for a light read now and then. So when I saw that Step Back in Time also had time travel, it went straight on my wishlist. When Jo-Jo is hit by a car crossing a zebra crossing on Kings Road, she wakes up in 1963. She’s still her but she has another life back in the past, and weirdly Harry and Ellie, from her present, are there too. Then it happens again and again, with Jo-Jo time-hopping through the decades.

If you don’t think too closely about the logic of it all, it’s a fun read. It did suffer a bit from over-explaining the references to music and culture. And Jo-Jo is forever referring to the year 2013 like we might have forgotten she’s time travelling. There’s a lot of Beatles references going on, I’m not sure if it would be more enjoyable or just irritating if you’re a big fan of the band. Overall it relies a lot on the music to define each decade she lives in, I’d have liked a bit more variety in the nostalgia.

I’m not sure what else I can say about Saga that I haven’t mentioned before. I recently read volume five which didn’t disappoint. If you’re looking to get into comics and want a diverse space opera with snark and emotion (and don’t mind a bit of illustrated sex or nudity), get yourself volume one right now.

Book Sources: Bought / Gifted

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