Category: From My Bookshelf

Stephen King’s IT

Stephen King’s IT

An old blog post revisited… IT by Stephen King –

Living an Adventure –

A few days back, I finally overcame my fear and reservations and once again started reading Stephen King’s IT. Truly one of the most well-crafted books I’ve ever read, I’m 454 pages in and though it’s scary and unnerving in parts, the characters are so well written, so well developed, that I feel as though I know them personally. As a reader, I am no longer reading a book, but living an adventure.

IT, the Movie –

 If you’ve ever seen the the movie, IT, and like most Stephen King movies, thought, it’s just a horror flick intended to scare the beejeebies out of me, you’re right. Hollywood tends to distort King’s masterful stories, eliminating major and amazing parts to give their audience what they believe they want.

Never Judge a Book by the Movie –

So, please never judge the book, IT, based on the movie, because the book is an amazing story, one I always find hard to put down…and I have no doubt that it’s one I will cherish and forever applaud as being a masterful example of story telling.

Update –

I loved the book so much, I cried for the characters at the end. But, not for the reasons you may guess.
And, to be noted, as this is a revisit to an old blog post, I haven’t seen the most current movie.
Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House

Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House

As my study of the horror genre continues, next stop, THE HAUNTING OF HELL HOUSE…

When I was in Junior High, like most eighth graders, I read Shirley Jackson’s short story, “The Lottery.” To this day, Ms. Jackson’s visuals are permanent etchings upon the haunted corridors of my mind. The fear upon Tessie Hutchinson’s face, previously so cocky, so full of bravado now shattered beneath the grim realization that it is her life that is in jeopardy. Honestly, I need to go back and read that story again.

But no true fan or determined writer of scary stories, should leave The Haunting of Hill House off their syllabus of must reads. After not being able to find a copy of Ms. Jackson’s, dare I say, “haunting” masterpiece for so long, I was finally able to locate and read the story of Hill House.

Like my memories of The Lottery, The Haunting of Hill House, is a very clever and suspenseful tale. I won’t go into details or elaborate, no doubt that’s been done, re-done and over done.

 

No, what struck me about the story, more than anything was how the two young woman, Theodora and Eleanor bonded that first day, two complete strangers forming an alliance against the unknown.

Then through the course of the story, how their relationship slowly and purposefully unraveled. But who was the cause of this unraveling? Was it one of the women? Perhaps. Maybe Theodora in her flighty shallowness or Eleanor in her insecurity. But, better yet, maybe the house itself caused the unraveling of their friendship or as the Doctor so eloquently stated, “Divide and conquer.”

From the beginning, you know something terrible is going to happen. The author has set the stage perfectly, pulling you in gradually page by page. And then there’s the pounding, the knocking on doors and walls, but is the noise real or just the imagination or imaginations of the four visitors. There is even a point where Eleanor seems to be the only one hearing “things.”

What was so amazing to me about The Haunting of Hill House was how one minute I, as the reader, wanted to slam the book shut (can you do that with a paperback) and run for the proverbial hills and the next, because Ms. Jackson’s characters are so enticing, I had to read more. She orchestrated her highs of intense anxiety and lulls of engaging verbal frolic between the house guests perfectly. And then, as the suspense rose to its climax, two more characters, outsiders, were thrown in, and I felt compelled to defend the actions of the original four. Well done!

Oh, and I must ad, as Eleanor is pushed into the vehicle at the end, I actually felt her fear of the future, her sense of abandonment and betrayal. I didn’t want her to leave.

Was The Haunting of Hill House the most brilliant book I’ve ever read? No, but it was certainly one of the most clever.

 

Author Barbara Wood, Historical Thrillers!

Author Barbara Wood, Historical Thrillers!

Like most writers, I’m an avid reader and when I’m lucky, I stumble upon an author who has not only written an enjoyable story but has also inspired me. Some books are just to meant to touch your life, as if by fate. For me, two books by Author Barbara Wood have done just that. First, The Prophetess which I read back in the in the early years of this century and now, The Divining.

If you enjoyed Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code and prefer stories about strong woman, Barbara Wood’s The Prophetess, is the perfect book for you. I first read The Prophetess back in 2001 and it immediately became a favorite.

The story centers around a young archeologist who finds a series of papyrus scrolls in what may be the Well of Miriam, the Prophet Moses’ sister. For me, the story ignited the idea that the women in the Bible, though for the most part supporting characters in the male-dominated Word of God, had truly made more of an impact upon our history than what we are led to believe.

There’s so much more to this historical thriller that I enjoyed reading long before I’d ever heard of Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code. But if you enjoyed Dan Brown’s amazing thriller, you’ll love The Prophetess with it’s non-stop action, adventure, and conspiracies!

From BarbaraWood.com:

The Divining

While doing research for my Esme Bohlin Suspense Series, I developed an insatiable appetite for all things Germania. It was then by a stroke of good fortune that I found The Divining by Barbara Wood.

The Divining takes place during the 1st century AD when the western world was ruled by Rome and trade with China was still a dream. The main character is Ulrika, a young, amazing but naive woman who, through trying to find herself, leaves the security of Rome to learn more about her mysterious and absent father in Germania. From page one, I was absorbed into a different time and place in history. A time when the early Christian Church was a small group of Christ’s followers meeting in secret and healers and seers were still esteemed by the rich and powerful.

About The Divining (Amazon): And that, dear readers, is my author focus for this week. Thanks for reading!

Next week, I will be focusing on another favorite author from my bookshelf, Clea Simon.

The Other Side of the Ocean

The Other Side of the Ocean

I’ve been reading my aunt’s book, “The Other Side of the Ocean.” Her words so fresh, so alive, I feel a newfound sense of who my grandparents were (my American grandmother and German grandfather, both pacifists) during a time of turmoil and “madness” in their beloved Germany. 
Upon the first mention of Hitler and what would later become his Nazi party, shocks ran up my arm as a sense of foreboding enveloped me. Until that point, the story, which chronicles the lives of my grandparents and their young family from 1899 until 1946, had been full of hopeful aspirations. It had been a love story. But as the reality of life outside their marriage began to change, the strain was reflected in my grandmother’s letters to her family in the States.
Nine years before the start of World War II, was the first mention of Hitler in the book. Under his leadership, his fledgling NSDAP party gained 107 seats in the German Parliament. Germany became torn between three political parties, the Social Democrats, the Communists and the National Socialists (NSDAP.) History tells us who became the victors in that struggle. What it seems to overlook is that as early as 1931, it was dangerous to publicly voice opinions contrary to Hitler’s party.
My Grandmother – Ellen Hayes Schulz
 
January 1933, Hitler became the German Chancellor. By the end of March, up to six thousand Social Democrats, Communists, trade union officials, heads of radio stations and newspaper columnists were arrested. On April 1st, Hitler declared a boycott of Jewish businesses, but then cancelled it due to negative international press.
 
One of Hitler’s first new laws was the, “Law for Restoration of the Civil Service and Aryan Clause.” Under it former Social Democrats, former Communists, and Jews lost their right to teach in public schools. My grandfather lost his job and his status as a civil servant.
My Grandfather – Paul Schulz
During all of this, my young grandparents were raising a family. My mother was born in 1928, her sister, Barbara, in 1929, and two more sisters (Sonia and Gudrun) were born years later in the 1930s. All this turmoil and still life, somehow, went on…
My mother, Kathleen, and her sister, Barbara (Author)
THE FOREST HOUSE by Marion Zimmer Bradley

THE FOREST HOUSE by Marion Zimmer Bradley

I recently finished The Forest House, Marion Zimmer Bradley’s prequel to The Mists of Avalon. What a compelling and fascinating read, both for recreation and research.

While writing my novel, My Father’s Magic, I did a great deal of research into the history of Goddess-based spirituality as well as the Roman expansion through what is now France, Germany and England. So, upon reading The Forest House with its priestesses and Druid priests at a time when Rome sought to conquer the last remnant of Britannic resistance, I felt like a part of me had come home.

Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon has long been on my “to read” list. Looks like it will be moving up!

 

My Father’s Magic – now available

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