Silence by Shusuke Endo

” Silence ” by Shusuke Endo is a historical fiction story originally published in the 1960’s .

It’s 17th century Japan , Christianity is banned , and any caught worshipping are interrogated and tortured until they publicly renounce their faith . Two Portuguese Jesuit priests are sent to Japan to secretly help preserve the Japanese Christian faith and also to investigate the claim that one of their mentors has apostatized . Eventually both priests are captured and are forced to watch the Japanese torture believers unless they both abandon their faith publicly .

This story is told in the form of letters from one of the Jesuit’s which helps make it feel authentic … also there is the fact that in 17th century Japan Christians really were captured and tortured giving another layer of authenticity here . Intense is the word that comes to mind . The story deals with issues of cultural differences , pride , cowardice , persecution and faith . I should point out that the methods of torture are described in the story so this may prove too intense for some of you . This story was later turned into a movie by Martin Scorsese and it’s a good adaptation . Overall , I would recommend both the book and the movie .

Rate : Legacy read

Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

” Rosemary’s Baby ” by Ira Levin is a horror story published in the late 1960’s .

Rosemary moves into an old New York apartment with her struggling actor husband named Guy . The apartment building has a terrible history though involving murder and witchcraft which makes Rosemary a little nervous . Add on to that , the nosy neighbors , ( Roman and Minnie Castavet ) are constantly bothering her , and the strange noises she hears at night … you can understand if she is having trouble adapting to the new place . Things begin to look up though , Guy gets a good role in a Broadway play and Rosemary gets pregnant . With the news of her pregnancy getting around , the neighbors begin to take an even bigger interest in her life , becoming almost possessive of her and her baby . As the pregnancy goes on , she starts getting cut off from her friends and family , gets really sick , and she becomes aware that the Castavets are not who they say they are .

This story is a classic . It’s a masterclass in paranoia based story telling with a hint of satire mixed in . You feel everything Rosemary experiences throughout the story and it keeps you sucked in throughout each twist and turn . The ending feels genuinely surprising and you should read the book at least twice to see all the signs . This was turned into a popular movie directed by Roman Polanski but I haven’t watched it myself as I don’t want to do anything that would give that dude money . So read the book , avoid the movie , that’s my two cents .

Rating : Legendary work

Ratman’s Notebooks by Stephen Gilbert

” Ratman’s Notebooks ” by Stephen Gilbert is a horror novel published in the late 1960’s .

This novel opens up with notebooks being handed to the author . The notebooks writer is unknown but they detail the writers strange interactions with the local rat population . The writer first meets the rats when his overbearing mother tells him to kill them . He attempts to drown them at first but has a change of heart whenever he looks into the mama rats eyes . He then begins to train the rats to do basic tasks but most of them prove difficult to teach . One stands out though as intelligent which the writer calls Socrates . Soon the writer’s mother dies , leaving the writer alone with a house that is falling apart , a low paying job with a cruel boss , and no money . The writer soon finds a new rat which he names Ben who also displays intelligence . The writer then begins to train the rats under the command of Socrates to do various crimes such as tearing tires , robbery , and possibly murder .

This is a legendary book and it’s often credited along with Ira Levin’s ” Rosemary’s Baby ” and William Peter Blatty’s ” The Exorcist ” as the novels that rejuvenated the horror genre. It’s a great read , written from our nameless protagonist’s point of view , you really dig deep into this guys mindset and you follow him as he starts to turn more and more corrupt as the novel goes on . It was later turned into a movie called ” Willard ” that became a big enough hit to spawn a sequel entitled ” Ben ” and a remake later on . Out of all of these , I admit I’ve only seen the remake , but that was a good enough film . Overall , if you’re into the animal horror sub genre or if you’re just curious about horror story history , check it out .

Valentine by Tom Savage

” Valentine ” by Tom Savage is a mystery novel originally published in the mid 1990’s .

Jillian Talbot is a bestselling suspense novelist living in New York with her artist boyfriend . She is living a comfortable life writing her books , hanging out with her actress friend , and she loves her boyfriend . Everything is going well up until a stalker appears into her life , sending her Valentine’s day cards with intimidating messages , always signing the card ” Valentine ” . The story becomes more and more suspenseful as she hires a private investigator to find out this stalker is and why they are sending her threatening letters , dead animals , and roses . Come find out in Tom Savage’s ” Valentine ” .

This book is a thrilling mystery . It switches point of view often between Jill and her stalker , giving the novel a voyeur type quality which I enjoy … don’t read too much into that statement . The only complaint I have about it is that I feel the themes of Valentine’s day could’ve been used more but admittedly its a minor thing and probably only bothers me . A movie based off of this book was made and I watched it as well . The movie is a very loose adaptation at best , actually the movie seems to be a ” I Know What You Did Last Summer ” knock off with the book being used as a superficial dressing . Overall , recommend the book to mystery and suspense fans , and recommend the movie to lovers of B-movie slashers .