Reading Shirley Jackson – October 2019

I am a little late in posting this review of my month of reading Shirley Jackson. I was quite surprised with how much I enjoyed these reads, and they stuck with me for a weeks afterwards.

One of my reading goals for 2019 is to become more familiar with works by different authors by featuring a different author every month (see A Focus on Authors Reading Challenge). I thought another great addition to my Fall reads and for October especially would be to read Shirley Jackson for the first time. I think it will be great for the Halloween season.

The-Lottery-and-other-storiesTitle: The Lottery and Other Stories
Author: Shirley Jackson
Genre: Short stories
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Company
Publication Date: 1949
Pages: 302
Format Read: Audiobook
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: Library Libby app
Date finished reading: October 5, 2019

Goodreads Description: The Lottery, one of the most terrifying stories written in this century, created a sensation when it was first published in The New Yorker. “Power and haunting,” and “nights of unrest” were typical reader responses. This collection, the only one to appear during Shirley Jackson’s lifetime, unites “The Lottery:” with twenty-four equally unusual stories. Together they demonstrate Jackson’s remarkable range–from the hilarious to the truly horrible–and power as a storyteller.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ 

6708624Title: We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Author: Shirley Jackson
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Viking Press
Publication Date: September 21, 1962
Pages: 146
Format Read: Ebook
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: Amazon
Date finished reading: October 28, 2019

Goodreads Description: My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise, I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cap mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead…

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

HauntingOfHillHouseTitle: The Haunting of Hill House
Author: Shirley Jackson
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Viking
Publication Date: 1959
Pages: 208
Format Read: Ebook
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: Amazon
Date finished reading: November 3, 2019

Goodreads Description: First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, the lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

My Review: I had never before read Shirley Jackson. I tend to hide away from any story classified as horror. I am quite a scaredy cat when it comes to horror, but I decided to jump out of my comfort zone for October. I am really glad I did. Shirley Jackson is now one of my favorite authors that I read this year. While I did not as much enjoy her classic short story collection that includes The Lottery, which was quite disturbing, I absolutely loved both We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Haunting of Hill House. While We Have Always Lived in the Castle was a bit slow at times, it kept me guessing. It was a very unique read and unlike anything I had ever read before. My favorite read of Shirley Jackson’s was definitely The Haunting of Hill House. It was really creepy in a great way. I already new the story a bit from the movie The Haunting (1999) with Liam Neeson and the recent Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House. However, I can honestly say that the book is better. I still can’t stop thinking about this book. It continues to haunt me. 🙂 I highly recommend reading some Shirley Jackson.

My Overall Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ½

WWW Wednesdays – October 2, 2019

www

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

I completed a full month of reading Stephen King (see full review here). Having only read one short story by Stephen King (just last year), I didn’t know what to expect and am shocked at how much I ended up enjoying his work – though not without some nightmares. I will be moving on to reading Shirley Jackson next as part of my Focus on Authors Challenge.

Currently Reading

Recently Finished

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang – audiobook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Focus on Authors Challenge: The Shining by Stephen King – ebook =

*Click on the titles for full reviews. The Shining review is part of a full month of reading Stephen King review.*

Reading Next

What are y’all reading? Any plans to read some creepy novels for October?

HAPPY READING!!!

Reading Stephen King – September 2019

One of my reading goals for 2019 is to become more familiar with works by different authors by featuring a different author every month (see A Focus on Authors Reading Challenge). I thought the best way to start my Fall reading is with some Stephen King books. I have only ever read his novella, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, which was fantastic. I was looking forward to joining the millions of readers that love Stephen King.

0671024256.01.LZZZZZZZTitle: On Writing
Author: Stephen King
Genre: Memoir, Writing
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: 2000
Pages: 288
Format Read: Audiobook & Book
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: Library Libby app & Library book sale
Date finished reading:  September 6, 2019

Goodreads Description: “Long live the King,” hailed “Entertainment Weekly” upon the publication of Stephen King’s “On Writing.” Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999 — and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, “On Writing” will empower and entertain everyone who reads it — fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ½

christineTitle: Christine
Author: Stephen King
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Viking
Publication Date: April 29, 1983
Pages: 503
Format Read: Audiobook
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: Library Libby app
Date finished reading: September 14, 2019

Goodreads Description: Just Another Lovers’ Triangle, Right?

It was love at first sight. From the moment seventeen-year-old Arnie Cunningham saw Christine, he knew he would do anything to possess her.

Arnie’s best friend, Dennis, distrusts her—immediately.

Arnie’s teen-queen girlfriend, Leigh, fears her the moment she senses her power.

Arnie’s parents, teachers, and enemies soon learn what happens when you cross her.

Because Christine is no lady. She is Stephen King’s ultimate, blackly evil vehicle of terror…

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ½

apt pupilTitle: Apt Pupil 
Author: Stephen King
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Viking Press
Publication Date: 1982
Pages: 179
Format Read: Ebook
Standalone or series: Part of Different Seasons short story collection
Where I got the book: Amazon Kindle
Date finished reading: September 15, 2019

Goodreads Description: Todd Bowden is an apt pupil. Good grades, good family, a paper route. But he is about to meet a different kind of teacher: Mr. Dussander. Todd knows all about Dussander’s dark past. The torture. The death. The decades-old manhunt Dussander has escaped to this day. Yet Todd doesn’t want to turn him in. Todd wants to know more. Much more. He is about to learn the real meaning of power—and the seductive lure of evil.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ 

38926465._SY475_Title: The Body
Author: Stephen King
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Viking Press
Publication Date: 1982
Pages: 80
Format Read: Ebook/Audiobook
Standalone or series: Part of Different Seasons short story collection
Where I got the book: Amazon Kindle
Date finished reading: September 21, 2019

Goodreads Description: It’s 1960 in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine. Ray Brower, a boy from a nearby town, has disappeared, and twelve-year-old Gordie Lachance and his three friends set out on a quest to find his body along the railroad tracks. During the course of their journey, Gordie, Chris Chambers, Teddy Duchamp, and Vern Tessio come to terms with death and the harsh truths of growing up in a small factory town that doesn’t offer much in the way of a future.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ½

shiningTitle: The Shining 
Author: Stephen King
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: January 28, 1977
Pages: 659
Format Read: Ebook
Standalone or series: Series Book #1
Where I got the book: Amazon Kindle
Date finished reading: September 30, 2019

Goodreads Description: Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote…and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

My Review: As an introduction to Stephen King, I think this month went really well. I do not read many horror novels, so I was nervous on how I would handle reading Stephen King, hence why I started with his nonfiction memoir On Writing. However, much to my surprise I really enjoyed reading Stephen King from his memoir to his short stories to his full length novels.

First, let me say that his memoir is fantastic and should be read even if you are not a Stephen King fan. I am not just saying that because he mentions DePere, Wisconsin, a town I lived in for 3 1/2 years. Half of this book is a memoir about Stephen King’s life and the other half provides his writing tips and conversations he has had about writing. On Writing gives you a glimpse into King’s childhood. He also discusses his addiction to alcohol and his recovery after being struck by a car. That event in his life occurred during the writing of this book and almost killed him. For the most part, I absolutely loved this book. I guess the only thing that started to make me a bit uncomfortable was how many times King mentions the full name of the individual who was driving the car that struck him. Frankly, that individual was not sufficiently punished by the judicial system, and so maybe King mentions him repeatedly in his book out of the bitterness of this situation, which is justified, but still made me feel uncomfortable.

After reading, On Writing, I was ready to dive into his works of fiction. I listened to Christine on audiobook. When I was on my lunch break, I would read his short story from the Different Seasons collection called Apt Pupil. I actually thought this was a good pairing, because it helped me establish why I loved Christine but did not like Apt Pupil very much. Christine was an absolute thrill ride (pun maybe intended). Apt Pupil really dragged for me. While they both had very violent scenes, I found those scenes much more tolerable in Christine than I did in Apt Pupil. The characters in Apt Pupil were just so sick and twisted. I can also say to myself that those were humans doing those acts of violence in Apt Pupil, where as in Christine much of the violence is done by a car (an object). I also really enjoyed the telling of Christine through a narrator (Dennis).

The Body was also told through a narrator, Gordy, and was a good next short story to read, as it was far less disturbing than Apt Pupil. I feel horrible writing this, but this style of literature made a much better movie. If you haven’t seen Stand By Me, you should. It is a great adaptation of this story. I found it a little confusion in the reading of The Body to understand if the narrator was in the past or the present. That could also be because I listened to it on audio instead of reading my physical copy. However, the experiences and conversations between the four friends, Gordy, Chris, Teddy, and Vern, as they go in search of a dead body, were wonderfully told – entertaining and at times funny.

To end my month of reading Stephen King, I finally read The Shining and no it is not like the Jack Nicholson movie (though I admit I love the movie too). This was a great conclusion, as I absolutely loved this book. It was my favorite for sure. It had characters I cared about, fantastical elements (a possessed murder house & people who have a special ability called the shine), and intense, scary moments that made it hard to read but at the same time made it hard to stop reading. Also, Dick Halloran, you rock my world! I can’t help but be tempted to read King’s follow-up novel called Doctor Sleep, but I am nervous that he changes the characters enough (especially Danny) that I won’t enjoy it.

I have heard from other readers, that Stephen King’s writing it too simplistic. It may be simplistic, but I think he creates magic with his words – simple or not. He makes you scared of things you never thought you would be scared of and uses important topics as themes in his stories, like bullying, alcoholism and friendship. “Friends come in and out of your life like busboys in a restaurant, did you ever notice that?” (from The Body) I avoided Stephen King for so long, because I just did not think I would enjoy his type of horror (or the horror genre in general). I was wrong though and am glad I finally read his works. I will definitely be reading more.

My Overall Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Have you ever read Stephen King? If so, what are your favorites?

WWW Wednesdays – September 25, 2019

www

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

I’m almost done with my month of Stephen King reads (A Focus on Authors Reading Challenge). I read far more Stephen King than I thought I would get a chance to. I have so many thoughts and opinions about what I’ve read so far, that I can barely contain myself. The final review is coming soon. I’m also starting my Fall Reads!

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

Focus on Authors Challenge: The Body by Stephen King – audiobook/ebook = ♦ ♦ ♦ ½
Bookish First ARC: The Trouble With Christmas by Amy Andrews – book = ♦ ♦ ♦ ½

*Click on the title of the book for my full review. All Stephen King reads will be reviewed at the end of September.*

Reading Next

What are y’all reading? I’m exploring more horror this season than I have ever read before. Do y’all read horror in the fall? Are you seasonal readers? Leave me a comment or your WWW link below.

HAPPY READING!!!

WWW Wednesdays – September 19, 2018

www

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Time for another WWW Wednesdays, which is brought to you by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. If you too want to participate, answer the above questions and post that link on Sam’s page.

Currently Reading

Finished Reading

You May Now Kill The Bride (Return to Fear Street #1) by R. L. Stine

th

The Fear Street series was an obsession of mine when I was in middle school into high school. A month ago, I heard that R. L. Stine had decided to revive his Fear Street street – 20 years later – with a new series called Return To Fear Street. I knew I had to pick up the first book as soon as possible, if for no other reason then to just relive my younger reading days. I managed to get a copy from my local library and put down all my other books to read it immediately. This would be a good example of books that you love when you are younger but not as much when you are older. There are about 100 pages near the end of the book that are fun and thrilling, but overall I was a little disappointed. Even the end was not very strong in my opinion. It isn’t a bad book, but I think it is a timely book to be read by younger people. Still, it was nice to relive my teenage years through literature for a couple days.

Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker

eb2149ee104d897024f50dc872d8d19d--unsolved-murders-unsolved-mysteries

I am continuing my true crime phase with this book related to bodies of sex workers found on Long Island. It gives a lot of details on the lives and families of all the victims – almost too much detail. Frankly all the people mentioned started to get a little confusing. While I do think the family life of the victims and the families’ involvement during the case is important, I believe the writer should have kept his focus more on the victims. I also would have like a bit more information about the police case, like a first hand interview, not just what the media was reporting. It is quite depressing though how many cases there are of sex workers disappearing and being killed, and authorities not doing anything about it. There was a similar serial-killer case in my hometown of Milwaukee many years ago that was pretty much ignored at the time. After being arrested for other crimes and released a dozen times in two decades, detectives finally tied the perpetrator to all the murdered women. I hope that the case of the Lost Girls will be solved someday.

Reading Next

I got a bit distracted this past week, but I don’t anticipate any distractions this coming week, so I should finally finish all the books I’ve been in the middle of for a while. Have you read any of these? What have you been reading lately? Any recommendations?

HAPPY READING!!!!

 

Halloween Movies 2017

result_1506897222312

my October book display at work

I’m continuing the tradition of watching Halloween-themed and scary movies in the month of October.  My list contains a wide variety of movies that I’m looking forward to.

  • 28 Days Later – George Romero got me hooked on the zombie phenomenon. Someone recommended this movie as someone who enjoys zombie flicks.
  • The Birds – Hitchcock should always make the list.
  • Cabin in the Woods – I always enjoy this movie.
  • The Conjuring – I’m most nervous about this one. I imagine I may be hiding under a blanket during most of this movie.
  • Halloweentown High – Silly Halloween choice, but I’m a huge Debbie Reynolds fan.
  • The Haunting – 1999 version
  • House on Telegraph Hill – 1951 psychological thriller
  • Rocky Horror Picture Show – I just found out that my husband has never seen this movie, so I have to rectify this.
  • Zombieland

Prior to October, I did rewatch the original IT miniseries just in case I decided to go see the new version in the movie theater. Has anyone seen the new one? How is it? What are your other favorite movies to watch at this time of year?