stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
A ghost story: the ghost comes in the heart-shaped box, along with a suit, via an internet auction site that is Not EBay. We are not told what it is. I think that selling ghosts on the internet may not be as novel as the author thinks it is, but let that pass. The story of a faux-gothy rock star hoist with his own petard is quite interesting, and so is the plausible psychological background to the whole thing, but I felt that the story did lose focus when it went away from the heart-shaped box.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/6846241
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
An author I'd never heard of, a book bought on impulse from an 'ALL IN THIS BOX £1' box, an intriguing and pleasantly creepy story. Set in what was contemporary Cambridge (this was published in the mid eighties), this has a vaguely old-school M R James 'academic ghost story' vibe, with a side of Turn of the Screw, but with rather more sex. Subtext becoming text, if you see what I mean. Stays this side of the overtly paranormal, though, which is very effective. Gorgeously atmospheric, with a real sense of time passing. And so refreshing to find a happily bisexual character.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/11195234
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
Does what it says on the tin. A ghost story in the classic style - one might be forgiven for thinking one had picked up a book by M. R. James or somebody of that ilk. It's all there: the academic setting, the mysterious object, the backstory that is never fully revealed. And the very nineteenth-century nested narratives - I've not seen so many stories-within-stories since Wuthering Heights.

And then Susan Hill drags you kicking and screaming into the present, and it's as creepy as hell. I don't think I'll be visiting Venice for quite a long time.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/10506283/
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
A rather saccharine Christmas story, lifted from obscurity by a decent sense of place and a mildly diverting supernatural element. Following the death of her workaholic husband in a car crash, Kay takes her eight year old daughter Evie to the Yorkshire Dales for six months, to escape Christmas with the in-laws. Sadly their presence is resented both by their landlady's son (who, in an attempt to anchor the story to reality, has lost all his stock to foot and mouth disease) and by one of the two resident ghosts.

Fleming ambles through three hundred years of family history with some surprisingly accurate details (her Stuarts, for example, dance a Christmas carol) and only mildly infuriating period dialogue. This livens up the novel considerably; without it, Winter's Children would be reduced to the usual tripe about the innocent child who wins over the gruff farmer with a heart of gold.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/10070631
stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
A little too complete, I fear. Taken one at a time, these are very creepy, but collected all together they are too similar in structure and atmosphere to impress continuously. For this reason, I think, the first few stories feel like the best. I think that's because one comes to them fresh. Once one gets the hang of how they work, they're less impressive.

Apparently James used to read them to his friends on winter evenings by the light of a single candle, and I can see that working very well. Individually excellent; collectively, a bit same-y.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/9950603

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stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
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