Book Update

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.

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11 thoughts on “Book Update

  1. I enjoyed Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, but I agree that it didn’t go very deep. I’m a wimp and don’t like scary books (which I thought this one was), and so I was glad it wasn’t as scary as I expected!

  2. i feel the exact same way about peregrine. i loved the premise and i love the idea of finding old photographs and working them into a story but the book just felt sloppy, like it could have been so much more. at first i just chocked it up to the fact that it was a YA book and it could really only be SO scary, but i dont know. sometimes i wonder if it would have been better had the author gone all out and made it truly frightening. because some of the pictures were truly odd and creepy, almost grotesque.

    whatever the case, i just wish the author had ruminated on the whole thing just a wee bit longer. it could have been so much more.

  3. Too bad about Miss P. I’ve been tempted to read it but I think now I will skip it. The M.R. James intro sounds awesome. James read Battle Royale several years ago and really liked it. Enjoy!

    • It’s worth a flip through for the photos, but you could skip reading it. I’m enjoying Battle Royale; it’s not what I usually read and I’m finding it kind of interesting (and gruesome)

  4. I haven’t bought Miss P yet, I’ve been hesitant for the very things you’ve mentioned, so thank you!! I might borrow it from the library to look at the photos.

    I have MR James book on my nightstand, since last year when I read some for RIP! Not that I’ve read any this year from it. It is a good collection though, isn’t it? I learned about the structure of the ghost story too from the introduction. If you don’t have it yet, I really recommend the Years Best Horror and Dark Fantasy by Paula Guran. I’ve read several stories in the 2010 edition, and they were very good horror stories.

    I’m glad you’re able to read, it’s a good feeling, isn’t it?

    • It’s definitely worth getting from the library to flip through, and I didn’t even really mind reading it, but don’t put it ahead of other books you’ve been dying to read. I really liked the ghost story collection! I’ll check out your recommendation, too!

      Reading is great — it was a scary few weeks when I couldn’t read at all…

  5. I loved Miss Peregrine. Felt like it was just what it needed to be. I didn’t need it to end all “sequel is coming” but still liked it quite a bit. I’ve only read a few MR James stories but they’ve all been good, I need to actually pick up a collection for myself and keep it on hand.

    Hope the rest of your October has been good. Can’t believe it is almost over.

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