The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
'Lots of things are mysteries. But that doesn't mean there isn't an answer to them'This is Christopher's murder mystery story. There are also no lies in this story because Christopher can'...
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I am reading Tales of King Arthur, by Henry Gilbert to my son .
I finished the audiobook Brave, by Rose McGowan then started and finished The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon and have started The Queens of Innis Lear, by Tessa Gratton.
I finished Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman and I'm about to start The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman.
For Graphic novels I started and finished Descender, Vol. 2: Machine Moon, by Jeff Lemire and Descender, Vol. 3: Singularities, by Jeff Lemire and I've started Low, Vol. 3: Shore of the Dying Light, by Rick Remender
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Stardust, by Neil Gaiman: This was my first time reading a full-length book by Gaiman (having previously read only a short story of his), and it was a pretty enjoyable read. The narration was a pleasure to breeze through – it does a great job at simulating the experience of reading a fairy tale, albeit one targeted at a young adult or adult audience as opposed to the conventional association of the fairy tale genre with children's literature. The writing flows smoothly, with some pretty eloquent turn of phrases and with a pleasant mix of wit, emotion, and details of the magical, the mysterious and the ethereal. I'm super impressed with the author's ability to conjure atmospheric and whimsical scenarios and write vivid descriptions that aren't mere exposition dump but are also genuinely fun to read; it really brings the fantastical setting to life and evokes a quaint feeling that's a mix of wistfulness, nostalgia and awe.
All of that being said, I have some issues with the book. While it does an impressive job with the world building and narration, it falters when it comes to the execution of the plot in some very significant ways. For instance, the story is supposed to be, at one level, a romance – an attempt at a variation of the 'enemies to friends to lovers' trope – but I found the buildup to the so-called romance to be pretty much non-existent. One moment >!the female lead is hurling abuses at the male lead who's unabashedly upfront about his intent to hold her captive!<, and then all of a sudden >!the two are declaring their love for each other at the tail end of the story!<. The lack of a convincing buildup is conveniently hand-waved with a 'we ourselves didn't realize when we started caring for each other', which probably wouldn't have bugged me as much if the narrative didn't try to sell the romance as one of its focal aspects, but it did so it's only fair to expect it to be done properly. Moreover, because the narrative is more plot-driven than character-driven, the lack of buildup is all the more glaring in the face of inadequate chemistry between the two leads.
This kind of superficial handling also extends to other plot points that are established to be of significance to the narrative but peter out by the end. The resolution to the conflict posed by the antagonist(s) and the way the loose ends are hastily tied at the end are anticlimactic. I have to admit I'm conflicted about the ending and the epilogue because they cleverly play with certain fairy tale conventions (such as the concept of 'happily ever after') that were a delight to read but, masked by the gimmicks, pretty imageries and evocative writing, there are some big issues with the payoff or lack thereof.
All in all, the book is far from perfect but it was entertaining. It had a way with keeping me engrossed despite the apparent shortcomings, and it's not entirely without its merits, so I'm going to treat it as a gateway to other works of Gaiman.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon: A quick, enjoyable read. While the overarching story in itself is all right, it's the unique narrative voice and perspective that make it a fun read from start to finish. I found the protagonist/narrator to be a very endearing character, and his view of his immediate surroundings and the world as a whole to be thought-provoking, unintentionally witty, and at points moving. I also like the gimmick of numbering the chapters in prime numbers (2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13...) instead of the conventional number order, in keeping with the narrator's quirky penchant for prime numbers. Also, although the book is touted as primarily a mystery – and it does have an overarching mystery plot and feature the narrator attempting to play a textbook detective figure – I view it as more of a coming-of-age story interweaved with family drama, and with the mystery element(s) running through the story at a secondary but still significant level. A good book overall.
Sharp Objects, by Gillian Flynn: This was one disturbing book to get through, but in a good way. The creeping, slow buildup with a lingering sense of impending doom kept me turning the pages, and the twist at the tail end of the book made me gasp and internally recoil. In retrospect the reaction wasn't so much at the identity of the culprit per se because I did develop a lingering suspicion towards that one character after a certain point, having been conditioned by years of reading detective fiction to exclude no one, no matter how seemingly improbable they may be, from the purview of suspicion. No, the reaction was more at the vivid detailing of the circumstances in which the reveal is made, to be as vague as possible to avoid spoilers. And the narrative has a number of such instances that affect you at a visceral level. The running motif of cuts, bites, jabs and stabs is only scratching the surface (pun very much intended). Additionally, I appreciate the effort the author has put into writing and fleshing out the setting, a fictional town in southern Missouri, with all its prejudices, unspoken rules and closeted skeletons; it's like the town is a character in itself. The trope of a seemingly idyllic and obscure little locale hiding something or someone sinister is one I can probably never get tired of.
Started Bird Box, by Josh Malerman.
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This week I finished:
House Of Sand And Fog, by Andre Dubus III. God, I loved it. It's slow, and intricate with details, but the slowness is done in a way that the dread of where everything is heading rolls in slowly like a thick fog. Absolutely loved how the author painted the crumbling collapse of the American dream through two very different perspectives - both perspectives of which have collided together out of a result of sheer circumstance and misfortune.
Dark Places, by Gillian Flynn. Very different to Gone Girl but, man, I admire Flynn's dedication to writing such nasty, unpleasant characters, and I appreciate her fascination with examining how unreliable a person's narrative of events can be and how that unreliability can lead to chaos and destruction. Not an amazing book but not a bad book, either.
The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
Time And Time Again, by Ben Elton
If I Stay, by Gayle Foreman
And I picked up a second-hand copy of My Brilliant Friend and The Story Of A New Name, both by Elena Ferrante today, so I might start the first book if I finish the three books I'm reading currently before the week is out.
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King of Ashes by Raymond E Feist
The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie (audiobook)
Over the past week I finished:
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton 5/5
The Last Equation of Issac Severy by Nova Jacobs 2.5/5
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon 3/5
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (audiobook) 3/5 ** Islam and the Future of Tolerance by Sam Harris & Maajid Nawaz (audiobook)** 3/5
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The Stand, by Stephen King
I have really bad ADHD and can barely focus on anything, let alone reading: an activity with little to no visual aid whatsoever where it's extremely easy for your mind to wander. However, I do love reading and always have done from a young age. I'm ashamed to say I buy lots of books, start them, and never finish them. I won't bore you with personal anecdotes and just say the reason I mentioned the above is because I bought The Stand last Friday, and in that time I've read 1000 pages and had a few sleepless nights reading it. I fucking love it. I don't even know exactly what it is about it? I think the mystery and suspense of it all is so encapsulating even from the very beginning. I especially love the vast group of characters King creates and I feel I know them so well by this point, I'm extremely invested and emotionally attached to them.
I hope to finish it in the next couple days but oh my god it is a good book. If you haven't read it I highly recommend it and I can't wait to experience the conclusion, even though I've heard negative opinions on it I'm sure it won't be so disappointing it'll ruin the journey leading up to it for me.
The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
This is a book very dear to me. I originally read it a couple years ago with minimal understanding of Asperger's syndrome yet still enjoyed the mystery and drama in it. However after recently being diagnosed with ASD (I know, another disorder lol) I decided to re-read it. I finished my re-read of it this week and not only did I enjoy the book even more than I did the first time, it also managed to evoke so much emotion out of me that I cried for about 5 minutes straight. It may have just been because I was having a bad day, but I think it was because being older and having an official diagnosis along with everything being explained to me helped me understand Christopher's frustrations and struggles and though slightly over-exaggerated, it was an accurate depiction of an autistic child's stream of consciousness. I'm not sure how well known it is outside of the UK honestly, most friends that don't live here haven't heard of it but I may just be ignorant. I do know that it's received a lot of critical acclaim and a theatre adaptation here (which was wonderful). Overall, I feel like it blends charming narration, compelling mystery and interesting drama to create one of my favourite books ever
PS. Sorry for the stupidly formal r/iamverysmart type writing, this just felt very official and I like voicing my opinions on stuff like books and movies etc in that way