Night Film by Marisha Pessl

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… Because every one of us has four box, a dark chamber stowing the thing that lanced our heart. It contains what you do everything for, strive for, would everything around you. And if it were opened, would anything be set free? No. For the impenetrable prison with the impossible lock is you own head.

The decision to read Night Film came as a whim while I was scrolling through my list in my e-reader. One chapter in an I have convinced myself I can only read this during daytime.

On a damp October night, 24-year-old Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror film director Stanislaus Cordova–a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.

For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence. Though much has been written about Cordova’s dark and unsettling films, very little is known about the man himself.

Driven by revenge, curiosity, and a need for the truth, McGrath, with the aid of two strangers, is drawn deeper and deeper into Cordova’s eerie, hypnotic world. The last time he got close to exposing the director, McGrath lost his marriage and his career. This time he might lose even more. (Goodreads)

Ashley Cordova’s death sent McGrath into an investigation frenzy. He believes there’s more to Ashley’s alleged suicide and he wanted to get to the bottom of it. He wanted to know the truth.

This is my first Pessl novel and I didn’t expect to enjoy it, but I did. I get scared easily so reading this at 3 in the morning while I nurse my daughter was not (I guess I should say never) an option. I think the main reason I was fearful throughout this reading experience was I went in to Night Film blind. I thought, based on the cover, it’ll be about films shown at night, and their audience. I was SO wrong. However, I powered through it and as much as it frightened me, I kept pressing for the next page.

I was not too thrilled of how it dragged on. I was constantly wondering if I was getting close to the end, closer to the truth. Ultimately though, I felt the novel was a buildup to an ok ending. It didn’t give me that feeling of contempt, and relief I was hoping for. If anything, I’m left confused between versions of truths presented to me on the days I read Night Film.

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Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

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Was he my home, then, my homecoming? You are my homecoming. When I’m with you and we’re well together, there is nothing more I want. You make me like who I am, who I become when you’re with me, Oliver. If there is any truth in the world, it lies when I’m with you, and if I find the courage to speak my truth to you one day, remind me to light a candle in thanksgiving at every altar in Rome.

p. 49

 
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Please be advised that this post contains spoilers. Feel free to read the book or watch the movie first before reading this post. Otherwise, keep on reading. 🙂

I first found out of Call Me By Your Name during the 90th Academy Awards which aired last March. I didn’t think anything of it at first until it won James Ivory an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Call Me By Your Name is about the affair an adolescent boy had with his parents’ guest over the summer. Throughout the book, we follow Elio and Oliver: two individuals who develop a relationship which will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

I think Aciman wrote beautifully. I got heartbroken, excited, and at times felt an awkwardness I wouldn’t want to experience in real life. The adaptation, also of the same title, is a good visual representation of the book despite having to fit what was necessary in a 2-hour long movie. My only gripe would be that Call Me By Your Name relied heavily on Elio’s side of the story. We see how he was upon meeting Oliver. We find out the things he enjoys doing; his “place” where he do most of his reading. We also find out having house guests every summer is a regular occurrence in addition to having their house open for friends and family to join them over for supper. We feel what Elio feels. We see everything Elio sees. It would’ve been nice to get a bit of Oliver’s perspective on that summer.

Would I read it again? Yes. Yes, I would.

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Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Title: Then She Was Gone
Author: Lisa Jewell
Published / Release Date: July 27, 2017
Publisher: Century
Genre: Mystery, Fiction
My Rating: 3/5

A missing daughter. A devastated mother. A charming mystery man. A shocking finale you won’t see coming.

— Goodreads

fullsizeoutput_1a80I’m going to try to give you a brief summary of Jewell’s novel without revealing too much.

Ten years after Laura’s youngest daughter Ellie disappeared, she has come to terms with the fact that she ran away. After all, that’s what all the evidence points to. However upon meeting a “charming mystery man”, she has come to realize there is something more about Ellie’s disappearance than she was lead to believe.

I would say Jewell’s Then She Was Gone is every parent’s nightmare. No parent expects their child/children to disappear for no reason. However, Ellie did and it placed a dent in their family: between her mom and dad, and between her mom and her siblings.

The story is surprisingly easy to follow which, in my opinion, made the plot twist predictable. My prediction might not have been 100% accurate but it was close. It didn’t ruin the story for me although I would’ve preferred that I wasn’t able to figure a bit of it out.

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The Marvelous Adventures of Gwendolyn Gray by B.A. Williamson

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Title: The Marvelous Adventures of Gwendolyn Gray
Author: B.A. Williamson
Published / Release Date: May 15, 2018
Publisher: North Star Edition / Jolly Fish Press
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure, Young Adult
My Rating: 3/5

Gwendolyn Gray is no ordinary child. She faces something everyday which is a bit difficult for a child her age living in a grey and dull city to do: control her imagination. However, when her imagination finally comes alive, she catches the attention of two men who will do everything to restore order in The City by erasing those who threatens it.

themarvelousadventuresofgwendolyngrayI wanted to love this book. The Marvelous Adventures of Gwendolyn Gray is one where the main character is a child who has an incredibly vivid imagination which she used to save her world from being consumed by mediocrity and gray-ness (if that is even a word).

It started off a bit slow for my liking and I was finding it hard to keep on reading. However, I powered through because I was promised marvelous adventures and a world of colour.

It is a good read for children as the difference between Gwendolyn’s everyday normal life was vividly differentiated from the burst of colour from her imagination. Imagination in children is a good thing. It has to be nurtured and allowed. As much as it confused me, I appreciate the fact that I can’t tell where Gwendolyn’s imagination took over her adventures.

If there is anything I wish there was more of in this story, Mr. Williamson, it would be the following:

  • What happened to The City? Why is it in the state it is in?
  • Who are the Mister Men, and who do they work for?
  • Who is the Collector?

… Because it would really be great to know.

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Gangsta Granny by David Walliams

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I have mentioned in the beginning of the year that my main reading goal this year is to be able to read. Here I am telling you I will be extending that to listening to audiobooks as well. I am aware of the debate of whether or not listening to audiobooks counts as reading a book but in my opinion, it does. We’re consuming the same text. It’s the medium of consumption that’s different.

Gangsta Granny by David Walliams is my first audiobook of 2018. I chose a short children’s book because I found out it’s the easiest way to ease myself in to listening to audiobooks.

Gangsta Granny is about Ben who finds spending time with his grandmother boring. They do the same thing every week, and he gets served mostly the same food every week he visits. However, what he doesn’t know is his grandmother has a secret: she’s was once an international jewel thief.

I mostly listened to this while I was doing laundry. I do about 2-3 loads, so I figured a children’s audiobook roughly 3 hours long would be easy for a 30-year-old to follow while doing chores. I am so glad I found this while I was browsing our library’s audiobook catalogue. It was witty, funny, and entertaining. Also, listening to David Walliams narrate was a nice touch.

I cannot recommend this enough. If you’re looking for an audiobook to start your audiobook endeavours, I don’t think you can ever go wrong starting with children’s books.

 

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