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.


What Should I Read?

If you’re a book lover than I know you have the same problem as me: buying more books when there are still loads of unread books sitting on the shelves.

In an effort to get some of those read sooner rather than later, I need some peer pressure, which is where you come in.

I would like for you to choose one of the books I read before the end of the year. The end of the year probably sounds like a massive amount of time to get this reading in but actually we’re already well into October and November will be here before you know it and then the holidays will hit and I’m not heading to any cozy, log house for the holidays this year. That’s where I get my best reading done!

Without further ado, here are some of the books languishing on my shelves. Which should I read? Vote at the bottom!

Charles Dickens: A Life by Claire Tomalin. I’ve read about his children and I’ve read some of his work and I really want to read this bio but I haven’t yet. I’ve also just found out that Tomalin wrote a biography of Jane Austen which is something I’m going to be looking into!

Carry on Jeeves by PG Wodehouse. I read a Jeeves omnibus last year and it was looooong. Which is probably why this little volume has been flying under the radar but I do love a good Jeeves story or two.

A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship and Survival in World War Two by Caroline Moorehead. I realized the other day how long I have been holding onto this one – Moorehead just had another book published about a village in France. I think I shy away from this one every time because I think it will be a difficult read but maybe it’s time has come?

Night Film by Marisha Pessl. When I first got this book (for Christmas) I was so excited to read it. And then every time I went to go and do just that, I would flip through it and think that maybe it was too scary for me. But Halloween is coming up…

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. I know that reading this book will kill my book stats but since there is very little hope of beating my insane 2013 reading total of 115, maybe now’s the time to take the hit?



I’m in Book Buying Rehab

You know how, in the past, I have imposed book bans on myself in an attempt to stop spending so much money in bookstores and read the books I already own?

Yesterday my other half put me on a book buying ban.

To be fair, in recent weeks my book habit has completely spiraled out of control. I can barely function on a day where I don’t go and throw down some money for my next hit. And it’s not like I have more time to read the ones that I already have. I just can’t stop. There are so many great books out there right now! These poor books were probably so excited to come home with me, looking forward to the moment when I jumped into their stories, eagerly anticipating the chance to share their magic with me.

And what did I do? I pushed them aside in favour of another book that caught my eye. A book that I felt was more important than the others, in that moment.

On my kitchen table there are at least 10 books that I’ve brought home with me in the last two weeks or so. Those are the books that I haven’t even shelved yet. That’s in addition to the stack of 5 on my bedside table and all the others that continue to sit on my bookshelves unloved and unread.

On my birthday, we went to the bookstore (obviously) and I came out with: The Count of Monte Cristo, which is my friend’s favourite book and I’ve always meant to read it; Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight because it mentioned Gone Girl on the cover and if something says it’s like Gone Girl, game over, you’re mine; Hide and Seek by Ian Rankin because this is the second Inspector Rebus book and it was the first time I’d seen it.

Then I got a gift certificate to the bookstore from a friend for my birthday (who knows and loves me so well) and I can’t hold onto that for any period of time so back I went. That time I was good. I only picked up Eva Stachniak’s Empress of the Night because I was going to see her at an event at the library that week; and Frog Music by Emma Donoghue because I took this quiz on Buzzfeed which told me that this was the book I was meant to read this spring.book pile

I don’t even remember when I picked up Caitlin Moran’s How to be a Woman but it’s been on my list for forever so I’m glad I could read it tomorrow if I wanted to. I’d been waiting for Paris: A Novel by Edward Rutherfurd to show up in paperback and when it did: mine. We’d talked about my frustration at discovering that Jo Nesbo’s The Snowman should have followed The Redeemer, not The Devil’s Star but I hadn’t managed to find it. Until a few days ago.

Then two nights ago we were in Costco and you know what happens there. Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl (look at me reading more YA fiction!) and The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell were in my hands before I even realized it. I almost brought home Jimmy Carter’s A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power but I knew I was already pushing my luck.

And all of those are in addition to the books I already had to read at home. Night Film, Claire Tomlin’s Charles Dickens biography, a biography of Princess Louise, War and Peace, Charlotte Bronte’s Shirley and A Winter’s Tale are all still sitting at home waiting for me.

Did I mention that I got my sister to lend me The Bone Season?

I’m out of control. I need some book rehab.