Before I begin, I should clarify a few things. I hate being scared, and I hate horror. And I don’t dislike: I mean hate. And I don’t really like Halloween because I don’t even like candy (I’ll take it if you give it to me … but I’m not going to go seeking it) or pumpkin carving.
But I’ve been so excited about Carl’s upcoming RIP challenge. Last year, I didn’t join because I was a pretty new blogger and, as I said above, I don’t like scary books. And yet, as I saw everyone’s reviews about gothic and mystery books, and I was sad I hadn’t jumped in to the challenge. I forced myself to reread Edgar Allan Poe (still didn’t like him a lot), and then I found myself enjoying Washington Irving and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s stories.
So since last year, I’ve been saving my
reads for October, because I thought it was a one-month challenge. Then I found out: The challenge starts now! YEAY!
Other books I’ve reviewed in the past year that relate to the themes are these: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens; An Enemy at Green Knowe by L.M. Boston (children’s fiction); The Book Thief by Markus Zusak; The Chimes by Charles Dickens; The Haunted Man and The Ghost’s Bargain, by Charles Dickens; Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte; Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach (nonfiction); Stories by Guy de Maupassant (I highly recommend his ghost-y stories; much better than Poe’s, I think); The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins; and The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, which I just reviewed this morning.
For this year, I’m signing up for Peril the First, to read four works. Here’s my pool of books, my pool of books to last a lifetime (because it will take me that long to get through all of them).
I’ve put them in order in each category of “most likely to read in the next weeks.” You’ll note my modern fiction section is a bit small; I just don’t know which is actually not scary.
- Dracula by Bram Stoker. I started listening to the audiobook. Not sure what I think at this point yet.
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Another classic I’ve heard about but never read.
- Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte. I’m looking forward to meeting this Bronte!
- The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Is this gothic? I might have read it because I seem to remember a woman knitting in the middle of a road covered with blood. Sounds creepy to me.
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo. Another classic. Again, is this gothic? Maybe I’m only thinking of the building itself.
- Villette by Charlotte Bronte. I’ve heard both bad and good things about this one.
- something by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I recently read The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, which was all about Sherlock Holmes’ new sidekick, so I should revisit the original.
- Faust by Goethe. Because it’s about the devil.
- The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. I’ve heard it’s bad. But I love the musical!
- “Bartleby the Scrivener” by Hermann Melville. Reread. I liked this story when I read it in high school. I found it on a “gothic stories” list.
- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. Reread. How is this one out of a class setting?
- The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Reread. Apparently, this book is the father of horror. In which case, I can’t say I avoid horror, since I remember liking it (!).
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. Reread. An upcoming book club read.
- Beloved by Toni Morrison. I’m currently rereading this favorite. Still absolutely wonderful.
- The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I’ve heard good things, and it’s a mystery, right?
- anything by Shirley Jackson. I’m a bit scared her books actually are “scary.” Thoughts?
- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Newbery Medal winner that I still haven’t read.
- Savvy by Ingrid Law. It’s supernatural.
- something by Roald Dahl. I haven’t read anything by Dahl since I was a kid.
- The Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters. Poetic epitaphs in the graveyard.
- Poetry of Emily Dickinson. “Because I could not stop for death/ He kindly stopped for me.”
- “Elegy Written at a Country Churchyard” by Thomas Grey. Heard of it, but never read it.
- One of the Graveyard Poets. Yes, there were a lot of depressed guys writing about death and dying in the 1800s.
- Macbeth by William Shakespeare. I need to read more Shakespeare, and this one has witches.
- Faustus by Christopher Marlow. I’ve never read Marlow, and this one has the devil.
Now, how do I limit the next two months to four of these?!