Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Books for when you're... (22)

Each fortnight, month, fifteenth full moon of the half equational motion of the earth's full circuit I will showcase some books that I think would be fantastic reading to suit a certain mood.


Wanting gorgeously and fantastically creepy.
I feel like I generally stay far, farrrr away from "creepy" books, but there are a few I've read and just adored- adored, in fact, more than many non-creepy books I've read. These two just have a certain magical something. They scare me, but don't leave me utterly terrified. They... actually fill me with yearning, to meet the characters (at least some of them) and spend a few brief moments in their world. And I like that so much.


Coraline is perhaps the most wonderfully terrifying book I have ever read. It's incredibly creepy, especially the 10th anniversary edition that I have (pictured; the link also takes you to that edition), illustrated by Chris Riddell (fairly well my all time favourite illustrator). His illustrations really cement the creepier facets of this book, because they are vivid and detailed and just capture the world and characters so well, bringing to life other-mothers you maybe never wanted to meet and will certainly never forget. There is such beauty in this art, too, and it leaves you utterly speechless, which is why I think it's such a perfect fit for Coraline.

Gaiman's story is full of a childhood sense of fear that I think is inescapable as an adult. A fear that you'll see your "family" in a different form and what once was delight and love is now an all-consuming fear. I think it was the thing of nightmares for me, as a child, that the people who loved me would stop, or they would change, and I'd never be ready or okay with that. That is so present, here, in a way, and I know I would never be able to read it in YA or adult fiction because it is so very striking, unforgettable and scary (but well done) in MG.


This one! *sighs* I feel like I bring this up, in favourite book lists and Instagram photos and just really quite regularly. I was shocked, when I went to get the link, and found I only gave it 3 stars in the day. A reread is vastly required.
I have such a love for this book and that is surprising to me even now, because I really didn't like the first two thirds of it and was almost certain I would DNF. But I didn't, because something happened- I have no idea what- and I just... went from dislike to love. And now I sing its praises semi-regularly. Fairytales is a dark, murderous feat of writing; the ground you tread on is unstable and the characters have a threatened/threatening sense to them that is so very undeniable and completely captivating.

For all the unexpectedness and peculiarity to this tale, though, the darkness is met (although often swamped by) whimsy, and it's such a good mix. When things feel almost overwhelming, you have a moment where red eyed bunnies appear, or all manner of interesting, fascinating, wonderful characters turn up. Throughout there is a definite sense of darkness, of reality, and those are just as penetrating as the fantastical aspects of this dark, wonderous book that just clicks, somehow.


My last Books for when you're... topic was Wanting a character with witty comebacks. I think I'm going to have to do another one of them, to be honest.

10 comments:

  1. It's shameful that I haven't read Coraline. In my defence, I didn't grow up a reader so I don't know about Neil Gaiman. Maybe some day.

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    1. I only read it a couple years ago for the first time, so it's definitely not something to feel ashamed about (since I'm certainly not going to feel ashamed for not reading it as a child!). It's so readable, whatever age you are, and I think as youths an adults we'll take different things from this story. You may like it, and find it just as remarkable now as I did a couple years ago. Neil Gaiman is such a wonderful author, what I've read of his work is superb. I'd highly recommend The Graveyard Book and the Sleeper and the Spindle (also Stardust, which is magical and gorgeous). xx

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  2. Fairy Tales for Wilde Girls has been sitting on my TBR for years *guilty laughter* I really need to get to it. I've also been meaning to read some Neil Gaiman for years. What am I doing with my life?!

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    1. Oh, really? Some books sit on our shelves for far too long, it is true. But I hope I made you want to pick this one up, even a little more! It's definitely unique and wholly worth the read.

      I'd suggest... The Graveyard book, which I recommended to Joy above, and also possibly Coraline for you, Bec. I think you'd enjoy those two! I've heard a lot of really good things about his adult lit, too, although haven't read any besides Stardust. xx

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  3. Ehhhh, you know I have not read either of these ;D

    I wasn't the hugest fan of the Coraline movie, although I know that apparently this is unfair a judgement because the book is so much better. Alas, I read Stardust, and was thoroughly unimpressed, so maybe I have been turned off Gaiman's books. Which I know is pretty much a travesty in many a reader's eye *laughs*

    I own Fairytales for Wilde Girls, though! And since you have told me I will like it, and since you like it so much, it is indeed on the TBR. I look forward to reading about all the creepy elements you've mentioned. As well as whimsical. I don't really know how well I mesh with whimsy, so we shall see *strokes beard*

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    1. I didn't actually know you hadn't read Coraline! I think you'd probably like the Graveyard Book more, so I'd recommend that. It's so gothic and lovely.

      I haven't seen more than a bit of the movie, myself, and I was *tempted* to watch it fully after reading this- for I had all the passion- but just never did. I thought it was a little too sinister and terrifying for my liking, though. I did really love Stardust (and didn't really love the movie) so it could be we feel polar about Gaiman's work, although I'd still be for trying some of his other stuff. But if you don't think it's for you, then that is 100% fine. *eyes your laughter*

      I'm so happy you own it! I hadn't realised, until we were recently discussing it, that you did! I love it so much, and think you'll like it so much, that I was considering buying you a copy, so *sparkles* Now I can buy you other stuff! *cackles* It's hardly whimsical at all, really, much more dark and creepy and all that, but... I'm definitely keen to hear your thoughts. Tell me when you're reading it! *throws heart confetti your way*
      xx

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  4. I am not a fan of creepy books usually, but somw can be done well. One of y favorite books of this year was actually a thriller, which was creepy without scaring me too much.

    That's interesting how the art in Coraldine brings the creepiness into play more and enhances it. I like the sound of how it plays into childhood fears. Your description of it does make me curious.

    It happens rarely that you end up loving a book you first thought you would DNF. I remember a book I read years ago and the beginning was so slow I considered DNF'ing it and then it became so good and I ended up giving it 5 stars as the rest was good enough to compensate for the slow start.

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    1. I'm the same. I get spooked really easily, so I have to be careful I don't leave myself up half the night with fear after reading something that was just too much for me. But when I get the mix of creepy right, it seems to work really, really well!

      The illustrations in Coraline are incredibly vivid and encompassing of the story; they fit it just perfectly, and even though they enhanced the creepy? They made it all the more brilliant a read. I'd definitely recommend it, Lola! It's such a fascinating, captivaying read.

      It definitely happens rarely- and I hope I don't feel the same way, next time I read those books I initially wanted to dbf! It might put my spirit of enjoyment off! But it's such a pleasure to suddenly be invested and enjoying a book you thought there was little hope of redemption in! xx

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  5. Coraline was definitely a fantastically creepy read! The film also gave a similar vibe. I feel like I've read some fantastically creepy short stories but I think all my recs would just verge into horror on the Romi scale, so I think it's best if we all stay in the Coraline zone to be safe XD.

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    1. It really is! I actually want to reread so many books that I just loved so much, but I never find the time to do it. I'm very much considering making 2017 a reread only year *laughs* Although I might get bored?! Which I wouldn't like!

      *snorts* Probably! Coraline was amazing, but definitely on the verge of me hiding under the bed covers, so anything more intense than that would possibly scare the living daylights out of me. Most likely. xx

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