Books are Alibis

My name is Elizabeth and whenever I can get the time, I'm reading. I am 18 and living in Australia. I am currently at university studying law. I blog a lot, probably more than I read, which is saying something. I pretty much will read all genres but my favourites are horror, dystopian and literature. I have troubles keeping to book buying bans and my TBR pile will always be unmanageable.

Book Review: Lisey's Story

Lisey's Story - Stephen King
An absolute thrill to explore. I was hooked and couldn't turn the pages quick enough. I was always wishing for more time to sit down and devour this book. My immediate opinion is that it is awesome but I think that is almost a given considering that it is Stephen King. This is one of King's newer books; it's actually the newest book that I've read by him. I could tell straight away that his writing style was a little different to the older books I've read, but I will get to this in a moment. First a brief synopsis. 

 

Lisey Debusher Landon lost her husband, Scott, two years ago, after a twenty-five-year marriage of the most profound and sometimes frightening intimacy. Scott was an award-winning, bestselling novelist and a very complicated man. Early in their relationship, before they married, Lisey had to learn from him about books and blood and bools. Later, she understood that there was a place Scott went -- a place that both terrified and healed him, that could eat him alive or give him the ideas he needed in order to live. Now it's Lisey's turn to face Scott's demons, Lisey's turn to go to Boo'ya Moon. What begins as a widow's effort to sort through the papers of her celebrated husband becomes a nearly fatal journey into the darkness he inhabited. Perhaps King's most personal and powerful novel, "Lisey's Story" is about the wellsprings of creativity, the temptations of madness, and the secret language of love.
This story took be surprise in a really good way. I only went into it with this tiny description that is was about Lisey, who is a widow of a famous writer and while she is sorting through his stuff, she is taken on a life-changing adventure. Obviously that synopsis was a little broad but that's the general gist of the story. Except it was so much more. 
Lisey is sorting through her husband's stuff, very slowly, and is approached by an obsessive fan and professor to hurry up and distribute some unpublished worked. This fan sort of hires a psycho to threaten Lisey into giving him the works when the psycho becomes a force of his own and Lisey has to face this one-of-a-kind villain.
Before any of this confrontation even happens, Lisey has to deal with her older sister who has a history of mental illness and going through and episode. Whilst dealing with this, she is remembering memories of her and her husband which will ultimately lead her to some kind of a conclusion of her grief. 
 
This story takes an interesting concept to mental illness and where peoples minds go when they are 'gone'. The actual setting of Boo'ya Moon was so intriguing. Its a dangerous place whilst also being a place of healing and nostalgia for Scott and eventually Lisey as she returns. I liked how King took the concept of mental illness and gave a paranormal perspective which was both hopeful and terrifying. 
 
The writing style, which I mentioned before, identifed quite easily with King's older works but was more restrained in it's craziness; not that it wasn't crazy and wonderful to read. I get into a kind of rhythm when I read Stephen King and it didn't take me long before I go into the groove. I definitely enjoyed all the new words and concepts that he invented to compliment Scott's insanity. My favourites being 'bool hunt' 'smuck/smucking' and 'SOWISA: Strap On When It Seems Appropriate'. It's these kind of quirks that I admire and love about Stephen King and novels in general.
 
I only really had one slight tiff with book and that was that I didn't really connect with Lisey as I wish I could've. I don't think this is the book's problem. It's most likely mine because it took me so long to finish the book and therefore kind of lost my rhythm with the characters and their lives. Lisey was an interesting character as well as her odd sisters.
 
Overall, I loved this book and I'm so glad I decided to pick it up. Even though it wasn't a thriller, it was still a thrilling read and I was completely enthralled in Lisey's Story. 
 
Rating -  4 out of 5 stars

100 Bookish Things

Here is kind of a challenge to list 100 Bookish things or opinions about me. I imagine it will take some effort but here goes.

 

1. I've always been a good reader (since before I started school)

2. I was reading adult non-fiction when I was 6/7 because kid dinosaur books were too childish

3. I started Harry Potter after I watched the first movie when I was 6

4. But I never fully read the series until last year

5. Goblet of Fire is my favourite book

6. But Chamber of Secrets is my favourite movie

7. Roald Dahl was my favourite author when I was in primary school

8. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was the book I finished by him

9. The Little Princess was the first book I remember finishing.

10. Until middle school, I always remember having trouble with finishing books.

11. Now I have to finish or a book or it will drive me up the wall. (even if I hate it)

12. I do not feel the same way about a series.

13. I like my series to be in all the same editions

14. I tend to wait till a series is finished before I start it

15. A Song of Ice and Fire is the big exception because I was so afraid of spoilers from people who watch the show.

16. I had the whole of Book One spoiled for me, but I didn't mind that much.

17. Other than that spoiler, I despise spoilers and will literally disown friends for it

18. A friend in high school ruined Jane Eyre for me, that I stopped reading it

19. I still want to read Jane Eyre because it is such a good story 

20. I haven't read as many classics as I would like to have read

21. I haven't read Frankenstien

22. I loved Dracula way more than I expected to.

23. I haven't read any Dickens

24. Though I read a children's version of Great Expectations when I was 10/11

25. I started Great Expectations in 2011 but haven't picked it back up

26. I've read all the Grimms Fairy Tales 

27. I haven't completed one Sherlock Holmes tale

28. I picked up Alice in Wonderland probably 5-6 times in my life and I can never remember finishing it.

29. I loved the Series of Unfortunate Events

30. But I only read about 5 or 6 of them.

31. Goosebumps Choose Your Own Adventure books are what got me into the horror genre.

32. I wanted more advanced books to read when I was a kid

33. My uncle suggested Stephen King but my mum told me I couldn't because she didn't want to deal with my nightmares

34. Since then I remembered Stephen King and wanted to read his stuff and get freaked out.

35. My first King was The Shining and I read it in 2012.

36. It didn't scare me

37. But I was surprised by how much I enjoyed and admired King's writing

38. I read Carrie straight afterwards

39. I also decided that I wanted to read everything he had ever written.

40. Goes without saying, Stephen King is my favourite author.

41. The Dark Tower series is my favourite thing I've ever read. I'm obsessed.

42. I got the Dark Tower series in matching paperbacks as an anniversary present and incidentally we broke up soon after; I like to think I scored well.

43. I've read 18 Stephen King books, with #19 soon to follow

44. I own 40 Stephen King books

45. Eddie is my favourite Stephen King character (Dark Tower)

46. The ending of the Dark Tower put me into a coma, not literally, but I can't stop thinking about it and trying to analyse it.

47. I haven't read It 

48. or Misery but I want to this year.

49. I own two copies of the Gunslinger.

50. Insomnia was so much better than expected.

51. One Hundred Years of Solitude was an instant favourite.

52. The Passage was the first book I bought on my first kindle.

53. I now own the hardcover.

54. I've read it twice.

55. I haven't read the Twelve because I'm waiting for the third book to come out

56. It is my favourite post-apocalyptic series.

57. Allegiant was a great book and the ending, although heart-breaking, was good

58. I loved the Uglies series

59. I didn't like Mockingjay.

60. I've read the Twilight series more than once.

61. But I don't own them anymore.

62. The movies sucked.

63. I hated the Shining movie. 

64. Les Miserables is one of my favourite books

65. and I own two copies of it

67. War and Peace wasn't as long as I thought it would be.

68. plus it was really good.

69. I will read from literally any genre

70. I tend to not judge books too seriously and can be really open minded.

71. I like weird books

72. I really didn't like Blood Meridian

73. I like to randomly tell people in bookstores which books I like.

74. I first read the Book Thief in 2009

75. and fell in love.

76. I will never be over Rudy.

77. Oddly, I don't own a copy of it.

78. Sometimes I prefer reading on my kindle than physical books, just because it's easier to hold. (aka I'm lazy)

79. Sometime telling me that they didn't like a book won't completely deter me if I want to read it.

80. I love books with illustrations

81. My favourite genre is probably fantasy or literary fiction.

82. I shamefully haven't read the Lord of the Rings

83. I have read the Hobbit and absolutely loved it

84. If I listen to an album for the first time (on repeat) whilst reading a book, the songs will remind me of the book. (eg I listened to only Bastille while reading the HP series, now whenever I listen to Bastille I think about HP)

85. I only listen to music while reading to block out other noises (bus, loud house)

86. Otherwise, I prefer complete silence.

87. Sometimes I procrastinate reading.

88. I like/enjoy reorganising my bookshelves.

89. I currently have my books ordered in alphabetical order by title.

90. I can't understand not having some kind of order to a bookshelf

91. I wish I could read faster

92. or at least had more time to read

93. I've never read Terry Pratchett and this makes me sad.

94. The oldest unread book on my shelf is about 2 years old.

95. 2 years ago I had literally no books in my room

96. I only used the library

97. because I couldn't afford books and I read too fast for it to be reasonable.

98. I have somewhere around 100-160 unread books on both my shelf and kindle (unsure)

99. I think YA can be a little overrated at times and I wish that I knew more people who read outside YA.

100. I shocked myself (and family and friends) when I set out to read 25 books last year but instead read 124.

 

Hopefully I haven't numbered it wrong. But I did it. Didn't take me too long. Maybe challenge to think of 100 bookish things about you. 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 463 out of 664 pages.

Lisey's Story - Stephen King

Just making an update before I jump into bed. I will probably read more before I go to sleep but this is where I'm up to now. It's been a good reading day since I've been stuck around the 200 page mark for about a week. I wouldn't say that it's a slow book just that I haven't had time to read which is making it feel like a slow read. It is really good and at several points today I've been completely engrossed and on edge. My heart struggling to keep calm and all that jazz. Stephen King just gets me every time, even with books of his that I wouldn't consider his greatest. 

Well, today's portion of reading has been stressful. There's been so many timelines happening at once and every single one of them has been life or death (or just very serious flashbacks). It was a struggle to put it down to try and get some work done. 

My goal is to try, let me reiterate TRY, and finish this tomorrow. But it is quite unlikely since I have uni and a dentist appointment. I will try though. I've been on this book too long for my liking.

I've Made a New Book Blog

I've had a few book blogs in the past (and even in the present) but one one I've stuck to. That would be my book tumblr which has now become my main blog on tumblr because what else would I really be posting on there except books. 

I've always been interested in sticking to reviewing my books. In fact, for awhile a few years ago I used to review every book I read. Unfortunately, (not really) I started reading too many books to review them all so I ended up stopping altogether. For awhile I've wanted to start getting back into the habit but I was still reading too many books for it to be an easy habit.

This year I've started my law degree which means I hardly have any time to sit down and read, therefore the amount of books I've been reading has been on the down low. 

Now that I'm reading a book over about a week or two, I feel like I can get back into the habit of reviewing books again. I absolutely love trying to capture all my emotions of a book I've just finished into words. 

This post is kind of like an introduction. I have done review before but this time I would like to make it a habit and stick to it. I would also like to post more than reviews here because I have a lot of bookish opinions that rear their head at time to time. 

I hope you enjoy my new blog, in all it's newborn freshness.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell - Susanna Clarke This book took me by surprised. Who would've thought that over 800 pages would be too short?
This book had me intrigued and at sometimes, giggling behind the pages. It has my type of subtle humour. Oh and the elegant writing style that emanated Dickens; Susanna Clarke is a magician.
Loved every word of this book. A new favourite. Seriously recommend.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs Re-Read 22/2/14 - Still as amazing as the first time :) Now onto Hollow City

This book... OMG!!!! I didn't want it to end. I started reading and never wanted to stop. The story was beyond the work of brillancy and the writing is in its own league. The pictures worked incredibly well with the story and it was kinda exciting for them to pop up here and there. Then at the end you realise they're all bloody authentic, not altered.:O
I'm so glad this is a sequel. It is seriously the best book I've read in a while. I don't normally give books 5 stars or make them favourites straight away but this is an exception. I can NOT wait for the next book. OMG!!! SO SO SOOOOO GOOD!!!
THANK YOU RANSOM RIGGS FOR THIS MODERN MASTERPIECE!!!!!!

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel - Neil Gaiman I wish it were longer. I guess that's the same with any good story though.

Blood Meridian

Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy Finally I finished this godforsaken book. It would be 1 stars if not for the setting which I kind of enjoyed. I disliked everything else about this book. Urgh, what a waste of time.

The Road

The Road - Cormac McCarthy More like 3 1/2 stars because I did really like it, it's just it lacked. So much potential but there wasn't really a plotline.

The Goldfinch: A Novel

The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt I lived this book. I felt like I was a part of it. Everything was ultra-realistic and believable. It was so real for me.

Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans - M L Stedman Oh, the anguish. This may be the saddest book I've ever read (trumping Les Miserables and The Book Thief). I had some control at the beginning of the novel and held back my tears by in the last chapter or so I was a complete mess. It was emotionally traumatic.

I was utterly enthralled by Stedman's writing style and I was captured by the character's stories. I literally couldn't put this book down. I was swept away into their anxieties and I wasn't let go till the very end.

This book has a whole heap of downs. Like things can't go right for these characters and you immediately feel for them. You begin to sympathise with every one of the characters and after awhile, sympathising with every character creates unwanted anxieities because it every character can't possibly be satisfied. Oh the anguish! I felt so deeply for all the characters and I didn't know how they would make it through all of this. I was completely consumed with anxiety throughout this novel and then brought to an emotional mess at the conclusion.

I love sad books, books that make me feel something, and boy did this book make me feel.

What a masterpiece of dramatic writing!

House of Leaves

House of Leaves - Mark Z. Danielewski House of Leaves is the kind of story that loves to mess with your head a "little" bit. It doesn't have one storyline and one of the stories can be unreliable at times due to his increasing lack of sanity. I found myself spiralling downwards in a maze of subtle confusion as I continued through this novel. All of this may sound like a discredit to the novel but I absolutely loved it. Thought it was innovative as a book and a story.

A brief synopsis about what's going on:
Johnny Truant finds a suitcase with a manuscript in it, written by a friend's neighbour who is recently deceased.
The manuscript is a "non-fiction" analysis of a documentary that follows a family as they move into their new house and discover that it is bigger on the inside.
The Navidson Family become increasingly affected by the house and there are several explorations made to try and discover how big it really is and what is making that roaring noise.
Johnny Truant adds footnotes to the manuscript that depict a sort of life story as he makes his discovery of the manuscript.
The book has extensive footnotes and appendices and at some points takes an innovative approach at page space (as in a sentence might be backwards, upside down or spread across several pages)
I honestly don't know what I enjoyed the most about this book because there is just so much to love and appreciate.

The story may seem like a haunted house novel or a man's decline into insanity, either or, they were composed with such skill that made them seem believable and in a scary way, relatable. Even though Zampano was a silent character, his present is very much felt, especially in the poems and the bits he decided to try and cut out of the manuscript. Navidson was described and experienced in a very different way as well as his wife, Karen. I got to know them in a way I've never a character before due to the non-fiction approach to their story. Johnny Truant's parts were the scariest and definitely kept me thinking, especially his ending (which to be completely honest, I didn't quite understand it).

Because of the general non-fiction layout of this novel, I felt it lacked a necessary climax but that didn't really bother me because there was enough excitement to satisfy my preferences.

Absolutely amazing and I just loved the innovation in this book. It was a terrific treat to read.

A Storm of Swords: Part 2 Blood and Gold (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3) (Song of Ice & Fire 3)

A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold - George R.R. Martin THE BEST YET!!!
SO FLIPPING GOOD!!! AAHHHH!!!

Inferno

Inferno - Dan Brown A Robert Langdon novel is like the craziest roller coaster you can imagine. I couldn't put this book down because every moment was exciting.

Inferno, follows the story of Robert Langdon after he wakes up in a Florentine hospital with no memories of the last two days. He is then thrown into a world of assassin followed chases and a threat of a worldwide plague that could be as catastrophic as the Black Plague. He has to use his knowledge of Dante's greatest work, The Divine Comedy to unravel the puzzle and try and save the world from sudden outbreak.

Like I said, this book was fast pace and really easy to jump into. Something was always happening and I just wanted to know what would happen next.

In terms of overall plot, I just loved the characters (Zobrist and Sienna Brooks being my favourites) and the content the novel produced. The mixture of history and science information that is presented in this novel makes for an incredibly interesting and immerse read.

These books are super fun to read and anyone could just pick it up and be thrown onto the roller coaster of Langdon's adventure. Would recommend to everyone.

Brave New World

Brave New World - Margaret Atwood, David Bradshaw, Aldous Huxley I've had this book on my TBR for about 4 or 5 years now and I'm so glad I was finally able to pick it up. It was absolutely everything I thought it was going to be. I was so engrossed and literally couldn't put it down. Mindblowingly fantastic (in my opinion anyways).

Brave New World is about a society that is completely controlled from before birth and all the way through their lives with conditioning and scientific influence. All babies are born from test tubes and are "conditioned" (raised) in centres that assure that they will be perfect adults that fit into society absolutely. This is achieved through pre-determining their rank and how they will be conditioned such as are they going to be scientists or factory workers. They are then subjected to conditioning that moulds everyone to believe that they are living the perfect life. In my opinion this entire concept is what makes the book mind blowing because it is totalitarian to the point of dsytopian.

The portrayal of sex in the novel is another key point throughout this novel and I thought it was executed brilliantly. Sex is viewed differently from our perceptions; practically everyone just has sex and it is a form of entertainment. They start from an early age and no one marries or falls in love. They just have sex with someone a couple times then move onto the next one. This was so interesting to watch to play through.

Also the use of Soma (a drug that induces euphoria and in heavier doses, deep sleep periods called soma holidays) was incredibly well done. The citizens of this controlled world rely on the drug to get on with day to day life. It's controlled addiction.

The characters themselves didn't seem to be used as main plot points, except for John, the Savage, who is the contrast in the book, who attempts to prove that liberty and the happiness/pain that goes with it is superior to this controlled and conditioned civilisation. John serves as the reader's opinion on the aspects of the controlled environment because it is in our nature to view this sort of culture as disturbing and horrifying.

This book really brings about some important philosophical and ethical questions about whether it is right or wrong to condition (passively control) everyone to adapt to a set of ideals that brings about general happiness for everyone. It takes away our born right of freedom and liberality and forces us to be happy. What is the difference between forcing someone to be happy or sad when in the end you're still forcing someone to do something or think a certain way, when they have no actual choice? This book definitely induces these types of philosophical ponders.

Absolutely amazing premise and execution. Would recommend to pretty much everyone who doesn't mind a small amount of mind-fuckery.

Don Quixote (Penguin Classics)

Don Quixote - Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, John Rutherford This is a monster of a book. It is just shy of 1000 pages and it definitely felt that long.

Long classics are incredibly intimidating which is probably why I had such troubles actually sitting down and picking this book up because it intimidated me so much. Although the length is scary, the content isn't.

I found this novel to be fully entertaining and almost always hilarious. Honestly, I caught myself laughing out loud in some bits, it was that ridiculous.

Don Quixote is a guy, who after reading a heap of novels about knights, decides to become one himself and practically deludes himself into this strange scenario where he is a gallant knight. Everyone in the book thinks he is a madman, but the fact that they acknowledge this and then continue to go along with his nonsense is what makes this book so hilarious.

(Also the fact that 'Don Quixote' was supposed to ridicule the novels that Don Quixote reads [and what was popular during Cervantes time] but in fact, made them more popular and became one itself. I swear in the second half it was the story of a true knight, if not a very strange one.)

The relationship between Don Quixote and Sancho Panza is funny in itself and definitely matures throughout the novel. The intelligence of Sancho, even though he is portrayed as simple-minded, is superb and matures with the novel. Sancho really becomes a part of Don Quixote's madness in the second part and it's also quite funny to see him react in all the crazy situations.

The plot wasn't that of a regular novel; it was simply the string of events that happened to Don Quixote after he decided that he was a knight and as a knight, he should do knightly things.

The only thing I didn't quite like about this book was the length. I caught myself wishing it was shorter countless times throughout reading this book. In my opinion, it really didn't need to be this long.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book as a first (big) classic to anyone who is interested because I feel that the writing and story are quite easy to follow.