A Book of Common Prayer by Joan Didion.
Didion’s fiction is, to me, pretty absurd. The characters in this book are so unrealistic it’s almost laughable, the plot slow and cerebral with most things happening inside the heads of aforementioned characters or at a dinner party. Why do so many things happen at dinner parties or airports in these people’s world? That this book was published in the 70’s is obvious throughout. I saw someone somewhere describe this book as containing “microscopic prose” and cannot think of my own original phrase that more aptly sums it up.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman.
Unsurprisingly, I loved this world and I enjoyed this story. I wish I could put a finer point on WHY I so enjoy Gaiman’s writing, but instead I just have a bunch of platitudes that other people have already said better. This book is a little scary, a lot creepy, and easy to read in a day if, say, you’re on vacation with your entire family and like to read to break up the day. Highly recommended for creepy, curious kids and the adults raising them. I’ll watch the movie and let you know.
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.
Richard Mayhew, the protagonist of this book, is a dude in distress who requires constant rescuing and explanation. Once you get over your disappointment with Richard and his bumbling idiocy, there is so much to enjoy about this book. Rat-speakers, London Below, a family home that is basically not a building at all but a series of rooms that only members of the family can access, midnight markets that are fantastically dangerous to access yet everyone does because what else would they do? YES PLEASE. And as for Richard, he does improve slight bits throughout the story but don’t expect him to impress you by the end – that’s for all the other characters to do.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.
Huge, huge trigger warnings for sexual assault in this one. There were parts of this book I absolutely hated and that made me wince, however, the fact that I read this 900-page monstrosity in one day – I could not put it down – certainly says something, right? I did not want to love this book as much as I did, but it exists that I bought the next 4-5 books in the series as soon as I got home from vacation and am biding my time until I sit down to watch the TV series. I love Jamie, I want to marry him, and I can’t even summon the appropriate level of shame I should feel for those sentiments. I’ll definitely read the other books, but I’ll probably keep it to myself.
The Ghost Hunter’s Favorite Cases by Hans Holzer.
I found this book to be unreadable. I love a good ghost story, but this guy just wants to tell you every single story he’s got stored in his brain – and not all of them are worth telling. It’s more of a catalog than a collection of short stories, and that’s just not entertaining. Also the author seems like a pompous ass from his writing, which is fine, but I don’t need to steep myself in his world. Plenty of pompous asses in the real world, right?