Archive | May, 2012

On the horizon. Up and Away.

25 May

Speaking of New York, the BEA is fast approaching. As it draws near, I am having to focus all of my time/attention on the preparation involved. There are editor meetings to be booked, manuscripts to be polished, and book pitches to be finely tuned. I depart for NYC in a week, and time is a ticking.

With all of my time being divvied up between the prep work involved for the BEA and finalizing any last minute edits for my clients, it means I will be slow on the uptake with regards to responding to queries, and reading any new material. This aspect of my job must be put on hold until I return to Toronto in mid-June. My sights are set on New York.

New York. New York.

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

16 May

I borrowed this book from my Sister. Both she and my Father had read it, and they both had enjoyed it. We tend to share the same taste in literature, and so I trust their judgement when it comes to books. I had never read anything by Ms. Waters, but when I read the line ‘An elegantly written, chill-inducing novel of psychological suspense…’ I was sold. I love a good mystery, especially when it is laden with psychological undertones.

The book itself could be classified as a tome, weighing in at 463 pages. This is not a book to be read in one sitting. With that being said, there is nothing languid about the pacing of this book. Like any good mystery, there is that gradual progression of suspense being instilled with every turn of the page. As the story unfolds, you realize the plot is driven in equal parts by the atmospheric backdrop of the Ayres decaying estate, as well as the disenfranchised characters that dwell within the narrative. As the reader, you are being drawn slowly and carefully into the damaged lives of the Ayres family, and are granted a birds eye view of their dismantled and war torn lives.

As the story progresses, the author begins to reveal startling insights into the psyche of each and every character. Like a psychological case study, we begin to uncover the most unsettling aspects of human nature, and the disturbing effects that war and desolation can conjure. Each character is battling their own demons; succumbing to a merciless past that refuses to set them free. Plagued by their unrelenting past, and facing their unforgiving futures, the family gives way to sheer madness. What makes the narrative all the more sinister is the fact that in the minds of the characters, the decrepit walls and ceilings that surround them, have taken on a life force of their own: A dark, and menacing force, that results in the onset of a series of horrific and troubling ‘accidents’.

As tragedy strikes repeatedly, and the family members suffering escalates, the characters believe themselves to have fallen prey to a vindictive force that they are ill equipped to battle. But is this the case? Was this force lying dormant for years, and after a long slumber found itself awoken by the tortured souls that walked its corridors? Or were the Ayres’ minds already so far gone, that they created this ‘little stranger’ in a means of conceding to their dying way of life. I do not want to give anything away, and so I advise you to read this book, and decide for yourself.

There are no comfortable solutions or conclusions to this book. Although it is a quiet drama,  its effects are as haunting as they are long lasting. From start to finish, the writing is completely absorbing, replete with the mournful and angry sentiment that pervades works like du Maurier’s Rebecca, and Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. It truly is a modern day gothic masterpiece.

A cacophony of creative hoots and cackles.

7 May

There are a few literary goodies I wish to share with you, and so I have decided to compile them all into this one post. I hope you enjoy!

The first item, is this ridiculously accurate to life ecard which I found on the beloved book porn website. The hilarity is not lost on me. Neither is the despair. I know this scene all too well. I mourned just as hard as Heathcliff when Cathy died. And let’s not even mention what occurs when I hear the chart topping song by Kate Bush…

The second tidbit, is the fun and lovely poetry sensation that is gathering momentum over at The Millions Tumblr website. They requested their viewers to send them poems based on book titles that adorn their shelves. My lovely author Helen partook, and has lovingly referred to the poems as ‘Book Spine Poems’. I wish I had time to join in, but I urge my readers to.

Next up, is the brilliant board game that I just discovered. The Great Penguin Bookchase is the perfect board game for readers of books. Not to imply that you must be an avid reader to play this game, as it is suitable for all ages, and all ranges of readers. The game consists (mostly of) multiple choice questions, but also allows the players to collect, borrow, beg, or steal books for their bookshelf. The first player to acquire six books (a book from each category), and make it back to the center of the board game is the winner! The design of the board game itself is divine. I look forward to countless rounds of Bookchase.

Lastly, I thought I would post a poem entitled Night Time Musings. I would have preferred to post a ‘book spine poem’, but this will have to do. I also feel bad because I never managed to read/review a book for the month of April. I am currently reading The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters and hope to have a review posted by the end of this month.

Night Time Musings

My constant companion. He who possesses ebony fur; stricken with a shade of amber.

He often lays low, contented to yield to silence. His demeanour hums softly of other worlds.

At night, he sleeps by the foot of my bed. An outstretched paw intermittently taps the floorboards.

I am forever made aware of his presence, and his purpose.

Within the dark recesses of this mad place, I slumber in defenselessness.

His eyes are ever watchful and discerning, offering up slivers of light.

We share a burden, he and I.

Without this earnest devotion to one another, I would surely slip softly away.

Washing me clean of all my tidal pain, he absorbs any fragmented remnants upon his own aspect.

His night time musings resonate a lingering sadness.

His words freeze time, as they penetrate the ceiling and walls that surround.

My only companion; he whispers while I sleep.