I’ve been negligent on both my reading and my book-reporting, but I’ve got two to talk about here for a bit.
The first is Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. I was completely split on this book. While I really liked the idea, and I loved looking at the photos, I felt like the book just didn’t go far enough, nor was it… deep enough. Also I really didn’t like the ending. The story itself was fairly interesting, with just enough quirk and spook to keep me happy for most of it. I liked the characters although I felt like they were far too shallow; I didn’t get enough backstory for any of them. And as much as I loved the weird photographs, I felt like they were totally randomly stuck into the story. It felt like the story would be going along just fine, but then the author would realize that it was time for a photo to be inserted, so there would be this odd little detail or side-story which didn’t go anywhere. It was obvious and distracting (which is really too bad because I did enjoy the photos a lot). And the ending I felt was just a cop-out. I suppose it’s supposed to be some kind of cliffhanger, but it just felt… undone. Not complete. It’s disappointing because I loved the premise of this book, and the photographs are fascinating. Ultimately, it didn’t really work for me, which is too bad.
The second book is M.R. James’ Collected Ghost Stories. I didn’t read every story in the book, but the ones that I did read were quite good, and very satisfying in a classic ghost-story sense. More interesting to me was the introduction, which went into depth about James himself, and the history and “classical structure” of the ghost story. I really enjoyed that, and it really enriched my experience of reading the stories. The stories were genuinely creepy and atmospheric, short enough to read one or two before bed, and effective enough to make me need to read a chapter of something else before turning out the light!
Up next is Battle Royale, which I think still qualifies as RIP since it’s pretty horrific. Think Hunger Games, only the rated-R (for violence) version, set in Japan. Brutal. So far, I’m very much enjoying it.