#MysteryMonday – Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

I’m sure I’m not the only one that gets turned off by baits like “a gripping psychological thriller…” added at the end of every new book title. I know I had seen this book on Kindle-Shop around spring last year but didn’t buy it only because of this headline. It wasn’t until the price went down to 2,99 € that it really caught my attention!

Mystery Monday – (n.) A series of hashtags I wanted to try out and share with you. Why? Because I can’t stop talking about books anyway so I thought I should just talk about them here. I have been reading on a few mysteries (thanks to Goodreads Choice Awards nominations) and I’ve been wanting to write some reviews anyway, so…

My first book of choice for this series is Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris. It’s not the last book I read but it’s the one that stuck with me the most. As I have mentioned before, I am quite the slow reader but I’ve finished this one within 36h so I guess it’s safe to say that I was hooked. I had trouble putting it down, dreading the 8-hour gaps I had to take for work and sleep.

The conflict in the story was revealed about 30% into the book. By that time I thought: okay, mystery solved, what now? Well, that’s exactly the point. The rest of the story was about solving the problem, and it left me curious the whole time.

I don’t want to reveal too much but, from the title itself, this book will leave you claustrophobic. Very.

Ending

The ending has left me hanging. I read this on my Kindle and the book ended at 91%. By this time I was calculating how much sleep I will lose to finish the book that same night when one revealing factor has just concluded the story. My wife was in the same room while I was reading and I just said “Oh” and looked up and that caught her attention. I must have looked miserable because she automatically came over to comfort me because it’s probably safer to do so, considering I might smash my Kindle against the wall.

This book got me to read more of the nominees under the Mystery/Thriller category on Goodreads. I eventually voted for it for best Mystery/Thriller and best debut but it didn’t make the cut for either category. I especially loved the style and technique of the author’s storytelling and I will make sure to read some of their work in the future. It’s absolutely brilliant.

If you want to read this book, it’s probably cheapest in Kindle edition at 3,99 €.

Print VS eReader

I was asked some weeks ago by a colleague why I owned a Kindle and whether it made much of a difference to reading an actual book. I kind of hoped that people’s stigma towards the eReader would have died down by now. By this, I don’t mean that I thought we would have gone digital one by one after the eReader first came out, but I assumed that people would eventually get the hang of the whole idea. I often get, “yeah, I don’t know if I can read a book without actually feeling its weight” or “I need to smell it while I’m reading it” etc etc.

In my case, I have decided to partially go digital four years ago for practical reasons. Some of which include:

  1. Access to books written in the english language. There’s a very limited selection of english books in your regular bookstore here in Germany.
  2. Price. They vary. Your advantage with printed books is that you may choose to buy them second hand, which of course is a lot cheaper. With ebooks, you pay full price for each book, but it’s usually cheaper than the full price in print (brand new), and sometimes you catch them on great discounts! Classics are often for free or cost 99c each.
  3. Speed of delivery. Of course, downloading an eBook will only take up to a few minutes to complete and you don’t have to worry about running to the next bookstore or worse, wait a few days for a printed book you bought online to reach your home.
  4. Reading in the dark. Its built-in lighting helps me read without having to turn on the lights in the room and risk waking up my wife who is sleeping next to me. But don’t get me wrong, the Kindle Paperwhite’s lighting is not there to hurt your eyes! Its sole purpose is to illuminate the text on the screen that is why the lighting is built to face only that direction to seem like you are reading your book under a lamp and it’s easily adjustable too.

My Kindle

It was a birthday present from my wife four years ago and I have been using it since. It’s my favourite gadget along with my phone, laptop, and camera – a few of the material things I refuse to live without. I filled it with some classics, the latest mystery/thrillers, and a few other books that I didn’t find at the bookstore (brand new or second hand), or were cheaper in digital version.

Being able to dress it up, of course, is the fun part.

My Bookshelf

As you can see, my most important books are here. My collection of Sheldon, Anne Rice, copies of The Bell Jar in different editions (don’t judge) and books that I usually pick up from the airport or from the cities I travel to. A few of them I know I’ll let go of some day to make space for new ones. I like knowing that one day, someone else will enjoy reading the same lines I’ve read, touching the same page corners I’ve touched.

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Now, I really can’t tell which one I like better. Both have great qualities that I look for in my reading material so I leave it up to you to decide — but don’t feel like you have to! At the end of the day, what’s important is that you read. The content is not affected by whether it’s in print or in digital and you will be thankful for the experience a good book will let you have regardless of its form.

How do you feel about the eReader so far?

Long overdue trip to London

I downloaded this app that told me I had been to 80% of all European countries. I found that pretty impressive given that I had only been back since 2011 and it was only then when I began travelling to our neighbouring countries. But I couldn’t help thinking I was missing something, and it’s something big. And it had been the UK!

Now, there’s probably nothing I can tell you about the great city of London that you don’t already know. Chances are, you had been there yourself, so I’ll only talk about my experience here.

From collecting nights on Hotels.com, we were able to afford a (still relatively cheap) windowless hotel room just a short distance away from King’s Cross Station (yes, the one from Harry Potter, we’ll get to that later) for five nights, the fifth night was for free. It was far from luxurious but it was clean and staff was friendly. We would have been forced to pay more for an Airbnb and probably wouldn’t have found one in such a central location anyway so we took it and, thankfully, didn’t regret it. From there, we had access to public transportation going to practically anywhere.

Day 1 – Stonehenge

We had breakfast nearby then we headed to town to go to Skygarden, which is close to Monument Underground station. Visiting is free of charge but they do require reservations. We did have typical London weather, though, so it didn’t help much for pictures but we didn’t have anything better planned that morning anyway and we were basically just killing some time before we leave for our Stonehenge tour.

So at noon we headed to Victoria coach station to catch our bus to Stonehenge. It’s a two-hour ride going there, where we then independently toured the place for 1.5 h. It was, as expected, absolutely fascinating.

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Day 2 – Freud Museum

We had another reservation today on top of one of the towers, and this time it came with fancy breakfast. The place is called Duck & Waffle. It was less cloudy and the sun actually shone for a little while!

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Breakfast on the 40th floor with this view? Could be worse.

We’ve already been to a Freud museum as part of our trip to Vienna last summer and it’s there where we’ve learned that there’s another one in London. Like the one in Vienna, it’s the old home and practice itself where the museum is at. It’s also here in London where you can find his famous psychoanalytic couch.

Another reason I came to London was for books! Used english books are hard to come by here in Germany so I grabbed this opportunity to update my bookshelf by finding a proper book exchange, which came in a very cute form of an english telephone booth. We took the commuter train all the way to Lewisham for this, and I even brought some old books from back home in exchange for new ones.

In the course of five days, we also went hunting for second-hand bookstores and one I can recommend is Book Mongers which is located in Brixton. You could spend hours just browsing for books there, which we did, because they really have a wide selection — but another reason is because they are not arranged in alphabetical order by author (a luxury we have at bookstores here in Germany probably because, well it’s Germany). The shelves are labeled by genre but the books are all in random order, which made it challenging to look for titles by a specific author. Believe me, though, I’m not complaining. I like to be surrounded by books as much as I can. 🙂

Day 3 – Just walking around

Today while looking for even more books, we stumbled upon a store called Stanfords that doesn’t only sell books (although new), they also sell maps! And I had been looking for a specific one for so long, and I knew I had to get it.

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Day 4 – Movie night

We ended the previous day in a pub with a new friend and we had a little too much fun that it messed me up just a wee bit but that’s fine because it’s not everyday that we’re in London and in good company as well. But sadly, for this reason, I used up the best part of the next day treating my massive hangover. :/ Good thing though, we didn’t have anything planned until past dinner, which gave me enough time to recover.

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But first, dinner in Chinatown!

This was our last night in London and we were to leave early the next day. We had tickets to Backyard Cinema in Mercato Metropolitano where we watched Sister Act (a classic, really) while sitting on a beanbag in a room full of beanbags! It was a new experience for us and it was a nice way to end our holiday in this great city.

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Outside of Backyard Cinema at Mercato Metropolitano

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King’s Cross

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When you’re bound for Hogwarts and you’re a Slytherin

 

London Eats: