2015 TBR Pile Challenge: Book 1 Read

I have always been the person that doesn’t like to be scared. I never watch scary movies, I don’t like ghost stories told over campfires and I will turn on all the lights if I see a funny shadow in the corner. I have an overactive imagination and I can’t be filling my head with all kinds of scary things.

Last year I started watching American Horror Story and found that I could totally handle it. But scary books I still stayed away from – books have a way of getting into your soul like TV shows and movies just can’t.

So that’s why Night Film was sitting on my shelf for over a year. I had asked for it for Christmas last year (having read about it on Lainey Gossip’s site)  but then every time I went to read it I was scared off by its size (it’s just over 590 pages) or its content matter.

But then the TBR Pile Challenge happened and I put it on the list. I finished it this weekend and it felt so good.

night film

In a nutshell, five years ago Scott McGrath was researching famous horror director Stanislas Cordova, a recluse for more than 30 years. He got a tip off that something untoward was happening and when he pursued it he basically lost everything. Five years later, Cordova’s daughter Ashley dies at 24. Her death is ruled a suicide, but Scott, knowing what he does about Cordova, suspects that there’s more to the story so he starts investigating. He ends up being assisted by a coat-check girl, Nora (one of the last people to see Ashley alive) and Hopper, a guy that knew Ashley casually when they were younger and winds up poking around the building where she died.

This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. You really feel like you are working on the case with Scott – pages of the book are laid out like websites and magazine articles, like you are discovering everything at the same time as Scott. The amount of detail that Marisha Pessl has put into this book is astounding. Cordova is a cult horror director whose films are so scary that they are barely even shown in theatres – they are underground. He has diehard fans that have set up an alternate internet to secretly discuss everything Cordova. Pessl has created an entire database of films and actors and backstories, entire movie plotlines and film signatures for the critics and fans to dissect.

I’m a reader that likes dialogue, who tends to get lost in sequences that are all action or descriptive. There’s an entire section of the book where Scott is lost, alone. Normally I end up skimming these kinds of pages. But Pessl had me completely enthrall to this book and I read every word, clutching the book between white knuckled fingers.

There is no other book like Night Film. It’s something completely original and incredible and I’m jealous if you still get to read it for the first time.

20 thoughts on “2015 TBR Pile Challenge: Book 1 Read

  1. I read Pessl’s Special Topics in Calamity Physics and LOVED it. Much like what you say about Night Film, she creates tension, intrigue and a completely unique setting and group of characters. I haven’t read Night Film because I am a total wimp about scary stuff, but because of your review and because of Pessl’s talent, I just might have to. -Tania

  2. Ooh this sounds interesting! Like you, I normally shy away from anything scary (I only agreed to watch Hitchcock’s The Birds on the condition that I didn’t have to wear my glasses …). I’ll have to keep this in mind for when I feel adventurous!

    • I’m chuckling at the visual of you watching The Birds without glasses. I actually have a phobia of birds. When I was in Portland recently I walked near a group of pigeons that a dachshund was scaring and they all flew at me and I screamed. So embarrassing.
      But read Night Film!

    • It was. I should really be more careful hyping things up in case other people don’t have the same reaction. But I thought it was just wonderful. It’s still haunting me. Peso is so great at creating atmosphere and visuals that really stick with you.

      • I always worry about that, too. Just because I really love something doesn’t mean everyone else should or will. But, I figure that if someone loved it, then I will probably at least like it, right?

  3. This is one that is casually on my TBR if that makes sense-but now you made me want to get it soon! I’m impressed you’re one book down the 2015 challenge! I am 2 pages into my first book.

    • I totally know what you mean. i have lots of those. And then when I go to cross them off the official list I’m always annoyed that they didn’t make it on. Crossing something off is so much more satisfying than adding it to the end only to cross it off.

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