Saturday, April 5, 2014

Do you taste words?

I'm reading one book in Word, one on Kindle, one on Kobo, one pdf file, and one real physical book at the moment. They're all enjoyable, but I must admit, physical books have something the others lack, and it's not just paper and ink. Maybe it's something to do with using more than one sense at a time--not just the eyes engaged. Epages turn at the click of a button or mouse, or flick of a finger. But real paper requires that essential moment longer, flesh touching the slightly roughened surface, air blown on the face and carrying scents, eyes moving to the changing light, and the flutter of paper stirring against my ears. Do I taste the words? I'm not sure. But real books transport me without making my back ache (a distinct disadvantage to Word) and without that smooth false feeling of plastic in my hands.

They tell writers to work on sensual detail in bringing scenes to life. So maybe a part of me wants some real-world detail as I read. That said, I shall still continue to eschew the feel of paper and pen when I compose my tales. I type, with much clatter, on a hard plastic keyboard since, whatever secrets may hide in my writing's (illegible) scrawl, it would take me forever to dig them out.

I read three whole real genuine physical books last weekend, and loved them all. So I'll start today's book reviews with them and offer three more virtual reads afterward. Go put the coffee on, and pick your pages from these:

Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs--how can anyone resist such a peculiar title?  And this 3-tales-in-one novel  is every bit as good as its promise. There's a wonderful grandfather with secrets hidden in his peculiar stories, a wary teen in search of his family's past, and a fantasy world every bit as convincing as Hogwarts crossed with the Book Thief. Plus pictures! Enjoy this rich elegant mix with a 4-star elegant rich cup of coffee. I shall eagerly await the release of book two in paperback!

Sharp Objects, by Gillian Flynn, while likewise anchored in a protagonist's childhood horror, is a much darker novel for adults. By turns gruesome, scary, haunting and sad, it depicts a dark side of all-too-real modern-day experience, set against the search, by police and a fairly new reporter, for a serial murderer. There are lots of sharp surprises, cruel cuts, and haunting memories, but there's a strong thread of hope and healing too. Bold and dark, drink some bold, dark 5-star coffee while you read.

David Freed's Voodoo Ridge has some of the same darkness, in a place that ought to be light. Protagonist Cordell Logan, in his third mystery adventure, is about to get married, and, in spite of everything, the reader can't help believing it might really work. Okay, he's hard-boiled, cynical, and serious; she's gorgeous, rich and flighty. But they almost made it work before. And why should one more mystery be a problem? Great dialog, a wonderful sense of humor, truly scary action, and honest depth make this a literary feast of a mystery, best enjoyed with some rich elegant complex 4-star coffee.

Moving on to recently e-read books, Phantom and Demon, by Laura Deluca start with a high-school production of Phantom of the Opera, followed by a college performance of the Demon Barber. The first book's love triangle morphs nicely into a darker, scarier sort of tangle in the second. And the low-key Wiccan spirituality of the first becomes more sharply defined. Wise lessons in not jumping to conclusions combine with romance, as life imitates art. The plots are pleasingly tortuous if not always entirely believable, and you'll want some bold dark 5-star coffee for occasional bold dark scenes as these mysteries unfold.

Finally, heading into even darker realms, An Agreement with Hell, by Dru Pagliassotti is a truly haunting, thought-provoking and scary horror story, blending the usual "don't-go-there" teen action with some serious theological discussions and fascinating imagination. In a world of alternate universes, the path between good and evil takes many forms, and a Walker navigates with care. Meanwhile a magickian and a former priest are drawn into battle, where angels and demons just might be on the same side. Definitely dark, you'll want some seriously dark 5-star coffee to go with this.



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