Saturday, June 17, 2017

Book or Movie?: The Haunting of Hill House

This week I listened to The Haunting of Hill House on audiobook. I also watched The Haunting from both 1963 and 1999. Which one is better?

There is not one answer to that question.  So I will go through the things I liked about each one.





 Image result for the haunting of hill house

The book has a really distinct narrative voice for Eleanor. It is a close 3rd person narrative voice. You are not in her head, but someone who is in her head is telling us about it. That is a strength of the book. The 3rd person point of view keeps us wondering if Eleanor is insane or haunted. If we were just in her head, there would not be the tension that we get. Also the close 3rd person keeps us wondering if the others have the same haunting experience in the house. So we are again in the tension of sanity or haunting. There are also many scenes outside in the book. So we get an idea that the land itself and not simply the house is the problem. In the beginning, we here about Eleanor's experience with the rocks falling on her house and we wonder about her causing the poltergeist activity. However, this thought is not developed much. That was disappointing. The introduction of Mrs. Montague and Arthur seemed pointless to me. The movies did a good job of making the wife relevant. The ending is a bit anti-climactic. The ending is less horror movie and more a question of sanity or haunting. So it makes sense considering the focus of the previous parts of the book.

Image result for the haunting 1963

The 1963 movie starts out in Eleanor's head. So we get a glimpse of that, but it does not continue, which disappointed me. The beginning also shows us Eleanor fighting with her sister and what that relationship looks like. Luke is a member of the family in this version, which is closer to the book and I like that. Luke is rather spoiled and snotty in this version, which I didn't get in the book. The professor's wife is annoying just like in the book, but not for the same reasons. However, her change of opinion towards the ideas of haunting is really effective for the movie. I like this ending. It is not a big dramatic supernatural ending,which is closer to the book. However, the ending does not leave us wondering about Eleanor's sanity or haunting. The doctor is more academic and nicer, which is also closer to the book. There are no scenes exploring outside like they do in the book, which was disappointing. This movie does begin by showing us what happened to Hugh Crain's wife,which is the same story as the book. This one also has Eleanor dancing with Hugh Crain's statue like the book. So even though the ending is different and there are a few different motivations for some characters, it stays close to the book.
Image result for the haunting 1999
 The 1999 movie is almost never in Eleanor's head and is pretty far from the book. However, this is the one I saw as a teen when it first came out and it is still near and dear to my heart. This one is much more about the haunting. There are some indications of Eleanor's instability. However those are more about the others not believing what the audience knows to be true. Luke is not a member of the family that owns the house. The study in the house is not about the paranormal. It is supposedly about insomnia and the people don't know that it is really about group fear. This adds a layer of heartlessness to the doctor that was not in the book. This version also misses the mark in the exchange between Eleanor and the gardener at the beginning. It does get the crazy hallways part right. In the book, we hear about the disorienting angles and the crazy hallways. In the beginning when Eleanor first arrives and is looking for Mrs. Dudley, she wanders through a darkish crooked hallway. That was a great introduction to the house. The research assistants weren't in the book and didn't add anything to the movie. I understand what they were trying to do with those 2 characters, but I didn't think that was needed. In the book, Eleanor makes a big deal out of having a blue room. That is not the case in the movie. The change was made, so the room is more menacing. Again, I get why they did it, but I didn't love the decision. Instead of Eleanor wandering around the house at night, the house begins to attack her. It is much more dramatic and horror movie-esque. The story as to why the house is attacking her and why she is fighting it is taken from a small part of the book and greatly expanded. It makes for an interesting story and is a lot of fun to watch. However, it is far from the feel and direction that the book gives us.

So the 1999 movie is the best horror story. The 1963 movie follows the book with a more satisfying ending. The book is less horror and more tension between losing your mind without knowing it or an outside unseen force acting on you. They all have their high points and low points. I think you should check them all out.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Summer Reading

So everyone out there is preparing for summer and summer reading, beach reads. Something light and breezy. I have started making my summer reading list. I don't think I want light and breezy. I think I want something a bit heavier. Something classical and a bit challenging. I haven't read any of that in a while.

So my top 3 reads are in no particular order.

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

All Quiet on the Western Front (The novel about World War I.)

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West (The story of what the Native Americans experienced.)

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

The Metamorphosis (A man turns into an insect and then what does his life look like?)

Maybe these also: (These will be my lighter reads in the middle of my dark heavy reads.)

Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak

Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her

Mark for Blood by Nick Thacker

Mark for Blood (Mason Dixon Thrillers #1)

I certainly have plenty of lighter fare on my Kindle and on my physical shelves, but I think I'm going to read something challenging and heavier. It's good to stretch my reading muscles every so often. Summer seems to be a good time to do that.

What are you reading this summer?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

I May Have A Problem

So I have a bit of an addiction.... to books. If I go into the library or a bookstore, I have a VERY hard time not getting one for me. One is a problem for my wallet and one is a problem for my watch. This week I did so good! We went the library 3 times, once for books, once for the book Lily swore she didn't want from trip 1, and for story time. I did not get books the first two times. I turned in a library book last Friday and went almost a whole week without getting a new one. It was pretty revolutionary to my reading schedule. I don't have to read to get it done "on time." I actually own the books on my bookshelf and therefore can take as long as I want to actually read them.

Crazy talk, right?

So I took 2 or 3 days each to read the Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine books I found at my new favorite place in town, The Book Exchange, It was a great trip down memory lane to read some 90's YA. Other benefits of reading from my own shelves, less stress because there is no timetable, getting more books from the TBA shelf to the Read shelf, and making good use of the money I spend on books.

So I felt really good about myself.

Then I went to the library today. I didn't go the adult shelves. I was doing so well. I sat down in a chair by the kids play area and computers. I watch the kids play, then I turned my head to the Juvenile shelf. I was reading titles. I wasn't planning on getting a book. I just wanted to know what titles were there. And then I saw a book from my TBR list.

The League of Seven by Alan Gratz
It is in the Juvenile section, so it will be an easy read, so that should mean it is quick. And even though I started another book from my shelves and I really like it. I can fit this one in too, right? So of course I checked it out. And it is as good as I have heard!

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
Then again, I got this one because of all the good things I had heard about it and I couldn't get my kids books at the book fair and not get me something. And it is as good as I have heard. So here I am reading 2 books, one from the library and one from my shelves. And I haven't even added the second on my GoodReads currently reading list yet. I have 2 books that I'm reading so slowly that it basically doesn't count. So I don't want to admit that I have 5 books going at the same time. But I kind of do.

I think I may have a problem.

What's a book nerd to do?

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Lily's Favorites

This week I thought I would turn my blog over to Lily. I considered letting her type this all out, but her typing skills aren't great. (I mean, she is only 3.) So I will just tell you what her favorite books are.

We go to the library about once a week. She picks out something generally with a character she likes. I then search though and try to find books that will teach her something about the world. It is always a shot in the dark though. Some are amazing, some are good, and some are okay. Every so often I get lucky and we find a great book that Lily loves. These are those books:

Nanette's Baguette by Mo Willems

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Panda Pants by Jacqueline Davies
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Lily can read these two to herself because she has heard them so often she has memorized them.

If You Ever Want To Bring a Piano to the Beach, Don't by Elise Parsley
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I heard about this one from the Professional Book Nerds.

Tomas and the Library Lady by Pat Mora
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I was surprised that she liked this one, but it is an inspirational true story for kids. Plus I got to share some Spanish with her.

Dear Yeti by James Kwan
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We like to read this one with her stuffed Yeti.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Book Review: Relics 3 by Nick Thacker

I have previously reviewed Relics 1 and Relics 2, so getting to book 3 was the wrap up for these characters. I wanted to know what happened to these people and the system. Unfortunately, I have been so busy I could not just sit down and read without interruption. That was a bit frustrating. So be aware that you will want to start and not stop until your done.

Relics: Three (Relics Singularity Series Book 3)Relics: Three by Nick Thacker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The one negative I have is that the books came out a bit spaced apart and made it difficult for me to accurately remember all the characters. However, each character did have a unique voice and I mostly remembered their back story from previous books. For you the new reader, the solution is simple, get all 3 books at one time and read them all together.

Now the stuff I liked about the book, the ending. Seriously the last line of the book is one of my favorite ever. It ranks up there with the last line of 1984 and the last lines of A Farewell to Arms. You need to read the entire series just to get to the last line and let it hit you like a semi-truck. Oh my gosh that ending!!!

I liked that there was action without being over the top. I liked that there was some character development. I liked that the System was shown to be flawed and beatable. It was not this hulking unstoppable thing that magically got beaten. It had a flaw that was exploited by those who would know and see it. Not everyone would see it, but those who know saw it and exploited it. It didn't end with massive explosions or crazy things. It quietly ended and therefore the last line had a humongous impact.

So pick up book 1 today, read it all together, and wallow around in the genius of the last line


View all my reviews


Did I mention that ending?! I'm so in love.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Am I Passing On A Love of Reading?

I have been trying to take books off our shelves to read to the kids almost every night since the beginning of the year. Lily and I are slowly reading through Heidi. She seems to enjoy it. I had been reading a book with Ben. It seemed like a great book to read with boys, but I haven't enjoyed it. It is dense and the tone is darker than I want to read with Ben. But I kept slogging through.

Monday I listened to a podcast. The idea of being formed by the stories you read and being able to share these things with your kids resonated deep inside me. I know the power of story deep inside me, but I'm not sure I'm sharing that with kids up to the standard in my head.

Sally mentioned the book A Wrinkle in Time and how much it meant to her. That book is on our shelves and I fell in love with it in 7th grade. So I made the decision to abandon the book that was dense and dark for a book that is imaginative and hopeful. I told Ben that I wanted to pick another book because that one had too many facts and not enough story. He went along with it and didn't seem to have much of an opinion.

A Wrinkle in Time
We started reading it last night. He curled up beside me and put his head on my arm as I read. He has asked me about the characters to get them straight. He is excited to meet Mrs. Whatsit. He is also talking about new drawing projects. I don't know that the book inspired that, but it is encouraging. Maybe I'm doing pretty okay after all.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Cozy Mysteries

I am obsessed with cozy mysteries. In case you don't know, this is a definition of cozy mysteries from Wikipedia.

"Cozy mysteries, also referred to as "cozies", are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community. The term was first coined in the late 20th century when various writers produced work in an attempt to re-create the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.[1]"

"Cozy mystery" Wikipedia

My Grandma Ann raised me on Murder, She Wrote. I am still in love with Jessica Fletcher. Lily and I watch Jessica Fletcher often as well. (Until it went off of Netflix.) Then I discovered that there are Murder, She Wrote books. In a bargain section, I came across Death of the Chimney Sweep by M.C. Beaton. From here I learned about cozy mysteries. I love the mystery part and the lack of violence and sex in the stories. There are times when I have read too many of them and the tropes of the genre get on my nerves. I move away from them for a couple books and then I'm ready for more. Thankfully there are no shortage of cozies to enjoy. So I'll share with you some of the series I enjoy besides Murder, She Wrote and M.C. Beaton.

The Tea Shop Mysteries by Laura Childs

Charleston, South Carolina is becoming a favorite setting and Theodosia is teaching me, so much about tea.








My current Tea Shop Mystery


Coffeehouse Mystery Series by Cleo Coyle
New York City makes for an interesting group of characters and again I'm learning. This time about coffee.












Josie Prescott Antiques by Jane C. Cleland
The setting of New Hampshire provides some great mind pictures from the descriptions she gives. I also love hearing how Josie runs her business and tells us about antiques.












The following I have only read one in the series, but I liked the one.

Key West Food Critic by Lucy Burdette

Key West and Food? Need I say more?













The Lighthouse Library Mystery Series by Eva Gates

The Outer Banks, a library, and books? Yes please!












Tradd Street by Karen White
Charleston and some ghosts. That's an interesting twist













A few more that I have read and didn't talk about above: Being a Jane Austen Mystery by Stephanie Barron, Irene Seligman by Paula Paul, Chief Inspector Gamache by Louise Penny, Java Jive by Caroline Fardig