Tag: Dead

H. P. Lovecraft – The Shadow Over Innsmouth and Other Stories of Horror | Review

Title: The Shadow Over Innsmouth and Other Stories of Horror

Author: H. P. Lovecraft

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 256

Rating: 4/5

Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room in the form of Lovecraft’s concerning personal beliefs. I’m of the opinion that you can separate the art from the artist, especially when the artist is dead, but I also know that that’s not true for everyone.

I’ve only read one Lovecraft book before and so I’m still relatively new to his work, and I can’t quite decide what I think of him. There are times when his stories are fantastic and they more than live up to the hype, and then there are times when… well, maybe not so much.

For example, there’s a story here that Lovecraft ghostwrote for Harry Houdini, and while the story behind the story is pretty interesting, the story itself isn’t great. I think if you didn’t know it was ghostwritten, you’d believe that Houdini wrote it – but then, Houdini wasn’t known for being a writer.

The title story in this collection was fantastic though, and it was made even more interesting because I was talking to somebody about it and they’d done an adaptation of it. There are only around six stories in here and so you could probably ask for more, but they are at least pretty chunky and so there’s a bunch for you to enjoy here. I’d definitely recommend this one if you’re interested.

Learn more about The Shadow Over Innsmouth and Other Stories of Horror.

 


James Frey – A Million Little Pieces | Review

Title: A Million Little Pieces

Author: James Frey

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 518

Rating: 4.25/5

I was given this as a birthday present from someone who’d read it themselves and enjoyed it and who’d seen that it was on my ridiculously large want to readlist. I don’t actually get given books that often because more often than not, I end up resenting them because I feel as though I have to read them whether I want to or not. But as this was off my big old list, we dodged that problem.

I think I first heard about this on BookTube, although I can’t remember who was talking about it. It basically instantly went on to my wish list because it’s a non-fiction drug book and I’ve always been partial to books about drugs. I even quite like it when you get references to opium in stuff like The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy falls asleep in a field of poppies.

Because I find the subject matter interesting, I was pretty much guaranteed to like this one. However, there are some other factors that come into play too. For example, the dialogue is written without quotation marks or indeed any form of punctuation, which some people might offputting. It’s the first thing I noticed when flicking through it and that, combined with a blurb from Irvine Welsh on the back, made me think it might be a tricky read. It turns out to actually work better and to flow more smoothly like that.

I guess that’s because of the style of the book. It’s written as a sort of stream-of-consciousness memoir and reads as though Frey is just chatting to you at a bar, and so this style of punctuation is perfect. At the same time though, I’m sure it’s not quite to everyone’s tastes, and that’s okay. And besides, if you like drug stories but you can’t deal with the punctuation, there’s always the movie version, which I’ll probably watch at some point or another.

Other than that, I’m not sure that there’s much more that I can tell you. I think as long as you have an interest in the subject matter – that of a recovering addict trying to get clean – and you don’t mind dialogue when it’s oddly formatted, you’re in for a treat. I will say that he spends the majority of the book either thinking about drugs or wishing he was dead, and so it can sometimes feel a little samey, but that can’t really be helped due to the subject matter and you have to respect the honesty.

Overall then, I’d definitely recommend this one, especially if you have an interest in drug and addiction memoirs. Otherwise, if you’re worried about trigger warnings or if it just makes you unhappy to read about stuff like this then maybe give it a miss. You’d be missing out on a good read, but it’s also a difficult one that can be quite confrontational too. As for me, I’m glad that I read it. A good gift!

Learn more about A Million Little Pieces.