Coffee and Contemplation: A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

After a brief hiatus, we are returning to discussing supernatural fiction. Tremblay’s novel “A Head Full of Ghosts” was not what I expected. It was much better than it first sounded. It’s a kind of story where the reader isn’t sure what’s real or not. It’s open for interpretation but that was Tremblay’s purpose for the story. There are a couple of references to “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. That story is also open to a lot of interpretation. The reader will have to decide what kind of story they’re reading, and they have to decide if they want to believe the narrator. 

One of my favorite things about discussing stories is deciding on the validity of the narrator. Is the narrator lying? Are they projecting their own biases on the story? Are they telling their story or someone else’s? What gives them the authority to tell this story? Consider these questions after reading Tremblay’s novel. This is the only novel I’ve read by Tremblay so I can’t speak much on his style, but he makes everything feel rooted in the real world. Even the supernatural events have a way of being explained but the reader isn’t sure which parts of the story are truth and which are fiction. One of many reasons I enjoyed this book so much.

I recommend this book to everyone.

Spooky Spider Scale (How scary was the book?): 6 spiders 🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️

Overall rating: 4 stars ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Coffee and Contemplation: The Damnation Game by Clive Barker

Today’s discussion is on “The Damnation Game” by Clive Barker. This was an unusual story. It took a while for things to get going. The beginning had enough going on to keep me interested, but it took it’s time getting there. I would say it was about midway through the book that the story took off and the pacing picked up. The origins of the supernatural being are not fully explained. This makes things interesting because it’s as if the reader knows about as much as the main character. The story had some interesting visuals that make me wonder why this hasn’t been adapted to film or television.

This is the first time I’ve read anything by Clive Barker. While I’ve seen the “Hellraiser” films I’ve never read those books. I am more interested in those stories after having read “The Damnation Game.” Of the many books I’ve mentioned in these discussion posts, this one was not my favorite. I enjoyed reading it, but it’s not one I would want to revisit. It was an interesting story. I think it could have been executed better. My biggest complaint is the pacing in the beginning. I also wish it had more terrifying moments. There were some but I didn’t feel the terror the same way the characters did. 

I do recommend this book though it isn’t my favorite.

Spooky Spider Scale (How scary was the book?): 5/10 spiders 🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️

Overall rating: 4 stars ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Coffee and Contemplation: IT by Stephen King

I’m posting a little late today. Don’t hold that against me. Today’s book discussion is about “IT” by Stephen King. What can I say about this book? It came into the world around the same time I did. It was published in September of 1986. I was also “published” in September of 1986. Coincidence? I think not. But I digress. This book was long. Longer than it needed to be. While I enjoyed the back-and-forth of childhood and adulthood with the main characters, half the novel could have been left out. And the ending was anti-climactic.

I did enjoy the newest film adaptations of the book. The ending of “IT Chapter 2” was still lackluster. The first film was perfect and is still in my top ten favorite films of all time. But back to the book. Lots of scary sequences. I enjoyed most of the novel. As I mentioned earlier, several parts could have been cut out to make the overall novel stronger. Part of me also wants to know more about Pennywise before meeting the kids that eventually killed the hungry clown. It’s worth reading once. It doesn’t feel like something that needs to be read multiple times.

I do recommend this book. Definitely not for children.

Spooky Spider Scale (How scary was the book?): 8/10 spiders 🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️🕷️

Overall rating: 4 stars ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐