Currently I'm reading: Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King

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Peggy Farooqi
Mum of 3 (1994, 1995, 1998)- born in East Germany --lived in UK/ Kent since 1993 -- studied criminology -- love reading / writing / travelling / knitting / cats. 
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15 August 2015

The Great Gatsby
F Scott Ftzgerald
Charles Scribner's Sons
Publication Date


Generally considered to be F. Scott Fitzgerald's finest novel, The Great Gatsby is a consummate summary of the "roaring twenties", and a devastating expose of the "Jazz Age". Through the narration of Nick Carraway, the reader is taken into the superficially glittering world of the mansions which lined the Long Island shore in the 1920s, to encounter Nick's cousin Daisy, her brash but wealthy husband Tom Buchanan, Jay Gatsby and the mystery that surrounds him.

My thoughts

The book takes to America of the roaring 20's, being set in 1922 and having been published in 1925. It is narrated by Nick Carraway who moves to the fictional town of West Egg, on Long Island to become a bond trader. His neighbour is the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby. Gatsby holds outlandish parties in his big mansion almost every day. Gatsby then makes contact with Nick, and Nick learns that Gatsby has known his cousin, Daisy, for a long time and has been harbouring a deep love for her. All the partying and large house are to impress Daisy. But Daisy is married. And whilst having an affair himself, Daisy husband certainly don't take kindly to anyone looking at his wife. Gatsby's secrets are revealed throughout the book. Without giving too much away, the book does not have a 'happy ever after' ending. 

There is open racism in the book which would, of course, not be acceptable today but is a good representation of the normal perception then. 

I always struggle a bit with classic literature. This one came as a freebee, so I gave it a go. After all, it is a very small book. I don't always find it easy to get to grips with the language in classic literature, not sure if this is because English is not my mother tongue. So I did not enjoy it as much as I hoped I would, and maybe I have to give it another chance. 

According to Wikipedia, on publication the book sold poorly and Fitzgerald died without having seen it go to success, but it is now regarded as classic literature and representation of 1920's jazz and flapper age. 

The book has been made into a movie in 2013 starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby, Tobey Maguire as Nick and Carey Mulligan as Daisy. Perfect cast in my opinion and beautiful to watch. 

9 August 2015

Night Shift
Stephen King
Publication Date

Description (from Amazon)

A collection of tales to invade and paralyse the mind as the safe light of day is infiltrated by the shadows of the night.
As you read, the clutching fingers of terror brush lightly across the nape of the neck, reach round from behind to clutch and lock themselves, white-knuckled, around the throat.
This is the horror of ordinary people and everyday objects that become strangely altered; a world where nothing is ever quite what it seems, where the familiar and the friendly lure and deceive. A world where madness and blind panic become the only reality.

My thoughts

An early Stephen King,  a short story collection. Many of them were previously published in magazines, when King was still a struggling author. Some of the short stories have been made into movies, and the movie 'Cat's eye' contains 3 stories from this collection which also comes highly recommended. 

The book shows how the King of horror can take everyday objects and people and normal situations and make them into a horror story. This is different from bloods and gore horror.  A lawn mover man who mows butt naked and eats the grass, a couple taking a road trip and discover the evil which can hide in a humble corn field, a man trying to quit smoking and those how help him have somewhat unusual but very convincing methods, a man who has an affair with a rich guy's wife and the  husband wants revenge on the outer ledge of a skyscraper. 

Even though I am a big fan of King's work, I did not always find this short story collection very 'easy reading'. I think part of it is that you have to 'get into the story' and obviously with a short story collection, you constantly have to get into  a new story. Once in, I was hooked on every single one of them and felt that literally all of them have enough plot and characters to make it a full book. What an imagination this guy has. His talent for turning the ordinary and mundane into the crazy is undisputed. 

28 July 2015

The Severest Inks Shorts
Several authors
Severest Inks
Publication Date
May 2015
short stories

Description (from Amazon)

The Severest Inks Shorts collects eight stories from some of the boldest new writers on the scene today. Melding unflinching themes with innovative narratives, these works confront the rawest elements of the human condition through the potent short story form. This anthology comes loaded with bonus material, including commentaries, special monochrome editions of original cover art and transcripts.


Red by Khalid Patel
Dr Craine’s Body by Khalid Patel
Further South by Eryk Pruitt
June in July by Hunter Heath
Mesa Boys by Matt Phillips
Georgia Rouge by Lucy Black
The Exchange by Charmaine Pauls
Grand Finale by Charmaine Pauls

My thoughts

The Severest Inks Shorts compilation of stories offers a great variety: from dark city fables to a pathologist in the mortuary, and this is what I liked so much here – the variety of it.

Each story fitted neatly into my morning commute, and it was easy to get into – something I sometimes find a challenge when reading a compilation of short stories when you have to constantly transport yourself into a different setting. All stories captured me from the beginning, kept my interest and still made sense.

I would also like to draw the attention to the original artwork on the cover of the stories which definitely caught my eye. I also really enjoyed the extra chapters at the end of the book where the authors tell us a bit about themselves and how their particular story came about.

I am sure, like me, the reader will have a favourite story after reading the compilation. We have all different tastes, and this book caters for quite a few without being too wide in range and extremes (i.e. soppy romance and hard-core horror).  I had read 2 of the included stories before as ‘singles’ and enjoyed them, and was glad to read this book. And, at the end, it is also good value for money, as you get 8 stories in book.

26 July 2015

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 
J K Rowling
Bloomsbury Children
Publication Date
June 2003
Fantasy, Children

Description (from Amazon)

Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He is desperate to find out why his friends, Ron and Hermione, have been secretive all summer. But before he even gets to school, Harry survives a terrifying encounter with two Dementors, attends a court hearing at the Ministry of Magic and is escorted on a night-time broomstick ride to the secret headquarters of a mysterious group called the Order of the Phoenix

My thoughts

The more I read Harry Potter, the more I love it. I have also realised how important and much more fulfilling it is to read the books rather than just watch the movies. Just because there is, obviously, so much more info, a lot more issues ‘clicked into place’ for me – concepts explained, connections which clicked into place.  Therefore I would urge especially a young person who has only watched the movies to definitely read the books. Yes, by book 5 they are big books, but they are so worth it.

It can be a bit tricky in fantasy writing, but Rowling creates a fantasy world which we can easily image. The writing is flawless and easy to understand, with simple sentence structures and frequent returning to previous occasions in the books to aid our memory (with such a big series and a lot of characters, it is nice touch to be reminded every now and again: ‘ah, yes, that’s what it was).  And the basic structure and storyline, of course, remains the same. Harry stays over the summer holidays at the Dursley’s and returns to Hogwarts in September with his friends Ron and Hermione and the adventures start). It can be a bit tricky in fantasy writing, but Rowling creates a fantasy world which we can easily image

At this stage in the series, you would really have to have read the other books though – you cannot start with book 5.  Harry is now a young teenager, and becomes a bit more rebellious, starts to question things.  What I have also enjoyed is that slowly, more gets revealed during this book. We learn, for example, that there is a good reason why Harry has to stay at the dreadful Dursley’s house every summer holiday. I had wondered before why he would not simply go to his friend Ron’s. More starts to click into place with book 5, and I can’t wait for the next book now.

6 July 2015

Matthew Keith
Publication Date
May 2015

Description (from Amazon)

Volume One of the Lost Colony of Roanoke

July, 1587 

115 men, women, and children vanished from the Island Colony of Roanoke
with no explanation. The only clue left was a single word carved into a post
on the fence surrounding the village: “CROATOAN”.

This is their story, and the story of the family who was the cause of the
colony's downfall.

My thoughts:

If you have read Keith's Watcher's series, you will agree with me that he is firmly establishing himself as author of books of slightly odd teenage boy who gets thrown into a strange world which will become his world. 

Alex, a college kid, is regarded as slightly odd by his peers, as he has withdrawn himself from most of his friends since his mother vanished a few years prior. He lives with his father who owns a electro-magnetics research company. They both clearly are deeply effected but are supporting each other. On the 6th anniversary of his mother's disappearance, Alex gets called away in school to the head's office where he finds Silas, who works at his father company. Silas tells Alex that his father has also vanished and Silas has been made Alex' guardian. Silas behaves very strange, and Alex does not like him at all.  Silas then tells him about the research Alex' father was working on which involved teleportation from one place to the next within a second using a special suit. He wants to know if Alex can provide him with any information, whether his dad has told him anything. Alex fears that Silas' interest might have an ulterior motive, and goes to investigate. He finds the suit and instructions from his dad to destroy everything. But all Alex wants is to find his dad, and maybe even his mum and hopefully this place where they have vanished to. Only one way to find out, and this is to try the suit to teleport himself. The world he will find is nothing like he could have imagined. 

I did not know the original story of the 'Missing Colony of Roanoke'. and while the author has spun a wonderful story around it, it is not a historical book, but firmly set in the present day. 

What I like about the book, apart form that it is easy to read, is that even though 'The Under' is of course an invention of the author - a different world and there are supernatural elements - it is still completely believable and I could imagine inventions like that can happen. Or maybe I should not let my reading cloud my perception of the world? Oh no, long may it continue and long may we receive wonderful books like this to take us into different worlds. 

This is a great start book to a new series, and I can't wait to see how it continues for Alex and everyone in 'The Under'.